[Marxism] [A-List] Violence in Zimbabwe, and the MDC and its Social Imperialist Supporters

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri Jul 4 23:57:34 MDT 2008

james daly wrote:
> Violence in Zimbabwe, and the MDC and its Social Imperialist Supporters
> By Stephen Gowans
> Wednesday, June 25, 2008
> It was MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who said to Mugabe, "If you don't want 
> to go peacefully, we will remove you violently." [1]
> -- -- [ Louis Proyect "discredits" this on the grounds that it was said 10 
> years ago and Tsvangirai apologised the next day. If Obama said it to George 
> W. Bush a belated apology would hardly suffice, and the incident would be 
> remembered for more than 10 years. -- J. D.] -- -- --

James, you and Gowans don't give a damn about genuine power relations, 
do you. Here's what's going on:

* imperialism is not really concerned with what happens in Zim because 
very little is at stake, and there is no initiative to take Zimbabwe 
over by military force, and there are no real sanctions aside from loans 
- but even without sanctions Mugabe's huge arrears on long-term debt 
prevent him from borrowing from formal financial institutions in any case;

* subimperialism (the South African government) keeps Mugabe in power, 
partly (as Mbeki's brother argues) because a trade union catalysed 
opposition party - even the neoliberal MDC - is the last thing Mbeki's 
wing of the ANC wants to see emerge next door;

* the progressive mass-based organisations in Zim - the People's 
Convention (see below), the Zim Congress of Trade Unions, the Zim 
National Students Union, Women of Zimbabwe Arise, the Combined Harare 
Residents Association, the National Constitutional Assembly, etc - are 
calling for both democracy and social justice;

* Mugabe and his paramilitaries have killed nearly 100 opposition 
activists since he lost the March 29 election, and tortured thousands, 
and displaced an estimated 200 000 - amongst whom are a good many 
excellent grassroots activists;

* the MDC has until now offered a few words of militant opposition (like 
those Gowans is frightened by), but in reality they have rolled over and 
done absolutely nothing in terms of mass action the past few years, and 
are notoriously reluctant to consider a "Plan B", even involving 
economic sanctions (which they do not support);

* meanwhile, Mugabe and his cronies live high on the hog, printing money 
for illicit dealmaking, running a classical patronage regime, importing 
apparently unlimited luxury goods for personal consumption, and engaging 
in widespread corruption;

* the ideal of transformation from semi-feudal rural social relations to 
a system of redistributive rural justice supported by an agriculturalist 
state *didn't happen* aside from displacement of a few thousand white 
farmers who have increasingly been replaced by a few thousand Mugabe 
cronies on the best farms, who in turn have allowed production to drop 
so far that Zim - formerly a food exporter - is in constand need of food 

* Mugabe has learned the art of talk left walk right better than anyone, 
so that only the Dalys and Gowans of the world are still confused.


Adopted at the Peoples’ Convention, Harare, on the 9th of February 2008

We, the People of Zimbabwe,
After deliberations amongst ourselves and with the full knowledge of the 
work done
by civic society organizations and social movements;
With an understanding that our struggle for emancipation has been 
drawn-out and is
in need of a people-driven solution;
Hereby declare for all to know that: -

1. Political Environment
In the knowledge that our political environment since colonialism and 
after our
national independence in 1980 has remained characterised by:
a) A lack of respect for the rule of law;
b) Political violence, most notably that which occurred in the early to 
late 1980s
in the provinces of Midlands and Matabeleland, and that which occurred 
in the
years from 1997 to present day, where lives were lost as a result of
government actions undertaken with impunity;
c) A lack of fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of 
and information, association and assembly, all characterised by the
militarization of arms of the state and government.
The People shall have a political environment in which: -
· All people in Zimbabwe, including children, are guaranteed without
discrimination the rights to freedom of expression and information, 
and assembly, and all other fundamental rights and freedoms as provided
under international law to which the state has bound itself voluntarily.
· All people in Zimbabwe live in a society characterised by tolerance of
divergent views, cultures or religions, honesty, integrity and common 
for the welfare of all.
· All people in Zimbabwe are guaranteed safety and security, and a lawful
environment free from human rights violations and impunity.
· All national institutions including the judiciary, law enforcement 
state security agencies, electoral, media and human rights commissions, are
independent and impartial and serve all the people of Zimbabwe without fear
or favour.
· There exists a free and vibrant media, which places emphasis on 
freedom of
expression and information and a government, which guarantees independent
public media as well as a vibrant and independent private media.
· All people in Zimbabwe live in a society, which is the embodiment of
transparency, with an efficient public service and a belief in a 
people-centred state.
And hereby further declare that never again shall we let lives be lost, 
tortured or traumatised by the dehumanising experiences of political 
violence and lack of democratic government.

2. Elections
Fully believing that all elections in Zimbabwe remain illegitimate and 
without merit
until undertaken under a new democratic and people-driven constitution,
The People shall have all elections under a new people-driven 
dispensation characterised by: -
· Equal access to the media.
· One independent, impartial, accountable and well-resourced electoral
management body.
· A process of delimitation, which is free from political control, which is
accurate, fair, transparent and undertaken with full public participation.
· A continually updated and accurate voters’ roll, which is open and 
to all.
· Transparent and neutral location of polling stations, agreed to through a
national consultative process devoid of undue ruling or opposition party 
government influence, which are accessible to all including those with
special needs.
· Voter education with the full participation of civic society that is both
expansive and well-timed in order to allow citizens to exercise their
democratic right to choose leaders of their choice to the full.
· International, Regional and Local Observers and Monitors being permitted
access to everyone involved in the electoral process.
· An Electoral Court, which is independent and impartial, well-staffed 
and wellresourced
to address all issues relating to electoral processes, conduct,
conflicts and results in a timely manner.

3. Constitutional Reform
Holding in relation to constitutional reform that a new constitution of 
must be produced by a people-driven, participatory process and must in 
it guarantee: -
a) That the Republic of Zimbabwe shall be a democracy, with separation of
powers, a justiciable Bill of Rights that recognises civil, political, 
economic, cultural and environmental rights;
b) Devolution of government authority to provinces and to local government
c) A multi-party system of democratic government based on universal 
and regular free and fair elections and the right to recall public 
d) The right to citizenship for any person born in Zimbabwe. Birth 
national identity documents and passports shall be easily available for all
e) A credible and fair election management body and process;
f) An independent, impartial and competent judiciary;
g) The protection of labour rights and the right to informal trade;
h) The protection and promotion of the rights of people living with 
i) Independent and impartial commissions which deal with gender 
equality, land,
elections, human rights and social justice;
j) An impartial state security apparatus;
The People shall have a constitutional reform process, which is 
characterised by the
following: -
· Comprehensive consultation with the people of Zimbabwe wherein they are
guaranteed freedom of expression and information, association and assembly.
· The collection of the views of the people and their compilation into a 
constitution that shall be undertaken by an All-Stakeholders’ Commission
composed of representatives of government, parliament, political 
parties, civil
society, labour, business and the church with a gender and minority 
· A transparent process of the appointment of the All-Stakeholders’
Commission members as well as their terms of reference.
· The holding of a national referendum on any draft constitution.

4. National Economy and Social Welfare
Holding in relation to the national economy and social welfare that 
because the
colonial and post colonial periods resulted in massive growth in social 
inequality and
marginalisation of women, youths, peasants, informal traders, workers, 
the disabled,
professionals and the ordinary people in general, we hereby make it 
known that our
national economy belongs to the people of Zimbabwe and must serve as a 
through which everyone shall be equally guaranteed the rights to 
dignity, economic
and social justice which shall be guided by the following principles:
· People-centered economic planning and budgets at national and local
government levels that guarantee social and economic rights
· The obligation on the state, provincial and local authorities to 
initiate public
programmes to build schools, hospitals, houses, dams and roads and create
· Equitable access to and distribution of national resources for the 
benefit of all
people of Zimbabwe.
· A transparent process of ownership and equitable, open and fair 
of land from the few to the many.
· The right of the people of Zimbabwe to refuse repayment of any odious 
accrued by a dictatorial government.
· Protection of our environment from exploitation and misuse, whether by
individuals or companies.
· Social and Economic justice as a fundamental principle that guides a new
people driven constitution and in particular the specification of the 
social-economic rights in the Bill of Rights.
And in particular, we hold that the national economy shall ensure:
· Free and quality public health care including free drugs, treatment, 
care and
support for those living with HIV and AIDS.
· A living pension and social security allowances for all retirees, 
disabled, orphans, unemployed and ex-combatants and ex-detainees.
· Decent work, employment and the right to earn a living.
· Affordable, quality and decent public funded transport.
· Food security and the availability of basic commodities at affordable 
where necessary, to ensure universal access.
· Free and quality public education from crèche to college and 
university levels.
· Decent and affordable public funded housing.
· Fair labour standards including:
o A tax-free minimum wage linked to inflation and the poverty datum
line and pay equity for women, youth and casual workers.
o Safe working places and adequate state and employer funded
compensation for injury or death from accidents at work.
o Protection from unfair dismissal.
o Measures to ensure gender equity in the workplace, including equal
pay for work of equal worth, full and paid maternity and paternity
· Access to trade within and without the national borders and removal of 
obstacles on the right of small traders, small scale producers and 
vendors to
trade and earn a living.

5. National Value System
Believing that we must commit ourselves to a national value system that 
the humanity of every single individual in our society which we shall 
call ubuntu,
The People shall commit to: -
· Provide solidarity wherever needed to those that are less privileged 
in our
society as individuals or in any other capacity.
· Equally respect people of all ages.
· Challenging intolerance by learning and respecting all languages and 
· An inclusive national process of truth, justice, reconciliation and 
· Recognising all people involved in the liberation struggle.
And that this be done with an emphasis that ubuntu/hunhu is passed on 
from one
generation to the next at national and community level.

6. Gender
Holding in relation to gender that all human beings are created equal, 
must live and
be respected equally with equitable access to all resources that our 
society offers
regardless of their gender, and that gender equality is the 
responsibility of women and
men equally, we recognise the role that our mothers and sisters played 
in the
liberation of our country from colonialism and their subsequent leading 
role in all
struggles for democracy and social justice.
The People state that these fundamental principles must be observed and 
upheld at all
levels of the Peoples’ Charter, both on paper and in practice, where 
decisions are
made about the following: -
· Our national budget and economy.
· Our legislative and government processes in order to allow representative
quota systems.
· Provision by the state of all health care and all sanitary 
requirements of
· An understanding that women bear the brunt of any decline in social 
security, economic and political systems.

7. Youth
Believing that at all given times the youth, both female and male, 
represent the
present and the future of our country and that all those in positions of 
nationally and locally must remain true to the fact that our country 
shall be passed on
from one generation to the next,
The People state that, in order for each generation to bequeath to the 
next a country
that remains the epitome of hope, democracy and sustainable livelihoods, 
following principles for the youth must be adhered to and respected: -
· The youth shall be guaranteed the right to education at all levels 
until they
acquire their first tertiary qualification.
· The youth shall be guaranteed an equal voice in decision-making processes
that not only affect them but the country as a whole in all spheres of 
the national economy and social welfare.
· The youth shall be guaranteed access to the right to health.
· The youth shall not be subject to political abuse through training 
regimes that
connote political violence or any semblance of propaganda that will
compromise their right to determine their future as both individuals and 
as a
· The youth have the right to associate and assemble and express themselves
freely of their own prerogative.

Achieve Your Goal Trust
Bulawayo Agenda
Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association
Christian Alliance
Combined Harare Residents’ Association
Chitungwiza Residents and Ratepayers Association
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
International Socialist Organisation
Matabeleland Aids Council
Media Alliance of Zimbabwe
Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zimbabwe Chapter
Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
National Constitutional Assembly
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe
Restoration of Human Rights
Students’ Christian Movement of Zimbabwe
Students’ Solidarity Trust
Transparency International Zimbabwe
Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Men of Zimbabwe Arise
Women’s Coalition
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
Zimbabwe Cross-Border Traders Association
Zimbabwe Election Support Network
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference
Zimbabwe National Students Union
Zimbabwe Social Forum
Zimbabwe Youth Movement
Zimbabwe Labour Centre.

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