The Zimbabwe Question and the Two Lefts

“In the course of Zimbabwe’s crisis, the politics of the internationalist Left as a whole have congealed in a concrete political position. First, it has celebrated bourgeois political institutions, whereby civil society, the rule of law, corporate media, and parliamentary democracy have been extolled. Second, it has propagated a human-rights moralism, by which human rights have been routinely detached from their social context and suspended in mid-air, above social rights and the right of national self-determination. Third, it has woven a discourse of ‘crisis, chaos, and tyranny’, by which the need for urgent external interference is evoked, in the interest of ‘régime change’. And, fourth, it has explicitly supported, denied the existence of, or remained silent about, imperialist sanctions. And, here, the chosen political strategy is not to mobilize and capacitate the working class for sustained ideological and political struggle against the state and capital. It is to rely on externally imposed sanctions as a means of undermining the land reform, the economic recovery, and thereby the ‘tyrant’. Economic recovery is their worst enemy.

“…in relation to the Zimbabwe question, they abandoned the land occupations early, absorbing international media reports uncritically, and allowing themselves to be swept away by liberal critique and banal prejudice against black nationalism. They remain silent on imperialist sanctions.”

Of course, you might ask, is a left that “celebrates bourgeois political institutions,” extols “the rule of law, corporate media and parliamentary democracy,” propagates “human rights moralism,” prioritizes civil and political liberties over social and self-determination rights, “absorbs international media reports uncritically,” “evokes the urgent need for external interference…in the interest of regime change,” and allows itself to be “swept away by liberal critique and banal prejudice” really left, or is it simply a movement of foundation-supported liberals lurking behind a Marxist and anarchist exterior?

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