A programme for fighting back

A programme for fighting back

8 February 2022
Petition to
Trade Unions and
Signatures: 699Next Goal: 1,000
Support now

Why this petition matters

Started by United Socialists

A programme for fighting back

Sri Lanka is on the verge of economic collapse. The current government of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and its capitalist allies do not see any way out of the current crisis because they limit their solutions within the narrow framework of capitalism. 

Attacking the wages and conditions of workers and farmers, cutting the public services, or selling parts of the country to the lenders (China, India, and the West) is not the solution. All this would only make the crisis worse. The mass of the population is facing acute food shortages in addition to the health crisis. Over half a million people have been pushed back into poverty in the last years alone. 

The government is focused on finding a way to defend the profits of a tiny minority of capitalists and repay enormous debts that it has accumulated. 

Workers, farmers, students, and all oppressed sections in Sri Lanka are not responsible for the current crisis and should not be asked to pay for it. 

Instead, an emergency economic action plan needs to be implemented.

  • We demand that the government refuse to pay the foreign debt, implement capital controls, and invest new capital in essential industries and food production. 
  • Stop all privatization attempts, nationalize all banks and key industries immediately, and bring them under the democratic control of elected workers. 
  • Implement price controls on all essential commodities. Cancel all micro debts.
  • Clear all wage arrears to teachers and all other workers. Increase the basic minimum wage and implement it as a standard for all workers, including plantation and Free Trade Zone workers, as demanded by the unions. 

Neither the current government nor any other establishment parties will fully implement such a programme. 

Some temporary and limited concessions could be made to pacify the opposition. But it will not be enough to meet the needs of the tens of thousands of poor and low-paid. Establishment parties may have a difference in terms of who should be the lenders, but they are all united in carrying on deep-diving into the debt trap by borrowing more and more capital. 

There is no alternative opposition that exists. 

We reject the bogus promises of 'recovery.' All sections of the establishment are just selling empty hopes based on some imaginary development of the economy that might take place in the future. But a whole generation is being shattered by the economic and health crises. 

In addition, the current dictatorial government is on the offensive against all democratic rights. It is brutally suppressing any meaningful opposition that might emerge. There is an increase in the repression of political activists, especially trade unionists. 

The use of the military in public activities has been on the increase. 

The regime is bent on strengthening the hated Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in the guise of amending it. We demand it to be completely abolished forthwith.

The political establishment will unite together with the capitalists - a minority - to make sure they don't lose their profits or their power. They will also use every division that already exists in society to further divide and control any opposition. The current government promotes communal propaganda and attacks Tamils and Muslims.

We must come forward and build our strength. 

We appeal to all union and student bodies and socialist organisations to come forward and agree on building a mass opposition movement that includes Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim workers, including plantation workers. 

We must unite together on a basic programme including the demands outlined above. 

We appeal to all workers and students to form committees in the workplaces and the university communities to link up and mobilise mass opposition. 

A national assembly needs to be created, consisting of rank and file trade unionists, socialist organisations, and other activists elected from the workplaces, the neighbourhoods, and the regions, to prepare for struggle.

Support now
Signatures: 699Next Goal: 1,000
Support now