Sri Lanka faces a Political and Constitutional Crisis
On 26th October 2018 present Sri Lanka Government confronted a crisis due to United Peoples Freedom Alliance quitting the arrangement of National Government. President Maithripala Sirisena removed the Prime Minister RanilWickremasinghe(leader of the United National Party)and appointed Mahinda Rajapakse, the former President. A new cabinet was also sworn in. RanilWickremasinghe refused to leave the Prime Minister’s Official Residence claiming President’s act was unconstitutional and therefore still he was the Prime Minister.This created a political chaos throughout the country. At the same time President prorogue the parliament sessions and later he dissolved the Parliament. The Government Parties petitioned the Supreme Court as the only authorized organ to interpret the constitution, demanding to declare null and void the President’s gazette notification of dissolving the Parliament. Supreme Courtdecided take it for examination and issued an interim order to stay the order to dissolve Parliament until the court determine its constitutionality.
President reconvened the Parliament on the request of the Speaker and a no-confidence motion against the new government was passed in Parliament twice.
At the same time Supreme Court delivered its determination declaring President has no constitutional right to dissolve Parliament before passing 4 ½ years of presidential term. The opposition went before the court of appeal requesting a quo-warranty against the New Prime Minister and his Cabinet. The Appeal Court issued an interim order preventing the government engaged in any official activity until its final determination. Thereafter Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and his Cabinet resigned from their Portfolios. President re-appointed RanilWickremasinghe as the Prime Minister.
Sri Lanka had no Government for 51 days.
75th Anniversary of Communist Party of Sri Lanka
CPSL celebrated its 75th Anniversary on the 10th November 2018 in Matara, Southern Province City and birth city of our party’s Founder, Comrade Dr. S. A.Wickremasinghe.
Function was started with the floral tribute to Dr. S. A. Wickramasinghe statue and a demonstration up to the venue of the rally. The Diplomats from the Socialist Countries, Leaders of the Progressive and Democratic Political Parties of Sri Lanka were joined the occasion. More than 5000 Party Members, Youth, Student, Trade Union andPeasant leaders were gathered there .Congratulatory messages were received from fraternal parties including Communist parties of China, Cuba, Vietnam. Nepal and Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Key Note address was delivered by Comrade DEW Gunesekara, General Secretary of CPSL.
Excerpts of the speech - Our Party was formed in 1943. Today, we hold the 75th Anniversary. The year 2018 is historically important. Together with our 75th Anniversary we commemorated the 200 years of Karl Marxbirth anniversary and 170 years of the publication of the Communist Manifesto. Nationally, we marked 200 years of the First Rebellion against the British occupation in 1818 which is called “Uwa – Wellassa Rebellion”. In-fact it is recorded in the history that it was the first anti-imperialist armed struggle against imperialism in the colonial era of imperialism. The 170th anniversary of the second rebellion which was launched against taxes imposed by British imperialist in Sri Lanka in 1848 also falls in 2018.
Though our party was officially formed 1943, as the first working class Party and first Marxist-Leninist Party, its history can be traced back in 1920s and 1930s when Party leaders as students abroad were associated with British and Indian Communist Movement.
The 75 years of our Party was a period of struggle for the cause of working People, for the cause of total Independence and for the completion of anti-imperialist tasks of the Sri Lankan Revolution.
First 25 years of the Party was a period during which we secured the rights of the working class through strikes 1945, 1946 and 1947. All the rights and privileges including Pension rights and Employees Provident Fund, 8 hour working day were all won during this period. The election of 5 members of our party to the Post – independent Parliament was a decisive victory for the Left Movement. Our Party together with the Lanka SamaSamaja Party (LSSP) led the first Great Hartal of 1953 against the imposition of taxes on the people.
Our Party carried on thestruggles for the recognition of Socialist Countries. Ever since 1945, our Party had been in close contact with the International Communist Movement having attended important Congresses of the fraternal Parties. Our Trade Union Federation (CFTU) was a founding member of the World Federation of Trade Unions being a member of its General Council.
The second 25 years was devoted to consolidation of our National Independence with profound socio- economic reforms for which our Party campaign vigorously. The Nationalization of foreign interest including plantation was a result of intense and decisive struggles. Our Party had worked both under legal and illegal conditions. Our Party represented in all Parliaments since inception, working both in the opposition as well as in the Governments.
The third 25 years of our Party represented a period of decline of the working class movement consequent to the collapse of socialism in Europe – The dawn of Neo-liberalism as an ideology of World Capitalism caused reversals and setbacks to the Working Class Movement.
Even though there were Left and Communist Parties which abandoned Marxism, our Party relentlessly defended itself fiercely against all odds maintaining our identity as a Marxist Party.
Sri Lanka has become an important strategic center in the world economy and in particular in the Asia – Pacific region in the context of the profound changes taking place in the world economy.
It is becoming increasingly important for Sri Lanka to maintain an independent and non-aligned foreign policy taking into the emerging realities of geo-politics and geo-economics.
When it comes to the current situation that Sri Lanka is placed in domestically with a series of crisis –political, economic and constitutional etc.
Fundamentally, the current economic crisis emerges from deep financial crisis as described below;
Firstly, the Government revenue has fallen from 24% to the level of 10 – 11%. Our Finances are not sufficient for payment of recurrent expenses, leaving along investments.
Secondly, our Foreign Exchange revenue is depleted. It consists of borrowings and not earnings. As a result, rupee continues to fall against Dollar.
Thirdly, our savingsare stagnant. So, there is no domestic accumulations of capital. There is a capital crisis.
Fourthly, our Foreign Investment are dwindling. Even the existing investments flow out of the Country. So, there is a crisis in Foreign Direct Investments.
Sixthly, for reasons beyond control (due to drought), there is shortfall in production.
During the last 3 ½ years of Government, it has failed to manage the economy efficiently which resulted in developing contradiction between the Government and People. So, the need has arisen for an alternative economic programme and a new alignment of social forces. The Communist Party today places before the people a set of proposals for discussion aiming the development of an alternative economic programme for the country.
The strategy of the Communist Party in today’s context as decided by its 21st National Congress isto stand for a Left and Democratic alternative in order to face up to global and domestic challenges. Though the situation has not matured, we shall fight for such an alternative.
Since independence, we have failed as a nation to bring about national unity. We have failed to achieve the task of nation – building.
On the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of CPSL, we call for National Unity and Left Unity as an immediate need.
Communist Youth stage a Protest campaign called “Red Voice – Black Protest”
Communist Youth Federation organized a rally and launched a protest against the current governance with the intension of focusing the attention of burning youth issues of Sri Lanka on 17th October 2018 with the theme of “Red voice in black protest”. The event composed with a walk, picketing, addressing the media and distributing leaflets to the general public.
Commemoration of leaders of working class movement
On the 13th November 2018 a meeting was held in Colombo to commemorate two prominent veteran Communist Trade Union leaders in Sri Lanka
MG Mendis– A pioneering Trade Union Leaders under the British Colonial Period and independent Sri Lanka. Member of Parliament from 1970 to 1977. Member of the Polit Bureau of CPSL. He was the first joint secretary of the Lanka SamaSamajaParty (LSSP), the first Political Party in Sri Lanka which was formed in 1935. He started his political career in Local Government field elected as People’s representative Village Council and then to the Colombo Municipal Council. He is the pioneer left leader who fought continuously to achieve large number of benefits to the working class which are enjoyed today. Employees Provident for the Private Sector and Corporation sector employees is one of the great victories achieved through a struggle led by Comrade MG Mendis. He was jailed several times during the British rule and even under post-independence regimes due to his continuous struggle for workers’ rights and political and economic emancipation and for social justice. He joined Communist Party of Sri Lanka following the split in LSSP issues relating to the World War II. He was the founder of the todays’ leading Private Sector Trade Union – Ceylon Federation of Trade Unions.
L.W. Panditha - One of the prominent Trade Union leader of the private and Corporation sector. His leadership over the entire trade union movement in the country was eminent during a period of a decade starting from 1977 until he was murdered by JanathaVimukthiPeramuna (JVP) in their second rebellion. He was a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka and a member of the Colombo Municipal Council. He was jailed several occasions based on trade union or political matters.
Comrade Dew GunasekaraKeynote addressParticipants
General Secretary – CPSLProf. NavaratneBandara
Comrade K.P.Silva passed away
The Communist Party of Sri Lanka announced with deep sorrow the death of Comrade K.P.Silva, former General Secretary and member of the Parliament (1994 – 2000) on 8th March 2019 at the age of 96.
Comrade K.P. started his life as an unskilled worker at the Government Leather Factory in Colombo. Later he became a skilled worker. He gradually rose to a trade union leader mobilizing factory workers into trade unions. Then he entered the political field joining LankaSamaSamaja Party (LSSP), the first political party in Sri Lanka. He was one of the leading figures in organizing the 1947 General strike andhighly acknowledge his contribution made to the 1953 Harthalprotest movement which was organized by the left political parties and led to resignation of the then Government.
He was influenced by the decisions made by the CPSL at its National Congresses of 1950 and 1955 and the political and economic programme called “Way Forward” presentedby Dr. S. A. Wickremasinghe, founder of CPSL.
In 1955 he joined the Communist Party of Sri Lanka with large number of LSSP members. Due to his political spirit, theoretical and leadership quality he was elected to Central Committee and Political Bureau of CPSL straight-away.
He further improved his theoretical knowledge following a course at the Institute of Political Science of Communist Party of Soviet Union.
He was elected as the General Secretary of the Party at the 10th National Congress in 1978. During his tenure he had to face numerous challenges such as 1980 July general Strike which lost jobs of more than 100,000employees, 1983 black July, youth insurrection in 1988/89, disintegration of USSR, LTTE terrorismand intensified ethnic problem and 30-year separatist war.
He was jailed with three other Political Bureau Members of the Party in 1983. He was elected to Parliament in 1994. His unshaken solid stand to unite the left political parties, working class, was recognized by all leftist forces in the country.
He was an internationalist true to the word.
His funeral took place on the 11th March with a gathering of many politicalparty leaders, trade union and Youth organization members.
Large demonstration and Protest campaign
Public Management Assistant Officers trade unions alliance staged a huge protest campaign attended by over 10,000 persons, based on 13 demands related to their services. The leading role in this alliance is played by the powerful All Ceylon Public Management Assistant Officer’s Union.
In support of Venezuelan Government and People
A protest campaign was organized by the members of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, Communist Youth Federation and National Union of Students in front of US Embassy in Colombo demanding to stop the interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela and withdraw all types of sanctions against that country by the USA and its allies. Demonstrators handed - over a letter to the US Embassy expressing the solidarity with the Venezuelan Government and People and protest to the US Government and its western allies for violating the international law.
91, Dr. N.M. PereraMawatha, Colombo-8, Sri Lanka -Telephone: 0112695328 Fax: 0112691610
STATEMENT OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SRI LANKA ON THE SITUATION IN VENEZUELA
Ever since the advent of Hugo Chavez to power as the duly elected President of Venezuela, the U.S Administration had been pursuing a policy of aggression, subversions and animosity against the peoples of Venezuela for the sole reason of having elected an anti-Imperialist leader as their Head of State. It is well-known fact of history how the U.S. Administrations resorted to topple the anti-Imperialist Government through attempts of assassination, coups and taints, subversions and economic sanctions etc. which were all frustrated by the progressive forces of Venezuela.
President Nicholas Maduro, the successor of Hugo Chavez was elected by the people of Venezuela by the overwhelming majority. The present U.S. Administration of President Donald Trump continued to pursue the same policy under the pretexts of humanitarian aid and democracy more fiercely, arrogantly and nakedly to frustrate the aspirations of the Venezuelan people refusing to accept their fundamental rights of sovereignty and independence.
Donald Trump Administration has exposed its unbridled greed for Venezuelan oil, gold and copper by resorting to policy of military intervention under the pretexts of humanitarian aid, mobilizing other pro-Imperialist agents in the region.
The Communist Party of Sri Lanka condemns with all vehement the sinister as well as brazen attempts on the part of Trump Administration to topple the Maduro Government, invoking infamous Monroe Doctrine.
The Communist Party of Sri Lanka calls upon the progressive forces, the world over to rally round the patriotic people of Venezuela in their legitimate struggle for the defense of their motherland.
The Communist Party of Sri Lanka highly evaluate the principled stand taken by the Governments of China, Russia, Cuba, Iran and other anti-Imperialist forces, the world over, in support of Venezuelan people in their struggle for defense of democracy, sovereignty and independence.
The U.S. Administration, having failed in its attempt to avert the crisis of neo-liberalism, having miserably failed in their military advents in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen etc. has now embarked upon a new strategy of bolstering its economy through a Cold War in other regions and military advents in the Latin-American region.
The Communist Party of Sri Lanka expresses the hope that sanity would prevail in White House at least in their eleventh hour and allow the Venezuelan people to determine their destiny.
General Secretary, February 26th, 2019