What 2017 demands of us
What themes does the New Year demand that we, as Mauritians who care about the common future of humanity, take up? We need to look beyond what the MSM-ML-PMSD-MMM-Labour-MP usually see.
There are three themes for 2017. They choose themselves – because any country consists of its land, its people and its sea. Mauritius is no exception.
1. The Land: Stop selling the arable land!
The single most important problem is the selling off of arable sugar estate land as real estate for “gated communities” and concrete malls. Stop it now!
- When foreign millionaires buy up our arable land, this is colonization, Israeli-style. Our owning class and ruling class conspire to organize the colonization of our own country.
- The ruling class barters money against residence, even citizenship.
- By selling off the arable land, the bosses squander the very capital necessary for job-creation. Land must be used firstly for massive job creation: jobs in agriculture, agronomy, factories set up for preserving/transforming food crops, research and development, transport, marketing abroad. And Government, instead of using statistics to pretend someone working ONE HOUR A WEEK is “employed”, must publish figures of work-aged people not in work – and create jobs for them.
- Land is for food security – in these times of instability and war.
- Land is for housing for the 100,000 people living in insecure and cramped housing, often in “lakaz zeritye” where statistics wrongly call them “home-owners”.
2. The People: stop suppressing the mother tongues!
The State must stop denying us, the people of Mauritius, our humanity by ending its ban on our language. It can begin by, at once, removing the ban on Kreol in Parliament and in science text books. We humans think by means of our natural language. If you suppress our natural language, you suppress our very humanity! We call on the Jugnauth Government to end this colonial ban.
3. The Sea: Free Diego Garcia: peace, a unified country, freedom of movement!
The Mauritian sea is vast, and the judges under the Tribunal of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea say Britain has no sovereignty to declare a Marine Park around Chagos. The judgment creates a window of opportunity for the Mauritian Government to charter a ship to take Chagossians and representatives of the Mauritian State, as well as volunteers and journalists including foreign journalists, to visit Chagos. This would be normal behavior. Meanwhile, Mauritius’ UN General Assembly Resolution will be voted and the ICJ will decide the issue of sovereignty; Chagossians will return home heads held high, and we will move a step closer towards closing down the dangerous nuclear base.
Capitalism has unified the entire world into one system over the past 250 years. So, to change things now demands a world-wide program that can articulate with any nation-wide one like the one sketched above.
1. Build a proper Program!
The populist and even fascist forces world-wide are mobilizing behind programs. Though theirs are hideous programs based on irrational fear, xenophobia, racism and continued inequality, programs which serve to entrench the capitalist system and its increasingly frequent crises, they are nevertheless programs for action. The danger is that centrists and even some “leftists” resort to vague concepts like “valeurs”, just as conservatives do, instead of building consciously understood programs. Programs are calls for thought-out action; valeurs lull people into inaction that maintains the status quo.
2. Address real issues! Avoid side-tracking into procedural questions!
Right-wing foundations world-wide have diverted peoples’ struggles from the real issues (land, jobs, food) towards issues of “procedure”. This then ensures people turn round-and-round in circles, getting nowhere: e.g. all over Africa, debate is focussed on limitation of terms of office or, having limited them, later removing the limit. In the USA the ultra-right Koch Brothers finance the same program. This issue deviates mobilization from real issues. It decreases democracy. And it does not work: Putin got around it, Lee Kuan Yew and Clinton did, too.
As for the sterile debate on State control over financement of political parties, Donald Trump just ridicules it. He finances himself. The media covers his antics free. And people vote for his program! Then he names a Cabinet of capitalists and generals to enforce it.
So, world-wide and here, the issues for 2017 are clear:
To bring decisions on these under democratic control, the only way forward is to challenge the capitalists’ 250-year reign, to end their monopoly control on land, jobs and food. The struggle will be tough. Capitalist rule is violent. But, since it will destroy the planet through environmental pollution if not nuclear war, we must overthrow it in order together to create a gentle, democratic rule.
For LALIT 28 December, 2016