14th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties
(Beirut, Lebanon, 22nd -25th November, 2012)
Speech of Raja Collure, Chairman, Communist Party of Sri Lanka
Let me at the outset thank our hosts, the Lebanese Communist Party for the excellent facilities provided for the holding of this important Meeting and for the warm and generous hospitality extended to the participants. The Communist Party of Sri Lanka is pleased to convey its warm fraternal greetings to all the participants of the 14th IMCWP.
This Meeting takes place in the background of the intensification of the struggles against imperialism by the peoples all over the world. The latest is the victorious resistance of the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression which was justified by imperialism.
These struggles relate to peoples' aspirations on several fronts. On the one hand they fight to defend the independence and sovereignty of their nations. Another focus of their struggles is in defence of a nation's right to govern itself without external interference and to defeat imperialist plans at "regime change" in countries not to their liking. Also the fight is on to resist economic pressures exerted by imperialism to dissuade countries from pursuing policies detrimental to its interests and pressing them to fall in line with neo-liberalism. These are only some.
The events in North Africa during the last two years show how imperialism worked to subvert the people's struggles to prevent them developing in an anti- imperialist direction. Its nakedly covert aggression in resources rich Libya was primarily to change the regime in its favour and to ensure access to exploit its natural resources. In Syria it is seeking primarily to change a regime which it considers an obstacle to the implementation of its strategy in the Middle-East, not so much to end violence or establish democracy in that country. Its role over the events in Bahrain confirm that the struggle for genuine democracy in the Middle-East is at the same time is a struggle against imperialism. This applies to the struggles for democracy elsewhere as well. There are indications that imperialism is working towards changing the regime in Sri Lanka which has earned its wrath for failing to accede fully to its diktat.
Escalation of imperialist aggressiveness may be attributed to several factors. Primarily it is a response to the expansion of peoples' struggles against imperialism the world over for in defence of national sovereignty and for democracy, social justice and social progress. In the background of the decline in its position of hegemony and its inability to carry the United Nations with it on certain international issues imperialism has sought to violate terms of UN resolutions and to launch aggressive actions to attain its objectives . The perceived threat that supply of energy and natural resources may be interrupted or denied to imperialist countries has also contributed to the intensification of the aggressiveness of imperialism. It is also a response to the growing weight of such countries as China and Russia in international affairs which clash with imperialism in furtherance of their national interests.
The response to the increasing aggressiveness of imperialism should be to expand further the peoples struggles against and for democratic rights and processes and for social justice . Establishing broad coalitions to fight on specific issues is bound to broaden mass participation and strengthen the effectiveness of the struggles.
Sri Lanka has made many strides in respect of economic development. It maintains an average growth rate of around 7%. The rates of both inflation and unemployment has dropped to 5 % each. (And those below the poverty line has dropped to 8.9%). Despite some short comings expenditure on free education and free health care (in which fields Sri Lanka is way ahead of many developing countries) has been increased. Investment in the development of infra-structure has never been so high as at present. With the end of the civil war tourist arrivals has increased by nearly 100% boosting the economy.
The CPSL is in government. However, it has reservations on certain aspects of governance and policy. One of the issues on which it has launched an agitation together its left allies is the matter of broadening democratic rights and processes. This is primarily connected with the need to abolish the executive presidential system which has become increasingly authoritarian. Almost all organs of the state including the parliament are controlled and dictated to by the presidency. The CPSL together with its left allies and a wide coalition of forces are demanding a new constitution and the return to the parliamentary system. De-politicization of the public administration and the police service, ensuring the independence of the judiciary and the electoral establishment and the reform of the electoral system are other issues of agitation.
The other issue pertains to the urgency of bringing a political solution to the national problem. Although three years have passed since the end of the civil war there has not been much headway made in this respect. We support the proposal to reach an agreement on this question through a Select Committee of Parliament. The CPSL demands that the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission in regard to violations of human rights and the humanitarian law during the civil war, which has been appreciated by even the international community, be speedily implemented. To the credit of the government nearly all internal refugees have been resettled and combatants of the LTTE who have not committed criminal offences have been rehabilitated.
Socialism is not in our present agenda. It is needless to say that peoples struggles for democracy and social justice will create favourable conditions to proceed to the fight for socialism. This also requires the further expansion of and coordination of the struggles against imperialism at the international level. In this respect we submit that the communist and workers parties have a significant role to play in the process.