Sri Lankan SEP rejects Frontline Socialist Party invitation for a “dialogue of lefts”

By the Socialist Equality Party
23 November 2013

The following letter was sent by Wije Dias, the General Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), Sri Lankan section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, rejecting an invitation from the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) to participate in a discussion of “left” groups scheduled to be held today. The FSP was formed in 2012 in a factional split from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), falsely claiming to have broken from the JVP’s “opportunism.”

The JVP was established in late 1960s as a radical, Sinhala populist, petty-bourgeois organisation and evolved into a rightwing party thoroughly integrated into the Sri Lankan political establishment. The past year has demonstrated that the FSP has not broken from the JVP’s politics. Its new moves towards a regroupment of “left” groups indicate a further turn to the right.

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The Secretary

Frontline Socialist Party

November 22, 2013

The Political Committee of the Socialist Equality Party—the Sri Lankan section of the International Committee of the Fourth International—has received and discussed your invitation to participate, on November 23, in a “dialogue with left political parties, left groups and left activists.” The preface of your letter makes clear that the purpose of the proposed meeting is to lay the foundations for a regroupment of an array of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois organizations. Such a regroupment, were it to be realized, would result in the creation of yet another political trap for the working class. The Socialist Equality Party, which for more than 45 years has defended Trotskyist principles and fought tirelessly for the political independence of the working class, has no intention of lending credibility to the sort of reactionary regroupment that you are seeking to implement. Therefore, the Socialist Equality Party emphatically rejects your invitation.

The SEP notes that the Front Line Socialists has been promoting the Greek organization Syriza as a model for the type of party that it would like to establish in Sri Lanka. As is obvious to anyone who seriously follows developments in Greece, Syriza is a bourgeois party that publicly indulges in “left” demagogy for no other purpose than to deceive, disorient and betray the working class. Syriza leader, Alexander Tsipras, has traveled to Washington, DC to convince the leaders of world imperialism that they have nothing to fear from Syriza should it come to power. In the meantime, it is working systematically to suppress every manifestation of working class resistance to the dictates of the EU.

The Sri Lankan working class already has a half century of bitter experiences with the reactionary politics of the LSSP, NSSP, CP, and, of course, the JVP. To this day, the working class—Sinhala and Tamil alike—continues to pay the bitter price for the decision of the so-called “United Left Front” of the LSSP, CP and MEP to join the bourgeois government of Madam Bandaranaike in 1964. It had catastrophic consequences for the workers, youth and poor including the 26 year long civil war. The emergence of the JVP, which evolved as a communal, right-wing party of the capitalist political establishment, was one of the results of that great betrayal. For the sake of the historical record, allow us to recall that the Revolutionary Communist League (predecessor of the SEP) defended the JVP when it came under attack from the Bandaranaike government in 1971. This, however, did not prevent the JVP from organizing murderous attacks on our cadre in the 1980s.

Your own organization, the Frontline Socialist Party, was created by a group of JVP leaders after the JVP was more or less discredited by its participation in the Kumaratunga government, its full support for the communal war, and, finally, its role in bringing Rajapakse to power. The break with the JVP was dictated by opportunist calculations, and we see nothing that indicates that the FSP has repudiated the reactionary outlook and program of JVP politics.

The pseudo-left organisations whom you are now courting—the Nava Sama Samaja Party and United Socialist Party—previously backed the SLFP- LSSP-Stalinist CP coalition governments and are presently lined up with the United National Party, which is pursuing a pro-US imperialist policy.

We are at a loss to understand why the FSP would believe that the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) would have any interest in the talks you propose.

The Socialist Equality Party, basing itself on Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution, advances an internationalist program based on the interests of the working class. We fight for a workers’ and peasants’ government in the form of a Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Eelam, as part of a Union of Socialist Republics of South Asia.

It is on this basis that we strive to unite the working class and all the oppressed in a powerful revolutionary movement for socialism. We believe that the talks you propose are aimed at obstructing the development of such a movement. Therefore, the Socialist Equality Party unequivocally declines your invitation.

Yours sincerely,

Wije Dias