Tuesday, October 25, 2005

20 Reasons To Boycott The Illegitimate Senate Elections!

No food – No votes!
No reduction of school fees – No votes!
No water – No votes!
No electricity – No votes!
No proper sewerage system – No votes!
No garbage collection – No votes!
No free ARV’s – No votes!
No price reductions and No price controls – No votes!
No market stalls for informal traders – No votes!
No jobs – No votes!
No affordable medical drugs – No votes!
No affordable education – No votes!
No college student grants – No votes!
No compensation to victims of Murambatsvina – No votes
No teachers, no doctors, no nurses – No votes!
No infrastructure development for A1 farmers – No votes!
No ending of POSA and AIPPA – No votes!
No new democratic constitution – No votes
No democracy – No vote!
No freedom – No vote!


Friday, October 21, 2005

Participants Chant at Last Weeks Social Forum

by Charlie Kimber (Socialist Worker, UK)
Amid the suffering in southern Africa, one event last week was a powerful sign of resistance and hope.
Around 4,000 people took part in the Southern Africa Social Forum in Harare, Zimbabwe. This was the largest event ever of its type in the region, bringing together people from South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

There were trade unionists, people with HIV, housing campaigners, campaigners for women's rights, informal traders, disabled people, students, unemployed and many more.

The forum was a chance for them to speak out and to organise. One experience summed up the confidence that people gained during the event.

Speakers had been warned that any criticism of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe would mean that the riot police would sweep in and close down the event. We cast anxious glances at the police gathered at the edge of the main meeting.

By the end of the three days of the forum, almost everyone was calling for Mugabe to go. Half of the watching police were nodding along in agreement.

It was a fiercely radical event, directed not only against the region's governments but against capitalism itself. The slogans with which speakers began their contributions almost always included chants such as "phansi (down with) capitalism" and "viva socialism".

Munyaradzi Gwisai, former MP and the country's most well-known socialist activist, told the forum, "Zimbabwe is at a crossroads. We weren't supposed to come here and demand our markets back, our homes back, a democratic and free country.

"All the intimidation has failed. We are here and we are not going away. The rich of all parties are uniting around Mugabe. This government has made an open decision to be puppets of the IMF and World Bank.

"While there are severe food shortages and hundreds of thousands of homeless, while our hospitals are death cells and education collapses, Mugabe repays $130 million to the IMF.

"We are calling for support across the region when the trumpet of liberation sounds from here. We are going to continue the struggle in the parliament of the streets for socialism."

Jabu Lile from South Africa's Anti- Privatisation Forum said, "This forum is our expression of a search for a better world, for a socialist transformation and for an end to capitalism which has brought suffering to our region."

Workers came to share their struggles and strategies. Canwell Muchadya, president of the Zimbabwe Graphical Workers Union, told how his members had taken part in two national strikes in the last 18 months. Their militancy, even in very difficult circumstances, had improved wages and conditions.

Ben Moeletsi from Botswana was greeted with chanting and applause when he said he was one of the 461 workers sacked after a strike for a fair bonus at Debswana, the firm owned jointly by the De Beers company and the government.

Ben also called for support for the struggle of the country's Bushmen, presently facing extermination in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Dozens of people living with HIV/Aids-as 20 percent of the population in Zimbabwe aged between 15 and 49 do-gathered to discuss their situation and how to fight for their rights.

They tore into the giant pharmaceutical companies and the international institutions that defend patents and keep drug prices high.

Joyline Tarungarira said, "We call for more education, more truth about condoms and the way this disease spreads. But that is not enough without a different world where the profits of a few do not come first. I have four children, I am HIV positive and seven people in my immediate family have been taken away by Aids.

"This is an emergency which requires a revolution to end it."
About half of the participants were women, and there were serious debates about the role of women in society, and at the forum. Virginia Setshedi said, "Women carry the brunt of capitalism. As services are cut because of privatisation and high prices, it is women who take the sick to hospital, look after the children or walk miles for clean water.

"We want to tear down this system that imprisons us. But we also demand a full role in these forums. We want more women on these forum platforms. That is the duty of organisers, but it is also the duty of us as women not to hang back, but to take our proper place."

Her speech, made at the start of the forum, had a profound impact. In the final session more than half of those reporting back from the different stands of the forum were women.

The forum ended with a pulsating concert and poetry event. Under the stars Harare felt liberated and, as darkness gathered, a young South African rose from the crowd and delivered a powerful rap poem. It was not about Africa but about imperialism, Iraq and Palestine. A great end to a great event.

© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

ISO Zimbabwe at the SASF Oct 2005!!

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: isozim2004@yahoo.com