A question about Zimbabwe (was: Re: Timor again (sorry Lou))

Patrick Bond pbond at SPAMwn.apc.org
Sat Nov 20 00:18:55 MST 1999

I've got to make a couple of rude remarks here, forgive me in

> From:          "Macdonald Stainsby" <mstainsby at hotmail.com>
> Mugabe, at great cost to Zimbabwe like the cost to Nyerere's Tanzania, has
> intervened in an outright Imperialist sponsored conflict. Granted, Mugabe is
> not Nyerere. Nonetheless, it is a similar Pan-Africanist move. And that is
> indeed progressive.

This is quaint, comrade Macdonald, but very very wrong. If you are
interested in the games being played in DRC by a new, potentially
fascistic nexus of Zimbabwean generals and SA-based capital, check
out the two stories in yesterday's Business Day
(http://www.bday.co.za), which describe how Mugabe' vanguard
capitalist, Billy Rautenbach, has screwed up his whole operation.
There's nobody in Zimbabwe I have yet run into, aside from
government hacks, who defends the Zim intervention. Indeed, it is
becoming Mugabe's Vietnam, and presents a terrific opportunity for
the emerging workers' party to gain widespread support. Only in that
sense is Mugabe's intervention potentially progressive.

> Why are the Western powers, particularly West Europe, trying to topple
> Kabila?

Actually, the US has been the main power encouraging Uganda to
support the rebels. I think they're pissed off that he did some deals
with North American firms so as to get into power, and then reneged
on the contracts so as to let DeBeers and Anglo American Corporation
back in. There is really some vicious intercapitalist competition in
ratcheting up the corruption there, hence Rautenbach's likely demise.

> Of course, he did sell off the program he once had in the brush with
> Chè.

Read Jon Lee Anderson's chapter on Che's Congo adventure, and you'll
see there was no "program," just another charismatic huckster
(Kabila) screwing his povo.

> He will deal with Europe with a ferocity. But,and this is the
> sin, his government has attempted to put tarriffs on exporting Diamonds from
> DR Congo.

What? How do you think Mobutu financed his empire? Gecamines was
nationalised and that didn't deter yank support; Kabila then let the
rougue Rautenbach run it, and only asked for 60%.

> ...
> Unfortunately, Imperialism is currently THE game. Those who have
> anti-Imperialist politics are more significant to me than all the others
> could ever be. To be finally clear: I do not look upon either as THE answer,
> but they are doing SOMETHING.
> Macdonald

SOMETHING that is profoundly unpopular amongst the masses in both
Zimbabwe and the DRC. Get with the grassroots sentiment, comrade
Patrick Bond
email:  pbond at wn.apc.org * phone:  2711-614-8088
home:  51 Somerset Road, Kensington 2094 South Africa
work:  University of the Witwatersrand
Graduate School of Public and Development Management
PO Box 601, Wits 2050, South Africa
email:  bondp at zeus.mgmt.wits.ac.za
phone:  2711-488-5917 * fax:  2711-484-2729

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