We hereby introduce the Africa Workers Organiser (first edition), which incorporates the Workers International News and acknowledges the bold decision of the ex-International Socialist Organization (Zimbabwe) to break from the IST (International Socialist Tendency) and to commence the process of integration into the FLTI (international Leninist Trotskyist Fraction. The ISO (Gwisai faction) remains listed as being within the IST.
The primary aim of this newspaper is to expose capitalism-imperialism in front of the eyes of the proletariat in Africa today, as well as elaborating the internationalist programme and tasks of the world proletariat for Africa. It is from this perspective that we challenge the vanguard working class fighters across the world, to work towards the setting up a single party for the whole of Africa, as a section of a revolutionary International, a process of rebuilding the Fourth International. This acknowledges that the same imperialists (essentially French, US and UK in the main) are exploiting and oppressing the masses across Africa. This process does not exclude the setting up of national chapters which reflect the adapting of the programme for different national specifics, such as the differences between the North and Sub-Saharan regions, such as considering the different specific weights of the peasantry, etc.
The current state of class struggle and the international split of the IST With world imperialism having ‘clipped coupons’ to the value of over 400 trillion USD (ie 400 000 Billion USD), more than what the future generation has yet to produce, the capitalists are forced on the path to attack the current gains of the working class; inter-imperialist rivalries sharpen as the capitalist class goes on the offensive with wars, fascism, bonapartism; all their agents within the workers’ movement are forced to discard their masks and show their true colours, as counter-revolutionary forces to contain the anger of the masses and to more openly misdirect their struggles into dead-ends. The possibilities for reform are virtually non-existent, even the crumbs to buy off the labour aristocracy are in short supply.
The central question is that under these conditions, the working class and a section of the vanguard is resisting the attacks of monopoly capital. Over the past year there have been revolutionary uprisings in Guadaloupe, Martinique, Greece, Madagascar; strike waves in China and South Africa, factory occupations and strikes in France and to a lesser extent Argentina, strikes against privatization in Mexico, mass protests against the Gaza 2008-9 massacre, mass ongoing protests against the bonapartist Iranian regime, the going over once again to mass strikes in Britain; Zimbabwe still simmers from the revolutionary days in April 2008; the masses protest against the regime in Guinea; the immigrants begin revolting against the slave conditions imposed by the mafia on behalf of monopoly capital in Italy, there is great hatred, unprecedented, for the Wall Street parasites in the eyes of the US proletariat a significant proportion even favour Socialism, and this within months of Obama taking office. The Obama mask, held up by much of the world’s ‘left’ (including the Bolivarian bourgeoisies as well as the Castrists), is a desperate attempt by imperialism to regain some credibility among the world working class.
The masses rise, while the reformist tendencies which take the place of the discredited Stalinist tendencies, so effectively used by imperialism over the years to contain the masses, are also exposed. It is under these conditions that the international explosion of the IST has taken place. The pressure of the masses for a real response to the attacks of big capital has shattered the apparatus of the IST (and now the IMT- International Marxist Tendency). We can predict a further shattering of the ‘reformist’ and counter-revolutionary forces on an international scale.
At the same time the discredited, counter-revolutionary forces attempt to dress themselves up in new forms to once more play their role as agents of monopoly capital. Thus we have Chavez and other ‘bolivarian’ bourgeoisie leading the charge for the formation of a Fifth International; thus we also have the growth of (procapitalist) anti-capitalist parties.
The split of the IST (and now the IMT) means that imperialism has lost some of its key mechanisms to contain the revolutionary vanguard- on the one hand the IST and IMT kept the vanguard in the imperialist centres isolated from struggles in the semicolonies and colonies against their own imperialism; on the other hand, they kept the vanguard in the semi-colonies and colonies isolated from struggles in the imperialist centres; thus the struggles for Socialist revolution were torn from their international path- the only path along which Socialism could be achieved. The real liberation of Africa, for example, is directly connected with the working class taking power in the imperialist centres.
While the IST apparatus has split over how best to control the masses, one fraction in Zimbabwe has taken the path, starting to integrate into the FLTI. The shattering of the IST and IMT further opens up the path for the vanguard around the world for a real regroupment in a new Kienthal and Zimmerwald, to gather the revolutionaries and to disperse the reactionaries. The reactionary forces have been weakened, let us mobilise all our forces to turn our current defensive moment into an offensive drive against world imperialism capitalism.
The counter-revolutionary pact to contain the masses in Africa Africa, the world’s biggest continent, is kept by the world imperialist division of labour as a provider of raw materials, unprocessed goods and cheap labour for the imperialist centres. Hand in hand with this massive slave camp goes the most brutal militarism by imperialism: hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth is raped from Africa every year, to the point of absolute starvation of the masses. ‘Aid’ is the crumbs left over from the super-profits extracted every year by imperialism- a cynical mechanism to regulate the rate of death among the modern-day African slaves.
In the wake of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, French imperialism was displaced by US imperialism; the 2001-2005 war in Darfur was centred on US imperialism backing ‘rebels’ from the oil-rich south to push out French imperialism in the north of Sudan; the wars in the DRC reflected all the major imperialist powers scrambling for cassiterite and other metals for cellphones, laptops and playstations, over the bones of 6 million Congolese; US imperialism controls the bauxite mines in Guinea and are behind the suppression of the working class there; the entire Africa is cut in contested zones of imperialist rivalry. Imperialism is behind all the wars in Africa. Out of this militarism, most of the arable land in Africa is now under the control of the imperialists. It follows that any single bourgeois democratic demand, such as land, peace, bread, work, can only be conquered by the working class taking power in one revolution on a continental scale, as well as being inextricably linked to the working class taking power in the imperialist centres.
South African, Zimbabwean, Angolan, Rwandese troops have all intervened in various capacities on behalf of US imperialism in the wars in the DRC. The SA ‘Development Community’ regimes all formed a pact to isolate and starve the Zimbabwean masses when they threatened revolution against the local manager of US and UK imperialism, Mugabe. The popular fronts set up by imperialism (MDC in Tanzania, the MMD in Zambia, the MDC in Zimbabwe) were part of an international strategy to behead revolutions from within the workers’ movements. The MDC was propped up and given legitimacy by the IST, directly instructed from London, even during the revolutionary days of April 2008, when the masses had seen through both MDC and Zanu-PF and had threatened to take power on their own.
[In South Africa, even though imperialism did not create the ANC-SACP-Cosatu alliance, they certainly gave greater support to it at the time when they were in danger of losing everything, and such is the massive plunder of the working class, imperialism must surely be regretting not giving such extensive support to the ANC-SACP-Cosatu alliance sooner. Once the CPSA became stalinised in the 1920’s they were a prop of imperialism within the workers’ movement, beheading the revolutionary drive of the masses up until today. What changed in 1994 was that the ANC-SACP-Cosatu alliance became the direct managers for imperialism as the masses were no longer prepared to tolerate slave capitalist relations, nominally headed by the NP-regime. Crucially, when the masses were on an independent path against the capitalist regime, the IST, IMT and other ‘left’ supported the ANC-SACP-Cosatu alliance, helping to contain the revolutionary action of the masses when imperialism needed it the most].
When the advanced guard in Africa, the masses in Madagascar, formed their own workers, peasants and soldiers’ committees and expelled the US imperialist puppet, Ravalomanana, who tried to sell off one third of the island to Daewoo (US imperialism), the SADC leaders once again formed a pact to isolate the masses, starve them and to prepare the ground for a sharing of the spoils between French and US imperialism. However the situation is far from clear for imperialism as the soldiers have not been disarmed and they still declare themselves to be for the masses. The SADC leaders have repeatedly met in Maputo to try to find ways to ensure ‘stable’ imperialist control in both Zimbabwe and Madagascar.
In other words, they want to get the masses under control in the region; this is the background to first, the brutal attempt to smash the unions for soldiers in SA and the attempts to buy them off through huge wage increases. The SACP and Cosatu leaders want the struggles of the soldiers to be channelled into unions only while what should be happening is the generalisation of the workers’, poor peasants’ and soldiers committees across Africa to face the common imperialism that keeps Africa as a huge slave camp- this is the only way. (The Cosatu and SACP leaders want the struggle of the soldiers to remain depoliticized, and limited only to wages and conditions of work; thus they differ with imperialism only on the method of controlling the soldiers).
At the same time, as part of this counter-revolutionary pact by the SADC leaders, Obama prepares for direct military intervention by setting up Africom headquarters in Ghana. The US invasion of Haiti shows that direct military intervention by US imperialism across Africa is on the agenda. Imperialism uses the borders to divide the working class on artificial grounds, while they exploit the masses and play the one off against the other, to keep wages down. Cosatu and SACP leaders divide workers, promoting ‘proudly South African’ and puts SA worker against the Chinese workers and indeed against all other workers in the region - in this way they aid the exploits of JP Morgan Chase and others.
We are in the process of developing a programme for the revolution in Africa; elements of this programme should include:
1. Expelling of all imperialist military bases from Africa
2. Seizing of all imperialist assets, without compensation, and placing them under workers control
3. nationalizing all the land and expropriation without compensation, under workers control of all commercial farms
4. centralizing all banks into one, expropriating the imperialists without compensation, under workers control
5. arming of the masses to defend against imperialist reaction
6. the formation of workers, poor peasants and soldiers’ committees to spearhead the fight against imperialist-capitalist relations in Africa;
7. sliding scale of hours and wages- share all work among all who can work, across Africa and in the imperialist centres, without loss of pay (the demand for a continental sharing of work will help undercut the artificial nationalist divisions that imperialism uses to drive down wages by putting worker against worker- it will also unite workers from across the continent against the handful of imperialists); increase wages when prices increase;
8. Defeat the trade union bureaucracies;
9. Split with the local bourgeoisie and pro-imperialist forces;
10. Forward to a federation of Southern African Socialist states; Forward to a Federation of North African Socialist states;
11. Forward to Soviet Africa
12. We need to develop a set of democratic, transitional and socialist demands as part of one African revolution, as well as show the inextricable link between the revolution in Africa and the working class taking power in the imperialist centres; only the working class taking power has the political will to solve the land hunger of the poor peasants.
Remaining central questions to discuss with the ex-ISO (Zimbabwe) group that has decided to engage the FLTI:
1. The Transitional programme and the permanent revolution, its method and relevance for Africa;
2. the path to power and the dictatorship of the proletariat
3. The class basis and position of the IST with reference to key acid tests, such as the second world imperialist war, ‘neither Washington nor Moscow’ policy, the fall of the Berlin wall, ‘neither Washington nor Beijing’
4. vanguard proletarian party versus mass reformist party.
5. the ISO (US) as a continuation of Clifftism and that contains the masses through the unions, whose leadership are in alliance with the very imperialism that uses the face of Obama to advance their world hegemony and barbarism.
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