For Independent Workers’ and Poor Mobilisations! For Action Committees of the Workers, Poor Peasants and Soldiers to Advance the Struggle against All Factions of the Ruling Elite!
Statement of the Africa Secretariat of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 15.11.2017, www.thecommunists.net
1. Since Monday Zimbabwe’s army command is carrying out a military coup. They are holding President Robert Mugabe and his family under house arrest. Soldiers seized the state broadcaster and a general appeared on television to announce the takeover. Armored vehicles block roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare. In a televised statement the army command announced that it would target “criminals” in the entourage of Mugabe.
2. This military coup is the latest high point in an ongoing power struggle inside the ruling elite of Zimbabwe which is organised in the ZANU-PF. Mugabe, a 93-year old dictator who rules the country since achieving freedom from colonialism in 1980, has recently sacked Emmerson Mnangagwa, his vice president, who was supposed to become his successor and who has close relations to the military and the veterans of the liberation war. In parallel, hundreds of supporters of Mnangagwa have been purged. This move was intended to enable Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe , to become his successor. She represents, together with figures like Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, the so-called ‘G40’ faction.
3. The RCIT states that this military coup represents a power struggle within the ruling elite. Both sides represent different sectors of the capitalist class but none represents the interests of the labouring masses. Likewise, the Mugabe regime is not based on democratic elections or any mass support by the people but hold his power via repression and corruption for years. Therefor socialists in Zimbabwe oppose the coup but neither can they support the thoroughly corrupt Mugabe regime.
4. Mugabe came to power 37 years ago when the heroic workers and poor peasants drove out the reactionary British colonialists and the racist Apartheid regime of Ian Smith. But the liberation struggle stucked as Mugabe took power and made a compromise with the white settlers and the imperialist great powers. As a result Zimbabwe could not free itself from imperialist domination. Later, when Mugabe expropriated many white settlers in 2000 in order to counter his rapidly declining popularity, Western imperialism issued economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. As a consequence, the country’s economy and its people suffered massively. Since then, the regime turned to Chinese imperialism and built close relations with the BRICS bloc, in particular with the corrupt Zuma government of South Africa.
5. The RCIT rejects any characterisation of Mugabe and his regime as “socialist” or “anti-imperialist”. It is a government which failed to complete the liberation but rather compromised with the imperialist powers. As a result Zimbabwe experienced neither economic liberation nor authentic political liberation but remained a capitalist neo-colony. It has been ruled by an authoritarian, state capitalist regime which repeatedly repressed all opposition forces. Furthermore, the Mugabe regime has been famous for the extremely decadent and lavish lifestyle while the mass of the Zimbabwean people are among the poorest of the whole continent.
6. It is currently unclear how the coup will proceed. There are indications that the generals might not want to keep power but rather force Mugabe to withdraw his plans to install his wife as his successor. However, things can easily go out of hand. In any case, the decades-long Mugabe regime is severly weakened and might collapse very soon. The bourgeois MDC, the country’s main opposition party, has expressed it support for the army’s intervention. There is also a significant part of the population which sympathises with the coup out of hatred against the Mugabe regime.
7. However, the RCIT warns against any illussions in the motivation of the army command. They have been part of the ruling elite for decades. They only serve their own interests and not those of the people.
8. It is crucial to organise and mobilise the workes and poor independently. No support for the putschists nor the Mugabe regime! We call the workers and the poor to form action committees in order to defend themselves against both factions of the ruling class. It is urgent to organize also the soldiers independently from the generals and to build such committees also inside the army.
9. The immedeate task must be to stop the coup and to bring down the reactionary Mugabe regime. A central slogan of the struggle must be the call for a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly. Such an assembly should be a democratic body with delegates who are controllable by those who elected them and who are open to recall by their constituents. The assembly’s role will be to debate and decide on a new constitution. It must not be controlled by the ruling class which would only manipulate it in its interests, but it should be convened and protected by workers’ and popular militias against any intimidation of reactionary forces.
10. We warn against any illussions in the bourgeois MDC opposition party which is a tool of the imperialist powers. The workers and poor must combine the struggle in defense of democracy with a socialist program for nationalisation of the key industries and banks under workers control (including the expropriation of the foreign corporations), the nationalization of the land under the control of the rural poor, a public employment program in order to abolish unemployment, etc. In order to carry out such a program, the workers and poor must overthrow the capitalist class and create their own government based on workers and populr councils and militias. Down with all imperialist sanctions against Zimbabwe! The RCIT calls all supporters of such a perspective to join us in building a revolutionary party in Zimbabwe and the whole of Africa. Only via such a party will the working class be able to take power and to open the road for the socialist revolution in Zimbabwe and the whole of Africa! Forward in the international struggle against capitalism and imperialism and for the socialist unification of Africa!