Solidarity Newspaper

Solidarity with the Tamil people , 27 Mar, 2009

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Earlier this month a meeting in Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, sponsored by the United Socialist Party (sister party of the Socialist Party in the UK), launched an international Sri Lanka solidarity campaign.

The early evening launch in the UK, on Saturday 21 March, was a low-key affair in a small room in Conway Hall run by a few members of the SP.

A steering committee was agreed, based on the SP’s proposal whereby SP people are coordinator, treasurer and honorary President. Other people were allowed to nominate themselves and were accepted by the room, including five young second-generation British Tamils (one of them myself from Workers’ Liberty, the only other socialist group involved so far).

The campaign aims to be “broad”, and the steering committee meeting on Sunday 29th is to remain open. We will be organising a protest on the 8 April outside the Indian visa office in Aldwych, part of an international day of action protesting at the Indian government’s support for the war. The meeting adopted the platform agreed in Chennai:

1. Stop the war! For an immediate end to the military operations in Sri Lanka; withdrawal of the army from all Tamil areas; stop the disappearances.

2. No to detention camps! Immediately provide for the Tamil people’s basic needs of food, shelter, health, under the control of their own elected representatives.

3. Not a rupee, not a bullet for the war-mongering Rajapakse regime! An immediate end to military and commercial support for Sri Lanka by western imperialism and by India, China, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, Japan and other countries. For workers’ action against their involvement and cooperation; workers’ boycott of arms shipments.

4. Democratic rights for all throughout Sri Lanka! Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and media, trade union rights for all workers including in the Free Trade Zones, freedom of association and the right to free and fair elections, the right of all to vote without interference, for all parties to organise and stand in elections who accept equal rights for all, regardless of nationality, religion, caste and sex.

5. Full support for building united trade unions in Sri Lanka, for press freedom campaigns and for the work of bodies like the Civil Monitoring Committee investigating kidnappings and extra-judicial murders in Sri Lanka.

6. Defend the right to self-determination! Campaign to support a mass movement of workers and poor in the north to establish their right to determine their own future.

• The campaign website is:

www.stoptheslaughteroftamils.org

• Contact me: brent@workersliberty.org.