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All LALIT's Issues in ihe Headlines at the same time

09.12.2005

During the course of a recent seminar, Lalit member Lindsey Collen, as part of a paper on how Lalit is situated on the new political terrain after general elections, drew up a list of the amazing number of subjects that are in the headlines today AND that are themes associated with not only analysis by Lalit, but also mobilization led by Lalit.

We are listing the Lalit themes (in clusters by content) that are in "actualite".

* Lalit has run many campaigns about cane-and-sugar not being a long-term future as a pillar of the economy. Right now in 2005 the WTO Dispute Settlement Unit has found illegal Europe's support of ACP countries under the Sugar Protocol of the Lome agreement. All the bosses and every thinking person now admit there is a total crisis: massive unemployment is being threatened by those who hold a monopoly on the land and capital necessary for job creation.

* That Export Processing or Free Zones are fragile forms of investment that leave the economy open to collapse. Right now in 2005, the Multi-Fibre Agreement has ended, and Europe is lowering other customs barriers. This will cause massive unemployment, especially amongst women.

* Lalit has always campaigned for control on foreign exchange. The capital exodus that has been taking place since the government freed exchange controls some four years ago is now causing a foreign exchange crisis. The exporters (sugar and textiles) are not repatriating their earnings. This is, in turn, a threat to the State Trading Corporation. The Minister of Finance has this week had to appeal to the good will of the exporters and to their "collective spirit".

* Lalit is known for campaigning against job destruction. At present job destruction is becoming clear in everyone's minds, as life becomes more and more difficult.

* Lalit is known for campaigning against devaluation as a solution to economic problems, and right now, just last week, the Prime Minister is having to deny that there will be devaluation.

* Lalit has long campaigned for price controls or at least fix-mark-up controls. Since the elections one of the popular measures of the government has, in fact, been to re-introduce a form of price control, at least on imported powdered milk, that everyone uses.

* Lalit is the only political party ever to have claimed free travelling as a part of freedom of movement. The new government has introduced free travelling for three categories of citizens: students, handicapped people and over-60's. This is in the news still now.

* Lalit brought together all the political and social forces that oppose GMO crops. Right now GMO crops and their dangers are in the news.

* Lalit's anti-war campaign against the US-led invasion of Iraq is in the news every day, as the lies that were put forward as the basis for invasion are exposed. Today Harold Pinter, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, has again exposed the lies as lies.

* Lalit's campaign on Diego Garcia and for the right to return and compensation, for the base to be closed and for complete decolonization and the reunification of Mauritius, are all subjects on the news now. There is a Court Case this week in London.

* Lalit's more generalized struggle, as part of the anti-war movement, to close down military bases is also in the news. On 15 December, there is the final Call to Participate in the first ever world Conference for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases to be held in 2007 in Ecuador. Lalit is on the organizing committee.

* Lalit is the political formation most closely linked to the anti-globalization movement, which right now is exposing the dangers of the WTO meeting in Hong Kong.

* Lalit's involvement in the Palestinian peoples' struggle for over 30 years, and a deeper involvement from last year when, two of our members participated in separate actions of solidarity inside Palestine, is well known. We today see everything in flux in Palestine and Israel.

* The Lalit struggle for the de-criminalization of abortion is another issue in the news today. A doctor has been arrested and charged under the repressive 1838 law.

* The Lalit struggle to expose violence against women is now a struggle many other forces have joined in on, at these times when a number of women have been killed by their husbands.

* Lalit's two decades of struggle against the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) now sees the IRA on the table in ministerial discussions, though unfortunately when the union leaders are negotiating without having mobilized at all.

* Lalit's anti-repression ethos, in response to social problems, has started to make headway within some of the associations in Mauritius. Around the issue of drugs and aids, more and more people are supporting the line of caring for people instead of punishing them and thus turning them into brutal people.

* Lalit's struggle against police brutality has created a counter-voice to the pro-repression cries that the petty bourgeoisie specializes in. Raddoa and other police officers have been forced on to the defensive, and recent cases have exposed the dangers of police violence for everyone to see.

* Lalit's long struggle for truth about the death in detention of musician Kaya, whose death led to mass riots, has finally got nearer a resolution. The new government is setting up a Truth Commission. Officers of the Parquet have announced that the Government will make a civil settlement with Kaya's widow, as well.

* Village elections are to be held on 11 December. These were brought back as a result of the grassroots campaign Lalit held in about 70 villages over the past four years. Labour had to submit to the will of its own mass electoral base, and put them back.

* The best loser system that Lalit has been opposing since the 1970's is on the agenda again. The full bench judgement last month means the system is further entrenched, even while it is further opposed by all thinking people.

* The Kreol language continues to make headway. This is an issue associated very closely with Lalit's combat.

* The housing crisis is another issue associated very closely with Lalit, and very much on the agenda with the squatters' crisis.

* The drugs issue, and the need for a more enlightened approach to the problem of addiction, on the one hand, and of drug use in social life, on the other, is on the political agenda right now.

* Preventive health has long been a known campaign of Lalit, with 25 years of Bambous Health Project kept as a running health co-op by many Lalit members. Now with the Aids crisis in exponential state, preventive health is on the agenda.

* Universality of social rights, as opposed to means-tested favours, has been an ongoing campaign of Lalit's. Now, with the return of universal pensions to everyone over 60, the issue has been right on the agenda.


All this to say, that Lalit's existence over nearly 30 years gives it a certain strength, both in its width and depth, and also in the momentum that time has allowed us to build up.


In this time of economic crisis, we will need to involve all these issues in a form that links them to the crisis, which will unfortunately soon start to be felt badly.