Sri Lanka: The peace process and the cost of the war

"The peace process is the most important issue in Sri Lanka today. The war shows the incapability of the capitalist class to develop society. It is extremely weak and dependent on reactionary elements to stay in power and win elections", explains Siritunga Jayasuriya from the CWI section United Socialist Party (USP).

"For this, the capitalists have payed a high price. Now they are against the wall. There is huge pressure from the US to reach an agreement, increasing since the 11 September 2001 with the US aiming to increase its influence on the island. It is no coincidence that US ships have increased their frequency close to Sri Lanka. It is a warning to the Tamil Tigers (LTTE)".

"The war is a cancer for the capitalists. If you have cancer you have to sacrifice a part of your body to survive."

"The war has been going on for two decades. The country is poor, but has spent huge amounts on the war, which is the same a burning the money! 18 per cent of the state budget goes to the military, equal to 5,8 per cent of GDP."

"The pressure has been huge from the IMF and the US to find a solution. However, the northern part of the country is de facto under the control of the LTTE. The army can’t leave the barracks in the region."

"UNP, a reactionary right wing party, won the elections in December 2001. They promised a solution of the war. For the whole of 2002 there been a ceasefire, which has been appreciated by people who don’t have to be afraid of bombs all the time. People who have been able to return to normal life, are extremly tired of the war, and both sides have realised that they can’t win the war."

"We’ll see about the result of the negotiations, if there really will be an agreement. It it not the first time they negotiate. Earlier attempts have failed because of the weakness of the capitalist class which is under pressure from sinhalese communalists."

"Yet, the ceasefire is a big improvement. Now it is easier to raise the struggle for social issues. Now we can have class struggle instead of communalist blood bath. The class struggle will play the main role in weakening the position of the communalists. Now we can conduct campaigns against privatisations in both the south and the north."

"USP defends the rights of the tamil speaking, including the right of self determination. We have a relative big influence among tamils because of out tiredlell struggle for the rights of the tamils on the southern part of the country."

"When the tamils held their famous press conference in the Wanni djungle their leader was asked if he was against globalisation and the fri market. ’No, we welcome it’, was his reply. The programme of the LTTE means no solution of the burning issues of the Tamil people."

"I met the leader of the LTTE in Jaffna during our visit there. I said that we supported their struggle for self determination, but that they have to look at situation in Tamil Nadu in India. How many are not starving there? How many are not unemployed? How will they solve it? He answered that their model was Singapore or Malaysia!"

"Our position is that a real solution only can be reached by a socialist revolution, where all peoples have right to self determination and can be united in a socialist federation."

"We now hope to establish USP in the tamil speaking areas. We ahve two party branches in the north and one in the east (where tamil speaking muslims live)."

The United Socialist Party (USP) is the CWI section in Sri Lanka.

Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (RS), Socialist Justice Party, is the CWI section in Sweden.

The article was first published on 19 December in Offensiv, the weekly paper of RS

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December 2002