Article from ROAPE Volume 32 Number 103
Reaction and Resistance to Neo-liberalism in Zambia
This paper explores the current Zambian discourse around neo-liberal economic polices, in particular its expression in a trade union-led campaign against the privatisation of the Zambian National Commercial Bank (ZNCB). It locates the origin of these protests in the impact of economic liberalisation programmes implemented by the ruling Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) since 1991. The paper studies the privatisation of the economically strategic copper mining industry and, taking as a case study the mining town of Luanshya, explores the linkages between a secretive and corrupt privatisation process, and its human consequences for mineworkers, their families and communities. It finds that the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) sought to implement privatisation regardless of legal requirements, social consequences, and the future sustainability of the mining industry. It surveys the development of opposition to privatisation amongst civil society organisations, particularly trade unions, and seeks to identify emerging Zambian alternatives to neo-liberalism, including new models of popular control of strategic economic resources, and a renewed authoritarian nationalism that feeds on popular resentment of the effects of neo-liberal policies.