Thursday, April 05, 2007

Clarifying the Situation in Zimbabwe: Black Scholar Editorial and Other Exchanges

To the Green Left of Australia:

We think that your position is not based on the actual situation in Zimbabwe and the entire sub-region of southern Africa. Once again we believe that your principal struggle should be waged against the settler-colonial regime in Australia, which is a junior partner of the other imperialist nations such as the US, UK, EU, etc.

Objectively your position, if realized, would create a more liberalized economy in Zimbabwe and effectively return the confiscated land to the white settlers, which is what the MDC and the ZCTU leadership is advocating. They are financed by the imperialists and take their instructions from Washington and London. We cannot support Zimbabwe going the same way as Ghana after Nkrumah, Guinea, Chile, Somalia, etc., where counter-revolutionary coups were ochrestrated by the CIA, the US State Department and the British MI-6, etc.

Included below are two articles which describe the position of progressive Africans in the United States, among others, detailing why they support the ZANU-PF Government and oppose the CIA-CNN campaign to create confusion in the country and the region.

One article is written by the PANW editor and was published in the most recent issue of the Black Star News, a weekly African-American paper in New York City. The article was reprinted yesterday in the Zimbabwe Herald, the leading newspaper in the country as well as other publications and web sites. The other article and letter was written by the editor and publisher of the Black Scholar, a longtime journal which examines issues relevant to the pan-african world since 1969.

Thank you for your comments. We think your positions on other issues are commendable but we strongly disagree with your stand on Zimbabwe and African affairs.

Pan-African News Wire

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Link to Black Star News Article on Zimbabwe by the PANW Editor
http://www.blackstarnews.com/?c=135&a=3174
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The Black Scholar Editorial on Zimbabwe

Submitted to Portside
by the Author ===

Dear Moderator,

I think you are off the mark in your April 3 position on Zimbabwe. But that is understandable, in view of the massive disinformation that Blair, Bush, the EU have been dispersing.

The simple fact is that Britain welshed on its Lancaster House agreement to "buy out" white farmers and compensate them for land they had stolen from Zimbabwe some 100 years previously, when the country was a fiefdom of Cecil Rhodes and called "Rhodesia." and thus permit Zimbabwe to repossess its land and income without confrontation.

Mugabe/ZANU inherited a nation whose black population was impoverished [1 % of the population--whites--owned 70% of the arable land.] Zimbabwe then borrowed money from IMF, got into the structural adjustment squeeze even though it has met wage demands as possible.

At the same time, international capital began the destabilization strategy of inflating an opposition, supporting spurious demonstrations, and playing the human rights card, strategies already deployed in Chile, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Poland to eliminate legitimate administrations.

This campaign ignores the fact that Mugabe had been elected
twice in elections that were deemed fair by international agencies. It also dismisses the Africans' right to self-determination, and ignores the fact that in late March, the leaders at the two-day Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Dar es Salaam took measures,asking South African President Thabo Mbeki to help promote dialogue between ZANU and MDC. (AllAfrica.com)

I would suggest that you research a bit more deeply into the roots of the Zimbabwe crisis, and the morphing of the front line states into SADC, which advocates economic regionalism, political cooperation and respects the independence of its members.

Separately, I am sending you an editorial I wrote on this subject that will be published in Volume 37 No. 2 of THE BLACK SCHOLAR.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Chrisman, Ph.D.,
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher,
THE BLACK SCHOLAR


ZIMBABWE: THE LONG STRUGGLE

by Robert Chrisman, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher
THE BLACK SCHOLAR,
VOL. 37 #1

BLACKS IN AMERICA have supported the Zimbabwe Liberation movement, both from our ideology of Pan-Africanism as well as from our identification with oppressed people in emerging countries. This issue of The Black Scholar explores the current crises in Zimbabwe to develop deeper understanding of issues within that embattled country. We give our thanks to the scholars and activists who have contributed their various viewpoints of this complex situation.

Upon its independence and the ascendancy of ZANU's Robert Mugabe to its presidency in 1980, Zimbabwe's main economic resources, particularly agriculture, remained in the possession of white farmers who refused to release the spoils of Cecil Rhodes' policies: one percent of the population owned 70 percent of the arable land.

As part of the peace settlement negotiated at Lancaster House, 1979-80, which involved the US, Britain had promised to subsidize the buy-out of these farmers but did not provide funds to pay them and equivocated on terms, insisting on 'willing buyer-willing seller,' and 'full-market value' for land.

White farmers remained in possession of the land. On November 6, 1997 British Labour Secretary Clare Short sent a letter to Kumbirai Kangai, Minister of Agriculture in Zimbabwe, in which she stated that, 'We do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe.'

Structural Adjustment

CORRECTING THE ECONOMIC and social welfare inequities for blacks left over by the white Ian Smith regime (temporarily solved by securing foreign credits), and a severe drought, forced Zimbabwe to enter a structural adjustment program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1990.

Structural adjustment typically mandates laissez faire capitalism (disingenuously called 'neoliberalism'), privatization, and the reduction of social welfare. Since implementing these measures Zimbabwe's conditions have deteriorated drastically. Writing of this adjustment, political economist Antonia Juhasz states:

In order to radically reduce government spending, the government fired tens of thousands of workers, gutted the pay of those who remained and drastically reduced spending on social programs. At the same time, taxes were reduced (the idea being to encourage both increased spending and businesses to locate to Zimbabwe), and the country was opened to foreign competition-hitting the manufacturing sector. Both employment and real wages declined sharply.

During 1991-1996, manufacturing employment fell by 9 percent and wages dropped by 26 percent. Public sector employment fell by 23 percent, with wages dropping by 40 percent. (Juhasz, 'The Tragic Tale of the IMF in Zimbabwe,' Daily Mirror of Zimbabwe, March 7, 2004)

The privatization of health care has had disastrous consequences for AIDS/HIV treatment in Zimbabwe:

While campaigns to prevent and treat HIV in other African nations benefit from international aid, the political situation in Zimbabwe has caused most foreign donors either to decrease aid for the country or halt it altogether. The United States, Australia and the European Union have also imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The neighboring nation of Zambia, which has a similar HIV prevalence rate, receives around US $187 per HIV-positive person annually from foreign donors; in Zimbabwe, the figure is estimated to be just $4. (Graham Pembrey, 'HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe,' Avert.org)

Clinics and individuals cannot afford to buy the needed drugs. Even so, on their own initiative, the Zimbabwean government and people have reduced incidence from 25 percent to 20 percent.

Destabilization

ZIMBABWE HAS BEEN SUBJECT to a two-pronged destabilization program led by the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union-1) economic sanctions and 2) a relentless propaganda barrage. Allegations against Zimbabwe of torture, cruelty, and abuse resemble similar Western orchestrations against Cuba, the German Democratic Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nicaragua, North Korea, Palestine, Poland, and other countries targeted for economic, political, or military assault.

The goal is not economic justice for citizens but the creation of a national bourgeoisie which serves Western global interests, not those of its own people. A notable case is the Mexican crisis, brought about by the neoliberal polices of former president Vicente Fox and NAFTA.

THROUGH ELECTIONS Mugabe has remained in power, but as is often the case when an independent or non-Western force prevails, its legitimacy is contested by pro-Western international and domestic forces. 'Democracy' in this context often means penetration of the nation by international capital, which ignores the fact that the primary issue is self-determination, not democracy.

However, a country's cooperation with global capitalism does not mean sharing in its profits. As Moamar Gaddafi stated March 2, 2007, the 30th anniversary of his declaration of a Jamahiriyah or 'state of the masses,' the West has yet to provide economic aid to Libya, despite its retreat from nuclear programs:

The prevailing powers today are in the hands of those who have economic and military power which puts fear in others. They can make you starve. They can close the doors for your exports of raw materials such as coffee or oil. . . . This is an international dictatorship that is being practiced against people, especially poor people. (William MacLean, Reuters, 'Gaddafi Says Fear Drives World Economic System,' Reuters.)

For example, with the destruction of the Iraq nation state headed by Saddam Hussein-to create 'democracy'-its nationalized oil policy was destroyed to permit the plunder of the rich Iraq oil fields, which are to be divided among ethnic and religious factions, with the global West controlling their markets.

Writes Pepe Escobar, 'Sixty-five of Iraq's roughly 80 oilfields already known will be offered for Big Oil to exploit. Iraq has as many as 70 undeveloped fields--small' ones hold a minimum of a billion barrels. As desert western Iraq has not even been exploited, reserves may reach 300 billion barrels' (Escobar, 'US's Iraq Oil Grab is a Done Deal,' Asia Times Online, February 28, 2007).

The Road Ahead

ZIMBABWE'S PROGRESS toward true independence and self-determination has been hamstrung by the Draconian measures of economic sanctions, IMF schedules, and international demonization. Possessing extraordinary mineral and rare earth resources and fertile agriculture, Zimbabwe must be permitted to develop and integrate its resources with other developing nations in Southern Africa. The following measures must be taken immediately:

-Forgive Zimbabwe's IMF debt. Currently Zimbabwe is 128 million dollars in arrears to the IMF. Considering that this amount is about five percent of the two billion dollars a week the US spends waging war on Iraq, debt forgiveness is a small price for securing peace and alleviating poverty and suffering.

-The US, UK, and European Union should lift their economic
sanctions on Zimbabwe. These sanctions have served no useful purpose but in fact expose the West as a group that will ruthlessly punish an emerging nation for reclaiming its patrimony of land, liberty, and the pursuit of economic and social justice.

-The demonization of Zimbabwe must stop. The whirlwind of
disinformation pouring from Western and pro-Western presses does not provide an objective, comparative context for understanding Zimbabwe's issues relative to those in other parts of the world, particularly the western surrogates in Asia and the Middle East.

-The West must stop its provocative campaign for regime change and respect the national and regional autonomy of Zimbabwe, as Russia, China, South Africa, and the African Union have done. The continuing escalation of the West's belligerence and sanctions against independent, sovereign countries at the same time it offers a bait and switch of 'free elections and democracy,' offers a caution for blacks in America.

The cause of social and economic justice in Zimbabwe is best served by the elimination of sanctions, the cessation of the propaganda war, and the forgiveness of the IMF debt. Such measures will allow Zimbabwe to solve its own problems without foreign interference.

2 comments:

Pan-African News Wire said...

Pan-African News Wire wrote:

To the Green Left of Australia:

We do not understand why the left in Australia would be supporting strikes in Zimbabwe against the government when the IMF, World Bank and other international financial institutions are bankrolling the opposition groups to engage in disruption tactics as pawns of western imperialism. Why are they not striking against the role of the western governments in destabilizing their national and class interests?

With your group based in a country that supports Bush's so-called 'war on terrorism' against the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, etc., why are you not building an anti-war and anti-imperialist movement against the racist foreign policy of the Australian government?

And what of the vicious racist character of the white-settler regime in Australia? Should this not be your priority as opposed to interfering in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe in support of an American, British and EU financied and coordinated fake opposition in Zimbabwe which has been defeated on numerous occasions at the polls? You fail to mention that all of the national elections held in Zimbabwe since 2000 have been monitored and observed by international organizations, governments and regional institutions including the AU, SADC, the UN, etc.

The real dictators are based in Washington, London, and even in your own country. Why don't you take a stand against the real imperialist forces operating in the world? How can you distinguish yourselves as leftist by taking essentially the same racist positions as the Howard government in your own country towards the political situaiton in Zimbabwe?

Pan-African News Wire

---- Original message ----
Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2007 15:59:56 +1000
From: glparramatta glparramatta@greenleft.org.au
Subject: Re: Green Left - ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe’s two dictatorships
To: ac6123@wayne.edu

Dear Pan-African News,

Your statements are at odds with the facts. I might ask the Pan-African News wire why it does not seek the views of Zimbabwean socialists as to the true nature of the authoritarian capitalist regime in Harare and why it chooses to side with the Mugabe regime against the Zimbabwean workers, peasants, township residents and farm workers? I urge you to publish the views of Munyaradzi Gwisai. I might also ask Pan-African News, where do stand in the class struggle inside Zimbabwe? With the working class or the capitalist government?

The record of the Green Left Weekly is clear it terms of clearly opposing George Bush's war on terror and the imperialist forces, including our own government. If you had ever bothered to refer to Green Left Weekly and its activities, you would know this very well.

We believe that it is the role of Zimbabwe's working class, peasants and poor to remove the reactionary capitalist regime of Mugabe, not imperialism. That has been made crystal clear. We have opposed imperialist sanctions being placed on Zimbabwe, because we know they will only harm ordinary Zimbabweans not the elite. We have exposed the cynical hypocrisy of Bush, Howard and Blair in their ``concern'' only for Western business interests in Zimbabwe (which, for all the rhetoric, are safeguarded by Mugabe and his corrupt cronies) and white farmers, while totally ignoring the far more serious plight of black Zimbabwean farm workers and township dwellers under daily attack by Zimbabwe's ruling indigenous capitalist class. Again, if you had bothered to read GLW's coverage of Zimbabwe over the years, and the specific article you are replying to today, you would also know that.

Instead, you crudely paint all criticism and action against the authoritarian capitalist government regime on Zimbabwe as being the work of imperialism, choosing to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Zimbabwean bourgeoisie against the country's organised working class and poor. Munya's article clearly explains that there is a Zimbabwean socialist viewpoint that contradicts this blatantly incorrect and slanderous accusation.

Pan-African News would do its readers a service if it allows them to consider a viewpoint that opposes both the machinations of imperialism and the repression and exploitation of the Zimbabwean capitalist regime. Pan-African News should provide solidarity and support for the Zimbabwean and African workers and peasants in their struggles with imperialism and also their exploitative local ruling capitalist regimes.

Comradely,
Norm Dixon,
Green Left Weekly.

---- Original message ----
Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2007 10:29:22 +1000
From: glparramatta glparramatta@greenleft.org.au
Subject: Green Left - ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe’s two dictatorships
To: AA: debate debate@lists.kabissa.org

http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/705/36628


ZIMBABWE
Zimbabwe’s two dictatorships

Munya Gwisai, Harare
30 March 2007

Munya Gwisai, a member of the national coordinating committee of the International Socialist Organisation (Zimbabwe) as well as the deputy chairperson of the Zimbabwe Social Forum considers issues facing the democratic movement. He writes in a personal capacity.

The people of Zimbabwe are suffering from both the political dictatorship of President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) as well as the economic dictatorship of employers, businesspeople and the rich. While Mugabe unleashes repression, businesspeople unleash vicious price increases on the basic necessities of life.

Monthly wages are less than Z$200,000 despite the official Poverty Datum Line being over $600,000. Transport alone costs over $220,000 a month. Prices of food, clothing and the anti-retroviral drugs necessary to fight HIV, have gone through the roof and thousands die each week as a result. The Zim dollar has again collapsed and inflation is over 2000%.

Despite this, not everyone is suffering. The architect of government neoliberal policy himself, Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, was exposed earlier this year as having splashed billions on posh cars and mansions. The bosses and many of the “Lords of Poverty” who run the foreign-funded non-government organisations are “earning” huge, often forex (foreign exchange) denominated, salaries and benefits. Capitalists’ profits have been such that the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange was voted among Africa’s top three performing in 2006!

The very same Western diplomats who now laud Zimbabwe’s bourgeois opposition were the same ones who applauded Gono as he rolled out increasingly harsh neoliberal economic policies, slashed subsidies that provided some relief for the poor and paid money to the International Monetary Fund these past three years.

However, the economy has now become the weakness of the elites — both dictatorships fear the entry of workers, the urban poor and the rural masses into the political equation.

The virtual state of emergency imposed in the towns and the killing by police of Movement for Democratic Change activist Gift Tandare have failed to quell anger and struggle.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called for a national mass action in the form of a stay-away on April 3-4. The economic, social and political demands now being raised link the various political and economic demands of the poor and oppressed in a manner that goes beyond the limited demands of the bourgeois opposition parties and civic societies.

The elites realise this and want to pre-empt the current struggles and prevent them from radicalising further. Such a mobilisation could challenge not only the corrupt and brutal Mugabe regime but also the neoliberal free-market capitalist foundations on which it is now embedded. They want to prevent a movement similar to the anti-neoliberal, anti-capitalist, anti-dictatorship and anti-imperialist movements seen in Latin America.

This is now the common objective of local and international elites in regards to the Zimbabwe crisis, as shown in the March 5 International Crisis Group review of Zimbabwe. The elites in government and in opposition would like to reach a settlement or “social contract” between themselves that would see an end to Mugabe but not to Gono’s policies.

This is what lies behind the manoeuvring of the various factions within ZANU–PF.

Such a project would, at least at the beginning, incorporate compliant sections of the opposition, organised labour and “civic society” to be used as a safety valve to contain mounting anger from below as the new government embraces a total and naked neoliberal agenda.

However, workers, residents, traders, women, HIV/AIDS activists, students, disability rights activists, debt cancellation activists, and the rural poor have their own interests that need to be linked with both political and economic democracy in the public and private spheres of life.

This means a fight for a new people-driven democratic constitution that not only guarantees free and fair elections but also guarantees the right to free and quality education; access to health, anti-retroviral drugs, water, housing, electricity, and facilities for the disabled; an end to patriarchal and capitalist oppression of women; and support for poor farmers; as well as a living wage, pension and state support for workers, the elderly, pensioners, vendors and traders, war veterans and the disabled. Such a constitution must subordinate both public and private wealth to fulfil such demands. By definition that movement can only be anti-neoliberal, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist.

The Zimbabwe Social Forum has committed to mobilise the different segments and clusters of the social forum process in Zimbabwe and regionally for this action as we did for the 2005 ZCTU-led anti-poverty demonstrations. It is heartening to see the solidarity actions already being planned in South Africa, Botswana and Britain.

The challenge is to develop this kind of action into a sustainable programme of full-scale democratic united actions from below in the next couple of months. Without this, there remains the real danger that the courageous fight, sacrifices, including that of blood that we have seen in the last few months, might be channelled into a dead-end elite settlement for the benefit of the few rather than the many.

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #705
http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2007/705 4 April 2007.

glparramatta said...

Dear Pan-African News,

Thanks for your reply,

Just in case your readers (I do hope you are sharing this exchange with your readers) believe the claim that Green Left somehow has ``chimed in'' with a campaign of Western imperialist governments on Zimbabwe, they should check out the following articles:

http://www.greenleft.org.au/2000/402/23866

http://www.greenleft.org.au/2000/407/23577

http://www.greenleft.org.au/2000/405/23698

GLW's coverage of events in Zimbabwe is informed by an internationalist duty to both offer solidarity to that country's embattled socialist and workers' movements against its authoritarian capitalist regime and opposition to imperialist designs and hypocrisy towards Zimbabwe. Our position has been informed by the views and actions of the courageous socialist movement in Zimbabwe.

Your unsubstantiated claim that ``the MDC and the ZCTU leadership ... are financed by the imperialists and take their instructions from Washington and London'' does nothing to allow serious debate among opponents of imperialism and supporters of genuine liberation in Africa. While nobody pretends that the current MDC leaders are radical (as one of the articles above explains) that does not excuse Mugabe's previous support for IMF programs and the fact that his government remains committed to neoliberal economic policies, as Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, states in the following article. It is well known that imperialism is seeking an accomodation with sections of the ZANU-PF to achieve ``Mugabeism'' without Mugabe. Contrary to your claim, it is this eventuality that is most likely to ``create a more liberalized economy in Zimbabwe''.

More worrying is your endorsement of an article which manages to completely ignore Mugabe's "Operation Murambatsvina" (translated as "drive out the rubbish") of 2005 which brutally uprooted 700,000 poverty stricken *black* people from the slums
around Harare (see article below). Recognising this capitalist crime does not mean endorsing any imperialist move against Zimbabwe; it simply means being honest about the real contradictions we are dealing with.

Perhaps Pan-African News can explain how the ``Black Scholar's'' sanitised account of Zimbabwean history explains the Mugabe capitalist regime's continuing, relentless assaults on that country's working class, urban poor and farmworkers
(see the following article from 2005)? Does it really believe that the country's vast majority of workers and urban dwellers are simply agents of imperialism? If not, is not the workers' movement entitled to resist that regime? Should we not heed the views of the Zimbabwean socialists and the organised workers' movements in Zim? Should we not offer them our solidarity, while at the same exposing the hypocrisy and double standards of Western governments seeking to expoit the situation for their own ends?

I'd urge Pan-African News readers to read SACP activist Dale McKinley's 2000 & 2001
articles on the true nature of the Mugabe regime at
http://www.greenleft.org.au/2000/404/23768 &
http://www.greenleft.org.au/2001/441/26463

Marxists like Green Left and supporters of genuine national liberation do not simply put a + sign where imperialism puts a - sign (or a - sign where imperialism puts a + sign). If we had that approach we would have supported (or at least remained silent on), among others:

* the repression of the workers' democracy in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe prior to 1989

* the crushing of the Burmese democracy movement

* the crushing the 1989 Chinese democracy movement

* Milosevic's attempts to crush the Kosovan people, as well as his other attempts to crush national movements oppressed by Serbian chauvinist

* Sudan's rulers' vicious mass murder in Darfur (and other less publicised parts of Sudan) today

* denial of the Iraqi and Iranian Kurds' right to national self-determination.

Comradely,
Norm Dixon.

Norm.

**********
ZIMBABWE: Mugabe's terror campaign
8 June 2005

Norm Dixon

Zimbabwe's authoritarian capitalist government, headed by President
Robert Mugabe, has unleashed a massive wave of police brutality and
destruction in an attempt to terrorise the country's fiercely
anti-government urban working class and other poor city dwellers.

Thousands of riot police have invaded working-class urban townships in
the dead of night, looting and torching small traders' market stalls,
roadside "tuckshops", carpenters' workshops, and arresting and fining
anybody suspected of "informal" economic activities. The wave of
repression began in mid-May, reached a crescendo in late May and has
continued into June.

Police are also evicting tens of thousands of backyard lodgers and
impoverished residents of urban "squatter camps". Families' homes and
meagre personal possessions have been bulldozed, leaving them without
shelter from southern Africa's frosty winter nights. According to the
Combined Harare Residents Association, more than half of Harare's 3
million residents live in makeshift housing.


Late on May 26, more than 10,000 people were driven from their homes
in the informal settlement of Hatcliffe, northern Harare. Many of the
victims were supporters of Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), settled there in 2002 by the
government. As in other raids, huge quantities of merchandise —
especially scarce staples such as maize, sugar and petrol — as well as
foreign currency were seized, whether or not the owners had licences
to operate.

On May 24, Zimbabwe police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka told the
government-owned daily Herald that the raids had so far netted Z$900
million (A$120,000) in fines and Z$2.2 billion worth of goods. On June
1, the Herald, quoted Zimbabwe assistant police commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijena's boast, "We have so far arrested a total of 22,735 people
and recovered 33.5kg of gold ... and 26,000 litres of fuel".

The official unemployment rate is running at more than 70% and tens of
thousands of rural workers have sought refuge in the cities after
being violently driven off farms. As a result, the vast majority of
working-class Zimbabweans eke out a living in the "informal" economy.
Even those still in jobs must supplement the wages in the informal
sector, as their incomes are ravaged by 129% hyperinflation.

There is no love lost between the Mugabe regime and Zimbabwe's urban
masses. In the March 31 general election, despite widespread poll
rigging, ZANU-PF was defeated in all but one of Harare's 18
electorates. Similar result were recorded in other cities.

Dubbed Operation Murambatsvina (translated literally as "drive out the
rubbish", or euphemistically as "restore order"), the government
claims its purpose is to root out "economic saboteurs" and criminals,
and rid the cities of "illegal structures".

In truth, Mugabe's paramilitary invasions are designed to disorganise
and discourage any resistance to May 28-29 price increases for maize
meal (up 51%) and bread (up 29%). In the past, such increases have
triggered massive urban rebellions in Harare.

The Mugabe regime also needs to prevent organised working-class
resistance to austerity as it embarks on a campaign to win support
from local big business and foreign capitalists, and eventually repair
its relations with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, has declared
2005 "the year of investment attraction". Gono declared soon after the
Mugabe regime's March 31 election victory: "we must realise as
Zimbabweans that we cannot postpone the `turnaround' [in economic
policy], we have to take the pain like grown-ups and must know that
the responsibility to turn around this economy squarely lies on our
shoulders."

According to Munyaradzi Gwisai, the former MP for the Harare seat of
Highfield and a leading member of the International Socialist
Organisation of Zimbabwe (ISOZ), Mugabe and Gono "are intent on
sending a clear and unambiguous message to their capitalist paymasters
... that the country has turned over a new leaf and is ready to do
everything it takes to advance and protect private property, and the
wealth of the capitalists and the rich."

The government's attacks have met with some resistance. In the most
determined response, on May 25 thousands of residents of Glen View and
Budiriro, in Harare, blockaded streets and, armed only with stones,
fought running battles with the paramilitary invaders for several
hours. A protest march to the Glen View council hall was held before
the residents dispersed.

One resident described the events to Zimbabwe's Daily Mirror: "The
whole of Glen View was here. This is a protest ... ZANU-PF, MDC
[Movement for Democratic Change] ... supporters were all involved,
they are fighting back. They hit back soon after police had destroyed
the vegetable markets. People have been driven to the edge by the
destruction of the ... major sources of their livelihood."

The Zimbabwe Standard on May 29 reported that the cops marched into
the area singing: "You haven't had enough of being beaten up. We are
famed for roughing up people."

Full:
http://www.greenleft.org.au/2005/629/34597