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News ::
01 Jul 2003
Monica Moorehead of the International Action Center participated in a
public forum June 22 entitled "Zimbabwe and Mugabe: Governance, the Land Question and Its Impact Worldwide" in Harlem, New York. Other panelists included Viola Plummer, December 12th Movement; Elombe Brath, Patrice Lumumba Coalition; Ibrahim Rainey, Fellowship for Reconciliation; & Nellie Hester Bailey, a Harlem tenants' organizer
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the July 3, 2003
issue of Workers World newspaper


[Monica Moorehead of the International Action Center participated in a
public forum June 22 entitled "Zimbabwe and Mugabe: Governance, the Land Question and Its Impact Worldwide" in Harlem, New York. Other panelists included Viola Plummer, December 12th Move ment; Elombe Brath, Patrice Lumumba Coalition; Ibrahim Rainey, Fellowship for Reconciliation; and Nellie Hester Bailey, a Harlem tenants' organizer. Bailey chaired the event, which was organized by the Uptown Brecht Forum. Junior Mambazo, a South African a cappella singing group, performed. Excerpts from Moorehead's talk follow.]

Zimbabwe is an issue that should be of great interest not only to the
Black movement but for every progressive movement for social change,
regardless of nationality, class, sex, gender or age. What lurks behind the economic and political attacks on Zimbabwe, along with the brutal war and occupation of Iraq, the daily Zionist atrocities against righteous Palestinian resis tance, the deepening threats against Iran, Cuba and North Korea, and the decline of living standards at home is U.S. imperialism.

It is U.S. imperialism, in the guise of the Bush regime, that threatens the entire planet with endless war for empire in order to re-carve up the world for profits on behalf of U.S. big oil conglomerates and other greedy corporate interests.

This is the economic and geopolitical context in which the Zimbabwe
situation must be viewed and understood if there is to be any clarity in perspective and tactics. Slowly but surely the U.S. is positioning
itself to overtake its European imperialist rivals to become the number one military slave master of Africa. The imperialist banks have already enslaved Africa's economy, which has led to the deepening plunder of Africa's abundant mineral wealth along with unimaginable underdevelopment and imperialist-backed tragic civil wars.

Zimbabwe was brutally colonized by European imperialism in the late
1800s and won nominal independence in 1980 due to a guerrilla struggle. I say nominal because, to this day, 95 percent of Zim babwe's economy is still in the hands of British corporate interests and white commercial farmers. How can a country be deemed free and independent when its economy is still dominated by its former oppressors?

This exposes the lie that President Robert Mugabe is single-handedly
sabotaging the economy. If any forces are doing the sabotaging, they are the U.S., Britain and other European powers who have imposed criminal economic sanctions and other isolationist maneuvers. They are even pressuring Zimbabwe's neighbors. Just a few days ago, the Washington Post wrote a vile editorial calling for the overthrow of Robert Mugabe and insisting that President Thabo Mbeki turn off the 15 percent of the electricity that South Africa provides to Zimbabwe.

This editorial threatens the people of Zimbabwe that if they don't get
rid of their president, a president they democratically elected, they
will suffer the consequences of further economic destabilization that
could ignite a civil war. And the Washing ton Post is getting its orders from a president who has violated every law on the book, including stealing the presidency by disenfranchising African Americans.

So if Bush is willing to conspire to trample on the rights of oppressed people in the U.S., who in their right mind could ever think he would hesitate to trample on the rights of people of color elsewhere? This is the same Bush who legally lynched over 150 prisoners, mostly Black, Latino and poor, as the governor of Texas; who denied the largest percentage of poor children in Texas access to the right to health care; who is providing the largest tax breaks to the super-rich ever and whose administration has done nothing to oppose the loss of over 2 million jobs during his first term in office; who submitted a legal brief to the Supreme Court opposing the University of Michigan's affirmative action program. He will express outrage when dispossessed Black farmers organize to take back their land stolen by colonialism, but is dead silent when these same Black farmers are being paid starvation wages by rich white farmers.

The bottom line is that Bush could care less about the indigenous people of Zimbabwe or the 600 million people who inhabitant the African continent. The pitiful amount of U.S. funds to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic that threatens millions of lives and future generations in Africa is proof positive of his "I could care less about you" attitude.

Bush and Blair's beef with Mugabe has nothing to do with his policies
but everything to do with making an example of Zimbabwe to prove to what lengths they will go to undermine the right to sovereignty and the right to self-determination. Bush and Blair are sending a clear message to the people of Zimbabwe and the people of Africa: if you dare to struggle to free your land and your economy, which would lay the basis for being totally independent from colonialism and imperialism, then we will do everything possible to re-enslave you and your country.

So no matter what you may think of Robert Mugabe, there is no denying
that he has taken a defiant stance against imperialist arrogance. This
is a man who has fought for most of his adult life against colonialism; a man who was a leader of a national liberation movement. This cannot be dismissed and it has not been forgotten by imperialism. In fact, it is a big reason why they still despise him.

We cannot allow ourselves as revolutionaries and as activists to trip
and fall into the imperialist camp. To consciously or unconsciously side with the imperialists weakens and divides our movement and helps to reinforce the racist view that only colonialism can save Africa from so-called despotic leaders.

U.S. imperialism is hypocritical when it denounces "repressive measures" taken by the Mugabe government. Look at the repression we face right here if we organize anti-war or anti-police brutality demonstrations. When aren't there thousands of NYPD cops in full riot gear trying to intimidate and even arrest us when we exercise our right to freedom of assembly and free speech? Look at how revolutionaries like Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier are locked away because they dared to speak out against this terrible, racist, oppressive system.

We have to continue to expose the real aims and objectives of U.S.
imperialism in Zimbabwe, in Africa and throughout the world. The fact
that the U.S. is orchestrating to overthrow legitimate governments, not because they promote so-called terrorism but because they are defending their right to sovereignty, exposes the unprecedented criminality of imperialism.

The U.S. may possess the most powerful military arsenal in the world,
but their military prowess cannot overcome overwhelming worldwide public opinion against war and occupation. This has been evident for the past several months as tens of millions of people took to the streets to oppose a war on Iraq. The U.S. may have won the military battle in Iraq but they will never win over the hearts and the minds of the Iraqi people as the popular resistance grows stronger day by day and U.S. troop morale plummets.

Hands off Zimbabwe! Pay reparations now to the African people for
colonial crimes against humanity! U.S. imperialism out of Africa!

- END -

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