Only a socialist revolution can win the Tamils’ right to self-determination


THE News Line salutes the heroic self-sacrifice of the Tamil Tigers and the Tamil people as a whole.

They have fought and are fighting not just the Rajapakse regime, but the imperialist powers behind it, the US and UK governments that refused to go beyond words to deeds to stop the fighting, and allowed the Tamil masses to be slaughtered, and their leaders to be murdered under a white flag.

It was the US and UK who organised India, China, Russia and Israel to supply and re-supply the Sri Lankan armed forces with all of the equipment that they required to wage the war.

The US and UK governments see Sri Lanka as a valuable source of cheap labour and the strategic key to the domination of the Indian Ocean area. This is why they are determined to try to wipe out the Tigers.

India, Russia, and China, which have a number of oppressed nationalities in their territory, saw a victory for the Tigers as something which would encourage their oppressed nationalities to fight for their right to self-determination. This is why they would not even allow the war in Sri Lanka to be discussed on the UN Security Council.

Thus it was, and thus it will be.

Their political aim for Sri Lanka is to maintain the Rajapakse regime in power, but to seek to put in place some political institutions in the north of the island, that will have some very limited powers but which can be depicted as allowing the Tamil people some rights to run their own area, rather like the power sharing assembly in the North of Ireland.

There, former national liberation fighters have been got to sit in a British local government and take up some of the responsibility of running it for the British crown and the British ruling class.

This is the most that the US and the UK will do for the Tamil people. Offer them a slightly better class of prison, that is if Rajapakse can be persuaded to concede even that.

If he won’t, then London and Washington will just shrug their shoulders and say that they have done all that they can be expected to do, and carry on as before.

The essence of the present situation is that the Tamil masses under the leadership of the Tigers fought as heroically as was possible, they could not have done more, and were in the end trapped by the Rajapakse regime utilising the forces provided by the capitalist and Stalinist governments.

There is not the slightest doubt that the struggle for Tamil self-determination will continue. The question is how will it triumph.

It can only triumph by undermining the Rajapakse regime. This means uniting the Tamil and Sinhalese workers in a struggle to overthrow capitalism in Sri Lanka and establish a workers and Small Farmers government that will not just run the capitalists and all the imperialist agents off the island, but will create the conditions where the Tamil people can decide whether they want to establish a separate state or not.

In fact, the worldwide capitalist crisis has doubled the cost of living and the numbers of unemployed in Sri Lanka in the last year.

This has thrust the trade unions into struggle with the Rajapakse regime.

The government has bankrupted itself with the costs of the war and now seeks a loan from the IMF that will only be delivered with the most draconian strings attached, that will further pauperise the masses.

Under these conditions, the Tamil and Sinhalese workers and poor have everything in common with each other and nothing in common with the Sri Lankan ruling class.

The way forward therefore, is to build a party to unite the working class of the island, and to organise a general strike that will bring down the Rajapakse regime and create the conditions for a workers and small farmers government to take power. The Tamil right to self-determination will only be won through a socialist revolution.