Education for socialists



Download 431.09 Kb.
Page1/6
Date29.04.2016
Size431.09 Kb.
  1   2   3   4   5   6

EDUCATION FOR SOCIALISTS

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT SOQAUST WORKERS BARTY 14 CHARLES LANE NEW YORK, N.Y 10014

Towards a History of the Fourth International, Part 6 v

Revolutionary Marxism vs. Class Collaboration

in Sri Lanka

August 1975 $.60

Contents

Introductory Note, by Fred Feldman

1. The LSSP and Class Collaboration: Lessons of a

Popular Front Betrayal, by Caroline Lund

2. From Wavering to Capitulation: People's Frontism

in Ceylon, by Ernest Germain

3. The Wearing Out of a Revolutionary Leadership,

by Pierre Frank

4. Letter from the United Secretariat Supporting

LSSP(R) Emergency Conference

2

3

7

20

23

Introductory Note

The articles in this Education for Socialists bulletin analyze one of the setbacks suffered by the world Trotskyist movement. In 1964, a majority of the leaders of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) of Sri Lanka {Ceylon), once the largest section of the Fourth Interna­tional, decided to participate in a bourgeois coalition government headed by Mrs. S.I. Bandaranaike of the capitalist Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

The founders of the LSSP began in the 1930s as sincere revolutionists, devoted to Trotskyism and to the struggle against imperialist domination of their country. Their uncompromising leadership of mass struggles won them a substantial working class following. But over the years, the fighting spirit and political consciousness of many of the leaders—Leslie Goonewardene, Colvin R. de Silva, N.M. Perera, and others—flagged. They developed theories of "Ceylonese exceptionalism" to justify an increasingly opportunist course that culminated in their outright betrayal of the working class in 1964.

A substantial minority of the party resisted this degeneration and broke decisively with the majority of the LSSP leadership when it decided to join Bandaranaike's government. This wing was led by Bala Tampoe, president of the Ceylon Mercantile Union, and Edmund Samarakod-dy, a member of parliament.

The Fourth International supported this revolutionary opposition and unhesitatingly expelled Perera and his cohorts from the world Trotskyist movement, reaffirming the revolutionary Marxist opposition to all varieties of class collaborationism. The Trotskyists led by Tampoe and Samarakoddy formed the LSSP (Revolutionary) which was recognized as the Ceylonese section of the Fourth International. (The LSSP [R] has recently changed its name to the Revolutionary Socialist League.)

A few years after the formation of the LSSP (R), a factional dispute broke out between Tampoe and Samarak­oddy. Samarakoddy became so embittered that he split from the LSSP (R) and began spreading Stalinist-type slanders against Tampoe, charging among other things that he was a "CIA agent." These fabrications were avidly spread by sectarian opponents of the Trotskyist move­ment, particularly by Gerry Healy's Socialist Labour League (now renamed the Workers Revolutionary Party) in Britain.

(These slanders are effectively demolished in "Healyites

Slander Bala Tampoe," an October 29, 1972, statement by the United Secretariat of the Fourth International [reprint­ed in the Education for Socialists bulletin, Marxism vs. Ultraleftism: The Record of Healy's Break with Trotskyism] and in "Ceylon and the Healy School of Falsification," by Jaya Vithana, which appeared in the March 19, 1973, issue of Intercontinental Press, a revolu­tionary Marxist international newsweekly, and was printed in pamphlet form by the International Marxist Group, British section of the Fourth International.)

The record of Healy's supporters in Ceylon sheds an ironic light on this slander campaign. They supported Bandaranaike's popular front in the 1970 elections while Tampoe and the LSSP (R) stood alone in revolutionary opposition to this class-collaborationist front.

In March 1971 Bandaranaike declared a state of emergency and the coalition government launched a brutal assault against radicalized youth. A special target were youth thought to be friendly to the Jamatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP—People's Liberation Front), a leftist youth organization that supported Bandaranaike in the 1970 elections but went into opposition when the government failed to carry out its radical campaign promise-. Hundreds of youths were murdered, and more than 15,000 were put in concentration camps on trumped-up charges of plotting to overthrow the government. Among those imprisoned in the wholesale repression were several young members of the LSSP (R). All strikes were banned. The former revolutionists who had joined Bandar­anaike's coalition government in 1964 played leading parts in this repression.

While the Ceylonese Healyites uttered hardly an audible word of protest, the LSSP (R) and the Ceylonese Mercan­tile Union, under Tampoe's leadership, have been in the forefront of struggles in defense of democratic rights. LSSP (R) leaders led strikes in defiance of the ban. Tampoe has further provoked the ire of the popular-front government by his energetic efforts to expose the frame-ups as defense attorney for many of the imprisoned youths.

"The LSSP and Class Collaboration: Lessons of a Popu­lar Front Betrayal," by Caroline Lund, is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the June 4, 1971, issue of the revolutionary socialist weekly newspaper, The Militant.

"The Wearing Out of a Revolutionary Leadership," by Pierre Frank and the letter of the United Secretariat to the emergency conference of the LSSP (R) in 1964 are reprinted from the July 17, 1964, issue of World Outlook, predecessor of Intercontinental Press. "From Wavering to Capitulation," by Ernest Germain, is reprinted from the Fall 1964 issue of International Socialist Review.

In addition to the material published in this bulletin, Germain replied to Healy's falsified version of the split with the reformist LSSP leaders in Chapter 5 of his pamphlet Marxism vs. Ultraleftism. This pamphlet has been reprinted in the Education for Socialist bulletin, Marxism vs. Ultraleftism: The Record of Healy's Break with Trotskyism. It is available from the National Education Department of the Socialist Workers Party for $2.50.

Another source of perceptive evaluations of the evolution of the LSSP leadership is the writings of Peng Shu-tse, the veteran leader of the Chinese Trotskyist movement. An open letter from Peng to Leslie Goonewardene, then Secretary of the LSSP, in December 1957 severely criticized the failure of LSSP leaders to protest the imprisonment of Trotskyists by the Mao regime during a visit to China. This item will appear in a later Education for Socialists bulletin in the Towards a History of the Fourth International series.

In "The Man on the Flying Trapeze: An Open Letter to Gerry Healy," published in the Fall 1964 issue of

International Socialist Review, Peng succinctly summar­ized the causes of the LSSP's degeneration:

"(1) Objectively: the functioning of a bourgeois parlia­ment, after British imperialism granted political indepen­dence, created illusions in parliamentarism and the possibility of democratic reforms among petty-bourgeois political circles.

"(2) Subjectively: most of the top leaders of the LSSP came from the middle class, some even from bourgeois families. They were revolutionists in the beginning and played a big role in building the Trotskyist movement in Ceylon against the domination by British imperialism. After political independence was won and a bourgeois democratic system developed, certain leaders of petty-bourgeois or bourgeois background won seats in parlia­ment and stayed there for many years. They gradually became imbued with parliamentary illusions. This was pre-eminently reflected by the Perera tendency.

"(3) If the Fourth International had not split, or had reunification been realized earlier, the reformist and parliamentary tendency among the leaders could possibly have been corrected under the united influence of the International. At least the strength of this tendency could have been considerably reduced. Unfortunately the split in the International was prolonged for almost ten years (from the end of 1953 to June 1963). You [Gerry Healy] are perfectly aware that you bear a big responsibility for prolonging this split. The reformist tendency was thus able to develop more freely. It finally exploded at the special conference of the LSSP."

Fred Feldman January 1975



1. The LSSP and Class Collaboration: Lessons of a Popular Front Betrayal

By Caroline Lund

reprinted from the June 4, 1971, issue of the Militant

The first working-class party in Cey­lon, and for some time the only work­ing-class party, was the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, which was formed in the late 1930s by some young Cey­lonese • intellectuals who had studied at universities in Britain. The forma­tion of the LSSP occurred around the time of the Moscow frame-up trials, at the height of the struggle that took place within the Soviet Union between the bureaucratic rulers led by Stalin — who favored "socialism in one coun­try*—and the forces led by Leon Trot­sky, which supported an international revolutionary perspective. The found­ers of the LSSP sided with the Trot­skyist tendency.

During World War II, the LSSP was in the leadership of the struggle for independence of Ceylon from Britain, and LSSP leaders were imprisoned for their role. Some escaped to India and continued to work underground, help­ing to found the revolutionary-social-

ist movement there. After the war, the LSSP won mass support because of its part in the fight for national in­dependence.

A 8m all grouping of pro-Stalinists wag expelled from the LSSP during the war because they opposed the fight for independence. The Stalinists took the position that the struggle for in­dependence from Britain might jeop­ardize the alliance between Britain and the Sdviet Union in the war, and so they wanted to sacrifice the anti-im-perialist struggle in Ceylon. The LSSP, to the contrary, saw that a revolutionary struggle for indepen­dence in Ceylon would be of much greater help to the international strug­gle for socialism than subordinating the needs of the Ceylonese masses to the diplomatic interests of the Soviet bureaucracy.

The Stalinists, led by Pieter Keune-man, then formed the Communist Par­ty of Ceylon in 1943.

The LSSP became the largest work­ing-class party in Ceylon because of its reputation as the leadership of the popular mass opposition first to the British imperialist regime and then to the postwar regime of the "national" Ceylonese capitalist class, represented by the UNP (United National Party, the party representing those capitalists most closely tied to the British im­perialists). Following the end of World War II, the LSSP was recognized as the Ceylon Section of the Fourth In­ternational, the international Trotsky­ist organization.

Tamil people

One of the reasons for the popular­ity of the LSSP was its position con­cerning the rights of the Tamil people in Ceylon. Some 22 percent of Cey­lon's 12,600,000 people speak the Ta­mil language, having originated in Southern India. About half this num­ber migrated to Ceylon many gen-

3

erations ago; most of the rest were brought from India in the nineteenth century to work on British tea planta­tions. Most of the Tamil-speaking peo­ple are of the Hindu religion. They form the bulk of the plantation work­ers, which is the main sector of the Ceylonese working class.

Under British rule, the Tamil and Sinhalese peoples were artificially brought together under one govern­ment, and divisions between them have been used by the ruling class in Ceylon to enforce its rule. An anti-Indian movement started in the early 1930s. In the 1950s, there were lan­guage riots and open violence and po­groms against the Tamils.

From its founding, the LSSP staunchly defended the rights of the oppressed Tamil minority against the chauvinism of the Buddhist majority, which speaks Sinhalese. In 1936, the LSSP was the first party to demand that the government and the courts use bom Sinhalese and Tamil, rather than English, as official languages.

In the 1950s, a new party was formed In Ceylon, the Sri Lanka Free­dom Party. It originated in a split from the conservative capitalist party, the UNP, and was led by W.R.D. Bandaranaike, then the husband of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the present prime minister. The SLFP was based on the masses of peasants and mer­chants in the countryside and the new Sinhalese intelligentsia which had arisen, as opposed to the more estab­lished representatives of the ruling class, which had been educated in En­gland.

Wavering to capitulation

The formation of this liberal capi­talist party, and the support it received from the peasantry in the countryside, disoriented the LSSP. When the SLFP was formed, the LSSP correctly labeled it a capitalist party, a party based on preserving the capitalist system in Ceylon. But as the SLFP increased its influence, winning the elections and forming a government in 1956, the LSSP began to waver and adapt to the ideas of the SLFP. In 1956, the LSSP voted to give "responsive co­operation" to the SLFP government

In 1960, Prime Minister W. R.D. Bandaranaike was murdered as part of an attempted army coup. In the elections that followed in July 1960, the SLFP won the elections again, led by Sirimavo Bandaranaike. In these

elections, the LSSP joined a tripartisan electoral bloc with the SLFP and the CP. The new SLFP government did not, however, include representatives from either of the two working-class parties.

The Oct 3, 1960, issue of The Mili­tant carried the following appraisal of the evolution of the LSSP:

"The support accorded the Banda­ranaike party by the Ceylonese Trot­skyism, and their entry into an elec­toral alliance with it, constituted a complete reversal of previous policy. In the national elections last March, the LSSP, the most influential work­ing-class party in Ceylon, campaigned against the SLFP and all other parties on a program of revolutionary social­ism under the slogan of "Elect a Sama Samaja Government" This line of in­dependent working-class political ac­tion received an impressive 10 percent of the popular vote. . . .

"The LSSP had consistently con­demned the policy of backing one group of rival capitalist politicians like the SLFP against another, ex­plaining that such a policy deceives the masses. It counterposed to collab­oration with capitalist parties or gov­ernments the objective of putting an anticapitalist workers and peasants government In power. Yet in July, It reversed its electoral policy of March.

"This new political course not only overturned the past position of the LSSP but is at variance with the tra­ditional socialist principles of the Trot-skyist movement, which has opposed collaboration with capitalist parties as injurious to working-class interests. It follows the pattern of 'Popular Front' combinations in many countries whereby working-class parties have been lined up, with disastrous results, behind a section, of the capitalist rulers.

"After the elections, the secretary of the LSSP, Leslie Gobnewardene, is­sued a statement, published in the Aug. 4 Ceylon News, which read in part:

"The LSSP will cooperate with die SLFP government as an independent party in every activity which carries the country forward along progressive lines. The LSSP will assist the SLFP government to defeat and overcome any and every saboteur effort of Big Capital and the foreign imperialists. The LSSP will particularly assist the SLFP government in every anticapi-

talist step it takes. The LSSP will re­sist to the utmost any effort from any quarter to throw the masses back in their struggle to go forward to a so­cialist society.

"'In accordance with the above, the LSSP Parliamentary Group will not join the Opposition but will function as an independent group in Parlia­ment'

"It appears from this statement, which contained no criticism of the capitalist SLFP or warning to the peo­ple against the consequences of its ac­tions, that the LSSP leadership is con­tinuing its false policy of political sup­port to the SLFP.

"The LSSP has correctly maintained in the past that abandonment of in­dependent working-class politics and trailing behind capitalist politicians can only bear evil fruits. Further de­velopments of the class struggle with­in the settings of the ascending rev­olution in Asia must also soon make this manifest in the present situation in Ceylon."

A split had taken place in the inter­national Trotskyist movement in 1954, which lasted until 1963. There­fore, at the time of these developments . in Ceylon, the world Trotskyist move­ment consisted of two factions —with the Socialist Workers Party of the United States, together with other forces, supporting the International Committee of the Fourth Internation­al, and most European sections or­ganized as the International Secre­tariat of the Fourth International. Both factions of the Fourth Interna­tional condemned the moves made by the LSSP in I960 toward support to a capitalist government

In December of 1960, a congress of the forces supporting the International Secretariat of the Fourth International adopted a resolution that read in part "The Fourth International does not exclude support for the adoption of progressive measures, even by a na­tional bourgeois or petty-bourgeois government in a colonial or semico-lonial country. But the social nature, composition and general program of the Bandaranaike government does not justify the support which was ac­corded to it"

The LSSP's adaptation to this capi­talist party and its betrayal of revo­lutionary-socialist principles reached a qualitative turning point at an LSSP conference June 6-7, 1964, when a

majority of the LSSP voted to accept the offer of the SLFP to form a joint government

Present at this conference was Pierre Frank, a founding member of the Fourth International and formerly a secretary of Leon Trotsky. Frank was sent to represent the United Secretariat of the now reunified Fourth Interna­tional, and he tried to convince the conference to repudiate the proposal by LSSP leader N.M. Perera to join the procapitalist coalition government.

LSSP(R)

A motion submitted by the Left Wing tendency of the LSSP, proposing no support whatsoever to the SLFP gov­ernment, received 159 votes, which represented 25 percent of the party. After losing the vote, the Left Wing walked out of the conference and pro­ceeded to form a n«,w organization, the LSSP (Revolutionary).

Although the LSSP had been the largest, most influential section of the Fourth International, the world Trot­sky is t movement did not hesitate to expel this section when it betrayed the struggle for socialism by participat­ing in a capitalist government The LSSP(R) was recognized as the new Ceylonese section of the Fourth Inter­national.

From 1964 to the present time, the LSSP(R) has been a firm opponent of bath the UNP, which ruled Ceylon from 1965-70, and the SLFP coali­tion governments, which held power for four months in 1964 and then came to power again in the May 1970 elections. It-has been the only party to pose a clear socialist alternative for Ceylon.

A statement released by the LSSP(R) after leaving the June 1964 confer­ence said: "The decision of the reform­ist majority of the LSSP to enter into a coalition with the capitalist SLFP government and thereby to become an instrument of the capitalist class in Ceylon, constitutes a complete vio­lation of the basic principles of Trot­skyism on which the revolutionary program of the party is based."

Just how far the LSSP leadership had departed from socialist principles can be seen by looking at the condi­tions the LSSP agreed to accept in order to join the 1964 coalition. These conditions, laid down by the SLFP, were 1) a "rightful" place for Bud­dhism; 2) acceptance of Sinhala. as

the only official language; 3) recogni­tion of the 1948 anti-Tamil citizen­ship laws; and 4) veto power by the SLFP over all electoral candidates se­lected by any of the coalition partners.

The LSSP's acceptance of these con­ditions illustrated their abject capitu­lation to the SLFP, a party which was built upon demagogic, communalistic attacks on the Tamil people. In 1958, the SLFP had even incited pogroms against the Tamils.

The 1948 Citizenship Acts stripped nearly one million Tamils of their Ceylonese citizenship, making them stateless persons, unable to vote and excluded from free education, unem­ployment benefits, poor relief and oth­er social services.

In 1964, under the first LSSP-SLFP government the Sirima-Shastri Pact was concluded with India. This pact ordered the forcible deportation of some 525,000 Tamils back to India so that their jobs could be given to Sinhalese.

The LSSP(R) pointed out that it was an acute government crisis due to the growing threat of strikes and working-class political action that prompted Bandaranaike to approach the leftist parties to join her coalition government in 1964. In 1963, the Ceylon trade unions had taken steps toward united action, adopting a com­mon platform of 21 demands. This gave rise to a formation called the United Left Front which included on­ly working-class parties —the LSSP, the CP and another group called the MEP (Mahajana Eksath Peramuna).

The SLFP's offer to the working-class parties to join a coalition gov­ernment had the desired effect of split­ting up the anticapitalist forces and bringing sections of the left into the government to help take responsibility for the crisis of capitalism in Ceylon. In addition to the split in the LSSP over the question of the coalition gov­ernment the United Left Front split and the Communist Party split giving rise to a pro-Peking Communist Party.

The real power in the coalition gov­ernment remained firmly in the hands of the SLFP; the former cabinet of 12 SLFP members was simply widened to 15 to include the new LSSP min­isters.

The purpose of the coalition gov­ernment quickly became clear: to en­able the government to more efficient­ly carry out anti-working-class pol-

icies to try to stave off the economic crisis of the country. Bandaranaike announced that: "Disruptions, especial­ly strikes and go-slows, must be elim­inated and the development of the country must proceed." One of the first acts of the government in 1964 was to lock out 3,000 workers in the na­tionalized transport industry.

The coalition government was in power for only four months before the UNP was elected in the March 22, 1965 elections. During this period, the LSSP was co-responsible for enforcing a wage-freeze policy, encouraging rac­ism against the Tamils, opposing working-class demands, high prices, growing unemployment and very poor housing conditions. At the same time, many concessions were made to the right such as special aid to capi­talists and tax reductions for tea es­tates and rich houseowners.

Leaders of the LSSP(R) pointed out that the UNP victory in the March 1965 elections proved that the cap­italist forces had been strengthened, not weakened, during the nine years (1956-64) the SLFP was in power. While mouthing phrases against reac­tionaries, the SLFP had taken every possible step to prop up the capitalist economy and class rule.

Under the UNP regime, the crisis of capitalism in Ceylon continued to deepen. In 1969, a wave of big strikes culminated in a state of emergency being declared by the government on Sept. 16.

In October and November, there were simultaneous eruptions and stu­dent strikes at three of Ceylon's four universities. The students demanded that Sinhalese and Tamil be spoken in classrooms rather than English, im­provement of facilities, the right to hold political meetings, and a solution to the unemployment problem. When the government tried to make the stu­dents sign loyalty oaths as a condition of reopening the universities, the stu­dents refused.

May 1970 elections

By the time of the May elections in 1970, the candidates of both the SLFP and the UNP were promising social­ism in order to try to convince the workers once again to support them. The SLFP claimed to be for "socialist democracy," while the UNP said it was for "democratic socialism"! The UNP explained that their "democratic so-

ciallsm" meant that "private ownership and management" must be "sensitive to its responsibilities for the welfare of the community." The SLFP leaders promised nationalization of the banks and the newspaper printing plants, recognition of the Provisional Revolu­tionary Government of Vietnam, ex­pulsion of the Peace Corps, and other anti-imperialist measures.

Almost all left-wing parties except the LSSP(R) threw their support be­hind the SLFP coalition government The LSSP joined the coalition, as did the CP for the first time. The small Maoist Communist Party, although re­buffed from joining the coalition, sup­ported the capitalist SLFP candidates.

The JVP, now engaged in the current struggle, also supported the coalition, and the votes of the thousands of unemployed youth they influenced probably were a significant factor in bringing the coalition to power.

The SLFP-LSSP-CP coalition won by a landslide vote, and the election results were greeted by mass demon­strations and massive physical attacks on buildings representing pro-impe­rialist institutions.

Again, the developments after the coalition came to power showed clear­ly why the capitalist class wanted to bring the working-class parties into the government Only three months af­ter the May elections, Bandaranaike attacked some members of parliament for calling for nationalization of for­eign-owned estates and newspapers. She accused them of "embarrassing the government" The Sept. 19 issue of the Far Eastern Economic Review quoted N. M. Perera, minister of fi­nance and member of the LSSP, as saying that he felt it was "not advis­able" to nationalize the tea estates. He spoke of how the "gruelling track to socialism" takes a long time, and said, "I do not like the private sector. But

if in the process of making money the private sector will help to build houses the people want, I am prepared to go with them."

Unemployment had grown to 800,-000 out of the population of less than 13 million. The government, however, presented no proposals for dealing with this problem.

Rather, the coalition proposed an "austerity program," asking the trade unions for voluntary no-strike pledges and imposing wage restraints and higher taxes on the workers. At the same time it gave a five-year tax holiday to certain industries it wanted to entourage.

Several months after the elections the JVP began to turn against the coalition government, demanding that it fulfill its campaign promises and that it institute measures leading to­ward a planned, socialist economy. The "socialist" LSSP, CP and SLFP leaders denounced the JVP youth as "CIA agents" and had them arrested for putting up posters, holding politi­cal meetings, and engaging in other political activities.

On Aug. 25, 1970, 63 youths were arrested simply for participating in a political meeting in a private home. The Sept 3 Ceylon News reported the "evidence" against them: "In their possession were found maps, commu­nist literature and books by Fidel Cas­tro and Mao Tsetung in addition to a handbook on guerrilla warfare." More than 400 youths were arrested in March 1971 shortly before the fight­ing began, reported the May 9 Wash­ington Post

This crackdown on some of the most vocal opponents of the coalition gov­ernment led up to the current attempt by the coalition to completely crush the JVP as well as any opposition ac­tivity by trade unions or other politi­cal organizations. The Christian Sci­ence Monitor wrote April 15:

"Students of seesaw politics of Cey­lon, who foresaw as long ago as four or five months the declaration of an emergency and the crackdown of the extreme left, view the current crisis as a calculated effort by Mrs. Bandara-naike and the nationalist partisans in her coalition government to show the world as well as her own Trotskyite [sic] allies that her government will not be dragged or pushed any further leftward than her democratic socialist image demands." (Emphasis added.)

Bandaranaike used an incident at the American embassy March 6 as a pretext for declaring the state of emer­gency, supposedly to stop an immi­nent conspiratorial attack on the gov­ernment. But before this incident, on Feb. 27, the JVP held a mass rally of well over 10,000 in Colombo, at which JVP leaders explained that "the JVP is no underground movement and does not propose to stage coups." In fact, there was no armed resistance to the government repression until April 5 —almost three weeks after the state of emergency was declared and after many JVP leaders were already in jail.

The brutal repression to which the coalition government has resorted provides bloody confirmation of the impasse in which the capitalist rulers of Ceylon find themselves. The prob­lems facing the country cannot be solved short of revolutionary-socialist measures; hence the need to destroy those forces seeking such a solution. The role of the so-called socialist or communist parties —like the LSSP and the CP —who have supported the pres­ent capitalist coalition government has been to whitewash the capitalist sys­tem, to deceive the working people and peasants of Ceylon about the road to socialism, and to prepare the way for and now to lead the coun­terrevolution.

2. From Wavering to Capitulation: People's Frontism in Ceylon

By Ernest Germain

reprinted from the Fall 1964 issue of International Socialist Review

THE DECISION of the majority at ' the June 6-7 special conference of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party to join the liberal bourgeois govern­ment of Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike in Ceylon was a heavy defeat for the Fourth International. The fact that the world-wide Trotskyist or­ganization decided unanimously to sever relations with the majority of one of its most important sections, because of this betrayal of the basic interests of the Ceylonese workers and poor peasants and of the basic principles of revolutionary Marxism, shows that the international Trot­skyist movement as a whole remains faithful to the cause to which it is dedicated — the cause of world rev­olution.

The fact that a considerable mi­nority of the LSSP, its Revolutionary Section, led by Comrades Edmund Samarakkody, a member of parlia­ment, Bala Tampoe, one of Ceylon's principal trade-union leaders, and Meryl Fernando, another member of parliament — a minority that in­cludes 14 members of the Central Committee of the LSSP and one quarter of the membership — like­wise refused to condone the betrayal and remained faithful to the banner of the Fourth International, indi­cates that the defeat suffered by Trotskyism in Ceylon is only a tem­porary one. With the help of the world Trotskyist movement, the LSSP (Revolutionary Section) will

Ernest Germain is a member of the United Secretariat of the Fourth In­ternational. The present article was written in response to a request by the editors of the International So­cialist Review, that he write an ex­position of the Ceylonese events for publication in this magazine.

prove its capacity to regain a lead­ing position for Trotskyism among the workers and poor peasants of Ceylon.

Nevertheless, the defeat is a fact; and it would be unworthy of a rev­olutionist to deny it or to try to soften it by taking a lenient attitude. It is necessary instead to explain the origin of this setback affecting a whole sector of the revolutionary movement in Ceylon and to draw the appropriate lessons.




Share with your friends:
  1   2   3   4   5   6




The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page