The United Front, Entrism and the Revolutionary Organisation in Zimbabwe


The United Front, Entrism and the Revolutionary Organisation in Zimbabwe – Lessons From Struggles in Periphery Capitalist Societies (1)
Munyaradzi Gwisai is a leading member of the International Socialist Organisation (Zimbabwe) and MDC Member of Parliament for Highfield. Introduction: united fronts and their two dialectically contradictory functions

The joining by the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) of the reformist Movement for Democratic Change in September 1999 raises fundamental questions of how small revolutionary organisations should relate to mass reformist organisations which have a significant base in a rising working class. Is to participate in such a party that was born out of working class struggles but now has a reactionary neo-liberal leadership and policies an act of petty bourgeois opportunism that results in liquidation of the revolutionary group in popular fronts, as alleged by our orthodox Trotskyist critics,2 or is refusal to do so one of ultra-leftist infantilism that results in failure to seize on historic opportunities to grow?3 The background being the MDC’s de facto expulsion of ISO on 17 April 2002 following ISO’s threats to resign over the post-presidential “unity talks” with ZANU-PF.4

Organisations like the MDC, before 2001, are examples of alliances that revolutionaries sometimes have to enter with reformists, and are called united fronts. Callinicos says united fronts serve two main functions. Firstly to facilitate maximum unity in action between revolutionaries and the reformists to achieve or address specific relevant issues and objectives. Secondly as a platform to increase the influence of revolutionary politics and to build the revolutionary organisation.5 United fronts come in diverse forms, from the simple types around very specific issues and of a very temporary nature, such as the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) uniting revolutionaries, organised labour and middle class liberals around the issue of a new democratic constitution or the incipient Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) formed around opposition to neo-liberal privatisation and inspired by the South African APF. In Zambia there is the African Renaissance Committee. Then there are the more complex united fronts which are of a more generalised, political and durable nature. They usually arise in situations of generalised crisis of the system in which large numbers of working and middle class people are radicalising to the left and yearn for political unity to address the crisis through conquest of political power, which is expressed through such centrist parties as the MDC. Its basis was the failure of the authoritarian and neo-liberal ZANU-PF regime to address the growing economic crisis which was having severe impact on working people and the middle classes. Earlier examples were the liberation movements of ZANU and ZAPU, to defeat the Rhodesia Front neo-fascist regime led by Ian Smith. But there is tension between the two functions, and a balance is necessary to remove the apparent contradiction. Overemphasis on the unity function can result in the liquidation of the revolutionary group into the centrist body resulting in an alliance which is the reverse of the united front, namely the popular front where there is the unchallenged hegemony of the bourgeois programme, as is the case of the SACP in the ANC. On the other hand is the danger of sectarianism, arising from an overemphasis of the second function, usually by attempting to reduce the front to a satellite-and ultimately therefore fatally undermining its utility.

Getting the appropriate balance is not easy in practice. Looking at ISO’s experience and extracting from Lenin and Trotsky we identify three conditions that are critical, especially relating to united fronts of the entrist version. Firstly, the level of consciousness of the class. Secondly the class nature of the front, whether it allows the application of revolutionary united front tactics. Finally, the internal dynamics of the revolutionary organisation concerning issues of cadreship and application of democratic centralism.

Rising class consciousness and freedom

Where the centrist organisation represents a rising working class consciousness in a time of generalised crisis, then it is appropriate to support it. This was the case with the MDC, which was born out of the womb of anti-neo-liberal working class struggles of 1997-98. Its structures were dominated by the best elements in the class, with seven of its eight provinces completely dominated by labour militants and the movement routinely referred to as a “workers’ party”, even in the bourgeois media. This situation is now replicated across Africa as working class led revolts against the failed neo-liberal structural adjustment programmes grow and centrist parties like the MDC emerge, critically, currently in Nigeria6 and potentially in South Africa. Revolutionaries have to relate to such organisations, through the united front strategy, if they are not to be condemned to irrelevance. To refuse to do so amounts to failure to have a dialectical conception of form and substance. One must not get confused by the form, namely the reactionary leadership and the lower/contradictory forms of consciousness of the working class at such early stages. The best teacher for the masses is experience not abstract communist propaganda. For in rising struggles the class grows rapidly in consciousness, dropping most of the previous ideological muck that the ruling class festers on them, including illusions around parliamentary reformism, tribalism, sexism and nationalism.

That is the lesson of the 1948 General Strike, Russia 1905 and why Engels argued that when as a product of their economic struggles, workers form a political party, even one with serious ideological defects, revolutionaries must support it as this marks an important milestone in the development of consciousness, from the economic to the political.

Where the revolutionaries have systematically applied Lenin’s dictum of absolute freedom of expression, exposing the reactionaries, then in time, with the benefit of experience including that of the inevitable treacherous betrayals of the reformist leaders, the masses will be able to identify with the earlier propaganda of the communists-thereby arising a fundamental contradiction between the reformist leaders and their base, to the substantial benefit of the revolutionary organisation. That is what guided us in joining. For to have remained outside risked the danger of a tiny revolutionary organisation being fatally identified with a hated neo-liberal dictatorship, a point the labour bureaucracy was always quick to make in the context of Mugabe’s fake anti-imperialist and “talk left but act right” strategy.

The second condition is whether revolutionaries can apply in the front tactics like Trotsky’s “marching separately but striking together,” and that of Lenin of exercising absolute freedom of expression. This means continuously articulating the need to expand the programme of the front to a higher, more generalised level and ruthlessly exposing the bankruptcy of the reformist leaders, including their efforts to keep the agenda to the lowest denominator possible. This principle applies to all types of united fronts, which is why “every united front is…an arena for ideological and political struggle” (Callinicos). Thus his attempt to justify limitation of the agenda of the “classic united fronts” like the Anti Nazi League and the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) for fear of “dividing and paralysing them” is inappropriate and an example of the improper overemphasis on the unity function. Our own experience in pushing the NCA, which was created as a middle class neo-liberal stalking horse for hijacking the rising working class movement, to adopt our “15 Reasons to Vote No!”, a combination of democratic and anti-neo-liberal bread and butter economic demands, shows this. Similarly with the evolution of ATTAC in France from a single issue united front to a much broader anti-capitalist movement.

However, the intensity of criticism differs, depending on the united front. The more right wing, as is the case with MDC and the NCA in its earlier form, the more ruthless the criticism, whilst it becomes more fraternal the more radical/left the front-the way the CPGB’s Weekly Worker has critiqued ISO’s role in MDC.7 This is especially so where one does not have an effective rank and file movement in the ally-otherwise one could easily provoke a situation where the right, centre and left factions of the reformists unite with the membership against you, as we recently learnt the hard way with the student union, ZINASU, forcing us to make a strategic retreat.8 But whichever way, due exercise of political and organisational autonomy will inevitably lead to fights with the reformists-and to counter this it becomes essential that the revolutionary organisation has space to intervene and direct its propaganda at the rank and file sections of the front, and win the confidence of as wide a section of them as possible, together with any of the left leaders. Thus our capacity to push the NCA leftward was based on alliances with worker and student activists in the rank and file. Similarly ISO has had various battles with the MDC leaders over issues like ISO remaining an autonomous organisation with its own public propaganda programme around the party’s rank and file against the party’s neo-liberal policies and leadership, such as on the land question. The decisive factor in the failure of the leadership to crush us, despite the immense support it received from the media, has been the support ISO received from sections of the rank and file, in Harare and Bulawayo, and workers in industrial committees we set up around the constituency of Highfield, using as a platform the parliamentary seat.

But on positions, our experience probably indicates that the dangers of assuming too senior positions, such as the parliamentary seats, in a united front of the entrist version are too high for smaller revolutionary organisations to assume, but probably more justifiable in the more simpler united front like the NCA. They might be more appropriate for bigger organisations like the SWP, but even then as the experience of the Bolshevik faction in the reformist Duma after 1912 led by Kamenev and Zinoviev and the two’s subsequent reformist evolution shows, the dangers of inertia and conservatism remain very real. The focus must remain an intervention programme targeted at the rank and file.

In conclusion, there must be sufficient democracy within the united front to allow revolutionaries to articulate and advance their programme. Where this is denied, then there is no basis for a united front or entrism – as what would exist is what l have referred to as “a hegemonic right wing popular front”, which is usually so during periods of low class struggle. But the popular front has historically been the graveyard for revolutionaries and working class activists from China, Spain, Indonesia to Chile.

United front is not a substitute for the revolutionary party

Participation in a united front, particularly its entrist form, will heighten internal disputes within the revolutionary organisation especially over questions of tactics, as for instance in our case over the assumption of senior positions like in parliament, relationships with the reformists or decisively whether the alliance should end. Unless properly handled such disputes can result in fatal divisions, splits or undermining of the organisation’s role in the united front. A key tool in dealing with this is the principle of democratic centralism. It is simply imperative for the leadership to make determined efforts to bend the stick vigorously on the side of internal democracy, to reverse the undemocratic side effects of the inward turn of the 1980s, like bureaucratic top-down control, sectarianism, personality cults and unprincipled splits, as organisations battled to survive these harsh years of low class struggle, including the bourgeois triumphalism following the collapse of the USSR. This means in practice a number of things such as involving as wide a base of the membership as possible before undertaking major decisions, accepting the rights of minority factions and opening the floodgates of leadership positions. This is the only way to allow a rapid assimilation by the party of the experiences that advanced workers would be learning independently from the rising struggles. The leadership has to learn to trust its lower rank and file, allow them to make and learn from their own mistakes and not to seek to ideologically fence them off in the sectarian manner of discouraging members from reading literature or attending forums of rival socialist currents. Only a membership that is ideological convinced about the correctness of the general strategy will be ready to carry the huge tasks lying ahead. This was central with the Bolsheviks: “Within the Bolshevik Petrograd organisation at all levels in 1917 there was continuing free and lively discussion and debate over the most basic theoretical and tactical issues. Leaders who differed with the majority were at liberty to fight for their views, and not infrequently Lenin was the loser in these struggles”,9 with minority factions guaranteed representation in leading bodies including press organs and to issue minority reports at meetings.

In our case, we spontaneously developed a system of Cadreship Schools centred on Perspective Papers developed by the leadership, to involve members, of which there have been four. This followed the big disillusionment of most of our members at the neo-liberal shift of the MDC at its launch on 11 September 1999 and the need to convince them that despite this right wing shift, it was still necessary for ISO to remain in such a party, as was also being argued by international comrades led by Cliff and Callinicos. Secondly, leadership positions were opening up in branches and nationally to newer members. But we have had difficulties with minority factions marginalising the “permanent” ones.

However, this is not to say leadership is not exercised. On the contrary once decisions are reached after such democratic processes the leadership must be ready to implement them, harshly if need be, as we did with the expulsion of a key comrade who was part of a hidden faction of “committee men and women” who were unwilling to break with the MDC as agreed by the majority-this triggered the minor split of Left Wing. A similar justification has been proffered for the expulsion of ISO (US) from the IS Tendency, although ISO (Zimbabwe) took a minority opposition position on this. Thus when there are decisive fights with the reactionaries, a membership which feels it owns the processes is much more prepared to defend the organisation even against the heaviest of odds. I suspect therein lies the key to our capacity so far to defeat the attempts to crush us by a much more powerful opponent.

The above principles apply in a more general sense in work in the united front and in the international socialist movement. In the united front, particularly the simpler single issue fronts revolutionaries must fight for democratic practice. They must also resist the temptation to reduce the united front to a satellite. The bigger and stronger the united front the bigger and richer the pool from which the revolutionary organisation can fish – but for that to happen the front needs its autonomy. Internationally the emerging anti-capitalist movement throws similar challenges for revolutionary organisations to coordinate their work internationally and fraternally resolve disputes among their different national components. Ironically and tragically Bin Laden’s Islamic fundamentalists seem to have done so much earlier than us. However, for many tendencies, the weakness was one of overemphasis on national autonomy, with international intervention by the more developed components of such tendencies being indirect and therefore potentially undemocratic and conflict-breeding thus generating unnecessary splits. The urgent need is to develop central mechanisms for international intervention and generalisation of experience, but which are fully informed by democratic practice, including fraternal criticism – a good example of this being the recent debates over ISO’s decision to break the relationship with MDC. These have greatly helped us to map the way forward.10

The final condition relates to the need for the revolutionary party. The united front is no substitute for the revolutionary party. It is of necessity a diffuse animal in character, bonded by the common denominator of reformism rather than the revolutionary party’s objective of social revolution. Thus:

“The existence of a strong revolutionary pole within the movement is essential to ensuring the defeat of ideas that, directly or indirectly, reflect the influence of capitalist ideology and the articulation of a strategy that can achieve victory.” (Callinicos) Thus ISO did not dissolve itself into the MDC, nor should it do so now in the other various united fronts it is involved in such as the NCA, SAP or APF, just like Keep Left did not dissolve itself into the SACP, just like the Zambian revolutionaries cannot dissolve themselves in the ARC.

United fronts are ultimately temporary phenomena whose marriage with the revolutionaries must come to an end at a certain stage-to quote a brilliant farm worker leader at our first cadres school, supporting joining the MDC – “Kuchaya mapoto, husahwira hwe mubhawa.” (It’s like the temporary marriages that migrant workers across Southern Africa to cater for their domestic and sexual needs in the absence of their wives in the rural areas and are usually contracted in the beerhalls.) When exactly the situation for divorce has arrived is not easy to tell in practice but will inevitably involve big internal disputes, including splits-but the general guideline being when the united front has degenerated into “the hegemonic right wing popular front” stated above. This may happen before or after the realisation of the original objective that motivated the unity. When that critical point has been reached, especially for the political entrist versions like MDC, or earlier on ZANU and ZAPU between 1975-78, any delay or extended stay becomes fatal, either by liquidation organisationally, or physically as happened to many young radical guerrillas, many having recently abandoned university, at the height of the internal struggle in ZANU and ZAPU between 1975-77, as the old nationalist reformist leaders led by Mugabe used massive violence to achieve hegemony. Radical literature, especially socialist, was banned in the guerrilla camps, possession of which being punishable by death. Today facing a similar threat, they resort to similar measures supervised by Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of Information.

At a January 2001 cadres school, ISO reached the conclusion that the MDC had reached such a critical point, after the cancellation of a mass action to remove Mugabe called for December 2000, inspired by recent events in Serbia and the Ivory Coast. Such a call had been enthusiastically received by the masses and the left labour sections of the leaders, including MDC president M Tsvangirai. But the reverse was true of the neo-liberal middle classes and their global sponsors who trampled on the prospect of such action turning into revolution, as candidly admitted by their local guru David Coltart.11 That such forces succeeded in cancelling the action, and the subsequent growing disillusionment of militants over this, was the decisive indicator to us that the neo-liberal takeover of the party had now occurred and it was a question of time before it became a complete right wing hegemonic popular front. But the issue of the timing of the break was critical, given the centrality of the impending presidential elections, as the MDC still enjoyed residual support, as hatred for the regime was higher. We launched an accelerated ideological offensive against the leadership to force an expulsion, the easy route out. But they did not play ball, forcing us to remain in the party as the presidential elections were now too near for a break, but on the basis of not campaigning for the MDC candidate and preparing for departure immediately thereafter. But the decision triggered a split, Left Wing, by comrades who were now on the MDC gravy train, or were afraid of the physical implications of conflict with this massive party and its terror squads, or simply ideological immaturity. Not surprisingly Left Wing has evolved to become the left cheerleaders of the MDC right wingers. Their national coordinator, L Maengahama, keeps the silence of the grave in his positions as MDC general secretary for Harare province and municipal councillor, and despite considerable funding received locally and abroad the group has failed to publish a single paper in its one-year life-a tragic example of liquidationism, which we hope might now end with the renewed radicalisation.The break eventually occurred this April when the MDC leaders unconstitutionally expelled ISO over its threats to resign over the party’s decision to enter into unpopular “unity talks” with ZANU-PF, as part of an international effort to nip the crisis in by bringing the two main neo-liberal parties together, and avoid a potentially regionally contagious anti-neo-liberal social revolution. Thus the divorce decree is now signed and what remains is the sticky issue of custodianship of the offspring of the marriage, namely, the parliamentary seat, which requires a more opportune justification-the difficulty that faces any group that takes such positions, when the time for departure comes, whereas in the other situation, as that of Keep Left from the SACP or the IS from the Labour Party and Linksruck from the SPD in Germany, the situation was less complex.

Overall, we believe our experience so far has vindicated entrism as a strategy, even in a centre-right quasi united front like the MDC. Whilst ISO was unable to stop the ultimate neo-liberal degeneration of the MDC because it lacked the necessary size and penetration of the class, it is also true that it has survived the turbulent last three years, with modest growth, including the beginnings of a national profile, and enjoys massive respect in the class, as shown by the massive reception at May Day and the results of the presidential elections in its constituency which far outperformed all other MDC constituencies, and the central role it is now playing in the incipient NCA-APF united front. As the crisis deepens and unlike Zambia in 1991, the Zimbabwean working class might in fact be getting a second bite at the cherry, but without illusions in the reformists from experience gained in the last three years, as was recently beautifully summed up by ZCTU president L Matombo, in dismissing the right wing NGOs in a planned mass action: “Our goals are different. We see the end product of this process as social revolution. They don’t.” But only the development of a viable left mass united front will force the left labour leaders to retain such stances, and not relapse into domination by the MDC civic society neo-liberal popular front, seduced by its current superficial and convenient return to militancy via a rushed mass action. The inevitable decisive fight will probably be signalled over the fate of the disputed parliamentary offspring, for now temporarily retained as a very risky but strategic Trojan Horse in the latter. The new united front may in fact end up drawing support from radicalised members of both major neo-liberal parties, including war veterans, peasants, housewives and workers, and offer powerful new opportunities for application of the united front strategy but this time in struggles that link the democratic one to the emerging anti-capitalist movement regionally and internationally, with key emphasis on the critical South African working class.

Postscript: regroupment as a complementary tool to the united front strategy

The global imperative is that of building mass revolutionary parties primarily using the united front strategy. But this will not be enough-complementary strategies may be necessary, such as examples pointed out by Callinicos of direct splits from big centrist organisations, as in the case of the USPD, and the current evolution of the Party of Communist Refoundation in Italy.

One key method of doing this is the regroupment of the splintered socialist movement, at a national and international level. A new culture surpassing the 1980s sectarian culture has to be achieved, including recognising that the time for self-deceptions through toy “Bolshevik mass revolutionary parties and Cominterns” is over. We now require the real things. The challenge, nationally and internationally, is to use the regroupment strategy as a complementary tool to the overall united front one, to reverse the effects of previous divisions where the basis for such division no longer concretely exists, as I suspect might be the case with our own split with Left Wing (given the now radicalising situation and experiences gained since the split) and the expulsion of the ISO (US) from the IS Tendency. These are positions which are presently in the minority, locally and internationally, but hopefully not for long.

A powerful illustration of the regroupment argument being the Socialist Alliance in England, which groups most of the main revolutionary groups with the notable exceptions being Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party and the Socialist Party. The key debate is whether the SA should rapidly transform into a party, modelled on the Scottish Socialist Party. Callinicos disagrees, characterising the SA as a united front “of a peculiarly hybrid character”, and cautions against following the SSP model. The two key distinctions he draws being that the SWP far outsizes other groups and might improperly dominate it (the reason in fact cited by the SP) and that transforming the SA into a party too rapidly might scare away potential new members. I will make some tentative observations, disagreeing with this view, but which are obviously impaired by being an observer from a distance and therefore not familiar with the concrete specific details, but which l hope will nonetheless be useful. Firstly it would seem to me that the SA is already the prototype of a revolutionary party, different from any of the united fronts discussed above, what D Craig of the Revolutionary Democratic Group (RDG) calls a “united front party”.12 Its agenda is broad and of a generalised political nature against the capitalist system and it has the elements of a democratic centralist party such as joint election candidates, finances, individual membership, national leadership and joint campaigns in a variety of struggles outside parliamentary reformism, such as the anti-war campaigns and the emerging rank and file movement in the unions, although it still lacks a joint paper as has already happened in Wales and is being pushed by the smaller groups pushing for a party like the CPGB and RDG. The arguments for following the SSP model require serious consideration.The individual groups might be too small to “capture” for the socialist movement the increasingly large numbers of people, especially the young, that are breaking away from traditional reformism, albeit still a minority, particularly from New Labour and the emerging anti-capitalist and anti-war movements. A bigger and more united body is more attractive to such people as an effective tool than the individual parties with their reputations of internecine fighting.

Their fears are likely to lie elsewhere, namely, on the question of democracy and whether such party would not degenerate into the sects of before-but the performance of the SA so far and the living example of SSP is likely to allay many such fears.

Overcaution concerning such new members reflects an underestimation of the development of class consciousness in a radicalising situation. Revolutionaries sometimes have to learn to let go, dream big and trust the instincts of the class. It is instructive that such former senior members of New Labour like Liz Davies have joined the SA. As to the aspect of over-domination by the SWP, that is an issue that cannot be bureaucratically solved by denying deeper integration of the SA but can only be addressed by a deeper application of democratic centralist principles in the SA. This means recognition on the part of the majority that it must not seek to bureaucratically manipulate the new party of regroupment and especially stifling the freedoms of expression of the minority factions-a point the SWP seems sensitive to, as shown by the significant concessions it made at the founding conference-but this does not mean denying the majority faction its own rights, critically of the implementation of decisions arrived at after proper and full democratic debate, as the SP sought to do, echoing the Jewish Bund in Russia 1903. On the contrary other minority organisations like the CPGB and RDG, at least in theory, have accepted this. After all the minority of today might be the majority of tomorrow in a democratic party, as the experience of Lenin in 1905 and 1917 shows. Such a situation seems to be working fairly well within the SSP, hence Callinicos’s assertion that the SW Platform is an “active and loyal” part, as with Rifondazione Comunista, where the Bertinotti group enjoys 59 percent majority.13

Perhaps this is the unstated fear of majority groups – fear of the smaller parties snipping at their borders. But this fear should be minimised in an organisation that fully practises democratic centralism internally, so that its own members are ideologically convinced rather than bureaucratically fenced off. But even if there are some losses to the smaller organisations, this is probably a fair return for the loss of complete autonomy that such groups suffer in the new party as a result of the application of the democratic centralist principle-a fate the SP was too scared to undergo, but the SWP took in the SSP. More importantly what the bigger organisation gains is the possibility of growth of the whole left movement into a mass revolutionary party, whether independently through direct recruitment especially from united front activities or gains made from splits from the centrist bodies. And it is not unique to our times as shown by the evolution of the Russian Social Democratic Party, and more particularly the Bolsheviks, when a bigger and stronger Bolshevik party was “born from the heart of the Bolshevik current coming together with independent revolutionary currents” such as the 4,000 member Mezhraiontsy led by the arch anti-Bolshevik Leon Trotsky and other factions of the RSDP. The rapid and accelerated growth of the Bolsheviks thereafter was breathtaking, moving from 24,000 in February to 80,000 in April, and 240,000 in July. Rigorous application of democratic centralism was the key: “All the major choices that the Party had to take in 1917 were always subjected to discussion and a vote. All these votes showed that a strong minority was always there. The idea that these organs must, for reasons of efficiency, be marked by strict political homogeneity had not yet entered into Communist practice… [In] leading bodies, a more or less proportional representation of the different tendencies was guaranteed. The presence of ‘minority’ members in the Bolshevik press organs, and the practice of providing for a ‘minority report’, [gave] a representative of the ‘opposition’ an opportunity of expounding the latter’s view in thorough fashion at important Party meetings.”14

Such are the challenges that face bigger revolutionary organisations like the SWP today. And any breakthrough for a mass revolutionary party in the UK will not only be of immense importance to the European working class, but also that of Southern Africa. Of course mistakes will be made in trying different strategies-but as Cliff states, drawing from Lenin, “New times demand new tactics.” For in this situation of global radicalisation, revolutionaries cannot stand still if they are to survive the tests of the day.

Munyaradzi Gwisai


1. This article is developed from a recent series of articles dealing with the subject, principally including M Gwisai, “Revolutionaries, Resistance and Crisis in Zimbabwe”, in L Zeilig (ed), Class Struggle and Resistance in Africa (London, 2002); A Callinicos, “Unity in Diversity” Socialist Review, April 2002, p14; and A Callinicos, “Entrism Needs Patience”, Left Wing, “Left Wing Comments”, and O Simbi, “Revolutionaries Can’t Remain in a Hegemonic Right Wing Popular Front”, Socialist Worker (Zimbabwe), May-June 2002, p10, or http://www.voiceoftheturtle. org/iso

2. See Workers International (Vanguard League), “Zimbabwe: The Working Class on the Move Without Working Class Leadership”, Workers International News (South Africa), January-March 2001, p13; B Slaughter and C Marsden, “Zimbabwe: Promotion of the MDC by Middle Class Radicals Politically Disarms the Working Class”, WSWS: Polemics-World Socialist Website (ICFI), 7 October 2000,; International Communist League, “South African Workers Battle ANC Neo-Liberal Apartheid Rule”, Black History and the Class Struggle, no 1.

3. V I Lenin, Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disease. Leon Trotsky also deals with the same in L Trotsky, Fascism, Stalinism and the United Front (London, 1989).

4. Socialist Worker (Zimbabwe), “ISO Objections to the MDC-ZANU-PF Inter-Party Dialogue”, p8

5. A Callinicos, “Unity in Diversity”, p14.

6. The Nigerian Labour Congress leaders are initiating such a centrist party which is strikingly similar to the MDC, including marginalisation of the socialist current trying to make an entrist strategy within it, the Democratic Socialist Movement-see the DSM’s journal, Socialist Democracy, July-August 2001.

7. P Manson, “Workers Power and the ISO: Cynics Refuse Support”, Weekly Worker, 14 February 2002, p7, or

8. The very ugly fight was over a Socialist Worker article attacking their co-option by the right wing NGOs and what they perceived as our sectarian behaviours reflected in the spearheading of the formation of a rival body, the National Union of University Students – NUUS.

9. Paul le Blanc, Lenin and the Revolutionary Party (New Jersey, 1990), p255.

10. See “Debates: ISO and MDC-Is Entrism Still Relevant”, Socialist Worker (Zimbabwe), May-June 2002, p 10; P Dwyer, “Think Before You Go”, http://zimbabwe.indy

11. D Coltart, “Some Words of Encouragement”, MDC website, Opinion, 16 December 2000, http://www.

12. D Craig, “Taking Issue With SWP: United Front of a Third Kind”, Weekly Worker, 18 April 2000, p4.

13. M Strom, “From Refoundation to Innovation”, Weekly Worker, 11 April 2002, p6.

14. M Liebman, Leninism Under Lenin (London, 1980) p152. See also generally Tony Cliff’s trilogy on Lenin, and in particular, T Cliff, Lenin: Building the Party 1893-1914, (London, 1986).


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