JVP a real dictatorship - Former JVP MP Premasiri Maanage | Sunday Observer

JVP a real dictatorship - Former JVP MP Premasiri Maanage

5 March, 2023

Former Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Member of Parliament (MP) Premasiri Maanage, in an interview with the Sunday Observer, said the present-day JVP does not have any international connections that are vital for a political party aspiring for power. The JVP now does not have disciplined individuals, he said.

“The JVP has no correct attitudes, but it can spin fairy tales on stage. These cannot resolve the issues faced by the people. In any case, I do not think the JVP’s policies of yesteryear are accommodated in the new NPP,” Maanage said. “The JVP has no talented persons now, which is a real tragedy.”

Excerpts from the interview

Q: You supported the JVP following its setback in 1988 - 1989. What was your role?

A: I joined the party in 1987. I actively took part in its rebuilding efforts. I became a Pradeshiya Sabha Member in 1997 and then an MP in 2004. I was in Parliament till 2011 representing the party.

Q: Why did you leave the JVP in 2011?

A: We believed the party would work for the country. But as an MP of the party I had many criticisms about how the party functioned at that time. We became disillusioned due to such incorrect policy decisions. Though the party speaks of democracy there is no such thing within the party. Instead it is a clear-cut dictatorship. Leaving the Government after 2004 was one such incorrect political decision. It made a similar one by refusing to join the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, after having supported his candidature in 2005. We warned that the outcome of such decisions will not be pleasant.

Q: Can there be a dictatorship in a Leftist political movement?

A: If the party speaks of socialism there must be democracy in the party. Others opinions must be listened to but the party did not heed what we had to say. There was an unseen force within the party at the time which included persons such as present Peratugami (FSP) leader Kumar Gunaratnam. Their decisions were more powerful in the party and it crushed the democracy within.

Q: Is it suitable for a Leftist party to have such an unseen force?

A: Not at all. We requested [former JVP Leader] Somawansha Amarasinghe to be put forward as a party candidate on many occasions but it was ignored. We opposed the party supporting Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as the Presidential candidate in 2010 but no one respected our views. Around 30 party members left as a result of the party’s decisions. Such foolish decisions led to me too leaving the party.

Q: What is the difference between the JVP and National People’s Power (MPP)?

A: The NPP, which has the Compass symbol, is being led by the JVP and it has no party policies of its own. It appears to have been formed as a mass group as the JVP failed to attract people on its own. It is similar to the way the Deshapremi Janatha Viyaparaya (DJV) was formed in 1988-1989. I do not believe that the JVP’s policies are being necessarily implemented within the NPP.

Q: Does the JVP’s economic policies suit the new liberal social order of today?

A: Not in its entirety. But certain economically important ventures are owned by the State even in new liberal countries. It helps them to build the State. It is difficult to maintain the State if all of it is privatised and then the State will become unsuccessful. The JVP cannot ensure an equality in the distribution of production profit. Neither can the NPP. The group that has joined the JVP does not seem to have the necessary discipline for it as the disciplined cadres from the party’s past. You cannot expect new members to have the discipline that is inculcated through the party in its members for a long period.

Q: In 2004, the JVP contested with a party that is ideologically different. Can the JVP still profess to be Leftist?

A: No, not at all. The JVP is not a Leftist party per se today. They are merely attempting to come to power through any possible manner. The party lost its way after 2004 and became just another political party.

Q: The JVP has expressed their confidence in emerging victorious at the upcoming Local Government (LG) polls. Your comment?

A: I believe they may make some gains. But this is not favourable for the people. For example the DJV they created took a disastrous path. Those who joined it with the wrong intentions destroyed it and also caused a lot of destruction in its wake. A similar group has joined the NPP now. The people will only realise the true face of the alternative later. I do not believe the NPP can rebuild this country. The JVP can only spin fairy tales. At any election they only manage to get around 3 percent of the vote. This time it may increase as the people are looking for alternatives to the two main political forces now.

Q: Does the JVP have the necessary policies to face the current crisis?

A: Attractive speeches on political stages cannot resolve the issues faced by the country today. They have proved to be incapable when they became MPs and LG Councillors. There are no talented persons in the JVP now. The party has no international connections. Not even Russia, Cuba or China supports it.

Q: Though “catching thieves” is a popular topic on political stages no party has really done it. Will the JVP be able to carry it out?

A: Just because they speak of these things on stages, they cannot carry it out. I believe they may attempt to do so but it is not an easy task. Thieves and those committing other wrongs were also seen in the JVP. For example, in the Easter Sunday case, some of those connected were linked to the party.