Like many progressive organisations, the ISO was born out of struggle. Radical left-wing student leaders, at the University of Zimbabwe, formed the ISO in 1990 following student demonstrations against the corruption of the ZANU (PF) regime.
Since then the ISO has grown into one of the most progressive organisations in Zimbabwe, working with women’s’ rights groups, the NCA, student groups, human rights organisations, trade unionists, HIV/Aids rights campaigners, the MDC for a time and Residents organisations. We have fought alongside these groups in the trenches for issues such as abortion rights, student payouts, a living wage, a democratic constitution, anti-retrovirals, education, health, and service delivery. We have gone to shop floors in solidarity with, and to offer leadership to, striking workers. We have marched on the streets for other social demands. We continue to do so.
We stood apart from the plethora of “opposition” groups that opposed the redistribution of land. We stand in opposition to the regime as it denies the infrastructure needs fo A1 model farmers. We have fought alongside groups for a new democratic constitution, putting forth many radical demands in the draft constitution drawn up under the banner of the NCA. We were one of the groups to create the Zimbabwe Social Forum. The ZSF became necessary to broaden the struggle into bread-and-butter issues. This is why Karl Marx argued “Before humans can argue over political rights, they must have shelter, food and clothing.”
We stood with the radical rank-and-file in the MDC until the neo-liberal leadership expelled us and purged the rank-and-file of the other radical leaders. But that has not stopped us as the social crisis continues in Zimbabwe. Whilst other so-called “opposition” leaders are going to State House for tea with Robert Mugabe, we have kept our principles and remained in the trenches with the ordinary person and will continue to do so.
We stand for:
SOCIALISM – Capitalism is a system of exploitation, which generates inequality. Workers create the wealth in society that is controlled by the ruling class for its own selfish ends. Socialism can only be built when the working class takes control of the means of production and wealth and democratically plans its distribution for social needs. Only this will destroy the class divisions in society.
SOCIALISM FROM BELOW – The working class is the most powerful class in the struggle for socialism. We stand for their centrality and alliance with all the socially oppressed groups. Socialism can only be attained by the mass self-activity of workers.
REVOLUTION NOT REFORM – Reforms within the capitalist system cannot end oppression and exploitation because the institutions of capitalism (parliament, the army, the police and the courts) are undemocratic and not neutral. Reformists fight for reforms to beautify the beast of capitalism whilst we fight for reforms to increase the confidence of the working class to fight. Capitalism must be overthrown.
INTERNATIONALISM – Workers in every country are exploited by capitalism, so the struggle for socialism must be global. We campaign for solidarity with workers and oppressed groups in all countries because socialism can survive and be won only by spreading class revolutions globally. We have sister organisations in South Africa, Ghana, Botswana and others. Check out http://www.istendency.net for contact details
OPPOSITION TO OPPRESSION – Capitalism divides the working class using artificial sexual, tribal, ethnic, racial and national distinctions. The specially oppressed groups within the working class suffer the most under capitalism. We oppose, and fight to end, the oppression of women, blacks, minority groups, and gays. We fight for their real social, economic and political equality including access to safe, free abortion facilities.
REVOLUTIONARY PARTY – To achieve socialism the most militant sections of the working class must be organised into a mass revolutionary party. We are only in the early stages of building such a party through our daily involvement in the day-to-day struggles of workers, students, peasants and the oppressed.
If you believe in what we stand for, join us. Our contact details are: Phone: (+263-4) 704209, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org