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The London-led Western crusade against Zimbabwe lacks rationalization. by Peter Lokarlo Marsu

04-27-2008, 01:41 AM
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The London-led Western crusade against Zimbabwe lacks rationalization. by Peter Lokarlo Marsu

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04-27-2008, 01:42 AM
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Re: The London-led Western crusade against Zimbabwe lacks rationalization. by Peter Lokarlo Marsu (Re: بكرى ابوبكر)

    The London-led Western crusade against Zimbabwe lacks rationalization. by Peter Lokarlo Marsu

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    The London-led Western crusade against Zimbabwe lacks rationalization.

    Britain ’s persistent and obsessive interest to tarnish and punish the government of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has candidly and incontestably less to do with lack of democracy or gross violations of Human Rights in that country, as Britain would like the rest of the world to believe. After all Britain has more splotches and forlornly scores stumpy ratings than any other country in Europe , when it comes to issues pertaining to upholding of Human Rights morals. History has never been kind to the entire British colonial establishments.

    In 1956, Britain officially ended its colonial lease of Sudan and impetuously pulled out of the country, while leaving behind a smouldering civil war that was to end seventeen years later with thousands maimed and killed.

    From 1962–1994, the United Nations Security Council had imposed and maintained packages of sanctions on the former white minority regime in Pretoria , thanks to the unrelenting pressure exerted on the World body by the stanch and cohesive Non-Aligned Movement. Though most countries observed the sanctions, Britain had always breached and utterly refused to recognise those punitive measures designed and intended to put pressure on the racist regime in order to dismantle Apartheid in South Africa, and to address the Namibian question, claiming that sanctions would harm the black population in South Africa, an argument strongly refuted and dismissed at face value by the African National Congress (ANC) party of Nelson Mandela as sheer propaganda and a calculated lie with sinister and selfish intentions projected to mislead the international community against imposing the sanctions on the appalling Pretoria regime.

    As if the undeclared economic war and political sabotage against Zimbabwe were not enough, Britain has nevertheless stepped up vigorous campaigns calling for more concerted international embargoes against the government of Zimbabwe, with the hope that a change of guards in Harare would usher in someone subservient to London, who takes orders unquestioningly from 10 Downing Street and would not hesitate for a single moment to invalidate the controversial land Reform programme adopted by the Zimbabwe Parliament, and consequently restore back the farms which were seized from the white farmers.

    More recently, Mr. Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister had warned that the world was loosing patience with Mugabe. Well, it would indisputably make more sense and the Prime Minister might certainly have assembled strong support and widespread sympathetic audience for his crusade against President Mugabe, if he had said that, the world was loosing patience with Khartoum and those responsible for the wanton carnage in Sudan ’s Darfur . He would likewise have dwelt and basked in blissful limelight if he had stated that the world was loosing patience with the marauding and blood-thirsty bandits of the Uganda ’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) or else those responsible for the daily bomb blasts and bloodbath in Somalia .

    In a sharp wrangle and disapproval of the British method of handling Africa , African leaders last year unanimously stated they would not attend the European Union-African summit, held in Lisbon , Portugal , if President Mugabe was excluded from the list of those attending that gathering. The Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa had this to say: "I will not go to Portugal if Mugabe is not allowed. I don't know how many of us [African leaders] will be prepared to go to Portugal without Mugabe,"

    That was a clear-cut message to Britain that the time for dictating the continent was regrettably long gone and that Africans are able to address and solve their problems without foreign prescriptions.

    The world should now recognise the fact that the unfair colonial allocation of land where 1% of the population (mainly white British settlers) own over 70% of the best arable land in Zimbabwe has always been the focal point of the political, economic and social struggle in Zimbabwe. Above all it is essentially vital to understand that the liberation struggle waged against the Ian Smith government in Rhodesia ( Zimbabwe ) was a war by the people of Zimbabwe to reclaim the land which they were dispossessed of by British colonialism.

    One would still wonder whether it was an evenhanded deal for the British government and their allies in Rhodesia to curve and take out the best lands for themselves and allot the infertile lands to the rightful owners of the land? Worse still, the Farm workers, who were blacks had little or no access to land on their own account, and were also vulnerable to arbitrary eviction from their tied accommodation.

    Many poor and middle-income black people in urban areas squeezed by rocketing food and transport price hikes and growing unemployment since the mid-1990s saw land as an alternative source of income and food security.

    Many land restitution claims relating to forced removals during the era of the white government had also not been addressed. These factors had created significant land shortage and hanker in Zimbabwe among the black population, and it was quite natural for Robert Mugabe to act quickly in favour of the rightful majority in addressing the land issue in the way he has done.

    Back in Britain , in 1979, Robert Mugabe whose team at the Lancaster talks, (Joshua Nkomo, Abel Muzorewa and Dr. S C Mundawarara) had solidly opposed the inclusion of the special Land clause in the Zimbabwean constitution that provided for the protection of the property of the white population in the country. They had no way to contest the wordings and the tone of the legal document, but had reluctantly signed it under intense pressure from Lord Carrington, the British Commonwealth Secretary at the time. However the government of Zimbabwe in a Parliamentary sitting in 2000 amended the country’s colonial-flavoured constitution which maintained that the new government of Zimbabwe would not engage in any compulsory land acquisition and that when land was acquired the government would “pay promptly adequate compensation” for the property. Land distribution would take place in terms of “willing buyer, willing seller.” This constitutional proviso was to last for ten years after the country’s independence. The government of Zimbabwe currently argues that the ten years provided for in the constitution were up in 2000, and that Harare was no longer bound by the sunset clauses which was a product of the Lancaster House Agreement, framed in London specifically for the benefit of those minority white settlers.

    Admittedly Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a hard currency shortage, which has led to hyperinflation and chronic shortages in imported fuel and consumer good, these problems have been brought about by the stiff sanctions imposed on the country by Britain and other western countries. Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations on charges of human rights abuses during the land redistribution and of election tampering. Borrowing and debt rescheduling would not be permitted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Thus it has taken a heavier toll on the country in terms of political and economic implications and that is why Zimbabwe is suffering at this point in time. It is because Mugabe has refused to back down from the Land dispute, and it is not because of Human Rights issue.

    When Ian Smith, the ex-prime Minister of former Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) incarcerated and tortured thousands of Africans who resisted colonial occupation, which could genuinely have translated into egregious violations of Human Rights, was not considered Human Rights issue in Britain, but when Mugabe stated the land redistribution programme in 2000, it caused hullabaloo in the West. This is the mode of justice practised in the 10 Downing Street on African countries.

    The Labour government in London had more often in the past accused Mr. Mugabe of drifting towards socialist encampment, alongside North Korea and Cuba . The late Ugandan Prime Minister, Milton Obote was the darling of Britain at independence, when he ruled the Pearl of Africa’s Crown, as Uganda was then known, but when he veered to assert his agenda of The Common Man’s Charter (Socialist Economic and Political Philosophy), unknown to him, it was too late, he had already prodded the lion in its den, and so had to earn the wrath of Britain and other countries. Julius Nyerere, the former and the widely respected President of the Republic of Tanzania became very unpopular in Britain , owing to his socialist inclinations. Despite his years of attending higher University degree in Edinburgh , if one had bothered to enquire about him in Britain they would swear to you that they had never heard of him.

    The late Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumbumba was ill-omened right from the start of his political career, as he had to pay the ultimate price at the hands of the West for his link with the Russians.

    But as the cold war has receded to the background and has now been consigned to the past, the modus operandi or rather the bench mark for evaluating good African leaders is, nothing but an absolute and unquestionable loyalty by becoming some sort of the good boys (yes-men) in order to secure clean slate, political and financial backings from the west and that represents a guarantee for longer stay in power, no matter how outrageous the ruler may be. As a case in point, late Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire ( Congo ) had one of the most appalling dossiers of Human Rights in Africa but was admired in the West, because he had never taken the risk of rebuking THEM for what they did.

    Mugabe is visibly a victim of a well rehearsed and coordinated conspiratorial scheme, for his unpleasant role of rubbing salt in the eyes of his former colonial master by executing the land redistribution programme. The massive financial isolation through American, British and EU legislation such as the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery (ZDER) act of 2001 is the actual cause of hyperinflation and the shortages in Zimbabwe and not Mugabe’s poor management as is currently being bugled. Hence it is quite evident that the genesis of the relentless crusade by London and some few other countries against the former British colony is fundamentally ingrained in the controversial land Reform Policy also known as fast track programme, which was adopted by the government of Zimbabwe. The Human Rights issue in Zimbabwe is being politicized by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party with blessings from London and other quarters.

    It would be worthwhile for African leaders to step in to arrange for another Kenyan-type political accommodation in Zimbabwe . There was no clear winner following the presidential elections, despite pushy claims by the British-sponsored MDC opposition that its leader won the elections.

    To remove President Mugabe and his government from power will not salvage the precarious situation, because the land issue will yet persist. The bleak scenario would be when those lands seized from the whites are returned to them by any western-imposed administration in the country. Zimbabweans including the veterans would rearm themselves and civil war might ensue leading to more unavoidable anguish with wide-ranging regional ramifications.

    Peter Lokarlo Marsu



    E-mail: [email protected]


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04-27-2008, 08:27 PM
Registered: 02-04-2002
Total Posts: 1404

Zimbabwe: 'A bourgeois state without a bourgeoisie'? (Re: بكرى ابوبكر)

    Umsebenzi Online Volume 6, No. 5, 21 March 2007

    Zimbabwe: 'A bourgeois state without a bourgeoisie'?

    Blade Nzimande, General Secretary, SACP

    On 21 March South Africa celebrates Human Rights Day. The SACP will be joining millions of other South Africans in commemorating this day. In addition we are going to be using March, the human rights month, and April 2007, the Chris Hani month to take forward our struggle for the transformation of the financial sector. We will embark on mass demonstrations reiterating our demand for a total once-off amnesty for all of the estimated 5.5 million people blacklisted by the faceless credit bureuax, a demand for a new model to finance low cost housing, and a complete rejection of above average interest rates on bonds for low cost housing.

    Unfortunately we are celebrating human rights month in the context of a deteriorating human rights situation in neighbouring Zimbabwe. The SACP, together with many other progressive forces, strongly condemned the latest round of repression directed at opposition parties by the Zimbabwean government. The SACP continues to express its solidarity with the workers and the poor of Zimbabwe, who are not only facing the repressive actions of the police, but whose socio-economic conditions continue to rapidly deteriorate. To this end, on 3-4 April 2007, the SACP will be joining other progressive forces that will be holding demonstrations in solidarity with the Zimbabwean people.

    However, much as principled condemnation and highlighting of current developments conditions in Zimbabwe is absolutely necessary, this is not enough. For the sake of the revolution in the Southern African region, it is important that we constantly analyse the underlying causes of developments in Zimbabwe.

    It is also important that our condemnation must be distinguished from the chorus of opportunistic condemnation by parties like the Democratic Alliance (DA) and large sections of bourgeois media. Otherwise how do we explain such condemnations on Zimbabwe, when these very same critics are completely silent on the more than 3 decades of severe repression in a country like Swaziland? We are also equally concerned about the very weak stance taken by our government in the light of the very serious latest developments in Zimbabwe.

    Our point of departure is that a former liberation movement that begins to turn the repressive organs of a state over which it presides against what was part of its own constituency, is a movement and a state in severe crises.

    The SACP, in late 2003 undertook a fact finding mission to Zimbabwe. One of the things that struck us during this trip, a matter we also raised in our discussions with some of the leadership of ZANU-PF, was the extent to which any voice critical of ZANU-PF and government was labeled 'Blairite', 'racist inspired' or 'sell-out'. We asked of ZANU-PF, how come that such significant sections and former allies of the former liberation movement - the trade unions, progressive NGOs, mass organizations, the churches - have all of a sudden become part of an imperialist plot. Whilst not denying that imperialism has always sought to undermine post-independence governments especially those led by former liberation movements, is what is happening in Zimbabwe not also a reflection of the declining hegemony of the former liberation movement itself and why? We were asking these questions not because of a 'holier than thou' attitude, but to honestly explore why previously heroic liberation movements, such as in Zimbabwe, can rapidly deteriorate to the extent of significant sections of society rejects them. And also to force ourselves to explore what mistakes such movements themselves might have committed to produce such situations.

    The Zimbabwean developments pose other very pertinent questions that should constantly be canvassed by all liberation movements in our region. Is it inevitable, as Afro-pessimists and other reactionary forces are wont to say, that post independent states, led by former liberation movements are bound to fail? Or posed from a progressive angle, are liberation struggles and post-independence governments led by former liberation movements, bound to degenerate especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union? An even more pertinent question, also relevant for our own South African realities, is whether national liberation struggles that fail to rapidly advance towards socialist-type or full-blown socialist dispensations are bound to degenerate into some kind of deformed bourgeois democracies or repressive oligarchies?

    Ibbo Mandaza, a leading Zimbabwean scholar and prominent ZANU PF intellectual, from about the mid 1980s used to argue that the explanation for the many problems facing post-colonial states in our continent, especially in the Southern African region, was that they were 'bourgeois states without a bourgeoisie'. He regarded Zimbabwe as one expression of such a state. I used to vehemently object to this characterization as I considered it thoroughly un-Marxist: how can a state be characterized as bourgeois when it does not have a bourgeoisie?

    Mandaza's characterization is also ambiguous, and can be subject to various interpretations which, I thought, does not help us to understand our Southern African realities. This characterization of a 'bourgeois state without a bourgeoisie' can be interpreted, as found also within sections of our own movement, as implying that for our countries to flourish we need to develop an indigenous bourgeoisie, as a precondition to overcome underdevelopment. Mandaza's own elaboration of this, I thought, was closer to this, though informed by a more leftist interpretation.

    Mandaza's argument, amongst others, was that African post-colonial states were characterized by the fact that political power was transferred, often through negotiated settlements preceded by protracted liberation struggles, to a domestic political elite whilst the economy remained in the hands of a (white) colonial bourgeoisie, either located in the metropole or, like in the case of South Africa, domestically. And any stratum of an indigenous bourgeoisie that emerged out of these post-colonial realities was highly dependent on the 'metropolitan' bourgeoisie as well as over its control of the state apparatuses.

    Whilst I still remain highly skeptical of Mandaza's characterization, perhaps his elaboration is after all not so off wide the mark. Perhaps a generous but Marxist interpretation of the notion of 'a bourgeois state without a bourgeoisie' helps to highlight a number of important issues about the challenges facing Zimbabwe in particular and, to a more or lesser degree, the post-colonial state in general on the African continent.

    In our own Tripartite Alliance we have on occasion, albeit inadequately, debated Zimbabwe over the last few years. The one argument found within our movement to explain the foundations of the current crisis in Zimbabwe is that during the first decade of Zimbabwe's freedom (1980-1990), the government legitimately spent vast amounts of money on social services (health, education, welfare, etc), but without due regard to the fiscus and therefore the sustainability of such spending. When such spending began to be a drain on the fiscus, this argument continues, the Zimbabwean government was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund, thus sliding into a spiral of further debt and all its consequences on ordinary people. In our ranks this argument was also used to justify our own macro-economic policy, GEAR.

    The SACP has always been of the view that the above argument is very superficial. The fundamental problem in many post-colonial states is that of transfer (usually without any significant transformation) of political power to local political elites, whilst leaving the colonial character of the economy untransformed. In such a situation the character of the economy is unable to sustain a transformative effort, instead it continues to serve the interests of the colonial bourgeoisie and local economic elites, whilst actively undermining (if not reversing) developmental measures aimed at addressing the interests of ordinary workers and the poor. This was also the Zimbabwe of the 1990s, the era of the structural adjustment programmes, which actively reversed even the many gains made during the first decade of Zimbabwe's democracy.

    In such situations, a highly compradorial and parasitic layer of the bourgeoisie drawn from indigenous populations emerges, without its own independent 'means of accumulation', thus relying on its access to state power to preserve and reproduce its wealth.

    Failure to transform the conditions of the ordinary mass of the people for the better generates resentment. As we have argued before, such situations produce a whole host of behaviour from the ruling elites. There usually is denialism about the scale and extent of the problems facing those societies. The recent SAFM interview of ZANU PF leader Nathan Shamuyarira with Xolani Gwala is a case in point, including the externalization of all the problems (eg. 'adventurism or imperialist co-option of trade unions').

    The last stages in such degeneration are a turn against the masses when they begin to legitimately struggle for better conditions. Usually in such cases, liberation movements that during the struggle against the colonial regimes were able to distinguish between the enemy and people's camps, begin to confuse expressions of genuine grievances of the people's camp for enemy fire, and real enemy strategies (eg. Structural adjustment programmes) are treated as the necessary instruments to transform society!

    Without by any means undermining the role of imperialism in destabilizing post-colonial states, especially those presided over by radical national liberation movements, it is developments as outlined above that creates further conditions for imperialist interventions of all sorts to finally defeat those former liberation movements.

    Indeed, one key feature in Zimbabwe in the current period is that there has now been a rupture between the ruling elite and sections of the colonial bourgeoisie (both domestic and global), primarily as a result of the measures taken by the Zimbabwean government on the land issue.

    Perhaps Mandaza's notion of the post-colonial state as a 'bourgeois state without a bourgeoisie', can in such circumstances also be interpreted to mean that it is impossible in a continent like ours to build even bourgeois democratic states, for two main reasons. Firstly, there are no conditions to build such societies, given the scale of underdevelopment and inequality in society. And, secondly, the location of such states in the current imperialist global division of labour, as such states continue to be exporters of raw materials (and cheap labour), import dependent, thus further enriching the North - the real bourgeois states with a bourgeoisie!

    Unfortunately in such instances, such as the case of Zimbabwe, the opposition that emerges becomes largely reactive and unable to provide a more superior alternative vision in such conditions. That alternative and superior vision can, in our circumstances, only be that of the completion of the national liberation struggle and its vision; that national liberation without full social and economic emancipation shall always remain incomplete and liable to serious reversals. One without the other is a foundation for future regressions. This is the only full meaning of human rights, and it is for this reason that during this South Africa human rights month we are escalating our campaigns to highlight that there can be no human rights without socio-economic rights.

    In short, the building of independent working class formations in society as vehicles for socialist oriented national democratic revolutions remain as relevant as ever in our post-colonial realities. This is the only basis for addressing the challenge of underdevelopment as part of a struggle for socialism!



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