National Sections of the L5I:

Sri Lanka: Protest against unlawful detention

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This is the text of the leaflet handed out by League members today in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, on a protest called against the detention of two members of the newly formed Movement for Peoples Struggle

Free Lalith and Kugan!  Defend democracy! Unite the working class!
Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Murugan were abducted from the streets of Jaffna in broad daylight on December 9. No one is in any doubt that they were seized by the security forces. No one is in any doubt that they were seized because they are members of the Movement for People's Struggle, MPS which recently split from the JVP. Lalith is an organiser for the MPS.
What is even worse is that few people are surprised at such an abduction. Mahinda Rajapaksa used his war against the Tamil nationalists as a justification for a secret war against anyone who dared to criticise him. Not only political activists but journalists and academics have been the victims of state repression.
Rajapaksa and his family were able to get away with this because they had the unswerving support, or at least the silent consent, of other major political forces in the country. The truth has to be faced: without that support and, in particular, the support of the JVP, Rajapaksa could not have consolidated his power.
Today, the JVP is split. The MPS has recognised that the collaboration, not only with Rajapaksa but before that with Chandrika, was wrong. They now criticise the war against the Tamils. Everyone knows that is why Lalith and Kugan were abducted, it is Rajapaksa's crude way of threatening not only the MPS but all who dare to criticise.
The Socialist Party of Sri Lanka welcomes the MPS change of direction, but it is surely only the very first step away from a political strategy that was wrong from start to finish. Comrades of the MPS should reject the entire policy of class collaboration that lay at the root of the JVP's politics. The workers and farmers of Sri Lanka will never free themselves from exploitation, unemployment, poverty and social inequality in alliance with political parties that represent those who exploit them. We will not even be able to achieve our democratic rights if we tie ourselves to the likes of the UNP.
For us, democratic rights are not just abstract ideals. We need our democratic rights, the right to organise in trades unions and political parties, the right to freedom of movement, the right to demonstrate, the right to publish freely, the right to strike, in order to be able to fight for our interests. For a living wage, for affordable housing, for work, for a future for our children! We cannot fight for such things in unity with those who exploit us!
The Socialist Party of Sri Lanka fully supports the campaign for the release of Lalith and Kugan - but also for the hundreds, even thousands, of Tamil civilians and volunteers who are still missing. We support all movements to defend and extend democratic rights for all who live and work in Sri Lanka. We believe only a united working-class party, leading a united trade union movement, can create a force powerful enough to achieve and defend these rights. Demonstrations will not be enough. We must rebuild working-class organisation across the country. Our only strength is collective strength, we are many, they are few.
Release all political prisoners! Defend democracy! For a new workers' party! For a Workers' and Farmers' Government!