CONSTITUTION OF THE CEYLON COMMUNIST PARTY

(Adopted by the General Meeting of the Party held on July 2, 1944)

PREAMBLE

THE CEYLON COMMUNIST PARTY is the political party of the working class of Ceylon.

The fundamental aim of the COMMUNIST PARTY is to achieve a Socialist Ceylon which will establish common ownership of national economy, end the exploitation of man by man and nationality by nationality, eliminate class divisions in society and so be able to plan the use of all Ceylon's material, productive and scientific resources that every citizen will be guaranteed security, the right to work and leisure, a steadily rising standard of living liberty and equal opportunity for a free and happy life.

The COMMUNIST PARTY believes that its fundamental aim can be attained only by the will of the great majority of the toiling pople, led by the organised working class.

In furtherance of this fundamental aim, the immediate task of the COMMUNIST PARTY is to build a United National Front of the patriotic sections of the people of Ceylon to defend the country from fascist aggression and win its liberation from imperialist enslavement. It seeks to co-operate with all freedom-loving organisations and sections of our nation to win a free Ceylon which will guarantee complete democracy, equality among nationalities, the abolition of all feudal survivals in the countryside and the security of a decent standard of living and civic liberaties to every citizen and which will co-operate with all other nations of the world in close, friendly, free and equal association.

The COMMUNIST PARTY is devoted to the defence and extension of the immediate interests of the workers, peasants and other sections of toilers by hand and brain who suffer under feudal, capitalist or imperialist exploitation. It takes and active part in the everyday struggles of the working class and the people and works steadfastly to strengthen their organisation, political understanding and activity, not only to advance their standards and conditions but also that the organised working class can unite and lead the people of Ceylon for independence and democracy and carry forward the advance towards the winning of Socialism and classless society.

The policy and actons of the COMMUNIST PARTY are guided by the experience of the working class movement in Ceylon and by the general experience of woking class and popular struggles in other countries, which find their highest expression in Scientific Socialism, in the teachings of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin.

In achieving its aims, the COMMUNIST PARTY will seek to lead the workers and people of Ceylon shoulder to shoulder with the workers and people of other countries in the common struggle for a world without oppression and war for a common brotherhood of man.

To these ends, the COMMUNIST PARTY establishes the basic laws of its organisation in the following constitution.

Article One

NAME, EMBLEM & FLAG

  • The name of the organisation shall be the CEYLON COMMUNIST PARTY.
  • The emblem of the Party shall be a red, five-pointed star, bearing on it the design of a crossed hammer and sickle, representing the unity of workers and peasants, together with the circular inscription “CEYLON COMMUNIST PARTY” in the Sinhalese, Tamil, Malayalam or English language as the case may be.
  • The flag of the Party shall be a red flag. bearing on it the design of a crossed hammer and sickle.
Article Two

MEMBERSHIP

  • Any person, eighteen years of age or more, regardless of sex, colour, race, caste, religious belief or national origin, who habitually resides in Ceylon or who undertakes to reside in Ceylon for a continuous period of at least one year and whose loyalty to the working class and patriotsm is unquestioned is eligible for membership.
  • A member of the COMMUNIST PARTY is one who accepts the program and plicy of the Party, works within one of the Party organisations under its discipline, obeys and implements the decisions of the Party and supports it financially by regular payment of the Party dues.
    • Every application for membership shall be made individually in writing to the local Party cell or the Central Committee. The applicant should be vouched for by at least two members of the Party who know him or her personally at the place of work or residence or through work in a mass organisation.
    • In the case of applicants who are leading members of other political parties or who re-apply for membership after expulsion or resignation from the COMMUNIST PARTY, the acceptance of such applicants as members much receive the prior sanction of the Central Committee.
    • Every applicant for membership, whose applieation is accepted, shall serve a probationary period of not less than four weeks and not more than eigh weeks as a Candidate member of the Party, during which period he shall perform al duties and enjoy all rights of a member of the Party except that of voting on decisions. The Party organisation within which the candidate member works shall have the right to decide the length of the period of probation of each individual applicant, within the limit set above, and also whether or not, at the end of such period, the candidate member can be confirmed as a member of the Party.
Article Three

RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MEMBERS

  • Every memebr of the COMMUNIST PARTY has not only the right but also the duty to take part in the discussion and formulation of Party policy through his or her Party organisation and in the election of all leading committees. Every member has the right to be elected to any office or position in the Party.
  • Every member has the right to appeal to the highest bodies of the Party the Central Committee and All-Ceylon Congress of the Party, whose decision is final and cannot be questioned – against andy decision of the Party or its organisations concerning him or her and has also the right to be present during the inquiry into the appeal and state his or her case. While the appeal is pending, the majority decision of the Party or organisation must be carried out by the member.
  • Every member must observe the strictest discipline, actively participate in the political life of the Party and of the country and carry out in practice the decision of his or her Party organisation.
  • Every member, with the assistance of the Party, shall constantly strive to improve his or her political knowledge and understanding of the theory and practiec of Scientfc Socialism and of the political and organisational decisions of the Party, so as to equip himself or herself to take an active and helpful part in the working class and patriotic movement and to win support for the policy and aims of the Party.
  • Every member, unless especilly exempted, must also be a member of the mass organisation (Trade Union, Peasant Union, Co-operative Society, etc) for which he or she is elighible and work there, under the leadership and control of the corresponding Party Committee, Co-operating to promote and strenghen the given mass organisation and shall abide by the decisions arrived at democraticully by that mass organisation.
  • A member fo the Party can transfer himself or herself or form one area to another only with the prior permission of the Party organisation in which he or she works. Prior permission of the Central Committee is need before a member of the Party can go to another country.
  • No member shall have personal or political relationship with Fifthe Columnists, Trotskyites, or other known individual or organisational enemies of the Party the working class or the nation.
Article Four

STRUCTURE AND ORGANISATION

  • The structure and organisation of the COMMUNIST PARTY is based on the principle of DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM. This means that :
    • All leading Committees of the Party, from bottom to top are elected whereever the conditions of class struggle permit the holding of elections ;
    • The leading Party Committees regularly report on their work to their Party organisations ;
    • The Party has only one set of rules and uniform Party discipline, which are equally binding on all members and are strictly enforced ;
    • The Party maintains the strictest unity of will and action through the minority voluntarily submitting to the majority, the lower Party organisations to the higher Party organisations and the various Party organisations to the central leadership of the Party ;
    • The Party has only one leading organ – the ALL CEYLON PARTY CONGRESS and, between two Congresses, the Central Committee elected by the last Congress.
  • The supreme authority in the COMMUNIST PARTY is the ALL CEYLON PARTY CONGRESS which is responsible for the adoption of general policy and for laying down the general lines of work of the Party. The functions of the All Ceylon Party Congress are :
    • To discuss, confirm or amend the report of the Central Committee and other Central Party institutions ;
    • To revise and change the program and constitution of the Party, if necessary ;
    • To decide the tactical line of the Party on the basic qustions of current politics ;
    • To inquire into and decide such appeals and other matters as are referred to it ;
    • To elect by majority vote, the Central Committee and the Control Commission ;
    • To appoint, form among the Party members, an Auditing Commission to check and audit the finances of the Party and report on them to the next Party Congress.
  • The Party Congress, which shall ordinarnly be held every year, shall be considered properly constituted if it has delegates representing not less than half the membership of the Prty represented at the last Congress. Repretentation quotas at the Congress shall be decided by the Central Committee.
  • The agenda and preliminary materials for a Congress shall be prepared by the Central Committee and issued to Party organisations at least six weeks before the date fixed for the Congress and shall be considered and discussed by all Party organisations and members.
  • Resolutions for the Congress agenda, amendments to draft resolutions issued by the Central Committee and nominations for membership of the central bodies of the Party may be sent to the Central Comittee by the Party organisations up to two weeks before the date of the Congress. The Central Committee may also its own nominations for election to the central bodies.
  • Special All Ceylon Conferences of the Party may be convened between two Congresses by the Central Committee on its own initiative. The Central Committtee shall convene a Special Conference upon a request of Party organisation having a representation of not less than one-third of the total number of members represented at the last Party Congress. Special All Ceylon Conferences shall be composed in the way and shall have the same powers as the Party Congress.
Article Five

THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE

  • Between two Party Congresses, the highest authority of the Party shall be the Centrel Committee elected by the last Congress.
  • Each Party Congress shall determine the number of members to be elected to the Central Committee for the current year. In the case of a vacancy occuring in the Central Committee during the course of the year, the Central Committee shall have the power to fill the vacancy.
  • The Central Committee leads the entire work of the Party between two Congresses. It represents the Party as a whole and has the right to make decisions with full authority on any problem facing the Party between tow Congresses. including creating new party organisations and changing the policy of the Party, if objective conditions so necessitate, in accordance with the decisions of the Party Congresses. It organises the various Party institutions, guides their activities and is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the Constitution and securing the execution of the general policies adopted by the last Party Congress.
  • The Central Committee shall have the right to appoint the editors of the Central Party journals, confirm the secretaries of the various Party organisations and factions, distribute the central forces and funds of the Party and summon Party congresses and Conferences.
  • From among its members, the Central Committtee shall elect a General Secretary. A Central Party Tresurer, a Political Committee and such other officers, committees and deprtments as may be necessary for the efficient functioning of the Party.
    • Between two meetings of the Central Committee, the Political Committee shall have full power to perform all the functions and act in the name of Central Committee.
    • The General Secretary shall be a member and act as the Secretary of the Political Committee.
    • The Central Committee shall determine the number of members to be elected to the Political Committee. The Central Committee shall have the power to five vacancis in the Political Committee
  • The Central Committee shall meet at least once a month and the Political Committee shall meet at least once a week. Each Committee shall fix its own quorum.
  • No member of the Central Committee shall be elected to the Control Commission or the Auditing Commission.
Article Six

PARTY CELLS

  • The basic and lowest unit of the COMMUNIST PARTY is the PARTY CELL, which is organised according to the place of work (Industrial Cells) or the place of residence (Area Cells)
    An Industrial Cell is formed of three or more party members working in the same factory, stome, mill, plantaion, shop, office or institution. In the case of large establishments, industrial Cells are formed in the separate departments and linked together by a committee for the whole establishment.
    Party members who cannot be organised in industrial Cells aer organised in Area Cells according to locality, ward, street or village.
  • The Party Cell is a living link between the Central Committee of the Party and the workers, peasants and other citizens within the sphere of activity and influence of the Cell. The functions of the Cell are :-
    • To put the directions of the higher Party Committees into practice among the masses whith its sphere of activity and to report to the higher committees on the result of its work;
    • To strengthen the membership, democratic content, influence and fighting capacity of the mass organisations within its sphere of activity and to win them to support the policy of the Party ;
    • To recruit new members and to collect funds for the Party ;
    • To educate its members politically.
  • To carry out its current work, each Cell shall elect a secretary who shall be confirmed by the higher Party Committee to which the Cell is responsible. The principal funtion of a Cell Secretary are :-
    • To see to the regular meeting and functioning of the Cell;
    • to check the fulfilment of Cell decisions as well as the instructions and decisions of higher Party Committees;
    • To report on the work done by the Cell to the higher Party Committee.
    • To keep a list of members, the minutes of Cell meetings and other records of the Cell and to collect all party dues and levies.
  • All Cells shall meet at least once a week and are entitled to fix their own quorum.
  • Any Cell member absent from three consecutive meetings of the Cell without reasonable excuse shall cease to be member of the Party.
Article Seven

FRACTIONS IN MASS ORGANISATIONS

  • Whenevwe there are not less than two Party members in any mass organisation. in the State Council or in a local Government body they shall form a Party fraction which shall function in a disciplined way. The duty of such fraction is to strive to strengthen the unity, mass, influence and fighting capacity of the given organisation and to win it to support the policy of the Party.
  • A Party fraction cames undr the leadership and control of the corresponding Party organisation (i.e. fractions in local branches of a mass organisation will come under the leadership and control of the Party Cell or Committee in the area, while fractions in the All-Ceylon committees of the mass organisations will come under the leadership and control of the Central Committee) and on all questions, must strictly and without vacillation carry out the decisions of the Party organisation which leads it.
  • Fractions in the higher bodies of mass organisations may by agreeent with the corresponding Party organisations, send directives to fractions in the lower bodies of the mass organisations and the latter shall carry them out as directives from a higher Party organisation.
  • For its current work, each fraction shall elect a secretary who shall be confirmed by the corresponding Party organisation.
Article Eight

THE CONTROL COMMISSION

  • For the purpose of maintaining Party unity and discipline and of deciding such appeals as may be referred to it, a Control Commission shall be elected by each Party Congress and function for the current year.
  • On various disciplinary cases, such as those concerning (a) violations of Party unity, discipline or ethics ; (b) lack of class vigilance and communist firmness in carrying through the line of the Party ; and (c) spies, swindlers, disruptors and agents of the class enemy who may penetrate the ranks of the Party, the Control Commission shall be charged with investigating and deciding such cases either
    • On appeals against the decisions of lower Party bodies ; or
    • In cases referred to it by the Central Committeee ; or
    • In cases which the Control Commission itself deems necessary to to take up directly.
  • The decisions of the Control Commission become binding as soon as they are accepted by the Central Committee or the Political Committee.
  • The Control Commission shall have the power to summon any member of the Party before it and to call for such docmementary or other evidence as is relevent to the mattr in dispute.
  • When the decisions of the Control Comission are being discussed by the Central Committee or the Political Committee, the members of the Control Commission have the right to participate in the discussion but have no vote.
  • Appeals against the decisions of the Central Committee shall not be referred to the Control Commission but to the Party Congress.
Article Nine

ENFORCEMENT OF DISCIPLINE

  • Presevation of the unity of will and action of the Party demands the strictest diciplene and consistent struggle against the anti-Party tendencis of forming factional groupings (i.e, Parties withn the Party with separate platforms and policies opposed to that of the Party) and provoking factional struggles or divisions withn the Party. In order to preserve Party unity and Party discripling gaisnst fuctional grouplings, the Centeral Committee shall have the right to apply all Party penalties up to the point of expulsion from the Party in cases of violations of discipline or the existence of factions.
  • The decisions of the leading Party organisations must be carried our exactly and properly, Individual members failing to do so may be punished by censure, public censure, removal from responsible post, suspension or finally, expulsion from the Party. Party Committees or other organisations failing to do so may be punished by censure, public censure or in the case of a Committee, by the dissolution of the Committee and the nominatin or electin of a fresh one and in the case of an organisation of the Party by the dissolution of the organisation concerned.
  • Any Party member found gilty of strike-breaking, betraying Party confidences, financial irregularities, consorting with the enemiese of the Party, the working class or the nation, habitual drunkenness, moral degeneracy, police provocation or otehr conduct or actions detrimental to the Party the working class or the nation, or tending to lower the prestige of the Party in the eyes of the pubic, shall summarily be expelled form the Party and exposed before the general public as such.
  • All Party organisations shall have the right to bear and take disciplinary action against any individual member or organisation under their jurisdiction, subject to the confirmation of the disciplinary actions of lower organisations and to the right of appeal, on the part of those against whom such action is taken up to the Control Commission the Central Committee and the All Ceylon Party Congress.
Article Ten

INNER PARTY DISCUSSION

  • Free and business like discussion of Party policy in the various Party organisations or within the Party as a whole is the indefeasible right of every Party member, arising from inner-Party democracy. But an intermin-able discussion on issues of Party policy, which degenerates into an attempt on the part of an insignificant minority to force their views on the vast majority of Party members or reduces itself into an attempt to form factional groupings against the policy of the Party, cannnot be tolerated as it would be agross misuse of inner Party democracy and would resuld in splitting the Party and confusiong the working class. Therefore, a wide inner Party discussion on issues of established Party policy shall be recognised as necessary only if :
    • This is demanded by Party organisatons having a representation of one fourth of the membership ; or
    • withing the Central Committee itself there is not a sufficiently firm majority on the chief questions of Party policy ; or
    • inspite of the existence of a firm majority within the Central Committee for a certain point of view the Central Committee nevertheless considers it necessary to verify the correctiness of its policy by a discussion throughout the party.
    • Even if permitted under the above mentioned circumstances, and inner-Party discussions shall be conducted under the leadership of the Centeral Committee which shall (a) clearly set out in a written report and resolution the main issue of policy under discussion and (b) send representatives form the Central Committee to the various Party organisations in order to guide the discussion on the basis of the written report and resolution which shall be circulated in advance to all organisations and studied by the members.
Article Eleven

PARTY FINANCES

    • No entrance fee is payable by members upon joining the Party.
    • Every member shall pay regularly every month the Party dues according to the rates fixed by the All Ceylon Party Congress or between two Congresses, by the Central Committee.
    • Any member who is three months in arrears in the payment of his or her dues shall cease to be a member of the Party, unless adequate reasons cna be shown why the dues have not been paid
    • In the case of members who are unemployed the Party organisation in which he or she works shall have the right to reduce or waive the payment of dues by such member during the period of unemployment, provided such member agrees to pay to the Party all outstanding sums upon resumption of employment.
    • Twenty five percent of the money receieved through the payment of membership dues shall be paid by each Party organisation to the Central Committee, while the remainder may be retained by the organisation for its own expenses.
    • The central funds of the Party shall be controlled by the Central Committee.
    • The Central Committee shall have the power to fix and collect levies on the incomes of Party members for the central funds of the Party.
    • The Central Party Treasurer shall submit at each meeting of the Central Committee a statment of accounts of the central funds the Party.
  • The Secretaries of teh various Party Cells and organisations shall submit a monthly statment of their accounts to the Central Party Treasurer.
  • The Central Committee and the Auditing Commissin appointed by the last Party Congress shall have the power to call at any time for a statement of accounts from the Central party Treasurer or from the various Party organisations and to verify the correctness of such statements.
Article Twelve

PARTY FINANCES

  • Where the affiliation of the Pary with another organisation is in the best interests of the working class, the Party shall do so by the holding of a Special All Ceylon Party Conference, in the event of the necessity occuring between two Congress of the Party.