[DEBATE] : Re: Zim sanctions and social justice!
hypercube at telkomsa.net
Wed Jun 7 17:08:38 BST 2006
Happily, Patrick, I think we are drawing towards the same conclusion.
In the absence of a mass popular democratically-organised Zim Solidarity
movement, there is nothing in prospect other than regime-change-oriented
sanctions which will produce another bourgeois fix as bad as or worse than
the present one. Which may or may not happen. Without the mass movement we
are left with the pathetic "Make Poverty History" position of "They've Got
the Power and We Can Make Them Use It", where the principal agency is with
It's not "just like" the anti-apartheid movement, though, because AA STARTED
as a popular boycott movement (it was first called the "Boycott Movement")
with an overt anti-Imperialist nature, intending to dismantle the elements
of Imperial complicity piecemeal from below, and to raise the profile of the
liberation movement, communists and all. That was in 1959.
The process by which this was much later on partially gazumped into a
sanctions position came when AA and the liberation movement began to make
significant gains and it was it was the inevitable result of those gains.
Russell characterises this phenomenon of reaction as "the left doing the
spade work for subsequent humanitarian imperialist intervention" which is a
bit of a dismal way of looking at things.
In fact the position of the liberation movement was intermediate between
unconditional victory (which never happens in any war of any kind, not even
a revolutionary war, e.g Trotsky's remark about the forces of opposition
being ten times stronger after the revolution than before) on the one hand,
and a complete imperialist finesse, sidelining the liberation movement
altogether. Neither of these things happened.
It was a tactical situation of sufficient force to produce a definite
qualitative change. If that was not so, neither you, nor Russell, nor myself
would be here doing what we are doing. Without the AA and all the other
components of the struggle there would have been no tactical strength at all
on our side at the point of transition.
This general relation hit me in the face at some point in the mid-1980s when
I was asked to do an input at a gathering of SDP, Liberals or Lib Dems, or
whatever they were calling themselves at the time, on sanctions, for my
local AA. The first question stumped me. It was: "How are we going to
blockade such a long coastline, then?" My father was a ship-commander in the
Royal Navy in the second world war, so I sort of naturally know that
blockade is an act of war. AA was not for war, and never had been. How could
this guy be so stupid?, I wanted to say.
What was happening was that these guys saw the way things were going and
wanted to take over the initiative, naturally reading the thing in their own
liberal-imperialist terms. What stopped them taking over was the huge
momentum that nearly four decades of anti-apartheid mass work had built up,
especially within the organised working class.
The Labour Party also wanted to co-opt AA in the 1980s, which is another
story. But the AA defences were well laid right at the beginning and that
particular story can be read on my web site. Search there for "1999, Gurney,
A Great Cause". Or alternatively find it in the AA archive on the ANC web
site. The point was that there was a crucial decision taken to make the AA
an autonomous British organisation with a democratic constitution, not
beholden to or dependent on any other structure, British or South African.
This decision was contested, but won. A great historic victory it was, in my
The Zim and Swaz solidarity activists have not yet passed this necessary
milestone and this is why we are getting nowhere. It is only COSATU with its
built-in mass following that can do anything at all, but even the mighty
COSATU cannot substitute for a dedicated mass organisation in either case.
That is my view, and it is quite well known that I hold this view, both in
the ZSF and in SSN, not to mention FOCUS. So far, it is a minority view,
So the trouble, according to me, is not that we are repeating history, but
that we are not repeating the single most important ingredient of that
history (as far as a solidarity movement goes), namely the autonomous,
dedicated solidarity movement, one for each country in question. (Note that
the AA was paralleled in Britain by movements for Namibia and other
countries. It was never an omnibus, and would have failed if it was).
The internal political economy of Zim is a different matter. Let me leave
that for another discussion. The most important thisn is this point you have
raised about the mass movement of solidarity for Zim, and its lamentable
absence from the scene.
Web site at: http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/
Blog at: http://domza.net/
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From: debate-bounces at lists.kabissa.org
[mailto:debate-bounces at lists.kabissa.org]On Behalf Of Patrick Bond
Sent: 07 June 2006 04:53 PM
To: debate: SA discussion list; tapera Kapuya
Subject: [DEBATE] : Re: Zim sanctions and social justice!
Though I'm too hectic to answer properly, thanks to you for inputting here.
Obviously the article raises the issues of for-profit collusion with
Muggers. The political implications are for the kinds of debates that
have begun here, but that are centrally important if/when they happen
within Zimbabwe by leading social forces. As far as I know, only Pius
Ncube has spoken out vociferously for sanctions. In a coming set of
articles, probably to be published in The Zimbabwean or the Zim Indy,
Tapera Kapuya and I will take the debate further so as to consider the
more concrete ways SA capital supports the Zim regime. The point would
be to provide a focus for activists who have (rightly) given up on elite
dealmaking. So Dominic sadly misses the most basic point, which is that
imperialist Western intervention and subimperialist Pretoria
intervention will not happen, hence any genuine sanctions would be
popular-based, just like during the anti-apartheid movement. However,
we'd recognise that the legitimacy to call for such sanctions comes
primarily from those to be affected, in Zimbabwe. That's the process
we're trying to explore, largely by supplying some basic info about the
corporate game in play.
Thanks again, if Tapera agrees, we'll run some more of the argument
(which he has really been pioneering) by you comrades in coming days.
joy mabenge wrote:
> Those far, let alone completely divorced from the
> suffering masses in Zimbabwe seem to easily lapse into
> amnesia when it comes to the Zimbabwe question.
> Patrick's points, perhaps reiterated in short by
> Tinashe are stark clear (especially to the 'remnants'
> of the left in Zimbabwe) and do not need rocket
> science to comprehend. Coming from the trenches
> myself, knowing how hard we fight in the limited
> space, having been locked in and butchered by state
> agents in the trenches, and still remaining resolute,
> together with thousands of fellow Zimbabweans, I may
> hold some moral high ground to proclaim that the road
> to a 'new' Zimbabwe can only be fought through a
> complex mix of local actions and international
> solidarity (in what ever form to de-legitimise the
> regime hiding behind a finger through absolute mockery
> of principles of Pan-Africanism). The regime in Harare
> is very comfortable because of proper
> 'instrumentalization' of disorder and a tacit
> acclamation by the benefiting elites and some big
> business that in continued disorder 'Zimbabwe works'.
> We will not rest until the search for social justice,
> which none of us can claim to have found so far, wins
> the day.
> --- Russell <grinker at mweb.co.za> wrote:
>> I'm not sure where Dominic gets the idea that I
>> advocate sanctions. Maybe in
>> his righteous rush to post, he ignored my last
>> paragraph about the left's
>> spade-work for 'humanitarian' imperialism? I've long
>> differed with Patrick
>> that sanctions are in any way a progressive (or even
>> useful) liberation
>> strategy. Calling for imperialist countries to help
>> liberate Zim is
>> analogous to asking the board of directors at
>> Checkers to come out in
>> support of a workers' strike at Pick 'n Pay - plain
>> In addition, it's an open invitation to imperialism
>> to stick its big nose
>> further into the business of African countries. Most
>> of us once understood
>> that the West had no progressive role to play in
>> Africa - apparently that's
>> changed. And for what survives of the left in Zim
>> and an assortment of
>> bishops, begging the imperialists to help them in
>> their time of trouble
>> seems to be their last resort. I suppose that like
>> the Kurds and the
>> so-called Marsh Arabs of Iraq, they may have to
>> learn the hard way.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Dominic Tweedie" <hypercube at telkomsa.net>
>> To: "debate: SA discussion list "
>> <debate at lists.kabissa.org>
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 8:42 AM
>> Subject: [DEBATE] : Re: Zim sanctions?
>> Russell and Patrick, you are no better than a couple
>> of common liberals.
>> Your old mole,
>> Web site at: http://amadlandawonye.wikispaces.com/
>> Blog at: http://domza.net/
>> Subscribe for free e-mail updates at:
>> Library of documents at: http://cu.domza.net/
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: debate-bounces at lists.kabissa.org
>> [mailto:debate-bounces at lists.kabissa.org]On Behalf
>> Of Russell
>> Sent: 07 June 2006 08:24 AM
>> To: debate: SA discussion list
>> Subject: [DEBATE] : Re: Zim sanctions?
>> Patrick - so what exactly are you advocating with
>> regard to sanctions
>> against Zim? I think you need to spell it out more
>> explicitly. Your article
>> merely seems to complain that other
>> countries/multi-lateral agencies aren't
>> doing it properly and are in fact secretly doing
>> business with Zim (what a
>> So what do you want them to do?
>> We surely need to remember the role played by the
>> old left in doing the
>> spade work for subsequent humanitarian imperialist
>> interventions all over
>> the place, including Iraq.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Patrick Bond" <pbond at mail.ngo.za>
>> To: "debate at mailhost15.mweb.co.za:SA discussion
>> <debate at lists.kabissa.org>
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 6:52 AM
>> Subject: [DEBATE] : Zim sanctions?
>> The Mercury
>> Time to advocate serious sanctions
>> DEBATE mailing list
>> DEBATE at lists.kabissa.org
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