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Zimbabwe

(Updated March 19) Zimbabwe: Prisoners released on bail! International day of solidarity with political prisoners on March 21

Prisoners now released on bail! March 21 demonstrations remain urgent

March 18, 2011 -- Solidarity with Zimbabwean Political prisoners -- Thanks in part to donations from supporters abroad, friends and family raised the $12,000 US needed to get the six prisoners released on bail on March 17. They are now back with their loved ones -- but will be in court on March 21, standing trial for treason.

The international day of action in solidarity with the Zimbabwean activists remains as urgent as ever. Now the demand is even simpler: Drop all charges now!

Updates on Twitter from Shantha Bloeman -- wife of Munyaradzi Gwasai, one of the prisoners -- give supporters outside Zimbabwe a glimpse of this week's developments from the inside. A few entries:

Zimbabwe: International solidarity still urgent for six jailed activists; 39 released due to protests

STOP PRESS March 11, 2011: Munyaradzi Gwisai, Tafadzwa Antonater Choto, Hopewell Gumbo, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma and Welcome Zimuto had their application for refusal of remand thrown out and remanded to March 21 to face trial for treason which carries a death sentence in Zimbabwe. For the latest news, visit the new solidarity web site at http://www.freethemnow.com/.

* * *

By Ashley Fataar 

The ‘mubaraking’ of Gaddafi, Maliki, Mugabe and others

By Patrick Bond

February 27, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The late South African anti-apartheid poet-activist Dennis Brutus occasionally used “Seattle”, the name of a city in the northwestern United States, as a verb. We should “seattle Copenhagen”, he said in late 2009, to prevent the global North from doing a climate deal in their interests, against Africa’s.

(Updated March 4) Zimbabwe: Socialists and Egypt solidarity activists charged with treason! Protest urgently needed!

46 arrested activists charged with treason, tortured

February 25, 2011 -- It has now been confirmed that detained labour movement activist and leading member of the International Socialist Organization Zimbabwe Munyaradzi Gwisai (pictured) and 45 other activists detained by the Zimbabwe state on February 19 have been charged with treason. If found guilty of treason, the activists risk a sentence of death or life imprisonment. They are being tortured to extract bogus confessions. The arrests followed a raid on a closed meeting that was discussing the implications of the revolutions in the Arab world. Gwisai is director of the Labor Law Centre and former Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP.

Musical interlude: `MaStreets', by Comrade Fatso (Zimbabwe) & Chabvondoka, featuring Outspoken

Comrade Fatso (Zimbabwe) & Chabvondoka ft. Outspoken: "MaStreets" from Nomadic Wax on Vimeo.

Official video for "MaStreets" from Comrade Fatso's album House of Hunger (banned in Zimbabwe).
Visit comradefatso.com and nomadicwax.com.

Director: Magee McIlvaine

Artists: Comrade Fatso & Chabvondoka ft. Outspoken

Album: House of Hunger

Song: "MaStreets"

DP/editor: Magee McIlvaine.

 

Crisis in Zimbabwe -- a long walk to freedom! Latest issue of ISO Zimbabwe's `Socialist Worker'

Robert Mugabe (centre) and GNU partners Morgan Tsvangirai (left) and Arthur Mutambara.

[The following article appears in the December 2010 edition of the International Socialist Organisation of Zimbabwe's magazine Socialist Worker. You can download the latest edition of Socialist Worker (PDF)  HERE or read it on screen below the article.]

By T. Sando

November 30, 2010 -- Socialist Worker (Zimbabwe) -- Several significant events in the political and constitutional framework of Zimbabwe have occurred in recent months. First, are the controversies surrounding the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) outreach exercise carried out from June 2010 to date. Second is the crisis in the Government of National Unity (GNU) following various unilateral state executive appointments by President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

Will Zimbabwe again regress?

A mid-2011 election announced by Mugabe promises a return to outright violence and poll thievery.

[You can listen to talks presented to the "Progress in Zimbabwe" conference, and read summaries of the presentations, at the conference website here.]

By Patrick Bond, Bulawayo

November 12, 2010 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – If leaders of a small African country stand up with confidence to imperialist aggression, especially from the US and Britain, it would ordinarily strike any fair observer as extremely compelling. Especially when the nightmare of racist colonialism in that country is still be to exorcised, whites hold a disproportionate share of economic power and state’s rulers appear serious about changing those factors.

Zimbabwe: Liberation nationalism, old and born again

Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. "The [government of national unity] increasingly appears to have been most efficient in serving the instrumental needs of the ZANU-PF elite."

[The following article first appeared in AfricaFile's At Issue Ezine, vol. 12 (May-October 2010), edited by John S. Saul, which examines the development of the southern African liberation movement-led countries. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

By Richard Saunders

Zimbabwe: Struggle, dictatorship and the response of the social movements

"The MDC roots were in the popular challenge to ZANU-PF in the late 1990s and the social movements on which it rested."

By Leo Zeilig

June 28, 2010 – Zimbabwe’s economy has been in free fall. Between 2000 and 2005, the economy contracted by more than 40 per cent. Today GDP per capita is estimated to be the same as it was in 1953. Before the replacement of the Zimbabwe dollar with the US dollar and the South African rand in 2009, the country had the highest inflation rate in the world, soaring to 165,000 per cent in February 2008.

South Africa: FIFA, not migrants, are the real tsotsis

By Patrick Bond, Durban

June 25, 2010 -- South Africa's soccer-loving critics have long predicted the problems now growing worse here because of its World Cup hosting duties:

  • loss of large chunks of government’s sovereignty to the world soccer body FIFA;
  • rapidly worsening income inequality;
  • future economic calamities as debt payments come due;
  • dramatic increases in greenhouse gas emissions (more than twice Germany’s in 2006); and
  • humiliation and despondency as the country’s soccer team Bafana Bafana (ranked #90 going into the games) became the first host to expire before the competition’s second round.

Soon, it seems, we may also add to this list a problem that terrifies progressives here and everywhere: another dose of xenophobia from both state and society.

The crucial question in coming weeks is whether, instead of offering some kind of resistance from below, as exemplified by the Durban Social Forum network’s 1000-strong rally against FIFA on June 16 at City Hall, Durban, will society’s sore losers adopt right-wing populist sentiments, and frame the foreigner?

The legacy of anti-colonial struggles in Southern Africa: Liberation movements as governments

SWAPO's Sam Nujoma.

By Henning Melber

This paper explores some aspects of the narrow translation of a liberation movement -- an agency of transformation -- into an exclusivist apparatus claiming to represent the interest of all people and a total monopoly in advocating the public interest. It thereby tries to explain to some extent the dominant party syndrome under liberation movements, which have been in power since Independence.[1]

Southern Africa: The liberation struggle continues

[The following is the editorial in the latest edition of AfricaFile's At Issue Ezine, vol. 12 (May-October 2010), which examines the development of the southern African liberation movement-led countries. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

By John S. Saul

Zimbabwe: Despite Mugabe's opportunism, radical land reform is necessary

``What is often forgotten is that millions of Africans were disenfranchised by a system of state-managed repression, segregation and violence. These masses sacrificed their lives and livelihoods to liberate the country and have the moral right to claim back their land. This legitimate need to right the historical wrongs should never be confused with ZANU-PF’s attempts to manipulate history for its own selfish interests.''

By Grasian Mkodzongi

March 11, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- Zimbabwe’s land issue has generated unprecedented debates both within and outside the country. The debates, which followed the dramatic occupations of white farms by rural peasants in the late 1990s, are generally polarised between those who support radical land reform and those who support market-orientated reforms. The former stand accused of supporting Mugabe’s regime while the latter are generally maligned as neo-colonialists running a smear campaign against the ruling Zimbabwe AFrican National Union-Patriotic Frent (ZANU-PF).

Mugabe and reconciliation: The genesis and meaning of `We Are All Zimbabweans Now'

By James Kilgore

[This paper was presented to the Center of African Studies, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, on February 3, 2010. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with James Kilgore’s permission.]

Zimbabwe: Interviews -- The struggle for a people-driven constitution

Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai hoped to steer through an elite-driven constitution. Photo from http://kickmugabeout.blogspot.com/.

July 25, 2009 -- The first All-Stakeholders' Conference aimed at drafting a new constitution in Zimbabwe was held in Harare on July 13-14. The constitutional reform process is the result of the agreement reached between President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), when they formed a power-sharing government in February 2009.

The agreement between ZANU-PF and the MDC sets an 18-month timeline for drafting the constitution. It mandates two so-called all-stakeholders’ conferences and national consultation, but the process is controlled by a parliamentary committee. The final draft is to be determined by parliament before going to a referendum.

Many in the pro-democracy movement believe the constitutional reform process is dominated by politicians and will fail to incorporate the demands of ordinary Zimbabweans suffering worst from the country’s social and economic crisis.

COSATU: Working-class internationalism in the era of deepening global economic crisis

COSATU-supported protest in solidarity with the people of Swaziland.

Declaration of the Congress of South African Trade Unions International Solidarity Conference, Johannesburg, June 24-26, 2009.

COSATU -- Gathered at this historic International Solidarity Conference of COSATU are workers, activists and internationalists committed to a new and just world order, free from poverty, hunger and injustice. We have concluded two days of intensive engagements, critical reflections and dedicated work to assess and ascertain the revolutionary mood of workers and the poor masses of the world, the ebbs and flows of the global class struggle and the state of readiness by working-class forces and their organisations to wage a decisive battle for the new and just global economic system.

Zimbabwe: The struggle enters a new stage

Munyaradzi Gwisai of the ISOZ at the World at a Crossroads conference. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

By Munyaradzi Gwisai

[Read or download the May 2009 issue of the ISOZ's newspaper, Socialist Worker, at the end of this article.]

May 6, 2009 -- The formation of the government of national unity (GNU) in Zimbabwe between the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in February 2009 was the logical outcome of the agreement made between them in the middle of last year. The final negotiations had stalled as Mugabe tried to manipulate the details to exact maximum concessions from the MDC.

Concerned African Scholars: Reflections on Mahmood Mamdani’s ‘Lessons of Zimbabwe’

[Below is the introduction to a special issue of the Concerned African Scholars debating prominent African intellectual Mahmood Mamdani's views on the regime of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. The introduction has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the permission of Concerned African Scholars. It contains links to the various contributions and to the table of contents. Interested readers are encouraged to explore the linked articles thoroughly. Links also examined the views of Mamdani HERE. For Links' full coverage of Zimbabwe, click HERE.]

By Sean Jacobs

Zimbabwe socialists: Fight for fresh elections under a new people-driven constitution!

February 6, 2009 -- The International Socialist Organisation Zimbabwe (ISOZ) has consistently argued for the last few years that the poor and working people would pay dearly if they naively followed the false calls for “change” championed by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its imperialist-supported civic society allies, and subordinated their organisations to the same.

We called for the urgent establishment of a radical and anti-neoliberal united front of working people's organisations, to spearhead the struggle even when the opposition leadership eventually sold out. We argued that the MDC was preparing for a sell-out deal with Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) as a junior partner and that Mugabe was now ready to accept this. Three years ago, we wrote:

Zimbabwe: How Morgan Tsvangirai saved the Mugabe regime

Tsvangirai and Mugabe at the signing ceremony for the unity government in September 2008.

By Tendai Dumbutshena

February 2, 2009 -- After the June 27, 2008, putsch by Zimbabwe ruler Robert Mugabe signs were always there that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was headed for surrender. It officially happened on January 30, 2009, when the party hoisted a white flag on top of its Harvest House headquarters. What followed was a pathetic attempt by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to portray this decision to join the unity government without any of the MDC's conditions being met as some sort of victory.[Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister on February 11, 2009.]

Equally pathetic was a plea to Mugabe to be treated as an equal partner. There is a fat chance of that happening. The old tyrant must have chuckled when he heard this.

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