Revolutionary Greetings to all Zimbabwean working people from the National Steering Committee of the ZCP. As Proletarian Internationalists we extend our revolutionary greetings to workers, communists and revolutionary democrats throughout the world.
We make particular mention of the struggles in our neighbouring countries, South Africa and Eswatini (Swaziland). In South Africa the South African Communist Party is fighting a complex dual struggle.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) is backing the governing party, the former liberation movement, the African National Congress (ANC) in a very difficult election in which the Democratic Alliance (DA), the party of white privilege and global monopoly capital is challenging an ANC badly damaged by corruption.
We must here point out that it was the SACP which, in 2014, was the first to expose “corporate capture of the state” and the first to point out the corruption in the national broadcaster the SABC.
Although the opposition parties in the form of both the DA and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have tried to gain credit and make mileage out of the exposure of corruption, it is only members of the SACP who have actually been murdered for exposing it.
The future vision for South Africa held by the reactionary forces is portrayed vividly in the City of Johannesburg where, in order to take power away from the ANC, the EFF has been supporting the xenophobic DA mayor, Herman Mashaba.
The central area and the working-class areas of Johannesburg now stink due to piles of rotting refuse; it is abundantly clear that only the areas inhabited by the rich are being serviced this administration.
The DA and its allies are clearly aiming for a South Africa with a modified form of apartheid. The SACP is simultaneously continuing the battle against corruption inside the Alliance (ANC, SACP, COSATU) against neo-liberalism and for the building of a National Democratic Economy.
In the recently renamed Eswatini, the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) is battling the absolute feudal monarchy of King Mswati III. The CPS has recently held a National Conference to which our Party sent its fraternal message which is reproduced in this ZCP Bulletin.
We are enthused by the uprising of the people of Sudan against the dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir and note the leading role of both the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (North) SPLM(N)) in these events. At the time of writing, Bashir has been removed, but the Military Transitional Council which has now taken over represents the same class.
The Forces for Freedom and Change which includes the Communist Party are in control of the streets and talks are in progress, which, we hope, will lead to the formation of a democratic secular state in Sudan.
We must in particular praise the important role played by women in that country.
Elsewhere on our continent, we salute the continuing fight of the people of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic against the Moroccan invaders and the people of Libya in their fight for the restoration of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. We salute the transformation of the Social Democratic Party of Kenya into the Communist Party of Kenya earlier this year.
Bordering our African continent is occupied Palestine. We support the total destruction of the apartheid State of Israel and its replacement by a secular State of Palestine with equal rights for people of all religions and the right of return for all those evicted from their land since 1948.
While generally supporting the broad struggle of the Palestinian people, we firmly uphold the line of the Palestinian Communist Party.
In Syria we salute the victory of the government of the Syrian Arab Republic against ‘Islamic’ terrorism backed by the unholy alliance of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel. It was only when that terrorism grew out of control that the USA decided to attack its former creation.
We support thoroughly the line of the Syrian Communist Party, the vanguard of the Syrian working-class within the democratic and patriotic forces. We note the return of the US government under Donald Trump to the Monroe Doctrine, to the belief that all governments in the Americas must be appointed or at least approved by the US administration.
We note with concern events in Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador in this context as well as threats and destabilisation programmes against Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and other countries which fail in any way to follow the orders of the US government.
In observing events in Brazil, we must soberly take note that corruption within a very progressive governing party can contribute greatly to its overthrow by utterly reactionary forces. This is what has happened in Brazil with the defeat of the Workers’ Party (PT) and its replacement by the crypto-fascist Social-Liberal Party (PSL) led by the extreme reactionary, Jair Bolsonaro.
Corruption within state-owned enterprises has been replaced by the seizure of those enterprises by the already rich. They will soon all be privately owned. The ZCP supports the position of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) in the fight-back against the most dangerous government in Latin America.
In Venezuela, an oil rich country, a government which slashed poverty by half relaxed. Corruption and inefficiency slipped in; this was accompanied by a highly organised plot by the CIA to overthrow the government with the assistance of the local oligarchs. In the end, after a closely fought election won by Nicolás Maduro, Donald Trump elected his own president of Venezuela, a little known person called Juan Guiadó. Intervention by Russia and China has helped prevent total counter-revolution.
It must be noted that Trump came into power against the will of the majority of the American people in an election process which would be unacceptable anywhere in the civilised world. The ZCP supports the ruling party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) against reaction, but we also agree with the critical analysis of the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) when supporting the government.
In the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, a country of 30 million people, a coalition of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) won a landslide electoral victory in late November and early December 2017. The Communist Prime Minister, J.P. Oli, was eventually sworn in by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, herself a Communist.
The two Communist Parties united to become the Nepal Communist Party on 17th May 2018. Since Communists came into office, there has been a huge emphasis on infrastructure development, much of it with the assistance of the People’s Republic of China. Roads have now reached remote villages in the Himalayas. Poverty reduction is happening alongside economic development.
In our own country, Zimbabwe, its a fact that neither the ruling party, ZANU(PF) nor the opposition MDC have any real understanding of what to do next. The neo-liberal agenda which took over the world with a vengeance from the early 1980s onwards with devastating effects in terms of shifting wealth from the poor to the rich and is now dying a slow and agonising death in the rest of the world is still the developmental model which they believe can revive the Zimbabwean economy.
It was the Zimbabwean Communist Party which was the first to call for National Economic Dialogue in 2017. When we called for that Dialogue it was not a vague, liberal call of saying, “Let’s call everyone together and see what happens.”
The call was made after we had launched our ZCP Political Economy Document at our Founding Conference 28th April 2017. Central to that vision is that without the revival of production, changing the currency can never afford any lasting solution and that the whole nation must be involved not only in Dialogue but in the practical work of production.
ZANU(PF) under the “New Dispensation” of Emmerson Mnangagwa had realised that looting by our “Indigenous Entrepreneurs” was no answer to the economic problems of Zimbabwe and thought that the answer was to make “Zimbabwe Open for Business” thus transferring the right to loot from internal predators to external predators, with the hope of course, that the external predators might have a better understanding of the process of sustainable looting than the internal ones.
Added to this of course, is the concept that foreign companies coming into Zimbabwe will engage with “local partners” who, of course, will receive their percentage. But one of the problems here is the need for low wages by the investors. Former Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa was very clear about this in his budget speech of December 2017 after the coup:
“252. The sources of Zimbabwe’s high costs of business are many, including but not limited to…
• “High wage structure, relative to productivity, when compared to such other countries as Ethiopia;”
National Budget Statement for 2018, presented to the Parliament of Zimbabwe 17th December 2017 Chinamasa was asking for wage restraint from workers who are often not being paid at all!
The fact that he is no longer minister makes no difference to the pathetically low level of understanding within the government of how production works. Any serious capitalist knows that well-paid workers are far more productive than underpaid workers. It was one of the principles upon which Henry Ford built the Ford Motor Company 100 years ago.
In January this year, following an unprecedented hike in fuel prices the ZCTU called for a stayaway ― a peaceful stayaway. Members of both bourgeois neo-liberal parties used the occasion to encourage some of our most impoverished people to loot. As a result some of the most backward elements in the army felt that it gave them a golden opportunity to do what they most enjoy ― beat, rape and kill.
We were proud when the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) was used to thwart the imperialist backed interventions in Mozambique and the DRC; our men gave their lives for the protection of Africa from imperialist-backed bandits. But there was a dark side even then ― when, in the operation we call Gukurahundi, troops were deployed in Matabeleland and other parts of Zimbabwe to beat, rape and kill ordinary civilians.
This was done following an agreement with apartheid South Africa to prevent Zimbabwe from being used as a rear base for Umkhonto we Sizwe. Now in 2019, the ZNA is acting as an army of occupation controlling Zimbabwe on behalf of a small local élite and foreign monopoly capital. In January, trade unionists were arrested, beaten and charged with treason.
Some are still facing the courts. It is our view as Communists, that it is the organised working-class which is the most genuinely patriotic section of Zimbabwean society. The so-called ‘nationalists’ who have looted and salted away their money in off-shore bank accounts, love Zimbabwe no more than the imperialists.
They love Zimbabwe only as a source of private enrichment. They are the traitors, the sell-outs. As for the ‘opposition’ ― we ask with utter disgust what kind of Zimbabwean goes running to see Donald Trump in Washington when the ruling party fails to include them in government? We ask with utter disgust why the leader of the main opposition goes to occupied Palestine to support the colonisers, who, in the name of religion, are daily expelling the Palestinian people from land that has been theirs for thousands of years and brutalising them on a scale far greater than that meted out recently by the Zimbabwe government on our people?
Anyone comparing the economic programme of MDC to that of ZANU(PF) will need an electron microscope to identify the differences. There is nothing in these programmes for the working-class other than exploitation, oppression and subservience to the capitalist élite.
The Way Forward ― Focus on the Labour Movement
“What is to be done”
As we commemorate May Day, it is critical that we reflect on how the workers in Zimbabwe are organised. The strategic objective of the working-class is the creation of a socialist society.
Historically, the organised workers in Zimbabwe have always been in the forefront against injustices at the work place and in the broader society. It is the workers that led the formation of the liberation movement in the 1957 continuing with the start of armed struggle in the 1960s.
Post-Independence, it was the workers that challenged the neo-liberal economic policies adopted by the régime in 1991.
Given this historical background, the ZCP and progressive unions in Zimbabwe are working towards convening a Labour Summit under the theme: “The Working-Class as a Motive Force for Progress”.
The expected outcome of the Labour Summit will be to build a single militant, progressive and united labour federation in Zimbabwe. This is not going to be easy but our revolutionary task as communists is to unite the working class around a socialist agenda.
We are reaching out to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, to the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions and any other unaffiliated unions. There is a general agreement that unions cannot fight the system in isolation. They must unite and confront the system as a united force under a militant, progressive federation.
In doing so, we need to defeat the concept of defensive unionism which seeks only to defend the workers against the encroachment of the employers backed by the state machine allows capital to dominate the state and we must make a permanent agreement also defeat corporatist unionism which seeks to reform capitalism in favour of a militant, progressive labour federation.
The Mnangagwa régime under the guidance of Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube, has used scarce forex to pay the IMF rather than delay repayment and use that forex for boosting production. Despite their grovelling, sanctions remain. Hospital staff, teachers and others have been ruthlessly treated by the same state machine which is now searching for money to compensate former white farmers.
The treatment of other sections of the capitalist class is in stark contrast to the treatment given out to the Zimbabwean masses and their leaders. The Zimbabwe Communist Party was the first organisation to call for National Economic Dialogue. When the ZANU(PF) government reiterated that call, the ZCP wrote a polite letter to the ZANU(PF) Secretary for Administation, Obert Mpofu asking to participate in the Dialogue. 3 days later, Mpofu came on television demnouncing the Communist Party as ‘terrorists’.
That was followed up by an article in the ZANU (PF) paranoia journal The Patriot denegrating our leadership and even accusing our elderly Political Commissar, Ian Beddowes of conducting military training for Mthwakazi Youth! The source? The “Oceanic Omnipresence Organisation” (OOO)! LOL! Comrades! We are faced with a government which is both ideologically and practically bankrupt!
We are faced with an opposition which is both ideologically and practically bankrupt! The proposed Labour Summit must be a step in the building of a broad workers’ movement devoted to the purpose of restoring the leadership of Zimbabwe to the classes which initiated our national liberation and bled for it, the working-class and the peasantry ― the classes which understand the meaning of production.
Long Live May Day !! Workers of all Countries ― Unite !!