Statement on Zimbabwe crisis
Workers International Vanguard League condemns the use of live ammunition and other repressive methods to suppress the masses who were protesting against the election results in Zimbabwe. At latest count 6 unarmed protestors were killed in cold blood by the military. Mnangagwa was at pains to deny that he had taken power through a military coup, yet at the first sign of protests he unleashes the army to shoot down opposition protestors. Under the guise of an election, imperialism is continuing with a military dictatorship. Down with the military dictatorship of Mnangagwa.
In 2017 there was yet again an intensification of the class struggle. Both MDC and Zanu-PF are long discredited. The Zanu-PF leaders had split and there was every possibility of the struggle developing into a revolutionary uprising. Imperialism responded by a military coup to remove Mugabe, who, up to then, had been their trusty and loyal servant. Neither MDC nor Zanu-PF offered any hope of advancing any of the democratic and Socialist aspirations of the masses. Both these parties offered only a capitalist option.
On the MDC-alliance manifesto
While the social base of the MDC is the urban working class their allegiance is to British imperialism and the EU. While mouthing support for workers’ rights the MDC commits itself to ‘facilitate mining investment’ , to ‘align with the EU’ and to ‘rejoin the Commonwealth’. They blame the Zanu-PF for the economic and social ills in Zimbabwe while hiding that Zanu-PF are carrying out the plans of the very imperialism that the MDC aligns itself to.
On the role of the elections
Imperialism used the parliamentary and presidential elections to give legitimacy to the military dictatorship. It was held before the masses had totally lost illusions in the Zanu-PF regime and the capitalist system itself. Imperialism had diverted the anger of the masses against capitalist rule to that of an individual, Mugabe.
On the other hand the left groups such as the International Socialist Organization ISO-Zim and the ZCTU helped sustain illusions in the system by calling for a vote for the MDC, knowing full well that their programme was capitalist and pro-imperialist.
What was missing from the left groupings and the unions was a class struggle approach to the elections, namely, they failed to call a summit or Conference of delegates from workers organizations, community organizations and poor peasants to prepare a set of demands to challenge and expose the military dictatorship and the other capitalist parties. A programme of struggle should have been agreed on and within that, an approach to the elections. It is here that a possible critical support for the MDC or boycott or putting up of alternative candidates or alternative measures could have been decided upon. The central theme should have been to build independent working class organization outside of parliament and against it.
On the Zanu-PF manifesto
The social base of the Zanu-PF is the leadership of the military veterans, the heads of the military, the upper peasant. In short, its base is the upper indigenous middle class, both rural and urban. Imperialism, through the Zanu-PF, makes a desperate attempt to pacify the middle class and to win space among other social sectors, in order to maintain control over the masses. Their manifesto shows the deep crisis for imperialism and the indigenous managerial class, the leadership of the Zanu-PF. The upper rural middle class was pacified by a programme of land reform splashing out over $200 million, which saw the state provide support to the upper rural farmer, where they even bought up the crops of the local farmers for sale to the imperialists. The rural farmer is even promised that they will also get shares in the farms the veterans have taken over; they have been promised that farm ownership will be limited to one farm per owner and that the farm size will be reduced, so more farmers can share. The urban, upper middle class was bought over with the crumbs from the $3bn in Foreign Direct Investment, since the coup that brought Mnangagwa to power. The urban upper middle class is also offered a stake in the Export processing zones where imperialism will rule without restrictions. The upper middle class is even promised that the Diamond and Platinum mines will have a local stake. No mention is made of the billions of dollars of diamonds and minerals taken off-shore nor of any plans to reclaim the stolen wealth.
The allegiance of Zanu-PF to imperialism is shown through their commitment to ‘free enterprise’, ‘free market economy’, engaging western countries on the terms of lifting sanctions, the setting up of Special Economic Zones for imperialism where workers will have little rights, guaranteeing that agriculture is for ‘export’ and ‘for the global markets’, that mines are ‘export oriented’, that for manufacturing ‘international brands are attracted’, that licence fees for ‘independent’ electricity producers is reduced (ie privatization of electricity), that airwaves are liberalised (privatised), that the imperialist slavery programme of ‘food for work’ (not wages) is introduced. In other words, the full imperialist programme of attack on the masses is central to the Zanu-PF manifesto. Then Zanu-PF adds that this programme is ‘Socialism with market characteristics’! In other words the total slave conditions that imperialism has imposed on China is now served up on the Zimbabwean masses.
Zanu-PF makes further desperate promises to win space for imperialism to maintain its control: 200 hectares in every district is promised irrigation and 2 boreholes; they promise jobs and better facilities for the vendors. They promise 1,5 million houses by 2023; they promise finance for small business and informal miners. Zanu-PF has even made promises to the ex-Rhodesian farmers to get some of their land back (even though this is not formally in their manifesto). When bourgeois nationalist forces are under threat from the masses, they will even make common cause against us.
The way forward
In 2008 the Zimbabwean masses were on the point of overthrowing the regime, the soldiers were in mutiny and the generals had run to South Africa. The cowardice of the MDC leaders led to a re-establishment of the capitalist order. The situation needed a revolutionary working class party. It still does. Revolution is not a one day wonder.
Although imperialism dominates Zimbabwe, capital that is SA-based also plays an exploitative role. As imperialism has reduced the masses to a state of 90% unemployment it is up to the working class in SA, the UK and the USA to give decisive solidarity. We call on the SRWP (Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party) to assist with the development of a revolutionary working class party in Zimbabwe. We call on the workers’ movement to provide the necessary resources to support the broader workers’ movement in Zimbabwe and to embark on solidarity actions.
We call for the revolutionary left and the trade unions in Zimbabwe to mobilise for a working class summit, with workers’ delegates from all workplaces as the centre, with street delegates from streets in working class neighbourhoods and representatives of the poor peasantry.
Forward to the 100% nationalization of the mines, banks, all imperialist assets and large commercial farms, without compensation, to be placed under workers’ control. Socialise the land; support the small farmers
Forward to the right to protest; forward to freedom of speech and association! Forward to a revolutionary Constituent Assembly with delegates from the masses, one per 10 000. Subject to instant recall and not earning more than the wage of an average skilled worker; to be convened by the Working class summit; the question of armed self defence against the attacks by the state should be placed on the agenda.
Down with the military dictatorship of Zanu-PF. Forward to a workers and poor peasants’ government, under the direct control of workers’ committees and committees of poor peasants, subject to instant recall and not earning more than the wage of the average skilled worker.
For revolutionary socialist workers parties across Africa.
Forward to a federation of Socialist Workers’ states of Southern Africa.
Forward to a Soviet Africa.
For the re-establishment of a Socialist, revolutionary International (for us the rebuilt Fourth International) For Socialist revolution in the imperialist centres.
Issued by the Workers International Vanguard League:
5.8.2018 updated on 23.8.2018