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Virginian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 09:46 AM
Original message
Political problems in Zimbabwe
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world...

Zimbabwe is in the midst of a power struggle. The president who has been in power for the last 24 years is not popular and is attempting to do anything it takes to stay in power. His political party controls the press so that we don't hear of the abuses he is imposing on the citizens who oppose him. This is what happened to an opposition party member of Parliment this week. A fight followed which was reported as "...That's what politics is all about, and you don't get into politics to be easily provoked, and then to take such terrible action and turn mad. We deplore that very, very strongly."

In context...

"... I want to warn him that we have taken over Charleswood Farm, and he must not set foot again on that ground."
Bennett bought Charleswood Farm in 1983, with a certificate of No Present Interest from the government, and only bought the farm after consultation with the local traditional leaders, who consented to his purchase. The property comprises 7000 acres, of which 300 are arable and the remainder mountainside. Hardly the whole of Chimanimani. Charleswood is designated an Export Processing Zone - it exported coffee - and there is a tourist lodge on the land built with South African foreign investment. Both these businesses generated employment and foreign currency.


Would you get angry if someone took away your home and investment? The property will now be given to one of President Mugabe's friends who will fire all the employees and close the lodge.
If we don't get rid of Bush this election, we will end up with problems like theirs.
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JayS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. Zimbabwe - Breadbasket to the World.....
Who here is old enough to remember that statement...
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
2. Growing coffee for export. Hmm.
Edited on Fri May-21-04 10:50 AM by AP
Incidentally, when the government changed hands, the new government wanted a land reform program in place immediately. The sticking point was that the former government wanted a willing buyer-willing seller program. Mugabe objected because he knew that it would never work. He said, now how the hell are you going to find a Zimbabwean willing buyer when the whole point of colonialism is that you steal people's land and labor without paying for it? After all, if they had capital to buy land, they probably would have been able to use their economic power to have a revolution at the ballot box rather than an armed revolution.

The US and the UK (both right wing gov'ts at the time) stepped in and said don't worry, we'll make our taxpayers be the last insurers of guaranteed wealth for fascist colonizers. We'll provide the money for the willing buyer-willing seller program.

Guess what. They provided almost no money. It was enough to pay for a few useless pieces of land. In other words, the program was used to give a little money to farmers for land they couldn't use anyway. All the good land was in the hands of the farmers still.

So, presuming this farm was one of the first farms sold, I'm going to guess this certificate of no interest was more likely because this was a really good piece of land and they couldn't find a willing buyer becaue the UK and the US weren't providing enough money for Zimbabweans to buy good land.

However, every farmer buying land and every farmer with land knew the general principles of land reform all the way back in 1983. They knew they weren't going to be able to keep land that they got at the point of a gun. They knew there was bad chain in title. They knew that if the US and UK hadn't promissed to finance the land transfer program, the new gov't would have taken the land outright (which they were totally entitled to do). And they should have known their days as landowners were numbered when the realized that the promises made by the west weren't being kept and the willing buyer-willing seller program wasn't working.

So, bottom line, if you have a piece of property which has a chain in title based on murder and fraud, I don't have much sympathy for its purchaser, who probably hoped that more blood and fraud would allow him or her to keep it. I also don't have much sympathy for a person who bought really cheap, good land in a country destroyed by colonialism and then used the land to sell coffee to Europe and America. You know there are hungry people in Zimbabwe who deserve to have a country whose natural resources feed and profit the citizens of Zimbabwe rather than some rich European who deposits his checks in a Zurich bank account.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Zimbabwe got independence, and Mugabe took power, in 1980
Your call for the American Indians to take back their land by force is noted.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yes. If the Indians exhaust every peaceful remedy as blacks... South Africa, and Zimbabwe tried, and if justice is denied, go for it.

By the way, in the US, there was an interesting suit in upstate NY where a tribe sued on a contract that was 150 or more years old and I believe they got their land back, or they got some remedy. IIRC, it was in or arround Salamanca, NY.

So, the fact that the US has a justice system that isn't foreclosed to people because of the color of the skin might make Native Americans not feel the imperative to take up arms the way they did in Zimbabwe in 1980. Even if SA, it was the strikes and just the force of will that brought about a political solution before a violent revolution was required. So, voting rights are another good way to remedy past wrongs. So, now, in Zimbabwe before 1980, were the courts open to black Zimbabweans? Were democratic solutions available? Or where the colonizers much more resistant to justice?

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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. OK, I edited out the date part. Now, if you want to talk more about
Edited on Fri May-21-04 10:53 AM by AP
the willing seller-willing buyer fraud, and the chain of title problem, go for it.

Do you really think that the British should have been using the theft of land from Indians as good precedent for their right to steal land from Zimbabweans? Really?

The British were murdering blacks as late as 1980 to preserve their colonial rights.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. I believe that a constitution that Mugabe agreed to
and a purchase made with the agreement of his government should be honoured by him. I don't believe that later saying it was stolen a hundred years earlier gives Mugabe the right to do whatever he wants.

You also might want to edit the bit about the US government being right wing, since in 1980 it was Jimmy Carter's.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. The UK and US backed out on their part of the deal. They wouldn't
finance the land transfer. They breached the agreement. When the money didn't come in for willing buyer-willing seller, Mugabe went back to what he wanted to do in '80, which was real land reform.

Even if they had financed willing buyer-willing seller, do you really feel comfortable that your VAT and income tax was going to bail out colonizers in Zimbabwe? Do you think that you should have been the final insurer of profitability for fascism? Why?

As for Jimmy Carter, search the archives. I have no love or his foreign and domestic economic policy (between deregulation and doing stupid cold war, imperialist bullshit).

I'll leave in the part where I call this right wing governing by the US, because that's still true, and Carter was gone by January 81, and it was the next 12 years of Republicans who broke the deal Carter probably wouldn't have kept even if he was in office.

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Virginian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-22-04 12:03 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. More comments on the issue.
I have AP on Ignore, so I don't know what he/she said that made you discuss Native Americans.

Previously, I had tried to draw a parallel between these two former British colonies. What if the immigrants and descendants of immigrants to this country were forced to return their lands to the native population as is being done in Zimbabwe? AP could only repeat that the White farmers in Zimbabwe promised to give their lands back.

I don't know which farms were scheduled for redistribution and which were not, but I do know that some farms were to remain as property of the white farmers for certain export reasons. They brought in much needed foreign money.

In the case of Mr. Bennett, he just bought his farm after Mugabe was already in power and he filed all the appropriate papers to the new government. His land is being stripped from him without any semblance of legality. He is being robbed, not because he is white, but because he is a member of the opposition party.

The parallel I have now, is that of a President who has been in power too long, has misused his power and will do anything legal or illegal to stay in power. Our pResident hasn't had as long to misuse his power. Let's not give him a chance to turn himself into pResident for life as Mugabe has done. Make sure he doesn't get a second term.

Furthermore, we must NEVER change the Constitution to allow our president more than two terms. We may hate that amendment when we have a Clinton, but we love it when we have a Reagan. We will love it even more if Dubya gets a second term.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-22-04 01:25 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. If Native Americans continued to fight for their land and against...
Edited on Sat May-22-04 01:43 AM by AP
...injustice into the 1980s, as they did in Zimbabwe, and as late as 1994 as they did in South Africa, would you deny them justice?

This is bascially a question of exhasuting all available remedies. In Zimbabwe and SA, they didn't have the ability to redress injustice in the media or in the courts. They were not citizens. They had NO political, economic and cultural power, and they had a nation of people who didn't just not care about their rights, they were openly hostile, racist and didn't think twice about murdering them.

Look at civil rights in the US. Same thing. They took it as far as it needed to be taken to get justice. If they hadn't passed the civil rights act of '64, and if the courts didn't take racism seriously, where do you think black americans should have stopped to get justice?

I want Native Americans to take matters as far as they need to be taken in order to remedy injustice.

And it makes no sense, as I have always said, to argue that injustice should continue to be committed in Africa just because we committed injustices against Native Americans in the US.

It's just absurd to reach back in history to argue that past wrongdoing justifies current wrongdoing.

You should probably take me off ignore and read about the willing buyer-willing seller issue before you dismiss the significance of the white farmers' promise to return the land.
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. I love it!
Edited on Fri May-21-04 11:21 AM by seemslikeadream
you would not believe how I love that.

Your call for the American Indians to take back their land by force is noted.

A map just a bit of a reminder what it was like here only 150 years ago.

Berlin Conference (1884)
14 States divided up Africa without consideration of cultures
Results of superimposed boundaries
African peoples were divided.
Unified regions were ripped apart.
Hostile societies were thrown together.
Hinterlands were disrupted.
Migration routes were closed off.
When independence returned to Africa after 1950, the realm had already acquired a legacy of political fragmentation.

Great Britain: Indirect Rule (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe)
Indigenous power structures were left intact to some degree and local rulers were made representatives of the crown.
France: Assimilationist (Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, etc.)
Enforced a direct rule, which propagated the French culture through language, laws, education and dress (acculturation)
Portugal: Exploitation (Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Mozambique)
First to enslave and colonize and one of the last to grant independence
Maintained rigid control; raw resource oriented
Belgium: Paternalistic (Rwanda, Zaire, Burundi)
Treated Africans as though they where children who needed to be tutored in western ways; did not try to make them Belgium
Raw resource oriented; ignored the development of natives

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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Could you do me a favor,
and use your google talents to look up that thing I remember about the Salamanca claim?

Also, why don't Native Americans fight for their land the way Zimbabweans and South Africans fought as late as the 1980s and 1990s?
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 12:22 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Alright AP here's the conclusion
Could you explain it to me?


For the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the district court is affirmed.

1 On July 7, 1986, after the complaint in this action was filed, John was served with an "Order to Remedy Violation" for his failure to comply with Salamanca Municipal Ordinance 30.62 in connection with the installation of a sign on the facade of his premises. Section 30.62 regulates the erection of exterior signs on buildings within the city, and requires a sign permit before erection can commence. Salamanca Mun. Ord. 30.62. John also challenges enforcement of this provision of the Salamanca building code.

2 Section 233 provides in pertinent part:

The courts of the State of New York under the laws of such State shall have jurisdiction in civil actions and proceedings between Indians or between one or more Indians and any other person or persons to the same extent as the courts of the State shall have jurisdiction in other civil actions and proceedings, as now or hereafter defined by the laws of such State . . . .
25 U.S.C. 233 (1982).
3 See N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 9, pt. 444. This state regulation requires cities adopting the state building code to provide for "administration and enforcement" of the code. Id. at 444.2. The regulation also sets forth specific requirements for building permits, frequency of inspections and maintenance of records. Id. at 444.3. The municipalities comply with the regulation by enacting laws at the local level. Id. at 444.2. Thus, although appellees purport to seek enforcement of the state regulation, Brief for Appellees at 9 n.*, they have fulfilled that responsibility by enacting and enforcing the municipal ordinances at issue. The ordinances "municipal" character is not altered merely because they have been adopted pursuant to state regulation.

4 Federal statutes now provide for the application of various state laws on Indian reservations in New York. See 25 U.S.C. 232-33. Section 232, passed in 1948, extends the State of New Yorks criminal jurisdiction to "offenses committed by or against Indians on Indian reservations within the ." Section 233, passed two years later, grants the New York courts jurisdiction to hear civil disputes "between Indians or between one or more Indians and any other person or persons" with certain exceptions.

5 Nor do we consider the Secretary of the Interiors regulation, 25 CFR 1.4, controlling in this case. We are unaware of any authority delegated to the Secretary, and John has cited none, which would empower him effectively to repeal congressional legislation. The 1875 Act must take precedence over the regulation in the absence of a clear expression of congressional intent to the contrary.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-04 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I'm talking about a case where the agreement for the transfer
of Native American land in the 1800s actually gave the tribe a right of reversion, or soemthing like that, and the current land owners argued that it was void for reasons relating to publicy policy. However, the NY courts ruled that it wasn't but created a constructive trust which meant that people who had property interets had to pay rent to the tribe.

This is all from memory. I could be way off. But I remember thinking when I read it that it worked in the favor of the tribe and was probably the reason that we don't have shoot outs over land the way they do in Zimbabwe where the people who really own the land didn't even have it taken through a contract of adhesion or any other kind of contract, and certainly didn't have courts of law in which to argue the legitimacy of colonialism.
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