With a deep sense of loss, the editors of Fourth International pay tribute to the memory of Comrade Keerthi Balasuriya, the general secretary of the Revolutionary Communist League, Sri Lankan section of the International Committee of the Fourth International. His sudden death on the morning of December 18, 1987, at the age of 39, has deprived the Fourth International of the revolutionary services of one of the most outstanding representatives of Trotskyism in the postwar period.
From the age of 16, Comrade Balasuriya devoted his life entirely to the construction of the world party of socialist revolution. Even before his twentieth birthday, he was selected by his comrades to assume the leadership of the Revolutionary Communist League upon its foundation in 1968. During the years that followed, Keerthi demonstrated that he had thoroughly and profoundly assimilated the theoretical foundations of Marxism. As an interpreter of Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution and Lenin’s writings on the right of nations to self-determination, Keerthi was without equal.
His entry into political life coincided with the combined betrayals of the Socialist Workers Party in the United States and the Lanka Sama Samaja Party in Ceylon. These interrelated events—the former’s desertion from the International Committee in 1963 and the latter’s entry into a bourgeois coalition government in 1964—exposed the counterrevolutionary role of Pabloite revisionism. Drawing the lessons of these betrayals, Comrade Keerthi became an implacable enemy of opportunism, which he identified as the mortal enemy of the working class.
It was not accidental that he was among the first to detect the symptoms of Pabloite revisionism within the British section of the International Committee. As early as 1968, the RCL protested against the publication of an editorial in Fourth International, written by Michael Banda, which glorified the politics of Ho Chi Minh and the National Liberation Front. Three years later, in December 1971, Keerthi wrote extensive critiques of the support given by the Socialist Labour League (predecessor of the Workers Revolutionary Party) to the Indian invasion of East Pakistan (as the area was known prior to the establishment of Bangladesh).
As a result of these writings, the SLL leadership became convinced that the Sri Lankan Trotskyists would never reconcile themselves to the revisionist course upon which it had consciously embarked. Thus, Banda, Gerry Healy and Cliff Slaughter initiated a systematic campaign to isolate, discredit and destroy the Revolutionary Communist League. These efforts have been exhaustively documented in issues of the Fourth International published since the International Committee split with the Healy-Slaughter-Banda gang in 1985-86.
Comrade Keerthi made his greatest contribution to the construction of the Fourth International during the last two years of his life, that is, in the struggle to defeat the various renegade factions of the Workers Revolutionary Party and purge the International Committee of the opportunism which had been relentlessly propagated by Healy, Banda and Slaughter. After more than a decade during which the WRP traitors had cynically derided all concern for principles as “propagandism,” Comrade Keerthi was determined to resume the building of the International Committee upon the foundations of the historically-developed program of Marxism.
He was determined to once again establish the unchallenged authority of revolutionary Marxism inside the International Committee. As far as Keerthi was concerned, this required the prosecution of a merciless political struggle against Healy, Banda and Slaughter and the systematic exposure of their betrayals of the Fourth International.
In October 1985, Comrade Keerthi flew from Colombo to London to participate in an emergency meeting of the International Committee that had been called to deal with the crisis that had erupted inside the Workers Revolutionary Party with the exposure of Healy’s gross abuse of authority and the nationalist opportunism of the entire WRP leadership. Upon his arrival in London, he learned for the first time of the criticisms which the American Trotskyists of the Workers League had made of the WRP leadership between 1982 and 1984. After studying the relevant documents, Keerthi immediately declared his agreement with them. While endorsing the expulsion of Healy from the Workers Revolutionary Party, he insisted upon a full examination of the theoretical and programmatic roots of the WRP’s degeneration.
Keerthi rejected the fraudulent banner of “revolutionary morality,” which Slaughter and Banda cynically unfurled after Healy’s expulsion in order to prevent any further analysis of the political issues underlying the organization’s unprecedented collapse. In December 1985, after the completion of the International Committee’s interim report which documented the WRP leadership’s systematic betrayal of principles, Comrade Keerthi voted for the suspension of the WRP from the ICFI. He rejected the hypocritical claims of Slaughter and Banda that they were without any political responsibility for the policies pursued by their organization during the previous decade.
Less than two months later, on February 8, 1986, Comrade Keerthi was among those physically barred from entering the scheduled Eighth Congress of the Workers Revolutionary Party by police, called by Slaughter and his henchmen to keep out all WRP members and international comrades who were supporters of the ICFI. Later that day, after these revolutionary internationalists reassembled at another venue to plan the refounding of the British section, Comrade Keerthi brought greetings to their meeting.
In light of this well-known history and the thoroughly documented legacy of Comrade Keerthi’s implacable war against the WRP renegades, it was truly amazing to read the front-page notice of his death which appeared in the January 16, 1988 issue of Workers Press, the organ of the Slaughterites. It brazenly declared:
It was a great regret to us that the split engineered by US Workers League secretary David North stopped the discussion we would have had with Comrade Balasuriya, and the contribution he could have made to rebuilding the Fourth International. Notwithstanding our recent differences, we extend our condolences to Keerthi’s family, friends, and comrades in the RCL.
Even now one still finds oneself astonished by the shamelessness with which Slaughter and his associates lie and falsify the historical record. This type of lying is, as Trotsky explained, only possible in a political context, in which the needs of social reaction compel those who are its instruments to employ falsification on a gigantic scale. Every member of the Workers Revolutionary Party who passed through the events of October 1985 to February 1986 knows, of course, that the statement in the Workers Press is a lie. But they will not protest against Slaughter’s lie, because, as far as they are concerned, it is just one more necessary attack against the Fourth International. Having hated Comrade Keerthi while he was alive, and having worked for years to physically destroy the organization which he led, the Workers Revolutionary Party has no compunction about trying to exploit his death for its politically reactionary purposes.
During the last two years of his life, Comrade Keerthi devoted all his energies to defending the principles and traditions of the Fourth International. It would therefore be impermissible for us to allow his memory and revolutionary honor to be besmirched by the Workers Press’s aim that he, had it not been for the machinations of David North, would have collaborated with enemies of the working class like Slaughter in their attempt to destroy the revolutionary workers’ movement. Therefore, it is worthwhile to recall the essential facts surrounding the split of 1985-86.
On the very eve of the WRP’s notorious Eighth Congress, the Workers Press published Banda’s “27 Reasons Why the International Committee Should Be Buried Forthwith” in which he declared that “in order to build the FI it is necessary—as an indispensable precondition—to bury the IC. To let it fester for another single day would be tantamount to the worst betrayal of Trotsky and Trotskyism.”
That declaration was enthusiastically supported by Slaughter, who wrote shortly afterwards: “I will say that Mike struck a blow against North’s ludicrous claim for continuity, and centralized authority.”
One month after the split, the Workers Revolutionary Party adopted a resolution in which it declared that “it rejects the traditions of the ICFI as anticommunist and considers its claim to be the World Party of Socialist Revolution as having no basis in reality.”
Just a few weeks after this resolution was passed, Michael Banda and David Good—the authors of this resolution and Slaughter’s closest collaborators in organizing the split from the International Committee—resigned from the WRP and declared themselves open supporters of Stalinism and the Soviet bureaucracy. Their evolution vindicated the warnings made by the International Committee that the attack against the International Committee was organized by Banda and Slaughter on behalf of the most reactionary political agencies of world imperialism.
Inasmuch as Slaughter would now like to claim, despite all this, that Keerthi was really opposed to the struggle against the WRP’s betrayal of Trotskyism, let us review the writings of Comrade Keerthi on the subject of the split and the politics of Banda and Slaughter. On March 5, 1986, he wrote an article exposing the fact that Banda, who was in Sri Lanka and still the general secretary of the WRP, had held friendly meetings with Colvin De Silva and other members of the LSSP, and that he had been invited by Hector Abeywardene to rejoin the LSSP.
It is entirely in order that H. Abeywardene, one of the prominent liquidationists in the old LSSP, who was responsible for the liquidation of the Bolshevik-Leninist Party of India (then the section of the Fourth International in India) into Jayaprakash Narayan’s Praja Socialist Party after the Second World War, and who publicly declared that the biggest ‘mistake’ of the LSSP was ever to have joined the FI, should now be in solidarity with M. Banda, who has denounced as futile the founding of the FI itself and its history, including the history of the ICFI from 1953.
This invitation was extended to Banda when he recently visited the LSSP headquarters. Having deserted his own organization at the height of a grave political crisis, Banda is currently in Sri Lanka hobnobbing with all the diseased anti-Trotskyist elements, hoping to assemble a menagerie of renegades against the ICFI under the false label of ‘defenders of the Transitional Program.’
Banda’s response to the LSSP invitation has been that only the lack of Sri Lankan citizenship stands in his way. He agreed, however, to meet the LSSP boss Colvin R. De Silva, to continue with ‘discussions.’
Banda’s rendezvous with these treacherous enemies of the working class, against whom he fought since 1953, will confirm him as an unregenerate apostate, rarely witnessed in the history of the working-class movement.
Keerthi concluded his article with the observation, “Any self-respecting revolutionary organization would consider the heinous actions of M. Banda sufficient grounds to throw him out of its ranks.
“We are eagerly waiting to see what attitude C. Slaughter, D. Bruce and Co., the political cohorts of Banda, will now take.”
Of course, these political cohorts never said anything about Banda’s meetings with the LSSP, and, in fact, even kept their mouths shut about Banda’s resignation from the WRP and his turn to Stalinism until several months later, when the ex-general secretary turned up on a public Stalinist platform to denounce Trotsky and Trotskyism.
In the months which followed the split, Keerthi began to trace the political background of the WRP’s betrayal of Trotskyism. He produced documents, which had been suppressed for more than a decade by Healy, Banda and Slaughter, recording the struggle which had been taken up by the Revolutionary Communist League against their complete betrayal of Marxist principles during the Indo-Pak War of 1971. These documents proved that as far back as the early 1970s, the leadership of the SLL had abandoned the fundamental theoretical and political conceptions of permanent revolution.
Keerthi produced, among other things, a letter which he had written to Cliff Slaughter on December 16, 1971, opposing the SLL’s declaration of critical support for the Indian invasion of East Pakistan. Appalled by the SLL’s slavish glorification of the Indian bourgeoisie, Keerthi warned:
India’s war against Pakistan is not a liberation war. The aim of this liberation is to establish a dictatorship within India itself, well equipped to suppress the national and working class struggles. Indira Gandhi, while shouting about the repression carried out by Khan, has suppressed all the democratic rights of the Indian working class and the oppressed masses through emergency rule and attempts to annex Kashmir and E. Bengal to India.
It is not possible to support the national liberation struggle of the Bengali people and the voluntary unification of India on socialist foundations without opposing the Indo-Pakistan war. Without opposing the war from within India and Pakistan it is completely absurd to talk about a unified socialist India which alone can safeguard the right of self-determination of the many nations in the Indian subcontinent.
When Cliff Slaughter introduced his now notorious theory of “equal degeneration” inside the International Committee, he never bothered to refer to the RCL’s opposition to the SLL’s reactionary stand on the Indo-Pak War of 1971. Nor did Slaughter acknowledge that he, along with Banda and Healy, sought to punish Keerthi for his political criticisms by isolating the RCL within the ICFI and seeking to destroy it.
In September 1986, Comrade Keerthi produced a lengthy document exposing the utterly criminal—there is no other word that can be used—record of the WRP leadership in relation to the work of the Revolutionary Communist League. This document, reprinted in the March 1987 issue of Fourth International (pp. 52-68), presented a harrowing account of how the WRP leadership had worked consciously for the physical destruction of the RCL and its cadre. Entitled “The Tamil Struggle and the Treachery of Healy, Banda and Slaughter,” the document showed step by step how the WRP, while betraying the national struggle, collaborated with the most reactionary chauvinist forces to smash up the RCL.
It is impossible within the space allotted here to recount all the facts relating to the WRP’s criminal conspiracy against the RCL and Comrade Keerthi—how it had insisted in 1972 that the RCL change its line from support of the Tamil nation’s right to self-determination to opposition, how it agreed to accept a return to the correct line only after the Tamil national movement had obtained international prominence, and then how, despite this formal correction, it worked with anti-Tamil racists to break up the RCL leadership.
The most horrifying chapter in this history of political criminality was still to be written. In the summer of 1983, the UNP government organized a wave of anti-Tamil terror which resulted in the massacre of thousands of Tamils who lived in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. The RCL was the only political party that fought against the terror and continued to uphold, in the midst of the pogrom, the right of the Tamils to self-determination.
What did the WRP do? On August 10, 1983, the News Line carried a comment written by Michael Banda which blandly declared:
It is possible and even probable, that the police and the army have used the arbitrary and uncontrolled power granted to them under the emergency laws to kill our comrades and destroy our press.
Reviewing this statement, Comrade Keerthi pointed out, “It was astonishing because, having assumed that the RCL cadre was physically destroyed by the enormous escalation of racist violence, the WRP did absolutely nothing to raise even a finger in defense of the Sri Lankan Trotskyists. Not even a note of protest was handed over to the authorities.”
No other conclusion can be drawn except that the WRP leadership privately welcomed the possibility that Keerthi had been killed and the RCL smashed. It would mean that there was one less obstacle to their conscious plans to liquidate the International Committee of the Fourth International as a Trotskyist organization.
When they found out, however, that the RCL had not been destroyed, Healy, Banda and Slaughter decided to get rid of the Sri Lankan Trotskyists anyway. That was the meaning of their proposal at the Tenth Congress of the ICFI to expel the RCL.
While Slaughter likes to pretend that he had nothing to do with all the events that took place while he was secretary of the ICFI, Comrade Keerthi stressed the essential contribution made by Slaughter to the degeneration of the Workers Revolutionary Party:
To carry out such gross betrayals, the WRP had to attack the Trotskyist conception of the program itself. Towards the end of 1984, Healy with the assistance of Slaughter established that any organization upholding Trotskyist program and principles had now been transformed into an instrument of the counterrevolution.
This position was explicitly advanced in an official document of the Tenth Congress of the ICFI, written by Slaughter. In answer to the criticisms that had been made of the WRP’s opportunist line, Slaughter declared: ‘The struggle in the International Committee had clarified the fact that in today’s historic conditions the lines drawn between a revolutionary party based on dialectical materialist training on the one hand and groups formally adhering to Trotskyist program on the other are lines between preparation for revolution and preparation to serve counterrevolution.’
And Keerthi then went on to explain: “According to the traitors of the WRP leadership, the fight for principles and program had become a real barrier to winning the working class to the revolutionary party in this ‘new period’ of ‘mass radicalization.’ Only those who had found the ‘correct method’ (counterposed to the program) would lead the mass revolutionary parties. Thus Healy, Banda and Slaughter concluded that the RCL’s inability to compete with the WRP in recruiting 200 members a day—at least on paper—signified its abandonment of the ‘correct method,’ and that the RCL’s defense of the principles and program of Trotskyism was an utterly worthless exercise. In contrast, Healy and his crony Savas Michael of Greece, who literally sold principles for money and were profiting from these naked betrayals, possessed and perfected the ‘correct method’ for building absolutely treacherous centrist dung heaps and integrating themselves in bourgeois establishments in their respective countries.
The real reason for this perfidious attack on the RCL was that the WRP leaders feared any defense of Trotskyism in the ICFI as an imminent threat to their opportunist relations with the sections of the national bourgeoisie in the semicolonial countries. However, from the time the US Trotskyists of the Workers League spearheaded the offensive against the WRP leaders’ betrayal of Trotskyism, it became an absolute necessity for Healy, Banda and Slaughter to destroy all the genuine Trotskyist forces within the ICFI, to prevent a Trotskyist rebellion from developing against their reactionary domination of the IC. Thus, the WRP leaders became politically hostile to the RCL and sought to destroy it in the period of 1983-85.
The perspectives document written by the RCL in preparation for the Tenth Congress was suppressed by Healy, Banda and Slaughter. Keerthi wrote about the fate of this important document:
Later, after the expulsion of Healy and the split with his supporters, the RCL once again submitted this suppressed perspectives document to the WRP Central Committee as a part of the. struggle to expose Healy’s and the WRP’s criminal betrayal of Trotskyism. Then, it became immediately clear that the bloc led by Banda-Slaughter and Pirani too was equally hostile even to conduct a discussion on the perspectives of Trotskyism. They were carrying forward the same treacherous attack on Trotskyism even more brazenly than Healy.
After the political explosion which took place in the WRP during July-October 1985 and Cliff Slaughter’s facile metamorphosis into a Don Quixote of moral rearmament and universal democracy, he opened up the pages of the WRP press to all kinds of anti-Trotskyist diatribes to denounce the Fourth International. But C. Slaughter’s democracy ended when it came to principled discussion on the theory and perspectives of Trotskyism. Thus, the Slaughter-Pirani faction refused to circulate the RCL material just as they refused to publish the material submitted by the Workers League unmasking Healy’s betrayal throughout the period 1982-84. As for morality, Slaughter and Pirani, with the complete support of M. Banda, called in the police to prevent the supporters of the IC from attending the scheduled Eighth Congress of the WRP in February this year.
Thus it is not accidental that the Slaughter-Pirani group, who after denouncing the ICFI used the state forces to attack the democratic rights of members of the WRP, now silently supports the state attack on the RCL. Even as he carries out a systematic campaign to disrupt sections of the ICFI and keeps quiet when they face police and state repression, Slaughter pretends that he is for a discussion on the perspectives of Trotskyism.
In the final sentence of this lengthy document, Keerthi summed up his evaluation of the WRP renegades: “As far as the so-called Workers Revolutionary Parties led by Healy and Slaughter are concerned, they are nothing but secondary agencies of imperialism.”
The passages quoted above should leave no one in any doubt about Comrade Keerthi’s attitude toward the renegade Slaughter. Keerthi did not find himself in the leadership of the ICFI’s struggle against the WRP’s betrayal of Trotskyism by accident. But Slaughter would still like to pretend that Keerthi was barred from discussing with the WRP by North. As a matter of fact, with the full approval of the International Committee, Comrade Keerthi did initiate a dialogue with the WRP. On behalf of the RCL, he wrote an open letter, dated February 10, 1987, to the Workers Revolutionary Party.
He dealt with the WRP’s failure to come to the defense of RCL members who had been arrested and jailed by the Jayewardene regime in the summer of 1986 and exposed as a cynical maneuver their belated request for information on the repression. Keerthi pointed out that the WRP’s months-long silence was simply a continuation of the policy of hostile indifference that had been pursued by Healy, Banda and Slaughter each time the RCL came under direct state attack.
This refusal to actively defend the RCL, Keerthi wrote, “demonstrated more than anything else the contempt in which your leadership held the ICFI and the international working class, as well as your total subservience to British nationalism. Nothing in the world could arouse your interest or draw your attention except that which you considered would give you immediate material and organizational gains.
“Moreover, since the time of the assassination of Comrade R.P. Piyadasa for the stand taken by our party in defense of the right of the Tamil nation to self-determination, your leadership made one provocation upon another to break up the RCL, as part of your sordid intrigues to destroy the ICFI. It is a political fact that Healy, Banda and Slaughter willingly collaborated with a Sinhalese racist clique led by one Dharmawimala Ranasingha to attack our party and you have still not answered the question why you did so.”
After surveying the role played by Banda and Slaughter in organizing the split from the ICFI, Keerthi explained that Banda’s trip to Sri Lanka in late 1985 and early 1986 had prepared the political ground for the state attack against the RCL in June 1986. Keerthi reminded Slaughter and Pirani that the RCL had challenged them to speak out against Banda’s provocative behavior in Sri Lanka.
“You, however, remained completely silent, hoping that Banda’s intrigues would help you in your aim of destroying the ICFI. If the sections of the ICFI had not fought tooth and nail the vicious liquidationist campaign you mounted to destroy us, there would not be a Revolutionary Communist League to be defended today.”
While they now cynically bemoan their missed opportunity to discuss with Comrade Keerthi, Slaughter and Pirani never bothered to reply to the RCL’s open letter.
So far we have quoted only from representative portions of published documents which can leave no doubt about Comrade Keerthi’s attitude toward the WRP renegades. However, it would be fitting to supplement the public record by citing sections of his personal correspondence, in which one can find the most direct and intimate expression of his estimation of the WRP and its leaders.
In a letter dated August 29, 1986, he wrote the following to David North:
I entirely agree with you, what you say about the antics of the Slaughter-Pirani group in their maneuvers with the IC. Yes, the most important thing is to deepen the split by clarifying the principled and programmatic questions which separate them from us. I think these differences are getting more and more irreconcilable despite their ‘withdrawal’ of the ‘dissolve the IC’ resolution. This is because the class forces which produced the split are gathering momentum, posing before the Trotskyists to demarcate as sharply as possible from the masked ‘Trotskyists’ who cover up for the national bourgeoisie, Stalinism and Social Democracy by attacking the political independence of the working class.
As we know now, after waging a fight against the Pabloites on this very question the old leadership of the British section capitulated to the same class forces which produced Pabloism. During the period of 1972-85, Healy, Banda and Slaughter accepted the political legitimacy of the domination of the working class by the national bourgeoisie and the trade union bureaucracy.
Still further, Keerthi explained:
The Slaughter-Pirani group has not broken from this entire line of betrayal of Trotskyism. This has to be established as concretely as possible in the struggle against them. When we look at the history of the split it is not difficult to trace the path Slaughter followed and to understand why he now needs Pirani—a political amnesia man—at the helm to carry out his antiTrotskyist operations.
In 1982 when the Workers League spearheaded the Trotskyist rebellion against the betrayal of the WRP leadership, Healy, Banda and Slaughter united to isolate it and attack it. Slaughter’s letters to Healy on a ‘no holds barred’ approach had a very definite content: having lined up with the national bourgeois regimes and the trade union bureaucracy in Britain, they wanted to destroy all those who refused to give up the Trotskyist program.
In another letter to North dated June 17, 1987, Keerthi wrote the following: “To be accurate, without the driving out of Healy, Banda, Slaughter renegades from the IC and the thoroughgoing struggle to expose them as enemies of Marxism, the RCL and the SLL [of India] would have faced a political crisis of the first order in the present situation. If their Trotskyist pretensions were not challenged, then it would have been inevitable that extremely right-wing tendencies would have taken over the sections of the IC in order to do everything possible to assist the desperate ruling classes, particularly in India, and the petty-bourgeois movements in both countries thoroughly isolating the revolutionary Marxists. The exposure of the Healy-Banda-Slaughter version of the theory of permanent revolution inside the IC was not only the anticipation of the present violent explosion of the class struggle in the sub-continent—it was also the theoretical and political arming of the advanced sections of the workers in both countries in order to fight against all attempts of the national bourgeoisie and their petty bourgeois agents to drag the working class along with them to ‘national’ slaughter houses.”
Of necessity, we have quoted from the writings of Comrade Keerthi at great length because the attempt of the renegades to call into question his dedication to the struggle against their betrayal of Trotskyism is the worst crime that could be committed against his memory. The political essence of Comrade Keerthi’s greatness—and he was a very great man—was his irreconcilable attitude toward questions of history, program and principles. He understood more profoundly than anyone else the decisive historical significance of the struggle against centrism and opportunism—that the victory of the world socialist revolution and, therefore, the very survival of mankind, depends above all upon the intransigence of the Trotskyist movement in the waging of this struggle.
He understood that there is no disease more harmful to the working class than that of opportunism, which continuously sacrifices the long-term historical interests of the working class in the name of securing short-term advantages and which adopts an attitude of cynical disdain toward the development of the proletariat’s revolutionary class consciousness. Keerthi knew very well that the so-called advantages and successes sought by the opportunists were, in fact, nothing less than means through which revisionists and centrists subordinated the working class to the interests of capital and sabotaged the revolutionary struggle against the bourgeoisie.
In a letter to North dated October 19, 1987, Keerthi clearly defined his attitude to the opportunism championed by the WRP: “During the period of revisionist domination by Healy, Banda and Slaughter of the IC, not only the theoretical foundation and political programme of our parties were attacked; these attacks went hand in hand with the systematic introduction of opportunist concepts in relation to party organization and party press as well. Parties were never judged from the standpoint of the struggle for principles and programme in the working class and the genuine growth of class consciousness that they represented but from various gimmicks and outward appearances. Thus, daily papers, good bank accounts, pageants and parades became the criteria to judge the nature of the sections.
Healy’s revisions on these questions had an impact on our own organizations as the members were encouraged to judge the validity of a political line on its immediate results. On this opportunist basis one can only exploit the present but never prepare for the future. The ignominious collapse of the WRP was the practical demonstration of the utterly reactionary nature of Healy’s ‘organizational conceptions.’
The political clarification achieved by the International Committee in the course of the struggle against the WRP renegades, recorded in the numerous documents which have appeared in the six issues of Fourth International published since the split, represents the culmination of Comrade Keerthi Balasuriya’s achievements as a Marxist leader. The implications of this work for the development of the international class struggle is reflected in the last ICFI statement in whose drafting he directly participated and which is published in this issue—“The Situation in Sri Lanka and the Political Tasks of the Revolutionary Communist League” (see pp. 18-22). Completed during the Fifth Plenum of the International Committee just one month prior to his death, the document provides a scientific analysis of the implications of the Indo-Lankan Accord and advances a revolutionary perspective for the proletariat of the Indian subcontinent. This document demonstrates just how far the International Committee has traveled since 1985 in overcoming the gross revisions of Trotskyism introduced by Healy, Banda and Slaughter. The International Committee owes this achievement in large measure to Comrade Keerthi.
On the day of his death, Comrade Keerthi was preoccupied with the work of the International Committee. He had deliberately set aside several hours to work on notes which he planned to use in the drafting of a document. Keerthi was at his writing table, pen in hand, when he was struck, without warning, by a coronary thrombosis from which he died within a few minutes. Later, his comrades found the uncompleted manuscript on his desk, and it is symbolic that the final words he wrote read as follows: “As we complete the second year of the struggle against the renegades the historical nature of the split has become more explicit. In a certain sense the present split is....”
Death prevented Keerthi from completing this last sentence. But it cannot prevent the International Committee of the Fourth International from carrying through to the end the struggle to which Comrade Keerthi Balasuriya dedicated virtually his entire conscious life.