The 50th anniversary of the founding of the SEP (Sri Lanka)
The lessons of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party’s Great Betrayal
Rohantha De Silva and Vilani Peiris
24 September 2018
This is the first 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.
The Revolutionary Communist League (RCL) was founded in 1968 in the political struggle against the betrayal of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), which, in July 1964, joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-led government of Prime Minister…