[Marxism] Stating obvious, SADC says Zimbabwe vote not will of people

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Mon Jun 30 15:23:58 MDT 2008


Comrades, this will sound irritated, so sorry in advance. A constructive 
suggestion comes at the end.

Jscotlive at aol.com wrote:
> Missing from the coverage of Mugabe and his regime, even by the BBC, is any  
> attempt at historical analysis or economic analysis with regard to the role of 
>  the imperialist powers in the decimation of the African continent and their  
> economies.
>   

Are you not reading any of the left analysis of Zimbabwe? Only listening 
to mainstream broadcast media? Missing from *your* coverage is any 
nuance whatsoever about what leftists within Zimbabwe think and say and 
debate about. So you offer a simplistic, predictable riff about northern 
imperialism, but have nothing to say about the way this configuration 
has affected genuine working-class struggles in Zim. Not a word in your 
update about Operation Murambatsvina, which cleared out 700 000 people 
(mainly MDC supporters) from backyard housing in Harare and the cities. 
So your readers get a formulaic, trite piece of analysis that gives no 
sense of grassroots/shopfloor agency or solidarity.

> I agree with the sentiments expressed by Fred. 
>   

Ah yes, about me being comfy with imperialism? Well then Jscotlive, 
where did you get this quote from, may I ask?

> However, lest anyone be under the impression that the  alternative offered by 
> the opposition be an improvement on the current state of  affairs, let the 
> words of the MDC's economic spokesman, Eddie Cross, spoken in  advance of 
> Zimbabwe's 2000 parliamentary  elections, leave them under no illusion.  
> ‘We are going to fast track privatization.  All fifty government parastatals 
> (a government-owned company or agency) will be  privatized within a two year 
> time frame, but we are going far beyond that. We  are going to privatize many 
> of the functions of government. We are going to  privatize the Central 
> Statistical Office. We are going to privatize virtually  the entire school delivery 
> system. And you know, we have looked at the numbers  and we think we can get 
> government employment down from about 300,000 at the  present time to about 
> 75,000 in five years.’

(The answer to my question is: me. From a transcription a friend did of 
Cross' talk, which I developed a long analysis around - pointing out 
Cross' combination of neoliberalism with peripheral-Fabianism, something 
you've missed entirely, which allows him to continue to play a 
substantial role as chief MDC policy coordinator in what remains an 
overwhelmingly working-class/poor people's party with petit-bourgeois 
leadership - from a 2000 Southern Africa Report journal article and in 
the book Zimbabwe's Plunge - available free offline at pbond at mail.ngo.za .)

S. Artesian wrote:
> Would you, did you, support UN actions against Hussein in Iraq because of 
> his violations of "democratic rights"?  I am sure you did not.  So why 
> accept those actions against Zimbabwe?
>   

First S.Artesian, no one I know around these parts supported UN action 
against Saddam given that the UN was a puppy of the US, especially by 
May 2003 when the General Assembly authorised Washington/London 
colonial-style authority over Iraq. However, during the 1970s-94 period, 
we all did support UN mandated economic, arms and cultural sanctions 
against apartheid South Africa because the oppressed people's main 
organisations (internal and external) said that's what they wanted. Too 
many multinational corporates were looting black people's labour and 
wealth. By the 1980s, that was the general consensus, so it was no 
problem for solidarity activists. The same holds true today for the 
oppressed of Burma: they have called for sanctions against exploitative 
multinationals, so we have the responsibility to heed that call.

Now, the oppressed of Zimbabwe have not yet in any formal (or informal) 
way said they want UN sanctions, but they *do* say (in lots of ways) 
that they want "pressure" against both Mugabe and Mbeki. The SA sabotage 
of any discussion of Zim's crisis in the UN is considered by both Mugabe 
and his enemies as a vote of confidence in the status quo. (SA also 
supports the Myanmar junta in the UN Sec.Council.) The point, though, is 
that when Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition - still probably the leading 
strategic group of progressives in Zimbabwe - contemplated sanctions a 
few years ago, they said, no thanks, we don't want to be pawns in an 
imperial game. So sanctions are not on the agenda right now, though that 
may change.

Second, no one I know on the Southern African left is expecting or 
hoping the UN to do any sort of regime manipulation. The two times the 
UN has come to my neighbourhood - the Durban World Conference Against 
Racism in 2001 and Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development 
in 2002 - we mobilised 15 000 and 30 000 people to demand they shut the 
hell up and leave forthwith, on account of ignoring Zionism and 
reparations, and promoting privatisation, respectively. There is pretty 
much zero expectation of any positive role for the UN in addressing the 
world's most important long-term crisis, climate change - and indeed the 
central UN (Kyoto Protocol) strategy for climate mitigation challenge, 
carbon trading, is regularly attacked by activists here - and across the 
world - in the Durban Group for Climate Justice. So given the adverse 
balance of forces, you won't find any lefties in Southern Africa that 
I've met arguing for some sort of myopic UN solution to /any/thing.

But the Zimbabwe comrades - the Zim Congress of Trade Unions, the 
National People's Assembly, the Zim Social Forum, Women of Zimbabwe 
Arise, the Zim National Student Union, the National Constitutional 
Assembly, the International Socialists Organisation, the Combined Harare 
Residents Association and many others - do need lots of solidarity right 
now.

If you have any inkling of solidarity for more than 200 000 political 
activists displaced, and nearly 100 assassinated for their beliefs in 
recent weeks, in a context of dire poverty and 9 million % (no typo) 
inflation, support 
http://capwiz.com/africaaction/issues/alert/?alertid=11510781&type=CU - 
where Briggs Bomba (an exceptionally articulate Zimbabwean socialist) is 
ensuring that excellent projects get some desperately needed financial 
support.

Cheers,
Patrick




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