Can the Labour Party deliver the goods?

Mauritius Times – 60 Years

By Jay Narain Roy

I have joined the Labour Party because I believe that socialism is the only panacea of the present world. The ultimate aim of socialism is to bring redress to the grievances of the multitude. There is no question as to who the multitude are or what form of redress is required. The pattern is one and it is understood the same way in all lands. Socialism seeks the economic salvation of the bulk of the people. It is largely a question of supplying their four wants and giving them the four freedoms.

What is the picture in Mauritius? The Labour Party has the following advantages over the other parties: (a) it has an international ideal and is recognized as such by our opponents and by the Government; (b) it has consistently been working towards an ideal and has a good deal to its credit; (c) it has gone on evolving and has gone on attracting intelligent and able men; (d) it has in its fold people who have rendered yeoman services to the country, some at a tremendous sacrifice; (e) it has people who are an equal match to the best of the Conservatives; (f) it is knit up together by a bond of perfect understanding that is based on the common acceptance of general principles; (g) the members have given proof that they cannot be bought, and those who have defaulted have been turned out of the Party; (h) its prestige and influence have increased and while the Government recognizes its representative character, all the other parties have made it their target, and (i) it has in it people of all sections of the community.

I cannot imagine that even in the next quarter of a century any Party in this country can guarantee as much. What is the worth of the other parties in human potential, in principles, in public record and in election behaviour? Poor material linked up by either money or unscientific principles or secret alliances or cheap spite and in quite many cases the invisible connection of the chimneys seem tellingly to lurk. I can understand the broad principles on which the Labour and Conservative Parties fight in England or the Democratic and the Republican Parties fight in the States. But to pretend to fight for something which is not there and to have reactionary bedfellows are glaring facts of invisible strings which become too obvious when they all make either the Government or the Labour Party the target of all their inspired vituperations and bile.

Who is fighting for what? Who are fighting for principles when people of great intelligence and sacrifice are their sole object of attacks? What can we expect from people who applied for Labour ticket after a lifetime of dubious politics and when refused have gone all out to vomit their bile against the Party? What can we expect from people who by day are known to shed crocodile tears but at night are known to be bargaining with the Tories? What can we say of people who complain of poverty but once they are candidates for elections are known to make the display of an impressive amount of money? From where does all this money flow so liberally if not from the handful of people who are solely interested in arresting the march of progress in this country just because they are surrounded by special rights, privileges and monopolies?

Parties have lately grown like mushrooms under political exigencies. Who are behind them? What is their public record? What is their attitude towards the Tories, towards the Labour Party, towards the great problem of wages and employment in the sugar industry? Here are the tests. Have these Parties their by-laws? Are they democratically elected, controlled and are their funds verified, audited and made public? Why do they all maintain a diplomatic silence about their attitude towards their sugar estates and why do they all, including the men who applied for and were refused admission only yesterday, find reason to cavil at the Labour Party? The whole thing is extremely revealing. The entire game is to spread confusion in the minds of illiterate masses and let money make confusion worse confounded. I cannot help feeling that all the other Parties are generally agreed on one thing: to spread confusion by deploying maximum vigour so that when the strength of the Labour Party is reduced the Tories can have a new lease of life.

This is the most dangerous aspect of our political life, and that is why it is the duty of right-thinking people to strengthen the hands of the Labour Party. While there is nothing in the principles and practice of the other Parties to show that they have the good of the people at heart, the principles and achievements of the Labour Party are recognized and respected or dreaded in all official quarters. Here indeed lies the ultimate guarantee and here lies its great strength. The principles of our Party are laid down. Men may come and men may go but the principles will go on forever and their interpretation will be the same in all parts of the world and at all times.

I shall be the last to pretend that the organisation and working of the Labour Party are perfect. I have never failed to say publicly what I think is rotten in the Party. This kind of criticism from our own midst should be construed to emanate from the noblest feeling of reform. I shall continue to be severely censurious if anything in our organisation or method threatens to deflect from the pattern of practices elsewhere, and I shall never allow personal ambitions or such other unholy feeling to distort the fair face of democracy. I shall wage a war to preserve principles, and nothing can make me flinch from this. But my remarks or criticism will always remain constructive and with the idea of making the Party uphold the great principles and to strengthen its organisation. Read More… Become a Subscriber

6th Year – No 234
Friday 6th February 1959

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 21 July 2023

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