Reject Money Bags, Capitalist Politicians
Reject Money Bags, Capitalist Politicians
Join Campaign to Build a True Working Peoples’ Party
The general elections to elect another set of governments, which, under the 1999 constitution, will rule till May 2011, at the central and state levels, have been fixed for April 2007.
Expectedly, many politicians and political godfathers are out again canvassing votes for themselves and or their anointed candidates. As usual, most of these self-serving elements have started to make many false promises side by side with outright financial bribery, just to get elected at all cost. The DSM urges workers, market women, youths, students, city and the rural poor, to say a capital NO to all these capitalist exploiters and thieves.
BETWEEN 1999 AND 2007
Thanks to the continuing high price of crude oil internationally, Nigeria was able to earn a very huge sum of money between 1999 and 2007. The budget for 2007 alone is N1.3 trillion. But very tragically, the more money the country makes, the poorer the vast majority of the working masses and the youth become. All necessary infrastructures, such as roads, railways, waterways, electricity, telecommunications, housing, hospitals, schools, etc which are very crucial to overall economic growth and masses well-being are mostly non existing or virtually in a moribund condition. Unlike in the past, when government used to be responsible, at least to a certain extent, for provision of education and health care for Nigerians, today, the overwhelming majority of the working masses totally bear the costs of education and health care of their children.
Under the guise of a so-called economic reform programme, key public and very lucrative companies and national resources have been sold to capitalist corporations and individuals at rock bottom prices. In most cases looted public funds were used to buy public assets! Across the country, only politicians and their capitalist contractors/backers have made massive financial gains through unprecedented acts of treasury looting in the past eight years of Nigeria’s so-called civil rule. But most regrettably however, as things stand today, it is these same set of gangsters in the PDP, ANPP and AD/AC who have been ruining the country and its people, at all levels of government, for the past eight years that will emerge “winners” of the forthcoming general elections.
AN AVOIDABLE DISASTER
We in the DSM foresaw this looming disaster and, in order to forestall it, we had several times advocated that the main trade union and civil society leaders should convoke a special conference of the trade unions, poor masses, students, youths, market women, etc, with a view to provide a viable political platform for the effective representation of the masses’ interests both during the 2007 general elections and after.
But here, we would like to stress that this proposition was not just a theoretical possibility. Prior to the forthcoming elections, the working masses across the country had staged 7 general strikes and mass protests against the Obasanjo government’s widely hated anti-poor, neo-liberal policies. Suffice to stress, each of these strikes/protests, while they lasted, had shook the regime to its foundations, while governance and society in all essential aspects remained paralysed. When President Obasanjo wanted to amend the constitution so that he can remain in power beyond May 2007, over 80% of the masses across the country vehemently opposed his dastardly idea.
So, if the main trade union and civil society leaders who officially led the above stated general strikes/mass protests had taken bold steps to build a distinctly working masses party with an emphatic agenda aimed at eradicating mass misery in the midst of abundance, it should have been entirely possible to create a political platform of the masses which would have been strong enough to dislodge from power the eternally self-serving capitalist politicians come the April 2007 general elections or, at the least, build a political platform of the working masses that will be strong enough to checkmate the ruling class from freely implementing anti-poor, socio-economic policies in the wake of the 2007 general elections. Very unfortunately, this approach of the DSM was either totally ignored or not acceptable to most labour and top civil society leaders. Instead, most labour and so-called human right leaders decided to seek solutions to masses problems within the existing capitalist parties.
As pointed out before, the past eight years have been especially fortunate for Nigeria in terms of huge money generated from sales of crude oil internationally. However, the steady rise in oil prices in the past eight years cannot be expected to continue indefinitely. In fact, from a peak of around $73 per barrel a few months ago, the price has presently declined to under $60 per barrel. This raises a nightmare scenario for the masses. If the especially greedy capitalist class totally failed to use this oil boom to effect an improvement in the masses’ living conditions, then it is as certain as the night follows the day that this self-serving ruling elite will only use the period of any sharp fall in the oil income to impose harsher anti-poor policies on the working masses and the poor in general. In addition, the government’s neo-liberal policies of the past 8 years have been nothing short of the legitimisation of public treasury looting by those in power under the guise of privatisation. Therefore, the next set of rulers should be expected to be more brazen and rapacious in the act of treasury looting. This phenomenon will certainly compel the ruling class to impose unprecedented adverse socio-political policies on the already impoverished overwhelmed masses and the poor.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE
1. We say no to any form of political support or votes to capitalist politicians and all the known anti-poor, corrupt elements. Our immediate past experience has amply shown that collecting money from the anti-poor, corrupt capitalist politicians, with a view to vote them to power, will be nothing short of political and economic suicide for the masses interests as a whole.
2. From the masses’ point of interest, elections or transfer of political power from one set of politicians to another will be a hollow ritual if the outcome does not bring forth a significant positive improvement in their living standard. We should therefore begin to mount a concerted pressure on the trade unions and civil society leaders to immediately begin to draw a comprehensive programmes of needs and aspirations with which to put before any government that may emerge from the 2007 general elections. This is with a view to win the best possible living conditions for the masses and youths. Of course, based on the known anti-masses disposition of capitalist politicians, this suggested package of demands must be consciously anchored on a perspective of mass struggles for the actualisation as opposed to a false approach which hopes to persuade the government by the sheer logicality or justness of the masses demands.
3. We should demand an immediate special conference of all labour and other mass organizations of the youths and the poor with a view to ensure that the working masses have its own independent and truly working class political party. This is imperative to end the prevailing ugly situation where the working masses and their leaders are forced or only able to queue behind one set of oppressors or another in election time.
All in all, it was a very successful event. For instance for the two days while the conference held, lunch was effortlessly provided for the almost 3,000 people packed at the venue without the usual form of disorganisation and arbitrariness which dominates the ethos of the capitalist society.