White Farms, Black Farmers

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Even as lawless invasions of private property recommenced in earnest,repparttar government initiatedrepparttar 125931 Fast Track Land Reform Plan in mid-2000. It envisionedrepparttar 125932 purchase of between 5-8 million of hectares of agricultural land,repparttar 125933 resettlement ofrepparttar 125934 rural indigent,repparttar 125935 provision of infrastructure, technical advice and inputs by both civil and military authorities andrepparttar 125936 involvement of all "stakeholders" - especially white commercial farmers - in an on-going dialog inrepparttar 125937 framework ofrepparttar 125938 Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement Initiative.

Butrepparttar 125939 Plan fast deteriorated into strong-arm, threat-laden, and litigious confiscation of white property. Following a setback inrepparttar 125940 polls - its proposed constitution was rejected - ZANU-PF aided and abetted inrepparttar 125941 disorderly - and, sometimes, lethal - requisitioning of farms by a mob of war veterans, mock veterans, petty criminals,repparttar 125942 rural dispossessed, party hacks, and even middle class urbanites. Ironically,repparttar 125943 very anarchic nature ofrepparttar 125944 process deterred genuine andrepparttar 125945 long term settlers.

About 2000 farms were thus impounded byrepparttar 125946 end of last year. The government refused to compensate farmers forrepparttar 125947 land seized insisting that such reparations should be paid by Britain. It did, however, provide pitiful sums for infrastructure added torepparttar 125948 land byrepparttar 125949 white settlers.

As pandemic corruption, lawlessness, and mismanagement broughtrepparttar 125950 country torepparttar 125951 brink of insolvency and famine, Mugabe tainted with anti-Western diatribe his merited crusade for reversing past injustices. He lashed atrepparttar 125952 IMF andrepparttar 125953 World bank, at Britain andrepparttar 125954 USA, at white farmers and foreign capital. Xenophobia - no less that patriotism - isrepparttar 125955 refuge ofrepparttar 125956 scoundrel in Africa.

In 1997, Britain's New Labor government ceased fundingrepparttar 125957 acquisition of land from white farmers. Donors demanded matching funds from destitute Zimbabwe. By 1999,repparttar 125958 entire West - spearheaded byrepparttar 125959 IMF - disengaged. Zimbabwe was severed fromrepparttar 125960 global financial system.

This was followed by sanctions threatened byrepparttar 125961 EU and partly imposedrepparttar 125962 USA andrepparttar 125963 Commonwealth. Sanctions were also urged by prescriptive think tanks, such asrepparttar 125964 International Crisis Group, and even by corporate and banking groups, such as Britain's Abbey National.

Yet, discarding land reform together with Mugabe would be unwise. The problems - some of which are ignored even byrepparttar 125965 Zimbabwean authorities - are real. A negligible white minority owns vast swathes of forcibly obtained prime arable land in a predominantly black country.

A comprehensive - and just - land reform would cater to farm hands as well. They are mostly black - about one fifth ofrepparttar 125966 population, counting their dependants. They live in shantytown-like facilities onrepparttar 125967 farms with little access to potable water, sanitation, electricity, phones, or other amenities. They were not even entitled to resettlement until recently.

According to "Rural poverty: Commercial farm workers and Land Reform in Zimbabwe", a paper presented atrepparttar 125968 SARPN conference on Land Reform and Poverty Alleviation in Southern Africa, in June 2001, only about one third ofrepparttar 125969 most destitute black farm workforce have been imported as casual and seasonal workers from neighboring countries.

The rest, contrary to government propaganda, are indigenous. Yet, protestations torepparttar 125970 contrary notwithstanding,repparttar 125971 government, preoccupied with relieving growing tensions inrepparttar 125972 communal areas and rewarding its own supporters and cronies, refuses to incorporate farm hands fully in its Fast Track Resettlement Program. They are being accused of causing previous resettlement programs to fail.

The problems facing Zimbabwe's agricultural sector are reminiscent ofrepparttar 125973 situation in Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho, and South Africa. Namibia has already threatened to emulate Zimbabwe. Sam Nujoma,repparttar 125974 country's president, rebukedrepparttar 125975 market mechanism as "too slow, cumbersome and very costly". An understandable statement coming fromrepparttar 125976 head of a government which, according to Namibian news agency, NAMPA, turned down 151 farms last year for lack of funds.

"Land Reform in Zimbabwe: Constraints and Prospects", edited by T.A.S. Bowyer-Bower and Colin Stoneman, notes that development, growth, and poverty alleviation inrepparttar 125977 continent are directly linked torepparttar 125978 ownership and cultivation of land - oftenrepparttar 125979 sole means of production. That no regional approach to this pressing issue has arisen attests torepparttar 125980 quality ofrepparttar 125981 self-centred, thuggish, and venal African leadership.

Politically-motivated land reform will lead torepparttar 125982 emergence ofrepparttar 125983 next generations ofrepparttar 125984 deprived andrepparttar 125985 discriminated against. Resettlement has to be both fair and seen to be fair. It has to be based on unambiguous criteria and transparent and even-handed procedures. It has to backed by sufficient agricultural inputs and machinery, financial and technical assistance, access to markets, and basic infrastructure.

The proximity of services and institutions - from schools to courts - is critical. Above all, land reform has to look after people displaced inrepparttar 125986 process - commercial farmers and their workers - and thus enjoy near universal support or acquiescence. Legal title and tenure have to be established and recorded to allowrepparttar 125987 new settlers to obtain credits and invest in buildings, machinery, and infrastructure.

Alas, as both Human Rights Watch andrepparttar 125988 UNDP concluded in their detailed reports, none of these requirements is observed in Zimbabwe. Hencerepparttar 125989 recurrent failures andrepparttar 125990 blood-spattered chaos they have produced. Is Mugabe to blame? Surely. Is herepparttar 125991 prime mover of this debacle? Not by a long shot. He merely encapsulates and leverages pernicious social forces in his country and inrepparttar 125992 continent. Untilrepparttar 125993 root problems of Africa are tackled with courage and integrity Mugabe and his type of "reform" will prevail.

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

Left and Right in a Divided Europe

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1


The cult of youth in central Europe was an inevitable outcome ofrepparttar utter failure of older generations. The allure ofrepparttar 125930 new andrepparttar 125931 untried often prevailed overrepparttar 125932 certainty ofrepparttar 125933 tried and failed. Many senior politicians, managers, entrepreneurs and journalists across this region are in their 20's or 30's.

Yet,repparttar 125934 inexperienced temerity ofrepparttar 125935 young has often led to voter disillusionment and disenchantment. Many amongrepparttar 125936 young are too identified withrepparttar 125937 pratfalls of "reform". Age and experience reassert themselves throughrepparttar 125938 ballot boxes - and with themrepparttar 125939 disingenuous habits ofrepparttar 125940 past. Many ofrepparttar 125941 "old, safe hands" are former communists disingenuously turned socialists turned democrats turned capitalists. As even revolutionaries age, they become territorial and hidebound. Turf wars are likely to intensify rather then recede.


Communist managers - alwaysrepparttar 125942 quintessential rent-seekers - were trained to wheedle politicians, lobbyrepparttar 125943 state and cadge for subsidies and bailouts, rather than respond to market signals. As communism imploded,repparttar 125944 involvement ofrepparttar 125945 state inrepparttar 125946 economy - andrepparttar 125947 resources it commanded - contracted. Multilateral funds are tightly supervised. Communist-era "directors" - their skills made redundant by these developments - were shockingly and abruptly confronted with merciless market realities.

Predictably they flopped and were supplanted by expert managers and technocrats, more attuned to markets and to profits, and committed to competition and other capitalistic tenets. The decrepit, "privatized" assets ofrepparttar 125948 dying system expropriated byrepparttar 125949 nomenclature were soon acquired by foreign investors, or shut down. The old guard has decisively lost its capital - both pecuniary and political.

Political parties which relied on these cronies for contributions and influence-peddling - are in decline. Those that hadrepparttar 125950 foresight to detach themselves fromrepparttar 125951 venality and dissipation of "the system" are onrepparttar 125952 ascendance. From Haiderism to Fortuynism and from Lepper to Medgyessy - being an outsider is a distinct political advantage in both west and east alike.


The notion of an a-political civil service and its political - though transient - masters is alien to post communist societies. Every appointment inrepparttar 125953 public sector, down torepparttar 125954 most insignificant sinecure, is still politicized. Yet,repparttar 125955 economic decline precipitated byrepparttar 125956 transition to free markets, forced evenrepparttar 125957 most backward political classes to appoint a cadre of young, foreign educated, well-traveled, dynamic, and open minded bureaucrats.

These are no longer a negligible minority. Nor are they bereft of political assets. Their power and ubiquity increase with every jerky change of government. Their public stature, expertise, and contacts with their foreign counterparts threatenrepparttar 125958 lugubrious and supernumerary class of professional politicians - many of whom are ashen remnants ofrepparttar 125959 communist conflagration. Hencerepparttar 125960 recent politically-tainted attempts to curbrepparttar 125961 powers of central bankers in Poland andrepparttar 125962 Czech Republic.


The malignant fringe of far-right nationalism and far left populism in central Europe is more virulent and less sophisticated than its counterparts in Austria, Denmark, Italy, France, orrepparttar 125963 Netherlands. Withrepparttar 125964 exception of Poland, though, it is onrepparttar 125965 wane.

Populists of all stripes combine calls for a thinly disguised "strong man" dictatorship with exclusionary racist xenophobia, strong anti-EU sentiments, conspiracy theory streaks of paranoia,repparttar 125966 revival of an imaginary rustic and family-centered utopia, fears of unemployment and economic destitution, regionalism and local patriotism.

Though far fromrepparttar 125967 mainstream and often derided and ignored - they succeeded to radicalize bothrepparttar 125968 right andrepparttar 125969 left in central Europe, as they have done inrepparttar 125970 west. Thus, mainstream parties were forced to adopt a more assertive foreign policy tinged with ominous nationalism (Hungary) and anti-Europeanism (Poland, Hungary). There has been a measurable shift in public opinion as well - towards disenchantment with EU enlargement and overtly exclusionary nationalism. This was aided by Brussels' lukewarm welcome, discriminatory and protectionist practices, and bureaucratic indecisiveness.

These worrisome tendencies are balanced byrepparttar 125971 inertia ofrepparttar 125972 process. Politicians of all colors are committed torepparttar 125973 European project. Carping aside,repparttar 125974 countries of central Europe stand to reap significant economic benefits from their EU membership. Still,repparttar 125975 outcome of this clash between parochial nationalism and Europeanism is far from certain and, contrary to received wisdom,repparttar 125976 process is reversible.


The recent bickering aboutrepparttar 125977 Benes decrees proves thatrepparttar 125978 vision of a "Europe of regions" is ephemeral. True,repparttar 125979 century old nation state has weakened greatly andrepparttar 125980 centripetal energy of regions has increased. But this applies only to homogeneous states.

Minorities tend to disrupt this continuity and majorities do their damnedest to eradicate these discontinuities by various means - from assimilation (central Europe) to extermination (the Balkan). Hungary's policies - its status law andrepparttar 125981 economic benefits it bestowed upon expatriate Hungarians - isrepparttar 125982 epitome of such tendencies.

These axes of tension delineate and form central Europe's political landscape. The Procrustean categories of "left" and "right" do injustice to these subtleties. As central Europe matures into fully functioning capitalistic liberal democracies, proper leftwing parties and their rightwing adversaries are bound to emerge. But this is still inrepparttar 125983 future.

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

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