Hands-Off Trade Unions! Respect and Pay the Doctors, Give Us Our Bonus

                               Workers Unite and Fight Back   !                                                                   

6 March 2017 – International Socialist Organization Solidarity Statement – Government Workers Strike                                                                            

Hospitals are now being run by soldiers and student nurses. The government has frozen the recruitment of junior doctors as part of the IMF austerity program and it continues to arrogantly refuse to improve the working conditions of doctors. Doctors have been striking for three weeks and patients continue to suffer with some dying due to lack of medical assistance and care. Nurses have joined the strike action demanding their 2016 bonuses and in solidarity with the doctors. Not only are doctors and nurses being exploited and subjected to unbearable working conditions, ordinary people , the patients are also being discriminated on the basis of wealth and class as most hospitals are now privatised and charging very high medical fees. The government is clearly showing its true colours, as a heartless regime which only cares about the interests of the rich and the politically well-connected that are treated in South Africa, India and Singapore. The President is always globetrotting , last year his endless travels gobbled $42 million. But a hundred or a couple hundred million dollars in bonuses is considered too much for over 500000 government workers!                         

Civil servants have been very patient with the government. They have been engaging the government through their participation in the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) represented by the Apex Council. They have been demanding their payment of bonuses in cash & the government has offered three alternative bonuses in the form of mainly non-monetary incentives such as housing stands. The housing stands are progressive as they provide an opportunity for workers to build their own homes but they are coming at a complicated huge cost of monthly deductions of the salaries which are already below the Poverty-Datum-Line & on top of that an automatic stoppage of payment of bonuses for several years. After failing to agree with unions , the government through the despised, infamous and notorious Public Service Commission is now trying to undermine unions using divide and rule tactics by bypassing unions and engaging workers directly using intimidation.           

The government is very hypocritical, it spent over $500 million in free grants for 15000 black capitalist farmers under the command agriculture scheme who never paid a cent for the land but now it is demanding workers to pay for small portions of farmland partitioned into housing stands! Workers must be given land in the same way it was given to farmers. The Reserve Bank (RBZ) through ZAMCO has bailed out fatcats by assuming over $1 billion of bad debts given to politicians and capitalists after assuming another $3 billion through the RBZ Debt Assumption Act in 2015 but it cannot recruit more doctors and improve the working conditions of doctors who are toiling day and night to save lives! During such a difficult time when hospitals are in crisis, the head of state Robert Mugabe travelled to Singapore for his medical check-up, shunning as usual the local hospitals which lack adequate medical infrastructure and drugs.

The 6 March sit-in strike action which has been called by the Apex Council is the only language which the government has proven to historically listen to. If the government remains unbendingly and zealously arrogant and refuse to adequately respond to workers demands , the sit-in strike has to be escalated to a full-blown strike.Apart from the 1996 General Strike, the 6 July 2016 Shutdown which was led mainly by striking government workers and combi drivers forced the government to back down and urgently respond in less than 48 hours by paying salaries. To achieve victory on 6 March demands the class unity of all the striking workers; the doctors, nurses, teachers & all other sections of the working class. The grievances of the doctors, nurses, teachers & workers in general are the same, its time to build workers class power.

Shinga Mushandi! Shinga! Quina Msebenzi! Quina                                                                                                                  International Socialist Organization: email- iso.zim@gmail.com                                                                                    

Chinamasa’s Austerity Policies and ZANU PF’s Socialism for the Rich

 

The fundamental underlying logic of the neoliberal policies being boldly advanced to suck the sweat and blood of the poor in Zimbabwe is premised on the argument albeit brazenly articulated here, ‘taxing the poor to subsidize the rich’. This explains why all the tax reforms being implemented by the government especially after accenting to the LIMA IMF-World Bank austerity plan to honour debt peonage are essentially targeting the poor and skirting the rich. Job cuts, salary cuts, tax increases, urban tollgates, privatisations, and Municipal cost recovery policies are exclusively designed to skim and milk dry the section which is the most impoverished, precariously hanging on edge of survival and struggling daily to access the bare minimum needed to breathe, walk and talk.

Taxation is made complex and explained in alienating terms to cajole the poor and make it difficult for them to directly see the extent to which they are being dried to pauperisation by their government. The percentage tax increases are presented in syrupy ways to make them appear acceptable, tiny and insignificant to make them a major headline compared to the AFCON tournament and petty bedroom issues like the Stunner affair, Andy Muridzo-Beverly and Zvihuta tabloid stories. But the reality is that austerity and in particular tax hikes for basic commodities are major issues which have a direct bearing on the very existence and survival of the poor.

In the 2017 budget statement, the Finance Minister announced the introduction of a 5c health levy for every $1 spent on voice calls and data. He also announced the re-introduction of VAT on all meat products and cereals. The 5% health levy together with a data and voice tariff increase set by POTRAZ under the influence of ECONET-monopoly capitalism sparked a major consumer protest which forced both POTRAZ and telecommunications companies to back-down and reverse the tariffs hikes. The Ministry of Finance has re-introduced a 15% VAT for basic goods – meat products and cereals such as rice through Statutory Instrument 20 of 2017. The net effect of this new tax is a corresponding rise in the price of food and inflation. It is the working people, those who are already struggling who will suffer most.

“Conversely , when governments reduce the tax burden for large corporations, they tend towards two options: to cut back on the essential spending needed to reduce inequality and poverty: or to make up the shortfall by levying higher taxes such as Value-Added-Tax (VAT), on other less wealth sections of society” (OXFAM, Policy Paper Summary: 12 December 2016)

capitalism

Big corporations continue to enjoy huge tax breaks and holidays and the “Income of a licenced during the first five years of operation” is tax free. OXFAM a global NGO which fights global inequality recently released a report at the 2017 Davos World Economic Forum which stated that, the richest eight billionaires in the world have more wealth than 3.6 billion people combined. It has also stated that 75% of government revenue in Africa comes from VAT and not from taxes on big corporations which are monopolising and exploiting African natural resources and expropriating the profits to the metropoles in Beijing, London, Paris, Washington and other metropoles of global capital.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has never made proposals to introduce a Wealth Tax to redistribute wealth from the millionaires and billionaires in Zimbabwe are own and control the mines, banks and factories. He has never hinted on levying a tourism tax on all elites like him, his President Robert Mugabe and the Minister of Postal , Courier Services and Telecommunications who spent an average of a month on vacation in the most expensive holiday resorts gobbling up millions of dollars in the process. The privilege of rich people and their exemptions from paying their fair share of taxes is clearly a ‘socialism for the rich’ subsidized by the poor through austerity: job cuts, salary cuts and more taxes.

Cost recovery mechanisms are being used to ruthless enforce the privatisation of water in urban areas. Residents in all the countries major towns and cities especially those in the high density suburbs have been served with summons by the Messenger of Court or notices by Debt Collectors issuing them ultimatums to pay their debts or face the auctioning their houses and furniture. The councils are going after residents despite the fact that it is public knowledge that the majority of the population is reeling in poverty and unemployment.

The only option left for the working people- labour unions, social movements, Socialists, youths and students is their class unity and fight back which is anchored on their self-activity and independently fought without the restraining influence of all the political parties and factions running the government. Clear class demand against job cuts, salary cuts, cost –recovery measures, and tax increases must be advanced.

 

 

Raymond Sango

Programs Manager- Zimbabwe Labour Centre, Member – International Socialist Organization

‘Defend the Land and Fight for Democracy’, is Malema on Point?

 

Less than a week after the Zimbabwe People First Party led by the former Vice President, Joyce Mujuru and other opposition parties were mauled and strangled in the Bikita West by-election by ZANU PF, Julius Malema the firebrand former ANC Youth League President and leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters party has correctly exposed Robert Mugabe’s penchant for power and resolve to be a Life President. Malema, much to the chagrin of the pro-white monopoly capital opposition parties in Zimbabwe, also defended the land reform program but not hiding the fact that Robert Mugabe is now a frail , old leader who ‘cannot even control a spade’ and is always asleep in meetings . The statements by Julius Malema bring forth two crucial issues at the centre of the struggles in Zimbabwe, but which are treated as separate from each: democracy and land.

Land and democracy are treated as separate and antagonistic demands which do not go hand in hand. In reality, land and democracy go hand in hand. Colonialism dispossessed natives of land and settled black people in barren lands called Tribal Trust Lands to force them to submit to white capital and work as cheap labour to generate super-profits. Draconian land policies such as the Land Apportionment Act, Maize Control Act and the Native Land Husbandry Act were legislated to entrench racial inequality and sowed the seeds of dictatorship. The radical land reform program provoked by the incessant demands of the war veterans and Traditional Chiefs which began in the turn of the century undid the legacy of land thievery and dispossession and democratised land ownership. The land reform program distributed stolen land from 5000 land thieves to over 250 000 families. Extensive researches done by Sam Moyo, Joseph Hanlon, Ian Scoones et al buttress this reality. Opposition to the land reform program came from the MDC which was hijacked by white capital with its leaders filmed receiving stacks of cash from white farmers at a farm in Banket. Their opposition to the land reform can be directly inferred and interpreted as the defence of racial inequality, and stolen land .Within the broader democratization struggle; it represents opposition to the democratisation of the economy. Genuine social justice activism is not half-backed it fights for full democracy.

ZANU PF and Robert Mugabe have been able to amass significant traction among the landless urban and rural poor through appealing to nationalism and using the rhetoric of democratising the economy to burst up white monopoly capital. The land reform program has built up a solid support base for ZANU PF which needs much more-than harsh-tags to break up. Land is the main class interest of the peasantry. The peasantry has very little concern with 2.2 million jobs. Added to that free farming inputs, subsidies and general government support: Presidential Input Scheme and Command Agriculture; the peasants will be satisfied. This explains why the opposition parties lost in Bikita and generally why their support is decreasing than increasing. In fact, this is a pointer to the awaiting possibilities which will unfold in the 2018 elections. An electoral victory of any party which is against the land reform program is now inconceivable and unfathomable. Now the land reform is pervading the urban areas with 200 000 housing stands for teachers and youths. The net result of this process is easy to guess. A bumper harvest is likely in 2017 and this will worsen the predicament of those who have maintained a consistent antagonism to the way land was expropriated from land thieves.

But ZANU PF is indifferent to political democracy. It doesn’t support equality and freedom in the political realm. It gags its opponents, suppresses dissent and jails dissidents. Robert Mugabe has been at the helm of the leadership of Zimbabwe since 1980. He has clearly become a Life President. His fanatical and obsequious supporters in the Women’s and Youth Leagues of ZANU PF have called him the ‘Black Jesus’ who will rule even from the grave. He is being mystified. But underneath the treacherous hero-worshipping are the political ambitions of the Young Turks, the G-40 who are buying time to eliminate all their internal political foes in ZANU PF before declaring their political ambitions.

‘Democracy’ is a term, a principle and a lexicon which is quickly disappearing from the major demands of the opposition political parties. The implosion of the economic crisis and the splits in the bosses’ parties; ZANU PF and MDC have unleashed a massive political reconfiguration of classes, loyalties and allegiances. Party leaders now see cutting deals, compromises, co-option and possibly ‘coalitions’ sometimes veiled as ‘National Transitional Authority’ as the ultimate solutions. The positions of foreign embassies who have long positioned themselves as ‘pro-democracy’ has shifted to openly pro-neoliberal and deal –breaking. Making matters worse is the rise of economic nationalism globally. The British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson is not an enemy of Zimbabwe’s land reform program and blames the Labour party, this explains Ambassador Catriona Lang’s sympathy with the Lacoste –Zanu Pf Faction. In the coming years, the major capitalist powers- USA, France and Britain will be more concerned with protecting their borders, economies and industries from globalisation and retreating steadily from liberal diplomacy. Pro-democracy groups are enduring their own contradictions as they are not free from democracy deficits. But the struggle for democracy remains key in the struggle to build an alternative for Zimbabwe which is democratic and founded on the pillars of social justice , liberty, equality , transparency , accountability, non-sexism and opposed to identity politics –regionalism and ethnicity.

 

Yes Malema is correct on this one!

                           

Bread and Freedom!

 

Raymond Sango

Programmes Officer, Zimbabwe Labour Centre                        

 

EFF STATEMENT ON ZANU-PF’S RESPONSE TO CALLS FOR PRESIDENT MUGABE TO STEP DOWN

24 January, 2017

The EFF reaffirms its position that President Mugabe’s occupancy of the position of president is not good for the radical African political program. He is the bastion of the reactionary phenomenon of “lead to the death” that has crippled the image and praxis of post-colonial Africa. President Mugabe is not only the contemporary engine of personality cult, but he is protected by a group of cowards around him who hypocritically defend him everyday, whilst harbouring ambitions to lead soon.

We are unequivocal that revolutions ought to promote programs and not personalities. The continent needs heroes who will be able to stand firm on the objectives of the African revolution whilst allowing democratic practices and succession of leadership. His example is contradictory to this ideal since it directly or indirectly promotes the phenomenon of refusing to leave office until death.

Before the ZANU-PF and its youth wing respond to the EFF about the charge that they are cowards; they should ask themselves a simple question – what is revolutionary about being led by a person in old age; who sleeps all the time in meetings, can no longer even hold a pen or write half a page? Failure to respond to this question signifies not that they are afraid of others, but of President Mugabe.

When youth movement across the continent are fighting for change, questioning the transformation of liberation movements into old age homes and general gerontocracy. The ZANU-PF youth is instead defending and advancing an essentially anti-youth statuesque. This is because there is actually no youth in the ZANU-PF Youth; what you find are middle age men and women, half of which are suffering from a mid-life crises. They should be ashamed of themselves for holding the future from being born in Zimbabwe.

We shall never tell lies as revolutionaries; all the anti-colonial struggle icons like Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere knew when it was enough and handed over the baton to others. The African revolution must always distance itself from all forms of personality cults; insistence that President Mugabe must lead to the grave is a sign that ZANU-PF is drowning in cowardice.

ISSUED BY THE ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS

MBUYISENI QUINTIN NDLOZI (National Spokesperson)

Contact: +27 (76) 834 7308

Naledi Chirwa (Media Liaison) +27 (61) 482 6589

The Fight for Free and Decolonised Education and Graduate Employment: The New Sight of Struggle for the Student Movement in Zimbabwe

Kudos to Comrade Tonderai Dombo and other graduates who challenged education without empowerment yesterday.

The decolonization of the economy has not led to the broad-based empowerment of the vast majority of the working class. The emerging struggles for jobs and against graduate unemployment which exploded on the 29th of September at the recent University of Zimbabwe graduation when students protested against Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe and the Chancellor of all universities have given pointers to the new sight of struggle which the student movement objectively out of necessity now need to pursue. Graduate unemployment is so devastating and only a tiny proportion of those who graduate annually are able to find jobs.

Organization at a campus level gives the student movement sufficient power to mobilize potent rebellions for demanding their class interests. In their thousands they can organize and challenge the government to pursue certain policies and if they are radical enough they can even topple governments. It was at the University of Havana that Fidel Castro and others began the build up towards the revolutionary overthrow of the corrupt dictatorships of Fulgencio Batista and Ramón Grau. Others examples that come to mind are; the 1968 student protests in France which forced President Charles de Gaulle to quickly skip the border and hide , the 1980s student movement in Zimbabwe which forced the shutdown of the University of Zimbabwe including also countless protests launched after that to the current #feesmustfall# decolonise education protests in South Africa which started in 2015. The #feesmustfall# movement at Wits University in South Africa has gone as far as petitioning the South African Chamber of mines to fund free education. It is not under any illusion, it is aware that capital is running the show and the fight must be directed against it.

Graduate unemployment and the demand for a free decolonized education should be at the centre of student struggles. Sometimes activists fail to mobilize mass struggles because they will be articulating periphery issues which students are not prepared to take risks by participating. Most students are aware that they will mostly likely not find employment after graduation. But are most student protests and campaigns placing graduate unemployment at centre of the struggles? The economy has collapsed owing to a number of factors such as the failure of the national bourgeois to become the historic bourgeois, the Rockerfellers. They have failed to confront international capital. They expropriate whited capital but they are still dependent on its loans, FDI and aid. They are the typical lumpen bourgeois of the third world, corrupt, dependent and oppressive. The bursting of the economy by neoliberal capitalism, ESAP squandered the industrial potential of the economy which was aided by ZIDERA and the combined piercing striking rod of imperialism. Mugabe apart from failing, he has also been whipped by an unimaginable sjambok which is now being oiled by the likes of Patson Dzamara with their lobby for the intensification of the economic and financial airstrike. In such a complex situation the intervention of a radical student movement united with the working class, social movements and the radical left potentially bequeaths a potent movement against both the rotten and parasitic ZANU PF and international capital. This is so, because the reality of the matter is that ZANU PF is applying failed trickle-down economics of enriching the elites to create jobs which has failed. Also because international capital will never come to Zimbabwe with a bag loaded with $100 billion to build the economy but rather it will merely revive the system of chibharo- slave labour through labour market flexibility to repeat another Zuva Petroleum vs Don Nyamande and massacre thousands of jobs as demanded by the IMF in the LIMA Arrears Clearance Strategy expressed in the Civil Service Audit report.

The epistemicides being regurgitated in Colleges and Universities by students must be challenged. Education should not only empower students with skills, it must liberate their minds from mental slavery. It must give them an awareness of their relationship with nature, the origins ad nature of what they know and what they are being taught, how they can manipulate nature to transform society and crucially how the system of capitalism works. Colonial epistemologies which are still dominant in the colleges and universities are disempowering, destructive and only serving to creating the 1960s intellectual who has to serve settler colonialism with his blood and tears. Education must not be a question of cramming and passing an exam. It must change the thinking and behaviour of the educated. The reason why most students are struggling to articulate an alternative to what they were taught is because of the mug and jug pedagogy condemned by Paulo Freire. The capping of students bowing their heads at the graduation is the final process of this stamping of inferiority in the student and forcing him/her to respect dictatorial leadership and gerontocracy. Neoliberal capitalism is the hegemonic discourse in University curriculum. It is celebrated. Alternatives are rarely studied. It is not the same education that has produced the makers of Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and automobiles; it is a pale shadow of it. It is alienating. Its enlightening value lies in the fact that it teaches new things to students but it does not create critical thinkers and innovative leaders, it stifles them. It reflects the objectives of the Rhodesian educational system and the clueless national liberation which took over whose key policy makers are still student themselves after 36 years of independence!

 

 

Break With Imperialism : Workers, Students, Vendors, Youths and Rural Farmers Unite and Fight Dictatorship and Neo-liberalism. Build Class Power Reject Imperialism

 

Romper con el imperialismo : trabajadores, estudiantes, vendedores , jóvenes y agricultores rurales unirse y luchar dictadura y el neoliberalismo

 

By Raymond Sango

If ever there is going to be any successful and progressive struggle against dictatorship in Zimbabwe it has to be through the class unity and power of the oppressed and its direct self-activity and not through the intervention of imperialism. The removal of an authoritarian system and its callous neoliberal economic paradigm which is causing untold suffering should bequeath a new society based on social justice, equality, solidarity, and freedom not a society run by elite technocrats imposed by imperialism through a military intervention like what happened in Iraq.

Imperialism in particular the United States of America and Britain have no history of intervening in any country to promote democracy but they have a rich record of looting resources under the pretext of ‘promoting democracy and good governance’ as they did in Iraq after toppling the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and installing a puppet regime which aroused the scourge of terrorism. The Chilcot Report in the UK finalised in 2016 has concluded with a damning indictment on the participation of the UK in the invasion in Iraq and the role played by Tony Blair. If the British are condemning Blair then why should we be creating allies like him in the struggle again the dictatorship? In the Middle East absolute monarchies still exist in places like Saudi Arabia but ironically they are all ‘close and strategic’ allies of the USA.

Both Mugabe and the imperialists are representing dictatorship albeit in different forms. Mugabe is representing dictatorship at a national level of supressing dissent and opposition to his rule and protecting the interests of the emerging black bourgeois. Activists campaigning against dictatorship, austerity policies, unemployment and poverty are abducted, maimed, tortured and arrested. There is no freedom of assembly and of demonstration and petition. Imperialism on the other hand manifests itself at a global level at first through colonialism and now neo-colonialism. The United States of America has arrogated itself the role of the Headman in the ‘Global Village’ , a role advocated and supported by academics like Robert Gilpin, some civil society organizations at a national , regional, and global level. It controls multilateral financial institutions such as the IMF, and the World Bank which it uses to whip all countries straying from the logic of neoliberalism into submission and if they remain intransigent use its immense political and financial power to topple these regimes through coup de tats like in Chile when Salvador Allende was removed through a US backed Coup de tat led by General Augusto Pinochet. African Presidents such as Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba were all removed through US backed Coup de tats. In Latin America ; Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela are enduring imperialist backed political onslaughts to dismantle the left-nationalism and self-reliance economic paradigm through neoliberal movements fighting for ‘democracy and good governance’.

The society envisioned by the immense majority reeling under neoliberalism and pseudo-nationalism in Zimbabwe is incompatible with the vision of American and Western capital. The working people of the USA who were rallying behind the Democratic Party Socialist Candidate Bernie Saunders identify with the struggles of the oppressed in Zimbabwe. In terms of class and material conditions they are identical. But the bourgeois state of America and its vulture capitalists have interests antagonistic to the interests of the working people in Zimbabwe the same as it does with its own local own working class. When the French government was issuing statements and giving solidarity to the suffering working people who were protesting at Africa unity square it was ironically facing massive protests at home dubbed ‘Nuit debout’. The French working class rejected the neoliberal anti-labour El Komri laws which the government planned to promulgate through a Decree. There is no doubt that the French working class rejected the same laws which state in Zimbabwe introduced via backdoor through the Zuva Petroleum vs Don Nyamande Supreme Court ruling. Capital globally is looking for cheap labour –‘labour-market flexibility’ to freely exploit labour and natural resources and accumulate and expropriate profits privately. This is why Communists have a slogan which states, ‘Workers of the World Unite’. It is working class internationalism based on class not an alliance with imperialism which is solution.

It must always be remembered that the struggles against dictatorship in post-colonial Zimbabwe emerged as struggles against both the One party state and imperialism. The radical anti-dictatorship struggles that emerged in the 1980s especially amongst the students and labour were both against the closing in of democratic space, repression, the ending of multi-party democracy and imperialism. The anti-imperialism or the dictatorship of capital struggles reached their zenith in the aftermath of the assassination of Samora Matchel , the President of Mozambique. During his speeches, ZCTU Secretary General, Morgan Tsvangirai did not only unequivocally condemn the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe but also the dictatorship of capital, imperialism. The struggle against ESAP became the biggest protracted fight against the twin dictatorships of Mugabe and international capital through the IMF. The IMF which prescribed Structural Adjustments globally on behalf of the dictatorship of capital using the ideas of Milton Friedman as the template and Volckers monetarism as an example emerged as the global financial prefect using its unique position in international finance to strangle third world countries by ‘cracking them open’ or ‘bursting them’ through trade liberalization, liberalization of capital markets, floating of exchange rates, privatisation, deregulation , austerity- job cuts, salary cuts and recruitment freezes. The experience of the 1990s is very graphic and the poverty and suffering bequeathed by ESAP has been documented with terrible exactness for all to see and judge.

The class unity of the oppressed and its movement towards the establishment of class power is only possible if workers, vendors, youths, and the unemployed begin to identify their class demands and uniting in a common struggle for their fulfilment. Workers and vendors should not be coerced to join the struggles through burning their goods and worsening their suffering but through mobilisation and unity around specific demands. A working people’s revolution to establish class power involves the masses and is not carried out by a few inexhaustible and dedicated revolutionaries who move around burning the goods of struggling vendors. Fighting dictatorship entails challenging capital and moving towards expropriating large retail chains, mines, banks and factories built through the exploitation of the property-less workers and sheer plunder of the state. Robbing the poor is not progressive. But robbing the rich to empower the poor is progressive in the dictionary of the working people. All capitalists are the same. Dividing them into black indigenous capitalists –Mphoko (Choppies) and white capitalists- John Moxon (TM Pick n Pay) reeks of sympathy with imperialism. John Moxon the great grandson of Thomas Meikles privately owns looted property established first through primitive accumulation; the looting of cattle and land. Mphoko owns wealth looted directly from the state. They are all looters. The only people who are not looters, the losers in this process are the working people who are unemployed and who continue to earn starvation wages. Their class unity and fightback against the few who are accumulating is the only progressive movement of the oppressed that is left. The coalition with imperialism is only but siding with one section of the exploiters, the oppressors and plunderers! Our international allies are the global working classes, students, rural farmers and youths not their reactionary states which are also supressing and oppressing them.

Workers of the World Unite!

Shinga Mushandi! Shinga! Qina sisebenzi qina!

INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST ORGANIZATION

                

       NERA DEMONSTRATION SOLIDARITY STATEMENT                                                 

                           …Mugabe Must Go! IMF OUT NOW..      

2018 is too far…One Solution…Mass Action…Another Shutdown is Necessary

There is power and strength in numbers. The unity of pro-democracy forces around the democratic demands such as: the immediate resignation of Mugabe, Free and fair elections, and an end to police brutality is crucial in ensuring victory and in ending divisions and factionalism which are weakening the resistance against dictatorship. The country has virtually been turned into a fiefdom of Mugabe and his wife wherein he has been declared the life President.We share the position of the radical MDC-T Youth Assembly Chairperson ‘Bvondo’ Chidziva who said in a statement, “We reject the false narrative.  Zimbabwe is one person and one family. Our strength rests in the diversity of our nation and plurality of our voices. It’s time for Mugabe and his regime to stand aside now. We can’t trust them with our future” All the arms of government including the police, army, continue to mobilize resources human and material to sustain his hold on power when 5 million people affected by drought are starving and languishing in hunger. He draws his power not from the people but from the state’s monopoly of organized and funded violence. The police received orders to thwart the NERA demo and after a High Court order gave it a nod it still could not proceed because the black-boots , para-military gangs and thugs in uniforms armed to the teeth had already started arresting pro-democracy activists and clamping down on the masses who were trooping in at Freedom Square.

Let’s unite and fight but being mindful of regime turncoats like Didymus Mutasa who still see Mugabe as a friend or a father. Mugabe is a dictator, he must go now! Why are the leaders fighting for a compromise with Mugabe? Class is important especially in relation to the leadership of this emerging movement. The petty bourgeois and middle class leadership of the opposition due ; to its class position and its inherent behaviour of vacillating between peddling the interests of capital and responding to the radical forces from below when faced with the threat of extinction ,its indecisiveness, wavering, and cowardly behaviour of vanishing during decisive revolutionary moments is an opportunistic class which cannot be trusted.

It is impossible to serve two classes at the same time. One class will have to be sacrificed. Its either you decide to move with the radical working people fighting austerity and revolutionary youths like the MDC-T Youth Assembly Chairperson  ‘Bvondo’ Chidziva and topple dictatorship or choose to be cowardly and vainly hope that Mugabe will voluntarily resign and accept a National Transitional Authority of academics.

The MDC-T Youth Assembly Chairperson also correctly stated contrary to the position of the ‘GNU minded’ opposition political elites that,

“2018 is far away and elections are not only a way of removing a democratically elected government or president from power in a democracy. However let me clear that this current government was not even democratically elected. Peaceful protests are a legal means of removing government from power whether they were elected by Nikuv or dead voters. My Zimbabwe is a vehicle to achieve this very important objective and milestone in our country.”

 

The dictatorship cannot and will not be removed by speeches, talks and press conferences. It is an illegitimate violent dictatorship ruling through the use of force, bribery, murder and chicanery. No free and fair elections can be done under this regime no matter what electoral reforms. Remove the regime first then free and fair elections. The only solution to cripple and paralyse it is united mass action. Another shutdown is necessary.

 

Removing Mugabe should mean ending dictatorship and the destruction of its structures. If Mugabe is removed with the dictatorship left intact and retained for use by the next government, we are mostly likely going to endure another era of a fresh , young and energetic dictatorship ready to perpetuate the same brutal suppression of protests and the rigging of elections. Mugabe must be removed together with the whole oppressive corrupt system!                                                                                                                                                  Important for the oppressed in these ongoing struggles and the movement towards a ‘Grand Coalition’ and booting out Mugabe is to ensure that the policies, programs and strategies remain democratically determined through the inclusion of the demands of the workers, youths, students, vendors, residents, the disabled and rural farmers. Workers demands for job security and the end of job cuts, salary freezes, promotion and recruitment freezes which are being demanded by the IMF to repay Mugabe’s debts should be included. The demands being advocated for by the ZCTU such as the repeal of the Special Economic Zones which are not subject to the Labour Act and tax legislation should form part of the demands of the ‘Grand Coalition. Residents are protesting against pre-paid water meters and residents organizations such as CHRA, Water Alliance and others are fronting this campaign. Students are demanding free education and end to the victimization of student activists. Youths are demanding jobs and loans to start their own income generating projects. The landless rural farmers and the unemployed such as the youths arrested in Ruwa for invading a farm and being represented by MDC-T Secretary General- Douglas Mwonzora are demanding the equitable distribution of land for farming and housing.           

The radicalizing youths, students, and vendors should not have any illusions in bourgeois democracy, elections, courts and reformism in general. The imploding economy is just but the sign of a rotten capitalist economy. The neoliberal policies being implemented such as ‘inflation targeting’ , job cuts, wage freezes, recruitment freezes, an export-oriented economy with no industry focusing merely on pumping out raw materials combined together with a corrupt and clueless capitalist class using the state and parastals as its feed trough, and lacking progressive policies to expand the productive forces explain the manifestation and trajectory of the rot. At the centre of these policy distortions and economic decay is the crisis of capitalism. The fall of profit rates of many companies owing to the fall of global commodity prices, failure of the market system as a way of organizing production and overproduction in many industrialized countries which are dumping surplus products leading to de-industrialization and surplus-labour (unemployment) has triggered an endless economic crisis which is manifesting itself globally with recessions and depressions in many countries. The only solution to this crisis is socialism. Socialism entails the public ownership and socialisation of the economy to ensure efficiency, equality, freedom, justice and a better life for all at a national, regional and global level. Private accumulation like that of corrupt businessmen linked to ZANU PF and multinational corporations which are looting minerals like what happened at Chiadzwa with the diamonds will only continue to ensure the enrichment of the few capitalists and the impoverishment of the majority. The IMF is demanding job cuts in a country with 90% unemployment. It is clear that its agenda is merely that of worsening the crisis by making more money from high interest rates attached to loans awarded to the corrupt junta and never about addressing the crisis.

Varombo! Tamuka! Abayanga! Sesivhukile! Qina Msebenzi Qina! Shinga Mushandi! Shinga!                                                                             Email: iso.zim@gmail.com –   26 August 2016

 

Has the ‘Mugabe Must Go’ Mantra Become an Ideology?

For many in the opposition, Robert Mugabe is the quintessence of dictatorship and the man responsible for the economic collapse and its results such as job cuts, unemployment, poverty and general suffering. Robert Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe and has been ruling ruling the country for 36 years with a strong fist. From the 1980s butchery of people belonging to the Ndebele ethnic group, attempts at creating a one party state, suppression of the emerging opposition to dictatorship and in the 1990s the gagging of anti-neoliberal (ESAP) protests  to the suppression, torture, maiming and cold blooded murder of MDC supporters and anti-dictatorship activists from the year 2000 , the regime of Robert Mugabe drips of the blood of innocent working people who only wanted the improvement of their lot and the end of suffering, misery and poverty. But today the meaning of ‘Mugabe must go’ has underwent significant changes. Today ‘Mugabe Must Go’ only entails Robert Mugabe and his family…First Lady Grace Mugabe, Bona, Chatunga Bellarmine and Robert Junior and also the son in law Simba Chikowore. The reason why I argue that the ‘Mugabe must go’ is now only a fight against the first family is because those who have been aiding Mugabe,  who actively participated in the dissipation of the country’s wealth and the butchering of innocent men and women who dared question the direction the country was taking have now been openly welcomed, embraced and given the leadership of the opposition. They are now the new leaders of the opposition , fighting against a monstrous regime they designed, lubricated and entrenched.

 

ZANU PF rejects are being embraced automatically by the same speed and rate that they are booted out. They are not seen as a problem. The problem is Mugabe and Mugabe are alone. The splits in the ruling ZANU PF party have exposed the ideological bankruptcy of the mainstream opposition. It is now only fair to start attaching ideological tags such Left, Right and Centre to these parties so that people begin to really appreciate what they represent beyond the façade created by the ‘Mugabe must go’ mantra. Opposition parties; ZPF, MDCT, MDC, PDP are rightwing political parties which are following neoliberalism as an ideology and a system of running government, society and relating to the world. Neoliberalism entails the unrestrained and uncontrolled operation of the market based on the assumption that the market is the best mechanism of responding to people’s needs. This means that these parties and in reference to their policies i.e JUICE, ART, HOPE, BUILD would privatise hospitals, clinics, schools, universities, water to introduce the price mechanism so that whenever one approaches a hospital he/she will have to pay first before being attended to, if he/she does not pay first there wont be any treatment and medication. The same applies to education , water, housing and other services. When it comes to employment relations, these parties believe in the centrality and righteousness of the market in determining salaries, who stays and who loses a job. Basically they take labour market flexibility as a principle, the idea that hiring and firing of workers of workers is the best way of operating markets.

 

Most of all these policies have already been tried in Zimbabwe and globally. They have failed. In Zimbabwe ESAP was tried in the 1990s and failed. It was the ZCTU which was at the centre of condemning ESAP and its drivers, the IMF and the Worldp Bank. The anti-retrenchment struggles, anti-privatisation battles in University and College campuses, minimum wage and salary increment strikes and demonstrations where all waged against the neoliberal austerity policies pushed by the IMF known as ESAP. But how come the opposition has dumped all these campaigns opting only for the ‘Mugabe Must Go’ campaign ? The MDC was hijacked by economic and political elites and comprador middle classes. The direction of the party was exclusively put into the hands of a few rich elites such as Welshman Ncube , Eddie Cross, Tendai Biti and other educated elites who took instructions from rich white farmers, businessmen and women and international donors. The views, opinions and cries of the common folk were relegated to the dustbins and the party changed course and began championing a ‘Mugabe Must Go’ mantra separated from the ‘IMF Must go’ mantra which laid the foundations for the formation of the MDC.

 

Now the ‘Mugabe Must Go’ mantra which now only refers to Mugabe and his family leaving out brutal bloodthirsty fanatic defenders of the regime booted out f internal ZANU PF succession squabbles such as Mujuru, Mutasa, Mliswa and many others has lost all meaning. Instead of being a rallying point for all the oppressed against dictatorship and for the democratisation of the political system and the articulation of an economic alternative , it is emerging as an empty aimless protest movement involving pro-establishment and anti-establishment forces with no clear alternative and lacking a new narrative. If one is to ask those who gave the war vets solidarity during the trial of the leadership of the ZNLWVA , apart from the old tired responses like ‘we are all Zimbabweans’ no meaningful response is retrieved.

 

With the growing calls in some sections of the opposition for a second GNU, a putrid elite compromise which as usual treats the majority poor with  contempt seeing the  ill-fed, ill-clothed as helpless, ignorant mobs incapable of articulating their alternative is now in the offing. At best, a GNU is an undemocratic elite political pact to think and act on behalf of the masses without their consent. It is not similar to a united front of the oppressed where workers, rural farmers, students, youths and progressive pro-democracy and anti-neoliberal austerity converge , articulate and resolve collectively to embrace a particular political strategy and economic policy alternative which speaks to their needs, desires and aspirations; their class interests. The poor are now at the mercy of political elites in both ZANU PF and the opposition who are attracting together like magnets around a common position of ‘eating together’ and telling the masses that ‘eat what you kill’, as if what they will be eating in government with their friends in the IMF, Word Bank and in the corporate world when they emerge victorious in their push for a second GNU are fruits of the labour. A third pillar is not only indispensable but it is a natural product of the current political and economic circumstances. The ZANU PF dictatorship should be collapsed and a democratic political system based on participatory democracy ushered in. On the economic front the natural resources of the country should be used to provide free healthcare, education , water and revive the fallen industries. Factories and banks should be put under public ownership. Banks cannot get bailouts and benefit from ZAMCO following reckless lending to CEOs and unscrupulous banking tycoons and expect to get away with it. This process entails the heightening of the ‘Mugabe must go’ campaign to new levels based on ideology, democratic principles and genuine search of an alternative. The tired chorus of ‘Mugabe only must go’ and ‘ ZANU PF must remain’ is not getting us anywhere. They are some who have built their careers only singing this chorus but reluctant to heighten it inorder to procrastinate the inevitable victory of the oppressed over both dictatorship and neoliberal capitalism to give just so that they continue getting some crumbs from international donors, hot speculative capital and bitter white capital.

 

In the final analysis, ‘Mugabe must go’ is not an ideology but a rallying point of the oppressed against dictatorship. Mugabe is the face of the dictatorship, he together with his appointees and those consenting to his deadly bloodletting should face the chop. The ‘Mugabe must go’ slogan expressed the oppressed people’s longing for democracy, it should not be mistakenly abused to mean only the removal of one family and the maintenance of the system.

 

Democracy Now!

 

Varombo! Tamuka!