ISO Zimbabwe appeal

Following his expulsion from the Movement for Democratic Change and ejection from the Zimbabwe parliament, International Socialist Organisation leader Munyaradzi Gwisai (pictured) is contesting the subsequent by-election in his Highfield, Harare constituency. Comrade Gwisai was expelled for publicly opposing the rightwing policies of the MDC, which was set up in 1999 by trade unionists following the militant working class struggles of that year, but came increasingly under the control of business, farming and pro-imperialist interests. He was expelled from parliament under the terms of the anti-defection clause of the constitution, introduced by Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF in 1996. The ISO - fraternal organisation of the Socialist Workers Party in England and Wales - has issued this call for financial support

Comrades Relations between the International Socialist Organisation and the main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, came to a head in November last year with the expulsion of the socialist MP for Highfield, Munyaradzi Gwisai. Gwisai's expulsion came as no surprise to us. Following the near-total collapse of the Zimbabwean economy, coupled with the crisis in fuel supplies, foreign currency and food, the neoliberal MDC moved to deal decisively with any anti-neoliberal threats to its programme of secret talks with the Mugabe Zanu-PF regime and its programme of pushing the neoliberal programme for investors and bosses. Following extensive debates within the ISO and with workers and residents in Highfield, we have decided to field Munyaradzi Gwisai as a candidate for the Highfield by-election. We have fielded him as an 'independent' candidate fully backed and endorsed by the ISO. The support we have in the industrial (factory) areas surrounding Highfield (where the vast majority of workers live) is solid. But this is not just any ordinary by-election campaign. We have entered this campaign with the express aim of raising the anti-capitalist struggle platform. This campaign is what we envision as the starting point - the rallying point. This campaign is significant in that it is the first socialist campaign this country has ever seen. For the first time, it places the anti-neoliberal programme against the different neoliberal programmes of both the MDC and Zanu-PF. It represents a real socialist campaign, organised and run by workers without the big backing of established parliamentary parties. Not only is it a first for Zimbabwe: it is also probably the first such campaign to be run on the continent. The real potential for this campaign has already been shown. Of the three MDC party structures in Highfield, one has come out in support of Gwisai. Of the three MDC councillors in Highfield, one has come out in support of the ISO candidate and has openly moved to our campaign. The MDC youth wing in the area has been split. We have moved into campaigning with workers' meetings at lunchtimes lined up for the next two to three weeks. Once we have rallied workers at their workplaces, we then move into Highfield itself in the third and fourth weeks. The by-election takes place on the weekend of March 29-30. To do this we desperately need money for one of the most significant anti-capitalist campaigns ever seen in Zimbabwe in the last five years. We urgently need to raise £300 from comrades internationally. This is to cover the costs of sending teams of comrades to do meetings, printing and fly-posting posters and other costs. We are therefore appealing to our international comrades, friends, members and sympathisers to assist us in this aspect. We are asking comrades to donate and/or do fundraisers and place the money in our bank account in the UK,. Rosa Zulu national treasurer ISO Zimbabwe ISO bank details First Direct Bank, 40 Wakefield Road, Leeds LS98 1FO Account Name: John Page Account Number: 1118 54 89 Sort Code: 40-47-78 Please email details of deposits to rosazulu@hotmail.com