So, we are now gradually moving out of lockdown mode. There have been 21 days with no new cases of coronavirus illness detected and there is no-one at all left testing positive. We can conclude, provisionally, that in Mauritius we, the people, managed to contain the epidemic and that we did not have to scramble to mitigate it after it had got out of control. We must remember at all times that it was our actions, taken as a whole, which accomplished this containment of the virus. It was not Pravind Kumar Jugnauth.
But this is probably not the last we will see of the virus, that’s for sure.
Nor are its effects likely to be over for a few years. Over-reliance on tourism will exact a price on the entire country, as will the crisis in the already outlandish sector, “offshore”, now poised to be put on the European union black list. All “offshore” needs to be on all countries’ blacklists.
We need to work towards new sectors, in particular, massive agricultural investment in food production on sugar estate land, with concomitant factories for preserving food, and with investment in marketing. We need to work towards forcing government to invest in a big, sustainable fishing industry, instead of dishing out permits to those that pillage the Mauritian waters. These two sectors, dove-tailed together, will create stable work, as well as food security and foreign exchange, and can be a sound basis for building a new less fragile economy.
Meanwhile, and if we do not succeed, the ravages of capitalism’s class inequality and class injustice will be ever-more cruel.
We will have to face the precarious political situation that exists world-wide. It is not dissimilar, as we have shown in previous articles, to the time of the rise of fascism in the 1930s. We have centrist right-wing governments in many places and a centrist right-wing “Establishment” just-about everywhere. And when we oppose these, we have to be extremely careful because there are other forces opposing them, too: the extreme-right fascist organizations that are a powerful force on the digital platforms, and in real life, are far, far worse for their destructive powers, than the more centrist pro-capitalist forces that, until now control the various Establishments. These extreme-right forces have a whole propaganda arm designed to draw in the leftish, humanitarian, wishy-washy socialists against the centrist capitalists and their State apparatuses.
Readers have been interested in the “pointers” we gave in previous articles to recognizing the extreme right propaganda right now. So, here are a few more, just as guidelines to help:
1. The alt-right propaganda is often both anti-all-vaccines altogether while using arguments against Big Pharma as though this is an anti-capitalist position. At the same time, it wants a rushed-out vaccine against the Coronavirus. President Trump, himself, often represents this vacillating line. He touts unabashedly for “treatments”, thus supposedly not needing a vaccine, then announces a vaccine for “soon”. But for vaccines to be safe (as well as effective) it takes a good deal of slow testing and close monitoring in human trials. So, if under pressure a vaccine comes out too soon, it may have side-effects and thus discredit the entire public health concept of vaccination – which is the aim of the extreme-right. Very devious.
2. It is against those few millionaires, capitalists of course, who fund movements that are against the far-right. In particular, the extreme-right is always denouncing two figures who are very rich centrists. First, George Soros, who funds social democrat grass-roots movements like women’s groups, gay groups, black American groups and other “Open Society” initiatives that aim to prevent exclusion of any kind from capitalist-run society. We also oppose this strategy that tends to fragment the oppressed classes, and to “rekiper” rebellion against capitalism. Second, Bill Gates, who, through his and his wife’s foundation, funds the World Health Organization and the development of vaccines and other prevention of mass-killer diseases that are neglected because not profit-making. So, we in LALIT do also criticize these two as capitalist do-gooders, but at the same time we recognize that they are mitigating the particularly nefarious effects of capitalism, and are not “bogey-men”. The right-wingers that criticize them because they stabilize the centrists in power are a much more dangerous threat to working people and other oppressed groups.
3. It is unwaveringly against all forms of socialism and communism, reducing them, in its propaganda, to Stalinism and to a lack of freedom.
4. It opposes multiple mandates for elected officers, and uses this childish demand as a grass-roots organizing tactic. This launches whole polities into endless Constitutional battles about how many mandates, thus avoiding challenges to capitalism itself, or even struggles for minimum changes like job creation.
5. It glorifies men toting guns, it is the gun lobby in countries like the US and Australia, and is consistently anti-woman, particularly harsh against women in need of abortion. It is anti-gay marriage. It constantly resorts to racism, an ever-changing racism, now anti-black, now anti-Chinese, now anti-Semite, now anti-Arab, now anti-immigrant, now anti-Muslim, now anti-Asian, now anti-you-name-it.
6. It engenders confusion and chaos on purpose. So, any internet posts, which make you suddenly feel confused, definitely deserve your attention as possible extreme-right propaganda.
So, it is with appreciation that I raise my hat (you see the use of wearing hats) to Jean Yves for identifying the two fallacies used by VPM Collendavelloo in the National Assembly: the straw man fallacy (argiman nerport kot invant enn bolom lapay, lerla opoz li) and the worst-case-scenario fallacy (argiman nerport kot invant pli pir konsekans pu opoz kiksoz). We must beware of all the false arguments that we will be called upon to identify in coming times. I commend his “Sharpening up your Arguments Workshop” series (Latelye Fit Argiman) on our web page www.lalitmauritius.org and on this page. We cannot just “rely on the scientists” – Hitler recruited many, for a start, and who knows who Trump might in future recruit as he fires all the scientists he does not agree with. Instead, we need to be able to be independent in sniffing out false arguments whether used by scientists or not.
for LALIT, a personal viewpoint.