MiloMugabe...

Patrick Bond pbond at wn.apc.org
Mon Feb 4 12:23:51 MST 2002


Zimbabwe details below, for those who are waking up to the possible
electoral victory of the Movement for Democratic Change after 22 years of
rule by Robert Mugabe...

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Unfortunately, there are some similarities between the "civil society"
type
> resistance to Mugabe and that which emerged in Yugoslavia. Both seem
> beholden to George Soros's largesse. When Lupi Mushayakarara, chair of the
> Soros-funded Institute for the Advancement of Freedom,

This reference gets a giggle, Louis, from anyone who has seen a) the Zim
public-intellectual petit-bourgeoisie self-destruct over the past five years
or so, and b) Loopy Lupi leading the pack into political self-immolation.
Her "Institute" was a massively discredited corner of her living room, for
which she charged Soros and US AID millions. A wonderful rightwing scam
artist, not a politico, really. When she publicly trashed Morgan Tsvangirai
for use of the word "comrade" in his early MDC speeches (before the fast
drift right), Lupi shut herself down.

> formed a loose
> opposition parties' coalition, the United Democratic Front, with Ian
Smith,
> the former prime minister of Rhodesia, one gets a certain queasiness about
> the "civil society"/NGO type opposition.

Queasy? You've been away from this part of the world too long, comrade
Louis. Everyone else I know got a little frisson observing the charade.
Don't forget that Southern Africa claims all the world records in
english-language hot-populist rhetoric, with the current crop of Zim
politicians trying to out-do the South Africans, and winning pretty easily
this year. That united front lasted a couple of months and dissolved into
laughter.

> Especially when the Institute for
> the Advancement of Freedom is listed right next to the International
> Socialists Organization on the Constituent Assembly website in Zimbabwe.

Calm down, that's way out of date. Lupi kicked herself off the NCA by
joining Mugabe's constitutional rewrite in 1999. Don't you have webmaster
skills? Can't you come down and help with updates?

> I hate to sound like a Leninist brontosaurus, but these types of
cross-class
> alliances seem kind of rotten to me.

Sure they are, that's what our new book's all about.

> That being said, I have stated my opposition to Mugabe frequently here. I
> think that his record of cooperation with the IMF and western imperialism
> is a matter of record (in contrast to Milosevic's rather defiant stand.)
> But the opposition has to develop a much sharper class perspective in
order
> to convince me that it stands for the social transformation of Zimbabwe.

Friendly amendments:
a) Mugabe is VERY defiant against the IMF/WB, and hasn't paid them their
loans back since 1999, which many of us think is great. But he's still a
rabid dictator oppressing the working class like mad.
b) The official opposition, the MDC, has a well-defined, sharp class
perspective already, which stands for the economic transformation of
Zimbabwe into a Chiluba-esque Zambia.

But is that the only opposition? We don't think so.

> For example, if you go to the MDC website, you'll run across a rather
> startling article by one Eddie Cross who defends commercial farming
against
> peasant agriculture.

Yes, I've recently given some attention to extensive debate with--and
psychoanalysis of--Eddie. Chapter Four of Zimbabwe's Plunge looks into his
class and personal background, for your enjoyment.

>
http://www.mdczimbabwe.com/archivemat/other/opinion/opinion.htm?ec020127txt.
> htm

> As I stated yesterday, if Marxism can not divest itself from social
> Darwinist distortions, it will never be an attactive force to the student
> radicals of today. When a supposedly progressive organization like the MDC

Well, it was "supposedly" progressive, having been founded by the trade
union movement at the Working People's Convention in February 1999--until
about a year later when they desperately needed cash to run their 2000
parliamentary campaign. Then there was a hope until a bit after June 2000
that MDC leftists (not just ISOZ but several other key intellectuals and
activist-leaders) would get their act together. That hope was decisively
negated when the ISOZ's MDC MP Munyaradzi Gwisai was nearly tossed out of
the party repeatedly for supporting land reform, factory occupations and
mass strikes.

> to give space to such vile, patently self-serving propaganda from the
white
> gentry of Zimbabwe, one can only wonder what the purpose of Marxists in
MDC
> is for.

Below is what the ISOZ say they're up to. You may not buy it. But they're
brave comrades, so if you've got some more spare cash for them (as you
helped the Durban comrades last August), it'll do lots of good... and with
one US$ now buying Z$350, you can buy them meals for their meetings at about
5% of the cost of your own lunch today at Columbia's canteen, generous
Louis!

> We know that there are certain Kautskyist tendencies in Marxism
> that refuse to go away, but for the life of me I can not understand how
any
> self-respecting revolutionary would want to belong to an electoral front
> that has wretches like Eddie Cross in its midst. No to Mugabe! No to the
> MDC *as presently constituted*.

Hear hear.

***

 Crisis in Zimbabwe - Update 1 February 2002

The repression against the opposition and activists in Zimbabwe continues to
rise. Since the signing of the massively repressive so-called anti-terrorist
law, the Public Order and Security Act (P.O.S.A) by Mugabe on the 18th
January we have witnessed further crack down on democracy - harassment,
disruption of opposition meetings, beatings and arresting of activists. On
Monday 7 MDC provincial leaders were arrested whilst having a meeting and 3
journalists were arrested whilst demonstrating against the draconian media
act.

Socialists are also being targeted. On Monday 28 January our Socialist
Worker/Industrial zone organiser, Elliot Madzivanyika aged 59 was ambushed
in the working class township of Mbare by Zanu PF militia and severely
assaulted for distributing Socialist Worker. He was then handed over to the
police and on fabricated charges of contravening POSA of insulting the
president. He appeared in court on Wednesday and was remanded out of custody
after paying a heavy bail. The trial date is 13th February 2002. This
incident follows the arrest of another I.S.O. member, Jokonia Maopa (30
years) a few weeks ago in the same township who had come to attend ISO
branch meeting. The same charges were also fabricated against him with his
trial date set for 15 February.

If convicted the two comrades stand liable under POSA to severe penalties of
up to 10years in jail or a Z$50 000 fine.

With inflation "officially" at over 112% and unemployment at over 70%,
Zimbabwe is going through is biggest crisis in history. The rulers of
Zimbabwe are only able to promise more repression. Zanu PF government
continues to play its double standards, whilst they are preaching an
anti-imperialist radical stance and potraying to be for the workers they
have allowed the labour Bill to lapse for this parliamentary session. This
is a clear compromise with the bosses. Even though the bill was making it
illegal to go on strike, stay-aways, demonstrations it contained many
advantageous reforms for workers following pressure from organised labour.
But shit scared of the bosses Zanu PF has killed the bill.

Instead of mobilising workers and the urban poor for a fight back against
this encroaching fascism regime the main opposition - the neo-liberal MDC is
preaching peace and reliance on the courts and sanctions from the west. But
this will not stop Mugabe.

We have rejected this approach and have teamed up with organised labour and
other radical civic groups notably the N.C.A and ZINASU (students) to
mobilise for action under the theme "No to Dictatorship, No to neo-liberal
Poverty". We have provisionally set the 15th February as the day of mass
action to send the appropriate message to the regime. The action will
include a march to parliament and possibly a general strike if the ZCTU
bureaucrats agree to call action. At labour forums called by the ZCTU last
week in Harare and other major towns workers gave a go ahead for a stayaway.
But many of the ZCTU leaders still seem relectutant. However, which ever way
they will decide the march will continue.

We are therefore calling for solidarity messages and action from workers,
socialists and others concerned as the Zanu PF regime is likely to go all
out to smash this action. As before we also call for any financial or
material support to assist with fees for lawyers, fines and materials for
mobilisation.

We will be sending further details next week. Contact mobile numbers for the
ISO comrades are Tafadzwa: 263-91-370554, Rosa+263-23-897225 and the
national office - 263-04-704209


Fratenally yours

Tafadzwa Choto - I.S.O. National Co-ordinator and Feb 15 Co-ordinator





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