V KUMARI JATAWARDENA
Origins of the Left Movement in Sri Lanka
THIS study on the left movement in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) deals with the economic and political background of the events leading to the formation, in 1935, of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). This party began as a broad social-democratic organization composed of nationalists and those advocating Marxism in order to give leadership on two fronts, the nationalist movement and the working-class struggle. In 1940, an ideological split took place when the LSSP expelled the 'Stalinists,5 who in 1948 formed the Communist Party. The LSSP, which adopted Trotskyism and was affiliated to the Fourth International, was declared illegal during the Second World War. Its leaders went underground, some of them escaping to India from jail and joining socialist and Trotskyist groups there.
After the war the LSSP and CP were able to gain several seats in the legislature, but their influence remained confined mainly to the urban working class and the southern coastal belt. In 1951, S W R D Bandaranaike left the ruling United National Party ofDS Senanayake to form the Sri Lanka Freedom Party which swept the polls in 1956 after mobilizing the rural masses, on issues such as Buddhism and the Sinhala language, under the local leadership of the guru, veda, sangha (teacher, ayurvedic physician and monk), in opposition to the elitist, comprador United National Party. After Bandaranaike's assassination in 1959 the governments have alter-