Zimbabwe: "Land Reform" and Imperialist Hypocrisy
Reprinted from Workers Vanguard
No. 803, 9 May 2003.
Zimbabwe today is a country on the brink
of famine and total economic collapse. Since last year, inflation
has skyrocketed at a rate of 228 percent and unemployment stands
at more than 60 percent. Tobacco production, which generates 31
percent of the country's foreign currency, is projected to
plummet by a third. And with no seed for corn, Zimbabwe's
primary food source, at least 60 percent of the population faces
food shortages--this in a country which was once one of Africa's
largest exporters of foodstuffs.
When the government, pressed for funds,
raised gas prices by at least 200 percent, the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU) launched a three-day general strike in
late April, to which the government responded in its usual repressive
fashion, using troops to force closed shops to open. Dozens of
ZCTU officials have been rounded up, including nearly the entire
union leadership in the city of Bulawayo. The previous month,
the British-supported "Movement for Democratic Change"
(MDC) staged a two-day strike, which was followed by a government
crackdown where hundreds of MDC supporters were arrested.
The current crisis in Zimbabwe is largely
a product of the imperialists' cutoff of economic aid for
the country after President Robert Mugabe initiated his program
of seizing land owned by white farmers, remnants of the former
colonial occupation. The bourgeois press in Britain, Zimbabwe's
former colonial master, has accused the African leader of unleashing
"mob savagery" against the white population. In the
U.S., Republican Congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the House Committee
on Africa, denounced Mugabe as "a power-crazed, aged dictator
literally burning his country down."
Yet for almost two decades Mugabe was
regarded and occasionally praised by London and Washington as
a "moderate" African leader because he perpetuated the
economic dominance in both agriculture and industry of the former
white colonialists. Western bourgeois politicians and the media
scarcely noticed, much less protested, when in the mid 1980s the
Mugabe regime waged a war of extermination against the forces
of a rival nationalist movement based on the minority Ndebele
people. The Zimbabwean army massacred at the time an estimated
10,000 to 20,000 villagers in Matabeleland, homeland of the Ndebele.
As long as Mugabe's regime did not touch, indeed enhanced,
the wealth of the white propertied classes, the men who run the
City of London and Wall Street couldn't care less what he
did to Zimbabwe's workers and peasants.
The backdrop to the current crisis was
the economic austerity program carried out by the Mugabe regime
in the early-mid 1990s at the dictate of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and World Bank. This provoked a series of mass strikes
spearheaded by government employees like teachers and nurses.
So in the name of "fast-track land reform," Mugabe sought
to divert popular hostility away from his own regime and toward
the white farmers, the core of the former colonial ruling class
in what was then called Southern Rhodesia, who still owned 70
percent of the country's most fertile land. Almost all of
the older white farmers had been officers or non-coms in the Rhodesian
army, which fought the black liberation forces led by Mugabe and
others. These white colonialists killed some 40,000 black Africans,
many of them unarmed and defenseless rural villagers.
A Dutch journalist of evident left-wing
sympathies, Bram Posthumus, neatly cut through the cant and hypocrisy
on both sides:
"Most 'Rhodies' are unreformed
racists and I would not want to be in the company of any of them.
"On the other hand, the Zanu-PF
[ruling Zimbabwe African National Union--Popular Front] top
brass was cashing in on white largesse when it suited them. They
did not question the economic models that they now claim were
foisted upon them by the IMF and World Bank. Why should they?
Capitalism has suited them fine ever since they came into power....
"The point here is, very basically,
that neither of these two groups, white farmers and Zanu-PF chiefs,
deserve a shred of sympathy, let alone support."
--New African, February 2002
The land seizures in Zimbabwe have resonated
strongly in South Africa, where white farmers still own 80 percent
of the land even though Nelson Mandela's bourgeois-nationalist
African National Congress (ANC) replaced the white-supremacist
government in 1994. Indeed, in the countryside the conditions
of the black toilers have changed little from the days of apartheid.
In some ways they're even worse. Seeking to forestall land
seizures, white farmers have evicted increasing numbers of blacks
from land they have worked for generations. At the same time,
South African president Thabo Mbeki has acted as the "soft
cop" for British and American imperialism vis-à-vis
Mugabe. While Mbeki and Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo are
loath to publicly denounce Mugabe, as this would reveal them as
pawns of the imperialists in Africa, they are currently embarked
on a visit to the Zimbabwean capital of Harare to press Mugabe
An article by our comrades of Spartacist
South Africa, titled "Hue and Cry over Land Seizures in Zimbabwe"
(WV No. 741, 8 September 2000), explained:
"In countries such as Zimbabwe and
South Africa, the burning democratic tasks such as agrarian revolution,
equality for women and tribal/ethnic minorities and breaking the
yoke of imperialist domination can only be realised through the
Trotskyist programme of permanent revolution: the seizure of state
power by the proletariat standing at the head of the peasantry
and all the oppressed....
"Especially in a small country like
Zimbabwe, a socialist revolution would inevitably and almost immediately
pose the task of international extension--in the first instance
to neighbouring South Africa, which supplies most of Zimbabwe's
petrol and electrical power, and beyond that to the imperialist
South Africa holds the key to the future
of all of sub-Saharan Africa. The rule of the capitalist ANC means
continued brutal exploitation and oppression of South Africa's
black, "coloured" (historically derived from the offspring
of Boer settlers and the indigenous Khoi people and later Malay
slaves) and Indian working masses by the white racist bourgeoisie
and the enforcing of the imperialists' plundering of the
region. Under a workers government, South Africa's industrial
and mineral wealth, as part of an international planned economy,
would be used to develop the vast resources of the region for
the benefit of the former colonial slaves in a socialist federation
of southern Africa.
Zimbabwean ISO in Bloc with White
The counterpart to the current hostility
of Western, especially British, imperialism to the Mugabe regime
is the imperialists' support for the MDC. The MDC is an unholy
alliance between black trade-union bureaucrats, represented by
former ZCTU head Morgan Tsvangirai, and white capitalists and
farmers. Currently, the regime is staging a sham trial of Tsvangirai,
who during last year's presidential elections was riding
a wave of popular support as an MDC candidate. Tsvangirai and
two others are accused of plotting to kill Mugabe. The regime's
star witness in this frame-up is a former secret service agent
who admits to being on Mugabe's payroll.
For its part, the MDC's main economic
spokesman is Eddie Cross, former vice president of the Confederation
of Zimbabwe Industries, who is an ardent champion of "free
market" neoliberalism and a strong advocate of IMF/World
Bank guardianship over the Zimbabwean economy. The MDC receives
financing from the likes of the London-based Westminster Foundation
for Democracy, which in turn is partly funded by the British government.
A group that occupied the left fringe
of the MDC until recently is the Zimbabwean International Socialist
Organisation (ISO), part of the British-centered international
tendency founded and led for many decades by the late Tony Cliff.
While claiming (at times) to uphold the Leninist and Trotskyist
tradition, the Cliffites are in fact left social democrats, i.e.,
a pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist tendency which falsely claims
to represent the interests of the working class.
The social-democratic character of the
Cliffite tendency was clearly exposed in Zimbabwe, where they
were in a political bloc with the colonial-derived and imperialist-backed
white propertied classes against the Mugabe regime. In 2000, Munyarardzi
Gwisai, then a senior leader of the Zimbabwean ISO, ran for and
was elected to parliament as a representative of the MDC for the
Highland district of Harare. At the time, Gwisai & Co. portrayed
the MDC as some kind of workers party which could be pressured
into carrying out radical socialist policies. An ISO "Action
Programme" for the first MDC congress proclaimed: "MDC
is primarily a working people's party: that is workers, the
unemployed, peasants and students and it is they who must fund
and lead the party" (Socialist Worker [Zimbabwe],
December 1999). Although the mass of white farmers supported and
some joined the MDC, the Cliffites ludicrously demanded that its
parliamentary representatives "must vote in support of the
taking of farms without paying compensation for the land"
(Socialist Worker [Zimbabwe], August 2000).
By the time of last year's presidential
elections, it was no longer credible to deny that the MDC was
a right-wing, pro-imperialist bourgeois party. Alex Callinicos,
a central leader of the Cliffite tendency internationally, now
lamented that Tsvangirai had fallen under the influence of evil
advisers: "Despite his origins as a union leader, MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai has, with the encouragement of both Western
governments and local bosses, adopted a neo-liberal programme
that amounts to handing the economy over to the IMF" (Socialist
Worker [Britain], 19 January 2002). Nonetheless, the Zimbabwean
ISO still supported the MDC leader in the election against
Mugabe. Gwisai stated: "We will vote for Tsvangirai because
it will mean more space for us to operate.... We want to strengthen
the anti-capitalist elements in the MDC" (Socialist Worker
[Britain], 9 March 2002).
Interestingly, Callinicos came from the
white colonial stratum in Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe before emigrating
to England. There is, of course, nothing reprehensible in that.
Many left-wing leaders (Engels, Lenin, the anarchist Peter Kropotkin)
and militants came from socially privileged backgrounds. But they
then sought to lead the struggles of the exploited and oppressed
against the propertied classes into which they were born. However,
Callinicos and his Zimbabwean colleagues were in a bloc with white
landowners against a black bourgeois-nationalist regime which,
for its own ignoble reasons, is expropriating them.
The April 2002 issue of International
Socialism, the main Cliffite theoretical journal, has a major
article, "Crisis in Zimbabwe," by Leo Zeilig. Predictably,
he directs almost all his fire at Mugabe with only the mildest
criticism of the MDC, that it "holds none of the answers
to the poverty and misery crippling Zimbabwe." This is scarcely
surprising for a party which represents the main body of (white)
agrarian and industrial capitalists in Zimbabwe and their British
Zeilig points to and implicitly criticizes
the propaganda campaign in British ruling circles against Mugabe.
But he then concludes in this regard: "There is not much
to choose between the violence and repression of a dying regime,
and the hypocrisy and colonial morality of [Britain's] New
Labour." This self-styled revolutionary socialist here equates
British imperialism with a bourgeois-nationalist government in
an African neocolonial country. That is, he equates an
imperialist state with a semicolonial country.
But in fact Zeilig, Callinicos and Gwisai
do choose between British imperialism and the government of Zimbabwe.
They choose the former. Indeed, in his article, Zeilig boasts
of Gwisai's parliamentary victory in 2000 as a representative
of the MDC--a party openly financed by the British ruling
class--writing: "The International Socialist Organisation
(ISO) won an important seat in a working class area of Harare
in the 2000 parliamentary elections as part of the MDC and, despite
continued opposition from the party leadership, remains in the
As is often the case, what the International
Socialism article omits is just as telling politically as
its content. Zeilig does not mention that all Western governments
have cut off economic aid to Zimbabwe mainly to strengthen the
hand of the MDC against Mugabe. Nor does he mention that the Blair
government in Britain is campaigning for international economic
sanctions against Zimbabwe. These omissions amount to tacit support
or at least non-opposition to imperialist economic warfare against
the impoverished southern African country.
From Ian Smith's Rhodesia to
Having preserved and protected the white
farmers for almost two decades, why did Mugabe then turn on them,
thereby provoking the wrath of British and American imperialism?
To answer that question, it is necessary to review the history
of Southern Rhodesia/Zimbabwe from the last period of colonial
rule through the present.
In the mid 1960s, Britain, with America's
backing, moved toward a standard neocolonial solution in Southern
Rhodesia, i.e., the smooth transfer of governmental office to
a pliant black regime. However, under the leadership of Ian Smith--who
professed his support for the MDC last year--the white colonialist
stratum, though only 4 percent of the population, rebelled against
this policy and declared "unilateral independence" from
Britain. "Independent" Rhodesia was supported economically
by white-supremacist South Africa, the most powerful state in
Seeking to overthrow white-colonialist
rule, the black nationalist forces launched a rural-based guerrilla
insurgency which convulsed the country during the 1970s. However,
the Ian Smith regime, with South Africa's backing, was able
to hold at bay the black insurgency while resisting pressure from
London and Washington to come to terms with the insurgency's leaders.
The black liberation struggle was also weakened by a murderously
hostile tribalist division between Robert Mugabe's ZANU,
based on the majority Shona people, and Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe
African People's Union based on the Ndebele.
Finally, in 1979 Thatcher's Britain
brokered a compromise--the Lancaster House agreement. Mugabe's
ZANU took over the government while the whites retained control
of the economy. The Lancaster House agreement stipulated that
for ten years the government could not take over white farmland
without the consent of the owners, and then compensation had to
be in "hard" (Western) currency. The property rights
of the white colonialists were also written into Zimbabwe's
A recent book on the Zimbabwean economy
by two British academics described the structure of ownership
at the time of independence:
"Although they made up only 3.8
per cent of the population, at Independence the modern sector
of the economy was almost entirely owned and managed by whites.
For example, over 90 percent of marketed output came from white-
(or foreign-owned) farms, which provided 35 per cent of formal-sector
employment and over one-third of exports. The manufacturing and
financial sectors were also almost exclusively a white preserve."
-- Carolyn Jenkins and John Knight,
The Economic Decline of Zimbabwe: Neither Growth Nor Equity
In the decade after independence, little
had changed in this respect. Academic studies in Britain indicated
that the white propertied classes were economically better off
after ten years of Mugabe's rule than they had been in the
last years of the Ian Smith regime.
While maintaining the wealth of the white
propertied classes, the Mugabe regime also built up a privileged
black elite via the state treasury. A large government bureaucracy
was formed under ZANU-PF's patronage. Outright corruption
was systemic and massive while the government set up and financed
numerous black-owned businesses. The Mugabe regime therefore consistently
ran large government budget deficits even in fairly prosperous
years. These deficits were initially financed by borrowing heavily
from City of London and Wall Street banks at commercial rates
of interest. Consequently, the burden of foreign debt doubled
from a third of Zimbabwe's gross domestic product (GDP) in
1986 to two-thirds of its GDP by 1994.
The counterrevolutionary destruction
of the Soviet Union in 1991-92 led to the intensification of imperialist
bloodsucking in Africa, and with it increased starvation and bloodshed.
Specifically, the IMF and World Bank demanded payment on the money
they had previously given to these African countries as a counterweight
to Soviet influence during the Cold War. In order to roll over
Zimbabwe's foreign loans, the IMF/World Bank demanded the
standard combination of fiscal austerity and "free market"
liberalization: slashing expenditure for social programs; eliminating
or cutting back the wide array of government subsidies; dismantling
tariff protection for the country's manufacturing industries
like textiles, clothing and footwear.
The effects were predictably devastating
for almost all sectors of the urban-based labor force. Employment
in the textile industry fell by half, from 25,300 in 1990 to 12,400
in 1995. Also hit hard were the more privileged ("middle
class") sections of the black populace which had hitherto
been the core support for the Mugabe regime--government functionaries,
university students expecting upon graduation to get government
or government-subsidized jobs. Some 25,000 civil service jobs
were eliminated by 1995.
The stage was thus set for mass labor
struggles for the first time since the black bourgeois-nationalist
regime replaced white colonial rule a decade and a half before.
A successful strike of public-sector employees in 1996 was followed
by a general strike, with broad popular support, against increased
taxation at the end of 1997. Immediately thereafter food riots
led by working-class women erupted in Harare. The ZCTU emerged
as a potent oppositional force enjoying substantial and increasing
popular authority, especially in the cities.
Mugabe responded by seeking to refurbish
the regime's nationalist credentials by declaring economic
warfare on the white farmers. The ZANU-PF tops demagogically revived
the rhetoric of the 1970s independence struggle, denouncing "white
racism," "Western imperialism" and "the heritage
of colonialism." The ZCTU bureaucracy under Morgan Tsvangirai
played into the regime's hands, especially among the peasant
masses, by forming a political bloc with the white farmers and
other capitalists through the MDC.
The Land Seizures and Economic Collapse
The land seizures began in early 2000
with the invasion of white commercial farms by veterans of the
independence struggle and unemployed urban youth. In several instances,
this resulted in violent clashes with farm workers fearful of
losing their jobs. Today, almost all the white farmland has been
taken over and many of the former owners have left the country.
An apologist for the Mugabe regime, Gregory
Elich, recently declared:
"Temporary economic dislocation
is an unavoidable by-product of land reform, but genuine and lasting
progress in Zimbabwe can only be achieved through land redistribution.
"In the West, the gross imbalance
imposed by colonial theft is accepted as the natural order in
Zimbabwe, with the indigenous population lacking any claim to
the land. The government's fast track land reform is intended
to rectify historical injustices and to ensure a more equitable
division of the land."
--New African, October 2002
To begin with, the redivision of the
land has been far from equitable. Of the first 600 white farms
taken over three years ago, 200 of the largest were given gratis
to officials of the ZANU-PF and to Mugabe's cronies and relatives,
including his wife. Inspecting her new 2,500-acre estate, Grace
Mugabe announced to the assembled agricultural laborers: "I
am taking over this farm" (Guardian Weekly [London],
21-27 November 2002). Only such members of the post-colonial black
ruling elite have the money to operate the commercial farms at
a profit. The mass of black peasants who now occupy much of this
land in most cases don't even have seeds to plant next year's
crop to feed their families.
Let us consider the arguments of Mugabe
apologists like Gregory Elich at face value and assume the Zimbabwean
government is genuinely committed to bettering the conditions
of the black peasantry through an equitable division of land.
Where would it get the financial resources to supply seeds, fertilizer
and farm machinery to hundreds of impoverished black smallholders?
The country is already massively in debt to British and American
banks. And one can hardly expect the British ruling class to subsidize
the expropriation of Zimbabwe's white farmers with whom,
in some cases, they have family as well as financial ties.
In an interview in December with the
state-controlled newspaper The Herald, Mugabe admitted:
"We took it for granted that the supplies would be adequate."
But, he continued, "it then proved that we were mistaken.
Seed is short, fertilizer is short and tillage is inadequate."
According to UN sources, more than half the government's
tractor fleet--which was supposed to plow fields for poor
farmers--is out of service because of shortages of spare parts
During the 1990s, Zimbabwe produced an
average annual grain (corn and wheat) crop of almost two million
metric tons. Last year, the grain crop was less than half a million
tons. (A contributing factor was lack of rainfall, which resulted
in crop failures throughout southern Africa.) One doesn't
have to be an apologist for the white farmers or Western imperialists
to recognize that millions of people in Zimbabwe now face conditions
of famine. Indeed, it is a measure of the bankruptcy of Mugabe's
neocolonial regime that the transparently direct benefactors of
British imperialism, the MDC, could have any level of popular
Agriculture in Modern World Capitalism
In his Herald interview, Mugabe
triumphantly proclaimed: "For us, the most valuable resource
and source of our wealth is our land." But land as such is
no longer the most valuable non-labor resource in agricultural
production. Chemical fertilizer can enhance the natural fertility
of the soil. Irrigation can supplement inadequate rainfall. In
general, a modern commercial farm, producing for the world market,
employs a level of technology comparable to that of an industrial
enterprise producing for the world market. To effectively manage
such a "factory in the field" requires years of specialized
education and training.
The development of modern agriculture
was projected a century ago by Karl Kautsky, then considered the
leading Marxist theorist, in a major work, The Agrarian Question
(1900). Lenin regarded The Agrarian Question as a very
important contribution to a Marxist understanding of the changing
world capitalist economy. (Kautsky's later rightist revisionism
and hostility to the Bolshevik Revolution does not negate the
value of his earlier works.)
Kautsky recognized that just as developments
in science and technology had transformed small-scale handicraft
manufacturing into large-scale mechanized industry, similar developments,
albeit later and more slowly, were occurring in agriculture:
"Within a few years agriculture,
traditionally the most conservative of occupations, nearly devoid
of progress for almost an entire millennium and utterly devoid
for several centuries, suddenly became one of the most revolutionary
branches of modern industry, if not the most revolutionary. This
transformation meant that agriculture progressed from being a
handicraft, whose routines were passed down through the
generations, to being a science, or rather a complex of
sciences, undergoing a rapid expansion in both its empirical and
theoretical knowledge. Any farmer not fully at home with such
sciences, the mere 'practician,' will be helpless and
baffled in the face of current innovations, yet cannot continue
in the old ways." [emphasis in original]
Kautsky pointed out that the economic
size of a modern capitalist farm is to be measured not in acreage
per se but rather in capital per acre, which is directly related
to crop yield per acre:
"The law according to which the
more intensive the cultivation of the farm, the smaller its area
must be for a given volume of capital also works in the same direction.
An intensively farmed small estate represents a larger enterprise
than a large, extensively cultivated one."
While Kautsky foresaw the direction of
agricultural development, he misjudged its pace. Small-scale,
traditional peasant farming remained economically viable even
in West and Central Europe, not to speak of more backward regions
of the world, for several decades. His description of a scientifically
managed, mechanized farm was not so much an empirical picture
of European agriculture at the time as an anticipation of the
Following the Second World War, the revolution
in agricultural technology, the beginnings of which Kautsky had
analyzed, radically altered both the structure of agricultural
production and pattern of trade throughout the capitalist world.
The United States came to dominate the world market for basic
foodstuffs, including rice and soybeans, the traditional staples
of East Asian civilization. At the same time, a number of major
"Third World" countries (e.g., Mexico, South Korea,
Indonesia) now export industrial products and cash crops and import
foodstuffs, mainly from North America.
For a Socialist Federation of Southern
The desperate plight of Zimbabwean peasants
who now occupy the former white-owned commercial farms was described
in Kautsky's classic work on the agrarian question:
"The independent peasant farm has
become untenable: it can only continue by being associated with
a large establishment. If a nearby large industrial enterprise
employs peasants as wage-labourers, or specialised workers, they
will become its slaves. Where no such establishment exists, the
peasant needs a large agricultural enterprise to avoid sinking
into extreme poverty."
In all likelihood, most peasants on the
former white farms will revert to the kind of subsistence agriculture
which they practiced on the so-called "communal" lands.
Since agricultural produce (especially tobacco) has accounted
for half of Zimbabwe's export earnings, a large-scale reversion
to subsistence farming will lead to further massive contraction
of the modern urban-based sectors, from factories to universities.
What then is to be done? The answer does not lie purely within
the boundaries of this poor southern African country.
However, across Zimbabwe's southern
border is South Africa, the one relatively industrialized country
in sub-Saharan Africa. For example, South Africa generates more
than half the electric power in the entire continent. The key
force for social progress throughout the region is South Africa's
large, powerful and combative proletariat, predominantly black
but with important coloured and Indian components. What is key
is to mobilize that power in a struggle for socialist revolution.
But to realize that program, black workers
must be broken from their current political allegiance to the
ANC regime, the black front men for the white capitalists who
still own the country's factories, mines and farms. Spartacist
South Africa, section of the International Communist League, seeks
to build a Bolshevik workers party that will lead the struggle
against all forms of national and social oppression--the mass
homelessness in the black townships, the hideous conditions of
millions still trapped in the former "tribal reserves"
(bantustans), the degradation of women through reactionary tribal
traditions such as lobola (the bride price), government
persecution of and vigilante attacks on immigrants from other
The land question is an important motor
force for socialist revolution in South Africa. Some 55,000 white
commercial farmers own 250 million acres of the most fertile land
upon which work about a million black agricultural laborers and
their families. At the same time, 1.2 million black households,
numbering some seven million people, are crowded into 40 million
acres in the former "tribal reserves." Here are concentrated
the poorest of South Africa's poor. Largely women, children
and the aged, they are mainly supported by remittances from husbands,
brothers, sons and other relatives working in the country's
factories and mines. Insofar as the inhabitants of the former
"reserves" earn their own money, it is mainly from seasonal,
migrant labor on nearby white-owned farms. The large majority
of South Africa's rural toilers are thus agricultural proletarians
rather than smallholding peasants. A workers revolution in South
Africa would expropriate the highly mechanized and capital-intensive
white-owned farms and transform them into modern, large-scale
collective and state farms, thereby providing a decent living
for South Africa's rural toilers.
The agrarian question in Zimbabwe and
elsewhere in southern Africa is significantly different. While
350,000 agricultural laborers and their families worked on the
white-owned commercial farms, their number was dwarfed by the
six to seven million peasants engaged mainly in subsistence farming
in the "communal" lands. As we have seen, the Mugabe
regime was able to exploit and manipulate the land hunger of these
dispossessed peasants against the MDC opposition (and also against
the agricultural laborers).
A workers and peasants government in
Zimbabwe, in the context of a socialist federation of southern
Africa, would establish soviets (councils) of rural toilers, both
poor peasants and agricultural laborers, which would democratically
determine which land was organized as collective or state farms
and which was kept by (or distributed to) individual peasant families.
But a workers state in such a backward country will be immediately
faced with the problem of how to acquire items like tractors and
other farm machinery, which are essential to the collectivization
of agriculture. The solution to this fundamentally lies outside
the borders of Zimbabwe or, indeed, southern Africa as a whole.
Only an expanding collectivized economy, based on the necessary
extension of proletarian revolution to the advanced industrial
countries and an internationally planned economy, could provide
the necessary resources and technology to free rural workers from
backbreaking labor while absorbing in industry or construction
those former peasants and agricultural workers no longer needed
to work the land.
It is not only the land question which
unites the Zimbabwean and South African masses. The Ndebele people,
for example, reside on both sides of the border, which was arbitrarily
drawn according to the interests of British colonialism. Furthermore,
Zimbabweans make up a sizable proportion of migrant workers who
slave in the mines and on the commercial farms of South Africa.
These face constant persecution and deportations by the state
and murderous attacks by anti-immigrant vigilantes, and are used
as scapegoats by the ANC for the massive unemployment. At the
same time, the migrant workers are a living link between the South
African proletariat and the toiling masses throughout the region.
Spartacist South Africa fights for the labor movement to take
up the defense of migrant workers and all immigrants, demanding
full citizenship rights for all immigrants.
This is part of our larger struggle for
a socialist federation of southern Africa, in which there will
be a place for all the myriad peoples of the region, including
those whites who accept the rule of a government centrally based
on the black proletariat and rural toilers. Only workers rule
can break the yoke of imperialist domination. This program is
necessarily linked to the perspective of proletarian revolution
in the advanced capitalist countries of North America, West Europe
and Japan. A workers revolution in Zimbabwe would spark revolutionary
upheavals throughout the area, particularly in South Africa. And
a proletarian victory in South Africa would inspire workers across
the world, not least black workers in the U.S. To fully provide
the resources and technology to liberate the peoples of Africa
from famine and desperate poverty requires the international extension
of the revolution.
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