On behalf of the people (some divergence between Patrick and

Patrick Bond pbond at SPAMwn.apc.org
Sun Jan 21 21:52:47 MST 2001

> From:          "Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky" <Gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar>
> To begin with, let us watch this "the people" notion a little bit
> more closely. Is it a "socialist" notion? Well, in my own view it is
> definitely NOT.

Not with a non-proletarianised society, no.

> So that, then, this brings me to a second analytical step, which -
> characteristically enough, I know, but also because I don't want to
> establish a conclusive remark before I hear Patrick's comments on
> this- I will pose as a question. Does Patrick think that the fact
> that many (or even most) of Kabila's friends had been, as he wrote,
> Congolese military who were greedy for personal enrichment make them
> less members of "the people" as defined above?

Actually the phrase that's being used a fair bit in central Africa, I
hear from good sources, is "the vampire state." Greedy to suck the
blood/guts/resources of the "people" is how Kabila and his comrades
were known (also to Che, no?).

> Does Patrick equate those persons... with the imperialist concerns?

You're right, they're not compradors. How would a Gunder Frank have
termed them... the lumpen-military? Armed parasites?

> And, last but not least, if we agree
> (and this of course is still to be put in clear) in that the DRC is
> still in the throes of one of the most protracted anti-colonial wars
> in African history, does this have no incidence on the definition we
> make of "the people" against the imperialist bourgeoisie?

"in the throes of war" or just profoundly defeated? If the former,
who is fighting with integrity? If the latter, the rebuilding
continues slowly, and there are backward/forward steps all the time,
and the "people" aren't likely to be tripped up by Kabila's passing.
Maybe, on the bright side, Laurent's son/successor Joseph (despised,
tragically, because his mother is Tutsi, and because he speaks no
indigenous languages because he grew up in exile in Tanzania) will
forge some kind of rapid peace deal. But apparently he won't have the
internal legitimacy to do so (even as head of the army); he is
considered a fraud because "DRC is not a monarchy," say popular
reports, where the son follows the pa to the throne.

> Just asking, among others reasons, because I do not know enough on
> African politics.

Me neither, and it's exceptionally diverse out there. I'm doing my
best to keep up with the Zimbabwe crisis, and finding the
sometime-marxist Mahmood Mamdani's work (he's a colleague of Lou at
CU) is interesting on ethnicity and rural/urban (see Citizen and
Subject, Princeton, 1996).

Still, in a more practical vein, the Dakar 2000 meeting of radical
African grassroots groups (Francophone, Lusophone and Anglophone,
together in such a setting for the first time in `civil society'
history as far as I know), a month ago, aiming at debt, trade,
neoliberalism and imperialism was apparently quite an inspiring step
forward for the multitudes, if reports are correct... That's the
future of politics here, comrade, and the MugabeKabilaMbeki crew are
really in the way, no?

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