Sunday, July 17, 2011

In memory of Late Comrade Wesley Muthiah, an epitome of the old LSSP.

The Sri Lanka Sama Samaja Party founded in 1935 marking the beginning of a great Marxist movement that changed the political scene of Sri Lanka, is today moving into history. Marxism merely means adhering to the political theory of Marx and Engels , that human actions and institutions are economically determined and that class struggle is needed to create historical changes to offset capitalism.

LSSP which was based on these theories was called a Marxist party which drew lot of venom from the opposition capitalist based parties. LSSP however was once the main Opposition Party and even the second Largest Party in the Parliament way back in the 1940s.

It started as a workers party and resorting to theoretical rhetoric to attract the workers in the government and private sector to unite them for a revolution of the proletariat against the ruling class. It failed to advent beyond urban workers to the peasants and villagers which doomed it from the beginning to an early death unwept, unsung and unlamented. Yet perhaps breathing its last, it remains today the oldest of all the political parties in Parliament.

But unfortunately the JVP which attempts to replace that great political moment trying to identify it as a Marxist political party has not even a Marxist political programme. But what it has is a program of disruption, creating political mayhem to withhold the economic and social development of the country . JVP hopes to gain popular attention and win their support by critical vituperations and mudslinging at the policies and progressive projects of the Government in power.

JVP has neither Marxism nor Socialism, but manifestations and orations of criticism, of all activities of the Government to keep in tow a loosing political base.

It had been accepted as a dictum that political parties based on Marxist socialism in order to gain popular political support should ride behind the political movements which have already gained the approval of the masses. JVP as a self proclaimed Marxist party should have therefore followed suit, to find a political space to eventually come out as a major political force.

JVP had the potential of being a popular political party, but withdrawing its support to the government has resulted in its falling headlong in to a political morass , with nothing new to propose to the people other than criticism of the party in power.

Any political party calling itself a socialist or a Marxist movement should in the present political context of Sri Lanka unite its forces not only to assist the government’s socialist programme of development but also to defend the country against foreign forces gathering together to undermine the development processes of the country, destabilize it to break its unitary status.

In this situation it is sad the once active Lanka Sama Samaja Party has failed to make a significant contribution either in presenting a progressive programme, or taking a more prominent role in the activities of the present Government’s effort of development. In the political debates in Sri Lanka there is a marked absence of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party. Its incapacity to find a means to be heard and seen in the public arena has made it already a “dead” political voice.

In this situation we cannot forget the contribution of an ordinary member of the LSSP the Late Wesley Muthiah, who did not seek office or favours but even living in UK in the latter part of his life carried out and organized very effective publicity programmes to bring the party sympathizers together, and organized and carried out many projects to help the under priviledged people and unemployed youth in Sri Lanka, and kept the Lanka Sama Samaja Party alive, heard and talked about.

In parallel to such programmes, Wesley organized lectures , social functions, and get togethers of party sympathizers as measures to keeping the Party alive without allowing it to fall in to oblivion. .

But unfortunately the lack of this type of organizations, meetings and social events by the LSSP in Sri Lanka has resulted in its falling into the category of “vanishing species” and the younger generation of Sri Lankans to-day seems to have already forgotten the existence of the LSSP . The last of the “ Mohicans” of the Party Comrades Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Tissa Vitharana despite being Ministers in the present Government do not play active roles to whisk the LSSP back to the political lime light.

The Late Comrade Wesley Muthiah was a man with an abundance of energy, he was able to meet people, speak to them and arouse their interest in the Socialist movement. That was how he was able to capture the imagination of his friend Comrade Sydney Wanasinghe to participate with him in his project to write the land mark “epic” of the history of the Lanka Sama SamajaParty that went into several volumes -"Britain, World War 2 & the Sama Samjists" in January,1996, followed by, " Bracegirdle Affair" (1998), " We Were Making History" (2002), "The Case for Socialism"(2004), "Two Languages One Nation-One Language Two Nations" (2005), " Socialist Women of Sri Lanka" (2006), and "Colvin R de Silva: Selected speeches and writings", (2007)- each covering a specific period of its history.

When eventually the Lanka Sama Samaja Party would be relegated to history, the future generations of Sri Lankans will at least have the written history of it- thanks to the Late Comarades Wesley Muthiah- and read the story of a great leftist movement that started with the Suriya Mal movement of Comrade Dr.S.A. Wickramasinghe, and branched out to be the Lanka Sama Samaja Party.

Late Wesley Muthiah where ever he was, did not fail to organize small groups of LSSP sympathizers and organize activities to bring the party to even a few people inclined towards socialism. In Matale, Wattegama, Elkaduwa, Nuwara Eliya, Talawakelle, Moratuwa, or in London Wesley did not fail to leave a remarkable imprint of the LSSP. Wesley was a rare individual overflowing with energy which he used immensely to keep alive the LSSP , unfortunately today the LSSP cannot count on any one to fill the empty space left by his premature departure.

Comrade Wesley Muthiah had not envisaged an eventual dwindling insignificance of LSSP to which it has fallen to-day. He once referred to Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and said there would always be some one who will rise from an unexpected quarter to bring back to life LSSP and infuse into it the former vigour and popularity even if it would not be what it had been before.

Therefore on this fourth death anniversary of the Late comrade Wesley Muthiah it is apt in his memory to hope for some one to arise from an unexpected quarter to bring back to life and infuse into Lanka Sama Samaja Party its former vigour and popularity before it breaths its last.

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