International Committee of the Fourth International
Fourth International Vol. 15 No. 3-4 (July-December 1988)

One Year of the Indo-Lankan Accord

This article originally appeared in the Bulletin in five parts from August 19 to September 30, 1988.

A recently published document from a top US imperialist foreign policy committee has once and for all laid to rest the canard that the Indo-Lankan Accord somehow represented a leftward shift in Sri Lanka’s policy, through an accommodation to the geopolitical interests of the “progressive” Indian bourgeois regime of Rajiv Gandhi.

The document, published in August 1988, consists of the minutes of a “Hearing before the Subcommittee on Asian Pacific Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US House of Representatives” held one year earlier. It reveals that the Indo-Lanka Accord, signed on July 29, 1987, was a signal victory for US imperialism.

Before the ink was fully dry on this conspiratorial agreement, the imperialist ghouls met to toast their loyal agents, India’s Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lanka’s Junius Jayewardene. They spared no superlatives in praising the Indo-Lankan Accord, comparing it to the notorious Camp David agreements that betrayed the Palestinians. Overjoyed at the success of their counterrevolutionary intrigue, they recommended its cynical signatories for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Present at the August 1987 hearing were nine congressmen of the US House of Representatives, headed by the chairman of the subcommittee, Stephen J. Solarz of New York. Testifying before the subcommittee were Robert Peck, the deputy assistant secretary of state, Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, as well as four other senior US government officials.

The report speaks for itself. It graphically expresses the satisfaction of the rapacious imperialist politicians on Capitol Hill at their success in enlisting Rajiv Gandhi to carry out the counterrevolutionary operation against the Tamil liberation struggle and deliver a preemptive strike against the revolutionary working class of Sri Lanka.

The imperialists were relieved that in so doing, they had managed to defuse, at least for the time being, a major catalyst for the proletarian revolution on the Indian subcontinent.

Opening the discussion, Stephen Solarz, US imperialism’s seasoned operator in the South Asian region, said: “We meet today to consider the recent developments in Sri Lanka and the extraordinary agreement which appears to have been reached between India and Sri Lanka and various Tamil factions to bring an end to the civil conflict in Sri Lanka. This conflict has gone a long way towards undermining and destroying the social fabric of a great and beautiful country. Hopefully, this new agreement will lay the groundwork for assuring peace in Sri Lanka and economic prosperity.

The agreement appears to constitute a dramatic breakthrough in the situation in Sri Lanka.

I was so impressed by the courageous willingness of Prime Minister Gandhi and President Jayewardene to overcome domestic opposition in both their countries, that I have just sent off a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize selection committee nominating both of them for the Nobel Peace Prize for the coming year.

This professional imperialist conspirator, unable to restrain his elation, went on: “I think in the annals of statesmanship, this is, if not unique, an extraordinarily rare development. One can only wish for comparable statesmanship on the part of other world leaders. Indeed, their willingness to disregard significant domestic opposition to such an accord in the interests of creating a framework for peace—both in Sri Lanka and between Sri Lanka and India—is highly commendable. I very much hope that the Nobel Peace Prize committee will give them the same kind of consideration that they gave to Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat following their role in bringing about the historic Camp David Agreement.”

So there you have it, from the fount of international reaction itself! This is the Camp David of South Asia. And Jayewardene and Gandhi are the Begin and Sadat of the region.

The cause of their joy is obvious if one bears in mind that the imminent collapse of “the social fabric of the great and beautiful country” about which these imperialist murderers are lamenting is nothing other than the collapse of the social fabric of capitalism.

This discussion among the US imperialist committeemen leaves no doubt that Washington was instrumental in getting Rajiv Gandhi to crush the Tamil liberation struggle.

In answer to a leading question by Solarz, who was out to demonstrate the usefulness of the accord to the imperialist bourgeoisie, Peck made it clear that the involvement of the Indian bourgeoisie against the Tamil liberation struggle was not only in the interests of, but was also designed, by US imperialism:

Peck replied: “A key new factor in this agreement has been the involvement of the government of India in a very positive and complicated way in bringing this agreement about.”

The US imperialists had no doubt as to what the role of the Indian Army was going to be, as Peck explained: “On the part of the government, the presence of Indians and the full support of India provides some assurance that the Tamil parties will go along with the accords.”

The stated central purpose of the accord was the disarming of the Tamil liberation struggle. Therefore, translated from diplomatic jargon, the phrase “assurance that the Tamil parties will go along with the accords” means nothing other than Gandhi’s prosecution of a war against the Tamil liberation struggle on behalf of Jayewardene and US imperialism.

The US imperialists envisaged two possibilities in this connection. The first was that Indian pressure would prove sufficient to quickly disarm the liberation fighters. In a written statement to the committee, Peck made this point clear: “Among other Tamils, the strongest militant group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, appears to be reconsidering its full objections. Prime Minister Gandhi is reportedly optimistic that the LTTE will accept the accord.”

In reply to a question, he made the point that he believed that the LTTE was pressured to accept the “compromise,” which was totally opposed to self-determination for the Tamils:

“In terms of Mr. Prabhakaran’s attitude, I think, there, one can depend on his own words. He has made very clear that he was agreed to this accord only because he was brought to do so by India’s determination to go ahead, and that he felt he and his followers had no choice, but go along. He has expressed serious reservations about the substance of the agreement, but felt that he had no choice, given India’s determination.”

The other possibility that the imperialists had in mind was, of course, a long, drawn-out war, if the LTTE resisted.

The discussion furthermore made it clear that the US imperialists had prior knowledge that the Indian bourgeoisie would put down the liberation struggle with a heavy hand in case of resistance.

To spell things out for his colleagues, Solarz asked another leading question: “Was that [the LTTE’s agreement to abide by the accord] based on an assessment that in the face of Indian support for this agreement, and Indian opposition to a continuation of the insurgency, the insurgency would no longer be viable?” The answer: “Well, I would think that may be part of his [Prabhakaran’s] consideration.”

Another point clarified by this discussion within the imperialist cabal was that the United States not only initiated this counterrevolutionary exercise and connived in its execution, but also underwrote it. To quote Peck, “We are ourselves examining what we might be able to make available in terms of helping to meet some of the immediate relief requirements, and we have indicated in the past that we would be prepared to participate in a multinational rehabilitation effort and will look to the Sri Lankan government and the World Bank to take leadership in the formation of such an effort.”

The discussion also made it clear that the US imperialists were well aware that they had a common interest with Gandhi in protecting the bastard unitary state in Sri Lanka.

Peck stated: “I think that the Prime Minister Gandhi made it clear, over and over again, that whatever solution was found should be within the framework of preserving Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity for all sorts of obvious reasons, not the least of which is that there are separatist movements and tendencies within India that might draw encouragement from the territorial division of Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Gandhi will not certainly want to legitimize such a sentiment.”

How long did the US imperialists expect the Indian Army to remain in the Tamil homeland? Praising Gandhi lavishly for his involvement on behalf of imperialism, Peck said, “It has taken a boldness on an extraordinarily complex matter, to commit India in a way that will require very continuing effort over at least the next eighteen months to make things work.”

Since this statement was made, more than 2,500 innocent Tamil civilians have been killed; the whole of the Tamil homeland has been overrun by the Indian military juggernaut; one out of every three people in Jaffna has been rendered homeless; countless numbers of Jaffna’s women have been raped and hundreds of militant youth have given their lives in battle. Even after all of this, the petty-bourgeois leaders of the LTTE came out shamelessly to say:

“The LTTE has always recognized the necessity to avoid a conflict with the government of India.... The LTTE is prepared to extend our cooperation in implementing the accord if Tamil interests are safeguarded” (Statement of the LTTE on the first anniversary of the Indo-Lankan Accord).

The LTTE’s representative in London, Tilakar, made the following statement to a conference: “Our liberation movement is not opposed to India’s interests. We have no objection whatsoever to India’s strategic aspirations to establish her status as the regional superpower in south Asia. We always functioned and will function as a friendly force to India. We would have extended our unconditional support to the Indo-Sri Lankan accord if the agreement were only confined to the Indo-Lankan relations aimed to secure India’s geopolitical interests.”

On the part of the LTTE, this is a complete renunciation of the right of self-determination for the Tamil nation. This right means nothing without the right of the nation involved to determine its own future without the interference of outside powers.

The moment the LTTE recognized Indian security interests in the area as paramount, it admitted that the state it hopes to achieve is not to be the result of an act of self-determination by the Tamil nation, but rather a vassal of the Indian bourgeoisie. The heroic self-sacrifice of the cadre of the LTTE is degraded to merely an instrument for pressuring the Indian bourgeois state to bargain for whatever little concessions the LTTE can extract. In other words, their strategy is to bargain with the bourgeoisie, and the “heroic struggle” is only a tactic.

It is also noteworthy that, in order to accomplish this betrayal of the oppressed Tamil nation, the LTTE leaders completely covered up the Indian bourgeoisie’s role as the chief agent of imperialism in the subcontinent, and that the US imperialists, not to mention all other imperialists, gave their blessing to the accord.

The LTTE’s bankruptcy manifests the well-known phenomenon that in the modern world, where the capitalist mode of production is established universally and the bourgeoisie is confronted everywhere by the working class, no section of the bourgeoisie, however radical it claims to be, is capable of taking a consistently democratic stand. If under any circumstances, it attempts to appear revolutionary, it is only in order to deceive the masses in preparation for betrayal.

If the LTTE’s initial acceptance of the accord could be attributed to inexperience, the present surrender to the Indian bourgeoisie does not even have that mitigating circumstance. One year after the Indo-Lankan Accord, after all the damage that has been done, the LTTE’s talk of the “progressive” character of the Indian bourgeoisie is tantamount to a betrayal not only of the Tamil nation, but of all the oppressed masses of both India and Sri Lanka.

This counterrevolutionary intervention by the Indian bourgeoisie would not have been possible without the direct support of the treacherous leaders of the working class of India and Sri Lanka.

The total subservience of the Colombo regime to imperialism was exposed long ago. Weak and treacherous, mortally frightened of its own working class, the Sinhala bourgeoisie assumed power unwillingly in 1947, goaded on by the imperialists who had perceived the only alternative to be social revolution. It has openly depended on the imperialists ever since it came into being.

The Jayewardene regime is now hated by all the oppressed masses of the Indian subcontinent for the well-known brutality and wanton vandalism of its troops in the war against the Tamil Eelam nation. It is equally hated by the Sinhala oppressed masses.

Since 1947, Jayewardene’s United National Party has had a history of barely concealed pro-imperialist repressive rule whenever it held power. Under Jayewardene, it sacked more than 300,000 workers for participating in the 1980 strike movement. It has a record of savage attacks on the living conditions of the masses.

By 1985, as the Tamil liberation struggle was inflicting defeat after defeat on the armies of the Colombo regime, large sections of the Sinhala oppressed were being attracted to the Tamil liberation struggle. The workers and peasants were slowly and surely measuring the weakness of the regime, preparing to settle accounts with it.

In March 1985, this opposition to Jayewardene found a focal point in the nurses’ strike. As the nurses firmly stood their ground against the regime’s ultimatums, all sections of the oppressed started to rally to their support. When more than 5,000 delegates of the 28 Demands Movement met in Colombo in late March 1985, the question of a decisive battle against the regime was in the cards.

The Revolutionary Communist League (Sri Lankan section of the International Committee of the Fourth International) explained to the working class that the Jayewardene regime—which had threatened to send all striking workers to the graveyard in 1980—was rotten ripe for overthrow, facing strong enemies on two fronts: the Tamil liberation struggle in the North and the challenge of the nurses’ strike in the South.

The RCL demanded that the delegates conference take a general strike decision and support the Tamil liberation struggle. Revolutionary propaganda was being received well by the masses, who were writhing under the burden of a war they had no stake in.

The situation in Sri Lanka was becoming intolerable for the imperialists and their national bourgeois agents in India. Their lackeys in Colombo could not contain the revolutionary challenge. Without an intervention, the Sri Lankan detonator could trigger off the whole subcontinent.

It was precisely at this moment that the LSSP, CPSL, NSSP, CMU and other centrist traitors in the labor movement came to their aid. They betrayed the nurses’ strike and dispersed the workers’ delegates, passing a resolution calling upon the regime to settle the strike in a peaceful manner.

After doing everything in his power to break up the nurses’ struggle, on the following May Day, Colvin de Silva, the veteran reformist leader, warned the capitalist class, “The development of the Tamil liberation struggle in the North and the workers’ movement in the South is a serious situation.”

The imperialist media went into a frenzied campaign calling for a peaceful settlement. The leaders of imperialism, Reagan and Thatcher, repeatedly called for peace talks. Stephen Solarz, chairman of the US House Subcommittee on South Asia, and US Undersecretary of State for Asia-Pacific Affairs Robert Peck continued unbroken shuttle diplomacy between Colombo and New Delhi. Within days, a life line was thrown to the sinking Jayewardene regime.

This lifeline was the call for “a round table conference to hammer out a common program of peace.” The war against the Tamil liberation struggle was now to be wrapped in a peace flag. The collaboration of the treacherous leaders of the working class was absolutely necessary for this program of counterrevolution, and it was forthcoming.

Colvin de Silva of the LSSP and K.P. Silva of the CPSL, veterans of a thousand betrayals, now took the field, followed closely by the NSSP centrists and a plethora of minor centrist groups. This sordid affair of a round table conference lasted almost one year. All the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaders of the compromisist groups of the Tamil liberation struggle participated in it as well. This round table quickly emerged as a well-planned trap for the Tamil liberation struggle and the oppressed masses of Sri Lanka and India.

Through this discussion, the ruling class sought to deceive the masses by feigning interest in a just peace. This facade was absolutely necessary to make the most deadly counterrevolutionary war preparations, in the first instance against the Tamil liberation struggle and in the last analysis against proletarian revolution in the subcontinental area. These attacks came first in the form of the June 1987 Wadamarachchi offensive by the Sri Lankan forces and then with the Indian military intervention against the Tamil liberation struggle.

While the Stalinists, the Sama Samajists, the Ceylon Workers Congress, the Nava Sama Samajists, and all types of centrists were enthusiastically supporting the discussions, the LTTE too lent credibility to this round table plot against the Tamil people by declaring that they would go along with an agreement if only their demand for the recognition of a Tamil homeland were granted.

The Revolutionary Communist League and the Socialist Labour League (the Indian Trotskyist organization) pointed out in their numerous statements that any agreement that disarmed the Tamil liberation struggle would be a betrayal and that whatever “concessions” granted in such an agreement would only serve as a trap for the Tamil nation.

The round table conference led directly to the Indo-Lankan Accord, and all the traitors to the working class now jumped onto its bandwagon. The support that these traitors gave to this counterrevolutionary imperialist-inspired plot was decisive in opening the road for Rajiv Gandhi to move against the Tamil nation.

Together with the reformists and Stalinists in Sri Lanka, the Indian Stalinists played a decisive role in delivering this counterrevolutionary attack on the oppressed Tamil nation. All these traitors have dipped their hands in the blood of thousands of Tamils massacred by the brutal Indian Army, which is masquerading as a peacekeeping force.

Let us once again look at the rationale that they offered for their treacherous support to the murderous Indo-Lankan Accord:

“This accord is the fundamental basis on which this problem could be solved politically. Once it is put into effect, it will bring about a significant decentralization in state administration.

“If properly put into effect, it would be possible to stop the reports being made by the US imperialists and their accomplices to establish their political and military control in order to utilize our country as a base for their global and regional strategy and to create antagonistic conflicts between us and neighboring India” (Popular front statement issued by the LSSP, CPSL and the NSSP jointly with their capitalist partners of the SLMP).

Now let us recall what the hearings of the Subcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives had to say on this: “The agreement appears to constitute a dramatic breakthrough in the situation in Sri Lanka.

“I was so impressed by the courageous willingness of Prime Minister Gandhi and President Jayewardene to overcome domestic opposition in both their countries, that I have just sent a letter ... nominating both of them for the Nobel Peace Prize for the coming year.”

It is now absolutely clear who the accomplices of US imperialism were: the treacherous Sama Samajist, Stalinist and the Nava Sama Samajist leaders who betrayed the Tamil nation to the US imperialists and their Indian and Sri Lankan national bourgeois agents.

As opposed to these Stalinist and reformist agents of imperialism, the International Committee of the Fourth International promoted no such illusions in the Indo-Lankan Accord and its signatories:

“In the unlikely event that the countless tragic experiences of this century have not sufficiently demonstrated the perfidious and reactionary character of the national bourgeoisie in the backward countries, the signing of the Indo-Lankan Accord and the Indian invasion of Tamil Eelam provide yet another bitter lesson to the toilers. If there is anything unique in the actions of Jayewardene and Gandhi, it is only the degree of cynicism and the ruthlessness with which they have executed their joint conspiracy. In the pantheon of national bourgeois scoundrels, these two assassins have won themselves a place alongside such immortal imperialist flunkeys as Chiang Kai-shek, Sadat and Mobutu. The policies of Jayewardene and Gandhi have shattered whatever still remained of the myth that the national bourgeoisie of India and Sri Lanka have any progressive role to play in the future of their two countries” (“The Situation in Sri Lanka and the Political Tasks of the Revolutionary Communist League,” International Committee of the Fourth International Statement, November 19, 1987, Fourth International, Jan.-March 1988 [Detroit: Labor Publications, 1988]).

Even as the committees of the imperialist plunderers discuss the real role of their perfidious agents in the secrecy of inner sanctums, they also require specialized agents in the workers’ movement to conceal that criminal role. That is the task of the Stalinists and reformists and their centrist hangers-on in Sri Lanka. Having helped the imperialist plotters to impose the accord by checking the workers’ movement, they proceeded to dress it up in an anti-imperialist sheepskin.

Meanwhile, the Indian Stalinists of the CPI(M) and the CPI vied with each other in praising the accord and demanding more and more repression against the Tamil liberation struggle. Namboodiripad, the leader of the CPI(M), hailed the Indo-Lankan Accord as “the greatest advance since the independence of 1947.” He immediately proceeded to sign an unprecedented interparty accord with the Sri Lankan Stalinist party leaders aimed at coordinating their work in support of the treacherous Indo-Lankan agreement.

The Kremlin bureaucracy eagerly leapt to the support of the deal. In no time, this proved to be one leg of a deal between them and the US imperialists over the whole subcontinental area, including especially a settlement of the Afghan war, in which the Soviet bureaucracy was so deeply mired.

The traitors did not stop at this. They went on to convince the workers that it was in their interest to demand that the imperialist butchers carry out the repression of the Tamil national struggle to its logical extreme: “It is absolutely necessary to take the essential steps to disarm all forces that are against the accord. Neutralize them so as to restore the normalcy to the areas concerned.” Who were these forces? They were none other than the most militant defenders of the Tamil liberation struggle.

This counterrevolutionary incubus foisted on the workers’ movement justified its collaboration with imperialism on the grounds of “the unitary state of Sri Lanka” or “the social fabric of this great and beautiful country,” which meant nothing other than the settlement imposed by the imperialists in cahoots with the national bourgeoisie on the oppressed masses of Sri Lanka in 1947. Under the guise of so-called independence, this settlement was a part of the counterrevolutionary postwar deal of 1945 hammered out among the victorious imperialist bandits and their treacherous accomplice, the Soviet bureaucracy, at Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam.

The treacherous intervention against the Tamil liberation struggle served to smash to smithereens not only the myth, so assiduously cultivated by the Indian bourgeoisie, that it somehow plays a progressive anti-imperialist role in the subcontinent, but also the pretense of the Stalinists and the Samasamajists that they stand for anti-imperialist democratic tasks.

Having adapted to the postwar settlement, these traitors now completely adapt to the needs of imperialism via the national bourgeoisie. The renunciationist wave now engulfs the labor bureaucracies in these backward countries, exposing their pretenses of fighting for national liberation. Behind this lies the deepening crisis of imperialism, which leaves no room for maneuvering among classes. The bureaucracies have been placed directly in the camp of counterrevolution.

Chairman Solarz, of the House of Representatives Subcommittee for South Asia, was last seen in Rangoon. Just one year after instigating the Indo-Lankan Accord conspiracy in order to crush the Tamil liberation struggle and keep the Sri Lankan working class in check, the imperialist troubleshooter had his hands full, now in the revolution-gripped capital of Burma.

The revolutionary crisis erupting in this Southeast Asian country expresses clearly that the arrangement imposed by the imperialists on their Indian possessions in the aftermath of the 1947 war is in its death agony.

For more than two months, the Burmese oppressed masses with the proletariat at their head occupied the streets of the main cities, forced back the troops of the bourgeois state and paralyzed it completely.

It is no wonder that Solarz had to make his way to Burma to conspire with the ruling class to impose a counterrevolutionary solution against and behind the backs of the masses. Yet one year after the Indo-Lankan Accord, the troubles of imperialism and its agents in South Asia have not diminished, but multiplied by far.

On September 14, the Indian High Commission in Colombo announced on behalf of the Jayewardene regime that the two provinces of the North and the East of Sri Lanka would be amalgamated to form one province, in which the Tamils would be a majority. This was followed by a unilateral cease-fire in the Tamil homelands, declared by the Indian government.

Considering the stated readiness of the LTTE to do a deal with the Indian bourgeoisie in return for recognition of its hegemony in the area, it is clear that this measure was a sop thrown to the LTTE to get it to accept the Indo-Lankan Accord.

Such an amalgamation will not constitute the self-determination of the Tamil Eelam nation. Even if a separate Tamil state was created on the basis of the acceptance of the Indian bourgeoisie’s hegemony in the area, it could not realize the freedom of the Tamil Eelam nation.

The Indian bourgeoisie is making this gesture—after having murdered more than 2,500 Tamils and turning a whole small nation into refugees—because of the stubborn resistance of the Tamil Eelam nation, which has aggravated the crisis of Indian capitalism to unprecedented levels.

This latest step by the Indian bourgeois regime to entice the LTTE into partnership has not prevented Rajiv Gandhi from getting deeper and deeper into the mire in Sri Lanka. As the hold of the Jayewardene regime in the South becomes precarious, Gandhi is increasingly confronted with the necessity of committing his troops there too.

A revolutionary crisis similar to that of Burma has been kept in check in Sri Lanka for quite some time now, only by the direct collaboration of the reformists, Stalinists and the centrists with the Sri Lankan and Indian reactionary regimes.

They have also given a field day to the racists of the JVP type by tying the working class behind the imperialist-inspired Indo-Lankan Accord. But how long can this bankrupt and senile cabal of a bureaucracy keep the working class under its control?

We have already explained the role they played as late as 1985 in preventing the working class offensive from developing against the regime and coinciding with the advance of the Tamil liberation struggle. The widespread workers’ struggles breaking out on the island show that the Sri Lankan working class is now entering into battle against the Jayewardene regime, where the struggles of 1976 and 1980 broke off.

The 1976 general strike, which dealt the death blow to the SLFP-CP coalition government, was initiated and led not by any of the official leaderships of the working class, but by an action committee of centrist militants of the railway workers’ unions. The workers then tried the same action against the newly elected UNP in 1980 and were defeated, leading to the sacking of 300,000 workers that year.

The Revolutionary Communist League, having pointed out the necessity of mobilizing the working class on revolutionary policies to take power in a struggle against the treacherous LSSP-CP leaders before and during the strike, brought home to the workers the lessons of the strike: the need of a revolutionary party fighting for a proletarian internationalist policy, including unconditional support for the Tamil liberation struggle and the defeat of the Jayewardene regime. The RCL has continued to fight intransigently on this line.

The election of Trotskyist revolutionaries to the leadership of the Bank Employees Union last month is an indication that the most conscious sections of the working class are breaking from the class collaborationist leaders and assimilating these lessons.

The revolutionary crisis in Burma indicates that the construction of such a revolutionary party in all parts of what was once the British Indian empire is unpostponable.

Imperialism faces an extremely serious crisis in this region. Its chief policeman, the Indian bourgeoisie, is badly entangled in volatile Sri Lanka, where the Tamil Eelam liberation fighters are stubbornly resisting, despite the opportunist politics of the LTTE leadership.

The unspeakable suffering of the masses of Bangladesh, itself the product of imperialist-bourgeois intrigue, is the most poignant indictment of the counterrevolutionary partition of India and the treachery of the bourgeoisie.

The gory end of Zia-ul-Haq in Pakistan foreshadows the collapse of that imperialist contraption of a state.

But the crisis in the region finds its central focus in India itself. Saddled with a foreign debt estimated to exceed $5 billion (Rs. 6300 crores) in the current year and an accumulating trade deficit and a burgeoning budget deficit of $8 billion, the Indian bourgeoisie faces the problem of meeting its day-to-day expenses.

Gandhi’s calculations that new high-tech industries would save him by increasing foreign income has failed to yield the desired results. Instead, the tax concessions made to them and the expenses on infrastructure have aggravated the situation. Already having to set aside 17% of its budget for military expenditure, India’s continued military intervention in Sri Lanka is becoming increasingly untenable.

As the crisis intensifies, the services of the Stalinist, reformist and centrist bureaucracies become even more indispensable to the imperialists. That is why the labor bureaucracies are now so directly lined up against the very basic democratic needs of the masses.

This renunciation of the tasks of national liberation by the labor bureaucracies in the backward countries puts the working class movement at a historical crossroads. Let us recall that the LSSP won the leadership of the Sri Lankan working class in the course of leading them against the imperialist yoke. As the capitalist world crisis enters a new stage and the imperialists, driven by trade war, clamor for the redivision of spheres of influence, the real nature of the postwar partition of India becomes apparent and the tasks of national liberation are posed as a direct part of the world socialist revolution.

The LSSP bureaucracy, which counterposed itself to the international unity of the working class and adapted to the national bourgeois state carved up in 1947, now finds itself in the camp of counterrevolutionary imperialism and its national bourgeois agents against the interests of the masses. That opens the way for the proletarian revolutionaries, who have consistently opposed the imperialists’ schemes, to win the leadership of the working class.

Thus the path is open in all parts of the Indian subcontinent to relaunch the party of the Fourth International, to fight for the United Socialist States of India.

As the development of the imperialist crisis rendered the postwar settlement more and more unstable, the counterrevolutionary role of the Indian bourgeoisie came increasingly into the open.

The intervention by the Indian bourgeoisie in Bangladesh in 1971 was a decisive point in this process. The Revolutionary Communist League, the Sri Lankan section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, reaffirmed the class independence of the proletariat against the Indian bourgeoisie in 1971 by exposing its counterrevolutionary role in Bangladesh.

In a statement by the RCL Political Committee, Comrade Keerthi Balasuriya declared: “The Indian government’s intervention was a counterrevolutionary one. Under the fraudulent claim of supporting the Bangladesh struggle, it intervened to crush the development of a unified revolutionary Bengal to set up a puppet regime in a castrated Bangladesh confined to the East” (Fourth International, March 1987, p. 40).

Gerry Healy, Michael Banda and Cliff Slaughter, the leaders of the British section of the ICFI, then the Socialist Labour League, who were the central leadership of the ICFI, acted promptly to cover up the counterrevolutionary role of the Indian bourgeoisie by refusing to discuss the positions of the RCL within the ICFI. Defending the treachery of the Indian bourgeoisie, Banda stated: “We critically support the decision of the Indian bourgeois government to give military and economic aid to Bangladesh.” Banda further stated in a letter to the RCL: “The defeat of Pakistan in the East—no matter what happened in Bangladesh afterwards—was a defeat for world imperialism” (Ibid., p. 36).

Now, 16 years later, the Indian bourgeoisie has intervened militarily in Sri Lanka for a no less counterrevolutionary and treacherous attack. This time too they used the false pretext of defending an oppressed nationality. Just as they claimed in 1971 to “defend the Bengali people from Yahya Khan,” now they use the pretense of “defending the Tamil nation from the troops of Jayewardene.”

But within three months of the Indo-Lankan Accord, they revealed their really counterrevolutionary character by launching an attack far more savage than any that Jayewardene had launched. A year later, the attack continues on the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle.

In their savage military onslaught on a people they had promised to defend, the Indian bourgeoisie did not even pretend, as they had in 1971, that their action was in opposition to the policy of US imperialism. The full support of US imperialism for the Indian intervention was openly declared in the House subcommittee.

We have seen how the services of the Stalinists and the Samasamaja reformist traitors were once again indispensable to the Indian bourgeoisie in covering up this crime from the working class. That being insufficient, the Indian bourgeoisie had to summon centrists of various colorations, ranging from the NSSP to the Socialist United Front headed by the Pabloite representative in Sri Lanka.

The most repugnant of the motley crowd that rallied to the defense of the Indian bourgeoisie was Edmond Samarakkody, the aging revisionist who had played a sordid role in more than one decisive moment in the history of the Sri Lankan working class movement.

As the plot was thickening against the Tamil liberation struggle and the Revolutionary Communist League was fighting to expose this, Samarakkody came out with his occasionally mimeographed publication, distributed among international revisionist circles, to attack the RCL. The occasion was early June 1987, when Rajiv Gandhi, in preparation for the military intervention against the Tamil liberation struggle, dropped food provisions on the Jaffna peninsula.

With this exercise, the Indian bourgeoisie wanted to kill two birds with one stone: (1) to impress upon the recalcitrant sections of the Jayewardene cabinet, who were unwilling to accept the imperialist blueprint for the Indian intervention against the Tamil liberation struggle that the Indian plans had full imperialist backing; and (2) to deceive the Tamil nation, the working class and the oppressed masses as to the real counterrevolutionary plot that was being hatched against the Tamil nation, by making a “benevolent” gesture.

Once again, the Revolutionary Communist League rightly condemned this as a reactionary intervention by the Indian bourgeoisie. The fact that this so-called humanitarian aid to the Tamil liberation struggle arrived just two months before the Gandhi-

Jayewardene accord and five months before the brutal assault on Jaffna by the Indian Army, which now has left a trail of murder, rape and arson across the Tamil homeland, vindicates this warning by the Revolutionary Communist League remarkably.

This assumes even greater significance given the present revelations that in this period, the imperialist agents, including Solarz, were neck deep in shuttle diplomacy to get the Indian bourgeoisie to impose the accord on the Tamil Eelam nation.

It is worthwhile to present what Samarakkody had to say about the position of the RCL on the Indian food drop on the Jaffna peninsula: “Those claiming to be revolutionary Marxists cannot oppose the intervention of the Indian bourgeoisie, when it acted in the interests [!] of Tamil militants engaged in their liberation struggle. However, fake Marxists, like the leaders of the LSSP and the CP capitulated to Sinhala chauvinism. They rushed to register their protest at, or disapproval, of the Indian action. And in this context, Keerthi Balasuriya and the leaders of the RCL gave manifestation of their capitulation to Sinhala chauvinism, when they denounced the Indian air-dropping of food rations as a reactionary intervention on the part of India.”

In defending the action of the Indian bourgeoisie, Samarakkody could not fail to summon up the 1971 instance, when the renegades who then controlled the International Committee of the Fourth International prevented the RCL from publicizing its own position on the Indian intervention in Bangladesh. “It was a similar bloomer Keerthi Balasuriya made when the Indian government in 1971, sent the Indian army to East Pakistan at the request of Mujibur Rahman and Awami League leaders of the East Pakistan Bangladesh liberation struggle.”

It is significant that Edmond Samarakkody now has to quote Banda, who capitulated to the Indian bourgeoisie in 1971, to justify an Indian invasion in 1987. Tamil Eelam 1987 represents the historical continuity of Bangladesh 1971.

In both situations, the Indian bourgeoisie was operating on behalf of the imperialists to prevent a long drawn-out liberation war on the subcontinent that would destabilize the already unstable national bourgeois rule. The reformists, Stalinists, revisionists and elements like Banda were summoned in both cases to justify the Indian military intervention, giving it a false anti-imperialist veneer.

But the Indian intervention in Tamil Eelam has turned out to be a disaster for the Indian bourgeoisie, as well as its servants. Unlike Bangladesh, where they had Mujibur Rahman, an agent who had some credibility among the masses, the TULF, the bourgeois reformist faction in the Tamil liberation struggle, had already lost credibility.

The LTTE, which had credibility among the masses, accepted the Indo-Lankan Accord. But the ferocity with which the people of Tamil Eelam fought the invader made it impossible for the LTTE to agree to disarm itself, despite the illusions it had in the good intentions of the Indian ruling class. While reiterating their faith in the Indian bourgeoisie, the LTTE were dragging their feet.

This made the present attacks by the Indian bourgeoisie necessary, exposing the counterrevolutionary character of the Indian ruling class and the real duplicity of the revisionists and renegades.

While his newfound Sri Lankan bosom pal Samarakkody was quoting from Banda’s epistles of 1971 to cover up the massacre that the Indian bourgeoisie was preparing, Banda and Torrance got close to the LTTE leadership in the guise of lending it support. They reinforced the illusions of the Tamil liberation struggle in the Indian bourgeois vultures by lying about the “progressive” character of the national bourgeoisie.

In this macabre charade, the rear was taken up by Cliff Slaughter. Even as the Indian Army was digging in at Jaffna, with the guidance of the LTTE and even more openly collaborationist leaderships of the Tamil liberation movement, that suave operator Mr. Cliff Slaughter was telling the Tamil nation and the international working class that the trouble with the Indian bourgeoisie was that it was not “giving enough” to the Tamil masses.

Let us quote his newspaper: “This stops far short of Tamil autonomy, let alone self-determination, but halts [!] military plans to carve up the Tamil lands and impose settlers. At the same time, the acceptance of some Tamil rights in theory, and Indian troops in practice, brought a violent backlash led by reactionary Sinhala communalists and priests” (Workers Press, August 8, 1987, No. 86).

As we have seen from the proceedings of the US House subcommittee, the Indian intervention was designed by the US imperialists. But now we have the Workers Press braying that this same murderous expedition was in Tamil Eelam to secure some rights for the Tamil masses, despite opposition from the reactionary Sinhala communalists.

The thousands of innocent victims of the Indian killers were these Tamil people themselves. The role that this pack of scoundrels played is clear: within six months of the split from the International Committee, Slaughter’s Workers Press was soaked in the blood of an innocent and wronged nation fighting for freedom.

The same issue of Samarakkody’s journal doing this reactionary cosmetic job for the Indian invader also reported on its front pages that Samarakkody, along with the revisionist outfit of Varga and the GOR of Italy, was responding to the WRP’s call for an “international regroupment.”

This amorphous blob conceived by Slaughter together with the MAS, the right-wing centrist movement founded in Argentina by Nahuel Moreno, was mercifully ended by the prompt intervention of the International Committee of the Fourth International. Let us recall what the Workers League had to say about this formation in its open letter to the WRP membership in May 6, 1987.

Pointing out the treachery of the Argentine MAS, with which the WRP was proposing to unify, the Workers League declared: “Last month’s events in Argentina have already exposed the catastrophic political implications of the WRP’s alliance with the MAS. Only a few months ago your new political allies brought greetings to the congress of the Communist Party, praising it for its ‘courage’ while boasting that their alliance with the Communist Party represented a ‘formidable weapon.’

“But the military coup exposed within hours the bankruptcy of the CP-MAS alliance. The Stalinists, predictably, officially proclaimed their loyalty to the state and endorsed Alfonsin’s negotiations with the fascist officers. This act of open treachery took place under conditions in which the credibility of the Stalinists had been bolstered by the Morenoites. This fact is sufficient to condemn the political line of the MAS. Thus in the name of ‘breaking into’ the mass movement, the WRP is directly participating in the betrayal of the Argentine masses.”

These traitors were doing the dirty work of the reactionaries the world over, when the merciless attack by the Trotskyists of the Workers League and the International Committee of the Fourth International, put paid to their ill-starred conception. The Argentine coup of 1987, as well as the Indian invasion of Tamil Eelam, objectively exposed them.

It is clear that the activities of the renegades Torrance, Banda, Slaughter and Healy were entirely in keeping with the interests of the imperialist cabal that met in the committee rooms of Capitol Hill to congratulate themselves on the counterrevolutionary plans against the insurgent masses of South Asia.

Because of the split of 1985 and the subsequent struggle of the ICFI against all forms of revisionism, the voice of the Fourth International will now reach the working people all over the world:

The new stage in the world crisis of capitalism, dominated by the irreconcilable contradiction between the development of the world economy as an objectively interdependent whole and the archaic system of nation states, is the driving force for a revolutionary upsurge of the working class on a global scale ... the epoch of the Fourth International has arrived. It is the task of the International Committee to assemble the international cadre that will act decisively upon this perspective, rally the working class to the banner of the Fourth International and prepare the coming victory of the world revolution (Perspectives Resolution of the International Committee of the Fourth International, August 1988).

The Indo-Lankan Accord was a desperate attempt to seal, with the blood of the Tamil Eelam nation, the deepening cracks of the state system that the British imperialists and national bourgeoisie, with the support of the Stalinists, set up in 1947. However much the renegades attempt to hold it together, capitalism’s world crisis is breaking this decrepit system wide open.

Only the proletariat of the whole subcontinent united under the banner of the Fourth International can ensure the unity of the subcontinent under the dictatorship of the proletariat. For this, it is necessary to build a section of the ICFI in all the states of the Indian subcontinent.