Living Marxism

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South Africa and Zimbabwe

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The recent race riots in South Africa and violence around the election in Zimbabwe are being used once more to paint the picture of a backward barbaric Africa that needs to be rescued by the ‘civilized’ West. That is, invasions of imperialist corporations plundering what remains of Africa’s raw materials and labor power in the name of defending ‘human rights’.  But when we look at the causes of the race riots and the intense struggle inside Zimbabwe we see that the causes are not rooted in Africa but in the history of capitalist colonization and imperialism.

On the contrary we see that it is the ANC betrayal of the South African masses to imperialism that has left them without sufficient jobs and housing and primed them to blame the Zimbabwean and Mozambican migrant workers who have flooded into South Africa to find work. It is not the business of Western liberals to point the finger at South African workers since they materially share in the benefits of the super-exploitation of that country. This is a problem that these workers must solve for themselves. But first they have to reject all the alternative ‘democratic’ plans of the UN and NGOs for ending the race riots. These liberal human rights advocates are today’s “missionaries” preparing the ground for further imperialist incursions. The solution lies in a revolutionary leadership building an internationalist movement that mobilizes workers to root out the basic cause of the problem, capitalism and imperialism in South Africa.

Similarly, in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s restrictions on the NGOs food aid during the current election is an understandably reaction to the way imperialism, not content with imposing sanctions to ruin the economy, is using the NGOs as an internal political opposition. Like South Africa, the solution to Zimbabwe’s problems are not the business of the same Western imperialism that refused to allow that country full economic independence and used Mugabe as their agent to block any real fight for independence. Mugabe’s ‘break’ with imperialism has nothing to do with belatedly fighting for independence but everything to do with desperately holding onto power. It is the task of the Zimbabwean workers and poor peasants to throw out Mugabe, not the imperialist powers or their stooge NGOs inside Zimbabwe.

Before these workers and poor peasants can unite to overthrow the national bourgeoisies that act as a barrier between them and independence from imperialism, a revolutionary left must come into existence with a program for revolutionary struggle based on the lessons learned of what is necessary to win.

First among these lessons is recognizing the hostile class interests of the national bourgeoisies that have acted as the agents of imperialism and betrayed the hopes of workers and peasants for real independence and for economic security in an African Federation of Socialist Republics.

ANC betrays South African workers and peasants

In South Africa there can be no revolutionary that does not fight the ANC as a treacherous populist party led by the Stalinist SACP that formed a popular front government with the White racist Nationalists in 1994 to end the apartheid system! At a time when the struggle of the masses for generations had created the power to not only end apartheid but to complete the revolution, removing the white regime and imposing a workers’ and peasants’ government and planned socialist economy, the ANC did a deal with imperialism to share the administer of a non-racial capitalist South Africa between the white and black bourgeosie.

The Stalinists of the SACP were employing their historic mission of the two stage theory/program of ‘market socialism’. A national democratic revolution stage is needed to develop the economy to the point where the pre-conditions for a socialist stage can be built. In the epoch of imperialism this traps the only class that can defeat imperialism and their comprador agents into political alliance with their class enemies and enriches the new black bourgeoisie and their Stalinist bureaucratic mentors at the cost of their ongoing super-exploitation and oppression.

The result has been more than a decade of open collaboration with imperialism to super-exploit South Africa’s resources and labor-power. It is this terrible betrayal that has allowed the whole of South Africa to remain in imperialism’s grip, forcing South African workers to compete with migrant workers for slave labor jobs. Because the ANC is a popular front party that locks workers into the same party as the black bourgeoisie, there can be no rescue of the ANC as a party to lead the liberation of South African workers by means of leadership change or internal reforms.

Once this lesson has been learned, it is necessary to mobilize workers and poor peasants to unite all workers, across nationality, ethnicity, gender etc to fight for jobs, land and decent housing and social services. In the process of these struggles the proletariat will build the unity and develop the consciousness necessary to overthrow the South African pro-imperialist regime, form a Workers and Peasants’ Government and create a socialist economic powerhouse that will provide resources and inspiration for the rest of Southern Africa.

ZANU-PF betrays Zimbabwe workers and peasants

In Zimbabwe there can be no revolutionary that does not reject both wings of the national bourgeoisie that are competing for the imperialist franchise to manage Zimbabwean capitalism. The British attempted to keep Zimbabwe as a neo-colony with the British settlers ruling in tandem with ZANU-PF. This meant that the workers and peasants did not get the land or the jobs that they needed with national independence. Mugabe finally broke with British imperialism when it became clear that his faction of the black bourgeoisie would not get rich from this continued direct white settler domination.

He turned to China and other countries to back his bourgeois nationalist regime instead. British and US Imperialism then imposed drastic sanctions which have ruined the economy and sponsored a rival MDC faction of the national bourgeoisie which is prepared to collaborate openly with imperialism. But both factions of the national bourgeoisie fear the mobilization of the masses to break from imperialism because this would also overthrow their own class rule. That is why Zimbabwe’s ‘problem’ is reduced to the ‘crazy’ personality of Mugabe, itself linked back to the inevitable ‘failure’ of African nations to develop independently of imperialism.

In the face of an US and British imperialist campaign to isolate Zimbabwe and shift all the blame for its economic collapse onto the Mugabe regime, Zimbabwean workers must organize in solidarity with South African workers to build a movement to challenge all factions of the national bourgeoisie who compete to be the franchise holders and junior partners for this or that imperialist power, or in the case of China, a powerful emerging market economy.

Their program must be for occupations of land and of industry under workers and peasants control and for the socialization of the banks and all the key sectors of the economy so that the old colonial borders are removed and a Federation of Africa Socialist States can be born. The party and program that is needed must be based on the theory and practice of permanent revolution.

Written by raved

June 19, 2008 at 12:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. Later tonight I’ll link to your blog, and study it.


    Renegade Eye

    June 19, 2008 at 7:40 pm

  2. I generally agree with your assessment.

    This is not my tendency’s position. This is something I’ve been thinking about r/t Zimbabwe. If the MDC received as many votes as it claims, and it’s a labor party with a working class base, it should call a general strike. The glitch is that it only wants to take over Mugabe’s machine, not destroy it. It is scared of the masses.

    Renegade Eye

    June 20, 2008 at 5:44 am

  3. yes where’s the self defence committees to stop MDC people being picked off individually?
    In the event of an imperialist invasion we would give military support to Zanu-pf.


    June 23, 2008 at 1:26 am

  4. As far we understand the situation in Zimbabwe. the ZANU government is very repressive and the opposition party MDC is a popular front backed by the imperialists.
    The program for Zimbabwe is for a working class revolution at the head of the landless peasants and the theory that applies is Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution.
    The following demands are applicable:
    1/ Oppose the imperialist sanctions.
    2/ No support for ZANU and Mugabi.
    3/ For the Trade Union Federation to break from MDC –For independent and democratic unions.
    4.For land to the landless peasants rather than the corrupted schemes of Mugabi and his close associates. Forms actions committees with a program of taking over the land and in support of workers actions committees struggling for workers control of factories –occupation of factories and a general strike.
    5/ In a case of an imperialist attack on Zimbabwe defense of Zimbabwe
    6. For a revolutionary working class party committed to revolution. Fighting for a socialist republic of Zimbabwe as part of the socialist federation of Africa.
    7. No to the ANC betrayals and its political and military support to ZANU against the working people.
    8. For workers committees to organize self defense against the regime attacks.

    yossi schwartz

    July 12, 2008 at 8:37 am

  5. Reblogged this on Communist Worker.


    September 11, 2018 at 10:49 am

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