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2nd Lockdown – DAY THIRTEEN – On the Petty Bourgeoisie Running Amok


 Alain Ah Vee, at a recent internal Lalit meeting on Zoom, warned with clairvoyance that we should remember what happened, politically speaking, after the petty bourgeoisie had gone through the genuine anxiety and stress of the first lockdown. At the end of the first lockdown, he reminded us, this class literally ran amok behind the owner of a bouncer company, trained by Israeli special forces’ top brass, who had, only six months earlier been an MSM agent, then making an appearance as “l’homme providentiel” – one Bruneau Laurette – to lead the class without an iota of program. Some 35,000 people, for example, signed his petition which, as far as we know, was never submitted to anyone. This failure to submit it, though the cardinal sin of any petition-organizer, turned out to be a blessing because, if it wasn’t gobbledygook, it was what the bourgeois state calls “sedition”. 35,000 people must have been amok to sign the scurrilous document. What Alain warned of at the Zoom meeting was that this second lockdown is producing much more anxiety and much more stress in this same petty bourgeoisie than the first one did. So, we must be prepared for literally anything to happen at the end of this lockdown. 

This class, the petty-bourgeoisie is not used to seeing the big picture: it cannot. This is because it is comprised of too many individual interests that add up to nothing in the way of a program for society. There are those whose whole lives are merely plotting their personal, individual, career itineraries so as to rise within existing hierarchies; they are interested only in their own nominations or promotion to a higher rank. Others, if not trying to build their own start-ups or keep their own small and medium enterprises out of the red, are bent on being awarded small contracts and tenders from people in Government or from the big bosses of the private sector, as the Kistnen & Co. businessmen have shown us. Their place in society ensures that they only see as far as the tip of their own noses. But an epidemic comes along and forces them into the big picture without their having any experience of thinking things through to their logical conclusion. Most often the real big bourgeoisie, as a class, knows how to do this. And the working class, as a class, knows. But the petty bourgeoisie’s own experience does not prepare it, as a class, for this. So, they easily run amok. And, it is worth bearing in mind Trotsky’s brilliant predictions on the unimaginable destruction fascism would bring and did bring in Italy and Germany, and his formulation that there is no fascism without the petty bourgeoisie run amok.

When there is a social crisis smoldering upon the hot-coals of multiple economic crises like it is today in Mauritius, Alain is right to call on us to remember how fascism gets generated. This way we can recognize it from early on. Otherwise, all too soon, it is too late. On LALIT’s website, you can read an article in Kreol entitled “Kimanyer rekonet ‘Fasism’” in the News Section on 28 February 2021. 

So, the situation is serious.

The MSM Government has not managed, in one whole year since the Coronavirus crises began, to force the tourism and sugar cane bosses to diversify. Instead, it subsidizes them to remain in these lame duck industries. 

And we now already have some 11 newish opposition parties, to add to the existing three in the National Assembly and three or four extra-parliamentary older parties. We can safely say that other than LALIT, they all have no plan with how to force the cane bosses to diversify out of cane, nor how to suspend all fishing permits given to companies from abroad to fish the Mauritius’ Exclusive Economic Zone of the sea and how to set up a Mauritius fishing industry. Nor do any of the parties come up with clear demands for food preservation, processing and marketing to become a new sector. This will create jobs, assure food security, and help with foreign exchange. These are the three main problems that the MSM is not addressing: jobs, food security and foreign exchange.  

At the same time, “opinion leaders” in the petty-bourgeoisie are often in deep water right now. In his Mauritius Times interview of 16 February, when asked very specific questions about Laurette’s past or about who might be “running” the man in the present, Lindsay Rivière avoids the question, which is unlike him, and replies vaguely that there are some “zones d’ombre” that Laurette needs to clear up. However, he considers him as follows: “L’homme a un charisme certain”, what with his “l’impact” and his “l’admiration ... dans plusiers milieux”, and that he is “figure dominante” in the Opposition, both he specified at the demonstration of 13 February and in the media the next day. And that he has “tente de moderer et de polir son discours et son image”. This is often exactly how journalists described rising populist leaders in Italy and Germany in the 1930s. His comments are irresponsible, coming from such a respected journalist and political commentator, and given in reply to a specific, hard question. It is truly not understandable.

We note that Week-End editorialist, Josie Lebrasse, too, after an analysis of the tragic death of former Air Hostess Isabelle Hoffman and after rightly exposing Pravind Jugnauth’s vile treatment of her and her Air Mauritius Pilot’s union president husband after the go-slow by pilots, goes on to make a rather shocking contrast. She writes: “Pendant ce temps, des Bangladais de passage chez nous peuvent, eux, voter. Et pas que! Ils peuvent aussi “vanvané” dans les rues de la zone rouge, faire toutes sortes de boulot et meme officier comme gardiens illegaux de certains propriétés”. This racist outburst comes after the original allegations on social media, also racist in nature, of massive voter fraud supposedly perpetrated by 12,000 or 16,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers, were already exposed for what they are: totally invented racist attacks on very weak and marginalized people. The excellently researched article by Iqbal Khan in L’Express on 4 February, after The Avengers’ meeting had meanwhile resuscitated these racist allegations, explains how in Mauritius, like in 16 other Commonwealth countries, there are circumstances in which Commonwealth citizens can enroll to vote. It’s in the Constitution of Mauritius that if you have resided here for two years, you can. So all of 45 people from Bangladesh are legally on the voters’ roll, and may have voted. Being only 45 out of a total of 838 foreigners on the voters’ roll (all legally on it), it is strange to single out the Bangladeshi 5% of foreigners who may have voted, and then to assimilate them with other people who allegedly break the Covid lockdown laws, and also with others still who are allegedly working illegally here. This is from a respected journalist. This too is just not understandable.

So, we get an idea of what is in the minds of one or two public intellectuals in the petty-bourgeoisie. And we have not quoted from all the garbage put out on the social media.

Anyway, we sure need to be aware of uprisings during crises, uprisings that don’t know where they are going because they have not got a program, nor a clear social base. Here is a list of the headings (and sub-headings) reworked from the article on how to recognize rising fascism is referred to above: 

1. Fascism is a mass movement

2. Fascism has a leader sent by “providence”

3. Fascism glorifies patriotism, the nation, the citizen (as opposed to the non-citizen) – while also, curiously, promoting communalist, racist and bigoted beliefs. It produces, on the one hand, xenophobia and, on the other, a tendency for followers to fall into rank, almost negligently, behind the specific demands of the bosses,.

4. Fascism divides people into “the capable” v/s “the incompetent”

5. Fascism aims to “cleanse” everything of the unclean

6. Fascism prides itself in not having a program

7. Fascism is wildly anti-communist

8. Fascism is militaristic relative to the masses, and chaotic relative to its leadership

9. Fascism tends to “atomize” people, make them leave organizations    

10. Fascism, when it comes to power destroys all working class organizations and attacks scapegoat communities with unimaginable violence

 All this explains why we need to build a proper program, based on analyses of the real situation, if we really want to oppose the MSM Jugnauth regime.


Lindsey Collen