By Stephen Gowans
The color revolution in Zimbabwe (yet to be given a color) unfolds as other US- and British-government and foundation-directed color revolutions have unfolded in Yugoslavia, Georgia and Ukraine.
The revolution is what, in business circles, is called a turn-key solution. All you do is turn a key, and follow the plan.
The plan was developed by the US State Department, based on advice from “peace” and civil society scholars, and is cheered on by the same scholars who contributed to its development.
Here’s how the plan unfolds:
1. Elected officials in countries that won’t do Washington’s bidding are denounced a dictators. That the officials in these countries have won free and fair elections doesn’t matter. Doubt is raised about the legitimacy of the elections or the leaders are said to govern in an anti-democratic manner (Chavez) or both. This provides the US with the justification for step 2.
One of the most persistent critics of “anti-democratic” leaders abroad is US Vice-President Dick Cheney, whose commitment to democracy hasn’t dissuaded him from explaining that it doesn’t matter what the US public thinks of the war on Iraq – the administration does what it wants, not what’s popular. While the next administration will doubtlessly dismiss what’s popular in precisely the same way, there’s no movement afoot to get rid of the dictatorship where it’s needed most.
2. The US, Britain, and other Western countries provide financial support, expertise and other assistance to “civil society, the media, and opposition parties” to remove the “dictator.”
3. An election campaign is used as the setting to force the government to step down. The apparent inconsistency of a dictator holding elections is explained away as a hollow sham used by the dictator to claim legitimacy. (If the leadership is really dictatorial, and the elections really lack legitimacy in the eyes of voters, why are real dictators holding elections at all? Hitler, Mussolini and Franco didn’t. Why would real dictators do so now?)
4. The Western-supported media, civil society and opposition parties declare in advance, consistent with the dictator narrative, that the vote will be rigged. Western media dutifully trumpet this prediction.
5. Before the official vote is announced, the opposition and “independent” election monitors announce an opposition victory.
6. If the official vote tally contradicts the opposition’s claim of victory, the vote is denounced as fraudulent, and people are encouraged to move the battle to the streets.
Ian Makoni, election director for Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai explained two days before the vote:
“The lesson from 2002 (when the last presidential election was held) is we didn’t plan for after the vote. Everyone stayed at home and said we will go to the courts. What happened in Kenya was they knew there would be fraud and they were ready. We will be out on the streets celebrating when the polls close.”
Note that Makoni had already declared an opposition victory before the vote had even been held. It’s one thing to say the vote will be rigged – quite another to declare in advance of the poll that you’ve won.
Makoni continued: “It can turn into a protest easily. Zimbabweans are angry, they are desperate, they are ready to protest. It’s the turning point we are planning for.”
Opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa said that if the opposition isn’t declared the winner, Kenya will look like a picnic.
7. Public opinion is mobilized in the West by the media’s single-minded focus on the opposition and its civil society allies, completely excluding the government’s point of view.
Every major Western newspaper has based its reporting of Zimbabwe’s election in the last week exclusively on the point of view of the opposition and the civil society groups who share the same Western sources of funding. It’s as if in an election held in the United States, the media only covered the Republican candidates.