THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION AT A CROSSROADS

The academic debate over the land reform has largely failed to identify the class dynamics of the process, pitting two camps against each other, the “civic/post-nationalists” and the “indigenisationists,” both including liberals and self-professed Marxists, but all reproducing the categories of bourgeois social science. The former camp has proceeded to denounce the land reform merely as an “assault on the state,” without a class analysis of the neocolonial state specifically, or civil society, or the land occupation movement and its nationalism,66 while the latter camp has defended the land reform but obscured the class struggles within the liberation movement and celebrated fast-track as the culmination of “black empowerment,” in line with the accumulation priorities of the indigenization lobby.

Neither of these two positions can properly serve the next phase of the national democratic revolution. This remains at a crucial juncture and requires ongoing critical analysis. The immediate result of the land reform is clear and urgent, marked by worsening poverty and the inability to supply food to the population. On the one hand, imperialism continues to exercise its financial power deliberately to isolate Zimbabwe and smother the process of agrarian reform, such that the currency has hyperinflated to 500 percent, agricultural production has been severely impeded from recovery— and compounded by two years of drought—and the urban and rural population has been relegated to a state of “humanitarian aid.” For its own part, the state has not yet devised a coherent plan for reconstruction and development, given that it cannot cajole private capitals into a national plan of introverted accumulation. This situation lingers on by the absence of working class unity across town and country (indeed undermined by the fall in food production) and is compounded by the ongoing repression of civil society and the emerging dominance of the black bourgeoisie in the policy-making process, against the interests of peasants and workers. The danger is the full reversal into a process of recompradorization and recolonization under a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and ultimately the failure to fulfill the developmental potential of the new agrarian structure.

 
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