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LALIT's Commemoration of August 79 Strike


LALIT will be holding a one-day event on the theme "Let's Tell the Stories of the August 79 General Strike Movement". This will be on Sunday, 23 August, 2009 at the LPT Mother Earth Hall. It is exactly 30 years since this, the biggest ever uprising in Mauritian history. It began on 7 August as a strike in the sugar industry, but preparations had been made so that if labourers and artisans held their strike for one week, the other sectors would come into the strike. This in fact happened, until there was a general strike. The last four days were a hunger strike of the leaders of the strike, including Paul Berenger and Ram Seegobin.
On Sunday, workers and political activists will meet to remember the strike together and share the memories and the lessons with younger workers and militants. There will be an introduction by Ram Seegobin who will outline the reasons for the strike, and how the strike developed, and what exactly workers were up against. Ragini Kistnasamy will give her impressions as a young woman in the strike movement. Lindsey Collen will link her experience of the strike to the lessons of the strike.

The commemoration will take place in the atmosphere created by an exhibition on the strike. There are the daily strike bulletins, cuttings, photographs and other articles on the August 79 strike movement. There will also be a hand-out based on an article written by Lindsey Collen for Direct Action newspaper in Australia.

Workers will be present to bear witness from different work sectors that were in the strike. There will be three sessions for this sharing of the rich past of the strike movement. There will also be audio recordings of the experience of three workers who have since passed, as they tell about their participation in the strike movement in interviews conducted by Rajni Lallah and Alain Ah-Vee. There is a 5-minute film by Lindsey Collen of recollections by Kamsel and Matant Fifinn of their part in the August 1979 strike movement.

Rada Kistnasamy has prepared a Power Point presentation of cuttings and photographs and the daily strike bulletins that were produced and distributed by the thousand.