Debate goes on over the Covid-19 Bill and the Quarantine Bill in the National Assembly. Both Bills change the balance of class forces substantially. Here are the most dangerous general effects of these laws that we in LALIT have found:
- Going on strike will have been made a criminal offense for key parts of the working class, like dock workers, who will be considered to be “police” for this, even after the end of lockdown and from now on.
- Workers will be forced to work from home, without any rights except the mention that they exist as part of “atypical” workers. (In addition, this can be imposed with 48 hours’ notice.)
- Students can find their institutions send them home at any time. Distance learning can be imposed after the lockdown, and as it were forever.
- Police powers have forever been increased.
- The Bank of Mauritius can now transfer any amount of money to the Government coffers and even to any company set up for supposed economic development.
The shocking thing about the repressive foundations of these two laws is how they reveal so clearly, even more clearly than LALIT has always feared, the true nature of this MSM-ML-Transfiz Government: it is a Government that sees nothing else but repression.
So, while Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth stands (or I should say sits) there in the National Assembly (I can’t say if he was smiling or not) saying how he congratulates the population for us all bringing the epidemic under control i.e. before these laws. That means the epidemic was controlled without all this additional repression having being relied upon because it did not exist. So, we realize that this man is just sitting there reading a “script” and coming up with the non sequitur as follows: Because you all were so good about bringing the epidemic so magnificently under control, I propose the following two laws to get police to lock you up, bosses to send you home and schools to send you home – from now onwards, during the rest of lockdown and forever.
It is true that the people acted so as to quell the epidemic. But Pravind Jugnauth does not mean it when he says it. He is just a bare-faced hypocrite. Otherwise why would he come up with a law that says you will get put in jail for up to five years in jail or Rs 500,000 fine if you go out on a day when the first letter of your surname does not allow you to go to the shops? Otherwise why would he ban strikes for dock workers forever? Otherwise why would he hand over public funds to a “company” set up for economic development? Otherwise why would he encourage exploitation of workers from their homes?
Why people like Jugnauth rely on repression is that they think people (he himself is not part of “people”) are basically “bad”. If you don’t control them, their human nature will prevail and they will act “bad”. All over the world, over the past 4 or 5 decades, scientists in different branches of study have shown that this is just not true. For most of humanity’s history, we lived in harmony. And when we say “most” we mean for well over 90% of our 200,000 or more years now known to have made up the history of homo sapiens. 150 years ago, people still believed that humanity existed only a handful of thousand years.
On this, I’d like to give a link a friend sent me to an article about how 6 boys stranded on an island over 50 years ago survived. The author went and found them. The article has been shared by over 7 million people since it appeared in The Guardian 4 days ago. It really comes as a correction of the William Golding best-seller novel Lord of the Flies that espoused the Pravind Jugnauth idea that, left to their own devices, humans turn out “bad”. The article begins:
“For centuries western culture has been permeated by the idea that humans are selfish creatures. That cynical image of humanity has been proclaimed in films and novels, history books and scientific research. But in the last 20 years, something extraordinary has happened. Scientists from all over the world have switched to a more hopeful view of mankind. This development is still so young that researchers in different fields often don’t even know about each other. Here is the link for you to cut-and-paste (or click on):
for LALIT, a personal view.