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Workshop for Committed Volunteer Journalists: Alain Ah-Vee on Creative Polemics

06.06.2019

Alain Ah-Vee gave an introduction at the Workshop for Committed Journalists that LALIT held on 1 June at our party headquarters on the importance of the polemic as a type of article. He said that, as well as news reporting, analysis of events, interviews of people with a particular perspective and articles that explain demands or programmatic points, there is also another important type of article for left-wing publications: creative polemics. This method has been tried and tested by revolutionary socialists, he said. It forms part of revolutionary action.


 For example, he said, Karl Marx used this form for opposing another socialist, Proudhon, who was more idealist in his writings than rooted in material reality. Marx wrote a whole book in polemic style. See Misère de la philosophie (The Poverty of Philosophy). Friedrich Engels used the same polemic form for his book Anti-Duhring in which he criticized Eugene Duhring. So they used polemics to criticize, in particular, those ideas that would otherwise influence the working class movement negatively, thus showing up the limitations and dangers of these ideas. The revolutionary socialists often used irony and wit in these polemics.


 LALIT, Alain said, is very much in this tradition. For example, you can read the polemic with the “Grup Sidis” that Lalit de Klas, as LALIT was then known, took up over what interpretation to give the mass movement around the huge August ’79 strike and uprising. Similarly, LALIT has opposed more bourgeois ideas like those of editors of mainstream newspapers like Sydney Selvon, Gilbert Ahnee and Eshan Khodabux. This method of writing was used extensively, he said, during the 1970s and 1980s, but has been used less since then. Political debate has waned since then, on the one hand, and been constricted to very centrist ideas as the social democratic “left” has moved towards to the right, on the other. And, though today there is more confrontation, when debate is often on the social networks like Facebook, it ends up with a whole lot of anonymous debaters. As everyone knows, it is futile to debate with someone who has no “face” even if in Facebook.


 Articles in the Revi LALIT follow the revolutionary left tradition of setting the action within the concrete exploitation and within the real oppression of the present politico-economic (bourgeois-capitalist) system. Articles, thus, describe and chronicle the daily lives of ordinary people, people who live by forced labour for a wage and who are victims of this oppression. Other articles criticize this lived reality, de-structure the reality for all to see, and dissect it, unmask it, expose it from its veils of thick propaganda, formal education, advertising manipulation. Other articles still are structured around specific programmatic demands. In fact this chain of events (lived reality, criticizing it, making demands) is what our program is. 


 LALIT’s magazine and newspaper articles are both useful in practical terms and also in terms of developing political coherence in the party, and in the wider movement it is part of. This is demanding:


- We have, at one and the same time, to keep up a profound level of thinking and also create readable material – easy to read because of an appropriate font, page design, good visuals and so on. We have to see our writing as part of political action as a militant method of changing the world. And, in the end, writing and reading and discussing and then re-writing, become key methods for developing our strategy, which is no less than a radical contestation of the capitalist system itself, and preparation for the long process of building a socialist alternative. So, our publications – the magazine and newspaper – are part of our political action.


 Alain chose two relatively old texts to highlight the polemic style from the LALIT archives. Participants read and discussed the two texts, each a response to Sydney Selvon who was editor of Le Mauricien at the time, one from April 1991 and the other from April 1992. What amazed participants was that, in addition to highlighting the polemic as a form of article, the articles also remain up-to-date in their content, although written over 25 years ago. Here they are:


 Revi Lalit No. 82


Ki LALIT panse lor Selvon so 9 Fami


Dan so editoryal dan Le Mauricien 8 Avril ’91, Sydney Selvon repran enn sondaz ek analiz ki lagazet L’Express finn fer dan Lafrans. Dapre sa “resers” la, li paret ki zordizur dan Lafrans, sa polarizasyon gos-drwat tradisyonel finn eklate e aster ena 9 diferan fami politik, dapre bann sondaz. Dapre bann “politolog” Franse ek Morisyin: “le recul des notions de gauche et de droite”, “l’effrondrement de l’idéologie”, “les clivages traditionnels sont moribonds”, “les mots ‘gauche’ et ‘droite’ se vident, progressivement, de leur sens”. Purtan sa sondaz ek analiz ki Selvon truv kuma “cette importante recherche”, li baze totalman lor sa mem nosyon ideolozik drwat/gos ki sipoze fini mor ek antere. Sa “dekuverte” ki ena aster 9 fami politik, li finalman enn sondaz lopinyon politik par rapor a latitid lamas dimunn viz-a-vi ladrwat ek lagos. Parmi sa 9 fami la, ena 2 ki agos, 2 adrwat ek 5 dan sant: tu seki sondaz L’Express montre, se ki dan Lafrans zordi ena 2/3 dimunn ki kapav klasifye dan sa 5 fami santris. Dayer rezilta bann dernye eleksyon an Frans deza ti montre sa: pa bizin bann resers inportan par bann politolog pu vinn demontre sa.


Deza bann evennman politik dan Moris mem, depi 1983, vinn montre ki bann politisyin oportinis ena tu lintere pu kamufle distinksyon gos/drawat, ena tu lintere pu fer konsiderasyon elektoralis domine lor prinsip. E zordi seki Selvon pe fer, se exakteman sa: li pe al fuy-fuye dan tu kalite pubel analitik, pu sey truv zistifikasyon pu nuvo pozisyon politik ki limem pe pran. Li bizin sey rod enn teori politik pu explik sa espes raliman ki inklir: Navin Ramgoolam, Selvon, Duval, Ramjuttun, Lutchmeenaraidoo, Boolell, Raj Virahwamy, etc. Li ti pu interesan kone dan lekel sa 9 nuvo fami la, Selvon truv limem. Klerman Selvon pa pu klasifye limem ni dan ladrwat, ni dan lagos. Alor res sa 5 fami santris:


- Popilis (“curieux mélange de conservateurs et de grincheux”)


- Idealis (ceux-la qui croient encore a la force des idées neuves”)


- Protestater (“des raleurs: aucun homme politique, aucun parti, aucune idée ne trouve grace a leurs yeux”)


- Flotan (“pour ces électeurs, plutot jeunes, tous les votes sont envisagables”)


- Santris (“un noyau  stable de la societé ...”)


Kan nu swiv trazektwar politik Selvon depi 1976, nu oblize vinn propoz enn dizyem fami: “kokalanist”. Bann politolog franse pu apel sa “du ‘coq-a-l’ane’-iste”.


 Revi Lalit No.90


Repons a Sydney Selvon


ARET DEFANN ENN SISTEM BARBAR


Kan sistem kapitalis ti rant dan pli gran kriz dan tu so listwar an 1929, bann ekonomis burzwa kuma John Maynard Keynes ti komans pronn enn ogmantasyon dan rol leta onivo ekonomik pu sey stabiliz sistem kapitalist e anmemtan pu sey koriz so bann ekse, so bann abi, so bann laspe pli barbar ek pli kriyel.


Zordi nu pe truv parmi serten ideolog burzwa enn kuran tutafe lekontrer. Zordi zot pe pronn enn diminisyon rol leta dan tu sfer lavi. Nu pe truv bann editoryalis kuma Sydney Selvon pe koz anfaver enn “réduction du role de l”Etat dans toutes les sphères au profit des libertés”. Li pe koz anfaver enn “deréglemantation ... de l’activité économique”. Samem Sydney Selvon apel “le libéralisme”. Anu get enn ku ki li vedir lor plan ekonomik.


Ki Liberte


Kan S. Selvon pe koz rediksyon rol Leta “au profit des libertés”, nu bizin kone ki liberte li pe koze. Lor plan ekonomik, saveidr liberte pu patron anplway travayer, pu aste lafors travay e fer profi, lor ledo klas travayer. Li vedir osi liberte pu patron lisansye travayer kan sa dan lintere so profitabilite. Kan li nepli “profitab” pu enn patron anplway otan travayer, li pu lisansye travayer, tusala o-nom “rantabilite”. Samem kriter ki patron servi.


Patron pa pu investi so lamone dan sekter ki ekonomikman pa rantab, mem si sa investisman la ti pu amenn enn devlopman reyel onivo sosyete. Par exanp, dan Repiblik Mauritius, patron tablisman pu kontinye investi dan disik (ki ekonomikman rantab akur term), oly li investi so lamone dan prodiksyon manze, dan plantasyon manze, pu viz enn nivo oto-sifizans akseptab.


Lisansiman “normal”


Zordi kan lizinn Island Clothing pe santralize e pe lisansye travayer, kan lizinn Beta pe ferme e pe met 1,500 travayer deor, ideolog burzwa truv sa kuma enn desizyon “normal”. Pu zot, li normal ki enn patron azir kumsa, li normal ki enn patron nek get so rantabilite.


Dayer, lefet ki ekonomist burzwa konsider enn to 3% somaz kuma enn sityasyon “ful anplwa”, sa montre ki pu zot laspe imin pa inportan. Dayer, sistem kapitalis depann pu so fonksyonnman lor enn “larme rezerv somer”, pu kas pri saler. .Anfet sistem kapitalist konsider travayer kuma enn sinp marsandiz ki aste-vande. Kuadir pomdamur dan bazar.


Liberalism amenn anarsi


Se dan Lerop de Les ek ex-Linyon Sovyetik zordi ki nu kapav truv pli byin lanarsi ek barbari enn politik ekonomik liberal.


Ena buku kritik ki kapav fer lor birokratizasyon ki ti karakteriz sosyete dan Lerop de Les ek ex-Linyon Sovyetik dan lepase. Me ena osi plizyer aki byin inportan ki finn perdi kan sa bann rezim la finn ekrule o-profi enn politik liberalism ekonomik.


Enn sa aki la ti enn planifikasyon ekonomik pu atenn bann lobzektif ekonomik byin kler. Zordi kan sa bann pei la pe adopte enn seri mezir liberal, zot pe elwayn zot depi sa planifikasyon ki neseser onivo lekonomi enn pei. Zordi zot pe dekontrol tu. Dekontrol pri, dekontrol lekonomi antye. Ala kifer zordizur dan pei Lerop de Les ek ex-Linyon Sovyetik, lamas travayer pe bizin fer fas enn fleo ki zot pa ti kone avan: somaz ansam ek linflasyon. FMI ek Labank Mondyal pe pret sa bann pei la lamone avek kondisyon ki zot dekontrol tu laspe zot lekonomi. Ala sityasyon zordizur dan Lerop de Les ek ex-Linyon Sovyetik.


Enn rekil depi ‘Welfare State’


Kan nu get kote gran pwisans kapitalist (Lamerik, Lerop, Zapon) sityasyon pa sitan diferan.


Zordi resesyon pe tap plin lor Lamerik, sertin pei Lerop (sirtu Lalmayn) ek mem Zapon. E premye pu sufer se klas oprime (travayer, somer, pansyone).


Zordi dan plizir pei kapitalis, nu pe truv enn rekil depi ‘Welfare State’. ‘Welfare State’.  (kot leta intervenir e pran ansarz plizir domenn lavi) li ti swiv buku filozofi John Maynard Keynes apre 1929. Setadir pronn enn intervansyon leta dan domenn ekonomik, sosyal ek politik pu rann sistem kapitalis pli siportab. Par exanp, leta intervenir dan sistem ledikasyon, sekritie sosyal, sistem lasante, lozman. Me ‘Welfare State’.  ti osi rezilta enn long lalit klas travayer pu bann aki sosyal, kuma par exanp lalit pu gayn enn sistem nasyonal pansyon.


Zordi avek resesyon dan Lamerik, nu pe truv dimunn pena lakaz, pena manze, pena travay, pena plas pu dormi aswar, dormi lor lari, lor trotwar, anba pon.


Ala realite sistem liberal ki S. Selvon pe glorifye.


Nu dir Sydney Selvon, aret glorifye ek defann enn sistem inimin.


Term kuma “sosyalism liberal” enn non-sans. Sosyalism ek liberalism zot 2 term lekontrer net. Zordi swa ki ena divan nu se ant sosyalism uswa barbari.


TA


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