Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan president denounces opponents of the death penalty

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 15 February 2019

Sirisena not only wants reinstatement of executions but the endorsement of all human rights organisations.

Sri Lanka: SEP and Abbotsleigh workers’ committee organise picket to oppose witch hunt in plantations

By our reporters, 14 February 2019

The fight against the witch hunt in the plantations is bound up with the defence of the democratic rights of the working class from the onslaught of the capitalist class.

Sri Lankan plantation companies rule out further wage increases after union sellout

By W.A. Sunil, 13 February 2019

The unions’ betrayal of protracted industrial and political action has cleared the way for further attacks on workers by the plantation companies.

The way forward to win wages and social rights

Workers Action Committee in Sri Lanka calls plantation workers’ conference

By the Abbotsleigh Estate Workers Action Committee, 12 February 2019

The conference will discuss the lessons of the recent plantation workers’ struggle and the political strategy needed to win their demands.

Sri Lankan president’s Independence Day speech exposes deep crisis of rule

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 9 February 2019

Sirisena bemoaned the failure of successive governments but offered no solution, amid ongoing infighting in ruling circles and mounting opposition by working people to the worsening social crisis.

Sri Lankan tea plantation workers committee supports call for February 9 demonstration in Detroit

By our reporters, 7 February 2019

“We consider the actions taken by the steering committee as a blow not only for the defense of the fundamental rights of the US auto workers but also on behalf of the international working class as a whole.”

Sri Lankan SEP public meetings to launch Tamil edition of The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century

7 February 2019

The book is critical in exposing the many lies perpetrated about the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the subsequent degeneration of the Soviet Union.

Sri Lanka: 16 families homeless after fire at Bogawantalawa tea plantation

By A. Suresh and M. Thevarajah, 4 February 2019

The disaster again highlights the difficult and dangerous conditions facing Sri Lankan plantation workers and their families.

The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished Twentieth Century published in Tamil

1 February 2019

The translation of David North’s book is vital for Tamil-speaking workers, youth and intellectuals on the Indian sub-continent, in Sri Lanka, and exile communities around the world.

IMF to resume Sri Lankan loan program discussions

By Saman Gunadasa, 31 January 2019

The Sri Lankan government has assured the IMF of its commitment to “strong” austerity measures.

Sri Lankan plantation workers protest unions’ sellout wage deal

By M. Thevarajah and W.A. Sunil, 29 January 2019

The unions, having suppressed an indefinite strike last month, are imposing an agreement in line with the demands of the plantation companies and the government.

Oppose the Sri Lankan plantation unions’ sellout agreement!

Resolution of the Abbotsleigh Estate Workers Action Committee, 29 January 2019

The following resolution, calling for the establishment of action committees at all estates and the rejection of a union sellout deal, was passed at a meeting of plantation workers on Sunday.

Indian teachers, government workers launch indefinite strike in Tamil Nadu

By Deepal Jayasekera, 25 January 2019

Defying mass arrests, 700,000 workers have been on strike since Tuesday, part of a growing global working class upsurge.

Sri Lankan president praises Philippine-style “war on drugs”

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 23 January 2019

Sirisena’s support for Duterte’s death squads and police-state violence points to Sri Lankan preparations for dictatorial methods of rule.

The US boosts military ties with Sri Lanka

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 17 January 2019

US Navy moves to establish a logistics hub at Trincomalee port come as the Trump administration ratchets up its trade war measures against China.

Sri Lankan workers must oppose the witch-hunt of militant plantation workers

By M. Thevarajah, 16 January 2019

Plantation bosses, with the backing of the government, police and the unions, are attempting to intimidate estate workers and suppress their wage demands.

Sri Lankan government proposes pay “formula” to end plantation workers’ struggle

By W.A. Sunil, 15 January 2019

The aim of the suggested three-year wage plan is to impose the burden of the crisis in the plantation industry onto workers.

Sri Lankan president issues bogus promise to fulfil election pledges

By K. Ratnayake, 11 January 2019

Sirisena is attempting to cement an alliance with former President Mahinda Rajapakse against the United National Party-led government.

Sri Lankan plantation workers oppose company-union attempts to impose sell-out

By our reporters, 8 January 2019

There is widespread hostility to the plans for a new collective agreement that would reject workers’ demand for a 100 percent wage rise.

Sri Lankan Central Bank governor calls for extended IMF program

By Saman Gunadasa, 7 January 2019

The IMF suspended the final $500 million installment of its $1.5 billion loan to Sri Lanka last November after bitter infighting erupted within Colombo’s political elite.

Sri Lankan JVP postures as a saviour of “democracy”

By Sakuna Jayawardana and K. Ratnayake, 4 January 2019

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s response to the country’s political crisis is to promote illusions in parliamentary democracy.

Sri Lankan plantation union discussing sellout deal with companies

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 3 January 2019

The back-room negotiations between the unions and employers are part of a broader attack on the living conditions of all workers.

India: Stalinist unions suppress Tamil Nadu auto strikes, promise “industrial peace”

By Arun Kumar and Yuan Darwin, 31 December 2018

The strikes’ outcome is further proof that the Stalinist-led CITU serves as an industrial police force for big business, containing and suppressing working-class opposition.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

Victory of the Trotskyists in the 1985–1986 split in the ICFI

By Saman Gunadasa and K. Ratnayake, 29 December 2018

The political struggle against the WRP prepared the ICFI for the new period of revolutionary class struggles that are now emerging.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

The RCL/SEP’s struggle against the anti-Tamil civil war

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 28 December 2018

Part five outlines the RCL/SEP’s intransigent political struggle to defend the democratic rights of the island’s Tamil minority and to unite the working class, Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim, on the basis of socialist internationalism.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

The RCL/SEP’s political struggle against the LSSP’s betrayal

By W.A. Sunil and Deepal Jayasekera, 27 December 2018

The RCL waged a consistent struggle, under difficult conditions, against the second coalition government, particularly against the LSSP, which continued to dishonestly trade on its previous Trotskyist record.

Factional acrimony continues as Sri Lankan president appoints new cabinet

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 22 December 2018

Sirisena’s delay in appointing the new cabinet makes clear that bitter factional infighting is continuing within Colombo’s political elite.

Sri Lanka: Abbotsleigh tea plantation workers speak out against harsh living and working conditions

By our reporters, 21 December 2018

Sri Lankan plantation workers, like their international counterparts, are being ruthlessly exploited by the giant corporations that control the industry.

The US hails Wickremesinghe’s reinstatement as Sri Lankan prime minister

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 20 December 2018

The US was concerned that the ousting of Wickremesinghe would jeopardise the close military relations developed with Colombo under his government.

Sri Lanka: Action committee of Abbotsleigh Estate workers holds inaugural meeting

By our correspondents, 18 December 2018

The meeting passed resolutions calling for independent action committees to fight for decent wages and conditions, and pledged support to “yellow vest” protesters in France, US auto workers and jailed Maruti Suzuki workers in India.

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court refuses to hear SEP’s legal action against May Day meeting ban

By our correspondent, 18 December 2018

The government’s intention was to sabotage May Day demonstrations and rallies, a tradition established by workers before the end of British colonial rule in 1948.

Sri Lankan president reinstates sacked prime minister

By K. Ratnayake, 17 December 2018

Sirisena’s decision to reappoint Wickremesinghe will not end the crisis but is just a temporary pause in the ongoing political conflict within Sri Lanka’s ruling elite.

The international significance of the Sri Lankan plantation workers’ strike

By Deepal Jayasekera, 17 December 2018

In the midst of the strike, workers at the Abbotsleigh Estate turned towards revolutionary politics and forms of organisation, establishing an action committee independent of the unions, under the political guidance of the Socialist Equality Party.

Sri Lankan plantation workers end strike action under protest

By Saman Gunadasa, 15 December 2018

Sri Lanka plantation workers denounced the unions and returned to work on December 14, after a nine-day strike for a doubling of their daily wage.

Sri Lankan Supreme Court rules against President Sirisena’s decision to dissolve parliament

By Deepal Jayasekera, 14 December 2018

The court’s decision will further intensify the infighting within the ruling elite.

Sri Lankan plantation workers defy union and continue to strike

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 13 December 2018

Expressing their determination to fight, workers held protests throughout the plantation district on Wednesday, the day after the union announced the end of the stoppage.

Sri Lankan plantation companies reject workers’ wage demand

By W.A. Sunil, 11 December 2018

Despite an indefinite strike, the employers are insisting that profits must be defended by subjecting workers to super-exploitation.

Indian workers face slave-like conditions in Sri Lanka

By R. Shreeharan and Ivan Weerasinghe, 10 December 2018

Young men recruited from a Jharkhand village to work on a high-voltage power-line in Sri Lanka have not been paid for three months.

Sri Lankan plantation strike: Abbotsleigh workers march to demand action committees and socialist policies

By our reporters, 8 December 2018

Yesterday’s march was organised by an action committee of Abbotsleigh Estate workers, following political interventions by the Socialist Equality Party.

Sri Lankan president uses executive powers to run government

By W.A. Sunil, 7 December 2018

Sirisena’s autocratic actions are another dangerous sign that dictatorial forms of rule are being prepared in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan plantation workers launch indefinite strike for 100 percent pay rise

By our correspondents, 6 December 2018

This struggle by workers all over the island will compound the political crisis of the ruling elite, which is wracked by bitter political conflict.

Jaffna (Sri Lanka) meeting celebrates 80th anniversary of the Fourth International

By R. Shreeharan, 6 December 2018

People from all over the Jaffna district heard Socialist Equality Party leaders explain the contemporary relevance of the Trotskyist movement’s historic struggle.

Sri Lankan court blocks functioning of Rajapakse cabinet

By K. Ratnayake, 4 December 2018

An appeals court temporarily ordered that Rajapakse and his ministers cease exercising their powers—intensifying Sri Lanka’s political crisis.

Sri Lanka: Factional deadlock remains in lead up to Supreme Court ruling

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 3 December 2018

President Sirisena has failed in his attempts to secure a parliamentary deal with the opposition UNP and TNA aimed at ending the country’s continuing political crisis.

Colombo court detains Sri Lankan defence chief over civil war crimes

By Rohantha De Silva, 30 November 2018

The court magistrate said the military chief had to be denied bail because he could influence witnesses or disrupt ongoing investigations into the abduction of Tamil youth.

Around 100,000 Sri Lankan plantation workers walk out again for pay rise

By our correspondents, 30 November 2018

The plantation unions are determined to prevent industrial action by estate workers that could trigger mass action by other sections of the working class.

Rajapakse-aligned MPs boycott Sri Lankan parliament

By W.A. Sunil, 28 November 2018

The ongoing crisis has shattered the carefully cultivated image of parliament as an august and democratic assembly, engaging in serious discussion on issues of public interest.

Amid Sri Lanka’s political crisis, the USP sets “left” trap for the working class

By Vilani Peiris and K. Ratnayake, 27 November 2018

The pseudo-left United Socialist Party’s call for a left alliance is aimed at promoting the illusion that one or other ruling faction can be pressured to defend the rights of working people.

Political turmoil in Sri Lanka intensifies as opposition takes control of parliament

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 24 November 2018

The UNP-led opposition has submitted a motion to suspend funds to Rajapakse’s office of prime minister.

SEP (Sri Lanka) holds successful public meeting on political crisis

By our correspondents, 22 November 2018

The speakers stressed the necessity for the working class to adopt a socialist and internationalist program, in opposition to all factions of the ruling elite.

Sri Lankan political crisis exposes bankruptcy of Tamil nationalist parties

By K. Nesan and V. Gnana, 22 November 2018

After four years of a US-backed “Good Governance” government that collapsed last month, not a single issue facing the Tamil workers and poor has been resolved.

Sri Lanka: UNP demands Facebook protect identity of party supporters

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 21 November 2018

UNP allegations that state authorities could be collaborating with Facebook to target its supporters came amid escalating infighting within the Sri Lankan political elite.

SEP (Sri Lanka) to hold lecture on “Lessons of History and the Fight for Socialism Today”

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 21 November 2018

The lecture in Jaffna will focus on the political lessons of key strategic experiences of the 20th century for the working class and their contemporary relevance.

Sri Lankan parliament adjourned amid ongoing political crisis

By K. Ratnayake, 20 November 2018

While claiming to be champions of “democracy,” the rival factions of the ruling class are both committed to implementing the IMF’s austerity demands and suppressing any opposition from working people.

Sri Lankan president’s “all party conference” fails to overcome political crisis

By Rohantha De Silva, 19 November 2018

Sirisena’s meeting followed three consecutive days of bitter and violent fighting in the parliament between the Rajapakse and Wickremesinghe factions.

Sri Lanka: Second no-confidence motion passed as violent clashes erupt in parliament

By W.A. Sunil, 17 November 2018

While the UNP and Sri Lanka’s parliamentary speaker claim victory for another no confidence vote, nothing is resolved.

The political crisis in Sri Lanka: Its lessons for the international working class

By Keith Jones and K. Ratnayake, 16 November 2018

Only the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) fights for the working class to assert its own class interests, independently of and in opposition to both rival bourgeois camps.

Sri Lankan parliament rejects Rajapakse as prime minister

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 15 November 2018

The major global powers are monitoring the developing political and constitutional crisis and firing off warning signals.

Washington’s censorship regime goes global

Facebook deletes WSWS post on Sri Lanka

By Andre Damon, 14 November 2018

Facebook is acting as an agent of the US intelligence agencies, which see the growing audience for international socialism as an obstacle to their efforts to exploit ethnic divisions in developing countries.

Sri Lanka crisis escalates as Supreme Court overturns Sirisena’s dissolution of parliament

By K. Ratnayake, 14 November 2018

The Supreme Court made its ruling after hearing 12 fundamental rights petitions challenging Sirisena’s dissolution of parliament on November 9.

Sri Lankan political crisis deepens: Prime minister splits from president

By W.A. Sunil, 13 November 2018

None of the factions of the ruling class will defend the basic rights of working people, but will ruthlessly impose the austerity dictates of the IMF and big business.

In another anti-democratic act, Sri Lankan president dissolves parliament

By K. Ratnayake, 10 November 2018

Sirisena’s dissolution of parliament exposes the degenerated state of parliamentary democracy and the Sri Lanka ruling elite’s moves towards dictatorial forms of rule.

Tamil nationalists support US-backed factions in Sri Lankan political crisis

By K. Nesan, 10 November 2018

The TNA is pursuing the same pro-imperialist course that led it to back the US-led regime change operation, that brought President Sirisena to power in 2015.

Factional conflict in Sri Lankan elite underscores dangers facing working class

By K. Ratnayake, 9 November 2018

All sections of the ruling class are preparing a major onslaught against the social and democratic rights of the working people and the poor.

Sri Lankan political coup: Rajapakse makes bogus promises to ease social crisis

By Saman Gunadasa, 8 November 2018

In a bid to deflect the opposition of working people, the newly installed prime minister announced token measures to assist workers, peasants and the poor.

Plantation unions move to shut down wage struggle amid Sri Lankan political crisis

By W. A. Sunil, 7 November 2018

The long-running plantation workers’ pay dispute has won powerful support from young people and other sections of the Sri Lankan working class.

Sri Lankan crisis: SLFP holds rally to defend political coup

By K. Ratnayake, 6 November 2018

Sirisena and Rajapakse appeared on the same platform, praising each other to the hilt, as major global powers press for the reconvening of parliament.

Wigneswaran’s Tamil People’s Alliance: A trap for Sri Lankan workers

By K. Nesan and V. Gnana, 6 November 2018

Amid an international radicalization of the working class, the TPA aims to divide workers along ethnic lines and block the growth of the Socialist Equality Party.

Sri Lankan political crisis: Pseudo-left NSSP promotes UNP campaign

By K. Ratnayake, 5 November 2018

NSSP leader Karunaratne is desperately attempting to tie workers to the pro-US UNP and prevent the development of an independent movement of the working class.

Sri Lankan crisis: Washington intervenes to maintain its political influence

By Deepal Jayasekera, 3 November 2018

The Trump administration, which is preparing for war against China, does not want to lose political domination in strategically-located Sri Lanka.

The JVP’s fraudulent attempt to capitalise on Sri Lanka’s political crisis

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 2 November 2018

The JVP, a Sinhala supremacist party of the political establishment, is posturing as an opponent of both competing factions of the ruling elite.

Sri Lankan crisis: UNP rally demands reconvening of parliament

By our correspondents, 1 November 2018

The demonstration was part of a campaign to regain power after President Sirisena sacked UNP leader Wickremesinghe as prime minister.

Fight for a socialist solution to the political crisis in Sri Lanka

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 31 October 2018

The SEP calls on the working class to reject the cynical manoeuvres of all factions of the ruling elite and to mobilise independently to fight for its own class interests.

Infighting deepens between rival factions of Sri Lankan elite

By Deepal Jayasekera, 30 October 2018

The government’s ultimatum for Wickremesinghe to vacate the prime minister’s residence has set the stage for bloody clashes and political violence.

Sri Lankan president’s cynical justifications for his political coup

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 29 October 2018

Sirisena’s self-serving speech was to justify his anti-democratic actions as well as appeal to layers of the population opposed to the government’s attacks on living standards.

Sri Lankan President Sirisena sacks prime minister

By K. Ratnayake, 28 October 2018

The coup is an expression of the huge political crisis confronting the Sri Lankan ruling class amid a profound economic crisis, rising geo-political tensions and a resurgence of the class struggle.

Thousands of youth demonstrate in Sri Lanka to support plantation workers’ wage struggle

By our correspondents, 27 October 2018

The protest in Colombo was the first time that Sri Lankan workers have conducted such a campaign via social media.

Divisions erupt within Sri Lankan government

By K. Ratnayake, 20 October 2018

Allegations that President Maithripala Sirisena told a cabinet meeting that “Indian intelligence” was planning to assassinate him, have brought deep rifts within the government to the surface.

Sri Lankan tea estate workers step up demands for higher pay

By M. Thevarajah, 13 October 2018

Demonstrations by estate workers underscore growing working-class opposition to the attacks of the government and employers.

The struggle for socialism and the importance of history: David North interviewed on Radio Sri Lanka

12 October 2018

David North, chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site, was interviewed at length on Radio Sri Lanka’s “Coffee with Dan” program early this week.

Watch: David North interviewed on Sri Lanka’s English-language Channel Eye TV

10 October 2018

David North, the chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site, discussed the 80th anniversary of the Fourth International on “Rise and Shine,” Sri Lanka’s most popular English-language morning television show, on October 8.

Eighty Years of the Fourth International: The Lessons of History and the Struggle for Socialism Today

By David North, 9 October 2018

On October 7, David North, International Editorial Board chairman of the World Socialist Web Site, delivered the following lecture to a well-attended public meeting in Colombo, organised by the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka).

Large Colombo audience hears David North’s lecture on the history of the Fourth International

By our reporters, 9 October 2018

David North concluded his Sri Lankan tour with a powerful lecture in Colombo, delivered to a large, enthusiastic audience.

David North’s lecture at Peradeniya University in Kandy attracts significant support from students and workers

By our reporters, 5 October 2018

The 200-strong audience responded enthusiastically to the lecture marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Fourth International.

Mass graves in Mannar point to further war crimes in Sri Lanka

By Murali Maran and Vimal Rasenthiran, 4 October 2018

The skeletal remains of 136 individuals were unearthed in northern Sri Lanka after 74 days of excavation.

David North outlines contemporary relevance of Trotskyism at Colombo media briefing

By our reporters, 3 October 2018

North’s address provoked thoughtful questions from Capital Radio and Independent Television Network reporters.

Text of David North's remarks to Sri Lankan press conference on Trotskyism

By David North, 2 October 2018

These remarks were delivered by David North, chairman of the WSWS International Editorial Board, at a press briefing in Colombo on October 1.

Sri Lankan students discuss upcoming anniversary meetings on the history of the Trotskyist movement

By our reporters, 2 October 2018

University students in Kandy and Colombo outline their financial difficulties, concerns about unemployment and voice support for David North’s forthcoming lectures.

Sri Lankan plantation workers demonstrate for higher wages

By M. Thevarajah, 29 September 2018

The union-controlled protest was organised to promote illusions that the companies and the government will grant a “reasonable” pay rise for estate workers.

SEP and IYSSE win broad support for Peradeniya university meeting on the struggle for Trotskyism

By our correspondents, 29 September 2018

SEP campaigners have spoken with scores of students, workers and academics at the campus, explaining the historical record and political importance of the struggle for Trotskyism in Sri Lanka and internationally.

David North warmly welcomed on his arrival in Sri Lanka

28 September 2018

North stressed the immense role played by Trotskyism in the political development of the working class in Sri Lanka.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

The RCL/SEP’s political struggle against petty-bourgeois radicalism

By Kapila Fernando, 28 September 2018

The past five decades have confirmed the far-sightedness of the RCL/SEP’s political analysis and exposure of the petty-bourgeois radicalism of the JVP.

Workers and students support Sri Lankan meetings on the struggle for Trotskyism

By our reporters, 27 September 2018

Students and Colombo Port workers discuss the significance of the forthcoming SEP public meetings and the necessity for an international socialist party of the working class.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

From the LSSP’s Great Betrayal to the founding of the RCL

By Wije Dias, 26 September 2018

This is the second in a series of articles published by the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka to mark the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation in June 1968.

UN expert advises Sri Lankan government about social impact of austerity measures

By Saman Gunadasa, 25 September 2018

The statements are a warning to the government and international finance capital that the worsening living conditions of the working people in Sri Lanka will produce a social explosion.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

The lessons of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party’s Great Betrayal

By Rohantha De Silva and Vilani Peiris, 24 September 2018

This series of articles published by the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka marks the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation in June 1968.

80th anniversary of the Fourth International and 50th anniversary of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

David North to address meetings in Sri Lanka on the lessons of the history and contemporary struggle for socialism

19 September 2018

Understanding the historic fight waged by the Fourth International and the SEP for the revolutionary leadership of the international working class is vital for the emerging class struggles.

Sri Lankan prime minister threatens increased internet and social media censorship

By Saman Gunadasa, 10 September 2018

Wickremesinghe’s comments are part of the escalating global censorship of the internet and social media, and other attacks on democratic rights.

Sri Lankan unions in closed-door discussions with plantation bosses

By W.A. Sunil, 8 September 2018

All the plantation unions are collaborating with the employers to impose the burden of the tea industry crisis on workers.

US and Japan increase efforts to undercut Chinese influence in Sri Lanka

By Rohantha De Silva, 3 September 2018

The US, Japan and India are continuing to publicly voice their concerns over Colombo’s relations with Beijing.