15th MEETING OF COMMUNIST AND WORKERS PARTIES
November 8th to 10th November, 2013
Contribution of Raja Collure, Chairman, Communist Party of Sri Lanka
At the outset met thank the Portuguese Communist Party for hosting this Meeting, for providing excellent facilities for the meet and for their warm hospitality. Let me also salute the memory of the outstanding Communist leader, the late Comrade Alvaro Cunhal whose centenary of birth is celebrated on Sunday. I also convey the fraternal greetings and best wishes of my party, the Communist Party of Sri Lanka to all the participants at this Meeting.
We are gathered here at a time when the crisis of capitalism which met its worst downturn since the so called Great Depression has not yet recovered from its after effects. Demand for goods and services which fell due to the crisis has resulted in a drop in international trade, an unprecedented rise in unemployment and a severe drop in the purchasing power of the working people leading to a sharp fall in their living standards. The crisis which gripped the Euro Zone more recently was in itself mainly a byproduct of the financial crisis of the capitalist world centred round the United States. The developed countries apart, all this affected the developing countries including China and India as well reducing their growth rates with the fall in the demand for their exports. Sri Lanka was no exception although the effect was marginal. When the ruling classes transferred the burden of the crisis on the working people they were not prepared to bear the brunt and engaged in militant class battles to rid themselves of the burdens so imposed. This was amply illustrated by the struggles waged by the peoples of Greece, Southern Europe and elsewhere including those in some developing states.
What is note-worthy is that the peoples by their own experience learn of the anti-people, predatory and exploitative character of capitalism. But they are unable to turn those sentiments to oust the ruling strata from power due to the weak base of the socialist forces in the respective countries. There are many and varied reasons for this. Regretably they cannot be analysed in brief. However, the failure to build up class conscious militant mass organizations with the strength to provide a real class oriented alternative to the ruling classes is no doubt a major reason. The other major drawback is the absence of influential politically conscious labour organizations at the international level to back them up. Suffice it to say that in many countries organized labour constitutes less than 10% of the total.
All this point to the need for the Communists to concentrate on building their political base and mass organisations at both the national and the international levels, Only then that they could play a decisive role in determining the course of the destiny of the world. In our own small way we shall contribute our share in this direction.
Although presently the situation is not mature for the world to march towards socialism the world is certainly bound to usher in socialism with the accentuation of the basic contradiction within capitalism and the strengthening of the subjective factor well enough to take on the overthrow of capitalism.
Capitalism has engulfed all countries of the world whatever its degree be. Through the internationalization of capital and the use of capitalist instruments like the World Trade Organisation almost all countries are made to come under its sway. This is compounded by the process of globalisation which benefits the further development of capitalism. In the past few decades the share of the imperialist countries in the world GDP has been on the decline although their dominance has not yet been effectively challenged. The rise of China as a world economic power ( with a GDP of 7,203 Trillion compared with 14,991 Trillion of the USA) and the advances made by other BRICS countries and others have compelled the western powers to consult them regularly in regard to the problems confronted by capitalism. The G20 is the forum used for the purpose.
In the sphere of international relations too the impact of the BRICS countries and other leading developing countries is such that the United States and its allies have more often to take into account their positions. The threat of aggression against Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons was abandoned due to the opposition of a sizable section of the G20 and many others. Contradictions within the imperialist camp as well as the national interests of different countries in regard to emerging issues contribute to this process of shift and prevents the USA and its allies to a great extent of having a free overtheir international actions.
These developments reveal that despite the fact that imperialism and the capitalist system have not changed and are not bound to change in essence the democratic forces are impacting positively as a factor restraining them.
The end of the civil war in Sri Lanka has ushered in a period of peace and stability. But the problems are far from over.
The national reconciliation which was expected with the end of the war is impeded by the slow movement towards the resolution of the remaining problems affecting the Tamil nationality. The main achievement in the very recent past is the holding of elections to the Provincial Council of the Northern Province which is the only Tamil majority Province and the setting up of an administration led by the Tamil National Alliance. The dispute over the devolution of certain powers including those that relate to law and order and land have not yet been resolved. It is to the credit of the government that people displaced during the war are by and large settled in their original places of residence. The war ravaged Northern Province has undergone massive reconstruction programmes. Damaged infrastructure has been restored and new infrastructural projects undertaken. The vast majority of the combatants of the LTTE have been rehabilitated and enjoy all the liberties. Only those charged with criminal offences remain in custody. An Independent Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) headed by a former Attorney General have made far reaching recommendations after inquiry into issues that relate to violation of human rights and the humanitarian law and problems affecting the Tamil nationality. Its Report and recommendations have been welcomed by the international community as well. The government is in the process of implementing the recommendations. In consequence legal action has also been instituted against those who have allegedly committed offences. The members of the armed forces are not excluded from prosecution. The government however has rejected calls for an international investigation into alleged killings of civilians in the final days of the war saying that as a sovereign government it has already taken appropriate action on the recommendations of the LLRC Commission. Our complaint is that the implementation of the LLRC recommendations are not carried out swiftly.
The CPSL actively contributed to the founding of the Peoples Alliance in 1993 to defeat the previous government which was reactionary and pro-imperialist on a manifesto which highlighted democracy, national unity and deepening of social justice. We still remain in alliance with the government to achieve these same objectives.
The Alliance government has carried out mass development programmes particularly for the improvement of the infrastructure. A new harbour, a new airport and two express ways are among them. The Gross National Product has doubled during the last five years and the economy grows at the a rate of around 8%. Inflation which was in double digits is now down to 6.7%. The rate of unemployment at 4.2% is lowest in living memory and poverty has been reduced to 8.9%.
Our party is represented in government by two ministers. It has consistently endeavoured to maintain the progressive character of the government. On a number of issues however we have reservations in regard to its policy. These include issues relating to the reform of the constitution and the electoral system, the devolution of power, strengthening good governance, right to information, workers' rights and failure to control rising cost of living. The party carries out its own independent campaigns in regard to these and other issues. Yet we do not act in a manner that undermines the government as the alternative will be a pro-imperialist, anti people reactionary regime which would be in line with the regime change that the Western Powers seek.
The Communist Party of Sri Lanka stands for the unity and cohesion of the International Communist Movement. It expresses its solidarity with all the constituent parties of the movement.
Long live socialism !