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LSSP: 72 years of principled politics

The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) can look back with pride on 72 years of principled politics in the interest of Sri Lanka and its people.


Prof. Tissa Vitarana

It started the fight for independence through the Suriyamal Movement and its leaders were jailed by the British. Complete independence was achieved through the Republican Constitution drafted by one of our leaders Dr. Colvin R de Silva.

The LSSP also led the fight for welfare measures, such as free education and for the trade union and political rights that our people enjoy today.

The fight to eliminate poverty and injustice continues. While recognising that these objectives can be fully realised only in a socialist society throughout the world, in the interim the LSSP continues the fight to minimise poverty and injustice and to defend human and democratic rights.

Sri Lanka is a capitalist society within the framework of global capitalism dominated by Imperialism, led by the USA.

The economy of the world is controlled by the multinationals, most of which have their roots in the USA and other developed capitalists countries like Britain and Japan.

The growing crisis of capitalism has led to the US Empire seeking to increase the exploitation of Third World countries like Sri Lanka on the basis of "neoliberal ideology".

The World Bank, IMF and WTO are conniving in this, together with the local agents of the US Empire, the UNP led by Ranil Wickremasinghe in the case of Sri Lanka, along with local comprodore forces.

The latter include major sections of the capitalists class, bureaucrats and other elitist elements. The privately controlled media are also playing a major disrupting role.

The strategy of the neoliberal forces is to install a Government that would further their interests by any means, through the democratic process or outside it, to implement the "Re-awakening of Sri Lanka" policy of the 2001 - 2004 UNP government.

Such a Government would weaken the role of the State and strengthen that of the private sector, foreign more than local, and let the market forces that the multinationals control to take charge of the economy.

Profit making rather than the benefit of the people will be the basis for decisions. Our economy, even natural resources like water, will be sold to foreign multinationals and we will be more dependent on imports.

The rising cost of living and unemployment, together with the loss of land, will increase poverty and widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

The conspiracy to defeat the present government, making use of the rising oil and food prices, and restore the UNP to power to carry out these policies must be defeated. The 2008 budget has clearly discarded the neoliberal policies and continued the progressive nationalist economic objectives of the Mahinda Chinthanaya.

Development to reduce poverty and regional disparities are combined with increased welfare measures, and active intervention by the state to reduce the cost of living. The LSSP must join with the other parties in the Socialist Peoples Front (SPF) to ensure that these policies are properly implemented.

For example the revived cooperatives should be controlled by the consumers, and not just by the managers. There must be a drive to reduce corruption and waste at all levels.

Besides the introduction of new technology, such as computers, to improve the efficiency of the public service, the proposals of the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) to frame a new Constitution that gives power, funds and administrative support to the village and institutions of local government must be supported and implemented.

The people's participation through Jana Sabahas in the village and Advisory Committees in the work places has to be increased.

Science and Technology which are essential for economic development have to be promoted, in particular Nanotechnology and the Vidatha programme.

The LTTE which has been weakened by the counter attacks of the military is turning increasingly to terrorism and this in turn can disrupt civil life and the economy. The Tamil people should not be alienated and driven into the hands of the LTTE. The APRC proposals should address the grievances and meet the aspirations of the Tamil speaking people, as well as the Sinhalese.

If this is supported by the UNP and the SLFP then the Tamil people will have the confidence that it will be implemented, whichever Government is in power.

If then the LTTE persists with its separatist agenda, without coming seriously to peace talks causing more and more suffering, the Tamil people will move away from the LTTE, and it will be isolated, and it is then that it can be successfully defeated militarily.

The LSSP and the SPF have to play a leading role in ensuring that the APRC proposals are accepted by the people and properly implemented. The responsibility for solving the national question in this way and ensuring a lasting peace once again falls on the LSSP, which suffered so much in its efforts to prevent the conflict in the past.

The LSSP has to strengthen its Trade Unions, Youth, Students and Women's organizations and draw in the masses on the basis of its correct political programme to meet and overcome the tremendous challenges that lie ahead in the coming year. I am convinced that with its proud history the LSSP will grow and indeed succeed.

The writer is the leader of the LSSP and Minister of Science & Technology

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