[Marxism] MDC weaknesses

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 2 16:51:28 MDT 2008

Nestor wrote:
>What our own experience shows to revolutionaries the world over is: 
>No imperialist-sponsored or imperialist-backed intervention 
>anywhere, at any time, has been ever proven to be of the most minute 
>help to the interests of the local population, not to speak of 
>worldwide socialist revolution. No matter how monstrous the regime 
>targetted by imperialists may be, what follows is still worse. This 
>still keeps true. I share Lüko's enemy. And I guess I am not the 
>single one. -- Néstor Gorojovsky El texto principal de este correo 
>puede no ser de mi autoría

This line of argument is really getting tedious. Nobody on Marxmail 
has been promoting either the MDC or Western intervention, either 
military or economic.

The real conflict that interests us is between ZANU-PF and the 
working class. We take the side of the working class and the 
political parties and grass roots organizations that fight on their 
behalf. There have been repeated references to the ISO, a group in 
Zimbabwe that is fighting courageously even if they may never be 
capable for reasons I have gone into elsewhere of organizing the 
workers and small farmers under their banner.

Here is the sort of thing they have been writing. Anybody who chooses 
ZANU-PF over these comrades should be ashamed of themselves:

While the MDC had been propelled nearly into power by the working 
class, the character of the party by the 2000 elections was patently 
rabid antiworking class neo-liberal. How had this happened?

The relative ease with which a movement with so much potential was 
turned into a neo-liberal popular front lay in the historical and 
continuing weakness of the working-class movement, and the lack of a 
significant socialist movement. While the 1997-98 mass actions had 
rocked Mugabe and generated the first significant challenge to his 
rule in twenty years, they had not developed into an independent 
rank-and- file movement that could challenge the stranglehold of a 
reformist labour bureaucracy. Under pressure from below, the 
bureaucracy had participated in and endorsed the mass actions, 
gaining significant moral authority in the process. However, it 
remained prone to vacillation and fundamentally untransformed, as 
shown by its cancellation of the second day of the December 1997 
strike. Threatened by the workers' growing radicalisation and 
vulnerable to state repression, including the 1998 ban on strikes, 
and attempts to ban the ZCTU, the bureaucracy sought to rein in the 
workers. From March 1998, they shifted from strike-based 
demonstrations to "peaceful stayaways" in which workers were told to 
stay at home. This reduced the militancy and impact of the action, 
individualised workers and made them vulnerable to intimidation; it 
also prevented the mass gatherings that had been the basis for 
pressure on the union bureaucracy, reducing its accountability. In 
late 1998 and early 1999, the ZCTU chiefs unilaterally cancelled two 
major stayaway actions.

Their sudden support for the formation of the MDC should be 
understood in this context. In late 1998, they argued that militant 
stayaways were no longer useful, if not counter-productive, enabling 
Mugabe to declare a state of emergency. Instead, what was needed was 
a political party to fight the 2000 elections. These ideas appealed 
to many workers, and this partly accounts for the growth of reformist 
parliamentary illusions and the subsequent decline of militant 
struggles in the period 1999-2000.

The second key factor in the right-wing takeover of a rising 
working-class movement in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere, lay in the role of 
the middle-class intelligentsia. The neo-liberal agenda had been 
imposed in Zimbabwe, as throughout most of the periphery societies, 
through authoritarian regimes such as Africa's one party state 
regimes, Latin America's military juntas and Eastern Europe's 
Stalinist dictatorships. In such societies, the distinction between 
economics and politics becomes razor thin. Thus the revolts that 
emerged against the worsening conditions of the masses as a result of 
the deepening economic crisis of neo-liberal capitalism inevitably 
assumed a political form­democratic struggles against the 
authoritarian superstructure that had imposed the neo-liberal 
framework in the first place. At that stage the forces of global 
neoliberalism, cognisant of the revolutionary potential of the 
emerging struggles, were forced to abandon the old authoritarian 
forms of domination of the periphery, and instead assume a more 
democratic face with which they would be able to intervene and 
neutralise the rising movement. The groups to whom their cynical 
appeals to bourgeois democratic values like rule of law, human 
rights, and good governance appealed most were the middle-class 
intelligentsia who were being radicalised under the impact of the 
crisis. But in the absence of a rival ideological alternative, given 
the ignominious demise of "communism" and the accompanying bourgeois 
triumphalism of this period, many of these groups got into bed with 
global neo-liberalist forces without interrogating the true nature of 
their partner. In any case the massive dowry, thinly disguised 
bribes, that global neo-liberalism poured into their civic groups, 
academia, "independent media" and churches were too much for most to resist.

And thus from Poland to Serbia to Zambia to Zimbabwe, these middle 
classes became the midwives who delivered the militant and rising but 
trusting and ideologically immature working-class movement into the 
arms of the neo-liberal forces.

In Zimbabwe the critical middle-lass body which negotiated the 
neo-liberal take over of the rising workers movement was the NCA. The 
NCA had been formed in 1997 as a vehicle for mobilising the middle 
classes around the demand for a new constitution, and was financed 
and mentored by German and Scandinavian social democratic foundations 
and unions. Tsvangirai's nominal leadership of the NCA placed its 
middle-class leaders in a uniquely powerful position to take control 
of the political party that emerged under his leadership. Their role 
in the MDC gave the new party respectability in the eyes of 
international financial organisations, which could now write off 
Mugabe, who had previously done their bidding but who no longer had 
the authority to impose their reforms. Just ahead of the 2000 
elections, the IMF, World Bank and Western bank loans were suspended, 
accelerating the economic crisis.

full: http://static.links.org.au/dossiers/2008-06-26-Zimbabwe-Dossier.pdf 

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