7 July, 2022


Time For JVP To Grow Up

By Sudat Pasqual

Sudat Pasqual

Sudat Pasqual

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s (JVP) has been in the thick of political activity in Sri Lanka since the early 1970’s. While their initial forays were bloody and disastrous, JVP made a move towards the mainstream of Sri Lankan politics in the early 1990’s. A party founded on Marxist-Lennist principles and deeply suspicious of the status quo, JVP nevertheless found the political wherewithal to support the successful presidential run of Chandrika Kumaratunga and subsequently played a significant role in her People’s Alliance government. For the next decade JVP remained an important, albeit a somewhat reluctant political force in the country. JVP were also a significant contributing factor in Mahinda Rajapaksa‘s successful first presidential run in 2005. It would not be hyperbolic to say that the Rajapakse candidacy of 2005 would have been dead in the water without the organizational support of the JVP. In spite of their relatively small voter base (hovering around 10%) JVP are a potent political force due to their ability to galvanize the electorate through the Party’s grass root political organization.

Old leader and the new leader

Old leader and the new leader

In spite of their alliance with successful political campaigns, JVP has never been very comfortable with shouldering public responsibility. Even during the brief period where the party “agreed” to take in ministerial responsibilities, one got the feeling that the dalliance would be temporal. Sooner or later, JVP would find irreconcilable policy differences with other members of the team or the ideological purists within the Party would find the partnership to be ideologically incompatible with progressive forces of history. The collective obsessed JVP hierarchy just cannot seem to accommodate a political reality outside the collective mind set. In other words, JVP does not like to play and interact with others who don’t believe exactly as they do. JVP was simply not confident enough to deal with the big guns of the established political dynasties. They might be in the room with you but they are never with you. They are like that kid who lived on your street who used to watch from behind his gate others play street cricket but would never join when asked. He always had an excuse. ‘My parents think I will get hurt”; “I have homework”; “I am not that good”; “I like watching”. But he would be glad to be the umpire and would be full of useful advice on how to improve your game. That’s the JVP in a nutshell.

The average Sri Lankan voter, even the ones affiliated to a political party is not a doctrinaire. Their vote is generally decided by bread and butter issue. By extension, systems created by such humans also tend to reflect that malleable nature. Therefore, abstract political doctrines and absolutist stands have very little impact on the Sri Lankan electorate. Political parties and politicians who ignore this reality do so at their own peril. JVP only need to look at the sorry state of their fellow reds in the country for evidence of this actuality. Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and the Communist Party’s (CP) political dogmatism have been pummeled into political irrelevance by the political karma of the voter. The LSSP and the CP, it seems, can get a seat in Parliament only through an act of charity (a national list nomination). If the JVP does not like Ideological inconsistencies, it is probable that they will like wallowing in political pauperism even less.

The JVP has been an important contributors to the election of two Presidents and may well be the deciding factor in electing another come January 9, 2015. JVP failed to turn past successes into concrete long term political gains because of internal squabbling and slavish devotion to an isolationist and otherworldly ideology. Regardless of the outcome in January, 2015 the Comrades will have to do some soul searching with regard to the future course of the party. The JVP will have to decide whether their calling is to keep alive presumptions made based on observations of a by gone era by a couple of foreigners at all cost, be the cat’s paw of other political parties or whether it is to serve their fellow humans in their place of birth and domicile to the best of their ability. The choice is a no-brainer.

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Latest comments

  • 1

    Sudat Pasqual –

    RE:Time For JVP To Grow Up

    “The JVP has been an important contributors to the election of two Presidents and may well be the deciding factor in electing another come January 9, 2015.”

    JVP Has already grown up. They grw up in 2010 figured out Medamulana Mara plan, which we all know today.

    Listen to JVP Talks below.

    Anura Dissanayake’s Speech on 18th Amendment in Parliament on 08.09.2010


    Anura Dissanayake’s Parliament Speech on 2015 Budget on 01.11.2014


    Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s Hero Commemoration Speech, November 2014

    Published on Nov 13, 2014

    anura kumara dissanayake speech


  • 0

    An interesting a perhaps apt perspective of the difficulties of real governance. It is very easy to throw stones and criticize. Not easy to govern by consensus.

    This has been the fundamental reason for the failure of pure socialism throughout the world because it goes against human nature.

    We love to share when we all have nothing to share. It is another story when one of us achieves something, the rest have not. Then, it is them versus us…Nothing new here! Social scientists have done tons of research about these tendencies over the last 100 years and guilt complexes evolved through religious and societal structures to force sharing. The Jews, the Borahs, the Muslims ( to some extent)all have to pay into a central system to underwrite the welfare of the unfortunate. So do the masonic lodges and the Memons. It funds not only welfare but also education, housing ad business ventures of the congregation.

    The JVP has its heart in the right place. However, in governance that is not enough. Good policies must be implementable at the street level, not remain on draft boards. This is where they have faced their biggest breakdown. The public cannot understand and do not trust the JVP to deliver. They still are tainted with the bloody insurgencies of 71,83 and 86. They have to change the public’s perception of their deficiencies if they are ever going to be a viable option in parliament.

  • 1

    A remarkable analysis..Personally to me, JVP is a party filled with self righteousness and limitless arrogance and this has always backfired on them in the past..But it seems they never learn..They try to portray themselves as the real saviors of all the people but they will never ever get the tamil votes because they have always supported the war and they kept their big mouths shut with their tails between their legs regarding human rights violations in the north during the war..They did not want to “bother” the government…They are extremely sophisticated opportunists..But the potential they have to point out the misdeeds of the government can never be underestimated.

  • 0

    Is it correct that Rivira Media[The nation] is owned by the Rajapakshes?
    If so…..Malinda has to sing.!!!


  • 0

    The JVP may never come to power, but they play a vital role in our political landscape. They have proven to be incorruptible and that is something that is priceless in our polity. We can compare them to the other parties such as the UNP, SLFP, SLMC and so on, whose members are completely self-seeing and can be bought over for sums of money or even a jaunt in the Presidential entourage. They have played a role in parliamentary debates far in excess of their numbers and established their credibility. In this sense, they have matured as a political party. Their first uprising was a juvenile effort based on the “Che Guevara” spirit which was doomed from the outset. They then joined the mainstream politics but the change of rules by JR with his despicable referendum led to a loss of confidence in the system and the second and much more brutal uprising.
    We certainly need principled politicians in this country and I hope that the 5 to 10% or so that support them will continue to do so.

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