Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan plantation workers defy union and continue to strike

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 13 December 2018

Expressing their determination to fight, workers held protests throughout the plantation district on Wednesday, the day after the union announced the end of the stoppage.

Sri Lankan plantation companies reject workers’ wage demand

By W.A. Sunil, 11 December 2018

Despite an indefinite strike, the employers are insisting that profits must be defended by subjecting workers to super-exploitation.

Indian workers face slave-like conditions in Sri Lanka

By R. Shreeharan and Ivan Weerasinghe, 10 December 2018

Young men recruited from a Jharkhand village to work on a high-voltage power-line in Sri Lanka have not been paid for three months.

Sri Lankan plantation strike: Abbotsleigh workers march to demand action committees and socialist policies

By our reporters, 8 December 2018

Yesterday’s march was organised by an action committee of Abbotsleigh Estate workers, following political interventions by the Socialist Equality Party.

Sri Lankan president uses executive powers to run government

By W.A. Sunil, 7 December 2018

Sirisena’s autocratic actions are another dangerous sign that dictatorial forms of rule are being prepared in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan plantation workers launch indefinite strike for 100 percent pay rise

By our correspondents, 6 December 2018

This struggle by workers all over the island will compound the political crisis of the ruling elite, which is wracked by bitter political conflict.

Jaffna (Sri Lanka) meeting celebrates 80th anniversary of the Fourth International

By R. Shreeharan, 6 December 2018

People from all over the Jaffna district heard Socialist Equality Party leaders explain the contemporary relevance of the Trotskyist movement’s historic struggle.

Sri Lankan court blocks functioning of Rajapakse cabinet

By K. Ratnayake, 4 December 2018

An appeals court temporarily ordered that Rajapakse and his ministers cease exercising their powers—intensifying Sri Lanka’s political crisis.

Sri Lanka: Factional deadlock remains in lead up to Supreme Court ruling

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 3 December 2018

President Sirisena has failed in his attempts to secure a parliamentary deal with the opposition UNP and TNA aimed at ending the country’s continuing political crisis.

Colombo court detains Sri Lankan defence chief over civil war crimes

By Rohantha De Silva, 30 November 2018

The court magistrate said the military chief had to be denied bail because he could influence witnesses or disrupt ongoing investigations into the abduction of Tamil youth.

Around 100,000 Sri Lankan plantation workers walk out again for pay rise

By our correspondents, 30 November 2018

The plantation unions are determined to prevent industrial action by estate workers that could trigger mass action by other sections of the working class.

Rajapakse-aligned MPs boycott Sri Lankan parliament

By W.A. Sunil, 28 November 2018

The ongoing crisis has shattered the carefully cultivated image of parliament as an august and democratic assembly, engaging in serious discussion on issues of public interest.

Amid Sri Lanka’s political crisis, the USP sets “left” trap for the working class

By Vilani Peiris and K. Ratnayake, 27 November 2018

The pseudo-left United Socialist Party’s call for a left alliance is aimed at promoting the illusion that one or other ruling faction can be pressured to defend the rights of working people.

Political turmoil in Sri Lanka intensifies as opposition takes control of parliament

By Pani Wijesiriwardena, 24 November 2018

The UNP-led opposition has submitted a motion to suspend funds to Rajapakse’s office of prime minister.

SEP (Sri Lanka) holds successful public meeting on political crisis

By our correspondents, 22 November 2018

The speakers stressed the necessity for the working class to adopt a socialist and internationalist program, in opposition to all factions of the ruling elite.

Sri Lankan political crisis exposes bankruptcy of Tamil nationalist parties

By K. Nesan and V. Gnana, 22 November 2018

After four years of a US-backed “Good Governance” government that collapsed last month, not a single issue facing the Tamil workers and poor has been resolved.

Sri Lanka: UNP demands Facebook protect identity of party supporters

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 21 November 2018

UNP allegations that state authorities could be collaborating with Facebook to target its supporters came amid escalating infighting within the Sri Lankan political elite.

SEP (Sri Lanka) to hold lecture on “Lessons of History and the Fight for Socialism Today”

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 21 November 2018

The lecture in Jaffna will focus on the political lessons of key strategic experiences of the 20th century for the working class and their contemporary relevance.

Sri Lankan parliament adjourned amid ongoing political crisis

By K. Ratnayake, 20 November 2018

While claiming to be champions of “democracy,” the rival factions of the ruling class are both committed to implementing the IMF’s austerity demands and suppressing any opposition from working people.

Sri Lankan president’s “all party conference” fails to overcome political crisis

By Rohantha De Silva, 19 November 2018

Sirisena’s meeting followed three consecutive days of bitter and violent fighting in the parliament between the Rajapakse and Wickremesinghe factions.

Sri Lanka: Second no-confidence motion passed as violent clashes erupt in parliament

By W.A. Sunil, 17 November 2018

While the UNP and Sri Lanka’s parliamentary speaker claim victory for another no confidence vote, nothing is resolved.

The political crisis in Sri Lanka: Its lessons for the international working class

By Keith Jones and K. Ratnayake, 16 November 2018

Only the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) fights for the working class to assert its own class interests, independently of and in opposition to both rival bourgeois camps.

Sri Lankan parliament rejects Rajapakse as prime minister

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 15 November 2018

The major global powers are monitoring the developing political and constitutional crisis and firing off warning signals.

Washington’s censorship regime goes global

Facebook deletes WSWS post on Sri Lanka

By Andre Damon, 14 November 2018

Facebook is acting as an agent of the US intelligence agencies, which see the growing audience for international socialism as an obstacle to their efforts to exploit ethnic divisions in developing countries.

Sri Lanka crisis escalates as Supreme Court overturns Sirisena’s dissolution of parliament

By K. Ratnayake, 14 November 2018

The Supreme Court made its ruling after hearing 12 fundamental rights petitions challenging Sirisena’s dissolution of parliament on November 9.

Sri Lankan political crisis deepens: Prime minister splits from president

By W.A. Sunil, 13 November 2018

None of the factions of the ruling class will defend the basic rights of working people, but will ruthlessly impose the austerity dictates of the IMF and big business.

In another anti-democratic act, Sri Lankan president dissolves parliament

By K. Ratnayake, 10 November 2018

Sirisena’s dissolution of parliament exposes the degenerated state of parliamentary democracy and the Sri Lanka ruling elite’s moves towards dictatorial forms of rule.

Tamil nationalists support US-backed factions in Sri Lankan political crisis

By K. Nesan, 10 November 2018

The TNA is pursuing the same pro-imperialist course that led it to back the US-led regime change operation, that brought President Sirisena to power in 2015.

Factional conflict in Sri Lankan elite underscores dangers facing working class

By K. Ratnayake, 9 November 2018

All sections of the ruling class are preparing a major onslaught against the social and democratic rights of the working people and the poor.

Sri Lankan political coup: Rajapakse makes bogus promises to ease social crisis

By Saman Gunadasa, 8 November 2018

In a bid to deflect the opposition of working people, the newly installed prime minister announced token measures to assist workers, peasants and the poor.

Plantation unions move to shut down wage struggle amid Sri Lankan political crisis

By W. A. Sunil, 7 November 2018

The long-running plantation workers’ pay dispute has won powerful support from young people and other sections of the Sri Lankan working class.

Sri Lankan crisis: SLFP holds rally to defend political coup

By K. Ratnayake, 6 November 2018

Sirisena and Rajapakse appeared on the same platform, praising each other to the hilt, as major global powers press for the reconvening of parliament.

Wigneswaran’s Tamil People’s Alliance: A trap for Sri Lankan workers

By K. Nesan and V. Gnana, 6 November 2018

Amid an international radicalization of the working class, the TPA aims to divide workers along ethnic lines and block the growth of the Socialist Equality Party.

Sri Lankan political crisis: Pseudo-left NSSP promotes UNP campaign

By K. Ratnayake, 5 November 2018

NSSP leader Karunaratne is desperately attempting to tie workers to the pro-US UNP and prevent the development of an independent movement of the working class.

Sri Lankan crisis: Washington intervenes to maintain its political influence

By Deepal Jayasekera, 3 November 2018

The Trump administration, which is preparing for war against China, does not want to lose political domination in strategically-located Sri Lanka.

The JVP’s fraudulent attempt to capitalise on Sri Lanka’s political crisis

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 2 November 2018

The JVP, a Sinhala supremacist party of the political establishment, is posturing as an opponent of both competing factions of the ruling elite.

Sri Lankan crisis: UNP rally demands reconvening of parliament

By our correspondents, 1 November 2018

The demonstration was part of a campaign to regain power after President Sirisena sacked UNP leader Wickremesinghe as prime minister.

Fight for a socialist solution to the political crisis in Sri Lanka

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 31 October 2018

The SEP calls on the working class to reject the cynical manoeuvres of all factions of the ruling elite and to mobilise independently to fight for its own class interests.

Infighting deepens between rival factions of Sri Lankan elite

By Deepal Jayasekera, 30 October 2018

The government’s ultimatum for Wickremesinghe to vacate the prime minister’s residence has set the stage for bloody clashes and political violence.

Sri Lankan president’s cynical justifications for his political coup

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 29 October 2018

Sirisena’s self-serving speech was to justify his anti-democratic actions as well as appeal to layers of the population opposed to the government’s attacks on living standards.

Sri Lankan President Sirisena sacks prime minister

By K. Ratnayake, 28 October 2018

The coup is an expression of the huge political crisis confronting the Sri Lankan ruling class amid a profound economic crisis, rising geo-political tensions and a resurgence of the class struggle.

Thousands of youth demonstrate in Sri Lanka to support plantation workers’ wage struggle

By our correspondents, 27 October 2018

The protest in Colombo was the first time that Sri Lankan workers have conducted such a campaign via social media.

Divisions erupt within Sri Lankan government

By K. Ratnayake, 20 October 2018

Allegations that President Maithripala Sirisena told a cabinet meeting that “Indian intelligence” was planning to assassinate him, have brought deep rifts within the government to the surface.

Sri Lankan tea estate workers step up demands for higher pay

By M. Thevarajah, 13 October 2018

Demonstrations by estate workers underscore growing working-class opposition to the attacks of the government and employers.

The struggle for socialism and the importance of history: David North interviewed on Radio Sri Lanka

12 October 2018

David North, chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site, was interviewed at length on Radio Sri Lanka’s “Coffee with Dan” program early this week.

Watch: David North interviewed on Sri Lanka’s English-language Channel Eye TV

10 October 2018

David North, the chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site, discussed the 80th anniversary of the Fourth International on “Rise and Shine,” Sri Lanka’s most popular English-language morning television show, on October 8.

Eighty Years of the Fourth International: The Lessons of History and the Struggle for Socialism Today

By David North, 9 October 2018

On October 7, David North, International Editorial Board chairman of the World Socialist Web Site, delivered the following lecture to a well-attended public meeting in Colombo, organised by the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka).

Large Colombo audience hears David North’s lecture on the history of the Fourth International

By our reporters, 9 October 2018

David North concluded his Sri Lankan tour with a powerful lecture in Colombo, delivered to a large, enthusiastic audience.

David North’s lecture at Peradeniya University in Kandy attracts significant support from students and workers

By our reporters, 5 October 2018

The 200-strong audience responded enthusiastically to the lecture marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Fourth International.

Mass graves in Mannar point to further war crimes in Sri Lanka

By Murali Maran and Vimal Rasenthiran, 4 October 2018

The skeletal remains of 136 individuals were unearthed in northern Sri Lanka after 74 days of excavation.

David North outlines contemporary relevance of Trotskyism at Colombo media briefing

By our reporters, 3 October 2018

North’s address provoked thoughtful questions from Capital Radio and Independent Television Network reporters.

Text of David North's remarks to Sri Lankan press conference on Trotskyism

By David North, 2 October 2018

These remarks were delivered by David North, chairman of the WSWS International Editorial Board, at a press briefing in Colombo on October 1.

Sri Lankan students discuss upcoming anniversary meetings on the history of the Trotskyist movement

By our reporters, 2 October 2018

University students in Kandy and Colombo outline their financial difficulties, concerns about unemployment and voice support for David North’s forthcoming lectures.

Sri Lankan plantation workers demonstrate for higher wages

By M. Thevarajah, 29 September 2018

The union-controlled protest was organised to promote illusions that the companies and the government will grant a “reasonable” pay rise for estate workers.

SEP and IYSSE win broad support for Peradeniya university meeting on the struggle for Trotskyism

By our correspondents, 29 September 2018

SEP campaigners have spoken with scores of students, workers and academics at the campus, explaining the historical record and political importance of the struggle for Trotskyism in Sri Lanka and internationally.

David North warmly welcomed on his arrival in Sri Lanka

28 September 2018

North stressed the immense role played by Trotskyism in the political development of the working class in Sri Lanka.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

The RCL/SEP’s political struggle against petty-bourgeois radicalism

By Kapila Fernando, 28 September 2018

The past five decades have confirmed the far-sightedness of the RCL/SEP’s political analysis and exposure of the petty-bourgeois radicalism of the JVP.

Workers and students support Sri Lankan meetings on the struggle for Trotskyism

By our reporters, 27 September 2018

Students and Colombo Port workers discuss the significance of the forthcoming SEP public meetings and the necessity for an international socialist party of the working class.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

From the LSSP’s Great Betrayal to the founding of the RCL

By Wije Dias, 26 September 2018

This is the second in a series of articles published by the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka to mark the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation in June 1968.

UN expert advises Sri Lankan government about social impact of austerity measures

By Saman Gunadasa, 25 September 2018

The statements are a warning to the government and international finance capital that the worsening living conditions of the working people in Sri Lanka will produce a social explosion.

The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

The lessons of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party’s Great Betrayal

By Rohantha De Silva and Vilani Peiris, 24 September 2018

This series of articles published by the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka marks the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation in June 1968.

80th anniversary of the Fourth International and 50th anniversary of the SEP (Sri Lanka)

David North to address meetings in Sri Lanka on the lessons of the history and contemporary struggle for socialism

19 September 2018

Understanding the historic fight waged by the Fourth International and the SEP for the revolutionary leadership of the international working class is vital for the emerging class struggles.

Sri Lankan prime minister threatens increased internet and social media censorship

By Saman Gunadasa, 10 September 2018

Wickremesinghe’s comments are part of the escalating global censorship of the internet and social media, and other attacks on democratic rights.

Sri Lankan unions in closed-door discussions with plantation bosses

By W.A. Sunil, 8 September 2018

All the plantation unions are collaborating with the employers to impose the burden of the tea industry crisis on workers.

US and Japan increase efforts to undercut Chinese influence in Sri Lanka

By Rohantha De Silva, 3 September 2018

The US, Japan and India are continuing to publicly voice their concerns over Colombo’s relations with Beijing.

Sri Lankan fishermen demonstrate to demand fuel price reductions

By Naveen Dewage, 30 August 2018

The MVOA appealed to the government to lower fuel prices, but it responded by police armed with batons and water cannons, who set up barricades to block the march.

Sri Lankan unions sell out railway workers and call off strike

By W.A. Sunil, 13 August 2018

Railway workers must reject the unions’ betrayal of their longstanding salary demands and build action committees of rank-and-file workers on an alternative socialist program.

Striking Sri Lankan railway workers need a political perspective

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 11 August 2018

Over 4,000 workers, including engine drivers, guards, station masters and supervisory managers, walked out on Wednesday to demand higher pay.

UK: Ian Paisley suspension exposes efforts to assist cover-up of Sri Lankan bloodbath

By Steve James, 28 July 2018

Paisley has been suspended for 30 days for omitting to register holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government in the aftermath of the 2009-11 massacres of Tamils.

A reply to a comment on the obituary of Sri Lankan filmmaker Lester James Peries

By Pani Wijesiriwardane and Gamini Karunatileka, 24 July 2018

Our basic objective was to examine Peries’s general contribution to Sri Lankan cinema and how he came to be known as its father.

Australia: Tamil refugee deported, separated from his wife and baby daughter

By Max Newman, 23 July 2018

The treatment of Gnaneswaran and his family is akin to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy by which children have been ripped away from their parents.

Sri Lankan SEP member Mohamdiramlage Chandrasiri (1955–2018)

By Wimal Fernando, 19 July 2018

Retired bank worker Chandrasiri will always be remembered for his selfless dedication to Trotskyism, the rights of the working class and the building of the SEP.

Millions of refugees face harsh conditions across South Asia

By Rohantha De Silva, 13 July 2018

The plight of millions of refugees in South Asia is a damning indictment of the imperialist powers and the regional ruling elites.

More support from Sri Lanka for WikiLeaks editor

By our correspondents, 4 July 2018

“WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange courageously exposes the criminality of the US, its machinations, lies and cover-ups.”

Australia: Biloela residents continue protests against deportation of Tamil refugee family

By Max Newman, 2 July 2018

A campaign by the people of a small rural Queensland town has brought to light the horrors of Australia’s anti-refugee regime.

New York Times restates Washington’s anti-China agenda in Sri Lanka

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 29 June 2018

The article is a warning to the politically divided Sri Lankan ruling elite not to deviate from Washington’s military-strategic script.

Sri Lankan unions betray national postal strike

By W.A. Sunil, 28 June 2018

The unions called off the indefinite walkout after accepting vague promises from government authorities.

SEP anniversary meeting in Sri Lanka denounces anti-immigrant attacks

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 27 June 2018

The following resolution was unanimously endorsed at the Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party’s 50th anniversary meeting, held in Colombo this month.

SEP in Sri Lanka holds powerful 50th anniversary meeting

By our correspondents, 27 June 2018

The meeting began by paying tribute to the party’s founding general secretary Keerthi Balasuriya, Wilfred Pereira and all those who gave their lives to the fight for Trotskyism in Sri Lanka and South Asia.

Greetings from David North to the 50th anniversary meeting of the Sri Lankan SEP

By David North, 27 June 2018

For a half century, the party that was founded in 1968 by an extraordinary group of young revolutionaries has upheld the banner of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

Sri Lanka: Striking postal workers criticise the trade unions

By our correspondents, 26 June 2018

While postal workers are determine to continue their fight, the trade unions are seeking ways to sabotage the campaign.

Sri Lankan artists, translators and workers endorse international campaign to defend Julian Assange

By our correspondents, 25 June 2018

More Sri Lankan academics, writers and workers have spoken out in support of the International Committee of the Fourth International’s campaign in defence of the WikiLeaks editor.

Postal workers defy Sri Lankan government and continue national strike

By our correspondents, 23 June 2018

Four thousand postal workers protested in central Colombo on Monday to oppose government-imposed salary cuts and changes in recruitment policies.

Pickets in Sri Lanka and India demand freedom for Julian Assange

By our correspondents, 20 June 2018

The campaign to free Assange “is inseparably bound with the struggle for the defence of democratic rights and against the repression of the basic rights of the working class.”

Sri Lankan artists speak out in defence of Julian Assange

16 June 2018

Lakshman Mendis, Bertie B. Kudahetti, Ratnasiri Paranawithana and Bartholameuse Wimalaratne endorse the international campaign to free Julian Assange.

Fifty years of the Socialist Equality Party of Sri Lanka

Arm the working class with the program of socialist internationalism and with revolutionary leadership!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka), 16 June 2018

The fulcrum of the 50-year struggle of the RCL/SEP has been the fight for the political independence of the working class and the program of permanent revolution.

Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) to hold lectures to mark its 50th anniversary

By our reporters, 14 June 2018

The SEP lecture series will discuss the significance of the party’s half-century struggle for Trotskyism.

Free Julian Assange rallies called in Sri Lanka and India

7 June 2018

The SEP and supporters of the ICFI will demonstrate in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, and Sriperumbudur, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Sri Lanka: Filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage and author Aruna Premarathne endorse Julian Assange campaign

7 June 2018

“Only those who are anti-democratic or against humanity could say what Julian did is a crime.”

Sri Lankan workers and students defend Julian Assange

By our correspondents, 7 June 2018

Many of those who spoke to the WSWS compared the attacks on WikiLeaks to the Sri Lankan government’s measures against journalists.

Sri Lanka SEP files fundamental rights case against Colombo Municipal Council

By our correspondent, 6 June 2018

The legal action against the May Day meeting ban seeks to further expose the government’s anti-democratic attacks on working people.

One million Indian bank employees and thousands of Sri Lankan railway workers strike

By our correspondents, 1 June 2018

Industrial action has erupted across the subcontinent against government austerity measures.

Remembrance Day in Sri Lanka exposes dead end of Tamil nationalism

By K. Nesan, 1 June 2018

Tamil National Alliance officials were thrown out of the memorial of the May 18 massacre that ended of the Sri Lankan Civil War, as mass anger rises against the TNA.

Ex-Sri Lankan defence secretary calls for brutal big business regime

By Pani Wijesiriwardane, 29 May 2018

Gotabhaya Rajapakse is appealing to the ruling elite in preparation for the establishment of an even more authoritarian government.

Sri Lankan president showers praises on the military

By K. Ratnayake, 26 May 2018

President Sirisena used his addressing to an official celebration of the 2009 defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to eulogise the military and issue Sinhala chauvinist appeals.

Sri Lankan filmmaker Lester James Peries dies at 99

By Pani Wijesiriwardane and Gamini Karunatileka, 23 May 2018

Peries’s best films, like the great dramas directed by India’s Satyajit Ray and Japan’s Akira Kurosawa, have left their mark on Asian and world cinema.

A sweatshop for Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein

Sri Lanka: Kilinochchi garment workers denounce harsh working conditions

By R. Sudarshan and Vimal Rasenthiran, 22 May 2018

The MAS Holdings factories are sweatshops, established after the government’s bloody war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tami Eelam.

Nine years since Sri Lankan civil war ended in massacre of Tamils

By K. Nesan and V. Gnana, 18 May 2018

Thousands of people around the world are gathering today to mark the anniversary of one of the most infamous massacres of the 21st century.

Sri Lankan government imposes IMF-dictated increases on essential items

By Saman Gunadasa, 17 May 2018

The deeply-divided government has become a virtual prisoner of the IMF and its social austerity demands.

Thousands of Sri Lankan fishermen protest over fuel price rises

By our correspondents, 17 May 2018

Boycotts and strike action by fishermen are another expression of a growing anti-government movement of Sri Lankan workers and the poor.