Planning: The Revolution is a 10-year Affair
What shall we do? We need to plan. The adage says failing to plan is planning to fail. There is a prevailing misconception that a revolution happens instantaneously when people are fed up, and in a manner similar to a Mexican wave, they rise up against the system one after the other. The reality is that a revolution is not a one-time event, even though it is characterized by one-time events.
The apex of the revolution, the culmination of, the programs thereof, is not itself the complete revolution. There are several phases that precede the climax.
The spontaneity of the masses is something that is cultivated over time. It does not merely happen due to physical and economic conditions. If the revolutionary ideas and spirit are not cultivated, the revolution would never come about. In essence, a revolution is planned. Relying on luck and the spontaneity of the masses to erupt is a wrong strategy.
What if the people will never erupt, even when faced with the most extreme conditions? The people continue dropping dead, one by one, yet there is no solid revolution coming through. This certainly feels like is the case for Zimbabwe.
The revolution begins in the mind and spreads across minds until it becomes a prevailing societal idea. When the time is right, the idea manifests into action. The minds have to be prepared. The masses have to be made ready. That phase of making the masses psychologically ready is the submerged part of the iceberg. That is where most of the planning and strategy occur.
An example that comes to mind is the state of soldiers in Zimbabwe. They are not ready. If somebody claims that soldiers in Zimbabwe will never be ready for a revolution, I would totally understand the logic of that position. Those pushing for the democratic and progressive revolution have to think and plan along the lines of infiltrating the minds of the soldiers. Half of the battle is mental. If the soldiers can never be mentally transformed, then the revolution faces an uphill task when it comes to actioning the climax phase of the revolution, where power transfer is brokered.
The role of the Thinkers
Thinkers are largely criticized and made fun of in Zimbabwe. Anyone who seems to think from a blank canvas is deemed too theoretical and divorced from reality. Thinkers are regarded as too bookish. Academicians are mocked and derided.
People who put across thoughtful positions regarding issues are hated because they are deemed to be narcissistic people who think they know more than others, though it is a mathematical reality that some people will know more than others in certain areas.
This is a culture of societal mental poverty. Collectively, as a society, we are so intellectually poor that we cannot see the role of intellectualism, theoreticians, and academics in life. This is what Mugabe did to us. We are blissfully happy in our ignorance. The modern world as we know it is built upon the foundation laid out by intellectuals, theoreticians, academics, and researchers. These are the people who think through problems and offer solutions. They break down barriers. They think.
In Zimbabwe, we over-glorify the doers (anaItai) and denigrate the thinkers (anaFungai). Little do we know that Itai has nothing fruitful to do if he/she does not absorb what Fungai has thought out. Now, the false revolution, spearheaded by the MDC and its surrogates, proxies, underlings, barking dogs et cetera is full of ana Itai with very little space for ana Fungai. This explains why the revolution (as false as it is), lacks an intellectual ground. It is just a bunch of clueless leaders who are very good at shouting slogans but with very little mental power to spearhead the revolution.
Nelson Chamisa is a good example of an Itai. He is a man of action, but not really a man of thought. The guy is not a thinker. So, when people are calling him out to do something, the pertinent question becomes the “what” question. What do you want him to do?
An Itai can only do what the Fungai has thought out carefully after analyzing all the complex scenarios and outcomes together with probability weights on the outcomes. What do people want Chamisa to do? Have they analyzed the consequences of those actions? Most have not, they just want him to do something. They want him to do anything.
A fact that people don’t want to hear is that the revolution has to planned with nuclear precision. There is no room for error. The losses given an error are huge. With all due respect to Hwende, Biti, Job Sikhala, et al, the MDC does not have a massive, solid base of revolutionary thinkers and strategists.
Most of the goods and services we enjoy today started as a whitepaper. An idea is written down and explained on paper. Its carefully thought out and planned, before implementation.
The Role of Strategists and Planners
Thinkers are largely conceptual. Strategists take the concepts and apply them to reality. Planners further break down the strategies into concrete and detailed plans of action.
Strategists are almost non-existent in Zimbabwe. How do we propose to carry forward without the active involvement of strategists? The belief that we do not need to strategize, things will sort themselves out as we go is misguided. The revolution needs strategists to counter the strategies of those who oppress us. That is the real essence of leadership. We cannot expect the masses to just figure out by themselves how to respond to the strategies of those who oppress us. The generality of the populace will not respond correctly, appropriately, or thoughtfully. Somebody needs to do the heavy-lifting in terms of strategy. The strategists have to carry the burden of strategizing on behalf of the masses.
That being said, the strategist and planners have to obviously be organized and discreet.
The intellectual midgets currently spearheading the (false) revolution think and act guided by electoral cycles. Right now, they have their eyes on 2023. This lack of understanding of the political dynamics around elections in Zimbabwe is worrisome.
Why would you plan your revolution around electoral cycles, when the elections themselves are merely a process of sanitizing a corrupt and autocratic regime. Participating lends legitimacy to the electoral process, as pointed out earlier. Besides that, the shambolic elections themselves are a non-event, as far the revolution is not concerned. Even the Average Joe and Simple Simon walking down the streets of Gweru know fully well that elections, as they are in Zimbabwe right now, will not bring about the type of changes that the people want.
Alert revolutionary agents should not be tricked into thinking and acting in terms of the election cycles. They should totally ignore the elections. Unfair and unfree elections are not real elections. They are a distraction to the revolution.
The revolution is a long-term thing. It needs to be planned for a 5-to-10-year period, if not more. As pointed out elsewhere, in Zimbabwe, the people are not ready, they have to be readied. Society itself needs to be transformed. A cultural revolution has to precede a political revolution. These and other issues point out the need for long-term planning.
You are definitely not going to overcome the widespread false consciousness in one year. You are not going to achieve the necessary de-lending the economic struggle itself of a political character in a short period of time. The de-lending of legitimacy to the electoral process can be attained in one electoral cycle but two cycles will totally de-lend the legitimacy. These point to a 5–to-10-year period.
The revolution strategist needs to play the long game. Chasing short-term and temporary wins should not be attained at the expense of sacrificing the dream. An example in this regard is elections, once again. By participating in shambolic elections, and garnering a wide support base and a meaningful representation in parliament (though not the majority), the (false) revolutionary forces of the MDC attain short term goals of being recognized as a force to reckon in Zimbabwean politics, being recognized as the leading opposition, among other successes. However, all of these short-term wins come at the expense of not winning the ultimate prize; ruling the country for the better.
The short-term gain of bringing accountability to the government through parliament (especially when done by Mr. Tendai Biti) is awesome, but that in itself does not further the long-term interests of the revolution. In the long term, we want change. We want the looting to stop. We want a better country. We want better laws and better institutions, forever and ever. These are precisely the things that we cannot get as long as the “false” revolutionary elements are content with playing number two, election-after-election. We cannot attain the long-term goals of the revolution if we participate in shambolic elections.
This is a classic case where short-term goals are in somewhat of a conflict with long-term goals. In situations like these, the revolution should make a decision guided by the long-term goals, which should appropriately take precedence over short-term goals.
To recap; the revolution is a +10-year affair. It is not something instant born out of a zeitgeist from nowhere. A zeitgeist has to be firstly cultivated, nurtured and when ripe, it is harvested because the people will be ready.