Communist Party of Sri Lanka

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Communist Party of Sri Lanka


(CPSL), a party founded on July 3, 1943, as a successor to the United Socialist Party and individual communist groups in Ceylon. Before the proclamation of Ceylon as the Republic of Sri Lanka in 1972, the party was called the Communist Party of Ceylon.

The Communist Party of Ceylon waged a resolute struggle for the liberation of Ceylon from British colonial rule. The First Congress of the party was held in April 1945. After Ceylon gained independence in 1948, the Communist Party, together with other democratic forces, called for the most rapid possible liquidation of the remnants of colonialism and opposed domestic reaction. The party helped the rise to power of the democratic coalition government headed by Solomon Bandaranaike (1956–59) and supported his anti-imperialist and democratic program. It also supported the progressive anti-imperialist policy of the government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike (1960–65).

In the parliamentary elections of 1965 the Communist Party obtained four seats in parliament. Together with the Ceylon Freedom Party and the Socialist Party of Ceylon, the Communist Party formed the democratic opposition to the government of Dudley Senanayake (1965–70). The leadership of the Communist Party devoted much attention to strengthening the unity of action among these three parties of the democratic opposition. In 1968 a program of joint action was drawn up as the basis for the United Front of the parties. The program provides for a planned development of the economy, the nationalization of commercial banks, industrialization, the establishment of state control over the import of goods of prime necessity, and reforms in agriculture to raise agricultural output and ease the conditions of the peasantry.

In the general elections of 1970 the United Front won 121 seats in parliament out of a total of 157. The Communist Party received six seats in parliament and joined the coalition government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. The Eighth Congress of the party, held in 1972, set the task of strengthening the unity of the left and democratic forces within the United Front, especially unity of action with representatives of the Socialist Party of Sri Lanka and the left wing of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Such unity will aid in the implementation of several urgent social and economic transformations and prevent rightist forces (the proimperialist United National Party and others) from taking power in Sri Lanka.

Delegations of the Communist Party attended the international Conferences of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow in 1957, 1960, and 1969. The Communist Party approved the documents adopted at these conferences.

The CPSL is organized along the principles of democratic centralism. The highest body is the congress; between congresses the Central Committee leads the party. The central executive body is the Politburo of the Central Committee. P. Keineman is the chairman of the CPSL Central Committee and S. A. Wikremasinghe is its general secretary. The press organs of the Central Committee of the CPSL consist of three newspapers, the Sinhalese-language Mawbima, the Tamil-language Thesabimani, and the English-language Forward. (See Table 1 for congresses of the CPSL.)

Table 1. Congresses of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka
First ...............ColomboApr. 6–8, 1945
Second ...............WelawattaJan. 1–3, 1948
Third ...............AturaliyaSeptember 1948
Fourth ...............MataraSeptember 1950
Fifth ...............Grandpass1955
Sixth ...............ColomboDec. 25–30, 1960
Seventh ...............ColomboApr. 16–19, 1964
Eighth ...............ColomboAug. 20–24, 1972


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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