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First signs of united front mass action against elite settlement
International Socialist Organization of Zimbabwe
December 03, 2008

The situation in Zimbabwe has reached unprecedented levels of crisis. As we have been saying for the last few years, such a crisis was climaxing and with a number of possibilities arising. First and most likely was the likelihood of the bourgeois elite politicians in [President Robert Mugabe's] Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) uniting together in an elitist government of national unity in which ZANU-PF would be the senior partner around a Western- and capitalist-supported neoliberal economic agenda. The MDC's popularity would be used to pacify the urban working people from rising up.

The strong possibilities of this happening has been shown with the MDC's willingeness to accept the crumbs offered by the ZANU-PF and endorsed by the regional Southern African Development Community in which Mugabe would remain with virtually all his executive presidential powers with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai acting as a prop.

Indeed the cynicism of the whole plot was shown in that as the MDC signed Constitutional Amendment 19 with ZANU-PF, Mugabe was appointing Gideon Gono for another five years as governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe -- the same Gono who has been the central figure in the ZANU-PF's and the ruling class' neoliberal onslaught against working people for the last five years. He is the virtual de facto prime minister of Zimbabwe, unelected and unaccountable to the people, accoutable only to his equally unelected and illegitmate masters.

However, we also argued that if the elites did not quickly resolve their differences through an elitist government of national unity and if the country did not descend into a failed state like Somalia, there was a real possibility of uprisings from below led by the working class, but critically involving a united front of labour and radical civic groups and social movements, and militant rank and file activists from the MDC. We have consistently called for the urgent formation of such a united front to lead united mass action, centrally demanding a people-driven and anti-neoliberal constitution.

In the last few weeks the tensions and fights between the elites in the ZANU-PF and the MDC over the share-out of power and the continuation of sanctions, and the economic crisis has accelerated the crisis and brought greater political disllusionament among the ordinary people, leading to an increasing wave of discontent in the last few weeks, with strikes and protests by teachers, nurses, doctors, members of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), women and students.

And most decisively in the last few days, riots by lower ranks of the army in Harare beating up cash vendors sent by Gono, as well as shops selling in foreign currency. Yesterday they ran in the city centre singing and followed by scores of people denouncing Gono and the government. The situation is now extremely delicate ahead of the protests called for December 3 by civic groups led by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and also involving he Zimbabwe Social Forum and the National Constitutional Assembly.

The International Socialist Organisation (ISOZ) is centrally involved in the demonstrations through the Zimbabwe Social Forum (ZSF), where many of its leading cadres are playing a critical role. We welcome the demonstrations as the first sign of united front mass action that we have been calling for as the alternative to the elitist political parties' negotiated settlement.

Please find below the statement issued by the chairperson of the ZSF, Munyaradzi Gwisai, who is also the general co-ordinator of ISOZ, calling for local, regional and international mobilisation and support for the mass action tomorrow on December 3, 2008.

We shall continually update comrades on developments whilst we call for your support on what could be a decisive day of action. The resolution among the leadership of the ZCTU, ZSF and NCA is that we are going all-out no matter what the dictatorship throws at us and we are confident that hundreds will turn up for the demonstration.

No to Dictactorship! Viva Socialism!

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