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(en) zabalaza #4 - Zimbabwe: Repression Against the Working Class Mounts

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 28 Jun 2003 06:49:25 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

Zimbabwe is a dictatorship under the iron fist of Robert Mugabe
and his ZANU-PF party. This has been underlined once again by
the regime's crackdown against opponents in March this year.

More than 400 opposition supporters have been arrested, beaten
and in some cases tortured by police and the army. Over 250
people have required hospitalisation, and at least one person has
died. Women have been sexually assaulted in the repression.

The repression takes place against the backdrop of a two-day
general strike for basic political freedoms on the 18 and 19 March,
and attacks by hired ZANU-PF supporters against voters in two
heated by-elections in Harare.

Two days after the general strike, Mugabe announced that he
would be a "black Hitler 10-fold" in crushing his opponents


The regime's crackdown on the working class and poor began
soon after it took power in 1980. In 1980 to 1981 a huge strike
wave shook the country. The government responded by taking
over the unions, removing wage negotiations from union control,
and appointing union officials.

When the unions began to show some independence from around
1987 onwards, Mugabe responded with police terror, an approach
he continues to this very day. Having lost control of the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Mugabe has settled for
repression. More recently, he has set up a yellow "Zimbabwe
Federation of Trade Unions" which specialises in beating up


The dictator's supposedly radical rhetoric has confused far too
many activists here in South Africa.

Mugabe claims to be against neo-liberal policies, but in 1991, with
his blessing, his regime implemented a Structural Adjustment
Programme that makes GEAR look like a tea party.

In 1993, for example, health spending was cut in half,
unemployment began to soar to 6 out of 10 people, and
government officials gorged themselves at the public trough.
Mugabe himself looted the government fund for low-income
housing in order to build a mansion for his secretary. Meanwhile
wages fell to the levels of the early 1970s and inflation shot
through the roof, taking bread out of workers' mouths.

The Structural Adjustment Programme was only dropped from
1997 onwards because the workers in the ZCTU launched a series
of general strikes against his policies. In the face of fierce
repression, the workers fought and won... for a while.

The more recent so-called land reform policy is cut from the same
cloth. It was never motivated by concern for the poor. Its only aim
was to increase the wealth and power of Mugabe's faction of the
ruling elite.


Like all dictators, Mugabe is convinced that the people love him, a
message his advisors pour into his aging ears day after day.
Mugabe was convinced that the strike wave was planned by a
secret cabal of White farmers, British agents and gays. When the
ZCTU set up a moderate opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), from 1999 onwards, he blamed this
non-existent cabal.

Sinking deeper into fantasy, he blamed his humiliating defeat in a
popular referendum in 2000 on the same group. The so-called farm
invasions began soon after, and were carried out by hired gangs
that forced farm workers to join his fake trade union, and who
attacked May Day rallies.

The aim of the desperate and unstable dictator was two-fold. First,
he was turning on a section of the elite who he suspected were
plotting against him: the White farmers. Second, he aimed to grab
resources to pay his thugs and reward his cronies.

The real beneficiaries of the land grabs have been his so-called
"war veteran" private army and wealthy Blacks like his wife, Sally
Mugabe, and his information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, each of
whom have received several farms. In the meantime, nearly half a
million farm workers have lost their jobs, and the grim spectre of
starvation hangs over nearly two million people.


It is time to clear our eyes of the myths surrounding Mugabe, and
to support the Zimbabwean working class in its struggle against
the dictator. There should be no illusions in the MDC, which has a
very moderate programme and is influenced by neo-liberal

But this should not blind us to the issues at stake. The working
class and poor of Zimbabwe are at war with a brutal warlord. In
this struggle, we stand with the working class and poor, and
against the regime. We stand for the creation of a situation of basic
political freedoms that will allow the working class movement to
develop, and for a revolutionary anarchist current to emerge and

For anarchists to support the warlord against the workers would be
a disgrace and a sell-out.

This means, simply, that we want Mugabe out. Not because we
have illusions in the MDC, but because the Mugabe regime is
more of an obstacle on the road to a real revolution in Zimbabwe.

Our aim is anarchist communism, and towards that end we want,
we fight for, every small reform that will strengthen the working
class and poor, our class, and allow our anarchist ideas to spread.

Mugabe must go to hell, so that the working class and poor can
fight to build heaven on earth.

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