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Louis is, of course, right that socialism in one country is impossible.
That even goes for an industrialized one, never mind one like Zimbabwe. I
never meant to imply anything to the contrary in the article I wrote. But
there's also the other aspect: A socialist revolution is almost inevitably
not going to break out in a whole series of countries together; it's almost
certainly going to start in one particular country.

Why could it not have started in Zimbabwe?

I think the article also points out the failures (if we want to call it
that) that stemmed from both the guerrilla strategy of Mugabe as well as
his capitalist/reformist perspectives and program. Maybe most important
among them was the failure of land reform. Exactly due to his guerrilla
strategy, Mugabe and ZANU were isolated from the working class, including
the rural proletariat. This inevitably meant corruption, and that came into
massive play in regard to land reform. In addition, what really would have
made most sense given the large farms and their resultant economies of
scale, would have been nationalization (under the control of the workers
themselves). However, Mugabe could not take that path exactly because of
his capitalist perspective.

If you think that it was right not to have seen the colonial revolution in
Zimbabwe as combining with a socialist revolution, then you also have to
explain how things could have ended up differently as far as the regime
that followed.

I also think there is a natural link between failing to have a socialist
perspective and failing to have a truly international one. True, Mugabe was
linked with the Chinese regime and he probably had other connections. But
there simply was not a perspective, program or strategy to link up
organizationally with the South African revolution, for example. For one
thing, had there been, it would have meant a bitter struggle against the S.
A. Communist Party.

Could they have won that political battle? Maybe not. But this simply shows
the political failings of the colonial revolution in a whole series of
countries. Socialists today should draw the lessons from that.

John Reimann
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