WANTED! A NEW LEADERSHIP

Trwa baton mouroum,
Mem longer ek mem groser
Pe rod siz lor tronn.

Triple murungas
Made of the same slick sickness
Compete for the throne.

With global warming and climate crisis knocking at the door, we, in the Maritime Republic of Mauritius must get ready to face mankind’s greatest challenge since the beginning of human life on Earth. There must be rapid and radical transformation in all spheres of life.

We must rethink our economy and move away from selfishness and greed to solidarity and sharing. Our land, a sacred gift of God, cannot be used as a banal commodity to be sold to the highest bidder for money which in most cases is stacked in foreign banks, abroad. We must use our land judiciously to grow energy and food; to provide people with shelter and leisure; and to protect life and the environment. We must move away from beach tourism to culture and green tourism to strengthen the human bond.

Land and country planning must be rethought. Too much time and energy are wasted travelling to go to work or school. The island of Mauritius could be divided into about 20 autonomous municipalities each having its decentralised administrative, residential, agricultural, industrial and cultural cum leisure sectors with a central government acting more like a coordinator and not like BIG BULLY BROTHER. To achieve greater efficiency, production, distribution and consumption should develop along cooperative lines. These will lead to greater economic, social and cultural democracy.

For national and international communication efficiency, all Mauritians must become IT literate and that means that we must first achieve UNIVERSAL FUNCTIONAL LITERACY in the two Creole Languages of the republic, namely, Mauritian and English. On the ground, experiments have shown that BILINGUAL universal functional literacy can be easily achieved if the right language policy is adopted. But the traditional elite in power prefers to stick to a programme which for all intents and purposes has totally failed. Why? Is it because it’s a good way to remain in power? Traditional leaders have always been against enlightenment.

When will the people learn that: “Pa kapav manz banann dan dé bout/ you can’t have your cake and eat it/ vous ne pouvez pas avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre.”

What do we need to succeed? First and foremost, a new kind of leadership. The traditional elite is responsible for the mess we are in.

The economic traditional leaders chose to build links with Apartheid South Africa instead of leading the people to national sovereignty; the political traditional leaders failed to unite the people on the long and hard road to independence and national identity and, consequently consolidated communalism; the religious traditional leaders overemphasized and are still overemphasizing rituals and ignorance of the true nature of faith has further divided the population. We are experts at building walls and total failures at building bridges.

Traditional leadership is based on the belief that the world is divided into a handful of leaders on the one hand and masses of followers on the other. The leaders think they have special rights; they are above the lot and are to be obeyed even when they have failed several times and have put the future in jeopardy.

Now we have to face two sets of complementary problems at the same time: ecological catastrophe and nation-building. Will a new imaginative and progressive leadership emerge to lead us into a better world, against life-threatening issues? Time will tell.

But already, we can imagine the essence of these new leaders. Antonio Gramsci’s reflections can help us. His concept of ‘organic intellectuals’ make sense. These are leaders who are part of the people they lead; they teach the people while they learn from them; they are in spiritual, intellectual and emotional communion with the people they lead. The Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci, was writing about revolutionary socialist leaders but his thinking is also relevant to the issues confronting us. In the different spheres of life (economic, political, social and cultural), we need these organic intellectuals to make a nation of the people of Mauritius; they will teach us what we really are and where we should go and at the same time learn from us, for they know that learning is a life process. Humility and resilience are their hallmarks as opposed to the arrogance and stupidity of the traditional elite.

24/11/19

LEFT, RIGHT AND FAR RIGHT

Nouvo youg lor baz!
Pa get letid ousa laz.
Nek get so bataz.

The new era’s here!
Learning and age lead nowhere;
Just watch for new gear.

In the good old days, politics was conceived along the ‘LEFT, CENTRE, RIGHT’ spectrum. The demarcation lines were rather clear but not rigid. But today, everything has become blurred. The left has been marginalised; the centre has melted into the right; and the right is slowly creeping into the far right. Look at the Mauritian scene and you’ll understand.

The PTr of Fabian origin is now its own opposite. Fabian socialism believes in evolutionary socialism as opposed to revolutionary socialism (Marxism) but today this party rejects socialism as ‘palaeontological’ and is controlled by neoliberals who are prepared to worship Narendra Modi, a far right leader. Moreover, that party which was the political arm of the Mauritian working class which consists of Hindus, Catholics and Muslims has become the instrument of Hindu power and the next step could be Hindutva with its Varma, Juggoo and Baichoo.

The MSM – Mouvement Socialist Militant – is led by a neoliberal who worships the far right Indian leader.

The MMM which advocated socialism and nation-building in its early days has changed into a neoliberal party which has become the conservative political arm of the Euro-Creoles of Mauritius and is a constant wooer of any force which can help it into power.

The PMSD is ‘social-democratic’ only in name for the leader is a convinced neoliberal who is prepared, if needs be, to coalesce with the far right.

NOT ONLY IN MAURITIUS

This is not a purely Mauritian situation. It is a wide world phenomenon. In France, for example, since WW2, the political struggle has been between left and right – socialist and bourgeois – ideology. Now the left wing organisations are shrinking like ‘peau de chagrin’ and the contest is between the right and the far right with the latter having an edge over the right as working class people driven by racism and xenophobia are dragged into the political mire. We see the same thing happening in the UK, the USA, in Europe in general, in Isreal. In India the anti-Dalit and anti-Muslim sentiment is getting stronger with the growth of BJP popularity.

Do not be surprised if eventually a coalition between MSM and PTr is ordained by their lord and master. Do not be surprised also if that political arrangement is blessed by Mauritian big and medium money of all colours for business with the Ambanis and Co. is very alluring.

WE NEED NOT WORRY TOO MUCH

The situation is alarming but not desperate. Throughout the world, in Hong kong, Latin America, Arab countries, the USA and Europe, common people are taking to the streets to challenge despotic and corrupt state power with some success. The more repressive the authorities, the more determined the people will be. Moreover, the global ecological situation will see a rapid degradation and the known state organisation and savoir-faire will be totally ineffective. Consequently, new and original social organisations will emerge. Humanity will have to invent new ways of production, distribution and consumption.

17/11/19