Leon Trotsky
Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka)

The World Socialist Web Site

32-1. The establishment of the World Socialist Web Site in 1998 marked a decisive turning point in the development for the ICFI and the international working class. The ICFI’s ability to take advantage of the revolutionary developments in computer technology and to coordinate the political work of its sections on a daily basis to produce the WSWS was a product of the programmatic clarity and unity that had been achieved in the aftermath of the 1985–86 split with the WRP. The World Socialist Web Site not only allowed the ICFI to greatly extend its audience but provided the new scaffolding around which the international working class could integrate its struggles and coalesce into a conscious political force to abolish capitalism.

32-2. The World Socialist Web Site was not simply a technical or organisational initiative but was rooted in fundamental political conceptions. At the 18th Plenum of the ICFI, David North elaborated these foundations: “(1) The insistence of the ICFI on the primacy of internationalism as the basis of the political strategy and tactical organisation of the working class. (2) The uncompromising character of the struggle waged by the ICFI against the domination of the working class by reactionary labour bureaucracies. (3) The emphasis placed upon the revival of a genuine socialist political culture within the working class as an essential intellectual and, one might add, ‘spiritual’ premise of a new international revolutionary movement. This is the essential intellectual substance and precondition of socialist revolution. (4) The struggle against spontaneism and political fatalism in relation to the development of the crisis of capitalism, the class struggle, and the socialist revolution.”[1]

32-3. The launching of the WSWS was a significant break from previous forms of party work that were focused on the production and distribution of newspapers. The WSWS enabled the ICFI to regularly reach an international audience on a scale that was impossible through the relatively limited sale of newspapers by each of its national sections. The daily production of the WSWS integrated the work of all sections of the ICFI to an unprecedented degree and concentrated their work on developing the Marxist political and theoretical analysis needed to politically prepare and guide a new revolutionary working class offensive. In the case of Sri Lanka, collaboration on the WSWS ended the relative isolation that the RCL/SEP had suffered for many years.

32-4. The effectiveness of the WSWS as an instrument of political struggle in every country was decisively confirmed in the extensive campaign waged by the Sri Lankan SEP and the International Committee in 1998 to release four SEP members detained by the LTTE for agitating for the party’s program. Confronted by the impact of the broad international campaign, including among the Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe and Australia, the LTTE ultimately released the SEP members unharmed.


The Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) (Mehring Books, Sydney, 2010), p. 146.