LALIT’s cadres school, which began on Saturday in Curepipe, brought together members of the Curepipe LALIT Regional and newcomers to LALIT from the Curepipe and South-East area. Rajni Lallah played the piano, a beautiful piece she had composed, to open the session. Later she said how it is the first time she has played to so many people at once, since the first lockdown last year.
Then she did an introduction to this new Cadres’ School, welcoming everyone and saying how it had been planned, including its flexibility so that participants can, each session, make requests for the next session.
The first session proper began with an analysis of the “class” structure of Mauritius under capitalism, and an explanation as to how this is the point of difference between LALIT and literally all the other parties, which are by contrast nationalistic, patriotic and “morisyanist” in nature – whether the other parties are Parliamentary or outside the National Assembly. LALIT, in contrast, sees society as defined by its division into classes. In particular, there is a tiny class of big “owners” of the means of survival (some 1 to 2% of everyone, who were sketched on kitchen paper as the tip of a pyramid) and the vast majority who sell their “kuraz” i.e. their time on earth, to the owners or their representatives (in the sketch on paper, taking up most of the base of the pyramid). Lindsey Collen coordinated this session. This class reality produces a constant struggle between the main classes. As is LALIT’s wont, at the end of the first session, we took “requests” from participants as to themes they would like to see included in the other three sessions. For those who might think a classless society impossible, Lindsey gave a graphic description of the time span during which humans lived in classless societies for some 200,000 years, and how classes began to emerge in a sustained way, some 10,000 years ago. She demonstrated this with a bit of raffia some 5 metres long, one foot or so of which was in class society, and one centimeter in modern capitalist classes. In ordinary school, this idea of “time” is never made obvious, she said. And the reactionary and status quo political parties prove their role by positing mere “pockets of poverty” and a few “neglected groups” and some “marginalized communities”, all these “problems” easily solved by a bit of charity here or introducing some minor changes there. Other than this, society, to them, is perfect as is. This is typical of the paternalistic policies of the MSM Government, and it is not different from the other parties, who have no program on which they challenge the existing Government.
Questions came thick and fast. And led to Rajni’s description of how different epochs in the struggle demand different kinds of activism and political struggle. She explained how in a downturn, one’s aim, as a socialist party, becomes how best to change the balance of class forces. There is, she said, an ever-changing balance of class forces. It was decided to look into the exact meaning of the “balance of class forces” next session. Rajni also explained how what seemed impossible – like getting rid of Apartheid in South Africa – becomes not just a reality, but those against the Apartheid struggle, once it was defeated, seem to evaporate as if they never were. She explained how LALIT is not structured as a hierarchy, but around its branches and other structures. And LALIT’s branches in turn are constantly working to be in contact with grassroots “leaders” – on work sites and in neighbourhoods, who have, over the years, proven their worth as “leaders”. So, we in LALIT, she explained, have a totally different definition of leadership.
At on point, everyone present sang the Internationale – with the words printed in Kreol – and thus again putting emphasis on the difference between a class struggle party like LALIT that works for internationalist working class unity, and other parties that unite all classes in the “nation” or as “citizens”, ignoring that fact of different classes, with different relationship to the means of survival.
Throughout the session, emphasis was on how LALIT has a program, on the basis of which it recruits people. LALIT does not just add together everyone who has a grievance of any kind, but brings together people who want to change the present society on the basis of an agreed program, that is constantly being developed. We want something positive: socialism. One member present described how it was through reading a copy of a LALIT newspaper, decades ago that he found he agreed with much in the newspaper and joined LALIT, and has stayed a member ever since.
At two or three points, the question of “the state” came up, and so there were naturally requests that this be a subject in the next session. The state is, indeed, one of the most difficult subjects for any socialist party. And when it comes to constructing socialism, after the end of capitalism, that is the real challenge. How difficult will it be for people to overcome the alienation at work to which we are accustomed. We have had generations of subjugation to just show up to work, the boss taking all the decisions, and we get our wages or salary. Socialism means we all have more responsibilities than that. That will be the real challenge.
The session rounded off with everyone being asked to prepare for next time, when we will do role-playing around a petition for a bicycle path and pedestrian path, to link us to the new Metro stations, and to link children to schools – without the threat of traffic.
During a few minutes of evaluation, participants were very positive and enthusiastic.
There are three more sessions due.