Although we do not want to waste any time on the counter- revolution that split our International Socialist Organisation (ISO) in late 2008, recent happenings in the turncoats camp merit some comments.
Were there any convincing ideological reasons for Cdes Mutero and Tigwe to lead a split from the ISO or it was merely high time for opportunists to leave and hunt for their plunder elsewhere? Recent events utterly expose the slanders and cunning hypocrisy that preceded their departure from ISO.
What`s happening to the “pure revolutionaries” now?
Within two years the breakaway comrades have “hitch-hiked” from one tendency to another. What are they looking for? They left ISO to form what they called ISO Zimbabwe. Then they joined the Leninist International Fraction (FLTI),then the Revolutionary International League –Fourth International ( RIL-FI) in their nomadic chase for money and opportunities.
Now they have split again, the Mutero faction has remained RIL-FI whilst and the Tigwe, Manjonjo and Chidavaenzi led faction has turned ISO –ZIM again. What confusion! Reasons for the split are none other than monetary gain and political opportunism. Mutero accuses Tigwe of stealing US$6 000 from a poor people’s housing co-operative in Glen Norah, as well as being an MDC-T front and hitching up with a splinter grouping of the FLTI in the USA and New Zealand in order to get money. Tigwe in turn accuses Mutero of unilaterally changing the name of the organisation to RIL-FI in order to get a salary as part of the FLTI African secretariat, and also getting money under false pretence that he had been evicted from his house for political reasons and that he is a leading member of a reformist outfit called Zimbabwe Action.
Before the 2008 split we suspended Tigwe from the ISO for secretly remaining as a leading member of MDC-T in Glen Norah against ISO resolutions. On readmission he was again soon re-suspended for stealing organisation money, triggering the December 2008 split. At the time of the split we made it clear that the real reasons why Mutero and Tigwe were leading the split were crude opportunism, greedy and taking advantage of a serious unevenness of ideological development in our organisation. The two wanted to turn ISO into a quasi pro-MDC NGO to be used mainly as a vehicle for accumulating money from imperialist donors and unsuspecting left international organisations because of the Zimbabwe crisis. Hence Tigwe is still in the MDC-T Glen Norah district structures and even worked in the MDC Constituency office there.
One needs to go no further than the recent flood of Mutero-Tigwe correspondences on the internet to realise thatl there is nothing fundamentally different between the two other thsan concerns of who should have the most advantageous position to plunder and loot from unsuspecting regional or international left organisations and western imperialists.
.We shoulder the blame for having provided a breeding ground for such opportunists by failing to adequately develop our comrades ideologically.
Firstly: The social composition of the ISO. Before the year 2000 the ISO used to recruit many of its members from organised labour, i.e. trade unions and colleges and universities. From the year 2001 to 2009, which was a period of extraordinary economic catastrophe in Zimbabwe, the ISO went through a massive change in terms of its social composition. We could not continue depending on recruiting from colleges and trade unions for such “institutions” were largely decimated by the crisis. At the height of the economic and social crisis in 2008, many colleges became virtually closed or non-functional whilst many “worker activists” left employment going into the informal sector, rural areas or leaving the country.
This posed huge challenges for a tiny revolutionary organisation, with an even more tiny cadreship base, that is losing its few cadres at a time that was ripe for working class resistance struggle .For survival we had no option than to look for alternative “islands of life” that is social movements which mostly were constituted of the unemployed women, youths and AIDS/HIV activists, who whilst very enthusiastic for struggle were very weak politically and ideologically and particularly vulnerable to the politics of commodification of resistance or bribes from donor – funded civic society groups. This meant we had a mixture of a very small and ever decreasing layer of experienced comrades and a bigger layer of quite inexperienced comrades.
The new situation posed on us two challenges : that is attempting to train this newer and politically weak membership in a context of very low class struggles and at the same time trying to be visible in the broader democratic struggles against the Zanu PF dictatorship.
Secondly, such high levels of ideological unevenness combined with rampant poverty amongst comrades due to unemployment and hyper-inflation and in the context of rampant bribing of activists by the bourgeois opposition and civic society groups, “commodification of resistance,” provided a fertile breeding ground for opportunism, i.e. increasing pressure that ISO be like the other social movements and civic groups by providing “something” for sustenance or survival for its members, especially income generation projects and payment for attending meetings and activities.
Thus it became very much easier for a clique of opportunists in ISO to take advantage of the desperation and underdevelopment amongst many comrades to mobilise against the ISO leadership and its revolutionary programme in an attempt to turn around the ISO into an NGO which they would use to lure donor money. This is the context in which the October 2008 elections which were won by the opportunists were done. However, the ISO principled leadership was able to subsequently win back the support of the majority of members and branches, leading the opportunists to split. In this they were helped by the Cape Town based WIVL, which took an unprincipled and opportunist position to back them, in the hope of recruiting a Zimbabwean section, a decision have lately come to regret.
For our part in our desperate fight to get back hard-won asserts necessary for revolutionary work but now in danger of being sold for a penny by these opportunist renegades , we made some mistakes such as getting the comrades who had stolen virtually all our property, arrested and taking the disputes before the bourgeois courts. However, this was a desperate temporary manoeuvre and we withdrew the charges at the earliest possible opportunity. Remember even, Bolshevik leader V.I.Lenin was once travelled to Russia in a sealed train under an arrangement with the Germany imperial state in 1917.
The ISO has continued with its revolutionary work of rebuilding a socialist, anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal movement in Zimbabwe against a rapacious and neoliberal ruling class represented in both parties of the rich and capitalists, Zanu PF and MDC. Today our focus is on rebuilding a new cadreship increasingly drawn from a new radicalising layer of students and workers as well as developing the ideological consciousness of the best of activists from the social movements who were unshaken by the winds of opportunism.
Don’t confuse the working class please. Viva Socialism!
National Co-ordinating Committee,
International Socialist Organisation (ISO)
17 November 2010