Defeat the reactionary policy against the struggle for action committees!

By Colombo Action Committee

The letter published here was sent by the Colombo Action Committee to the General Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), Comrade Deepal Jayasekara and the editor of the Sinhala section of the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), Comrade Ratnayake on March 22, 2023. It has been irresponsibly ignored by those comrades.

This leadership has even rejected the interventions made by the Colombo Action Committee (CAC), in defense of the SEP’s democratic rights, against the attacks on the party on two previous occasions. Despite the above rejection, CAC, which regarded these attacks on the party members by the trade union leaders in front of the Fort railway station and on the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) and SEP comrades at Sri Jayewardenepura University, with the graveness they deserved, campaigned against the attacks by distributing leaflets among the workers and students. This is because the CAC has always been based on working class revolutionary principles.

CAC was built in the struggle for the perspectives presented by the Socialist Equality Party on July 20, 2022 during the mass movement that unfolded from April 2022. That perspective leaves no room for this kind of sectarianism. Sectarianism is a sign of no confidence in the working class. Action Committees are not formed by mere inducement of any party or organization. These committees,  as an objective necessity of the masses, should be built by engaging in struggle within the struggle of the workers and the oppressed. Nothing could be won without uniting a mass movement of action committees. For that, the widest democratic discussion within and among the action committees is extremely decisive. Those who do not believe in these principles, bureaucratically announce Action Committees and expect workers to join them. This is an illusion. They have forgotten that the language of the worker is the struggle.

We hope this letter will attract the attention of workers and other anti-capitalist masses. We do so just because it leads to a necessary discussion on the building of a mass movement against capitalism. 



Equality Party (Sri Lanka), and

Chief Editor

Socialist Web Site (Sri Lanka)

22 March 2023


Re. the
“Joint Statement” of the Action Committees of Sri Lanka

We write this letter to inform you that the statement published on the Sinhala section of the World Socialist Web Site  on 14 March 2023,  calling for a “united struggle against the government’s austerity measures”, was discussed by the Colombo Action Committee (CACPS) and to convey the conclusions made.

CACPS is committed to providing full active support to the said call.

The plan to organize the working class outside the trade unions, which are a major obstacle
to a united struggle, is a critical class requirement.

The governments and the ruling classes of all countries cannot tolerate parliamentary democracy too, any longer. The Sri Lankan government has already proven, time and again, by ignoring even its own superior court orders and relentlessly attacking public agitations and protests, that there is nothing left of the relatively peaceful coexistence.

Under these conditions, workers’ action committees have become a condition of  the very survival of the working class. They must be built and they can be built.

The CACPS was built upon the SEP-SL Statement dated 21 July 2022, after a long series of discussions. In establishing the CACPS, we studied in depth the lessons of the relevant history and the programme that is being implemented in the Auto Industry and in a number of other sectors with the support and guidance of the Socialist Equality Party of the United States. It arose out of the conscious
intervention into the intense class struggles that developed in Sri Lanka from April 2022.

We understand that the results of the CACPS campaigns for this programme among the anti-capitalist, working class and oppressed middle class groups are not the fruits of just CACPS’s work. The intensity of the class struggle and the necessary guidance provided  by the training gained from the long-term theoretical political work of the International Committee and its Sri Lanka section led to it.  All those who joined the CACPS at its inception were aware of and respected the struggle of the party.

It is with great regret that we have to remind you that every effort made by our committee to work in open solidarity with the struggle of the SEP has been arbitrarily thwarted by you. This time too, you have consciously worked to keep CACPS out, when issuing the joint statement of the action committees. What you have done thereby is to confirm that the assurance that you proclaimed in the said joint statement that “we are ready to give you our utmost support to form your own action committees” is also fake.

As soon as the Fisherfolk Action Committee of the Kytes Island in the North was established, we extended our arms of brotherhood and sent a congratulatory message to that committee. By refusing to publish it on the world socialist web site, you also rejected your proclaimed invitation made in your statement calling for a Democratic and Socialist Congress of the workers and rural masses. 

We believe that you have the honest intention to build Committees of Action. But the policies you are following are contrary to that need. Especially, while distancing the CACPS, which has already demonstrated its capability to fight very actively and firmly based on principles, you have chosen to refer in your statement to non-existent action committees and to ones that are still on the drawing boards but have not yet been built, and also have named loose relationships as action committees. It appears that,  while deceiving yourselves, you think that mentioning the names of  such fake action committees would serve as a ploy to win over workers.  You simply think that it is not a political crime because it would help foster the revolution against capitalism. This approach is wrong. According to Trotsky, it is a bureaucratic maneuver. Action committees can be formed primarily when the (working) class feels the  need for such a new tool. Objectively, it is now an essential requirement for the workers.

But, it is not possible to be convinced of and convince what the workers need, without intervening in the struggle. You missed that opportunity in the mass struggle that spread since last April. Your claim in the above statement about the non-existing action committees  “being  part” of the mass
uprising involving millions of workers and rural people is false to the core.  You knowingly fell into the trap of the hypocritical movement led
by reactionary gangs and parties that, “political parties are prohibited”, by declaring  bombastically , “even if others come
without names, we will come only with the name, not otherwise”, and thereby  missed the opportunity to intervene among the masses.

In behaving so, you allowed  the right-wing and pseudo-left to exploit the public anger and discontent at their own will and, thereby, you have betrayed the workers, oppressed youth, students and the urban and rural poor to these reactionary tendencies. You did not appreciate the strength of the party’s glorious history and the opportunity it was presented. We have realized that, today, your move to present fake action committees as real ones, instead of fighting to build genuine action committees, is the necessary consequence of these evasions. The
forerunners  of the Colombo Action Committee intervened in order not to let the opportunity presented by the class struggle go wasted, intending to
minimize, to the extent possible, the damage caused by your sectarian policy.

What is needed is not to stop at just blaming the pseudo-left, but to develop programmes and take actions against the programmes and actions of the pseudo-left. Instead, you call action committees a tactical tool for party recruitment, robbing the space for real action committees to emerge, and thereby create the conditions that prevent the growth of a broad mass movement. On top of the fact that this is a tactic of lying, it is a theoretical deviation and weakens the struggle for real action committees. 

However, we know that late party General Secretary, Comrade Wijay Dias, who opposed the suggestion of a section of the political committee that action committees should be formed only with the workers who have accepted the party’s perspective, questioned, if so, why not they be recruited directly into the party,  rather than form action committees.

The problem is that, instead of developing the struggle within the working class for the perspective needed to build workers’ action committees, you look for easy tricks. As we know very well, teacher groups that would have participated in the formation of action committees soon abandoned them because of these factors. The Action Committee for the Defence of freedom of Art and Expression, which was functioning successfully, was subjected to natural death by not convening meetings and not holding elections for officer bearers. This is a
criminal omission.

History punishes missed opportunities. If we do not correct mistakes as soon as possible and prevent omissions, we will be responsible for a historical mistake. Once again, we request that you find a way to work together to speedup and efficiently build a Democratic and Socialist Congress of action committees for the sake of essential and decisive unity of the working class. Let us also mention that CACPS is not sectarian and will not give up the struggle to build the Congress  for any reason whatsoever. We hope for a  prompt  response.

Fraternally ,

Wijesuriya, Secretary,


Colombo Action
Committee for People’s Struggles.

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