An Open Letter to the Mozambique Support Network National Meeting

by Kathleen Sheldon, Steve Tarzynski
Los Angeles, California, United States
November 1990
Publisher: Mozambique Support Network
2 pages
Coverage in Africa: Mozambique
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
The letter says Dear friends and MSN comrades, we regret that other commitments do not permit us to be with you; however, we wanted to share some thoughts with you given the critical situation both for Mozambique and MSN at this moment. The letter says the recent changes in Mozambique have left many of us with feelings ranging from anger and dismay to confusion and discouragement; MSN's current financial crisis and recent staff problems also indicate a deeper problem; after years of solidarity work and, for some of us, risking life and limb to help build a nonaligned, independent, nonracial, democratic, and socialist Mozambique it seems the solidarity movement has lost its sense of mission and focus; four factors are responsible for this. The letter says first, global changes have led to a new international economic order and social structure of accumulation; globalization of economic activity, information exchange, and the growing centralization, interdependence, and complexity of societies have caused economics to transcend national boundaries while politics still remains regional and national; the collapse of post-World War II "Stalinist" political economy in Eastern Europe and the Third World, the failure of Western European social democracy and its counterpart U.S. liberalism are the result of this revolutionary global process which to date is progressing in an antisocial undemocratic manner; with the attendant decline of Soviet power post-revolutionary societies like Mozambique must now "go it alone" and find their place in this new order of things. The letter says second, the Reagan Doctrine which actively supported worldwide counter-revolution was very successful in Mozambique. We are not alone; the solidarity movements supporting progressive forces in Central America, Angola, and other struggles face similar problems. The letter says third, the worldwide crisis of socialism has impacted Frelimo and other revolutionary forces in the Third World; this crisis is partly caused by the above two factors, but is also caused by the climaxing of historic contradictions rooted in the very nature of Stalinist and Leninist praxis. The letter says fourth, there is a crippling lack of essential information, almost a deafening silence, on what is going on inside Frelimo and the government itself regarding the struggle for political direction; all we know from fragmented second and third hand reports and from reading between the lines of Mozambiguefile and Tempo is that there is great turmoil and tension over goals and direction; different policies of various ministries, e.g. Health vs. Education, indicate this; whom do we support? The letter says where are the progressive forces in Mozambique? The letter says what role can we play both within Mozambique when we are there and in MSN to support the forces of democratic socialism? The letter says simply put, MSN cannot redefine its mission and find a new focus until we can find honest answers for these three questions; we cannot solve our financial problems until we have a clear mission and focus. The letter says so where do we all go from here? The letter says we would like to make several suggestions. The letter says it is premature to close up shop; right wing forces here and in Mozambique would be very happy to see MSN fold; let's not given them satisfaction just yet; we must fight and win the "battle for information". The letter says if we do this we can renew our sense or mission and develop a vision, shared with clearly identified progressive forces in Mozambique, of a Mozambique that is worth struggling for in the brave new world we face. The letter says we should continue to be part of the broader antiapartheid movement; the rapidly changing (escalating?) situation in South Africa impacts on Mozambique directly; our presence reminds others in the U.S. that this is a regional struggle and that the fates of all southern Africans are tied to each other. The letter says in choosing material aid projects we should not pick issues that are "safe" and nonpolitical; liberals can do that; let's choose projects that will raise political consciousness among citizens moved by our educational efforts and projects that will support progressive (even revolutionary and feminist) forces within Mozambique; one idea could be support for the women's agricultural cooperatives around Maputo who are fighting against the seizure and privatization of their lands. The letter says MSN should develop a special task force to focus on impacting Congressional Committees and legally neutralizing Renamo support in this country; MSN chapters should be organized in districts where Congressional representatives are "fence sitters" on issues important to MSN and in districts where representatives are opposed to progressive change in Mozambique. The letter says finally, it is important to remember that the best way to help Mozambique is for all of us to work hard to move our own country in a more progressive direction.
Used by permission of the authors Kathleen Sheldon and Steve Tarzynski and of other former members of the Mozambique Support Network.
Collection: Kathleen Sheldon Southern Africa Collection, Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections