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LALIT replies to Democracy Watch Mauritius (DWM)

17.03.2012


In its 15 March Bulletin, DWM reacts to the content of the LALIT Strategy Conference of 12 March. The DWM reaction is based on the article that Deepa Bhookhun wrote on the conference, and the DWM reaction is entitled: “La lutte des classes menace l’unité nationale.” They also mention the L’Express title “Dangereux le mauricianisme? ” We cannot imagine where the newspaper got this title from.

The DWM congratulates LALIT for having organised this conference on the theme: “Le mauricianisme encourage le communalisme”. So DWM attributes the wrong theme to our conference, a theme that the newspaper invented, for reasons of its own.
The theme of our conference was announced at a press conference on Wednesday 7 March, and it was on the printed program that all participants received:

“Is it really mauritianism that can combat communalism?
“Is it really nationalism that can combat imperialism?”

The aim of the conference which was very well attended, was to analyse critically the strategies that had been used in the past to struggle against communalism and imperialism, and to see where and why they had failed, and to develop more appropriate strategies.

The fact that we were putting into question dominant concepts like mauritianism and nationalism is probably the reason why there is so much confusion about the theme of our conference. But it is no excuse for shoddy thinking and borderline bad faith on the part of an organisation that pompously calls itself : “Democracy Watch”.

But what seemed to have horrified the DWM team is the proposition that LALIT has always maintained: communalism derives from the reflex that some people have to attribute their position as victims of social inequality to their so-called community, and traditional bourgeois politicians exploiting this reflex for political gains. In LALIT we believe that to counter this communalist ideology, we need to encourage class consciousness, where people interprete social inequality in class terms, and the struggle against social inequality and injustice is thus a “class struggle”. Nothing to do with the “manière violente” that DWM attributes to the struggle against social inequality and injustice.

DWM’s response to the “class struggle” politics of LALIT is entitled: “La lutte des classes menace l’Unité Nationale”. Exactly, and that is why we believe that concepts like “mauritianism”, and “nationalism” form part of bourgeois ideology, and are not appropriate tools to counter communalism or imperialism, precisely because they aim to deny the fact that social inequality and injustice derives from the very nature of a class society. DWM expose their ideological view point when they write: “Le mauricianisme peut justement se définir par notre volonté de vivre ensemble comme des frères et des soeurs d’une même famille humaine et mauricienne. Dans une famille digne de ce nom, et profondément unie, il ne saurait y avoir de la place pour une guerre meurtrière entre des frères moins chanceux et des frères plus chanceux. ” If this is DWM’s definition of the society we are living in, that the boss is “more lucky” and the worker “less lucky”, then maybe we are wasting our time replying to them.

Yvan Martial (a member of Blok 104) and the other bourgeois ideologues of DWM expose the superficiality of their analyses with statements such as:

Toute lutte des classes ne peut qu’être l'opposition voulue d’une partie, même majoritaire, d’une population contre une autre, possiblement minoritaire.

Nous ne pouvons nier, non plus, que nombre de cas de pauvreté et de misère sont dus à des carences personnelles, pour ne rien dire des fléaux (drogue, alcool, jeux, prostitution, hédonisme, égoïsme, mentalité d’assisté) qui encouragent ces incapacités d’assumer des responsabilités propres à tout homme digne de ce nom. On ne peut pas indéfiniment demander aux plus laborieux d'entre nous de se sacrifier pour venir en aide à ceux d’entre nous qui entendent vivre comme des parasites. ” And we thought we were living as one big happy family, according to DWM!

La lutte des classes est une idéologie importée. Elle a, plus d'une fois, étalé ses échecs les plus cuisants. Des communistes déclarés promeuvent aujourd’hui le capitalisme le plus ultralibéral, le plus sauvage, au mépris des droits d’autres hommes et d’autres femmes qu'ils exploitent. ” We presume that DWM is referring to countries like China. So when the working class is exploited by capitalism in China, this is “sauvage” and does not respect the rights of workers, but here in Mauritius, the same ultra-liberal capitalism makes us into one big happy family. How is that for intellectual integrity!

The views of DWM on what they call the communalist “fléau” is even more revealing: “Democracy Watch ne peut nier qu’il existe une part de communalisme dans l’esprit malade de certains de nos frères et soeurs mauriciens. ” They seem to think that this “fléau” or malady affects mainly the public sector: “Ce fléau ne doit affecter qu’un petit pourcentage de nos employés du service public”. So what is it like outside of the public sector that employs a small proportion of the total workforce. In the private sector where, according to DWM, all the wealth is produced, this happens “grâce à la méritocratie prévalent de manière exemplaire dans notre beau pays. ” So for DWM, the communalism that comes from the sick minds of some Mauritians, is entirely to do with recruitment and promotion in the Civil Service and Parastatals, whereas there is perfect meritocracy in the private or capitalist sector. The ideas of the DWM team of thinkers (which includes elements of Blok 104) on a subject as important as the dangers of communalism show just how important it is that we continue to put into question the habitual clichés and slogans.