Opinion

JVP silent on US aggression against China

Summary

The JVP claims to oppose Mike Pompeo, but on the topic of China, they align with his “predator” rhetoric.

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For possibly one of the first times since 2004, Sri Lanka’s three main Left parties in parliament – the JVP, CPSL and LSSP – united on a single issue: opposition to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Sri Lanka.

“Pompeo Go Home” and “Hands Off Sri Lanka” was the tripartite line on October 28.

Hours before Pompeo’s arrival, members of JVP’s Political Bureau protested outside the US Embassy in Colombo, and handed over a strongly-worded, yet somehow vague, statement to the US Embassy.

“The USA has consistently sought to bring Sri Lanka under its sphere of influence and thereby drag Sri Lanka into an unnecessary and costly global and regional power play,” the statement declared.

Conspicuously absent from these theatrics was any statement or representation from JVP’s liberal-democratic arm National People’s Power, and more importantly, any explicit mention of the panda in the room – China.

Despite emerging from the bowels of the pro-Peking faction of the Sino-Soviet split in 1965, the JVP offered no solidarity with the People’s Republic of China, and the 90 million member Communist Party of China, which Pompeo labelled a “predator” during his visit.

Compare this to the statements by the formerly pro-Moscow CPSL and Trotskyist LSSP, who found no contradiction in defending the sovereignty of Sri Lanka, while outright condemning US aggression against China.

“Under no circumstances should Sri Lanka support the USA’s military aggression against China. Even staying neutral is tacit approval. We must oppose war by the USA against a fellow Third World country,” a statement signed by LSSP General Secretary Prof. Tissa Vitarana said.

“In a context where China has become the only country that supports us without interfering in our internal affairs or without political conditions, Sri Lanka must vehemently reject American proposals and pressure,” a statement signed by CPSL General Secretary Dr. Geeganage Weerasinghe said.

Perhaps the JVP is still bitter that a month into its first insurrection in 1971, Zhou En Lai wrote to Sirimavo Bandaranaike in support of her government’s suppression of “ultra-left and right opportunism”, and “the chaotic situation created by a handful of persons who style themselves ‘Guevarists’ and into whose ranks foreign spies have sneaked.”

The JVP’s departure from it’s pro-China and “Guevarist” roots, if they ever really existed beyond rhetoric, are part and parcel of the party’s gentrification by urban intellectuals who conflate US imperialism with Chinese internationalism.

The JVP claims to oppose US imperialism, but past comments by it’s leadership on the issue of Chinese development finance, and projects like Port City Colombo and Hambantota Port, show that there is little deviation from the “predator” line pushed by the likes of Pompeo.

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