Zimbabwe

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progressive17 progressive17's picture
Zimbabwe

I think the military action against Robert Mugabe warrants a thread here in the International section.

Half a lifetime ago, Mugabe was a hero. He and his forces brought down the racist regime of Ian Smith. In the West, many of us demonstrated against what was then Rhodesia and South Africa. Eventually white rule was ended in both countries.

On the surface, Zimbabwe appears to be a working democracy, with elections held more or less every 5 years since 1980, when Mugabe first gained power in the country. Mugabe's winning political party ZANU-PF was heavily involved in the resistance to and overthrow of the Ian Smith regime.

It is alleged that Mugabe started out very popular, and tightened his grip on power by being more authoritarian and by fixing elections.

There is also some evidence that Zimbabwe has become a client state of China. 

voice of the damned

Wasn't be always viewed as an ally of China, with Nkomo and whatever his party was called regarded as being in the Soviet camp?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

It's all good!

6079_Smith_W

When one of the architects of Zimbabwe’s low-key coup landed in Beijing last week he was met by two of the most senior members of the world’s largest military force.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/16/zimbabwe-army-chief-trip-c...

 

NDPP

Military Stage Coup in Zimbabwe

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/16/zimb-n16.html

"Reports suggest some popular sympathy for the coup..."

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
"Reports suggest some popular sympathy for the coup..."

Just a wee, tiny minority who resent living under a dictatorship.  Everyone else likes the autocratic rule, and welcomes his mistress/wife as his legitimate heir to complete power (free and fair elections notwithstanding).

Of course there's some sympathy for this.  Geez.  It's not like they could have a different government by voting differently.

Sean in Ottawa

Change, any change, is a good bet when you are at bottom.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

 

1)The attempted land confiscations Mugabe staged were a good example of a fairly just objective being twisted into excessive actions.  It is basically wrong that a handful of wealthy white Zimbabweans(people who probably still think of themselves as "Rhodesians")own a massive chunk of the arable land and some type of land redistribution clearly had to happen.  But in Mugabe's hands, this just objective became a pretext for the encouragement of personal violence and essentially theft.  It was a disaster as handled; yet this still needs to be addressed in a humane and democratic way later, since it isn't possible to create a just society in Zimbabwe or anyplace else without egalitarian control of wealth and resources.

2) Mugabe used to be thought of as a figure of the Left, but his endorsement of the Conservative Party in the 2010 UK elections means he should now be seen as essentially an authoritarian reactionary.  If he loses power, it's no loss to the actual Left, and the Left is not responsible for Mugabe's actions.

3) Do we know anything about the officers who have staged a coup and does anyone think we can trust THEIR intentions?

WWWTT

Ok here’s a link from China. 

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/

From this link you can click on different stories about this serious event unfolding.
From what I recalcreading Mugabe was never the target. Instead there are alleged corrupt ministers in government. Everyone is calling for peace. Neighbouring countries are very concerned because there’s a concern of destabilization to the region

bekayne

Ken Burch wrote:

2) Mugabe used to be thought of as a figure of the Left, but his endorsement of the Conservative Party in the 2010 UK elections means he should now be seen as essentially an authoritarian reactionary.  If he loses power, it's no loss to the actual Left, and the Left is not responsible for Mugabe's actions.

Don't forget his raging homophobia.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

bekayne wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

2) Mugabe used to be thought of as a figure of the Left, but his endorsement of the Conservative Party in the 2010 UK elections means he should now be seen as essentially an authoritarian reactionary.  If he loses power, it's no loss to the actual Left, and the Left is not responsible for Mugabe's actions.

Don't forget his raging homophobia.

I certainly don't...and have always admired British LGBTQ activist Peter Tatchell for confronting Mugabe about that:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/jan/13/protesters-peter-tatchell-mug...

 

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

It's all good!

LOL

Another subtle indication something's up is that he isn't using a TelePrompTer.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, I think there's two ways to prevent a coup.

1.  Rule with an iron fist.  Rig elections.  Purge the upper ranks regularly before any seeds can sprout.  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

2.  Hold free and fair elections.  You might still lose at the ballot box, but you won't languish in prison or swing from the end of a rope.

When world leaders complain that a "coup" against them is brewing, look at the state of elections in their country.  Why would people take to the streets with pitchforks and torches if they change leadership with a pencil?  I'm neither endorsing nor justifying all coups, but at a certain point you have to wonder "well, what did you expect they'd do?"

voice of the damned

WWWTT wrote:

Ok here’s a link from China. 

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/

From what I recalcreading Mugabe was never the target. Instead there are alleged corrupt ministers in government.

Well, from what I'm reading, his wife was DEFINITELY one of the targets. And, assumming that Mugabe really did want Grace to succeed him, it would be a bit of a tightrope act for the miltiary to say that they won't allow him to name his successor, but they're otherwise going to continue recognizing his authority as president.

 

 

 

voice of the damned

And from WWWTT's xinhuanet link...

Zimbabwe's Ruling ZANU-PF party meeting to draft motion to dismiss Mugabe

And the newscaster in the video says that they're proposing to impeach him if he doesn't step down.  

NDPP

Going Underground: Army Taking Over Zimbabwe (and vid)

https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/410265-zimbabwe-issue-morgan-...

"In this episode we look at the developing situation in Zimbabwe with the former chief adviser of UK-backed opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, and the head of Mugabe's Zanu-PF's UK chapter."

George Galloway on Zimbabwe/Mugabe

https://youtu.be/y_VRMLdD_04

"I'm going to start with the $400 slaves you can now buy in Libya...I mention it not just because it's worthy of itself that in 2017 there are slave-markets in a country liberated by NATO, [led by a Canadian general] by us, but because it contrasts with other parts of Africa that are more significantly in the news. It's a strange kind of coup that has taken place in Zimbabwe..."

NDPP

Zimbabwe's Ruling Party Replaces Mugabe As Leader With Ousted VP

https://t.co/A2qQnUXaJe

"Grace Mugabe has also been expelled from the Zanu-PF party..."

WWWTT

voice of the damned wrote:

WWWTT wrote:

Ok here’s a link from China. 

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/

From what I recalcreading Mugabe was never the target. Instead there are alleged corrupt ministers in government.

Well, from what I'm reading, his wife was DEFINITELY one of the targets. And, assumming that Mugabe really did want Grace to succeed him, it would be a bit of a tightrope act for the miltiary to say that they won't allow him to name his successor, but they're otherwise going to continue recognizing his authority as president.

 

 

 

ya when the military steps into the government than things are pretty bad. I don’t follow politics from the African continent much unfortunately. I figured it a good idea to post a link with an different respective non white colonial

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

What's unfortunate is that if Mugabe had reclaimed the land and then given it to the people, if he'd governed Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans, if he'd run free and fair elections (and won them handily) then he could have left behind an heroic legacy that would make Che Guevara look like a flash in the pan.

Pogo Pogo's picture

Agreed, but of course that is easier said than done.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Giving the reclaimed land to the people (as opposed to war buddies) would have been difficult?  Doing what's best for Zimbabwe rather than himself would have been difficult?  Running for election on his own merits and accomplishments would have been difficult?

I'm not expecting everyone to be a hero, but if you start off as one then you certainly have a head start and it seems more a shame to squander that.

NDPP

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Defies Expectations of Resignation in Address To Nation

https://on.rt.com/8smi

"Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has shocked expectations by pledging to remain on as leader of the ZANU-PF party in an address to the nation. That despite the party removing his as leader earlier in the day...."

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The president said the “failures of the past” may have triggered anger “in some quarters". He said this was “quite understandable.

voice of the damned

And...he's gone.

WWWTT

C'mon votd! Provide the link man!

http://www.aljazeera.com/topics/country/zimbabwe.html

edited to add another link

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-11/21/c_136769552.htm

And I should say that there doesn't seem to be much of a story yet beyong that he just resigned.

voice of the damned

The Guardian has a few more details. Apparently, the impeachment proceedings were underway when he called it quits.

http://tinyurl.com/ybcxapb2

 

 

NDPP

What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/21/what-is-behind-the-military-coup...

"The long-planned coup to install Mnangagwa was underway, but it was important for the military to paint a facade of legality...Western officials are keen to see the transitional government adopt economic policies to their liking. 'It's a transition to a new era for Zimbabwe; that's really what we're hoping for,' acting US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Daniel Yamamoto said..."

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe thinking he could just "will" the Presidency of Zimbabwe to his wife, like leaving her his golf clubs.

voice of the damned

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe thinking he could just "will" the Presidency of Zimbabwe to his wife, like leaving her his golf clubs.

Combining the respective analyses of WSWS and Counterpunch, it would seem that China, the country often lionized in left-wing circles as the kind and gentle alternative to predatory capitalism, collaborated with the coup-plotters to install a regime devoted to opening Zimbabwe up to predatory capitalism.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Hehe.  Always with that yankee Bogeyman.

I guess it remains to be seen whether or not the new President will or will not be "chummy" with those darn Americans.  But it's interesting to note that this wasn't a coup by the opposition, and the new President was at least sufficiently in agreement with Mugabe to be his VP, until Grace Mugabe wanted to reach for the stars.

Should the people of Zimbabwe fear a President who'll court international investment again (albeit with Capitalists)?  Or a President who basically just does more of the same?  Maybe this guy will repatriate the stolen land from Mugabe's war buddies and give it to his own buddies.  Only time will tell.

NDPP

The Way Forward After Mugabe

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/24/pers-n24.html

"...The promises made by Minangagwa, sworn in as president today, of 'a new and unfolding democracy' and 'jobs, jobs' are worthless. His goal is to impose an adrenalized version of capitalist policies that have already created so much suffering. 

Mugabe's threat to extend indigenisation to the extraction industries was used by Mnangagwa and Commander of the Armed Forces Constantino Chiwenga to seek Beijing's backing for their palace coup against Mugabe - with promises of a more liberal trade policy that were also extended to the US ,Britain, etc. 

More importantly, Zimbabwe has placed itself at the centre of a struggle being waged by US imperialism against China and Russia in a contemporary version of the scramble for Africa that threatens the world with war..."

voice of the damned

From WSWS:

Mugabe did nothing to wage a genuine offensive against big-business interests. He responded by combining attacks on the working class in the urban centres with encouraging limited land seizures to cement ZANU-PF’s overwhelmingly rural base—with Mugabe declaring, “Our roots are in the soil and not in the factories.”

An old tension among Marxist governments. Apparently, Stalin was appalled that Mao saw the peasantry rather than industrial workers as the revolutionary class.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
More importantly, Zimbabwe has placed itself at the centre of a struggle being waged by US imperialism against China and Russia in a contemporary version of the scramble for Africa that threatens the world with war...

wsws.org is predicting war?

Well, we should take that seriously, because they wouldn't just throw that around willy-nilly if it weren't pretty much inevitable.  Notwithstanding the last 500 times they've said "... and is this the preamble to World War III??????".  Anyone can get it wrong the first 500 or so times.

Apropos of nothing, I have some good blankets, and some diesel fuel, and dehydrated meal rations for sale if anyone's interested.  What if this is the real deal, right?  Also got a water purifier... hit me up.

WWWTT

These African politics I find real hard to get my head around???  I don’t understand why anyone in Zimbabwe would feel it necessary to seek out the support of a western white colonial/former colonial country. China and Russia I can understand   Here’s a link with a little background for some insight 

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/chinas-investments-in-africa-whats-the-real-story/

And here’s another insightful link!

https://www.thoughtco.com/african-countries-that-are-landlocked-4060437

now I believe that most Nations in Africa are seriously deprived of infrastructure on a full scale from schools hospitals and research facilities. Water and energy supply including irrigation. Energy production.

And then there’s the lingering dehumanizing effects of colonialism. Clearly the people’s of all the African nations have many challenges to overcome so that they may develop a large pool of intellect to develop their own creative solutions to their inherited diverse dilemmas 

voice of the damned

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
More importantly, Zimbabwe has placed itself at the centre of a struggle being waged by US imperialism against China and Russia in a contemporary version of the scramble for Africa that threatens the world with war...

wsws.org is predicting war?

Well, we should take that seriously, because they wouldn't just throw that around willy-nilly if it weren't pretty much inevitable.  Notwithstanding the last 500 times they've said "... and is this the preamble to World War III??????".  Anyone can get it wrong the first 500 or so times.

Apropos of nothing, I have some good blankets, and some diesel fuel, and dehydrated meal rations for sale if anyone's interested.  What if this is the real deal, right?  Also got a water purifier... hit me up.

Yeah, the trots often have a relatively clear-headed analysis, class-based and avoiding the romanticization of nominally left-wing regimes that so blights certain other progressive commentators. But they really gotta tone down the apocalyptic urgency.

voice of the damned

WWWTT wrote:

These African politics I find real hard to get my head around???  I don’t understand why anyone in Zimbabwe would feel it necessary to seek out the support of a western white colonial/former colonial country. China and Russia I can understand   Here’s a link with a little background for some insight 

 

Well, depending what you mean by "support" here, realpolitik would likely dictate that it's a bad idea to have all your support coming from one particular country or even one particular block of countries.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Yeah, the trots often have a relatively clear-headed analysis, class-based and avoiding the romanticization of nominally left-wing regimes that so blights certain other progressive commentators. But they really gotta tone down the apocalyptic urgency.

Or at least be a bit less obviously partisan about it.

Somehow it's ALWAYS the U.S., the EU, or NATO who are recklessly leading the world toward war.

Russia wanting Ukraine back isn't leading us to war, but somehow Ukraine (and NATO!  And the U.S.!) resisting is what's leading us to war (and has been for years now).  What if they predicted a war and nobody came??

 

voice of the damned

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Yeah, the trots often have a relatively clear-headed analysis, class-based and avoiding the romanticization of nominally left-wing regimes that so blights certain other progressive commentators. But they really gotta tone down the apocalyptic urgency.

Or at least be a bit less obviously partisan about it.

Somehow it's ALWAYS the U.S., the EU, or NATO who are recklessly leading the world toward war.

Russia wanting Ukraine back isn't leading us to war, but somehow Ukraine (and NATO!  And the U.S.!) resisting is what's leading us to war (and has been for years now).  What if they predicted a war and nobody came??

 

In fairness, I think when the WSWS opposes US policy in eastern europe, it's because they genuinely think the US is in the wrong, not because they just sat down and said "What would be the best thing for Russia in this situation?"

Historically, with the exception of those Maoists who stuck with China during the Sino-Soviet split, the trots have probably been the least pro-Soviet/Russian of the major Marxist tendencies, and even when they've taken pro-Russian positions(as with the Crimea), it's always with a lot of caveats about the nature of the Soviet or Russian regime. In contrast to certain pro-Russian websites(not mentioning any names) that can't discuss the Crimea without also mentioning Russia's glorious history of fighting off the enemies of civiliation, going back to the Mongol hordes.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
and even when they've taken pro-Russian positions(as with the Crimea), it's always with a lot of caveats about the nature of the Soviet or Russian regime.

Fair enough, though I don't really recall those babblers who refer to wsws or the rest highlighting those caveats in their posts at babble.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

wsws is but one tendency of Trotskyism. There are dozens, if not hundreds more. However, Maoism is by no means a tendency of Trotskyism. If united by anything, Trotskyism is opposed to Stalinism. Maoism is a flavour of Stalinism.

By the way, people who subscribe to the ideals of Leon Trotsky (in whatever tendency) are not "trots" or even "Trotskyites", but Trotskyists. Saying "trot" is like saying "commie" or "pinko", and surely we do not do that here.

There are even some Trotskyists who believe that the (mostly Stalinist and very imperfect) Soviet Union should have survived because since its downfall, things have become much worse for the working class.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
By the way, people who subscribe to the ideals of Leon Trotsky (in whatever tendency) are not "trots" or even "Trotskyites", but Trotskyists. Saying "trot" is like saying "commie" or "pinko", and surely we do not do that here.

Similarly, those we might refer to as "Trekkies" prefer to be known as "Trekkers".

Knowing is half the battle.

Rev Pesky

For those who would like a closer look at 'Trotskyism', here is the website of the Fourth International, the organization started by Leon Trotsky.

International Viewpoint

I think most would find this more restrained, analytical and sane, than WSWS.

 

WWWTT

Man you guys don't seem very interested in Zimbabwe. I can't see how a side debate of Marxism is somehow supposed to shed light of the hardships the peoples of Zimbabwe are facing and with a military coup. Am I missing something here?

After a bit of searching, it seems that Zimbabwe main money maker is agriculture (as in many if not most countries).

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-11/26/c_136780645.htm

Now I'm not a smoker, but I guess tobacco is important to some people? And here's another link with more Chinese perspective towards Zimbabwe. 

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-11/25/c_136777444.htm

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

progressive17 wrote:

wsws is but one tendency of Trotskyism. There are dozens, if not hundreds more. However, Maoism is by no means a tendency of Trotskyism. If united by anything, Trotskyism is opposed to Stalinism. Maoism is a flavour of Stalinism.

By the way, people who subscribe to the ideals of Leon Trotsky (in whatever tendency) are not "trots" or even "Trotskyites", but Trotskyists. Saying "trot" is like saying "commie" or "pinko", and surely we do not do that here.

There are even some Trotskyists who believe that the (mostly Stalinist and very imperfect) Soviet Union should have survived because since its downfall, things have become much worse for the working class.

OK...I hope I can ask this without offending you, because I respect a lot of things people who are inspired by Trotsky do and have to say, but can you tell me why the term "Trotskyist" is ok,  but "Trotskyite" is some sort of an insult?  I've often heard people in or near the Fourth International tradition say that it was, but never got a clear explanation from anyone as to why-and it's especially puzzing from a linguistic standpoint to hear people insist on being referred to as "Trotskyists" when they (properly, in my view)use the term "Stalinist" to derde the handful of deluded people who still defend the way the Soviet Union was run after 1924.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

Stalinists say ¨Trostkyite" and Trotskyists say ¨Trotskyist¨, in a nutshell.

voice of the damned

progressive:

Yes, I'm aware that Maoists are not a faction of Trotskyists. I was saying that Maoists were the only group of MARXISTS who were less pro-Soviet than the Trotskykists.

As for "trot", I've heard Trotskyists themseves use the term, so I always figured it was okay, sort of like "dippers" for the NDP. I'm in a hurry, so can't write more.

 

 

voice of the damned

Anyway, I'm happy to stop using "trot" and even "trotskyite" if it'll help maintain civility on the boards. Though I do have to wonder: if intra-left sectarian invective is to be considered unacceptable, does that include a Trotskyist posting something like "social democracy is a disease"(direct quote from a trotskyist of my erstwhile acquaintance)? What about an old-time Maoist saying that Deng Xiapoing was a "running dog capitalist roader"? Could someone who is a fan of the contemporary Chinese Communist Party take exception to that?

 

voice of the damned

Back to Zimbabwe, a High Court has ruled that the army's actions don't constitute a coup.

https://tinyurl.com/yanoan58

 

 

 

voice of the damned

I guess the idea is that since Grace Mugabe's plan to succeed Robert was illegitimate, it was okay for the military to move in against her. I'd be curious to know, though, what if any laws Mugabe was breaking by trying to put her in power. (Since this is a court opinion we're talking about).

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

progressive17 wrote:

Stalinists say ¨Trostkyite" and Trotskyists say ¨Trotskyist¨, in a nutshell.  

You'd think the Trotskyists would give it back by calling their rivals "Stalinites", then.

Sounds like it's basically the sectarian version of five year olds calling each other "booger eater" and "poopyhead".

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Though I do have to wonder: if intra-left sectarian invective is to be considered unacceptable, does that include a Trotskyist posting something like "social democracy is a disease"

The unwritten rules say that someone MORE radical can feel free to criticize or mock someone LESS radical, but not the other way around.

This is why, when some testosterone-head in a hoodie plays smashy-smashy at a demonstration, it's not OK to question his "diversity of tactics", but the next day, when the tear gas is out of everyone's nostrils, it's perfectly OK for him to describe peaceful protesters as "marching impotently on their knees".

Quote:
You'd think the Trotskyists would give it back by calling their rivals "Stalinites", then.

Isn't a stalinite a geological formation?  Is it the one that points up, or the one that points down?

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