Mugabe etc.

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Sat Apr 29 10:28:17 PDT 2000

[bounced bec of an address oddity]

Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 17:43:44 +0200 To: lbo-talk at From: Patrick Bond <pbond at>

Chris Burford wrote:
>The land movement (not just Mugabe) is trying to complete the
>anti-imperialist anti-colonialist struggle of 20 years ago, and reclaim
>the land seized by British settlers in the 1890's. Quite right.
>Quite right that Britain should pay compensation.

Sure, advance the demand for reparations (I'm typing now while sitting in on a fantastic Jo'burg conference on the topic, featuring by Dennis Brutus, Fatima Meer, Molefe Tsele and Archbishop Njungonkulu Ndungane--the cream of SA's radical internationalists). But in Zimbabwe, details are damn important. Exactly who is the "land movement"? It would be FANTASTIC if this was more than a group of roughly 8,000 manipulated folk (from mainly urban settings) whom Mugabe and Chenjerai Hunzvi of the War Veterans are taking advantage of as cannon fodder, but (I predict) only to spit them out later when the populist electioneering fades. I hope I'm wrong, and that this represents a quick way to accomplish structural rural power-shifts, including as you say switching from tobacco (and then reviewing Zimbabwe's imports to plan where to make cuts due to the decline in forex). But solidarity in this thorny context is, I would still argue, about identifying with the most democratic and best-rooted forces from the working class, and notwithstanding the recent entryism by white capital, those comrades are very much in the Movement for Democratic Change.

Yes the MDC is a new party (there were simply no resources to launch earlier than last September), but its roots are to be found in a decade of party-independent Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union mobilisation, which culminated in a superb National Working People's Convention in February 1999. You can go to the ZCTU website (which MAY be something like ) and get the fairly radical resolutions (amidst a fair bit of other waffle from ZCTU leaders).

The struggle for the heart/mind of the MDC isn't over just yet.

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