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Zimbabwean socialist: 'A new movement is emerging'
Chris Atkinson, Greenleft Weekly
April 21, 2007

Around 100 people filled Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on April 18 to hear visiting Zimbabwean socialist Munyaradzi Gwisai explain the background to the Zimbabwean people’s struggle for democracy.

"A new movement from below is begging to emerge", Gwisai said. "The people are beginning to shake off fear and exhaustion" and are advancing their own strategy to fight President Robert Mugabe’s brutal rule and the economic dictates of the International Monetary Fund and the business elite (the "twin dictatorships").

Gwisai spoke 27 years to the day since Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) won independence from British white minority rule and installed Mugabe as president. Gwisai explained that despite Mugabe’s radical rhetoric and encouragement of black farmers to seize large farms, often owned by rich whites, "Mugabe is a ruthless, self-serving tyrant who celebrates brutality".

Gwisai explained how the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions formed the main opposition organisation, the Movement for Democratic Change, in the aftermath of huge strikes in the late 1990s with the support of rich-country governments. Gwisai was elected to parliament for the MDC in 2000 until he and his group, the International Socialist Organisation, were expelled from the MDC in April 2002 after openly supporting poor farmers’ land seizures.

Gwisai warned the democracy movement not to rely on the "dangerous and naive" hope that the 2008 presidential elections will be fair or that Mugabe will recognise the result, even if South African president Thabo Mbeki negotiates a settlement. For Gwisai, it is in "mass revolts from below" that the hope of solving Zimbabwe’s terminal crisis lays.

Gwisai also addressed a public meeting in Melbourne on April 20.

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