[Marxism] NUMSA backs students; good analysis, good demands

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Oct 22 12:15:29 MDT 2015

On 10/22/15 2:08 PM, Patrick Bond via Marxism wrote:
> I had such a wonderful time with Andy and the comrades at The Commons on
> Monday night (our book launch video is here:
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnRSjXmE9a4 )
> I flew back to South Africa and I must say, it was fantastic arriving
> here yesterday to the next stage of the revolution, which for the first
> time unites kids on a national not local basis, and also links struggles
> for decent wages for outsourced university workers to the demand for
> zero increase in fees in the short term, and then free education.

For Patrick and any other BRICS skeptics (or denialists like me), let me 
remind you that my latest blog post takes up one of its Zimbabwean 

Let’s start with Garikai Chengu’s article that appeared on CounterPunch 
yesterday, which is a defense of a seemingly indefensible proposition, 
namely that Gaddafi’s Libya was the most democratic country in Africa. 
Chengu, a Zimbabwean, has a most interesting profile for an 
“anti-imperialist”. On his blog he describes himself as a researcher on 
Africa for Columbia University and Harvard and hopes to utilize “his 
intellectual and financial capacity” to develop Zimbabwe. One must 
assume that on the financial plane he will be benefiting from this 
background: “He has worked for Goldman Sachs and is the Founder and 
Chairman of Chengu Gold Mining Pvt. Ltd. one of Zimbabwe’s fastest 
growing indigenous private gold companies.”

It would appear that Comrade Chengu is one of those people who are in 
the vanguard of the BRICS revolution. In an article titled Mugabe 
Re-election Heralds ‘New’ Economic Model For Africa, Dana Sanchez quotes 
my fellow Goldman-Sachs alumnus:

	Chengu cites a recent U.N. Africa Progress Report that Africa loses $63 
billion dollars each year through foreign multinational corporations’ 
illegal tax evasion and exploitative practices. This figure surpasses 
all the money coming into the continent through Western aid and 
investment, Chengu says.

	“It is for this reason that Zimbabwe’s new indigenization model 
emphasizes local ownership and foreign partnership with emerging 
nations, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China,” the editorial says, 
omitting South Africa from the list.

Unless China is truly communist as some of our anti-imperialist comrades 
allege, I doubt that it will be treating Zimbabwe any differently from 
other nations in Africa, namely as a place to extract minerals and 
agricultural commodities in exchange for the export of manufactured 
goods. In a July 31, 2015 article from the Zimbabwe Independent, we 
learn that China has directed Zimbabwe to pay up the $1.5 billion 
dollars it owes or else it would no longer do business there. I guess 
profits trump ideology.

While undoubtedly Zimbabwean entrepreneurs such as comrade Chengu will 
benefit from business deals with China, there are signs that the working 
class will function much more as impediments to the dowry that will 
surely await all of Zimbabwe once the economic marriage with China is 
consummated. Atlantic Monthly reports on the files in the ointment:

	So far, the Zimbabweans who are most feeling China’s influence in their 
country are the workers. As Chinese firms take over business and Chinese 
managers come to run everything from billion-dollar mining companies to 
the downtown restaurants in capital Harare, Zimbabwean workers and labor 
unions are complaining of mistreatment and exploitation. Earlier this 
month, construction workers went on strike over low pay — $4 per day — 
and what they said were regular beatings by their managers Chinese 
managers with the Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company. The case 
is just one of many that has labor groups — one of the few segments of 
Zimbabwean politics that enjoys latitude from the ruling party — up in arms.

	Reports of beatings by Chinese managers are so common that even a cook 
at Harare’s popular China Garden restaurant complained of them, telling 
the Zimbabwe Mail & Guardian, “Working for these men from the East is 
hell on earth.”

	“Workers continue to endure various forms of physical torture at the 
hands of these Chinese employers right under the noses of the 
authorities,” a spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Construction and Allied 
Trade Workers’ Union told the same newspaper. “One of the most 
disturbing developments is that most of the Chinese employers openly 
boast that they have government protection and so nothing can be done to 
them. This clearly indicates that the issue has more serious political 
connotations than we can imagine.”

full: http://louisproyect.org/2015/10/21/random-notes-on-anti-imperialism/

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