22 May, 2022


Traitors: JVP & The Non-JVP Left

By Lionel Bopage

Dr. Lionel Bopage

Dr. Lionel Bopage

The necessity for changing the political culture of distorting history and resorting to personal slander: Part 6

The political culture outlined in this series of articles is apparent in most of the Sri Lankan political entities, particularly, in the left. Internationally also, this political culture has prevailed, as has been epitomised by the political struggle between Stalinism and Trotskyism in the last century. As I am discussing left wing tendencies, I will digress by looking at the destructive political culture that had prevailed in the Soviet Union, which strongly influenced the political culture of the left elsewhere, in using falsification of history and personal slander as a weapon against political opponents.

The Bolshevik Party seized power grasping an unprecedented opportunity that the Russian history had provided, and the party slogan that was used at the time was All Power to the Soviets. Initially, these Soviets were councils represented by workers and peasants’ deputies. However, after the seizure of power, these Soviets became councils represented by workers, peasants and soldiers’ deputies. The Bolsheviks gradually dominated the Soviets by expelling all other groups and factions from the Soviets. Virtually the state power was concentrated only in the hands of the Bolshevik Party (later renamed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union).

The_Commissar_VanishesIt is evident from Lenin’s polemics with his opponents that he fundamentally opposed any deviation from Marxist philosophy[1]. He was totally committed to the paradigm of class struggle, and any deviation was taken as falling prey to bourgeois-reactionary falsehoods. He raised many allegations against his comrades in arms, warning them of the doubts that have been planted in their minds. For Lenin, the only satisfactory outcome of his polemics was the complete demolition of the political positions that were different to his. Yet, his polemics did not involve a distortion of history, or engaging in personal slander against his political opponents. It is important to note that he did not seek the physical annihilation of those who did not agree with his views, or who appeared to have deviated from the Leninist take on the objective truth of Marxism. However, the situation changed later with the ideological struggle becoming bloody, ending up with mass extermination of dissidents.

Voroshilov,_Molotov,_Stalin,_with_Nikolai_YezhovIn analysing Lenin’s polemics, one could note that Lenin himself has been culpable for the subsequent bloody developments, as his early polemics appear to point the way towards the destructive events that had taken place later, like his incendiary polemic against Anatoly Lunacharsky, the Commissar of Culture in the first Soviet regime established under Lenin’s leadership, placing him in the same category as of Peter Sturve[2]. This sort of merciless logic and guidance led most of Lenin’s comrades in arms during the revolution, to their imprisonment for treason and subsequently to their death.

These political tendencies leeched into the political culture of the Soviet Union and later in the Third International; which had a fundamental but detrimental influence on the left movements elsewhere. It affected the left politics in Sri Lanka and India. The Sino-Soviet split in the sixties found both Communist parties attacking each other branding each other as traitors to the cause. This was reflected in Sri Lankan politics with the split of the Communist Party into two. As a natural consequence, the JVP also carried this ideological baggage, like branding Comrade Bala Tampoe a CIA agent. This tradition followed from post-Lenin deterioration of the politics of the Third International from an internationalist position to taking on an opportunistic national position. Instead of the Leninist method of annihilating the logic of a political person by subjecting the ideological position to the cold light of political reason, the political culture of the left deteriorated to using falsification of history and personal slander as weapons against political opponents.

The JVP came into existence, mainly from the womb of the traditional left, particularly of the Ceylon Communist Party and the LSSP. Both the CP and the LSSP branded the JVP as being instigated by the CIA. I recollect that in the early seventies, the JVP cadres confiscating a publication by the Dharmasekera group, that was critical of the JVP. There had been both physical and verbal altercations between the two groups. This came to crux on the 6th of March 1971, when the Dharmasekera group held a demonstration outside the American embassy during which a policeman was killed. The JVP had nothing to do with the demonstration, although the government used this as a pretext to declare State of Emergency and provide the armed forces with powers of arbitrary arrest. The Government also proclaimed the third part of Emergency Regulation 15A, thus allowing security forces to dispose of dead bodies without holding post-mortems. In the latter part of the 1970s, another major factionalisation in the JVP leadership came to a head in early 1971.

I should note that political discussions occurred within the party and outside, about the differences of opinion between separate factions. Some were branded as traitors, for example those who became witnesses to the crown during the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) trials against the JVP. Personal slander also existed to an extent in that the one who had resigned or been expelled being branded as a traitor or an enemy. Yet, the fact that these factions and the individuals were part and parcel of the JVP at one time or another was never rejected.

*To be continued

[1] Lenin, V I. 1908. Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, In Lenin, V I. Collected Works, English edition, Vol 14, Moscow. For example, the following quote: True! The “realists,” etc., including the “positivists,” the Machians, etc., are all a wretched mush; they are a contemptible middle party in philosophy, who confuse the materialist and idealist trends on every question. The attempt to escape these two basic trends in philosophy is nothing but “conciliatory quackery.”

[2] Peter Struve (1870-1944), one of the most influential Russian scholars, mastered in history, journalism, economics, international relations, and practical politics. He was also an activist, who helped found the Marxist movement in Russia, and helped Lenin in launching his political career. Peter initiated Marxist Revisionism in Russia and was the theoretician and a cofounder of the Party of Constitutional Democracy (the “Cadet” Party). He became the principal critic of the Russian intelligentsia and the main political ideologist of the anti-Bolshevik opposition during the Civil War and in emigration

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Latest comments

  • 0

    So in 1971 you have Srimawo taking over profitable enterprises, the civil service and stifling competition as per the “Das Kapital”.

    The JVP arose because Srimawo’s level of Das Kapital not enough?

    What more did it want? Did they also want to kill all professionals like Pol Pot and stop religious practices from people too?

    There is something really strange about the JVP. Absolutely nothing makes any sense.

  • 0

    How many innocents did your party kill Comrade Bolshevik? How many LOYAL Sinhalese people who were asked to raise the national flag in 1989 on Independence Day were brutally killed by your comrades in the class envious resentful JVP comrade? Why are you not living in Cuba or N.Korea if you are so convinced of Marxism?

  • 2

    Comrade Bopage,

    Your analysis is neither here nor there. Analysing the smaller evils will not whitewash the greater evil.

    Communism as events in the world has proven to be is only good on paper. Communism time and again has proven to be an exercise in replacing an atrocious rule by a ghastly one. ‘Power to the people’ is a good slogan but the reality is a handful of people impose their will on the citizens with ruthless abandon.

    I am glad that your lot the JVP of yore did not end up in power. Going by what Pol Pot did to his own people, a people steeped in traditional and ancient Buddhist practices and given the viciousness that is inherent in the blood of the Sinhala people, I shudder to think what the results would have been.

  • 0

    Such distortions were endemic to many leftist parties at the time.Remember how the Chinese CP hurled accusations against Lin Piao?Right from the beginning, their statements said, Lin had been an arch traitor.Remember how the Socialist Workers Party calumnied Mike Banda when he was removed.Remember what the Russian Communists said about Bernstein-he was said to be an agent of imperialists.And remember the horrendous list of accusations at the show trials of Stalin.The story is putrid.

  • 0

    The very inception JVP leadership click headed by PDN W…..and later join by Bopage 1969 has not study revolutionary process in the expansionist of Indian domination of surrounding countries ,those days political line of JVP NOT been review by Leninist politics of class struggle of that US and Soviet led imperialism revival at that time.

    In fact JVP negated the existence of pre-capitalist and semi-feudal remnants ,which are so important our country. No doubt that defeated such forces are part and parcel of bourgeois democratic revolution led by people leadership that is non-capitalist path in Third world countries like Sri lanka-(Ceylon).

    Current stage of National democratic revolution had been denied by JVP and instead of advocated Socialist Revolution by PND Wijiweera.
    This essential fact has been distorted by JVP-PDN Wijeweera 1965.

    JVP leadership since it came into being 1965 they claimed that principle contradiction in Ceylon between bourgeoisie and proletariat.
    They attack the bourgeoisies as an entire bloc and considered as obsolete the Marxist -Leninist theory develop and enrich by Stalin and later by Mao, which is differentiates the national bourgeoisies and other petty bourgeoisies within the entire bloc of the bourgeoisie camp.

    JVP anarchism that unable to realized that the differences of politics line between Leninism and Trotskyism.

    In line of politics of JVP followed by Trotskyism that plus anarchism of that anti-Leninism and anti-working class ideology was very closed to politics of Che Guevara adventurism of an isolationist anarchism.

    Shortly after JVP has been exist and accept Trotskyism, but not in words but in deeds had play vital role of their party roots of politics that give boots one day attack all police stations and capture state power by overnight PND Wijeweera/Rohan/at last Attnayake be Chairmen of Revolutionary Junta Council and Lionel Bopege be second-in Command. That was how JVP politics work out at very beginning since 1965 to 1971.

    Even now that Bopage so-called theories been misdirected and misrepresented that Trotskyism and JVP anarchism are fine combination has done by the colossal damages to working class movement and undermined Leninism politics by their 50 years of existence since 1965?

    That is historical fact, that is how JVP that turn into currently become anti-people, anti-Revolution and Reactionary outfit in political game play in hands of US and Indian RAW.

    And JVP current leadership become lackey of UNPs hands and their living of SDR currencies in IMF basket that belongs to US dollars.

    Bopega himself is not only that Traitor but by his betrayal cause damage to the People’s Revolution in board sense and his major role in JVP 1969 to 1985 has been set back another 50 years of working class movement by his accountability need answer sooner or later by himself.

    Bopage’s socialism in words but US and Indian imperialism hegemony in deeds.

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