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Mauritius Media at a glance: 31May 2010


The "Labour State"

It is not very often that we see the Prime Minister (GCSK, FRCP) send a signed mizopwinto a newspaper, especially one that the Labour "state apparatus" is actively and aggressively boycotting. The short text sent in by the Prime Minister (GCSK, FRCP) is some sort of reply to a letter signed Dr. Phillipe Forget (ex-Director of L'Express) which was published in the Friday 28th May edition of that newspaper. It would seem that the Prime Minister (GCSK, FRCP) himself does buy and read the L'Express every morning; unless, of course, he respects his own boycott and reads the paper on-line. Be that as it may.
The polemic between Ramgoolam and Forget relates to the circumstances leading to the foundation of the L'Express daily in 1962: Ramgoolam maintains that the founding meeting to set up the paper was held in his father's house, thus making the original L'Express paper a "Labour Party" initiative! To think that the present confrontation between the L'Express and the Labour has to do with the questionable independence of the newspaper.
As usual, this kind of polemic very quickly slides into the communal aspects of the problem: Dr. Forget writes that the "Labour movement" of Cure, Anquetil, Rozemont, no longer exists, having been replaced by "ramgoolamism". Navin Ramgoolam interprets this statement as thinly veiled communalist propaganda.
This is what happens when all class analysis is somehow eliminated from the thinking (?) process of various "doctors". Intellectual blinkers are thus self-imposed and represent a serious threat to any form of progress through debate.
What happened in the 50's and 60's was a classical taking over of a working class movement by organised groups of intellectuals representing the economic interests of petty capitalists aspiring to bigger things: a sort of replacement of socialist ideology by "democratisation of the economy", to use the modern slang. This take-over bid was staged in the first place by the "Advance" group gathered around SSR, and soon afterwards by the "L'Express" group. It is precisely this merger of the two groups that eventually gave rise to the existence of the "State Bourgeoisie" that we, in LALIT, have integrated into our class analysis since the mid-70's.
The recent conflict between L'Express and Labour arises from the contradiction between the Labour discourse against the economic stranglehold of the historical bourgeoisie on the one hand, and its liberal economic practice that objectively favours the same historic bourgeoisie which by now has penetrated the La Sentinelle boardroom. This contradiction even exists within the Labour Party itself, as exemplified by the permanent conflict between the demagogy of the Nita Deerpalsing-Kader Syed Hossen tandem and the ultra-liberal economic policy of ex-Minister of Finance Rama Sithanen. It is no coincidence that L'Express has given unconditional support to the economic policies of Sithanen, and has even been part of the same political project of proposing a Labour-MMM alliance.
In the past, Labour governments have not hesitated to use repression, usually against the working class, to further the interests of the "State Bourgeoisie"; the present government is showing that it will use any repressive tool, including the boycott of a newspaper by state institutions, to further its political and economic project.
31 Me 2010