Sri Lanka

Pseudo-left Fourth International Bureau announces suspension of NSSP

By Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 26 November 2020

For three decades, the Pabloites have sanctioned every opportunist twist and turn of its Sri Lankan affiliate as it has sought to subordinate the working class to one or other section of the ruling class and its two major parties.

Sri Lankan budget: Tax bonanza for big business and increased burdens on working people

By Saman Gunadasa, 25 November 2020

The Rajapakse government’s tax concessions for the rich and cuts to education and other vital social services will drastically hit workers and the poor struggling to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

Sri Lankan artists discuss COVID-19 and its impact on their creative work, living conditions

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 21 November 2020

Musical performances, theatre, film and teledrama production, book exhibitions and similar activities have almost entirely come to a halt. Kapila Kumara Kalinga and Malaka Devapriya spoke to the WSWS about the situation.

Oppose Sri Lankan government’s repressive essential services order against port workers fighting COVID-19

By The Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 20 November 2020

The Rajapakse government’s assault on the democratic rights of port workers is a warning to the entire working class.

Sri Lankan government and opposition greet US president-elect Joe Biden

By K. Ratnayake, 14 November 2020

US governments are hostile to the cash-strapped Colombo regime increasingly looking for financial assistance from China.

Sri Lankan government lifts limited lockdown despite rising infections

By W.A. Sunil, 12 November 2020

From the beginning of October, the grossly understated official number of cases has increased dramatically by more than 10,000, while the death toll has risen by 33, or more than tripled.

SEP (Sri Lanka) outlines socialist alternative to pandemic and authoritarianism

By Our correspondents, 9 November 2020

The speakers stressed that the crisis in Sri Lanka and internationally could only be resolved through the independent political mobilisation of the working class=.

Health and other workers across Asia fight for unpaid wages, COVID-19 allowances and PPE; strikes break out in Australia over new enterprise agreements

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

7 November 2020

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Sri Lankan government rejects total lockdown amid surging COVID-19 infections

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 5 November 2020

The Rajapakse regime’s decisions are aimed at continuing corporate operations, particularly factory production for exports, forcing workers to stay on the job.

US Secretary of State insists Sri Lanka lines up against China

By Saman Gunadasa, 31 October 2020

The US has been hostile to China’s influence in strategically important Sri Lanka, as preparations for a US-instigated war against China are escalated.

Rally welcoming relaunch of WSWS

The relaunched website facilitates the development of the world party of socialist revolution

By Wije Dias, 27 October 2020

The remarks below were given by Wije Dias, general secretary of the Socialist Equality Party of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan parliament boosts president’s autocratic powers

By K. Ratnayake, 26 October 2020

The move towards dictatorship in Sri Lanka coincides with the drive by the ruling classes in every country towards fascist and autocratic rule.

Bangladeshi union shuts down port workers national strike; Assam rail workers demand festival allowance; Western Australian workers protest after worksite death

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

24 October 2020

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Sri Lankan workers must rally the rural poor against Rajapakse’s “herd immunity” policies

By Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) statement, 22 October 2020

The true situation was hidden from the outset because the government refused to implement rigorous anti-COVID-19 measures when the virus first impacted on the country in late January.

Sri Lankan SEP to hold online meeting on a socialist program to fight COVID-19

By The Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 22 October 2020

The event will discuss the policies necessary for workers, the rural poor and youth to combat the coronavirus disaster and the Rajapakse administration’s austerity and anti-democratic measures.

World Bank: South Asian economies hit hard by COVID-19

By Saman Gunadasa, 20 October 2020

The report bluntly warns that “more people will be added to the ranks of the extreme poor in South Asia than in any other region in 2020.”

Sri Lankan free trade zone employees told to keep working as infections rise

By Wimal Perera and Kapila Fernando, 17 October 2020

“The lives of workers have been thrown to the wolves in order to protect the profits of the big capitalists,” one worker told the WSWS.

US Secretary of State Pompeo to visit Sri Lanka amid rising anti-China provocations

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 15 October 2020

Pompeo’s visit is another step in Washington’s policy of pushing its Asian regional partners into direct military confrontation with Beijing.

North and East of Sri Lanka paralysed by mass anti-government protest

By Subash Somachandran, 15 October 2020

Social opposition is mounting among workers and the poor across Sri Lanka against the Rajapakse government’s continuous attacks on social and democratic rights.

COVID-19 outbreak exposes Sri Lankan government claims that pandemic is under control

By Naveen Dewage, 13 October 2020

The previous, relatively low number of COVID-19 infections in Sri Lanka is mainly the result of the government’s refusal to carry out systematic testing.

Sri Lankan government presses ahead with plans for a presidential dictatorship

By Saman Gunadasa and K. Ratnayake, 10 October 2020

Facing an economic catastrophe exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, President Rajapakse wants new anti-democratic measures to suppress the eruption of mass social struggles by the working class.

Sri Lankan government lies exposed as new COVID-19 infections emerge

By Pradeep Ramanayaka, 29 September 2020

Despite the Rajapakse government’s boasting that it has curbed the pandemic, the working class is confronted with the threat that the virus could rapidly spread at any moment.

Sri Lankan plantation workers strike against wage cuts

By M. Thevarajah, 25 September 2020

The plantation companies, with the direct support of the unions, have begun imposing wage and allowance cuts and higher productivity targets.

Sri Lankan SEP holds online lecture on how to fight Rajapakse’s dictatorial moves

By our correspondents, 23 September 2020

The online lecture has been viewed by more than 14,000 people since it was live-streamed earlier this month.

India: Chennai garbage workers strike; Sri Lankan bank workers protest over contracts; Australian waterfront workers walkout

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

19 September 2020

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SEP (Sri Lanka) condemns Philippines Maoist party’s slanders against historian Joseph Scalice

Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 18 September 2020

Sri Lanka is one of the countries, like the Philippines, where groups following Maoism brought one disaster after another to workers, young people and rural poor.

US defence secretary phones Sri Lankan president about increased military cooperation

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 16 September 2020

Washington wants enhanced military relations with the strategically-located island in order to intensify its war drive against China.

Constitutional amendment aims to provide Sri Lankan president with authoritarian powers

By Sanjaya Jayasekera and Deepal Jayasekera, 12 September 2020

Like his political counterparts around the world, Rajapakse’s preparations for dictatorial rule are being made in order to unleash a massive social assault on the working class.

India: Petrol refinery and agricultural marketing workers strike against privatisation; Pakistani government workers strike against pay freeze

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

12 September 2020

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West Bengal administrative workers strike; Maharashtra nurses hold state-wide protests; private sector nurses strike in New Zealand

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

5 September 2020

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The lessons of the 1953 mass uprising (hartal) in Sri Lanka

By Saman Gunadasa, 2 September 2020

The hartal showed that regardless of the intensity of a mass struggle, it will not succeed without a conscious Marxist leadership

Tamil National Alliance in deep crisis after Sri Lankan election collapse

By Subash Somachandran, 27 August 2020

The electoral collapse of the TNA is the product of the political bankruptcy, demonstrated over decades, of the Tamil bourgeois-nationalist perspective.

Sri Lankan SEP to hold online lecture on how to fight Rajapakse’s dictatorial moves

27 August 2020

The SEP-IYSSE lecture will explain the necessity for a socialist program to fight President Rajapakse’s escalating steps towards dictatorship.

After the Sri Lankan election, president moves towards dictatorial rule

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 25 August 2020

The SEP warns workers and youth that they face real dangers as the Rajapakse government prepares an all-out offensive against the social and democratic rights of working people.

Support grows for SEP (Sri Lanka) defence campaign

By Saman Gunadasa, 19 August 2020

The petition opposing military harassment of Socialist Equality Party candidates in Jaffna continues to gather support, nationally and internationally.

Indian social health workers hold two-day national strike; South Korean hospital doctors walkout

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

15 August 2020

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Sri Lankan prime minister admits US is behind Colombo Port deal with India

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 14 August 2020

The Colombo Port workers’ struggle has demonstrated that the US and India want Sri Lanka tied to their strategic and military moves against nuclear-armed China.

Sri Lankan election exposes historic crisis of capitalist rule

By K. Ratnayake, 11 August 2020

The election is not a “people’s victory,” but an electoral win by a party preparing for authoritarian rule under President Rajapakse who has already appointed a host of generals to his administration.

Indian railway and Sri Lankan port workers oppose privatisation; Australian supermarket warehouse employees stop work over COVID-19 infection

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

8 August 2020

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Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna wins election setting the stage for an eruption of working-class struggles

By K. Ratnayake, 7 August 2020

While President Rajapakse hopes that an absolute parliamentary majority and new dictatorial measures will allow him to take on the working class, the eruption of militant struggles will assume revolutionary proportions.

Sri Lankan Trotskyists hold final online election meeting

By our correspondents, 6 August 2020

The Socialist Equality Party held its last meeting on August 2, after a determined election campaign that reached key sections of the Sri Lankan working class and youth.

Sri Lanka: TNA election manifesto prepares imperialist-backed deal with President Rajapakse

By Saman Gunadasa, 5 August 2020

The venal Tamil bourgeoisie has lined up with the geopolitical interest of the US which is preparing war against China.

Vote for SEP candidates in the Sri Lankan national elections! Fight for a workers’ and peasants’ government and socialist internationalism!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 3 August 2020

The SEP is the only party in the elections advancing an international socialist program to fight the crisis created by COVID-19, defend democratic rights and oppose imperialist war.

Sri Lankan SEP to hold online meeting to conclude its election campaign

1 August 2020

The SEP is the only party fighting for an international socialist perspective against deepening social inequality, the danger of imperialist war and the threat of dictatorship.

India: Punjab health workers strike for permanent jobs; Asahi auto glass-making workers strike in Chennai; Woolworths Distribution Centre workers locked out in Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

1 August 2020

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SEP election campaign in Sri Lanka: Workers denounce establishment parties

By our reporters, 25 July 2020

Over the past weeks, SEP campaigners have discussed with workers and youth the need to politically fight on the basis of a socialist program.

Indian health workers protest over COVID-19 treatment discrimination and wages; Western Australian caterers and cleaners strike on offshore gas platforms

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

25 July 2020

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Sri Lankan SEP election meeting discusses working-class response to COVID-19 pandemic

By our correspondents, 22 July 2020

More than 2,000 people—in Sri Lanka and internationally—have watched SEP’s online event, posting comments and questions about the party’s program.

India: Over 40,000 Karnataka health workers begin indefinite state-wide strike; Pakistani doctors protest and Sri Lanka nurses demand overtime pay

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

18 July 2020

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Tamil National Alliance offers to support Sri Lankan president’s autocratic rule

By Paramu Thirugnanasambanthar—lead SEP candidate for Jaffna district, 17 July 2020

The TNA is offering to support Rajapakse’s moves to dictatorial forms of rule as long as he makes concessions, no matter how small, to the interests of the venal Tamil elites.

As support widens for SEP defence campaign

Sri Lanka army commander says allegations of military harassment of northern election candidates are “false”

By our correspondents, 16 July 2020

Army commander Shavendra Silva’s claims and his refusal to acknowledge the detailed evidence provided by the SEP are a veiled threat against all election candidates in the North.

Amid Sri Lankan elections, YouTube censors Tamil-language WSWS posts

By V. Gnana, 16 July 2020

The move aims to prevent the Socialist Equality Party of Sri Lanka from alerting Tamil-speaking workers internationally in a timely fashion of the political dangers they face.

210 YouTube censors WSWS Tamil podcasts

15 July 2020

999 Tamil National Alliance reiterates its support for Rajapakse government

13 July 2020

Letters demand Sri Lankan defence secretary stop military harassment of SEP candidates

By our correspondents, 9 July 2020

This campaign is part of broader struggle to defend the democratic rights of all working people against dictatorial measures.

Sri Lankan Trotskyists hold first online election rally

By our correspondent, 7 July 2020

The SEP is the only party advancing an international socialist program in the Sri Lankan national elections.

Vote SEP in the Sri Lankan general election

Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) to hold second online election rally

6 July 2020

The SEP’s online meeting will discuss critical political developments in Sri Lanka and internationally and the tasks facing the working class.

Sri Lankan president orders Central Bank to give more credit to big business

By Saman Gunadasa, 4 July 2020

While providing huge financial concessions to the banks and big business, the government is imposing greater economic burdens on workers and the poor.

NSSP leader contests Sri Lankan elections on United National Party slate

By Vilani Peiris—leader of the SEP slate for Colombo district, 25 June 2020

The NSSP’s decision to contest with the UNP is a further expression of the right-wing political degeneration of this middle-class formation and other pseudo-left groups internationally.

Sri Lankan SEP to hold first election rally online on June 28

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 24 June 2020

The SEP meeting will discuss the crucial political developments in Sri Lanka and internationally and the tasks before the Sri Lankan working class.

Sri Lankan soldiers kill Tamil youth in Jaffna

By Wimal Perera, 23 June 2020

The shooting of Thiraviyam Ramalingam is part of the army occupation of the North and East and President Rajapakse’s increasing militarisation of his rule.

Sri Lankan SEP holds online meeting on global protests against police murders

By Wije Dias, 22 June 2020

Wije Dias, General Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka, delivered the main speech at an online meeting on the global protests against the police killings and moves towards autocratic methods of rule.

Sri Lankan police violently suppress protest against the killing of George Floyd

By our reporters, 12 June 2020

The police attack is a message from the Rajapakse administration that it will not tolerate any opposition from workers, young people and the poor.

Sri Lankan workers and youth denounce police murder of George Floyd

By Saman Gunadasa, 11 June 2020

“White and black must unite and fight against persecution and repression.”

Sri Lankan SEP to hold online meeting against murder of George Floyd in the US

11 June 2020

The SEP will hold an online public meeting, titled “The international wave of struggles against the killing of Floyd in US and plans for capitalist dictatorship,” on Sunday, June 14 at 3 p.m. local time.

Sri Lankan president establishes military taskforce: Another step toward dictatorship

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 9 June 2020

The working class can stop the threat of a dictatorship only by mobilising its independent strength to overthrow capitalism.

Sri Lankan health workers protest wage and transport cuts during pandemic

By W. A. Sunil, 4 June 2020

While hospital workers across all grades and union affiliations participated in the protests the unions are seeking to head off a confrontation with the government.

Tamil nationalists exploit remembrance of war victims to advance pro-imperialist agenda

By Subash Somachandran, 4 June 2020

Last month marked the eleventh anniversary of the bloody end of Sri Lanka’s nearly 30-year war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

SEP (Sri Lanka) calls for action committees to counter COVID-19 and defend jobs

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 2 June 2020

In defending their rights, workers cannot rely on the trade unions which have become appendages of big business.

Indian autoworkers strike for COVID-19 safety measures; Thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers demonstrate

Workers Struggles: Asia and Australia

30 May 2020

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Sri Lankan government responds to rising COVID-19 infections by abandoning expatriate workers

By Saman Gunadasa, 29 May 2020

The Rajapakse government’s ruthless attitude towards the stranded migrant workers is matched by its hostility to ordinary people inside Sri Lankan.

COVID-19 destroys almost half a million tourism jobs in Sri Lanka

By our reporters, 28 May 2020

Big tourist companies demand more funds to revive their businesses, not out of sympathy for workers, but to boost profits.

Sri Lankan Everbest garment workers protest job and wage cuts

By our reporters, 26 May 2020

The trade unions, like the counterparts around the world, are assisting the government and the employers.

Sri Lankan government understates COVID-19 figures to recklessly reopen economy

By Naveen Dewage, 23 May 2020

The low number of infections in Sri Lanka is because few COVID-19 tests are being conducted—an average of less than 600 per day between February 18 and May 20.

Sri Lankan president demands legal immunity for the military

By Pradeep Ramanayake, 21 May 2020

The real purpose of Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s defence and promotion of the military is to prepare for another savage war against the working class.

Seven Sri Lankan families homeless after plantation fire

By M. Thevarajah, 20 May 2020

Fires frequently occur in the old and rundown estate plantation line rooms.

COVID-19: Military steps up repression in war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka

By Subash Somachandran, 16 May 2020

The government and the military are nervous about the growing unrest among workers and poor against the draconian social conditions.

Worsening conditions at Hirdaramani garment plants in Sri Lanka

By our reporters, 16 May 2020

Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers have responded to the COVID-19 crisis with a wave of wage and job cuts and the imposition of increased working hours and productivity targets.

Sri Lanka’s pseudo-left FSP and its phony defence of democracy

By K. Ratnayake, 14 May 2020

The working class can combat threat of a dictatorship only by the independent mobilisation of its political strength, not by pleading for “reconvening parliament.”

Sri Lankan president “reopens economy” despite pandemic

By W.A. Sunil, 13 May 2020

The Rajapakse regime is seeking to overcome the economic crisis at the expense of the health and lives of working people.

Tamil National Alliance backs Sri Lanka’s Rajapakse regime on COVID-19

By Athiyan Silva, 9 May 2020

TNA leader M.A. Sumanthiran declared that he does not “allow political opinions or differences…not only in our country but throughout the world.”

Workers in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan strike to demand coronavirus-safe working conditions

Workers Struggles: Asia

9 May 2020

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Mired in debt, Sri Lankan government vows to avoid default

By Saman Gunadasa, 6 May 2020

Big businesses and the government are translating this economic crisis into a massive attack on jobs, wages and all hard-won workers’ rights.

Millions in South Asia react with shock and horror at ruling elite’s incompetence over pandemic

By Wije Dias, 6 May 2020

The capitalist system failed from the pandemic’s outset to identify or treat hundreds of thousands of ordinary people.

US trains Sri Lankan naval elite forces during COVID-19 lockdown

By Vijith Samarasinghe, 4 May 2020

US combat training of Sri Lankan navy personnel forces is part of Washington’s military preparations throughout the Indo-Pacific against China.

Sri Lankan president continues to entrench autocratic rule

By K. Ratnayake, 30 April 2020

Sri Lanka’s main opposition parties have issued a pathetic 10-point appeal to the Sri Lankan president, urging him to reconvene parliament and offering their support.

Work resumes in Sri Lanka’s free trade zones but thousands are sacked

By Nandana Nannetti, 29 April 2020

While the unions are campaigning for big financial subsidies for companies they are not doing anything to defend jobs and wages.

Jaffna health workers complain of poor facilities as pandemic spreads in Sri Lanka

By Subash Somachandran, 29 April 2020

Health workers in northern Sri Lanka insist that the insufficiency of tests and shortcomings of health facilities has made the province vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is Sri Lankan President Rajapakse plotting a coup under cover of anti-pandemic measures?

By K. Ratnayake, 28 April 2020

The government is using the COVID-19 pandemic as the pretext to mount a power grab, insert the military into the running of the state, and run roughshod over working people’s democratic rights.

Why Gotabhaya Rajapakse wants Sri Lankan election held as soon as possible

By Vilani Peiris—Socialist Equality Party election group leader for Colombo district, 27 April 2020

Rajapakse wants a quick election before the full brunt of the economic meltdown hits and there is a social explosion by the working class and the poor.

Sri Lankan president says military to impose “discipline” when lockdown ends

By K. Ratnayake, 25 April 2020

Rajapakse’s threats have nothing to do with enforcing “social distancing” and the spread of COVID-19 but are in preparation to suppress mass unrest in the working class.

Sri Lanka: Oppose return to work in unsafe pandemic conditions! No to job destruction!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 18 April 2020

The criminal actions of the Rajapakse government and big business will accelerate the spread of the deadly virus and lead to a further loss of workers’ lives.

TNA offers a “democratic” veneer to Sri Lankan president’s coronavirus emergency powers

By S. Jayanth, 17 April 2020

The Tamil National Alliance is providing political cover for Rajapakse’s rapid moves towards a presidential dictatorship.

Sri Lankan SEP holds online meeting on COVID-19 pandemic

By our reporters, 13 April 2020

SEP General Secretary Wije Dias exposed the Rajapakse government’s reactionary response to the disaster and outlined a revolutionary socialist program for the working class.

Against rising social opposition, Sri Lankan prime minister calls for “unity” against COVID-19

By K. Ratnayake, 11 April 2020

Hundreds of thousands of workers have no income and poor farmers in the rural areas have no means of selling what they grow.

Sri Lanka government intensifies crackdown on social media

By Vimukthi Vidarshana, 9 April 2020

The arrest of social media users exposing Colombo’s inadequate responses to COVID-19 will be extended to online publishers and media outlets.

Sri Lanka: Billions to big business as government prepares new attacks on working people

By Saman Gunadasa, 8 April 2020

No meaningful government funds have been provided for personal protection equipment for health workers, ventilators for patients or kits for mass coronavirus testing.

Sri Lankan SEP to re-broadcast online public meeting: “The COVID-19 pandemic and capitalist barbarism”

By the Socialist Equality Party, 7 April 2020

The video will be re-broadcast today—Tuesday, April 7—at 3 p.m. on the party’s official Facebook page.

Tea estate workers in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as well as medical workers in India and Papua New Guinea strike over COVID-19 dangers

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

4 April 2020

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Sri Lankan medical experts demand mass coronavirus testing

By Naveen Dewage, 2 April 2020

The dangerous conditions facing millions of Sri Lankan workers, farmers and the poor are the result of decades of government cuts to the health system and other vital services.