On the Death of Comrade Sanmugathasan
- Statement by the
Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
15 February 1993
It was with
great grief that the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist
Movement learned of the death of Comrade N. Sanmugathasan, General
Secretary of the Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist) on 8 February at
the age of 74 of natural causes.
devoted his life to the goal of achieving communism. He was a widely
respected public figure in Sri Lanka and loved by broad sections
of workers, peasants, revolutionary intellectuals and progressives.
His life was intertwined with the history of the revolutionary movement
in Sri Lanka and the international communist movement. As he put
it, "I became a Communist in 1939 and never looked back."
participated in the struggle to establish a genuine Communist Party
in what was then colonial Ceylon. He fought against the Trotskyites
that had dominated the Left movement in that country. He was an
ardent defender of the accomplishments of the proletariat of the
Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin.
was one of the first Communist leaders to rally around Mao Tsetung
and the Communist Party of China in the great struggle against Khrushchevite
revisionism. Comrade Sanmugathasan defended the need for the revolutionary
violence of the masses and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
was an ardent defender of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution
in China. On the basis of discussions with Mao Tsetung and other
revolutionary leaders of the CPC, Comrade Sanmugathasan prepared
a pamphlet entitled, "Hold High the Bright Red Banner of Mao Tsetung
Thought". This publication, widely circulated throughout the world,
helped popularize and spread some of the important teachings of
In 1971 Comrade
Sanmugathasan was imprisoned for one year by the reactionary regime
in Sri Lanka.
In 1976 following
the coup d'etat in China after Mao's death, Comrade Sanmugathasan
was among the first to oppose the new revisionist rulers. When Enver
Hoxha attacked Mao Tsetung Thought, Comrade Sanmugathasan stood
firm while many others wavered.
attended both the First and Second International Conference of Marxist-Leninist
Parties and Organizations which resulted in the formation of the
Revolutionary Internationalist Movement. Comrade Sanmugathasan played
an important role in this process, both through struggling hard
for those positions he held firmly and in his striving for unity
was one of the few living links between the revolutionaries who
came forward under the influence of the Cultural Revolution in China
and those who had come forward in earlier great battles. His maturity
and staunchness was an important alloy in the forging of the Revolutionary
Internationalist Movement whose formation he hailed as a "milestone
in the history of the international communist movement".
was a vigourous opponent of the Sri Lankan government's war against
the Tamil people in the North and East of the island.
In 1991 Comrade
Sanmugathasan personally convoked and led an important conference
of the Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist). Thus, even as his health
was failing, and putting the cause of the proletariat and the revolution
above personal interest, Comrade Sanmugathasan took an active role
in promoting a new generation of leadership and assuring the future
of the Party.
was an enthusiastic supporter of the People's War in Peru. His last
public act was to speak at the first press conference in London
of the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr
Abimael Guzmán, of which he was a founder.
his long lifetime of revolutionary service to the proletariat and
the people, Comrade Sanmugathasan never lost confidence in the ultimate
triumph of the cause of communism. Although crucial problems of
the revolution in Sri Lanka were not resolved in Comrade Sanmugathasan's
lifetime, he laid down vital building blocks which the communists,
proletariat and people of Sri Lanka will use in advancing toward
of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement extends its deepest
sympathy to the Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist), and to the family
and friends of Comrade N. Sanmugathasan. We are sure that the Ceylon
Communist Party (Maoist) will honour the memory of Comrade Sanmugathasan
by carrying forward in deeds the cause to which he dedicated his