Home > 20- ENGLISH - MATERIAL AND REVOLUTION > Proletarian and socialist revolution in Sri Lanka...

Proletarian and socialist revolution in Sri Lanka...

Sunday 17 July 2022, by Robert Paris

Sri Lanka: Protesters Force President and Prime Minister to Resign

After three months of mobilizations, Sri Lankan protesters, about a million strong and surging from around the country, seized the residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a massive rebellion. A few hours later, the protesters also occupied the residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. This was on Saturday, June 9. By Sunday morning, the Presidential palace, known as the Temple Trees, was occupied. Protesters and visitors were greeted by a graffitied sign at the entrance reading, “open to the public.”

The President and Prime Minister of this island nation off the coast of India have both resigned, and the President has escaped the country. They are not likely to be present on Weds., July 13, when the government meets to determine how to move forward.

The fury of this months-long rebellion is the result of Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis ever. This crisis is part and parcel of the international crisis, with inflation sky-rocketing in many parts of the world, and profoundly affected by the war in Ukraine. In Sri Lanka, the rise in fuel prices has led to a steep rise in food prices. Difficulties in financing imports have also led to brutal blackouts and rationing. Sri Lankans have been spending countless hours waiting in line for basic goods. Workers dependent on gasoline for vehicles simply can’t work. Others are caught between needing to be at their jobs, and needing to stand in line for basic necessities.

Over the past decade, the Sri Lankan government has borrowed vast sums of money from foreign banks, the result of classic post-colonial economic so-called “development,” to fund public services. This siphons wealth toward the banks under the guise of assistance. The Sri Lankan government also cut taxes to the wealthy, claiming the need to stimulate the economy, ¬a move that led not to economic activity, but empty government coffers. This has led Sri Lanka to default on its loans to international banks. Sri Lanka may be small in size, but it is large in its importance to the world powers, as it is one of the most important stops on the maritime trade route between East Asia and the markets of Africa and Europe. China and the U.S. are competing over domination of this island country. This crisis is one that concerns them greatly. India pledged the equivalent of $38 billion in aid to Sri Lanka in order to calm the struggle in its area of influence and the potential for the unrest in Sri Lanka to strike a chord with people in other countries around it.

The forced resignation of Rajapakse and Wickremesinghe demonstrates the enormous social power of the working class. The Prime Minister and the President have called for the formation of a unity government among all political forces. However, no government of social unity will be able to resolve this crisis. They will likely feed the population a diet of promises and dreams, hoping that the masses will go home and wait. If that fails to calm the situation, there could be a steady rain of repression, so that capitalism can go on as usual, with workers and farmers back to work and the politicians and foreign bankers benefiting. The global crisis of capitalism, leading to devastating inflation world-wide, will only end when the working population organizes itself to fight back, not just in one country, but internationally. Sri Lanka’s working people and others oppressed by the current system are showing their potential power. But the fight is global and we need to build it wherever we can.


Proletarian and socialist revolution in Sri Lanka...

The explosion of social and political revolt, erupting in the palaces of dictators, has brought down the Gota family dictatorship (the Rajapaksa clan) in Sri Lanka, but it is still far from having brought down the social and political dictatorship which is not the work of a single family but of the entire capitalist class. It is remarkable how much the media are centered on the cursed family which cumulated all the stations and all the richnesses, a family which they did not even criticize yesterday! This is indeed the only hope of the capitalists: that the people will put the blame entirely on this family and that, after its departure from power, the ruling classes will unite in Sri Lanka to restore calm there under a unity government. national government taking some emergency measures. The USA immediately expressed this wish and the fear that the working people, once the explosion had begun, would go into permanent revolution. China and Russia, which supported the dictatorship, do not want anything else. No political party in Sri Lanka, whatever its political color, wants anything else. The petty bourgeoisie too, although raised, does not want anything else.

But the very center of the uprising is elsewhere. It is not in a petty bourgeois fraction but in the proletariat of the cities and the countryside, in the poor peasantry, in the oppressed minorities, in the women, in the youth, among the poor, in the working people. They are the ones who transformed the demonstration into a revolutionary uprising. They are the ones who denounce the rich in general and not just "the accursed family". They are the ones who are calling for radical social measures, attacking large fortunes, thus carrying out a social revolution and not just the departure of a rotten family. This is what no political party is ready to do, what the ruling classes of Sri Lanka and the world fear and what the petty bourgeois, even radicals, do not want:

This perspective is far from being a daydream but an immediate necessity for the working people of Sri Lanka, it is the only way not to starve, not to die.

And that requires the overthrow not only of a family dictatorship but the overthrow of the whole dictatorship, and first of all of its army, its police, its torturers. For the moment, the latter are trying to be forgotten because they have too much blood of the working people on their hands and, by their inaction, they hope that the people will forget their past crimes, but this is temporary. They will soon resume their assassinations of the poor who demonstrate. One of the priority tasks of the working people is to arm and disarm the forces of repression, to unite with the little soldiers and the rank and file police.

But the main task is to transform the committees of the working people, which have multiplied everywhere, into real decision-making centers of the working people. Again, this is not an illusory hope. Since 2018, working people have been mobilizing and organizing in Sri Lanka. It did so not only locally in the cities but also and above all in the workplace. The relentless anti-social attacks on jobs, wages, social protections, workers’ rights and political rights had led to a social radicalization of the working people, causing them to sketch out their own grassroots organization. But this nascent mobilization needed the prospect of the seizure of power by the workers’ committees in town and country.

This social revolution there, it is not intended to remain Sri Lankan but to become global. On the outskirts of Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan are also ripe fruits of social revolt, ready to fall if the Sri Lankan proletariat opens the way. This is why the great world capital is so worried about the taking of the Sri Lankan Bastille, the whole world edifice has been threatened by the social revolution for a few years and the covid pandemic has not been enough to extinguish the flames of revolutions in the world.

Yes, the only perspective of the exploited, oppressed, poor of Sri Lanka is world socialist revolution!

It needs five essential conditions:

The election in all enterprises of delegates from revolutionary proletarian committees, the formation of committees of poor peasants, women, young people and the unemployed, the transformation of working people’s committees into decision-making centers which centralize not only the struggle but the economic and social program.

The offensive against the little soldiers and the little policemen to detach them from the dictatorship and that the working people take up arms, the suppression of obedience to the chiefs of the police and the army, the creation of proletarian militias.

The recognition of the rights of the Tamil minority and the denunciation of the crimes committed against them.

The development of a program adopted by the committees of the working people deciding to put an end to the system of capitalist exploitation and taking the means to make the people live with the money of the capitalists.

The socialist extension of the revolution to the neighboring countries, India, Pakistan, China, and to the world, by overthrowing the capitalist class worldwide, must be proclaimed as the way out of the present misery and famine.


Any message or comments?


This forum is moderated before publication: your contribution will only appear after being validated by an administrator.

Who are you?
Your post

To create paragraphs, just leave blank lines.