Workers, youth and students in Sri Lanka who attended the recent “Oppose US–NATO war drive and the Russian invasion of Ukraine” online meeting organised by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) spoke last week to the World Socialist Web Site about the event.
The meeting was addressed by David North, chairperson of the WSWS International Editorial Board and the SEP in the US, as well as speakers from the SEP and IYSSE in Sri Lanka.
Charitha Wickremesinghe, a technician the from University of Ruhuna in Matara, said the meeting provided the “only scientific analysis” of the Ukraine war and its consequences.
“The US and NATO backed a regime-change operation in Ukraine in 2014, their aim being to grab the resources in the Eurasian region and to impose this sort of change in Russia itself. The Putin regime, however, represents the interests of the Russian ruling elite, which has no other solution but to intensify military operations,” he said.
Referring to David North’s remarks, Wickremesinghe said, “What has happened to the claims in 1991 that the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a triumph for capitalism? What we’ve seen since 1991 are continuous invasions by the US and destruction. The current war preparations of the US against Russia pose an enormous threat for the entire world again.
“By participating in this meeting, I learnt we have to study the real historical and international context when we try to comprehend the crises that we face today. I will further study the video of this meeting and try to better understand the contents of all the lectures given.”
Sunil Harischandra, an artist from the cinema and drama sectors, said the meeting gave him an understanding of the relationship between the imperialist war drive and the obsolete nature of the nation state system.
“The destruction created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the drive towards a third world war clearly shows that capitalism neither wants nor is able to resolve the basic questions faced by mankind.
“As only the SEP has explained, a war conducted with nuclear weapons would see the complete destruction of human civilisation. The scenes of war presented by the media, and the lamentations of the people, are already heartbreaking. This catastrophe must be stopped.
“As Comrade North and other speakers correctly pointed out, the only way to stop this catastrophe is through the mobilisation of the working class in every country for socialist revolution across national borders,” Harischandra said.
Piyumi Hansika, a second-year student from the University of Peradeniya, said: “The most important feature of this meeting was the presentation of a political program for the working class to end this war. This has not been presented in any other examinations of this war. The discussion also helped me to further understand the political roots of the US-led imperialist powers’ decision to launch a war against Russia.
“The other main point was that the working class and oppressed people around the world will have to pay for the devastation of this war, which is being waged on behalf of a handful of capitalists. The people are against war but, as explained at the meeting, the challenge is to turn this opposition into a conscious political movement for socialism,” she said.
Hemal Deepthi, a teacher in Bandarawela, said: “By participating in this meeting, I understood that the preparations made by the US and the NATO powers are in order to subjugate Russia. The capitalist media in Sri Lanka is incapable of explaining this. The fact that Ukraine received arms from the US, particularly before the Russian invasion, and the expansion of NATO to encircle Russia is clear evidence that this was a long-planned US offensive against Russia.
“This is how we need to understand US activities in the Indian Ocean region. It is to encircle China. The US and other imperialist powers see no other solution to their economic decline than to use their military might to force countries to surrender. The working class, however, has an alternative solution through the establishment of international socialism,” he said.
Afkar, a Peradeniya University science student, said: “The meeting was aimed at giving expression to the emerging struggles and transferring political power from the capitalist class to the working class. This requires the overthrow of the world capitalist system through the building of a movement of the working class and youth. The efforts you are making are very important.
“American imperialism sees Russia as an obstacle to achieving its predatory aims. It tempted it into invading Ukraine in order to destabilise the Russian economy and now both the Russian and Ukrainian masses are suffering this tragedy,” he said.
“The war has created a big refugee crisis, and although it seems that other European countries are welcoming refugees, they are doing it on the basis of anti-Russian propaganda. I don’t think these oppressed people will find their democratic or social rights as refugees in those countries.
“The masses do not need any war. They need their own government to represent their interest, and to this end a working-class government must be brought to power.
“The world crisis, which is created by capitalist policies, is not unique to any single country and cannot be solved in any particular country. Capitalist rule sees the emerging struggles of the working class in country after country as a threat to the world capitalist system and its economic interests. War is a response to this threat,” Afkar added.