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League gathers for first South Asian congress

The League for the Fifth International, of which Workers Power is the British section, held a successful congress in Sri Lanka in January.

Members from Germany, Austria, and Britain met with delegates from the Pakistan and Sri Lankan sections of the League to discuss the issues facing the international working class.

This congress was the second part of the league’s eighth congress. The first part had been held in Istanbul in May but due to racist laws it proved impossible to obtain visas for the Pakistani and Sri Lankan delegates. So we reconvened to ensure the participation of the comrades in two very important sections of our organisation.

On the agenda was a discussion about the perspectives, task and programmatic manifesto that was passed at the Istanbul congress. Then we debated and amended resolutions on Islamism and Maoism, two important political trends in South Asia. Congress also organised commissions to amend proposed action programmes for Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which were adopted at the congress and can now better guide our work in those countries.

Win

All these documents will be translated into various south Asian languages and made available to workers, young people and anyone fighting oppression as part of our campaign to win supporters and members for revolutionary communism. Sadly a delegate from our supporters in Nepal could not attend, but we discussed how to assist them in their crucial work in the coming months.

The congress was hosted by the Socialist Party of Sri Lanka, whose Central Committee attended along with their delegates.

“We are very pleased that the congress is being held here as this is the first international gathering in Sri Lanka.” Said PD Saranapala, a leading member of the Jhangara Joint Health Sector Union. “It shows the commitment of the League to expanding in South Asia and building the sections.”

Democratic
Many comrades who had come from other political tendencies such as the Committee for a Workers International (CWI) or the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) were impressed by how democratic the congress was.

“We are used to people coming and giving a speech and then we just vote on a document”, said a delegate from Pakistan. “But at this congress there are more indepth discussions and a chance for every comrade to have an impact on the final documents.”

After the congress, a meeting on the Fifth International was held in Colombo and led to a lively discussion with people asking questions about the history of Trotskyism and how we can fight for socialism today.

Sri Lanka has a important history of Trotskyism, being the only country where the Fourth International led a mass party and where the legacy of the collapse of the revolutionary left in the 1960s and 70s is still felt today.

The congress was a real step forward for our organisation in South Asia and provides a firm foundation from which we can go forward to building the League for the Fifth International in not only Pakistan and Sri Lanka but also in India.

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