Revolutionary Workers Group of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe section of the Liaison Committee of Communists), 20 January 2019, www.rwgzimbabwe.wordpress.com
From Monday the 14th of January 2019 the post-Mugabe pro austerity Mnangagwa-Chiwenga junta government has been violently killing, arresting, maiming, injuring, victimising and torturing the ordinary poor masses, workers, activists and trade union leaders. It is estimated that as of now over a dozen people have been killed, nearly 400 injured and way above 600 arrested and waiting fast track hearings. This was in response to a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions’ (ZCTU) call to stay away as well as the spontaneous towns and townships protests by the suffering and angry youths and urban poor protesting the effects of the austerity measures by the government keen to forcibly place the burden of paying for the crisis on the shoulders of the poor. Since Tuesday the government has been issuing directives for the closure of internet services in order to conceal its brutality and curtail further organising and mobilising. As we write a bit of “normalcy” has returned though it is bound to be short lived.
Even though Zimbabwe has been engulfed in a crisis characterised by de-industrilisation, informalisation and rising inflation, the fiscal and monetary policy announcements in October last year made the situation worse as prices of basics doubled, production dropped and the liquidity crisis deepened. However, it is last weekend’s announcement by the president to raise by over 150% the prices of petrol and diesel that triggered the outburst of anger and frustration. This was on the back of a 40 day strike by doctors and radiographers, a march by teachers and notices of intention to strike by civil servants and the private sector workers. Most people cannot afford to put food at their tables let alone send children to school. Those who have been thrown out of employment and those failing to secure jobs are being harassed by the central and municipal authorities for trying to make a living. Immediately after announcing the fuel hike Mnangagwa quickly left for Russia. This shows that the attack was designed to prove his fitness to control the masses as an incentive for more FDI. The trip will end in Davos where he will be offering Zimbabwean cheap labour and resources to other imperialist powers.
Unions and civic groups are under pressure from the suffering masses to take a lead or risk irrelevancy. The ZCTU was spurred by the boiling anger to call for action despite a notice it had given to the government. The civil service unions, including conservative ones, have been forced to make radical proclamations to maintain control of their base. But the interests of ordinary workers and poor masses are different from those of most of the union leaders, mainstream opposition and even business which have encouraged its workers to take part in the action. For most of the trade unions this was an opportunity to simply maintain control of members and ultimately prepare for retreats. For the main opposition, alongside its civic society surrogates, this is seen as a perfect opportunity to pressure the government to invite them for dialogue that has to lead to a second Government of National Unity (GNU). Business wants the government to solve the monetary fundamentals that are creating uncertainty for them.
The interests of the poor masses and workers are clear and at variance to the above because of class backgrounds. Workers and poor masses want a meaningful life, a living wage, good working conditions, employment and a chance to earn a decent living. In the maze of the stay away and protests the voices of the poor and working masses were drowned in the call for national dialogue and return to constitutionality. The regime will certainly abandon any fiction of democracy to repress resistance to its austerity as it has no option in order to please imperialism. Liberal democracy, social democracy, dictatorship and fascism are thus only different forms of bourgeoisie rule. The state is repressing and attacking not because it likes that but simply because it cannot solve the crisis of capitalism in Zimbabwe without resorting to force. Therefore the material objective basis of the state brutality is the deep capitalist crisis in a semi colony under sanctions in the context of a global economic slowdown.
Workers and the poor masses must realise that a dialogue of elites will not solve their fundamental problems. Elites want to be able to share the little crumbs from the imperialists’ table in return for managing the exploitation of the masses. The interests of the liberal civic groups and deceptive labour bureaucrats’ must be exposed and defeated. Workers must defend their unions at all costs. There is need for workers to form cross union strike and action committees to coordinate and organise a general strike beyond the limitations of the trade union leaders interested in limited useless actions. Theses committees must also organise in communities and educational institutions. The brutality of the state can only be defeated by workers militias working in alliance with poor masses, peasants and the youths. We call for an international campaign to free the union leaders who have been grabbed by the army to intimidate the ranks. All organisations of the poor masses and socialists must support the struggle of workers and the poor .Rank and file workers should demand that unions call for a coordinated indefinite general strike, on the basis of working people’s demands and methods, which alone can force the government to backtrack on austerity and repression and ultimately lay the ground for dismantling capitalism which is the source of the crisis.
-Stop all the persecution and repression of the poor masses and their leaders! Release all those imprisoned!
-A living Wage! Workers fight for a living wage and better working conditions through mass action controlled by ordinary workers!
-Against unemployment and destitution we demand a sliding scale of working hours to provide decent jobs for all through massive public works programs to provide housing, education and medical care for all!
-Against the ever rising prices and inflation we demand a sliding scale of wages!
-For free, comprehensive and secular education for all!
-For free quality health for all!
-Workers take back your unions!
-Organise the unorganised! Form unions of the unemployed as fully affiliated unions!
- The government and city municipalities must stop the attack on the vendors!
-Militant workers to form class struggle caucuses in the unions to fight for this program!
-Workers to form strike committees to lead the resistance to the growing attacks on the wages and working conditions of the poor and the livelihood of the majority poor!
-Workers to form workers defence guards for defence against state violence!
-A national strike committee to organise and plan for a general strike!
- For a workers government on the basis of the armed people to implement decisions that benefit the workers and the poor!
-Nationalization of all companies without indemnification to the big shareholders under workers control!
-Land to be distributed to all poor peasants together with a state bank to provide inputs to all small farmers!
-A workers state that defends workers, peasants and the poor masses against the local and foreign capitalists!
-An African socialist revolution as part of the international revolution that alone can guarantee a better life for all!
-A new WORLD PARTY of socialist revolution based on the TRANSITIONAL PROGRAM of 1938 to lead the revolution to end capitalism and open the road to socialism!