KARL Marx spent his life developing s what we now know as Marxism with the epitome of historical materialism exploring human development against instinctive materialism, forces of production as well as relations of production in attaining a means of production. Marxism offers interesting insights into post-colonial politics as it is perceived to be the rallying point of nationalist politics. But what is important in this piece is Marx’s relative pronouncement of power relations between the economic base of a society and the superstructure in which the former influences the latter but the latter only acts as a barricade to protect and service the needs of the former. Within this superstructure is a perceived sub-supra entity composed of lumpen proletariats.
Lumpen proletariats are social and moral rejects who have neither contributed nor contribute to economic life in a nation. These are the riff-ruff and unwanted immoral elements that do not live on principle but scavenge for survival; they support any political order as long as it satisfies their quench for food, beer and beverages. Individuals in this group suffer from self-fulfilment disorders and words that resonate with ethics are suspended, if not non-existent in their vocabulary. Relating to a political order in France, Karl Marx stated that alongside decayed roués with dubious means of subsistence and of dubious origin were vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, pimps, brothel keepers, literati, beggars — in short, the whole indefinite, disintegrated mass, thrown hither and thither, which the French call la bohème.
They are the lowest stratum of the proletariat and political ladder yet they are believed to possess skills requisite for the destruction of opponent political views and because they flip sides with existing ruling parties a great mythical illusion exists that they can change public perceptions. Zanu PF has been keen to explore the use of these young economic destitutes in dealing with mounting opposition to power by rival political parties. By nature of scavenging for survival, these young people misrepresent their abilities and influence on changing public perceptions and are even prepared to be interred informants or intelligence sources as they snitch on their supposed political brothers and sisters giving lifeblood to their new masters. Their existence in a political order that they previously were opponents of is under the illusion of being the “young Turks” in an antiquated system.Advertisement
Perhaps the greatest illusion being “Floor Crossing” – i.e. I will go with my supporters yet the question still arises: Who are they? Having previously opposed Robert Mugabe as a dictator who committed heinous crimes against humanity and presiding over a ruinous leadership a couple of disillusioned people have adopted the ostrich strategy of burying the head (brains) by joining the Mugabe entourage and of late those who have made headlines or lined heads include former unelected ZINASU factional President Tafadzwa Mugwadi and Psychology Mazivisa a former anti-Mugabe critic and civic society activist. In mainstream politics the banner was raised high with the voluntary recruitment and entry of Professor Jonathan Moyo (a former fierce critic of the Mugabe regime) to Zanu PF.
Without being personal all these three have a history of what is perceived as inappropriate sexual orientation in Zanu PF. Mazivisa is perhaps the most interesting of these – in 2008 Mazivisa equated Mugabe to Lucifer and in an unprecedented twist of events in 2013 he now equates Mugabe to be in the same league with Jesus. What are the motivations behind this radical redirection of initial thought? Is money the ultimate goal? Is it that the leadership of Mugabe has gone through tremendous transformation in five years to be a Jesus? Or is it that Maziwisa simply forgot and forgave. The trio also seem to share a failed past with attracting donor funding for their “projects” and were in perpetual debt. Given their crisis of expectation in terms of their livelihoods, these young Turks would rather find solace in relative financial security serving former “enemies” given the voluntary nature of opposition politics.
But again are we not destroying objective discourse on issues that shape our struggles because our stomachs are too empty to discuss a way forward? It is the nature of vulturism in a lumpen that accounts to an abortion and sacrificing of normative ideals and principles. In a grand classical Mein Kempf fashion, these vultures have made the public believe that they were instrumental in luring public support for Zanu PF resulting in resounding victory yet the election was lost from an intelligence perspective – rigged and nothing more; numbers never counted!!! But their lie is so effect that even those in the MDC are busy pointing fingers at each other with accusations rife of a chain of failure by one department on the other.
For those that have mastered the art of vulturism they will always disembark the train moments before it derails as Jonathan Moyo attempted in 200 while those that are new to the practise become collateral damage or unintended casualties as the system collapses. The unintended causalities often stand in amazement in the way of the derailed train and are crushed to death or beyond redemption. What is important in this regard is to explore whether this vulturism and sacrificing of shared ideals and principles is African and as a social construct permissible in our setting and above all the effects it has on humanity. That vulturism is in dialectical conflict with a movement for a change is unquestionable. Whether individual survival is more important than good-for-all is something that future generations must intercourse with.
Do we, in our reasonable senses, sacrifice our Ubuntu because of hunger? Are we promoting an innocuous disintegration of a political fabric that we seek to build because our stomachs are empty? Do those responsible for our misery become our Messiahs when they reward our individual selves with crumbs to repair the very shoes that their system damaged? The lumpen proletariats dichotomy calls for crucial reflections amongst ourselves as a people on what we see as our vision for tomorrow and ultimately our legacy and gift to future generations. We are obligated to defend and create a future for our successive generations and upholding the very core liberation ideals that spoke to popular participation in political and economic life – democracy.
Elijah Mangwengwende is an Independent Political Analyst in the UK and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org