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Conflict between Government and Sugar Oligarchy

22.11.2007

What the press is describing as a showdown between Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam and the MSPA sugar oligarchy (1) is in fact a symptom of a much deeper crisis. What the media considers Government's "new exigencies" and the boss's "greed" are symptoms of a clash of interests between different sections of the bourgeoisie in the sugar industry, as the whole sugar and cane sector undergoes drastic economic dislocations. So severe is the crisis that it is putting into question the "historic block" that has been in power for the quasi-totality of Mauritius' recent history, i.e. the sugar oligarchy and the Labour Party or part of the Labour Party.



LALIT has been developing its analysis of the present crisis for some four years now, popularizing and refining it through a widespread campaign of neighbourhood meetings and forums, spreading the ideas of the campaign through leaflets by the 10,000 every month or two, posters, and group discussions and analyses following projections of our DVD film of the sugar industry crisis. The importance of this analysis is that it is part of a constantly developing POLITICAL PROGRAM that can challenge the powers-that-be during the crisis. The fact that neither the Press nor the trade union bureaucracy joined in to this ongoing grapple with what exactly the present crisis means and therefore what kind of program could address it has, of course, not in any way prevented the crisis from unfolding inexorably upon us. Neither has the fact that most of the country's intellectuals have gone on digging their heads, ostrich-like, into the sand prevented the crisis from worsening each week. It is indeed the kind of crisis the bourgeoisie, itself, cannot stem, nor the Government prevent. And the two are at loggerheads for the simple reason that they can't help it.



The important thing about our program, based on our analysis, is that it differentiates us from the "National Front" recently called by Navin Ramgoolam to support him against the sugar oligarchy. First, the Prime Minister got support from a strange place, from his own Government! We had assumed he was speaking in the name of the entire Government, but obviously he hadn't been so sure, himself. Each of the parties in the Social Alliance came and vowed support. Labour (one wonders if the Sithanen-Boolell wing were that keen?), PMXD, MR, Dulloo's MMSM and Baichoo's MTD, three of them in the absence of their leaders. Then, the Prime Minister's analysis having been a communal one, he got support from the Sanatan Dharma Federation, which in turn had brought together a whole bunch of communal and religious organizations, Hindu, Muslim and Creole.



The only kind of program that can respond creatively to the gravity of the situation is one based, like ours, on class struggle. Any program that rallies people on communalo-religious grounds, or that allows its supporters to degenerate into communalo-religious avengers, will fail. It is in key moments in history like this one, that people who would otherwise not acknowledge the importance of the class struggle, actually agree that class struggle is not only a motor of history, but the best motor of history. The basis of the present crisis is political. It is social inequality. This will certainly not be resolved by the rallying of communalo-religious-racist forces, and worse still, this kind of rallying will produce a further problem, often as dangerous and destructive as the original problem, if not more so.



"SYSTEMIC" OR "ORGANIC" CRISIS

For the past three or four years, LALIT has been saying that the crisis is not just a grave version of the usual kind, but that it is a "systemic" or "organic" crisis. What this means is that it is not just one of the usual run-of-the-mill cyclical crises that capitalism routinely goes through. It is the kind of crisis that draws into its vortex the entire society in which it unfolds. Everything will be dislocated. Everyone will be affected, regardless of social class, regardless of sector they work in. This is because the whole of Mauritian society has been formed by the sugar cane industry, and this industry is experience life-threatening changes. In the past this industry has used the totality of good agricultural land, generated employment, generated capital, produced tax revenue, and perhaps as importantly, foreign exchange that, in the past anyway, was controlled by the State. This means that when this industry is threatened with possible collapse (all the bosses spokesmen leave open this possibility, that under certain market conditions after 2009, "We will be dead", as Mr. Hubert, head the Sugar Syndicate that sells the bosses' sugar, puts it), society as a whole will be affected, sometimes in predictable ways, other times in the most unpredictable. But no social class will be spared. Nothing will avoid its effect, be it political, economic or social. And to make matters just that much worse, coinciding with this systemic crisis in the sugar industry, there is a crisis in the second biggest industry, textiles. The combined effect of these two sectors being in crisis is that there is a crisis of unemployment. And though people like to forget this, employment is peoples' way of staying alive on earth. The crisis is, of course, further deepened by the increase in price of oil, and consequently of freight, as well as by food shortages, as a result of climate change.



If we look at the nature of this systemic crisis, we will see that it means a change in the balance of class forces. Different social classes are affected differently by the crisis, and thus in their "natural" struggle for survival, they shake the whole of society. Like it or not, it's true. Sugar millers, as a class, are fighting for new ways to be profitable under new conditions, while the planters without interests in mills, are affected differently by the crisis and battle against the millers, for their "share". Workers are struggling, mainly failing, to hold on to jobs and keep work conditions from deteriorating faster than they already are under the impact of the crisis.



The crisis also means that the balance of forces between different sectors is changing. Government, from time to time, has a hand in how this change evolves. Successive Governments have acted in ways, and continue to do so, that give sugar industry capital liquidity, by allowing Integrated Resort Schemes so that capitalists can recycle their capital into real estate without it losing value in the short run.



But in any case, the changes that are hitting sugar and cane are bound to bring, and have already brought, social conflicts i.e. conflicts between different classes of people as they struggle to maintain themselves. There are bound to be contradictions between different interests and between different classes during a systemic crisis of this nature. All this conflict inevitably leads us to a high level of political volatility.



THE LABOUR PARTY

The first sign of political volatility was when the Social Alliance in Government was shaken by its own back-benchers Neeta Deerpalsing and Cader Sayed Hossen. They represent the interests of a section of the bourgeoisie (we mean local investors, not Government employees) which is "blocked" from rising further. For Labour, this representing this kind of class is nothing new. Ever since Dr. Ramgoolam Senior and the Advance Group toom over Labour, it has been their aim to represent the interests of a blocked bourgeoisie of some sort or other. But while in the past it was a section of the bourgeoisie being kept down under colonial restraints that was being blocked and that Labour represented, it is now instead a class blocked by "globalization" that it is representing. And meanwhile Finance Minister Sithanen and Agriculture Minister Boolell, who are Labour Ministers, represent more clearly the direct interests of the historic and imperialist bourgeoisie, not out of some form of favouritism as is sometimes alleged, but because they believe in the neo-liberal religion. Not only these two Ministers, but the whole of Labour itself, is thus at one and the same time backing different sections of the bourgeoisie. This is fine so long as they are in an alliance of some sort. But now as a major crisis unfolds, the internal contradictions also explode. And this is what characterizes a "systemic" or "organic" crisis.



In this case it is the contradiction between Labour's historical class position and its current mixture of two class positions, which are now in contradiction. Historically, Labour represented big and small planters in their conflicts against the sugar mill owners, as well as small and medium traders and industrialists, while today and since coming to power really, Labour has represented the sugar oligarchs, as well. This "historic block" of Labour and the sugar oligarchs has been in power almost non-stop for 50 years, in one form or another and it is now exploding as the interests of its component classes become irreconcilable by normal means. This is what a systemic crisis is. This is what an organic crisis is.



MMM

The same systemic crisis with its initial class conflict between oligarchs and other sections of the bourgeoisie is something of a knock-out blow for the poor MMM and Berenger, in this round at least. The MMM is paralyzed. It has to wait for the Government to make mistakes or become politically unpopular for other reasons. The MMM is hard-pressed to mobilize people on its "country moves" (to use a chess metaphor) that avoid taking sides in the economic conflict. It cannot continue to mobilize people on "Exactly how to target people for subsidies on SC and HSC exam. fees" or "What sum be paid to 70 laid-off DWC staff", as the whole country heads into a systemic crisis. When Berenger is forced to take sides in this class struggle, he usually defends the sugar oligarchy, because, like Sithanen and Boolell, he believes in liberal capitalism. However, he, just like them, cannot afford to defend them for electoral reasons; it would be suicide. So, he usually avoids taking position. Or he says something that has two diametrically opposed interpretations, depending on how people want to read it.



MSM

As for the MSM, it is weaker still. Pravind Jugnauth is in the curious position of having masterminded what Labour was putting into action when it first came to power, and which Labour is now putting into question because it is untenable. How can he possibly get his head around that?



In any case it was the Berenger-Jugnauth Government that accelerated the restructuring of the sugar industry in the first place. They applied the Blue Print, went ahead with centralization permits, and invented both the VRS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme for labourers being laid off) and the Integrated Resort Schemes (that pore money into the oligarchs' coffers).



LALIT

LALIT's campaign by contrast is spot on. We've been putting emphasis on alternatives to sugar and cane, on an alternative economy based on large scale diversification of the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors, calling for land reform and for food security. And we have been getting generalized support for this campaign. Working class people and everyone who thinks disinterestedly have begun to realize just how spot on our four main slogans were and still are:

1. We said and say: "DON'T USE THE EUROPE COMPENSATION MONEY TO DESTROY JOBS BUT TO CREATE JOBS" Today, when the Government and sugar bosses' Plan, the Multi-Annual Adaptation Strategy (MAAS) is thoroughly in question, Navin Ramgoolam is publicly announcing that he can "use the European money for any other form of restructuring," not just to make cane profitable. Whereas he and his Labour Party (not to mention the MMM and MSM) all pretended for years that Europe, for unspecified reasons of its own, was insisting that the money be used to sack workers and make sugar and cane profitable again.

2. We said and say: "STOP PROVOKING RUPEE DEVALUATION!" This slogan had such an effect that a crisis came up over naming a new Governor of the Bank of Mauritius. Finance Minister Sithanen even had his letter of resignation in his pocket. Anyway, a new governor was named and he stemmed the devaluation somewhat.

3. We said and say: "LAND FOR LAID OF SUGAR WORKERS FOR FOOD PRODUCTION!" Today, sugar estates are conceding 2,000 arpents to the State, and more importantly the question of "land reform" of some sort is on everyone's lips.

4. We said and say: "UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT AS WORK BECOMES CASUAL", and today the Government is responding, making out that's what it is offering in the new anti-worker law Bill, the Employment Rights Bill.

What is important to realize is that the 100 to 120 meetings that LALIT has held all over the country, our film "FOR AN ALTERNATIVE POLITICAL ECONOMY" which has been used as starting point in another 50-odd meeting, 10 different leaflet distributions of 10,000 copies on the subject, our poster campaigns on the slogans, and when you take all these together as their effects cross-multiply, the campaign has prepared a certain number of advanced working people to face up to the systemic crisis better than they could have without these tools of political analysis and demands. This means that the boycott of the economic aspects of LALIT's political work by press, radio, MBC TV have not affected our own independent organization, which must now accelerate.



OTHER LEFT GROUPS

Unfortunately the other two left groups, during this period, have continued as if there were not a systemic crisis at all. Before the general elections, during the campaign, and since then, they have been absent on the central economic issues of the day "What must be produced and Who must decide this? They have given more attention to other themes of a wide range - public gardens, decriminalizing gandya, the best loser system, purely "union" issues, the environment - all key issues, but issues that will be impacted on 100% by the crisis. Rather late, some of their spokesmen have entered the debate on the important economic aspects of the crisis, but even then, they tend, in general, to remain firmly within the logic of the four "clusters" being set up by Government and bosses, to produce cane and sugar, electricity and ethanol.



STATE BOURGEOISIE v/s MSPA

The Social Alliance and Government have used the crisis so as to seize the chance of increasing the economic base of the state bourgeoisie. That's their program. Note that when in LALIT we refer to the "state bourgeoisie" (a term we were the one's to introduce into the debate in our publication LALIT DE KLAS in 1976, and in the Review of African Political Economy in 1977), we are not talking about employees of government institutions or departments. We are not referring to political nominees either. We are referring to a precise section of the capitalist class, that is to say of investors and businessmen, in particular those who manage to use the state apparatus in order to compete with the sugar oligarchy and other parts of the historic bourgeoisie. When Labour says to the sugar oligarchs that "You must share!", their program is not referring to sharing with workers. Only on rare occasions of worker mobilization can workers grab the odd crumb during the conflict between sections of the bourgeoisie. Navin Ramgoolam means the oligarchs must "share" with the state bourgeoisie, with big planters, with nouveau-riche in commerce, trade, tourism, finance and industry. He intends the sharing to be on the backs of the working class. That's the difference between the Labour and LALIT programs, and these seem to be the only two parties that have a Program relative to the systemic crisis.



Let's now look at exactly how the systemic crisis is unfurling. We'll look at its source and try to understand how it then unfolds.



The SUGAR INDUSTRY BECOMES THE CANE INDUSTRY

When the sugar industry is transforming itself into a cane industry, what does this mean in class terms? How will this affect different classes of people? Because the effects of this change are not the same on everyone, nor are they different for everyone. They affect classes of people differently in unflinching, clear-cut ways. When cane suddenly gets new value as raw sugar is getting refined locally, as molasses is being used to produce ethanol, as bagasses are being burnt for electricity production, this is bringing up new demands for a new "sharing out" of the profits between different "stake holders" who have invested in cane, that is to say planters who produce 55% of the cane and who do not own mills, and the oligarchy that has invested in its mills, refineries, distilleries and power generators, that is to say the owners of the 4 big new "clusters", as they are called. The working class, in this particular crisis, is just being laid off. The price of labour power is falling relative to profits. Work conditions are becoming nightmarish. And yet it is in a crisis of this nature that the working class, if it can build its coherence and strength, and if it can organize around a consciously understood program, can turn this moment of instability between different sections of the bourgeoisie and between the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie, to demand at the very least that jobs be kept and created, and that employment becomes more secure, and at best, put into question the entire system that keeps them dispossessed. It is also a moment when the working class can, like LALIT is doing, put into question not only what is planted, what is produced in factories, but who in society should take decisions on this?



MULTI-ANNUAL ADAPTATION STRATEGY (MAAS)

The Multi-Annual Adaptation Strategy (MAAS) that the Labour Government presented to the European Union for compensation for the reduction in the price of sugar (also called "the European money" and "accompanying measures") has different aspects to it, and each aspect has different effects on different social classes. MAAS was not put into the public domain for discussion, but was presented as a fait-accompli last year, and also as something that logically progressed from the Illovo Deal and the amendments to the Sugar Industry Efficiency Act. Which was, in fact, true. Only now is it exploding, as its contents get absorbed by different classes of people.



MAAS presents a strategy for sugar mills to continue closing down, the process of centralization and automation going further. Some bosses had to close their mills, and were furious about it. Others got to build bigger ones and are thrilled. In the working class, sugar mill workers were declared redundant by the hundred. MAAS said the Blue Print should continue to operate as it had done for 10 years, laying the mill workers off in exchange for a "package". There will be only 4 mills left, and MAAS outlines how they will each become a new, huge kind of centralized enterprise called a "cluster". There will be SUDS in the South, Medine in the West, FUEL in the East, and Belle Vue in the North. These four clusters will do a number of things, that is to say milling, refining sugar, ethanol production from molasses and power production from bagasses (and coal). Implied is, of course, that there will be all sorts of arrangements by government to ensure that the sugar estates make a fortune from land parcellization, IRS outfits, and hotels. They will also be in charge of other work like "town and country planning". Four big "East India Company"-style clusters, each in charge of a quarter of the Island of Mauritius, and fighting over outer islands control, too. So, history repeats itself as farce.



MAAS also implies that many labourers will be sacked. They will retire according to the VRS 2 (Voluntary Retirement Scheme). So, a second section of the working class is decimated. Labourers as well as being sacked will find that the work left has been converted into seasonal work, going back to pre-1964 work conditions. The Government will then have acted exactly as the sugar bosses have long demanded.



MAAS also outlines how small planters will get their land cleared of rocks, in exchange for committing themselves to planting cane (for 7 or 10 years), thus imprisoning them in cane. The aim is to assure supplies to the voracious new mills that need a million tons of cane each in order to make profits.



MAAS also, of course, outlines how the European money, the so-called "accompanying measures", be spent. On the EU official web-site, they clearly say the money is for subsidizing the restructuring "the economy" of the country affected. But the Mauritian bosses and Governments one after the other, have pretended (with total press collusion) that what had to be done to get the money was to have a plan to "make the cane industry profitable". The minute this money is nearly available, of course, the question is posed as to which social classes will benefit what, and how much?



MAAS also refers to sugar price increases in the shop for Mauritians. This the millers and planters think ia a good thing, and naturally workers don't agree, particularly as other effects of the crisis bite wage-earners.



What MAAS doesn't say, but which is directly involved, is that the 24% devaluation of the rupee in 2006, in the face of only a 5% fall in 2006 in the price of sugar, the sugar industry has made a 19% windfall gain (and other exporters have, too), while workers have become poorer.



MAAS QUESTIONED

So now, and it's no surprise, MAAS is put into question. This is the form the systemic crisis is taking as it unfurls.



It's worth understanding the "points in the deadlock" between MSPA and the Labour Government.



1. First, there is the Government's new demand for the sugar estates to hand over 1,500 to 2,000 arpents of land. This affects the social class that owns mills directly. They have to give the land. Naturally this provokes another layer of fights because which Estate must give land and how much? The Government has not been too clear about which class will benefit from the land it is due to get, but has consciously left it vague. Sometimes it is for infrastructure, sometimes for housing for the poor, sometimes for agricultural diversification. This way the government can get wider support, by making different classes think they might benefit.

2. Then there's the Power Purchasing Agreement for electricity. The Government and the Central Electricity Board now want to revise the scandalously high prices they had agreed to pay the Estates for the power they produce. Will the Government and the CEB act so as to reduce the price of electricity for workers? Or, are they putting pressure on the Estates to let the big planters and state bourgeoisie get a share of the super-profits from power production? Knowing Labour, we strongly suspect the latter.

3. Then there's the question of how to use the "accompanying measures" money. Will it be used just to give profitability back to the sugar and cane industry? Or so as to restructure the economy? It was only recently that, for the first time, Navin Ramgoolam mentioned this. It was in his now notorious Press Conference of Saturday, 27 October. Before that, he and the whole of Labour (not to mention the opposition MMM and MSM) all believed, or pretended to believe, that Europe's aim in the accompanying measures was to ensure profitability in the sugar cane industry. God knows why they believed that! It flies in the face of all the problems Europe had at the WTO. But anyway, it was over this issue, exasperated by the Press falling into this trap, that LALIT said the intellectuals of this country are "bewitched" by sugar and cane.

4. There's the question of the sharing of the sugar money. It was 24-76 per cent between millers and planters, but now the Mauritius Audit Bureau is re-examining this agreement. Naturally, when the cost of milling falls because of centralization and when cane gets more value, the sharing out has to be re-negotiated. Once again, the effects on different classes are different, especially on different sections of capital. If millers get more, planters get less. It's as crude as that. Big planters are bringing to bear all the political pressure they can to get this changed in their favour.

5. There is a demand for direct share-holding in the clusters. This is another demand of the state bourgeoisie. And always is. As it is now, 20% of the shares in the mills are owned by the SIT (which represents planters and workers), and today Ramgoolam's Government is demanding that big planters get "direct shares", as they call them. Note that of the 30,000 planters, a few big planters are strong in terms of land. Only 450 planters have more than 12 arpents, and only 50 more than 100. But there are a very small number of huge land-owners with over 100,000 arpents, and who get lumped with the "small planters" in Labour's discourse. Some 500 big planters produce half of the cane produced by the 30,000 planters.



CRISIS AT ST FELIX MILL

The crisis got its own particular expression at the St Felix mill. This mill was already not running for the 2006 and 2007 harvests. The cane it used to crush was sent to the SUDS mill, which benefitted from the extra cane. And it is mill which is the beneficiary of the extra cane that has to fit the fill for paying the compensation to the laid off mill workers according to the Blue Print. Everyone knows this. It has been happening for 10 years; the mill that gets the cane pays the Blue Print. But the SUDS didn't pay up, and announced they were waiting for the European Money to come in. Now the MSPA wants us to believe that St Felix can just declare itself bankrupt, and the MSPA can just wash its hands of the redundant workers on the grounds that the European Money will see to them, and try and blame the Government for "delaying" reaching the agreements that would lead to the cashing of the European Money. So, to cut a long story short, after a lot of blackmail, it seems that the SIT and Mr. Didier Robert, the boss at St Felix, will look after the St Felix mill workers' pay for November, December, January and the bonus, until the European money arrives. SIT is naturally in a most contradictory position, because as holder of 20% of shares in the sugar industry, it is owner, thus employer, boss, to the tune of 20% at St Felix. But, at the same time, SIT is supposed to represent the interests of sugar mill workers, labourers and planters. So much for that kind of "participation". Again, systemic crises make it impossible to mask this kind of contradiction, even though it stays masked in normal times.



So the MSPA has used the closure of the St. Felix mill to blackmail government. If the Government doesn't concede, and doesn't just apply the present MAAS as is, and doesn't get the European Money on time, then the Sugar Estates will turn the workers, they threaten, against the Government. This is what made Navin Ramgoolam act politically. He then held his 27 October press conference, making it clear that it is the Government that signed the agreement with Europe, not a band of cane millers. He also admitted that MAAS, which is his own Government Plan, is totally and ridiculously in favour of the sugar oligarchy. Now, the Government announces, for the first time accurately, that it did not have to have a Plan A that was designed to make the sugar cane industry profitable again, and that that was a political decision for which the sugar barons should be more grateful. If they are not careful, he threatened, Government will abandon Plan A, and present Plan B, and if this doesn't work, they've got Plan C and D in hand. This is what he said. He does not make it at all clear, but leaves it completely vague on purpose so that no-one knows what social class will benefit from what secret Plan. He lets workers, if they wish to, believe that he is speaking in their interests (when he says he will lower the price of electricity), while he more clearly speaks for the big planters who want a direct interest in the "clusters", i.e. in electricity and ethanol. That means, he is trying to maintain his "historic block" of different classes banded together, the block that has ruled for over 50 years, in one way or another, but with increasing difficulty as the new balance of class forces gets established.



LALIT's CAMPAIGN

For a long time now, certainly from before the general elections, and during the campaign we dedicated our political programs to this question, we have called into question the very idea of continuing in the production of sugar and cane. At the same time we have put into question who makes the decisions as to what to plant and what to produce, and how these decisions are made. With MAAS back to the drawing board, with Navin Ramgoolam saying he can use the European money to re-structure the economy any way Government pleases, now, we begin to see just how right LALIT was all along.



What we are saying, and have been saying for years, is that massive diversification must be planned and carried out fast. After 2009, and this LALIT has had to hammer home on deaf ears for years now, there will be neither guaranteed price nor quota. Not at all. The maintaining of the pretence that the 36% fall is the bottom of the pit, has been another of those signs of the intelligentsia being bewitched by cane and sugar. We can see why the sugar industry bosses hid the truth. We can see why the Government, while supporting the bosses, hid it. But why did opinion makers not see through the trick?

Anyway, today the world market price for sugar is low. In two years it may fall further, in which case the sugar industry may collapse. The factors that ensure it won't collapse are not in the hands of anyone who can prevent it. So, if as a country, we use all additional capital for sugar and cane, and if we continue to depend for foreign exchange on sugar and cane, if we don't organize the creation of jobs on a massive scale for the very classes of workers that are losing jobs, the country is heading for ruin. Systemic crises follow their own dynamics once they get going. They are unforgiving.



Anyway, we in LALIT, continue to call for agricultural diversification (begun by organizing to plant inter-line crops throughout all cane land) and specially for, at the same time, the creation of agro-industries that can handle the new agricultural produce, including its transformation, value-added procedures of all kinds, preservation. For over 3 years we are saying how this European money must be used for this, and how this will create jobs on a large scale in agriculture and factories, the very places where work is being lost. Work has to be created for work lost in the fields, the mills, the textile factories, fishing, and traditional crafts. These are not workers that benefits from education up to SC and HSC. Nor do they have land to plant, capital to invest in little businesses, or even a stock of money to live from for a few months. Work must be created for them.



At the same time, there's a world-wide crisis in food supplies. It is partly due to climate change, and to the burning for fuel of what could be food or part of the food chain. It's also partly due to the increase in fuel and thus freight prices. In LALIT we have maintained pressure, in this context, for land for redundant workers (VRS and Blue Print workers) so that they can plant it collectively on a largish scale.



This also explains why LALIT has for so long called for the Mauritius Sugar Authority to be replaced by an Optimal Land Utilization Authority which looks at a broader picture, and escapes the bewitchment of sugar and cane.



We have at the same time called for and end to provoked rupee devaluation that has created super-profits like those in the hotel industry.



The Program that LALIT has been developing over the past 3-4 years (see our book on WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?) together with the people who have contributed their ideas over the 150 or so meetings we have held, continues to develop. It is the kind of program necessary to face an organic or systemic crisis like the one we are going through. It's not a patchwork of dislocated ideas like the Government and bosses come up with. It's not a program where you jump from one issue to another in an incoherent way. Nor is it a shopping list of demands. LALIT's program is a dynamic and developing whole: it poses the question of what to plant, what to produce, and who is to take such decisions and how? It's a program that sees human beings as creatures that live not only in nature, but also in the history of society. It is a program that sees human beings as potentially creative of new kinds of economies. And yet it is a program much vaster than just what to produce and how. It includes analyses, demands and strategies for energy production, for the environment, for women's liberation, full democracy in all aspects of human life, freedom, an education that opens up children's minds and capacities, a health program that is holistic in approach, art for all, the use of the mother tongue, pensions, an integrated transport system that doesn't defile the earth and endanger everyone, for the closing of military bases on Mauritian land, for an egalitarian republic where everyone on all the islands of Mauritius lives well, where there is a world with no space for imperialism, not a penny for militarism, and a refusal of domination of all kinds. It's a program that starts from where workers are today - where our consciousness it today - and that guides us, with workers being able to participate in it, towards a future where it is no longer possible to separate a human being from his own work-capacity, that is to say where wage-slavery is no longer possible. Our Program always makes conscious how history today is unfolding, how the demands we make can become a part of this present-day history, and how they will guide us to the new society of tomorrow, where we can live in equality, freedom and greater happiness for all.



We must mobilize behind this kind of program. And do it before it's too late.


RS and LC
For LALIT

(1) Mauritius Sugar Producers Association is the association of sugar cane millers, and is the organizational structure of the sugar oligarchy.