From the Lanka Sama Samaja Party’s Great Betrayal to the founding of the RCL


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

From the Lanka Sama Samaja Party’s Great Betrayal to the founding of the RCL

Wije Dias

26 September 2018

This is the second in a series of articles published by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka to mark the 50th anniversary of its foundation in June 1968. Established as the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL), the Sri Lankan section of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), it was renamed the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in 1996. A statement has already been published to mark the RCL’s founding congress on June 16–17, 1968.

These articles will elaborate the RCL’s principled foundations and draw the essential political lessons from the struggle for these principles over the past 50 years. The RCL was founded on the program and perspective of socialist internationalism that the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, which claimed to be a Trotskyist party, had betrayed by entering the bourgeois government of Madam Sirima Bandaranaike in 1964.

Central to the work of the SEP has been the fight for Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution, which established that in countries of a belated capitalist development only the working class is capable of leading the struggle for the basic democratic and social rights of the workers and rural toilers as part of the fight for socialism internationally. These lessons are critical for the emerging struggles of the working class, not only in Sri Lanka, but throughout Asia and the world.

In the immediate aftermath of the Great Betrayal in June 1964, when the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) joined the bourgeois government of Sirima Bandaranaike, the political landscape of Sri Lanka was inundated with a flood of political confusion and…

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