Neoliberal globalisation and the triple crisis of 'modernisation' in Africa: Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)


<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Stanford University Libraries]On: 26 September 2012, At: 16:21Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number:1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street,London W1T 3JH, UK</p><p>Third World QuarterlyPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:</p><p>Neoliberal globalisationand the triple crisis of'modernisation' in Africa:Zimbabwe, the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo andSouth AfricaDavid Moore</p><p>Version of record first published: 25 Aug 2010.</p><p>To cite this article: David Moore (2001): Neoliberal globalisation and the triplecrisis of 'modernisation' in Africa: Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of theCongo and South Africa, Third World Quarterly, 22:6, 909-929</p><p>To link to this article:</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Full terms and conditions of use:</p><p>This article may be used for research, teaching, and private studypurposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution,reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden.</p><p>The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make anyrepresentation that the contents will be complete or accurate or up todate. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae, and drug doses shouldbe independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall notbe liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings, demand, or costs or</p></li><li><p>damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly inconnection with or arising out of the use of this material.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [S</p><p>tanfo</p><p>rd U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity L</p><p>ibrari</p><p>es] a</p><p>t 16:2</p><p>1 26 S</p><p>eptem</p><p>ber 2</p><p>012 </p></li><li><p>ISSN 0143-6597 print/ISSN 1360-2241 online/01/060909-21 q 2001 Third World QuarterlyDOI: 10.1080/01436590120099713 909</p><p>Third World Quarterly, Vol 22, No 6, pp 909929, 2001</p><p>Studies of globalisation often ignore, or provide only passing coverage of,Africa.1 Globalisation literaturewith all its epistemological problems2isdevoted largely to the advanced capitalist portion of the global political economywhere all the indices of production integration,3 shrinking distance,4 and theadvance of the informationalisation mode of production are on the increase.5</p><p>Where attention is devoted to the Third World, it concentrates on the rise andfalland maybe rise againof the newly industrialised countries of Asia. Africaseems off the map, rarely noticed aside from the fact that less capital is investedthere now than in the 1960s, that poverty is increasing, that its debts continue togrow and its wars never end. As The Economist epitomises, caricaturing Africansocieties as especially susceptible to brutality, despotism and corruption </p><p>Neoliberal globalisation and thetriple crisis of modernisation inAfrica: Zimbabwe, the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo andSouth Africa</p><p>DAVID MOORE</p><p>ABSTRACT Neoliberal globalisation has renewed and accelerated the triplecrisis of capitalist modernisation in Africa. Primitive accumulation, nation-stateformation and democratisation remain uncompleted tasks. Neoliberal globalisa-tion simultaneously encourages these trends yet makes them difficult to resolve,given its anti-statism, its exclusionary version of democracy, and the violenceinherent in the emergence of private property rights out of pre-capitalist modes ofproduction that have been mediated by colonial and postcolonial institutions andthe dynamics of the Cold War. The elements of the modernisation triad areinextricably intertwined, yet in varying social contexts take on unique patterns.To highlight each element in the triple crisis of modernisation, this articleseparates and applies them to three southern African countries. The notion ofprimitive accumulation is the theoretical lens through which the Zimbabweancrisis is viewed. The war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is analysedthrough the prism of nation-state construction. South Africa, the mostdeveloped (albeit particularly unevenly developed) society under study herewill be examined through the framework of democratisation.</p><p>David Moore is at the University of NatalDurban.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [S</p><p>tanfo</p><p>rd U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity L</p><p>ibrari</p><p>es] a</p><p>t 16:2</p><p>1 26 S</p><p>eptem</p><p>ber 2</p><p>012 </p></li><li><p>DAVID MOORE</p><p>for reasons buried deep in their cultures, the continents battles appear to theaverage observer as primordial, or driven by leaders who are all too easilylabelled as crazy.6 Progressive intellectuals and journalists may portray theWorld Banks and IMFs activities in Africa as the recolonisation of the darkcontinent, but they are nearly as deterministic and Eurocentric as less sympa-thetic writing and often still fail to advance beyond various revised versions ofdependency theory.7 Globalisation seems to be the same old story for Africa.8</p><p>The argument being mounted here advances differently. The post-cold warpredicament, structured by the ideology and practice of global neoliberalism andthe attendant lack of alternatives to it, aside from nebulous new politicalnetworks [building] the global linkages and institutions, actually affects Africaprofoundly.9 In the already capitalist world globalisation is about the deepeningof commodity relations, the privatisation of formerly public services, the searchfor cheaper and more productive labour, coping with crises of over-accumulationand underconsumption, and the collapse of space and timeall in an ideologicalworld seemingly devoid of other options. Globalisation is different in Africa.There, the birth of capitalism and modernity is starting all over again.10 Thecontinent is renewing its violence-laden movement through primitive accumula-tion, nation-state formation, and democratisation to capitalist modernity. Thisprocess has been released from the shacklesor protective barriers, dependingon how one views the fall of various non-capitalist modes of production, of statistrent-seeking and patronclient opportunities, and of policies of industrial andagricultural protection in the face of capitalisms advance and the commodifica-tion of everyday lifeof Cold War politics and Keynesian-style economics. Yetthe path to capitalism is far from smooth. Land-tenure relations are becomingmore and more private, but the transition through primitive accumulation is justbeginning and there are not the industrial means to absorb a new proletariat.Colonial boundaries and their states are fall ing apart, but they are notdisappearing. They are taking new forms, and have more difficult tasks toperform than ever before, but their fundamental ambiguity rests in the fact thatthey have less room for manoeuvre than in previous decades. Polities are under-going processes of democratisation, no longer as hard under the thumbs ofcolonial and one-party regimes of the past centurybut they are not enjoying thecivil, let alone social, promises of liberal democracy. </p><p>If one celebrates this first stage of globalisation, all the violenceandincreasing inequalityof these transitions can be seen as but blips on progresssscreen: the necessary, if painful, signposts to progress. If one condemns Africasrole in post-cold war capitalism, one sees these symptoms as part of a globaldisease. Whatever end of the pole, one is obliged to be diagnostic and prognostic.Whether Warrenite or dependencia schools of historical materialism are thebest with which to analyse the current moment is an open question. The follow-ing assessment of the crises of primitive accumulation in Zimbabwe, nation-stateformation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), and democratisa-tion in South Africa may assist in the choice of optimism or pessimism on suchscores.11</p><p>Does the dark side of capitalisms progress in Africa overwhelm the light?While Africas processes of modernisation accelerate in the post-cold war era,</p><p>910</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [S</p><p>tanfo</p><p>rd U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity L</p><p>ibrari</p><p>es] a</p><p>t 16:2</p><p>1 26 S</p><p>eptem</p><p>ber 2</p><p>012 </p></li><li><p>TRIPLE CRISIS OF MODERNISATION IN AFRICA</p><p>its current situation imposes great difficulties on the process. As Berger illus-trates, in the introduction to this special issue, there remains little of thenational shell for the development process in Africa.12 The fragile casingconstructed during the 1960s and 1970s that was just beginning to provide themeans for nation-making and state-building, as messy a process as that is, hasnow all but disappeared. Yet, as Hardt and Negri illustrate, the identitiesconstructed in the process of nation building are essential for capitalist develop-ment.13 If globalisation is taking these means away from Africa, what chancedoes capitalism (let alone something more progressive) have? This papersexamination of the crisis of nation-state formation in the Great Lakes region,including especially the relationship between the DR Congo and Rwanda in thecontext of the political economy of war, will investigate this contradiction.14 Warmodes of productionnetworked very tightly with a global political economy ofarms, drugs, and resourcesin battle-torn central Africa are not conducive to theconstruction of chains of accumulation benefiting existing states. They may ormay not lead to the formation of new nation-state structures.15</p><p>Another axiom of capitalist development is the universalisation of privateproperty, or, for Marxists, the fulfilment of the primitive accumulation process.Resolving the land question in Zimbabwe (and increasingly in South Africa16)could conceivably realise capitalisms cornerstone relatively equitably (in thebeginning, before differentiation sets in). However, its 20-year deferral inZimbabwe (after a good start17) for lack of international assistance and fears ofglobal disapprobation in a context of domestic class stalemate has led to todayscrisis, which raises the question of whether such a process can ever be violence-free. </p><p>The radical rhetoric of the second Cold War18 in Africa now sounds hollowwhen mouthed by politicians who misspent the opportunity allowed by the ColdWar conjuncture.19 Thus working class alternatives to agrarian/authoritarianandincreasingly racistpopulism are susceptible to the neoliberalism that urban andrural discourses should challenge.20 This chapter will shed light on how primitiveaccumulations post-settler colonial twist combines with global influences in atime of deep political crisis in a once MarxistLeninist ruling party.21</p><p>Finally, we are led to believe that in the globalised era political democratisationand economic liberalisation march together. Good governance and democracyprogrammes bloom all over Africa. They promise the liberal democratic veritiesof freedom and human rights along with their material prerequisites. However,structural adjustment policies deny the means for the latter. The dictates of neo-liberal economic policies in societies already structured by scarcity mean thatdemocracys promises turn out to be lies: liberal democracy on the edge ofempire is very thin indeed. Here too the lure of globalisation turns out to bedangerous.22 South Africathe most modern of the three case studies, and akeystone for the continentwill be examined through the lens of democratisationtheory broadly conceived.23</p><p>Discussion of these social formations may illuminate the question of whetherthe imperatives of the post-cold war global political economy impose restrictionson the resolution of the triple crises of capitalist modernisation. Does the post-cold war predicament close off Africas development, or does it allow its</p><p>911</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [S</p><p>tanfo</p><p>rd U</p><p>nivers</p><p>ity L</p><p>ibrari</p><p>es] a</p><p>t 16:2</p><p>1 26 S</p><p>eptem</p><p>ber 2</p><p>012 </p></li><li><p>DAVID MOORE</p><p>unfolding? If the former is true, the search for alternatives will be harder thanduring the first (cold war) era of post-colonialism.</p><p>Zimbabwe: primitive accumulation with a twist</p><p>For some, the Zimbabwean crisis is political, not an effort to redress long-deferred land inequalities. This is partially truethe Robert Mugabe regimeinstigated the land invasions only when it feared that it would lose the 2000parliamentary elections.24 The invasions were not the spontaneous efforts of thesubjects of an artificially prolonged communal mode of production wanting tobecome capitalist farmers. Nor were they the result of long-laid plans andprogrammes.25 One can accept the political label, however, only if one separatesthe political from the socioeconomic. The politics of the crisis would not havetaken their current form if nearly half of Zimbabwes population did not resideand work on communal lands with customary rules of tenure. The crisis-hitregime turned to the land issue precisely because it had not been solved in the 20years of its rule. To be sure, the issue can only be solved in a political way,involving the Zimbabwean state, states in the core of the global capitalist system,local and global capitaland the Zimbabwean peasantry. It remains to be seenwhether the current round of invasions transforms the lives of those in thecommunal areas that cover roughly half the country. Instead, they may be but asolution to a political problem that will turn an unemployed urban and destituterural population into very small and perhaps unsustainable petty commodityproducersdisplacing a similar number of agricultural workers. The question is:will a process that has led to the states plans to take over 5000 commercial farmson eight million hectares of Zimbabwes fertile land solve or merely defer theproblem of primitive accumulation? Will leaving the mostly white commercialfarmers with 800 farms solve the problem? (The state claimed in mid-2001 that ithad already taken over 2500 farms on over 3.5 million hectares, with 105 000families resettled. Few are serviced. Over 300 000 agricultural workers may losetheir jobs.26) </p><p>The resolution of the primitive accumulation question in Zimbabwe is tied upinextricably with globalisation. The World Banks sine qua non is privateproperty and an idyllic vision of small farmers (to hide the brutal dispossessionof traditional rights and the conflict-ridden process of proletarianisation). Its1997 study of the state in a changing world asserted that the primary function ofthe Third World state was to universalise private property rights.27 Why then,should not Zimbabwes seven million people with only traditional land rightsbe ushered into the fold? The entry of other facets of globalisation into theequation must be examined. First, the British and US states hesitated to followthrough on promises of assistance for land reform made at the closure of thenational liberation struggle. The coincidental structural adjustment policies of thelate 1980s and 1990s denied the state the means to pay for the acquisition of land.Second, the white commercial farmers were able to lobby effectively to convincethe state and the international community that they were (and are) Zimbabwesbreadbasket.28 Third, the embourgeoisement of the Zimbabwean ruling class hasto...</p></li></ul>


View more >