By Rajan Hoole –
1989: The Eclipse of the JVP and the Perplexity of the Left – Part 7
The JVP, as we had averred earlier, by its avaricious attempt to seize power by methods tempered neither by humanity nor morality, destroyed the spirit of the Left and eroded the remaining healthier traditions in society. Its unbridled violence reinforced the forces of obscurantism and killed off the will of the people at the grassroots, to organise and assert themselves.
After all the murder and mayhem they unleashed, the JVP has simply covered up its crimes without any sign of repentance. The JVP leaders do not in the least feel responsible for the deaths of large numbers of youth in this country, including members of their own cadre, caused directly and indirectly by their intemperate actions. It is remarkable that the whole world has rained indignation on the Sri Lankan State for the deaths of tens of thousands of alleged JVPers, and called for a full inquiry, but not a hum from the JVP leadership. Getting over that devastating experience was the gravest problem confronting the ordinary people. Yet the JVP had nothing to say. That is an indication of what little good it can offer in politics.
The JVP survives in politics merely by putting on virtuous airs and tapping the cynicism the people feel towards the major parties. It will form any alliance to score a point, even with the UNP led by Ranil Wickremasinghe, to talk about fake democracy. That is a measure of how little it feels for its members and supporters killed in its unscrupulous dash for power.
The JVP differs from the UNP and the other major parties mainly in that although they all played the killing game, which the JVP started in the South, the JVP lost. The JVP is neither a revolutionary party nor a party of the future. It is part of the whole rotten system.
The difference is that when the major parties were linked to murder, it usually owed to their disparate and undisciplined nature, and they will seldom defend the act. When forces like the JVP and the LTTE killed, they thought that they had the right to kill because courage, virtue and gratuitous sacrifice conferred on them such a right. This presumption makes them far more dangerous.
Having accelerated the decimation of the old Left, the JVP occupies that political niche created by Marxist susceptibility among the poorer classes. Having already acted out its bankruptcy in the starkest terms, it is incapable of mobilising the masses. Rather, it plays the role of using their votes to occupy parliamentary seats as status quo Marxists.
Given the insatiable greed the JVP displayed in its uninhibited quest for power, it would be dangerously complacent to underestimate its capacity to do harm. Although claiming to stand for communal equality, its position on the Tamil question is governed by obscurantism. Knowing well the history of violent state repression, it refuses to accept that this equality for the minorities, it speaks of, can be realised only through considerable devolution. The JVP avoids the problem by talking about equality in a non-existent and unattainable socialist utopia.
Thus in opposing President Chandrika Kumaratunge’s devolutionary political package of August 2000, the JVP’s rhetoric had much in common with that of the UNP and the Sinhalese extremists. If there is no solution the war will go on and both the PA and the UNP are bound to go into crisis. The JVP may see such a scenario as its opportunity.
To be continued..