Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Friday, February 13, 2009

Robert Mugabe on love

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, where better to turn for thoughts on affairs of the heart than an early collection of the writing and speeches of the ever topical Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe, entitled 'Our War of Liberation: Speeches, Articles, Interviews 1976-79'? Asked to comment on the fact that Ian Smith's brutal racist regime (then in power) claimed it was 'fighting to defend Christianity against Communism' and asked what is ZANU's policy toward religion, Mugabe gave the following answer:

'I don't understand how the Christian Churches can be repelled by Marxism and Leninism. To tell you the truth I don't understand it. They may not accept perhaps what they call the godlessness of materialism, but the basis of organising society which brings people to work together to avoid rampant individualism seems to be in harmony at least with the Catholic Church...And then there is the aspect of love which comes into it. When they preach of love what do they mean? Is there love when Rockefeller exploits the whole society and purely by virtue of inheritance or his having speculated and built up capital he acquires property at the expense of society and exploits his labour. I don't think that's Christian love.'

It's beautifully evocative and poetic stuff, obviously, and I think it's a sentiment that has even more resonance today, over thirty years later. No one could ever surely today ask such as question as 'where is the love' in modern Zimbabwe - thank goodness they are now rid of any Rockefeller type robber barons who could ever be accused of exploiting labour to build up capital to acquire property at the expense of the whole society...


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