The recent rally in Jaffna, a Tamil populated capital in the Northern province of Sri Lanka, under the banner “Ezhuka Tamil” (Rise Up Tamils!) has once again posed the question of Tamil self-determination to the fore since the bloody defeat of Tamil Tigers 7 years ago. This demonstration is an indicator of swelling discontent among the Tamil minorities. Despite Sri Lankan State’s victory over the armed separatist Tigers the national question has not been solved in Sri Lanka and the misery of the Tamil population in the North and Eastern provinces have only worsened.

On Monday the 20th March at PMA house in the centre of Karachi, Socialist Appeal editor Alan Woods addressed a packed meeting of workers and youth in Karachi. The subject was the crisis of world capitalism. In spite of the problems caused by the Eid holidays (many workers were out of town) 150 people attended the meeting, mostly leading trade union activists. These included the leaders of the Pakistan Steel Mill (65,000 workers) the Karachi Municipal Corporation, the Karachi Port Workers, the Karachi Electrical Supply Corporation, the Telecommunication workers, leaders of the Postal workers in Karachi, the PIA workers, leaders of the unions of several multinationals based in Karachi and the president of the PPP workers' wing known as the People's Labour Bureau. The mood of the meeting was enthusiastic from start to finish.

We received this interesting comment on the recent brutal crushing of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. It highlights the responsibilities firstly of the Sri Lankan ruling elite and its imperialist backers, but also of the leaders of the labour movement in failing to offer an alternative in the past, and of the LTTE leaders, who organised their war from a purely nationalist point of view, offering nothing concrete to the workers and peasants.

The Sri Lankan government has declared victory over the Tamil Tigers, but this does not remove the question of the rights of the Tamil people. The solution lies in a struggle for a socialist Sri Lanka where the rights of all peoples would be respected, including the right to their own homeland if the Tamils requested it.

In 1994, together with the other "Left" parties, including the "Communist Party", the leadership of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP, the traditional workers' party which was originally a Trotskyist party) entered the popular alliance (PA) government headed by Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK) and have been carrying out an anti-working class policy of privatisation and cuts in line with the dictates of the IMF. This has led to the rapid rise of a left opposition inside the LSSP, associated with the well-known mass leader, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the member of parliament for the Ratnapura district.

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