I don’t think anyone expected it, or anything like it. That may speak to our own underestimation of the Mauritian people, but let’s pass. Doubts were answered, challenges were met. Four protest marches in a row, each attended by tens of thousands. It feels like the birth of a new culture, the death of another.
A gift to the country’s progressive faction. A wave that rides on the displeasure of a people who’ve reached their boiling point, one which gives no sign of subsiding. Fringe political parties are already organizing their own marches for the coming months, and others will follow. The energy flies the winds; it’s a matter of channeling it and doing so in the right direction.
It’s a desire, a will for change that may just yet bring change. At question is the nature of this change. Risk skirts the edge, the threat of things worse.
There is substance to the misgivings of the critics of this movement. We speak of systemic change, but have yet to witness a clear plan targeting the institutions and their corrupt cores. The attacks are narrow, often abstract, working on but surface level. The strategy lacks transparency — what we know is blurry — and the end goals lack in depth. Powerful economic interests have an obvious hand in supporting the discord, a factor all but overlooked in the conversation. Deeper issues — the economic oligarchy, the intimate, behind-the-scenes relationship between politics and the private sector, the failing of nearly all civic institutions — lie unexplored or, if explored, on the brinks of the discourse, not in the press or on popular platforms.
Still, never before has such an opportunity for democracy arisen. We may not take decision-making power from the hands of the few, we may not achieve social and racial justice, we may not achieve economic justice, but we may yet lay the groundwork for a future where those are no longer dreams.
It is the job of the Left — the one that participates and the one that doesn’t — of activists, of citizens, to raise those foundations. Your job, my job.
The energy is here. It’s violent, fervent, feverish almost, with a beating heart that rumbles to the diverse. It’s dynamic and stubborn, shallow on many levels, layered if you know where to look. It’s awkward, uncertain, too much at times, never enough.
Most importantly, it’s here, and it’s here to stay.