Occupy Zimbabwe-Expand the public sector strike into a General strike

We salute the public sector workers, staff and teachers who have come out on strike under difficult conditions.  But if the public sector workers stand alone, we cannot win our demands. The time has come to set up again the labour forums of 1996, uniting all workers across all sectors. How long must we starve while Anglo American plunders the wealth? The tobacco production, Cotton company, gold diamond and gold mines, and even the banks are under their control. This is why we need the support of the industrial workers not only for improving our wages and conditions, but also of all workers.

The state sends the army and police to protect Anglo American, who carry off billions of dollars of wealth every year. Yet the state says there is no money. The Zanu-PF-MDC regime listens to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) when they instruct them to keep our wages low. The IMF is the tool of the Anglo American and other British and American imperialists. Both the Zanu-PF and the MDC’s are all agents of imperialism- even if they deny it- their actions show it.

A few days ago 10 million Nigerian workers and unemployed rose up against their regime for doubling the petrol price. They formed independent action structures, called Joint Action Forums and raised the call to Occupy Nigeria. But their strike was betrayed by the trade union leaders and the ISO (International Socialist Organization) that operate in Nigeria. The trade union leaders kept the oil well workers operating the rigs throughout the strike, even while more than 23 protestors were killed with live ammunition from the state armed forces and thugs. The trade union leaders sent the workers to stay at home and then they called off the strike one day before the oil rig workers were going to come out in solidarity. The trade union leaders agreed to a 50% increase in the price of fuel- they even called this a ‘victory’! [Nigeria provides the USA with 11% of its petrol- thus we can see that the trade union leaders are really on the side of the Anglo American].

The way forward

We know that Tshivagerai, Matibenga come from the ZCTU, Tendai Biti comes from the ISO dressed up as an MDC member. Within our ranks, the trade union leaders of the Apex, stopped the strike on Wednesday and now they are not planning any action next week- they want to sellout the strike in the Tuesday negotiations. At every school, we need to call joint parent-teacher-student meetings; at every workplace, we need to set up general strike committees to prepare the way for a country-wide action, in the communities action committees of employed and unemployed should be set up. Workers need to march on the union offices to challenge  and replace any leader who dares sellout on the $538- a figure that is already too low- it is the poverty minimum[ The leaders are already showing themselves that they are agents of the capitalists by wanting to limit our demands before the time]. We need to prepare committees of self-defence- we know the brutality of the regime- we need to already send delegates to our family members who may be in the army barracks- we must call on them to join the movement to Occupy Zimbabwe. The current strike needs to be developed into a movement to occupy all the workplaces- by staying at home- we open a gap for us to be divided. Let us call on the workers in the USA and Britain to stand up in solidarity with us- by fighting their own regimes- our common enemy. Let us raise the demand of the youth in Chile- to get free education, to get our demands for wages- Nationalize Anglo American- expropriate all the capitalists and imperialist assets, without compensation, place them under workers control. Nationalize all the land- expropriate the large commercial farms- place them under workers control. But such demands will not come through parliament, or a ‘new’ Constitution, as the DUF and others say- it will only come through a workers government- based on councils of workers delegates, like expanded Labour forums, that draws into its ranks delegates from the rank and file soldiers and that has the support of the poor sectors of the peasantry. Let us take up the flame from Misrata, Tahrir square, from Greece, from Oakland and Tottenham, from Abuja- let us prepare the path to the general strike, don’t trust the trade union leaders, trust only in the independent structures of the working class in struggle. Occupy Zimbabwe. The time has come to set up a revolutionary working class party. The time has come to refound the Fourth International.

Issued by the WIL and WIVL- of the FLTI                                   26.1.2012