Friday, September 18, 2009

(HERALD) How MDCs brought disaster

How MDCs brought disaster

THIS is the last of a two-part series in which DR TAFATAONA MAHOSO looks at Western subversion of the Zimbabwean economy and the role MDC formations and their leadership played in the economic downturn.

NOW, if we objectively compare the actual conduct of the MDC formations since 1999 with the preconditions for social democracy listed by Phyllis Jordan, it is easy to understand why the MDC formations have brought disaster.

Where social democracy requires generous inflows of investment capital to expand production and employment, the MDC formations asked for illegal and racist economic sanctions to be imposed on the people.

The result is well documented in Dr Gideon Gono’s book, Zimbabwe’s Casino Economy: Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary Times.

Instead of encouraging generous inflows of investment capital, the MDC formations chased away the little that was here, through illegal sanctions, through stayaways and acts of sabotage.

Instead of enhancing the mass base and power of organised labour so that it could bargain with employers from a position of strength, so that it could protect jobs for working people — the MDC formations became stooges of the very same British companies being used by the UK and US to enforce illegal economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.

In the peculiar stayaways supposedly called by the MDC formations, the workers found themselves being shut out by employers in collaboration with the MDC.

The result was the almost total destruction of the formally employed workforce. Those who could sell their labour abroad left Zimbabwe with encouragement or letters from the MDC.

Those who could not go away joined the ranks of the unemployed or tried to employ themselves in the informal sector.

As a result, it became impossible to organise industrial strikes. The MDC formations and NGOs allied to them found themselves having to bribe street kids and unemployed people to mount pathetic urban riots which they misrepresented as "mass action" mounted by a militant labour movement!

So, instead of achieving the high rate of employment which is one of the requirements for social democracy to thrive, Zimbabwe ended up with factories running at below 30 per cent capacity, as a result of illegal sanctions, stayaways, sabotage and financial warfare combined with frequent droughts.

In short, it was obvious that one could not establish social democracy in a country where less than 20 per cent of the workforce was in formal employment.

The same applies to the fourth requirement, that the state should enjoy a broad and growing tax base to ensure generous inflows of revenue for massive social services.

The strategies adopted by the MDC formations were from the very beginning aimed at achieving state implosion through illegal sanctions, financial warfare, stayaways, urban riots and outright sabotage.

Even now, Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s war with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe over the US$510 million from the G20 via the IMF demonstrates a consistent policy to precipitate a "failed state" in Zimbabwe which can be used to justify foreign intervention. That is not "democratisation."

So it is the pursuit of implosion, the pursuit of a failed state in Zimbabwe, which we have allowed the MDC formations to call "democratisation." And the purpose of precipitating an implosion is not democracy. It is recolonisation!

Before it died, The Daily Gazette did a story titled Africa in need of a new colonialism? That was on January 28, 1993.

The article paraphrased British reactionaries (including Paul Johnson of The Spectator) who were urging the North Atlantic powers to abandon their fear of being called racists and imperialists, so that they could intervene unreservedly in African affairs.

The Herald on December 30, 1993 also reported the same western efforts to escort world opinion toward the acceptance of a more overt and aggressive pursuit of the Third Enclosure Movement.

The article was entitled "Open Western Plans for the Recolonisation of Africa," by Karrim Essack. The opening paragraph of that article is worth quoting:

"The advocates of recolonisation of Africa are open about it. The mouthpieces (or opinion escort services) of both conservative and liberal establishments have written about it.

The New York Times, seen by many as a liberal paper, said: "The Africans are a savage people, neither mentally nor economically able to adjust themselves to the swift pace of civilisation.’ Not to be outdone, Time (magazine) "… endorsed President (Bill) Clinton’s stand on intervention in Africa…"

The following year the liberal US magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, provided an apparently global and non-racist rationale for western destabilisation of and intervention in the South.

In the magazine’s issue of February 1994, Robert D Kaplan published a long piece called "The Coming Anarchy: How scarcity, crime, overpopulation, tribalism and disease are rapidly destroying the social fabric of our planet."

Paraphrasing Samuel P Huntington and Thomas Fraser Homer-Dixon, Kaplan offered a post-modernist rehashing of the myth of the survival of the fittest, where the Anglo-Saxon race (now seen only as Northern and metropolitan) represents the fittest, while the others, the rest, must accept the role of the unfit. According to the Kaplan article in The Atlantic Monthly:

"We are entering a bifurcated (binary) world. Part of the world is inhabited by Hegel’s and Fukuyama’s Last Man, healthy, well fed, and pampered by technology.

"The other, larger, part is inhabited by Hobbes’s First Man, condemned to a life that is ‘poor, nasty, brutish, and short.’ Although both parts will be threatened by environmental stress (and scarcity), the Last Man will be able to master it; the First Man will not."

Most of Kaplan’s article then deals with Africa as the one continent where countries and cultures will not survive. That is to justify the pursuit of implosion, not democratisation.

Then the Daily Gazette in the same year, 1994, brought the binary mold to Southern Africa in the form of a cartoon on May 12, where South Africa (because of white domination) was put in the white world of the North as representing the Last Man; while Zimbabwe was placed in the South as representing the so-called First Man.

The cartoon showed a big basket called "South Africa: the Real Bread Basket of Africa," with jobs, food, security and technology. It then presented Zimbabwe as an empty African hand, which is begging and even pilfering the South African goodies. The label was "Zimbabwe: the Basket Case of Africa."

On March 30, 1995, the Financial Gazette published a Muckraker column, which expressed intense anger at Pan-Africanist writers and intellectuals in Zimbabwe, dismissing them as "derelict nationalists lost in the stale rhetoric of a bygone age . . . Since when has any ordinary Zimbabwean benefited from the policies advocated by these dinosaurs?"

The MDC formations were to adopt exactly the same attitude and rhetoric four years later.

The Daily Gazette published two cartoons, one on May 31 and another on June 14, 1994, whose message was that up-coming elections in Zimbabwe were going to be marred by violence and massacres far worse than the Rwandan genocide of the same year.

One of the captions went as follows: "Call me an alarmist, but the massacres we are going to have during (Zimbabwe’s) elections will make Rwanda pale by comparison."

In January 1997 editors of Executive Intelligence Review published a paper on the Internet called "George Bush’s Heart of Darkness — Mineral Control and Africa." This was an attempt to be as blunt as possible about the post-modern, post-Cold War version of the myth of the survival of the fittest and the way African lives and interests were being devalued in the media and in white public opinion in preparation for actual trampling over them:

"It has become a standard rule among practitioners of mass murder in Africa to justify their policies with the Malthusian myth that, since Africa has too many people any way (which is a lie), the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Africans are part of a necessary ‘solution’ to the ‘overpopulation problem.’ Such claims were heard in 1994."

The editors of EIR then quoted a Mr Dick Cornelius of the US State Department’s Office of Population, Refugees and Immigration as telling one journalist that:

"The people dying at the moment are not the main issue in (Rwanda). I mean 50 000 people dying of cholera is alarming — but on the grand scale of things, looking at the impact on population in Africa and the region, it is a drop in the bucket."

The editors of EIR also accused the British government’s Secretary for International Development, Lynda Chalker, of voicing views similar to those of the US State Department in an effort to divert attention from the fact that Rwanda was subjected by the IMF and World Bank to a structural adjustment programme which was tantamount to "economic genocide" before the cornered population turned on one another in actual violent genocide.

The editors of EIR then turned to the reason why the North Atlantic states were bent on intervening in Africa:

"Driving the British (and US) actions this time, is another Great Scramble. The international financier oligarchy, grouped around the House of Windsor, knows that the world financial bubble (that is the casino economy of neoliberal reform) — which they themselves have created — cannot be sustained, and will burst.

They are getting out of paper financial instruments and into hard commodities: precious metals, such as gold; strategic metals such as cobalt and tantalum; base metals such as copper and zinc; energy supplies; and increasingly scarce food supplies."

The editors of EIR concluded that the new scramble for Africa was motivated by the knowledge that Africa was filthy rich in strategic minerals, critical raw materials and energy while the North Atlantic was relatively very poor. This is the context within which the UK, the EU and the US collaborated in creating the MDC formations here.

In a speech entitled "Plain talk about the Zimbabwe economy" former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell, on November 2, 2005, told Africa University students, among many other things, that:

"It was more than dismaying to read a paper published in July by the Centre for Global Development in Washington on the Costs and Causes of Zimbabwe’s Crisis.

"It estimated that Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has set the country back more than half a century. The paper calculated that the purchasing power of the average Zimbabwean in 2005 had fallen back to the same level as in 1953... That is an astonishing reversal of 52 years (as at 2005) of progress in only half a dozen years."

That is a picture of implosion, not democratisation.

Readers should mind the phrase "plain talk."

What was plain and astonishing to Christopher Dell on November 2, 2005 at Africa University was not the damage to Zimbabwe’s economy inflicted in the name of democratisation, but the refusal by the people of Zimbabwe to accept the explanations for the damage which the propaganda machines of the UK, the US and the EU had been force-feeding our people since 2000.

So the US Ambassador woke up to the fact that as much vigour and investment needed to go into explaining away Zimbabwe’s economic damage as had gone into justifying the imposition of illegal sanctions.

The link between the damage to the economy and the illegal sanctions was too plain to the majority of the people for Dell to take for granted the usual regime change explanations which the US, the UK, the EU and their sponsored NGOs and political parties had been force-feeding Zimbabweans.

A new campaign had, therefore, become necessary by 2005, to separate the suffering of the people because of illegal sanctions from the intrusive activities of the western powers. This fear explains the following assertion by the same ambassador later in the same speech:

"Neither drought nor sanctions are at the root of Zimbabwe’s decline. The Zimbabwe Government’s own gross mismanagement of the economy and its corrupt rule has brought on the crisis."

Remarkably, the US Ambassador had earlier on in his speech accepted ownership of he US sanctions law against Zimbabwe, saying:

"The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 is the cornerstone of US policy toward Zimbabwe. Under the Act, the United States conditions aid and financing for Zimbabwe..."

Equally remarkable is the fact that it took the current Minister of Finance in Zimbabwe’s inclusive Government Tendai Biti until May 4, 2009 to admit to the people of Zimbabwe, that ZDERA was a sanctions law through which the US as a superpower prevented its own financial institutions as well as most bilateral and multilateral institutions of other nations from extending lines of credit to Zimbabwe.

As a lawyer and secretary general of MDC-T, Biti had been involved in shaping the document which became the ZDERA Bill in 2000, which became the ZDERA law in 2001, and which Ambassador Dell tried to distance from the sanctions and the economic disaster in Zimbabwe at Africa University on November 2, 2005.

This background is crucial for determining where we are in terms of our immediate destiny and in term s of the rest of the world.

Have we reached a stage where we are supposed to consolidate "reform," which is a euphemism for "regime change" or are we joining the rest of the progressive world in trying to clean up the debris after "reform?"

The MDC formations and some of their Zanu-PF supporters believe that we have reached the consolidation phase of "reform" or regime change and that the inclusive Government is the instrument for such consolidation.

The problem is that if "reform" was still the paradigm and we were consolidating it, NEPAD would by now have rolled out the African equivalent of a Marshall Plan for Zimbabwe and Biti would not have to face the embarrassment of condemning the same ZDERA which he campaigned for and which for nine years he said had nothing to do with economic sanctions.

If we were consolidating "reform" we would not have needed Cde Thabo Mbeki and Sadc to mediate between our liberation movement and the two MDC formations. The African Peer Review Mechanism, that quintessential superstructure of imperialist-sponsored "reform" would have resolved our disputes and settled African crises elsewhere in Madagascar, Darfur, the DRC, Kenya, Rwanda and Somalia.

So, where are we?

The meaning of Dell’s speech at Africa University on November 2, 2005 is that from 2000 Zimbabweans were losing about 10 years of development per year, so that at 2009, we can say we have lost 56 years of development and we are at the colonial level of 1953!

It is possible to disagree with the exact magnitude of the loss, but the real experience of economic sanctions and "reform" cannot be disputed.

Reform and sanctions caused the "free flow" of our pensions, our insurance policies, our savings and even our skilled workers to Britain, Europe, Australia and as far as Eastern Europe. Reform and sanctions caused the collapse of our currency and led to the adoption of multiple foreign currencies.

What Ambassador Dell described in such boastful and confused language on November 2, 2005 is economic terror, our equivalent of

September 11, 2001, our equivalent of the illegal invasion of Iraq in March 2003, our equivalent of the terror of the so-called war on terror, our equivalent of the pounding and grinding of Gaza from ground, sea and air by the Israeli Defence Forces.

The correct language for it is what Dr Gideon Gono tried to explain in his book Zimbabwe’s Casino Economy: Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary Challenges where he said that "illegal economic sanctions are not different from sanitised terrorism.

The MDC formations have to take responsibility for misrepresenting that terror as "democratisation."

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