Over the last few days the Southern African country of Zimbabwe have experienced escalating protests which shook the Mugabe regime to its core. Sporadic protests have broken out over the last few weeks because of a severe shortage of cash. But over the last few days these protests have increased in intensity.  Dramatic scenes have played themselves out as  workers, civil servants and small traders took to the streets to protest against the latest crisis. This culminated in a national stay away on 6 July by public sector workers who have not received their wages for June.

David van Wyk in South Africa sent us this comment on how Mugabe, from a leader of the war of liberation, became a pliant tool in the hands of imperialism, impoverishing the Zimbabwean masses in the process, and only later turning to “land reform” and so-called “economic indigenisation” as a means of diverting attention away from the very problems his policies had provoked in the first place.

The present impasse in Zimbabwe is a direct result of the so-called Structural Adjustment Plans so dear to imperialism, imposed on the Zimbabwean people in collaboration with Mugabe after he came to power. Now they have turned against him, but he is a creature of their own making.

All the world media have turned their attention to Zimbabwe in recent months since landless peasants started occupying white-owned big commercial farms. The press has unleashed a hysterical campaign against those land occupations which they depict as illegal and violent. They completely ignore the responsibility of capitalism and imperialism for robbing the land of the black peasants and pushing them into utter poverty. How do the white settlers dare to say those lands are theirs! When they robbed the lands of the blacks peasants they used all the violent means of repression possible.

This document was written by Zimbabwean socialists in 1985 and deals in detail with the history of the struggle against colonialism, the character of the Mugabe regime and the tasks facing socialists in Zimbabwe at that time. We have decided to republish it here to give revolutionary activists in Southern Africa and in the rest of the world a better understanding of the background to the current crisis.

The Western imperialists were very quick to brand the recent elections in Zimbabwe undemocratic, but there is no shortage of undemocratic and rigged elections in the African continent. Jordi Martorell takes a timely look at the history of the country since independence in 1980; its relations with the IMF, and why the imperialists have switched their support from Zanu-PF to the MDC. He says the main lesson to be drawn from the history of Zimbabwe in the last 20 years is precisely that genuine national liberation cannot be achieved simply by winning formal independence and democratic rights, but only by the overthrow of the capitalist system itself. Capitalism has sufficiently proven its inability all over Africa to solve any of the problems facing the masses. It is time for a socialist alternative, based on the democratic planning of the continent's vast resources by the workers and peasants themselves.

Jordi Martorell reviews this new book by Patrick Bond and Masimba Manyanya. It traces the economic history of Zimbabwe over the last 100 years but pays special attention to the last 20 years since the coming to power of Zanu-PF. But while they make a damning condemnation of the IMF and their policies that have wrecked the Zimbabwean economy, the authors are proposing reformist solutions of tariff barriers and exchange controls, which will not solve the main problem which is the over-exploitation of the workforce. There is no way forward on a capitalist basis.

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