Race riots in South Africa and starvation in Zimbabwe are being used once more to paint the picture of a backward barbaric Africa that needs to be rescued by the ‘civilized’ West. But when we look at the causes of the race riots and the intense struggle inside Zimbabwe we see that the causes are not rooted in Africa but in the history of capitalist colonization and imperialism.
On the contrary we see that it is the ANC betrayal of the South African masses that has left them without jobs and housing and primed them to blame the Zimbabwean and Mozambican migrant workers who have flooded into South Africa to find work. It is not the business of Western liberals to point the finger at South African workers since they share in the benefits of the super-exploitation of that country. This is a problem that these workers must solve for themselves. The solution lies in a revolutionary leadership building an internationalist movement that mobilizes workers to root out the basic cause of the problem, capitalism and imperialism in South Africa.
Similarly, in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s restrictions on the NGOs food aid during the current election is an understandably reaction to the way imperialism, not content with imposing sanctions to ruin the economy, is using the NGOs as an internal political opposition.
Like South Africa, the solution to Zimbabwe’s problems are not the business of the same Western imperialism that refused to allow that country full economic independence and used Mugabe as their agent to block any real fight for independence. Mugabe’s ‘break’ with imperialism has nothing to do with belatedly fighting for independence but everything to do with desperately holding onto power. It is the task of the Zimbabwean workers and poor peasants to throw out Mugabe, not imperialist powers or their stooge NGOs inside Zimbabwe.
Before these workers and poor peasants can unite to overthrow the national bourgeoisies that act as a barrier between them and independence from imperialism, a revolutionary left must come into existence with a program for revolutionary struggle based on the lessons learned of what is necessary to win.
First among these lessons is recognizing the hostile class interests of the national bourgeoisies that have acted as the agents of imperialism and betrayed the hopes of workers and peasants for real independence and for economic security in an African Federation of Socialist Republics.
ANC betrays South African workers and peasants
In South Africa there can be no revolutionary that does not fight the ANC as a treacherous populist party led by the Stalinist SACP that formed a popular front government with the White racist Nationalists in 1994 to end the apartheid system! At a time when the struggle of the masses for generations had created the power to not only end apartheid but to complete the revolution, removing the white regime and imposing a workers’ and peasants’ government and planned socialist economy, the ANC did a deal with imperialism to administer a non-racial capitalist South Africa.
The result has been more than a decade of open collaboration with imperialism to super-exploit South Africa’s resources and labor-power. It is this terrible betrayal that has allowed the whole of South Africa to remain in imperialism’s grip, forcing South African workers to compete with migrant workers for slave labor jobs.
Once this lesson has been learned, it is necessary to mobilize workers and poor peasants to unite all workers, across nationality, ethnicity, gender etc to fight for jobs, land and decent housing and social services. In the process of these struggles the proletariat will build the unity and develop the consciousness necessary to overthrow the South African pro-imperialist regime, form a Workers and Peasants’ Government and create a socialist economic powerhouse that will provide resources and inspiration for the rest of Southern Africa.
ZANU-PF betrays Zimbabwe workers and peasants
In Zimbabwe there can be no revolutionary that does not reject both wings of the national bourgeoisie that are competing for the imperialist franchise to manage Zimbabwean capitalism. The British attempted to keep Zimbabwe as a neo-colony with the British settlers ruling in tandem with ZANU-PF. This meant that the workers and peasants did not get the land or the jobs that they needed with national independence. Mugabe finally broke with British imperialism when it became clear that his faction of the black bourgeoisie would not get rich from this continued white settler domination.
He turned to China and other countries to back his bourgeois nationalist regime instead. British and US Imperialism then imposed drastic sanctions which have ruined the economy and sponsored a rival MDC faction of the national bourgeoisie which is prepared to collaborate openly with imperialism. Both factions of the national bourgeoisie fear the mobilization of the masses to break from imperialism because this would also overthrow their own class rule.
In the face of an US and British imperialist campaign to isolate Zimbabwe and shift all the blame for its economic collapse onto the Mugabe regime, Zimbabwean workers must organize in solidarity with South African workers to build a movement to challenge both wings of the national bourgeoisie who are no more than junior partners for this or that imperialist power, or in the case of China, a powerful emerging market economy.
Their program must be for occupations of land and of industry under workers and peasants control and for the socialization of the banks and all the key sectors of the economy
Reprinted from Class Struggle 78 May-June 2008