May Day message from Sri Lanka

JVP calls for Sri Lankan workers to unify and struggle for socialist transformation in answer to the recent barbaric attacks on their country.

Proletarian writers

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Proletarian writers

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The following message was sent to our party by the political bureau of the JVP (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna) in Sri Lanka.


International Workers’ Day, which falls on 1 May, is a day commemorated by the working people, including the downtrodden masses, with dignity. May Day is the day the working masses show their strength, unity and militancy, and also their readiness to struggle for their rights and for a new society.

International Workers’ Day was created to commemorate the workers’ leaders who laid down their lives in the struggle launched by workers in Chicago, 1886, against the oppression and suppression of capitalism while demanding an eight-hour working day. The first of May was named as International Workers’ Day by the first congress of the Second International, which met in Paris in 1889. Hence, May Day is a day that belongs to the working masses led by the working-class and left movements.

This year the downtrodden people led by the working masses in Sri Lanka have to commemorate May Day amidst the shock of the carnage that was committed on 21 April. As such, May Day commemorations this year have to be held in a restricted atmosphere without demonstrations and large rallies. Encountering such a situation in a country that has been made insecure by the capitalist crisis and the incapacity of the capitalist government is not strange at all.

However, at this moment, when International Workers’ Day is commemorated, imperialism and capitalism throughout the world, and the capitalist socio-economic system are displaying their failure and vileness more than ever before. The capitalists, bringing in various laws and regulations, attempt to abolish the eight-hour working day won with their lives by the working masses in Chicago for their brethren.

It has been already proved through practice that the rights of the working masses and the downtrodden people cannot be protected within capitalism, and even the rights that have been won are being abolished. As such, the working masses have no other alternative other than defeating capitalism on a global scale and organising themselves to bring in an administration of the working masses.

At the moment, the capitalist system globally and locally is confronted with an unsolvable crisis. The day by day escalating capitalist crisis piles up more and more burdens on the working masses. They are being burdened with more and more taxes, termination of employment, and slashing of salaries and rights, making their lives extremely hard and miserable.

On the other hand, the imperialists, led by the USA, in a bid to plunder the resources of countries around the world (especially the oil resources in the middle east) and to sell weapons to them, continue to pit countries against each other, to invade them and to threaten them. Imperialists, who sustain extremist cliques and engage in terrorism to carry out their agenda, and who break into other countries on the pretext of suppressing terrorism, are dragging the capitalist world towards barbarism again.

It is the innocent, unarmed masses throughout the world who are distressed as a result of the barbaric murders of religious and racial lunatic, extremist cliques, which crop up because of the wretchedness of capitalism and are sustained by imperialism to be used for its sinister moves.

This state of things exists throughout the world. What surfaced recently in Sri Lanka is the barbarism of these extremists. It is the general public, including the working masses, who suffer from this insanity. However, it is the imperialists, the capitalist ruling clique and various extremist reactionary groups who gain advantage from these barbaric attacks. That is why it is necessary for the working masses to act with responsibility at this juncture.

In such a state, it is the downtrodden people led by the working masses who have to come forward against imperialism and barbarism and take responsibility for social progress. As such, there is no alternative left for the downtrodden masses other than to organise themselves to defeat imperialism and capitalism globally and give new life for the struggle for socialism.

This should be the determination of the working masses throughout the world on May Day.

Today, Sri Lanka too is subjected to a gigantic financial crisis which is bogging the country down. The massive debt burden the country has been dragged into, the loss of foreign trade and the dwindling foreign reserves have depreciated the rupee, paving the path for a gigantic crisis. The present regime, which has submerged itself in plundering, bankrupt neoliberalism, is selling national resources and signing various agreements with imperialists to create an environment for the imperialists and their lackeys to manipulate our lands and resources according to their whims and fancies.

Also, they have signed a defence agreement with the USA that allows US troops to use our land for military purposes, betraying the sovereignty of the country for a few million dollars. Further, the government has thrust the whole burden of the economic crisis onto the masses while slashing their rights. The rulers, who turn a deaf ear to the just demand for a daily wage of Rs 1,000 for estate workers, waste billions of public money on their own existence.

The capitalist economic crisis that exists in the country has now developed into a political crisis. There is a severe conflict within the government. Following the failed conspiracy to grab power by Maithri and Mahinda in October last year, the contradictions in the government have intensified. It is as if there is no government in the country at present.

Because of this situation, it is evident that the carnage that occurred last month could not have been prevented, despite the fact that information regarding planned suicide bomb attacks had been received. This shows that capitalist administrations are not capable of finding solutions for any issue in the country, nor can they affirm the protection of the people.

What do the extremely grave socio-economic-political and cultural crisis that has surfaced currently in Sri Lanka and the bitter experiences of the 71-year-long rotating politics indicate? That capitalism in Sri Lanka can never create anything new for the masses, and that this impotent capitalist system should be changed.

This, again and again, emphasises the need for a new socio-economic transformation for a new socialist society to replace the bankrupt capitalist state. The UNP, the SLFP or other small cliques and groups can never find genuine solutions for the present crisis of capitalism, or bring economic development or progress to the country. It is the working masses, led by the working class and the downtrodden people, who should take the initiative.

As such, a gigantic people’s power, a people’s movement and a people’s centre, under the leadership of the JVP, with the working masses as its vanguard, should be built to defeat the bankrupt capitalist system and the bankrupt capitalist political parties, to create a people’s administration that would establish a new socialist society to achieve social justice and national unity.

This people’s movement, which is already being built, should be strengthened with resoluteness and dedication. It is only by building such a people’s power, making it victorious and bringing about a new socio-economic transformation, that the downtrodden people, including the working masses, and all progressive people could win their rights, and a better tomorrow could be created for the masses.

Hence, on this May Day, we proclaim that capitalism could be defeated and a new just society could be built, and we call upon all Sinhalese, Tamil, muslim, Malay and Burgher Sri Lankans, including working masses, farmers, fishermen, young people, women, students, professionals, scholars, intellectuals, writers, artists, environmentalists, journalists, humanitarians, progressives and democrats to come forward and rally with the JVP to totally stop communal clashes and extremist barbaric moves, to defeat the political deceivers who create dictators, and to struggle for a people’s administration that could create a new society after defeating capitalism.