Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Via Tim Blair, I've been reading an analysis of the crisis in Zimbabwe as seen from the perspective of the Communist Party of Australia. It's mostly boiler-plate stuff - another demonstration that slogans act as a barrier to clarity both of thought and of expression - but there are some rather lovely touches of, presumably, unintentional hilarity.
Zanu PF is the result of the amalgamation of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU)...separately and then later together ZANU and ZAPU led the national liberation struggle first against British colonialism and then against the white racist regime of Ian Smith.
It's a short passage, but it manages both to gloss over the circumstances of that amalgamation (20,000 dead in Matabeleland) and get Zimbabwean history wrong. The 'British' effectively ceded control of Southern Rhodesia in 1923 to a succession of white minority governments. The regime of Ian Smith was far more of a continuity with its predecessors than a revolution.
[Zimbabwe's] anti-imperialist foreign policy saw Zimbabwe despatch 8,000 troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo...
Gotta love this.
[The main imperial powers] have connived with Zimbabwe's (white) commercial farmers, relics of British colonial rule, in causing a serious food shortage....The Commercial Farmers' Union manipulated food production to create shortages while prices rose...
Yup - food shortages are the fault of the farmers.
Ironically and tellingly, the White farmers had generally voted for the former party of apartheid, Ian Smith's Rhodesian Front. Until 1999 that is, when they struck on the more sophisticated weapon of the MDC.
Leaving aside the fact that the RF changed its name in 1980 (to the Conservative Alliance of Zimbabwe) and had effectively disbanded by 1987, how the hell does the author know who all the farmers voted for?
The rest of the pamphlet carries on in the same vein - all problems in Zimbabwe are the work of economic saboteurs, the elections are all free and fair, Tsvangirai is a Western puppet, the usual stuff. Opposition to Mugabe from within Zimbabwe that comes from the left is even dismissed as Trotskyism! Published in 2002, incidentally, it contains the memorable prediction that 'land reform' would increase production - since the wreckers would have less ability to stifle yields.
Communists. Is there anything they're ever right about?


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