By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa
Wynter Kabimba is claiming to be operating on a socialist platform. Does it mean that the PF that he left was a socialist party because he was quite central in that party as Secretary General of the party and as Minister of Justice having carriage of the portfolio of amending the constitution? He was also claiming that President Sata was like a father to him.
It was further claimed that the PF was pro-poor. Let’s get to the basics of this conundrum. There was no evidence whatsoever that the PF in practice was socialist or pro-poor. The Manifesto sounded like pro-poor but certainly not socialistic. Besides what is written on paper may be different from what actually is being implemented on the ground. The US constitution promised equality of treatment and the pursuit of happiness under the umbrella of God but slavery continued for a century and more after the enactment of that constitution. Women and Blacks were not allowed to vote or enter into contracts. Voting rights had a property qualification component.
In 1936, the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin promulgated perhaps the most progressive socio-economic constitution in history while fostering a blistering political dictatorship and bureaucratic economic inequalities based on party hierarchies.
More to the point. What kind of socialism does Wynter Kabimba have in mind. Many modern day analytics posit as if there is one all-good socialism. But Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto indicated that there are many possible socialisms. And not all of them are progressive. They clearly pointed out that Utopian Socialism is hopeless. That is the socialism that is based on pure fantasy. There is so-called Christian Socialism, an unworkable brand of utopian socialism based on religious principles. Marx and Engels preferred Scientific Socialism which was birthed after a proletarian revolution under advanced capitalist means of production. Capitalism was seen as having socialised the means of production except in ownership and benefit and this could only be brought about by a workers revolution.
The debate as to whether a poor country like Zambia can become a scientific socialist country in the Marxian sense is an old one. Stalin thought that a poor country like Soviet Union could be socialised alone and thus he embarked on an ambitious internal primitive accumulation of capital which led to dictatorship, famine and brutalisation of a people. Trotsky on the other hand claimed that you needed a world revolution for socialism to succeed as it would not survive in one country. The Trotskyites have been waiting for a world revolution since the 1920s. The Socialist International started by Marx and Engels was supposed to coordinate this revolution.
Mao Tse Tung in China, Kim Il Sung In North Korea, Enva Honxia in Albania, Tito in Yugoslavia, and Castro in Cuba decided to embark on their own countries’ socialist experiments with loose economic ties with similarly-minded countries. In Africa we saw Nyerere claiming Ujamaa and Kaunda in Zambia proposing humanism as the African variants of socialism. Gaddafi in Libya thought the Green Revolution was the socialist way. The Cambodian experiment went to the extreme and led to the massacre of millions of people under a scheme of primitive accumulation of capital. Most of these experiments were not what Marx and Engels had in mind and most ended up in disasters and dictatorships. Claiming socialism doesn’t make you a socialist despite the best of intentions.