People often remark on LALIT’s surprising strength as a party. Sometimes they mention it in the context of LALIT’s winning really massive gains -- either on the Diego Garcia issue after 40 years’ struggle, or on women’s liberation issues like new abortion laws, or on the Kreol language – now a subject in schools – not to mention one-off wins like the housing for the 98 homeless families that moved into housing in Richelieu and then won a tough battle against the State, or the DWC construction workers’ compensation won after illegal sacking following a strike. At other times people refer to LALIT’s longevity, as literally dozens of other parties whose names have often even been forgotten have been born and died since LALIT was first formed around a publication Lalit de Klas in 1976, was the leadership of the 1979 general strike movement, and became a party in early 1982.
Recently, when LALIT members in all its regional committees – East, West, South and North -- set up joint committees with those living in asbestos housing struggling for their houses to be replaced by the State, we were, ourselves, surprised at how in so many of the 55 different villages, people were already so well-disposed to LALIT.
So, we decided to analyse just one example. The people of Cite La Ferme, where there are some 50 asbestos houses. Just imagine the following matrix of past struggles that these 50 families know about or have been in – together with LALIT members:
One of the people helping out at the Cite is a member of La Ferme Mixed Farming Co-operative, which two LALIT members helped with at the time members were working out how to compare time at work with money donated by members – the very heart of co-operative issues.
One man was a founder member of Lalit de Klas and again joining.
One woman was a committee member of Bambous Health Project set up and in operation for 25 years, and there were as many as 21 families that were members of this health co-operative, in which some five LALIT members were active, including the doctor, Ram Seegobin, who was their doctor.
We realized that there had been four Ledikasyon pu Travayer literacy courses held in the Cite over the years – and during the mobilization another one was set up.
Two LALIT members, Lindsey Collen and the late Herve Marcelin, accompanied by two or three union members, after the 1979 general strike movement, did a door-to-door recruitment for the unions that had been on strike (in particular SILU and UASI) to consolidate the union. Women there reminded LALIT members of this.
Another man is a “social worker” in the area in the traditional meaning of the word, and he and LALIT people have over the past 52 or so years co-operated on various petitions, on things like pollution, and for other neighbourhood events in Bambous.
Two women in the asbestos housing were work colleagues of LALIT member Kisna at Maurigarments in the 1970s.
A tailor who used to live in Bambous and was now residing in asbestos housing used to be the tailor who made Ram Seegobin’s kurta.
Veronique Topize who helps with the mobilization on asbestos housing had organized for people through the association called JUSTICE to come to the concert to support Nitin Chinien after he was brutalized by police officers.
LALIT member, Herve Marcelin, used to distribute Lalit de Klas magazines and the newspaper Lalit de Klas.
All this to say that when LALIT is organizing people, our Party and our militants’ political and related work is there in movement before us, thus we already have a certain momentum when we arrive. And LALIT has never let people down. So, the agents of other parties have difficulty in opposing our political work.
There are similar matrixes for many neighbourhoods, some more powerful than others – from Black River to L’Escalier, from Britania to Olivia, from Mahebourg to Goodlands.