On Saturday December 11, 2010, the International Socialist Organisation in Zimbabwe held its one day annual Marxism event which was a truly remarkable congress, characterized by awesome energy, enthusiasm, and confidence united with an exceptionally high level of political discussion and debate. Above all, there was a firm willpower to rebuild the ISO in the coming time. It was also quite fascinating in the sense that it was held in the shadow of a split that separated opportunists from real revolutionaries a year and half ago .
The venue for the Marxism conference was our national office.
Sensibly, Marxism 2010 was held under the theme DEFENDING THE REAL MARXIST TRADITIONS AND THE FIGHT FOR SOCIALISM IN THE 21st CENTURY. The conference enthused a whole new layer of young revolutionaries who are committed to defending Marxist ideas as the only answer to the crisis of capitalism. Over 70 young workers, students, and trade unionists gathered to discuss the effects of the capitalist crisis and how to mobilize resistance to the bosses’ neoliberal attacks on the working class.
For the second time in the conference’s history, we had comrades from the redundant Left Wing who stayed the whole afternoon enjoying the discussions.
The conference opened with ISO National Treasurer Comrade Mike Sambo and Socialist Worker Editor comrade Lenin core-speaking on the Real Marxist Traditions .They both gave succinct presentations on what are the real Marxist traditions as opposed to other innumerable divergent and conflicting "Marxisms" proliferated by other individuals and coalitions.
Two separate sessions on building the party followed. The one on “role of workers and trade unions in a revolutionary party” was presented by three comrades , comrade Simukai ( National ISO librarian) ,comrade J Chirenje -President for the Medical professional and Allied Workers Union (MPAWUZ) and ISO member ) and comrade Khumalo president for Zimbabwe Graphical Workers Union (ZGWU) and ISO member in Bulawayo. They all gave glowing presentations on the concept of dictatorship of the proletariat and why workers have to be on the forefront of revolution. The other separate session on “the role of students in a revolutionary party” was led by former Zimbabwe National students Union president and also former ISO national coordinator (Msavhaya) co-presenting with ISO UZ branch member Katsuro .This session attracted most of the young comrades mainly from universities and colleges .
In the afternoon there was a plenary debate on the Global economic crisis and working class responses which was led by comrade Gwisai. Comrade Gwisai spoke on World Perspectives citing revolutionary movements that erupted in Iran, Nepal, Thailand etc ; and the case of Iceland going bankrupt; and the eruption of the working class in Greece in response to austerity cuts being demanded by the European capitalists. This all having happened in a very short space of time the comrade pointed out that this shows how unbalanced the world situation currently is, and how the progressive aspects of capitalism have become history. He said no one corner of the world is immune from the nastiest affects of the capitalist crisis; even the advanced capitalist countries of Western Europe are on the point of default and their workers up in arms. The comrade pointed out it is not the actual crisis that is going to have the greatest effect on workers, but the “recovery” from it as workers will be forced to pay for the bosses` mess. That is then the role of Marxists to mobilise the working class to reject.
Other very interesting topics like “Women and the fight for Socialism” and “ Is there socialism in Cuba”, China and Venezuela” were also discussed in the afternoon .
The closing rally was a powerful one where comrade Taffy led a discussion on the current state of politics in Zimbabwe, the constitutional reform process and the view of socialists on elections .She discussed weaknesses of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which gave birth to the current coalition government which has failed workers by all standards.
Participants also expressed how hopeful they were with the GPA and how much they feel forsaken now as it all turns out to be just unity of the elites to protect their common interests. People under no uncertain terms expressed disillusionment with any elections as it has come out clear that an entrenched dictatorship like the one in Zimbabwe can never be removed by elections .
There was so much interest in the debate on elections as Mugabe has already pointed that he wants elections mid 2011. The question being , are people ready for elections or not?
The conference ended with a passionate and cheerful singing of the Internationale. All young comrades present left the conference fully convinced that the capitalists and the reformists can only offer workers more attacks and our solution is to take control of the productive forces for our gain. Most interestingly, although the vast majority of participants were youth, who are still in colleges, the unemployed and very low income workers , the comrades demonstrated their commitment and devotion by buying some ISO T- Shirts which were being sold for $5 each .That allowed us to raise over $100 that helped us meet some conference expenses .
We are still confident that in the period coming ISO will be able to reach out to new workers and young people with ideas that can bring down this dragon called capitalism .
Shinga Mushandi Shinga
M Sambo ( For National Coordinating Committee)