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Serious Lessons from History

14.01.2021

In Mauritius, we have an MSM Government that has fallen prey to its own political weakness and to its lack of any political program to speak of. In the space of 15 months since winning the general elections with a big majority, the Government has been unable to deal with the massive economic crisis that predated the Coronavirus epidemic.


And then, despite the people of Mauritius having handled the epidemic so well that for seven months there have been no local cases (bar one in freak circumstances), only 15 months after its electoral victory, making Mauritius one of the best countries in the world in terms of Covid containment, the new Government is nevertheless floundering. Despite Jugnauth having also successfully claimed and won Chagos from the UK – after a long struggle to force the Mauritian State to act under UN institutions – the Government is reeling. The Vice Prime Minister Ivan Collendavelloo was revoked for his role in CEB contract allocation. The Government’s handling of the wreck of the Wakashio and its fall-out was poor. The Angus Road real estate issue, though the deal between the Jugnauths and a sugar estate took place decades ago, has not gone away. And now all the fall-out from the murder of MSM agent Soopramanien Kistnen in Prime Minister Jugnauth’s constituency has now come to haunt the MSM Government.


At the same time, the Parliamentary Opposition parties, weaker and with even less program than the MSM, have done nothing over the past 15 months but put in spurious legal challenges claiming electoral fraud – not unlike, it must be said, the 60 Trump cases in the USA. These electoral cases still lumber through the Courts (see below), with two having been withdrawn meekly in the meantime. The cases have dragged on so long that there may actually now, in the meantime, be a genuine case uncovered en passant against the three MSM members (all Ministers) in Constituency No. 8 – apparent written evidence of over-spending in the last elections. This real problem, a real flaw in the election of three MSM ministers, has come up as a side-effect of other politico-legal proceedings, including an investigation into the tragic murder of MSM agent Kistnen in No. 8 in the context, it seems, of a mafia around Government tenders. Over-spending in elections is something all mainstream political party leaders, on both sides of the National Assembly, openly admit – perjury or no. As Albie Sachs put it in his 2002 Report: “It is common knowledge that these ceilings on expenditure are observed only in their breach. Gross violations take place and false returns of expenses showing all expenditure within these ceilings are filed with impunity, everybody fully conscious of the fact that these returns do not reflect the true picture.” 


While on the issue of electoral over-expenditure, it is worth putting on record that, while all other parties persist in pushing for state control over “funding of political parties”, which LALIT warns risks permitting the ruling party to control other parties through the concomitant bureaucracy that will need to be set up, LALIT has maintained that what needs to be tightened up is simply electoral expenditure. And here we get a case to prove our point. Everyone knows there is a single, gaping loophole in the law on election expenditure that needs to be tightened. We need to stop allowing expenditure to be effected by “supporters”. This involves moving the onus on to the candidate to prove he did not OK the expense made in his name. We again, in the light of the apparent evidence of over-expenditure by the 3 candidates in number 8, call not just for investigation into expenditure in their case but for an immediate Bill in Parliament to close this loophole for future elections.


So, the only real electoral case on the horizon is not just against the MSM MPs in Number 8, but further exposes the corruption of bourgeois democracy, itself. 


And we have to be careful what kind of challenge mobilizes to criticize this corrupt bourgeois democracy. It can be from the extreme right, a fascist mobilization, or a genuine peoples’ movement based on a common program. We have to constantly refuse to re-enforce the boiling-over discontent in the bourgeoisie (pushing to open frontiers, pushing to end the CSG tax, pushing for privatization) and petty-bourgeoisie (in desperation as the economic situation worsens) right now – this kind of discontent leads often to a dangerous extreme-right-wing movement. With fascist mobilization on the rise world-wide, we must beware. 


But, let’s get back to the mafia around tenders and contracts. With the exceptional measures needed during lockdown, what a proper Government should have done was to get the State Trading Corporation to order all the medical supplies. This is obvious, in a way, but no-one in the Government, the Opposition or the press mentions it. The STC could have immediately ordered what was necessary to face up to the epidemic at the time when cases of Covid-19 were rising to as high as 300. The Jugnauth Government instead just dished out “emergency procurement” contracts left, right and centre – to the cronies and contractors that had financed its campaign or acted as its political agents. This is just one noxious side-effect of the constant privatization that has gone on since about 1990. Now it has provoked the development of a potential mafia around tenders. And then, it seems that, with the repression that was imposed (curiously, and typically for the MSM, the repression was imposed after the epidemic was already successfully contained by the people), it seems that a mafia did grow up – as mafias are wont to do during repression – and got active around procurement contracts. The thesis of the group of lawyers now called “The Avengers” goes further. These lawyers include Rama Valayden, heir to extreme-right leader Gaetan Duval; Roshi Bhadain, original “lakwizinn” member and Aneerood Jugnauth’s former Minister and heir, notorious for “offering as a gift” a new Parliament building to Jugnauth as part of some real estate scam that fortunately came to nothing, and kissing the hand of Pravind Jugnauth; and Sanjeev Teeluckdharry, Pravind Jugnauth’s Deputy Speaker who resigned after his name came out in the findings of the Commission of Enquiry into Drug Trafficking. “The Avengers” link together the death of MSM agent Kistnen and other strange and untimely deaths of people linked in one way or another, to procurement. If there are such murders, this is a truly dangerous situation. So far, there is clearly one murder of a disgruntled MSM agent. But there are, as yet, no clear facts pointing to who exactly did it or why. But the fact that there is this case weakens the MSM politically even further.


Central to the MSM’s weakness is its lack of any economic strategy for production and job creation to replace already failing existing industries, coupled with its instinctive recourse to repression. And this political weakness is despite the MSM having constructed (to the ire of the bourgeoisie) a safety-net for the poor (through the Social Register of Mauritius) and support for the low-earning working class (a Minimum Wage and income support). While the working class and poor are aware of this “aid”, they are not mobilized behind the MSM. When the MSM won the elections, it was astounding that there were not proper celebrations.  On the contrary, the poor have been told that these are measures the MSM took because people did not put pressure on them through political action. The safety net is portrayed by the MSM as a paternalistic gesture. Beneficiaries are supposed to “be grateful”, and to “remersye Premye Minis Pravind Kumar Jugnauth” on MBC TV. All this to say that the MSM, a party born in power in 1983, ends up being a party that represents no social class. This gives it a Bonapartist air. And this, at the same time, explains its political weakness, despite a massive electoral win, and it explains its susceptibility to pressure around tenders, contracts and nominations, and its relying for its survival in a National Assembly it controls, on an outrageously domineering and partisan Speaker. Remember that, in a class society, because of the objective existence of on-going class struggles between the classes, a political party needs to represent the interests of a particular class, or part of a class, or sometimes more than one class. But, it needs to be clear. If it does not, it ends up representing the bourgeoisie, like it or not – but then without the support of this class. In Mauritius, we are in the situation now, when all four major parties in the National Assembly are in this weak position, not just the MSM. They all have no proper program. And they do not claim to represent the class they end up actually representing. This is a sign of the weakness of bourgeois democracy now at the beginning of 2021.


The Opposition Parties in the National Assembly – Labour, the MMM and the PMSD – when they do oppose the MSM, tend to do so either from the stand-point of the bourgeoisie – or on “fraud and corruption” issues and scandals, or even from the right-wing of the political spectrum, challenging entire election results in a generalized atmosphere of mass hysteria – a series of one-by-one smuggled-out ballots here and there pumped up in the Press – and in general undermining confidence in the electoral system, aided and abetted by the Press. Take as an example the “Lareg-gate” L’Express joke video clip, with all the racism, frivolity and ignorance of the electoral system in the petty bourgeoisie that was behind the challenges, exposed for all to see. After tail-ending the petty bourgeoisie on electoral challenges, these opposition parties then banded together to tail-end after caudillo ex-MSM agent, Bruneau Laurette (before retreating from him in disorder), and they now tail-end yet other politicians, “The Avengers”. It is undignified to say the least.


In LALIT, we say all this about the Opposition because, with the MSM government being so weak, it is otherwise inexplicable why the Opposition is not gaining in strength. 


Just as the MSM has no program, so the Opposition has none. So used are the commentators to the absence altogether of a political program, that they confuse a shopping list of promises (that they might even term “electoral bribes”) with a program.


The fact that for some nearly 40 years now, there have been no programmatic differences of any consequence between all the pro-capitalist political parties means that, in addition to all four allying with all other three in serial alliances, they find their points of difference in three other ways:


a) They represent different communal, ethno-religious factions in different proportions. They all espouse a kind of “multi-fundamentalism” instead of proper secularism. There are communal pacts, and sub-communal “pacts”, that include access to tenders and contracts, funding of religious and cultural organizations, through individual political agents, all in one big mess, just ready to become a little mafia.


b) They represent different sections of the bourgeoisie in different proportions – although all represent all – while traditionally using anti-capitalist rhetoric on their political platforms. So, all these pro-capitalist forces claim to represent “la classe travailleur”, to be kont gran kapital, to be “socialist”, to be in favour of getting Chagos decolonized, to be in favour of the Palestinian people. Meanwhile, when in Government, the MSM and Labour represent special favours for different factions of a “burzwazi deta” (i.e. sections of the bourgeoisie that rely on government contracts for their expansion), while the MMM and PMSD represent special favours for different factions of the “burzwazi istorik” (the old sugar estates and the hotel bosses). The bourgeoisie is today, however, in total disarray, with the long drawn-out death throes of the old “historic bloc” around sugar cane, whereby the historic bourgeoisie, the State bourgeoisie, the big, medium and small planters, and the sugar cane industry mill worker and field worker’s trade unions, all banded together made a political bloc that spanned the decades, leaning now to Labour, now to the MSM, now to the MMM – over time. But King Sugar is no longer King. All the bosses’ organizations have been dissolved into the malfunctioning, dysfunctional Business Mauritius, which ends up representing none of them at all well. This means the political parties that tail-end the bourgeoisie, are tail-ending something that, itself, has no coherence.


And thirdly, the traditional political parties have, instead having a program or opposing a program, relied on political vendettas through the courts, often the criminal courts and called for “law and order”, raising hysteria over the very serious drugs problem, and so on. This is both the result of the development of political mafias and a further cause of them. 


Using the Courts and the police this way then, in turn, impinges directly on the politics that detonated the case. We end up with political orientation of the country being decided by the judiciary, the police, ICAC, over accusations against MPs, Minister, the Speaker, the former Prison Commissioner (ex-Police Commissioner) and electoral challenges. To give an idea of to what extent all these legal cases then block our view of political programs and of the economic crisis, here is a hastily drawn up list of some of the current court cases coming up in the first three months of 2021 on what are, essentially, political feuds but with criminal or other criminal enquiries and/or court proceedings being:


January: 


7 January – Port Louis District Court - Private Prosecution brought by Widow Simla Kistnen against Minister Yogida Sawmynaden re alleged fictive job as “Constituency Clerk”. To be continued on 12 January.


9 January – Formal Statement by Widow Simla Kistnen to MCIT against Minister Yogida Sawmynaden on fictive job and other issues.


12 January- Private Prosecution of Widow Simla Kistnen continues. To continue 29 January.


14 January – Labour MP Shakeel Mohamed’s Supreme Court case against the MSM Speaker.


15 January – Moka District Court judicial inquiry into murder of MSM agent, Soopramanien Kistnen.


During January – Electoral challenges in NINE constituencies. Meanwhile Labour leading figure Anil Baichoo withdraws his challenge in no 9.


Constituency 1 – case for a recount


Constituency 8- case for invalidation of election


Constituency 10 - case for invalidation of election


Constituency 13 – case for a recount 26.01.21


Constituency 14 – case for a recount (in February) 9.02.21


Constituency 15 - case for a recount


Constituency 16 - case for a recount 


Constituency 17- case for a recount 12.01.21


Constituency 19 - case for a recount 25.01.20


19 January - Court of investigation into responsibility for wreck of Wakashio.


20 January – Betamax Privy Council Appeal, where Labour man, Bhunjun v/s STC re Rs4.5 billion payment, following findings of “International Arbitration Centre in Singapore”, then taken to the Supreme Court. 


February:


2 February  Criminal case for bounced cheque against former MSM agent, now caudillo leader against the MSM, Bruneau Laurette


3 February - Corruption case against former MSM Minister Raj Dayal (“bal kuler” case)


Judicial review Rex Stephen in Supreme Court concerning allegations against him by the Lam Shang Leen Commission of Enquiry into Drug Trafficking


15 February - DPP appeal against judgment that dropped 23 charges against former Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam for money-laundering (“kofor” case) 


March:


2 March – Appeal against judgment in Boskalis case where former Labour leadership people Siddick Chady and Prakash Maunthrooa for corruption, sentenced to 9 months prison. 


Constitutional case by Dev Sunassy and Yvor Tan Yan of 100% Citoyens against the State, the ESC and others to annul the 7 November elections.


 And there are endless other cases: some important like those around the Dawood Rawat empire break-up and even a Commission of Enquiry into the misdeeds of the disgraced former President of the Republic, Ameenah Gurrib-Fakim, others absurd like Bruneau Laurette accusing Minister Joe Lejongard of saying he said “Sel solisyon revolisyon!” 


All this should not prevent us from seeing the political and economic crises, and from organizing properly to save society from ruin.


 But again, this tendency to settle political scores through the police and the courts is not new.


 Before these cases, there were all the cases the MSM put against Navin Ramgoolam at the end of his reign: the Roches Noires campement incident, where there was a burglary, and then a tenuous link alleged with a death in detention. This occupied everyone’s minds for months. There was the whole series of scandals, where important “sources” fed the press with photos first of Ramgoolam in London with his Rolls Royce and then video clips of him at a private party with his mistress, who was also a beneficiary of Government contracts at the airport. The press titillated the public with stories about this woman for months on end. In fact, Yogida Sawminaden, now at the other end of this kind of attack, was the notorious “photographer” of Ms. Soornack. Then there was the kofor case. Rumours were always rife about Ramgoolam. And the petty bourgeoisie was, for a few years, “entertained” every day by all this.


 And before that there were the cases that the Ramgoolam Government had used against Pravind Jugnauth. There were episode after scandalous episode in the Sun Trust building saga. Then there was the long Medpoint saga, in which the Privy Council finally found Pravind Jugnauth not guilty, after a case on a technicality did not hold up, and because ICAC had, by then, changed sides. There were the charges around an MITD case, where people were whipped up against the “pedophile” Government, curiously prefiguring the Q-anon conspiracy theorists in the USA. This case evaporated along the way. But, Pravind Jugnauth was actually arrested, when in opposition, on numerous occasions and locked up, as Ramgoolam would be afterwards. The vengeance started long before “The Avengers” of today.


 And long, long before that, perhaps the first high-profile case after the end of the post-Independence State of Emergency was when Prime Minister Aneerood Jugnauth in 1989, having been in alliances with Gaetan Duval as his Minister, then had two ex-PMSD agents Paul Sarah and Moogesh Shummoogum give a statement to police in his (Jugnauth’s) house that incriminated Gaetan Duval in the murder of MMM activist Azor Adelaide in 1971. Duval then raised quite a violent mini-mass-movement of a fascistic nature, in his self-defense.


 All this to show the dangers of this kind of politics.


 Court proceedings are a very blunt instrument for resolving political differences. 


 They invariably fail, or even backfire. Sometimes they produce things worse than they are exposing, in unintended but predictable consequences. For example, from 1983 onwards the MMM opposition began a long campaign that the MSM Government was encouraging drugs and not tough enough on “law and order”. Aneerood Jugnauth’s MSM then took up “law and order” as a pretext for on-going repression, as a solution not only to the drugs problem, but to everything in sight.


With the corruption that capitalism endlessly spawns, with the deterioration of bourgeois democracy as capitalism fails, with constant privatization, the political system under capitalism is under real stress. Most of these court cases, other than the electoral ones, have had or have, in our opinion in LALIT, some grounds for a legal case. Some are very important to get to the bottom of. But, the point we wish to make is that the legal cases – often criminal cases – should not come and replace the political issues, and the programmatic issues, as the point of difference of political parties. If it does, it produces political bankruptcy. And, in turn, the abandonment of focusing on political programs then leads to a new round of these three potentially dangerous ways of settling scores: communalism, representing sectors of the bourgeoisie in semi-secret while pretending to be anti-capitalist in electoral speeches, and using the Courts where the old feudal rules of vengeance then seem to predominate, and which produce unintended consequences like Gaetan Duval’s whipping up of a fascist will amongst his supporters, or mainstream political parties finding themselves hanging on to the coat tails of a security firm boss trained by the Israeli dirty-tricks brigade, or whipping everyone into a frenzy about “Stop the steal!”, to use the USA fascist rally call that Mauritius ran a trailer for.


In LALIT, we put on record that we appreciate that the Catholic Church hierarchy, via Per Maurice Labour specifically criticized in public and in writing the idea of “avenging” or revenge-seeking, in his statement as to why he was obliged to close the doors of the Cathedral on a day when across the road there was a Court Case involving Minister Sawminaden and people had planned some kind of gathering in the Cathedral without anyone knowing. In fact, when Minister Sawminaden first came to court on 7 January, a rather disorderly throng of people, part of a crowd that had been gathered in Cathedral Square by ex-MSM agent Bruneau Laurette, attacked the Minister’s car when he was leaving the Court. Two days later, the Church actually closed its doors, fearing a gathering inside the Church would lurch out in front of the Court, as it had done the previous time from the Square. An automatic gate was, in fact, broken by a group of people that day, and the person on duty threatened. This, in turn, predictably if unintended as a consequence, made the NIU as they heard this being planned and the Police so on edge as the SMF and snipers were put in place, thus militarizing the whole of the area around the Court. The third time, on 12 January, the police had relaxed somewhat and used the usual Riot police and ordinary police, and got the Minister in and out of the Court room via the Magistrates’ entrance.  


So, we have seen that the MSM is weak and a political force without a proper program. We have seen that the Labour Party, MMM and PMSD are equally weak and programless. So, does this mean we are against all political parties? That is the petty-bourgeois fascist “will” that concludes that. That is dangerous. 


Here is an example of this dangerous will:


Just read the Facebook post below, written by respected L’Express journalist, Anne Robert on 10 January. It comes at a time when the world is reeling from an epidemic, remember, and when there is an MSM Government with dangerous tendencies towards using repression to cure all ills. The post is supposed to be a joke, of course. But let us read it then de-code it. Jokes give away a good deal about ideological mind-sets. We do not think the joke is an isolated case of this blind will to fascism so common in the middle classes, but unfortunately a rather typical example. Here is her post:


“On comptera bientot plus de décès de la mafia que de la Covid 19 … 


Fermons les partis politiques et ouvrons nos frontiers!”


So, there are four key parts to this:


1. It is assumed that “it is because there are deaths from Covid that the frontiers are closed”. Not entirely accurate. In fact, strictly speaking, it is because a) the health services will not be able to cope if the epidemic runs wild, nor will the morgues; b) because the epidemic is running wild in those countries from which tourists come and because the epidemic is, by contrast, actually contained in Mauritius; and c) because there is neither specific treatment for nor easily available vaccine against the illness yet, that the frontiers are closed. So, the first assumption on which the joke is based is erroneous.


2. It is also assumed that the thesis of “The Avengers” (led, it is relevant to mention, by three “politicians”, two ex-Ministers, Rama Valayden and Roshi Bhadain and ex-Deputy Speaker Teeluckdharry) is true i.e. that there are multiple murders linked to a mafia around procurement during lockdown. There is no indication of more than 10 such murders i.e. 10 being the number of deaths from Covid. But even one such mafia murder is horrifying, and such deaths are indeed not impossible, one of them seems maybe even probable, and they are not at all the matter for jokes. Is it normal to make jokes about murders this way? We can only shudder, if that is so. What about the feelings of the surviving family and friends?


3.  The solution therefore, the joke goes, is to “close down political parties” (not “the mafia”, itself, we note). This is a pure fascist idea if ever there was one – hardly a matter for jokes either, when political parties are the first things that are banned by fascists when they take total power. And fascism mobilizing in the streets egged on by those in power can be seen live-and-direct in the USA today, and also in India, Brazil, the Philippines and Hungary – as well as, to a lesser degree so far, all over Europe. 


4. And the solution therefore, the joke goes, is also, to therefore “open the borders” and presumably let Covid flood the country – another fascist idea i.e. it does not matter if people die. And it matters less, presumably, the fascist will believes, if it is the aged, the poor and the weak that suffer in hospital, with some of them/us dying from Covid-19 nor that the hospitals and clinics are over-whelmed, nor that the morgues over-flow as they were in Los Angeles the very day Anne Robert wrote her post. This is a truly wicked notion.


The newspaper, L’Express has from the word go been on a mission, in the name of the tourism bosses: Fight to open the frontiers. These bosses, and their voice-pieces, are desperate to make their profits again. And they are a kind of capitalist congenitally incapable of shifting to invest in another sector when the one they are in is (at least for the moment) unprofitable – as capitalists are supposed to do. Anne Robert just joins in to this with her scurrilous post.


What is shocking is how many people dog-whistled her, egging her on, whooping with congratulations for such a fine joke.


In the face of all the dangers – from the State, and from those who oppose it from the extreme-right like this, all we can say is “Long live the struggle for socialism!” It is more urgent than ever.


In LALIT, we say we need good political parties more than ever. 


We, in LALIT, are a very different kind of political party. And we call for a different kind of political movement. We propose our Party as one of the parties to lead such a movement. Everything we do, and everything we say in LALIT, helps to strengthen the possibilities for a political movement that genuinely works in the interests of all humanity, that aims to go beyond objectively different classes in society – when a tiny minority have hijacked the riches produced by the totality of past society – to a socialist society where all decisions – including economic ones – are taken by all of us, in a new, massive democracy that, together, we can build and in building it, establish a truly free society. With this aim, we work at organizing the working people of this country. That is why, for years, we have put social housing on the agenda by actually organizing people in some 50 different housing estates made of asbestos, to lead the struggle, which they have. Some church organizations, we note with pleasure have recently, begun to join us. This is why for decades we have worked closely with organizations that teach adult literacy, so that ordinary working people can all get hold of the tools of cognition in our mother tongue. This is why, for years, we have worked at a Fishers’ Charter, and why now, when all the mass hysteria over the wreck of the Wakashio is over, it is LALIT that has continued until now to organize the fishers of that area for their livelihood. This is why we have worked with the trade unions to develop political programs for job creation, for food security, for new production. This is why we have worked for decades with Chagossians to get Chagos re-united into the Republic, to close the military base down, and to get the right of free circulation to and from Chagos.


Here is what LALIT’s program addresses that neither MSM, nor Parliamentary Opposition address:


New Production


1. a) Government must create new sectors of production – starting with food. This means completely over-hauling the agriculture all over the main island, and at the same time getting food preservation and processing plants set up near all sugar mill and ex-sugar mill infra-structure. It also means getting massive capital into a proper, sustainable fishing and sea food industry. It means organizing to distribute this food, at home and in the region, and where possible further afield.  


Stable Jobs


b. This new production will create jobs, in particular, it will assure stable employment with a long-term prospect for people – in agriculture, animal husbandry, factories around food, fishing – as well as in the transport and selling of the products.


Food Security


c. This new production will, in times of insecurity world-wide – due to epidemics, global climate instability and the possibility of war – assure a degree of food security, of food sovereignty. We are talking about big and medium-sized units of production, not just little back-yard production, which can do no more than cushion families a little.


Foreign Exchange


d. This new production will, in the face of dying old industries, assure some degree of stable foreign exchange income.


e. Other industries will be able to grow around these.


How this will happen, is the Government must find legal ways to force the big land-owners to employ a big new workforce, to go ahead and plant food crops. If the land-owners refuse, then the Government must force them to lease out the land for nominal rent to co-ops that want to plant food crops. And if the Government refuses to force them, then we have to force the Government. And if we still fail, we, the people, will have to force the land-owners to see reason. This is how we make it clear that the mother earth that nourishes us cannot be a private possession in the way that someone’s items of clothing are. Land is, by definition, like the air, a public good. Either the bosses who own it, use it in everyone’s interest for food security, job creation and for getting foreign exchange, or they hand it over. 


Housing for All, Including Rented housing


2. Related to the question of the land, is the question of housing. LALIT first forced the Government to build housing for the working class, in a big struggle from 1992 onwards around Muvman Lakaz. The Government must immediately build housing massively with the speed of emergency-work, so as to replace all asbestos housing, all housing sold to people without pillars, and to give a roof over their heads to all those in extreme housing emergencies – those in over-crowded heir’s housing, in expensive cramped rented lodgings, and those living as so-called squatters. Housing for rent must be made available by Government so as to circumvent all the social crises around inheritance laws. This struggle has been taken up mainly by LALIT-joint committees with some 50 localities. It has also been taken up by five newish Church organizations.


Chagos re-united in the Republic of Mauritius 


3. a) Also related to the question of land, is the land of Chagos and its sea. We must get the UK-USA out of Chagos, including closing down the polluting and dangerous military base on Diego Garcia. We have come a long way on LALIT’s program. But we are not there yet. This is of importance for reasons of de-colonization, the right of return for Chagossians, the re-unification of the country, peace on earth, and in order to protect the world environment from the pollution of nuclear and other weapons. And this is part of the struggle to use the entire sea at the disposal of Mauritius – to stop all the pillaging of fish from the ocean, to build a sustainable Mauritian fishing industry like Seychelles has, and to link this to the food plants to be set up around the country. This will create thousands of jobs for people living on the coast who already know the sea.


Close ports to war ships


b) Diego Garcia, like Port Louis, Port Mathurin and Agalega must be closed as ports to warships of all kinds. We must be free of militarism.


4. Freedom of Information Act


All people must have the right to access any information held on them by the State.


5. Kreol Language


The mother tongue is our natural tool of cognition. Language is our means of thinking, and we think instinctively through the mother tongue. We call for the immediate lifting of the ban on Republic of Mauritius Kreol from the National Assembly, to allow political thinking to develop properly in the country. At the same time, Kreol needs to be medium of instruction, with all text books and examinations of content subjects (science and mathematics, for example) in Kreol (English books can also be used.)  


5. Palestine


Internationalism is a general aim of LALIT, and there is no way that socialism will exist in just one country, let alone one as small as the Republic of Mauritius, in terms of land space. One of the key issues that we build internationalism upon at the moment is the question of the Palestinians suffering Apartheid imposed by Israel. It is one of those left-over bits of past colonization that persists, like Diego Garcia (and the whole of Chagos) illegal occupation.


6. Freedom from state control over social life


Freedom for women to decide on their reproduction without fear of police and courts, and with free access to medical procedures. Freedom for people to smoke gandia without fear of the police and courts. Freedom of those already dependent on drugs from police and courts, and free access to hospitals. Freedom for people to marry the person of their choice. Freedom from inhumanly long prison sentences. Freedom from prison for non-violent offences.


7. A Better democracy


Strengthen the National Assembly and give the right to revoke elected members.


Limit the powers of the Prime Minister and executive relative to those of the National Assembly.


Make the Courts function, just and speedily.


End the communal Best Loser system by introducing a modicum of proportional representation. See LALIT’s full program. 


8. Register of deaths in detention


Put into practice all the protocols that LALIT proposes to limit the torture and violence perpetrated against people, mainly poor people, arrested by the Police. 


9. Over-haul the existing Criminal Code


The Criminal Code, whether for rape or abortion, is still haunted in its mind-set by the laws of slavery times it was set up in. Marriage and divorce laws must also be modernized.


Serious Lessons from History


In recent history, we have seen the bloody culmination of a campaign of mendacious and frivolous legal challenges against electoral results. That, in itself, is a lesson. It culminated in the right-wing putsch or “coup” that the Trump supporters attempted last week in a pincer-movement with some 140 right-wing Congressmen and women in which they stormed the Capitol building, defeated the police, entered the entire building, forced the elected representatives to have to put on gas masks and be herded into bunkers underground, then desecrated the US parliamentary building and even attempted to take hostages, get ahold of Vice President Mike Pence to hang him, and to kill House Leader Nancy Pelosi.


In the past century, we saw how when there was a politically weak regime in power in Germany, the Weimar regime, and it was without a clear economic strategy to get out of the impasse the country was in, this saw the opposition to it rising in the form of a fascist force around Hitler. 


It is worth taking the lessons from this. A weak Government, as the Jugnauth one now is, as Ramgoolam’s was before this, as most Governments have been since Independence, there are always two types of opposition possible: one that is a million times worse than what exists, and another that is many times better. You have, in every statement you make, in every article you write, in every slogan you promote, in every choice as to where to put emphasis in the political struggle, in every joke you crack, in every alliance you make, in every leader you pump up, to consider whether you are promoting a right-wing, pro-capitalist, fascist idea, that will risk making matters much worse, or whether, you are working at laying the groundwork for a better society, after the end of capitalism.


LALIT, 13 January 2021


based on Tur Dorizon by Rada Kistnasamy and following discussion in LALIT meeting.