People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 03, 2006
CPI(M) Greets 18th Congress Of CPSL
CPSL general secretary D E W Gunashekara addressing the congress
The 18th congress of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka was held from August 25 to 27, 2006 in Colombo. A total of 260 delegates from 16 districts participated in the congress and debated the Political Report placed by D E W Gunasekara, general secretary of the party and the Organisational Report introduced by Hema Wilbert, the national organiser. The discussions were summed up on August 26. The discussions covered the ethnic problem, the challenges and opportunities facing the party in the wake of its participation in the government. The congress also discussed specific issues relating to party organisation on questions like the role of the party in the trade union movement, the difficulties that the party faced in organising the youth and the need for bringing out the party paper on a regular basis.
The congress was attended by delegations from Communist Party of Vietnam, Communist Party of Cuba, CPI and the CPI(M). The CPI(M) was represented by its central secretariat member, Nilotpal Basu.
The delegates of the congress elected a 51-member central committee on the evening of August 26. The results of the election were announced before the congress the next day morning. The new general secretary and the Polit Bureau traditionally are elected by the central committee over the first weekend following the congress.
The following is the text of the message of greetings sent by the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to the central committee of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka on the occasion of its 18th congress.
The central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) conveys its warm fraternal greetings to all the delegates attending the 18th congress of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka and through them to the entire membership of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka.
Your congress is being held at a time when the Left and progressive movement the world over is faced with multi-faceted challenges. We have seen during the past decade, how exploiting the situation arising out of the dismantling of the Soviet Union, the United States has embarked on a quest of hegemony and total domination. The aggressive measures taken by the Bush administration after the September 11 attacks have resulted in blatant onslaughts on the sovereignty of independent countries. It has promoted authoritarian and rightwing attacks on progressive movements and the rights of citizens. Neither the United Nations Charter nor international laws have any sanctity for it. After the aggression and occupation of Iraq, the US is now turning attention on Iran. Using the Iran nuclear issue, it is coercing countries like India to support its line of action. The hateful campaign against socialist Cuba and the progressive regime of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela have reached new proportions. It has blatantly supported Israel in its inhuman attacks on Palestine and Lebanon and to inflict untold suffering on the Lebanese people. However, US and Israeli efforts have not succeeded due to the steadfast opposition of the patriotic forces.
The communists in Sri Lanka have a history of struggle and sacrifices fighting against the forces of injustice and sectarianism in order to strengthen the unity of the Sri Lankan people regardless of racial and ethnic differences. The communists in Sri Lanka are also an important contingent in leading the working class and other toilers against imperialism and all other tendencies which seek to perpetuate exploitation and keep the people divided.
You are aware that the 2004 elections in India saw the defeat of the right reactionary regime headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ushering in of an alternative secular government which is dependent on the support of the CPI(M) and the Left for its survival. The CPI(M) and the Left played a crucial role in putting this government in office. The CPI(M) has increased its strength from 33 seats in the last elections to 44 seats this time in the Lower House, i.e., Peoples House of the Indian parliament. It is the highest ever won by the Party. In a House of 545, the combined Left has a strength of 61. The CPI(M) is the third largest party in the Indian parliament.
The significance of this lies not only in projecting the growing strength of the Left and its increasing relevance but also the vantage position that it has acquired in Indian politics.
While the Party has no illusions about the character of this government, the main task before the Party would be to keep the communal and reactionary forces in check. It would however, spare no effort in both defending and advancing the interests of the working class and the common people through strengthening popular struggles.
The CPI(M) today, alongwith other Left forces, are trying to utilise the increased strength to intervene and shape an Indian foreign policy which would promote greater sense of cooperation and urgency in South Asia. The CPI(M) believes that in the context of the scourge of unemployment, hunger, malnutrition, illiteracy and all other forms of injustice which afflict our peoples, sustaining and reinforcing the unity of our peoples within our country and across South Asia carries a special significance.
The CPI(M) feels greatly disturbed by the recent escalation of violence in Sri Lanka. The CPI(M) has been from the outset in favour of autonomy of the people in the North and East within the framework of a united Sri Lanka. We believe that this congress will be successful in evolving appropriate decisions to further the unity of all peace-loving and democratic forces in this island nation to create a peaceful atmosphere through cessation of current hostilities.
Once again, on behalf of the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) we convey our warm fraternal greetings to the 18th congress of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka. We are confident that this congress will be able to work out the correct tactics to further consolidate and advance.
The CPI(M) and the Communist Party of Sri Lanka have a long association of friendship and understanding. There are strong emotive bonds that continuously strengthen the relations between our parties. We are certain that this mutual trust and bonds of friendship will get further strengthened in the days ahead.
Once again we wish your congress all success.