Fourth International 1992: The end of the Soviet Union

Resolution Nine: In Honor of the Memory of Comrade Keerthi Balasuriya and Comrades Piyadasa, Gunapala, Pitawela and Geekiyanage

This resolution was adopted at the World Conference of Workers against Imperialist War and Colonialism, held in Berlin on November 16-17, 1991 under the auspices of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

We take it as a privilege to pay our tribute to the comrades who have given their lives to the struggle carried out by the ICFI to resolve the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the world working class.

Comrade Keerthi Balasuriya, who was the general secretary of the Revolutionary Communist League until his unexpected death due to cardiac failure on December 18, 1987, devoted his whole conscious life in an exemplary struggle to defend and develop the internationalist revolutionary program of Trotskyism.

He joined the Trotskyist movement at the age of 18 while he was still at school. In 1968, at the young age of 20, he was placed in the position of general secretary of the RCL by a unanimous vote at its founding conference, as he represented the best traditions and the program of the ICFI against the national opportunists of the United Secretariat of Pablo-Mandel.

This was not an easy period for genuine Trotskyists. In Sri Lanka the LSSP, which was paraded by the Pabloites as the biggest Trotskyist party in the world, entered into a coalition with the pro-imperialist bourgeois SLFP of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Such a betrayal had never before been carried out by a party claiming to belong to the Fourth International. The unprincipled reunification carried out by Mandel and Hansen, between the Pabloites and the American SWP, disoriented and destroyed many thousands of Trotskyist cadres throughout the world, paving the way for the domination of the political scene by the petty-bourgeois currents in the upsurge at the end of the 1960s, the anti-Vietnam War movement and the movements of the radical students led by arch-opportunists like Rudi Dutschke in Germany and Tariq Ali in Britain and the JVP in Sri Lanka supported by the Pabloites. These forces were pushed into prominence during this time by the imperialist forces themselves in order to head off any independent political intervention by the world proletariat, as the first warning signals of the breakup of the Bretton Woods world order were appearing.

We also take serious note of the fact that from the beginning of the 1970s, the Revolutionary Communist League’s struggle to provide a proletarian revolutionary leadership to the oppressed masses of the minority nationalities and among the rural peasantry in the Indian subcontinent had to be waged in the face of hostility and opposition from the Healy-Banda-Slaughter leadership of the British WRP who turned more and more to form opportunist alliances with the pro-imperialist national bourgeois parties and regimes of the backward countries.

Comrade Keerthi wholeheartedly supported and brought all his revolutionary strength and experience to the struggle initiated by the Workers League within the ICFI. The international bonds forged between the sections of the ICFI since the split with the renegades have today assumed world historic significance for the strivings of the masses throughout the globe towards the world socialist revolution.

Comrade Keerthi’s close political collaboration with the ICFI in the struggle to expose the reactionary national opportunist line of the renegades, as well as in working out the world perspectives adopted by the ICFI in August 1988, has left its mark in the preparation of this most important world conference against imperialist war and colonialism. Therefore, he is a living force here today.

We also honor Comrade R.P. Piyadasa, who was brutally murdered in July 1979 for his intransigent defense of the national democratic rights of the Tamils in Sri Lanka by the hired killers of the UNP and the police.

We honor the struggle of Comrades R.A. Pitawela, P.A. Gunapala and Greshan Geekiyanage who fell at the hands of the JVP fascists in 1988-89. Slain in the struggle to defend the proletarian internationalist program of Trotskyism, their courageous stand is remembered and respected not only among the advanced sections of the Sinhala and Tamil proletariat and the oppressed in Sri Lanka, but throughout the world for many decades to come.