[Marxism] Letter to Desmond Tutu concerning President Robert Mugabe

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Jul 6 11:52:52 MDT 2008

Except in the most broad and general manner, we should avoid notions
of universality in the precise forms by which every country should be
governed. Back in an earlier time, when some of us were trained in a
theory that the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 should be seen as the
sole and only acceptable model for how society should be organized,
we had such an all-encompassing model to which the rest of the world
was judged. Generally, the rest of the world was deemed insufficient
when compared and contrasted against that Bolshevik model. Well, it
was the Bolshevik model as our leaders liked to imagine that it was.

In Zimbabwe, as in South Africa, the liberation forces weren't able
to win a clear and decisive military victory, and so the capitalist
system was left in place, though a new administration headed by 
local black faces came to dominate the state apparatus. This seems
a bit clearer in South Africa because its government is a lot less
repressive than that of Zimbabwe.

This is the same messy situation which caused the IRA to make a deal
in northern Ireland, one with many dissatisfactions. And, if we were
to look at Colombia today, we'd see that had a negotiated settlement
been the hostages would long since have been released and the battle
which is being waged between contenting force might well have been
conducted on a different, perhaps more politically advantagous plane.

A problem with the "either" "or" approach to politics is that it 
leaves out of the equation those messy, less-satisfactory approaches
which sometimes occur in real life. The ultimatistic ultimatums we
sometimes hear about from those for whom nothing less than 100% will
suffice omit some of the unpleasant alternatives which real life at
times presents.

In Colombia, the guerrillas are too strong to be defeated, but not
strong enough to win. Same as was the case with the ANC in South
Africa, and the IRA in Ireland. Sometimes the solution which might
be less desirable in theory becomes the viable alternative to going
on fighting without practical possibility of victory.

Perfectionism spells paralysis, it's worth keeping in mind.

Walter Lippmann
Olympia, Washington

LOUIS PROYECT asks and answers:
Why would one equate "one person, one vote" with mob rule? The 
suggestion that Mugabe is carrying on in the tradition of historical 
governments and kingdoms in Africa governed by a council of elders or 
chiefs really points to the heavy hand of paternalism that has led to 
Zimbabwe's current impasse.

     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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