Hartal-Left and Trade Unionism.

April 16, 2024

During Hartel ( the General strike) organanised by the Marxist parties in 1953 to express public dissatisfaction over the cost of rice of the GCSU ( General Clerical Services Union). Mr. Kanakasamy was shot by the police lead by LSSP stalwarts; Dr. N.M.Perera, Dr. Colvin de Silva and Lesley Gunawardena. The GCSU was powerful and acted as in the form of real power to demand a prominent powerful upsurge until 1985. It was stated by Nicky Karunaratne, who was based on the LSSP hierarchy.

The old left’ liked to look back with heroic nostalgia of the 1953 general strike as the vital event of their, history. Consequently, for many years to follow the general strike as an occasion for provoking speeches by left party members.

A review of the past showed that the old left of the SLFP, which benefitted out the hartal in the popular upsurge of 1956, which felled the UNP and brought S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike as the Prime Minister.

The GCSU Head Quarters.

The GCSU headquarters in Fort was a small ‘ but’ during the sixties but later it was converted into a multi million story building under the leadership of I.J. Wickrema and K.M. Karunaratne. Inside their office hanged a photograph of the famous 1953 hartal including the victim of Kandasamy on display’

I.J. Wickrema was outspoken gentleman, who was highly critical of Mr. N. M. Pereira’s demand overtures, after becoming the finance minister. Finally, he was kicked of the leadership by N.M. for going against N.M.

The new headquarters was opened by Mrs.Bandrarnaike when she was the Prime Minister with a very colourful ceremony with a momentous Pirith ceremony throughout the night.

When, Kandasamy died of gunshot wounds, the LSSP thought it was a new beginning for their- future project visa vis – to power by implementing their future project.

GCSU was considered the most powerful alliance among the Trade Union forum where NM had a steady and a close union with it. Even SWRD Bandaranaike was unable to govern the country the country, peacefully due to the interference against his government.

It was in fact due to the LSSP’s deceptive, dishonest and sneaky undercurrent manipulations that the Tamil workers always got the upper hand and managed to secure fine jobs while, lamentedly in a country like Sri Lanka, where there was a majority of Buddhists were denied were denied of any chance in a beneficial capacity being employed as minor workers or having to depend on labour as a means of substance!

It was intended a sad dilemma where the majority of the population (Sinhala people) had to succumb to minor jobs in an insignificant capacity while the minority (Tamils) enjoyed all The Tamil percentage up to 70% at the time, until politicians in the form of Tamil , until Politicians such as T.B.Illngaratne caliber changed this government administrative policy to employ more rural youth by directly introducing the State Language policy of Sinhala only.

During the Gloomy Period.

During those ‘gloomy, low-spirited days the ‘Jaffna train from Colombo to Jaffna was fully packed from Maradana station, which consisted of Tamils, who were employed in the South For the week end, yet the irony being when the train reached Anuradhapura station, Tamils for the week end, yet the irony being when reached Anuradhapura station, Tamils who were looking for yet when the train reached Anuradhapura station, Tamils took absolute control of the train by pushing Sinhala passengers out of their way up to Jaffna. It was a time where some of the Sinhalese men from the South had business in the North.

Karunaratne recalls

Karunaratne recalls on several occasions when Colvin R d Silva to addressed, for not fathoming the mentality of those LSSP hierarchy for misleading their Union members boiled down to nothing, else but to expose their endeavor to utilize the ‘ill-literate’ working within the main Government.

On several occasion when Colvin R de Silva addressed the union backed ‘strikers’, he managed to condition the workers by injecting ‘poison’ into their minds thinking that by repeating in mantra from saying that, “ strikes alone is useless……but you have to organize rallies and agitate from your work places; at least to throw a stone to spill some blood on the floor’!

One should not just fathom the mentality of the hierarchy for misleading their Union member which, simply boils down to nothing else but to expose their endeavor to utilize the “Ille- rate” working classes masses for their own ends!

“such tactics never helped them to any demands, even when the LSSP enjoyed three portfolios in Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s government, and the result being their demands were thrown out of the window. Mrs. Bandaranaike decided to get rid of the LSSP coalition from the SLFP government, within a proverbial honeymoon!

Those so called “Red Leaders” lead a double life in the luxury, including Peter Kenuman of the Communion enjoyed for a swim at the Otter’s Club, in Colombo 7. He was a keen swimmer and has arrived with visitors in the swimming pool those days. It was a different breed of affluent people in the society. Peter Kenuman was a Minister of Construction at the time. Going by what these personnel used to talk covertly in their private, he completely lived completely what they advocated, was rather baffling from their political philosophy.”

Vicky remembers Vijaya’s

Going back to the days when Vijaya Kumaratunga was released released from prison, Vicky remembers and wanted to join the LSSP, yet his decision away from his own Party and joining LSSP. When Vijaya contested the election, I drove all the way from Colombo to help with his electioneering with financial contribution (Half of which was my friend Kotakadeniya.

On the following morning I, ( Nicky Karunaratne) drove I drove all the a following morning, I gave our contribution to K.P. Silva of the LSSP hierarchy for going and betraying the LSSP for betraying us like just like the LSSP hierarch betraying us like the LSSP hierarchy by going to Jaffna with him with Chandrika and meeting with ruthless terrorist Prabakaran, who suffered from a mental disorder and a meglomaniniic , relates Nicky .The money was given to K.P .Silva at the Minneriya Rest House This is not the first time in Sri Lanka of such an intrusion by the CIA, says Nicky, but it has a record of such activities from time immorality. CIA gets very main objectives or break backbone of other Nations and get through their other agendas and their own games.”!

  • Dr. Tilak S. Fernando – tilakfernando@gmail.com
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