What does PMSD stand for? Parti Mauricien Social Démocrate. What does Social Democracy stand for? “Social democracy is a political, social and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and capitalist economy … Social democracy originated as a political ideology that advocated an evolutionary and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism using established political processes in contrast to the revolutionary approach to transition associated with orthodox Marxism.(Wikipedia)” It is not different from Fabian Socialism, the Labour Party ideology and is somewhat loosely associated with some form of Keynesianism. Is it a misnomer in the case of PMSD? A mere demagogic linguistic decoration? PROBABLY. So far Xavier’s party seems more like a neoliberal organization which believes in economic liberalisation policies such as privatisation, austerity, deregulation, free trade and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society. In other words, a Creole MSM.
If there is nothing very exciting about its economic outlook, Xavier’s PMSD is daring politically as opposed to the MMM which constantly looks for a sexy dhoti to hide its complexes or the classical Mauritius Labour Party (MLP) which insists on building an empire on flimsy myths such as ‘Vaish Power’ and ‘little India’. The new PMSD has understood that the demographic reality has much changed and that the General Population (GP) consisting of Afrocreoles, Eurocreoles and Indochristians may now represent over 40% of the population of the Maritime Republic of Mauritius. If reality keeps on changing, and it will, soon it will cross the 50% mark, putting an end to claims that the Prime Minister should be a Hindu.
It must be noted that the change is not only due to biological and cultural miscegenation (métissage) but also to a change in attitudes and outlook. Two generations since independence have seen a lot of mindset changes among young people who refuse to be tied to customs and traditions in a way which would shock and kill my Babam and Tata (grandparents on my father’s side) again and again. The PMSD can without any qualm fish in that barachois but can the MLP?
In this context the MLP has to undergo deep changes if it does not want to perish. Its Hindu physiognomy (not to say ‘malbar’) and its attachment to the “little India” myth will eventually alienate potential supporters. The PMSD can easily accept the progressive idea that Mauritius is a creole island but is unable to accept Mauritian (Mauritian Creole) as our national language and English (another creole language) as a quasi-universal language because of its entrenched loyalty to francophonie. Here, the MLP has an edge over the other political parties in its acceptance of the English-Mauritian language policy and its resistance to the neoliberal onslaught – Economic Democracy, rupture (break away from past policies), Maurice Île Durable, Maritime Republic.
In a not too distant future, the MLP and PMSD will have to agree on a government programme: nation building, economic democracy, food security, gender equality, universal bilingual functional literacy etc. Both parties will have to undergo drastic progressive changes to equip them to face global warming and climate change. This new strategy for survival will need the support of one and all.