Zimbabwe: The Role of the official Trade Union Federation

Report by the International Revolutionary Workers of Zimbabwe, 17.8.2016, www.thecommunists.net




The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) plans to lead processions in the countries major cities throughout the country on Saturday August 20 to protest against the Special Economic Zones Bill H.B 15 which is now before the President for assent.


Previously ZCTU activists tried to rally workers to the streets in major towns and cities in anti-government demonstrations and failed miserably. But only a pocket of protesters turned up for the demonstration. Normally, when street protests are mulled, those expected to join are the poor workers, the disgruntled and the down trodden. Zimbabwe has those in abundance, but they chose to concentrate on their own livelihoods. A few workers who have to be at work will poppy down through the windows of their multi-storey establishments, and they will never join.


The lack of interest by the impoverished populace to demonstrate shows that the ZCTU has lost its ground and betrayed the masses. Also this shows how far trade unionism has lost relevance in a country where formal employment has almost ceased to exist and the ZCTU now appeals to a very few workforce which itself is largely uninterested in these protests.


But it is the despair which the workers who suddenly found themselves without jobs that got many thinking. Did the ZCTU really represent workers? Did the union believe sincerely in speaking on behalf of the voiceless? Left on their own vices with no jobs to turn to, it has certainly dawned on many that the ZCTU sold out.


It is a cruel sell-out technique which has left deep scars that will never heal for many until death. Now those men and women who constituted an important labour force in a glaringly growing economy are now left on their own. No worker in Zimbabwe will align himself/herself to a union which publicly supports a political party just as ZCTU work in hand with the bourgeois MDC.


Today the former workers are not fooled and neither are the majority of all Zimbabweans. The ZCTU is playing a political game for MDC. It will not work because Zimbabweans have realised the importance of safeguarding what they have. Once bitten twice shy, all those millions in the informal sector will not give heed to any of ZCTU messages veiled in the solidarity.


Unemployment has spiralled out of control, with estimates suggesting that 90 percent of Zimbabwe’s able-bodied are out of formal employment. The catastrophic closures of companies coupled with widespread retrenchments have forced many into the informal sector. Therefore, Zimbabweans are more concerned with their day to day activities for survival and they now support those groups that have nothing to do with any political parties.


In the memories of Zimbabweans are the 1997-98 mass street protests spearheaded by the same principal workers’ representative body, ZCTU in conjunction with many other civic organisations. ZCTU was fronted by the then secretary general, Morgan Tsvangirai, now president of the MDC-T. ZCTU, therefore, actually they are playing in the hands of political parties.


Thus as the IRWZ we call on the trade unions, mass organizations of the workers, poor peasants and urban poor to fight for the interest of the broad masses!


While we support the unity of action with reformist, populist and centrist forces, at the same time we warn against any illusions in the bureaucratic leaderships! For the formation of a rank and file movement inside the trade unions to organize the ordinary workers independently of the bureaucracy!





About RCIT Britain

What the RCIT stands for Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)is a revolutionary combat organisation fighting for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It has national sections in a number of countries. The working class is composed of all those (and their families) who are forced to sell their labor power as wage earners to the capitalists. The RCIT stands on the theory and practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Capitalism endangers our lives and the future of humanity. Unemployment, war, environmental disasters, hunger, and exploitation are all part of everyday life under capitalism as are the imperialistic oppression of nations, the national oppression of migrants, and the oppression of women, young people, and homosexuals. Therefore, we want to eliminate capitalism. The liberation of the working class and all oppressed is possible only in a classless society without exploitation and oppression. Such a society can only be established internationally. Therefore, the RCIT is fighting for a socialist revolution at home and around the world. This revolution must be carried out and lead by the working class, for only this class has the collective power to bring down the ruling class and build a socialist society. The revolution cannot proceed peacefully because a ruling class never has nor ever will voluntarily surrender its power. By necessity, therefore, the road to liberation includes armed rebellion and civil war against the capitalists. The RCIT is fighting for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ republics, where the oppressed organize themselves in councils democratically elected in rank-and-file meetings in factories, neighbourhoods, and schools. These councils, in turn, elect and control the government and all other statue authorities, and always retain the right to recall them. Authentic socialism and communism have nothing to do with the so-called “socialism” that ruled in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and which continues to do so in China and Cuba, for example. In these countries, the proletariat was and is dominated and oppressed by a privileged party bureaucracy. Under capitalism, the RCIT supports all efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers and oppressed, while simultaneously striving to overthrow this system based on economic exploitation of the masses. Towards these ends, we work from within the trade unions where we advocate class struggle, socialism, and workers’ democracy. But trade unions and social democracy are controlled by a bureaucracy perniciously connected with the state and capital via status, high-paying jobs, and other privileges. Thus, the trade union bureaucracy is far from the interests and living conditions of its members, based as it is on the top, privileged layers of the working class – a labor aristocracy which has no real interest in replacing capitalism. Therefore, the true struggle for the liberation of the working class, the toppling of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their “representative” from the upper trade union strata. We also fight for the expropriation of the big land owners as well as for the nationalisation of the land and its distribution to the poor and landless peasants. Towards this goal we struggle for the independent organisation of the rural workers. We support national liberation movements against oppression. We also support the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples against the great powers. Within these movements we advocate a revolutionary leadership as an alternative to nationalist or reformist forces. While the RCIT strives for unity of action with other organizations, we are acutely aware that the policies of social democrats and pseudo-revolutionary groups are dangerous, and ultimately represent an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class, peasants, and the otherwise oppressed. In wars between imperialist states we take a revolutionary defeatist position: we do not support either side, but rather advocate the transformation of the war into a civil war against the ruling class in each of the warring states. In wars between imperialist powers (or their stooges) and a semi-colonial countries we stand for the defeat of the former and the victory of the oppressed countries. As communists, we maintain that the struggle against national oppression and all types of social oppression (women, youth, sexual minorities etc.) must be lead by the working class, because only the latter is capable of fomenting a revolutionarily change in society . Therefore, we consistently support working class-based revolutionary movements of the socially oppressed, while opposing the leadership of petty-bourgeois forces (feminism, nationalism, Islamism, etc.), who ultimately dance to the tune of the capitalists, and strive to replace them with revolutionary communist leadership. Only with a revolutionary party fighting as its leadership can the working class be victorious in its struggle for liberation. The establishment of such a party and the execution of a successful revolution, as it was demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin and Trotsky remain the models for revolutionary parties and revolutions in the 21st century. For new, revolutionary workers' parties in all countries! For a 5th Workers International to be founded on a revolutionary program! Join the RCIT! No future without socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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