Aragalaya Makes a Comeback in Sri Lankan Politics: The Rise of the People’s Struggle Alliance

In a historic event that took place on June 19, 2024, the People’s Struggle Alliance, a powerful Left Alliance, emerged onto the political scene. Comprising three left parties – the Front Line Socialist Party, the New Democratic Marxist–Leninist Party, and the Socialist People’s Forum – along with a diverse group of lawyers, academics, journalists, economists, activists, and other individuals aligned with the Left, this alliance marks the return of Aragalaya in Sri Lankan politics.

Led by prominent figures such as Wasantha Mudalige, former Convenor of the Inter University Students’ Federation and a key leader of the recent People’s Struggle, the People’s Struggle Alliance aims to bring about radical change. Notable members of the alliance include lawyers Nuwan Bopege and Swasthika Arulingam, political activist Lahiru Weerasekara, academic Kalpa Rajapaksha, economist Dhanusha Pathirana, actor Jehan Srikanth, and journalist Tharindu Uduwaragedara, among others who have actively participated in civil society movements and dissent.

The People’s Struggle Alliance has put forward an ambitious and progressive Left programme. Their agenda includes exiting the International Monetary Fund (IMF), putting an end to austerity measures, eliminating suppressive laws, and addressing issues of exploitation, marginalization, and regionalism based on ethnicity, language, religion, and gender. Furthermore, the alliance seeks to establish a system of People’s Power and Democracy, giving a voice to the marginalized and ensuring a fair and just society for all.

The urgency of attaining political power to meet the demands of the 2022 People’s Struggle has been a key topic of discussion among the public and political circles. In pursuit of this goal, the Left Alliance was formed to champion a progressive, people-focused political agenda and challenge Sri Lanka’s continued adherence to the IMF program, for the 17th time, underscoring that it is not a viable solution to the country’s economic woes.

This coalition presents a groundbreaking election manifesto, outlining progressive Left stances on the National Question, gender equality, the rights of marginalized communities like the Malaiyaha Thamil, environmental issues, the economy, and the empowerment of the people as a viable alternative to the notion that elections alone can resolve Sri Lanka’s social, political, and economic challenges. It offers a political roadmap with both immediate and long-term strategies, aiming to establish a fair economic and political framework that benefits all citizens.

As the People’s Struggle Alliance gains momentum, it is poised to challenge the status quo and reshape the political landscape of Sri Lanka. With their radical vision and determination, they aim to bring about a new era of social justice and equality, leaving a lasting impact on the nation’s political trajectory.

Written by Nuwan Bopege

Organizer, International Affairs, Front Line Socialist Party, Sri Lanka