ANALYSIS [+ PDF] Kariuki, van der Walt, 2000, “The Politics of Land – ZANU vs the MDC” (5)

Samuel Kariuki and Lucien van der Walt, 2000, “The Politics of Land – ZANU vs the MDC,” Southern Africa Report, volume 15, number 4, pp. 11-15.

A fifth Zimbabwean piece.  Samuel Kariuki and I argued that unless the (then-) union-backed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) developed an effective progressive programme (including pro-worker land reform), the land issue would be captured by the dictatorial Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) regime.

Instead the MDC placed its hopes in neo-liberal solutions, British aid, and quick fixes.  It was consistently outmaneuvered by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, and always stepped back from the decisive campaigns that would have been needed to oust the regime.  Basic parliamentary democratic reforms were possible, although not easy, in the early 2000s ; so was the defeat of ZANU-PF, but the MDC consistently snatched defeat from the jaws of victory through its bad politics. It has subsequently been widely discredited; Zimbabwe’s insurgent working class of the 1990s has faced defeat after defeat; ZANU-PF, despite its appalling record on every issue, remains in charge too.

 pdflogosmallGet the PDF here.




About Lucien van der Walt
I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m South African, born and bred. I am currently also involved in union education and have a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I’ve presented papers at more than 120 conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 3 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and written well over 130 other articles, papers and entries. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I won the 2008 international 'Labor History' thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research prize for best African dissertation, for my PhD thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. I have several books, including 'Negro e Vermelho: anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880-1920,' 'Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution' (co-edited with Steve Hirsch, Brill, 2010/ 2014) and 'Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism' (co-written with Michael Schmidt, AK Press 2009).

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