In Depth



History of Sama Samaja Party

In 1964 when old Sama Samaja leaders decided to join a coalition with the S.L.F.P, Many, who opposed the decision, left the party. However few young members remained and later some of them decided to organize as an opposition and fight back within the party. This slowly developed as a separate group at Peradeniya. On the issue of coalition and opportunist politics they clashed with older members led by Doric de Zoysa. Some of them were members of the Peradeniya campus. Vickramabahu, Paul, Koswatte, Chris, and Kodikara were some of the prominent members. They participated in the campus party branch and tried to rally round the pro SAMA SAMAJA students on a critical programe. On that basis some of them were members of the" Provisional Council" which led the 1965 student struggle. It was a remarkable event which gave them an experience in radical student politics and also the opportunity to discuss Marxist theory.


The first significant step in this political development was the takeover of Janatha Thruway from the brake away Sama Samaja group, in 1967. By that time the brake away (revolutionary) Sama Samaja wing has gone into crisis after voting with the UNP to topple the coalition government. Though they help to topple the government there was no perspective to take the masses forward. It appeared to the radical masses as a step to strengthen the reaction. UNP led coalition came to power and Sama Samaja ® collapsed. Thus Peradeniya Sama Samaja {r} group was in disarray with some of them joining us. This gave us the opportunity to take over the “Janatha Tharunayo”. It was a registered youth league at the Peradeniya campus and we renewed the registration. There after "Janatha Tharunayo" was used for discussions and mass work. Those who took a lead in these activities included Vickramabahu, Koswatte, Kodikara, Paul David, Sevalee De Abrew, Chris Rathnayake, Vijaya Kumar, and Siripala Jayasinghe.


We were able to organize two important discussions; firstly with Ernest Mendel as the speaker the other Tony Banda as the speaker. We were getting interested in the fourth international. Ernest Mendel came to Arts Theater at Peradeniya campus. He was questioned by Healyite group. There was a clash between our group and the Healyites. But it was settled and we agreed to invite Tony Banda too. Both meetings and the discussion s that t followed improved our knowledge. We wanted to remain within the LSSP and build a left opposition. Bahu left for further studies i9n England and the responsibility of developing international connections was entrusted to him. At Cambridge Bahu met Shantha who made a significant contribution to the development of theoretical foundations of the Vama tendency. Also he contacted fourth international groups working at Cambridge but no real connection w3as established with any international tendency. During this period Peradeniya group developed further, making contacts with Sumanasiri Liyange, Lal Wijenayake act. But it was not a well organized group but a tendency around Janatha Tharunayo.

This radical tendency took the first step toward an organized group on 5th December 1970 when Vickramabahu, Sumanasiri, Lal Wijenayake, Vijaya Kumar, Koswatte, Newton Padmasiri, Kamal Siriwardana, Nalin De Silva met at Akbar — Nell Hall Peradeniya. They decided to work as "Makswadi Adyapana Kavaya"- Marxist study circle ( MSC) - and to published "Markswadaya" as the organ of the group. They also decided to meet regularly and to organize a campaign against the idea of the leadership within the party. Five 5 ISSUES OF MARKSWADAYA was published before the JVP led struggle. In this period prier to the insurrection, group did it best to struggle with the JVP petty bourgeoisie ideology while continuing its struggle against the coalitionist leadership. We had debates inside the LSSP about the perspective of the party leadership at the same time outside the party in particular among students we exposed the adventurous nature of their politics. We explained that their politics are closer to the Narodniks than the Bolsheviks. Also we opposed the claim by t6he old left that t they are fascists backed by the CIA. During this period Chris Madapatha and Kumar David started working with the group.

To be continued…..




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