Zanu-PF must rectify, relaunch revolution
Posted: Monday, March 3, 2008
By Reason Wafawarova
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March 03, 2008
THE harmonised elections set for the 29th of this March offer, on the one hand, a massive challenge to Zimbabwe's agrarian revolution – as there are apparent danger signs on the path of the revolution – and, on the other hand, offer the Government an opportunity to carry out an honest revision, rectification and relaunching of the revolution for the ultimate victory that lies in the total economic emancipation of the poor masses of Zimbabwe.
The three Rs are a direct borrowing by this writer from the current strategy adopted by President Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela where "revision, rectification and relaunch" of the Bolivarian revolution has been his call – all in the wake of threats to the Venezuelan revolution – threats that have striking similarities with those faced by Zimbabwe's agrarian revolution.
Since December 2, when President Chavez's proposed constitutional reforms were thwarted by a referendum defeat, the US-backed Venezuelan opposition, together with the entire US imperialism machinery – have each seen the defeat as the green light to push forward their plans to destabilise Chavez's government.
This is reminiscent of the momentum gained by British imperialism and the Western-backed Zimbabwean opposition MDC in 2000 when a similar draft constitution proposal was defeated in a referendum. For Zimbabwe, the MDC leadership went to the extent of appointing some people for diplomatic postings as they prematurely wrote off the ruling party as dead and buried before the general election. Of course, the referendum defeat only awakened the revolutionary Zanu-PF into action as they embarked on massive restructuring of the party and also on that memorable land redistribution programme. The ruling party rose up like the giant of the pre-independence era and went on to win the parliamentary election that year, the presidential election in 2002 and another parliamentary election in 2005 – each time rendering apparent weakening effects on the disintegrating opposition.
The Bolivarian revolution – as the process of change led by socialist President Hugo Chavez is known – has got growing internal problems, largely coming from a strengthening of the rightwing of the Chavista movement calling itself the "endogenous right". These are the people within Chavez's own Chavista movement who are advocating reforms to the Bolivarian revolution – reforms that advocate a re-establishment of links with capitalism.
This rightwing group within the Chavista movement has become the most serious threat to the Bolivarian revolution – far more dangerous than the US-backed right wing opposition.
It is apparent that Zimbabwe's agrarian revolution is facing similar threats from a similar group of rightwing reformists whose loudest manifestation has been Simba Makoni of the independent presidential candidate fame, or is it infamy?
These reformists in Venezuela want a Chavista revolution without socialism, in other words without Chavez - they want an anti-capitalist revolution that does not break with capitalism. In Zimbabwe the internal rightwing within Zanu-PF want a land revolution that pleases capitalism – a land reform programme that does not break with imperialism. They want an agrarian reform programme without the masses – one without the pro-peasant Robert Mugabe – a revolution applauded by imperialism. This is what we hear Makoni preaching at his Press conferences. It is what Morgan Tsvangirai was struggling to put across at Sakubva Stadium when he launched his party's election manifesto.
While the 2000 draft constitution for Zimbabwe sought to redistribute white-occupied arable land, Chavez's constitutional reforms sought to institutionalise greater popular power and to increase restrictions on capitalists to the benefit of the working people of Venezuela.
Just like was the case with Zimbabwe in 2000, the capitalist-owned private media responded by launching a campaign based on lies and disinformation aimed at confusing the common man in Venezuela.
The damaging negative media campaign was, for both Zimbabwe and Venezuela – reinforced by economic sabotage – contributing if not leading to shortages of basic goods such as milk for Venezuela, fuel, foodstuffs, water, electricity and cash for Zimbabwe.
The Western-backed opposition in Venezuela was able to stoke the discontent that still exists among the
over such problems as corruption and bureaucratism. The discontent was whipped up to the extent that nearly three million people who voted for Chavez in the 2006 presidential election abstained in the referendum, handing the opposition its first electoral victory since Chavez came to power in 1998.
The Western-backed opposition in Zimbabwe is clearly trying to emulate their brothers in treachery in Venezuela by stoking the discontent that exists among the urban poor over problems such as corruption, inflation, food shortages, erratic power supplies and water problems. These are the problems upon which the MDC has based its campaign for the harmonised elections. Tsvangirai is of the opinion that whipping up the emotions of these poor urbanites is good politics that can earn him an election victory.
The uninvited and unwelcome lecture on free and fair elections by US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee – a lecture arrogantly delivered to Zimbabweans at the end of February – was just an attempt to build up on the hardships of the country for the benefit of imperial domination.
In Venezuela, there are similar efforts where a renewed US offensive has been unleashed with the aim of isolating Chavez internationally, and also to undermine the process of Latin American integration spearheaded by Venezuela. These are similar efforts being made by the US and Britain in the attempt to set up Sadc and other African countries against Zimbabwe.
A key part of this strategy has been to fuel tension between the targeted country and its neighbours – the way it has worked with Chad and Sudan in the Darfur crisis and also the way it's working with Colombia and Venezuela over the issue of the Colombian civil conflict involving the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) – Colombia's largest leftwing guerrilla group and the pro-America Colombian government.
The US keeps sending its officials like Admiral Michael Mullen, Pentagon's joint chief of staff; and John Walters, the US director of National Drug Control; to Colombia on missions to make baseless claims that Hugo Chavez materially supports FARC.
John Walters has gone further to accuse Chavez as "a major facilitator of the international drug trade" an accusation that serves as a sharp reminder to what the US did with Manuel Noriega of Panama in 1989.
South Africa could long have played Colombia on Zimbabwe had it not been for President Mbeki's pan-Africanist resilience. The major reason Tsvangirai and his Western backers are livid with South Africa's policy of quiet diplomacy is the failure of Western efforts to fan the flames of conflict between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Of course, they will always claim loudly that they are dead worried about the welfare of Zimbabweans – never mind how ludicrous it ever sounds.
For Zimbabwe, the most serious imperialist attack has been the illegal economic sanctions that were mobilised by Britain in retaliation to the reclamation of white-held land by the masses of Zimbabweans. These sanctions have come via ZIDERA for the US, the blocking of credit lines for the IMF and the World Bank and a general embargo against Zimbabwe for the Commonwealth and the EU.
For Venezuela, similar measures have been put in place as court orders have been obtained by ExxonMobil, backed by the US State Department, to freeze US$12 billion worth of assets of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, in both British and Dutch courts – a move Chavez has described as an "economic war".
ExxonMobil is retaliating after Chavez's government nationalised the Orinoco oil belt where the multinational company had invested heavily. PDVSA is the major financer to Venezuela's social projects and the broader aim is to cripple these projects and send a warning to other Latin American countries that might be considering resource nationalisation. The warning is simple - imperialism will fight back.
The known extra-parliamentary destabilisation by the US-led Western alliance usually involves the stepping up of economic sabotage by the capitalists – a style reminiscent of the sabotage suffered by the leftwing Chilean government of Salvador Allende in 1973. The sabotage was a precursor to the US-backed military coup by General Augusto Pinochet later that year.
This campaign involves the hoarding, speculation and smuggling of food, contributing to shortages. Of course, this is always combined with a virulent media campaign aimed at fuelling discontent.
The opposition in Zimbabwe and Venezuela is capitalising on the discontent within the urban population and they are both focused on networking to spread perfidious rumours meant to mobilise the people against the respective incumbent governments.
Eva Golinger of Venezuela recently revealed that the networking for the spread of rumours is funded by Usaid, a US government-funded organisation.
In Zimbabwe, this rumour machine is funded through a whole spectrum of civic organisations and a growing number of online publications – some of them with a strict editorial policy of publishing anything but the truth.
In the wake of this challenge, Presidents Mugabe and Chavez have called for greater unity within their respective revolutions.
It would appear both the Zanu-PF-led Zimbabwe agrarian revolution and the Venezuelan Bolivarian revolution are facing the challenge of divisions involving pro-capitalist economic blocs – for Venezuela there is an element of individuals with important military influence being part of the problem. For Zimbabwe, the face of this pro-capitalist bloc has been Makoni, a man who claims to have powerful backing within the ranks of the Zimbabwean revolution. He has, however, continuously failed to substantiate his claims - although the opposition rumour machine has so far significantly benefited from the speculation created by Makoni's claims.
For both Venezuela and Zimbabwe, there is the element of a more radical left, strong among the grassroots as well as among some major elements within the State – an element that wants to deepen the process of empowerment and to overcome corruption and bureaucratism – them being the two major impediments holding back the advance of the revolution.
The reclamation of land by the masses of Zimbabwe was a major victory for the empowerment of poor people just like the agrarian and nationalisation projects have been for Venezuela. However, problems such as sanctions-induced suffering, a divided workers' movement, a divided ideological focus as well as a growing gap between rhetoric and reality – all have meant that these problems have only been exacerbated to the advantage of the imperialists and their teams of lap-dog politicians in both Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
This has also meant that the rightwing element within each of the two countries' revolutions has somewhat gained momentum to the detriment of the revolution.
In Venezuela they called for a "Yes" vote during the day yet they spent each night discouraging voting for the radical constitutional reforms that threatened their material interests. In Zimbabwe, some of them openly castigate Makoni as a renegade sellout by day yet they are spending each night encouraging people to sympathise with the dissident former Politiburo member.
This is why the revolution is calling for a comprehensive revision, rectification and relaunching. There are danger signs ahead and this is the only way to pre-empt the imperialist assaults lying ahead.
In Venezuela the endogenous right is attempting to take over the Chavista party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) just like Zimbabwe's Makoni and Kudzai Mbudzi were initially claiming that their project was about "changing the bus driver in order to ensure the safety of passengers".
Such divisions reflect the class struggles within the revolutionary process. There is an element of conflict between the left and the right within the revolution - not the traditional right as is found in the MDC and the opposition in Venezuela but a revolutionary "rightwing".
In each revolution there is always an attraction of those who certainly fight imperialism for standing in their way towards aspired riches yet they definitely do not fight for national liberation, that is, for the cause of poor people.
These are people who vainly believe that breaking imperialism or US domination can assist economic development within a capitalist framework. They would rather create state capitalism where they, by virtue of holding political office, become the new owners of capital and the new exploiters of the masses.
Needless to say, these people have to contend with the revolutionary element of radicals, for whom nothing short of a thoroughgoing social revolution will solve the needs of the oppressed majority.
The problem with this local class of capitalists is that they reinforce the imperialist cause – in the process pushing the revolution further left and thereby creating more challenges and widening the gap between rhetoric and reality – in the process giving momentum to imperialist forces.
This is the homework for the 4 000 delegates who received instructions on how to sell Zanu-PF's manifesto last Friday. The reason President Mugabe reiterated the importance of admitting to failures and not promising unachievable goals to the electorate is precisely to deal with this gap between rhetoric and reality. This is part of the revision, rectification and relaunching of the revolution that is needed.
In this relaunch there is need for integrity, honesty and commitment. There is need to decisively deal with corruption, also a big problem in Venezuela. There is need to get rid of all counter-revolutionaries and to rid the revolution of the capitalist element. There is need to transfer all power back to the people, not the Simba Makoni way which says "Simba kuvanhu" as in Simba his name but in the real sense of the term where people are organised to monitor social projects and create their own sense of accountability.
A people's revolution cannot be stolen or killed but it can be delayed and March 29 is the day for all the revolutionary people of the Republic of Zimbabwe to come forward in defence of the revolution. This is no time to listen to the baiting voices from the right. Zimbabwe cannot be given away for a paltry US$10 billion which Tsvangirai baselessly claims is adequate to solve all the country's problems.
It is homeland or death for Zimbabweans. Together we will overcome.
Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
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