Wame Handa (‘Left Voice’) welcomes the decision last week, in a joint meeting with leading members of the Samajawadi Pakshaya (SP – ‘Socialist Party of Sri Lanka’), to commit together towards building a new organisation of revolutionary socialists.
From August onwards, the leading bodies of both organisations will meet jointly, to collectively determine our political perspectives and interventions in the class struggle, with the aim of formally dissolving the existing groups and declaring a larger and stronger one in December.
Wame Handa was founded on the basis of promoting unity over division among socialists. From 2012 onwards, before our exclusion from the Nava Sama Samaja Pakshaya (‘New Socialist Party’) two years later, we engaged in dialogue and common initiatives with the Peratugami Samajawadi Pakshaya (‘Frontline Socialist Party’), when these comrades split in a leftward direction from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP – ‘Peoples Liberation Front’).
This framework also attracted groupuscles from the JVP tradition, Maoists, Trotskyists and Post-Marxists. While these efforts did yield closer political and activist relations within a weak, fragmented, ageing, and male-dominated far-left, it did not lead to renewal of organisational forms and political identities nor attract youth and women.
Both Wame Handa and the Samajawadi Pakshaya (SP) originate from the Nava Sama Samaja (‘New Socialist’) tradition. The comrades of the SP left the NSSP in 1989 and became part of the United Socialist Party (affiliated to the Committee for a Workers International).
Subsequent to differences within that organisation, the SP was formed in 2006 and later recognised and registered as a political party by state authorities. It publishes a Sinhala-language newspaper Asani (‘Thunder); has members in the semi-rural South-West, as well as Tamil-speaking North; and leadership of a public health sector union. In the 2015 Presidential Election, it ran the only woman candidate, who campaigned on an ecological and social justice platform.
Following continuous political discussions on key issues including the Tamil national question, and based on the objective reality of a deteriorating relationship of forces for the working class and the oppressed, as well as ongoing resistance by older and newer social movements, Wame Handa and the Samajawadi Pakshaya have resolved to regroup in a common organisation of over 100 members.
We will have a common monthly newspaper from September onwards. The name of the common organisation is yet to be determined but will signify its anti-capitalist identity. The main political and organisational documents will be debated in advance of the joint membership conference scheduled for December. We are consciously giving up our names and newspapers, in order to grasp something more meaningful.
The burden of yesterday weighs heavily, but both organisations look hopefully to tomorrow and the prospect of the mass party of workers and the oppressed, to represent and organise them in the struggle for a democratic, feminist, ecological and socialist future. We call upon others to also answer this call.
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