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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 February 2020

Building a working-class movement for Tamil rights

4 February protest - black day for Tamils of Sri Lanka

  (Click to enlarge)

Ketheswaran S, Tamil Solidarity and East London Socialist Party

On 4 February, Tamil Solidarity called a protest outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London. This protest marked a black day for Tamils.

The current Sri Lankan president was defence minister during the 2009 massacre. He has now declared that 20,000 people who disappeared since the war are dead. This is little comfort or explanation to the families of the missing.

These families deserve justice - to actually know what happened to missing loved ones. Tamil Solidarity calls for the releasing of all information held by the Sri Lankan government about the civil war.

We demand an investigation into these war crimes, under the democratic control of ordinary people and their representative organisations including the trade unions, community groups and the bereaved.

Tamils and other minorities have been systematically refused their national democratic rights since Sri Lankan independence from Britain in 1948. We called out the hypocrisy of celebrating independence while secret camps still operate, political prisoners languish behind bars, families of the victims have not received any sort of explanation, and Tamil-owned land has not been given back.

When the Sri Lankan government was organising a celebration inside the warm building, hundreds protested in the cold weather outside. We mourned the thousands who perished at the hands of the Sri Lankan government and demanded justice for those who are still suffering.

The Socialist Party brought solidarity, calling for the right of self-determination. We sold over 10 copies of the Socialist and 36 copies of Ethir, a Tamil and English language paper produced by Tamil Solidarity.

The Sri Lankan officials were rattled and their natural reaction was to photograph and video protesters once again. The Sri Lankan government had called in the help of British police - wasting taxpayers' money - to provide 'security'. But the protest was peaceful despite anger, sadness and disgust

We do not believe that the Sri Lankan government - that shamelessly continues to justify killing tens of thousands - will deliver justice. But the demand for freedom - recognition of right to self-determination for the Tamil-speaking masses - is stronger than ever.


Packed meeting about Keenie Meenie

Isai Priya, Tamil Solidarity and Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Despite Storm Ciara, 150 people attended the book launch meeting that Tamil Solidarity co-organised on 9 February. The book - Keenie Meenie: The British mercenaries who got away with war crimes - highlights in detail how these mercenaries created immense profits for their company, Keenie Meenie Services

The mercenaries were protected and defended by the British government, politicians and foreign authorities. They were paid several million pounds to go to Sri Lanka to kill people and train the Sri Lankan army on how to commit mass murder.

Keenie Meenie Services were in Sri Lanka in the 1980s. This was a period of neoliberal offensive to privatise, deregulate and drive down conditions to increase profit -spearheaded by US President Ronald Reagan and British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

The then Sri Lankan president, JR Jeyawardene, opened up the economy for sale. He became the favourite ally of neoliberalism in South Asia.

The imperialist powers were prepared to do anything to protect this situation. Keenie Meenie was used to strengthen right-wing governments around the world, and to suppress any left-wing government or potential uprising.

Tamil Solidarity organised this meeting to bring out the political significance of the book for the struggle for the rights of the Tamil-speaking people. I spoke for Tamil Solidarity and Helen Pattison for the Socialist Party.

We highlighted the need to link the Tamil struggle with other oppressed communities - the working class, trade unionists, socialists and young people. These are our natural allies.

The general strike in India, for example, gives a glimpse of the potential power of working-class people to fight all their oppressors. Tamil Solidarity and the Socialist Party also emphasised the need to get active here - in the worker and community struggles that are taking place for better living conditions - against the Tory government's right-wing policies.

The Socialist Party puts forward a socialist programme needed to get rid of imperialist war, oppression, capitalist austerity governments and poverty.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 12 February 2020:


News

Tackling climate change: Johnson emits huge quantities of hot air!

Windrush deportations: end the hostile environment

Streatham attack: Johnson's bill can't stop terror

Them & Us

What We Heard


NHS

NHS: Fight for full funding!

Unnecessary surgery scandal shows need for democratic control of NHS

NHS debt so high it can't be repaid - so don't pay it!

Callous Tory cuts to children's speech therapy in Nottinghamshire


Trade unions

Trade unions - new decade, new challenges


Workplace news

Big Unison south east regional meeting votes for anti-cuts position

PCS union: Uniting the left around a leadership that can win for members

Westex workers win increased pay offer in 11th week of strike

University strikers walk out for better pay and pensions

East London school strikes against academisation continue

Foreign Office workers' strike

Solidarity with Turkish workers

Lambeth Unison letter

London NSSN meeting

Solidarity with victimised bus rep Moe

Support Clive Walder


Cuts

How to resist tory attacks on local communities

Cuts councillors are the real problem

Council houses - not private property developers


International

Sinn Fein harnesses working-class anger to top poll

Lebanon - mass protests cut across sectarian division


Campaigns

Build independent workers' media with May Day greetings

Building a working-class movement for Tamil rights

Hackney: We don't want homes and retail units working-class people can't afford

20 years of housing failure

Socialist Sellers


Universal Credit

New BBC series - Insight or whitewash?

Nottingham: death of vulnerable claimant

UC stopped without warning


 

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Related links:

Tamil:

triangleProtest against Modi's racist law

triangleBuilding Tamil Solidarity with youth and the unions

triangleSri Lanka: Presidential election sees return of dictatorial Rajapaksa clan

triangleTamil Solidarity Day: Linking up oppressed people's struggles

triangleSri Lanka - Ten years after the brutal end of the war

Working-class:

triangleYouth without a future: fight for jobs and homes - fight for socialism!

triangleCapitalism = inequality. Fight for socialism!

triangleMass protests erupt

triangleBlack Lives Matter protests sweep country: How can the movement win?

Tamils:

triangleHundreds of Tamils protest against death-threat brigadier

triangleParliamentary coup in Sri Lanka

trianglePolice shootings in Tamil Nadu condemned

Sri Lanka:

triangleKashmir crisis: Stop the attack on democratic rights

triangleIndia: Modi victory underlines need for real socialist fightback

Protest:

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Uprisings and protest in the developing world - what is the way forward?

Black:

triangleBLM protests - another injustice exposed

Solidarity:

triangleDebenhams: Fighting closures and redundancies

Tamil Solidarity:

triangleSri Lanka: No to terrorist bombing

Government:

triangleFighting for over 250 jobs that are under threat at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Photo M Kamish

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