Sri Lanka and India

And it was not just in Europe, where our main base was, that we began to have success. We had a very important Sri Lankan contact in London who was in touch was a big left opposition that was developing within the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). This was the largest Trotskyist party in the world, with a great revolutionary tradition, but whose leadership had moved in an opportunist direction by joining the popular fronts with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) after 1964. Through this Sri Lankan comrade, we made contact with this organization led by Siritunga Jarysuriya (Siri), Vasudeva Nanayaika (Vasu), and Vickremabahu Karunaratne (Bahu). Accordingly, Ted Grant made a visit to Sri Lanka in 1976, which led to closer political relations with these comrades. He also made a visit to India to a much looser group of ‘Marxists’ who had come into contact with us. I subsequently visited Sri Lanka in 1977 and the tendency led by Siri, Vasu and Bahu were won to the CWI, bringing with them a significant group of workers numbering hundreds. In effect, all the best trade union leaders who were in the LSSP came over to this trend, which constituted itself, after they were formally expelled from the LSSP, as the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP).

I also made a visit to India with Bahu after I visited Sri Lanka in April 1977. The discussions that we had with a group of “Marxists”, based in Bangalore, proved to be completely abortive. This grouping of pseudo-intellectuals were welded into their armchairs, contemplating their navels even more than Buddha himself. We immediately turned our backs on them but, fortunately, made contacts with members of the former-Maoist mass Communist Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – the CPI(M). From the contacts we made in these discussions with very good, active workers in the unions and the CPI(M), we established the first basis of our Indian organization. Roger Silverman subsequently made many visits to India and at one stage lived for quite a long period of time in the sub-continent.