BUILD A FIGHTING LABOUR PARTY!
BUILD A FIGHTING LABOUR PARTY!
Working Masses Alternative!
(By Emmanuel Adikwu)
The Labour Party is supposed to be a political party that represents the interest of the poor working masses, who through their blood and sweat, create the wealth of the nation- as against all other political parties which are inherently pro-rich and anti-poor in their style of leadership, programme and activities.
As at today, the political scene is completely dominated by pro-rich political parties and politicians whose stock-in-trade is to loot the treasury and convert our collective wealth to the pocket through outright looting and privatisation, while the vast majority of poor and oppressed people are left to wallow in abject poverty in the midst of inexhaustible plenty. On a monthly basis, the mass media is awash with stunning revelations as regards misappropriated funds, inflated contracts etc., by former and serving political office holders.
Prices of essential goods and services (food stuff, petroleum products etc) are on the rise, leading to hard-biting inflation; which in turn, had made nonsense of the ‘poverty minimum-wage’. Simultaneously, the bogus salaries and allowances of political office holders have since been increased. Obsolete, near-comatose infrastructural base remain the order of the day, while factories have been folding up in droves. The Niger-Delta is enmeshed in militancy, with no hope-in-sight for the poor helpless masses, whose lives have been made more miserable by the activities of oil giants, militants, and government troops. Electricity supply is at its worst state ever, despite over 16 billion dollars reportedly sunk into power sector by the Obasanjo-led PDP government etc.
In the face of these happenings, the central Labour Party leadership as well as its counterparts at the state level has, so far, failed to live up to expectation. As if all is well, the Labour Party has not deemed it fit to make a consistently working class critique of the federal government on relevant issues bothering on the state of the nation. There has been no campaign for demands that would start to change the lives of working people, the young and old and poor. This grave silence has created a situation whereby the hope of millions of workers; including all other poor and oppressed people could be said to be ‘left hanging’ in thin air. To be able to address the above stated problems, as well as the dire consequences hovering around them, the Labour Party leadership must be alive to its responsibilities.
The Labour Party should be the party of workers and all other people without a voice, whose voice needs to be amplified. As such, the need to build a ‘fighting Labour party’ as a means to wrest political power becomes a necessity, if ever the present anomalies will be addressed. For this feat to be achieved, the present leadership of the Labour Party must formulate programmes and policies geared towards making it a workers’ party that is truly pro-poor in ideology and practical terms.
With the ever worsening political, social and economic crisis, the Labour Party-with a pro-workers’ ideology could serve as the mouthpiece of poor workers through regular propaganda and agitations on issues working people face and clearly stating the alternative position of the Labour Party as regards political events and happenings. Conscious efforts should be channelled towards workers education at workshops and symposia, grass-roots mobilization and recruitment drive. The Labour Party must not be a purely propaganda or electoralist party, it must launch campaigns on its demands and support workers’ struggles. If these and other far-reaching decisions are taken by the Labour Party leadership at national, state and local government levels, the respect and confidence of poor workers and all other oppressed peoples will also be earned alongside progressive leaps and bounds.
Concerted efforts should be made to build the rank and file of the Labour Party through grass-root mobilization and recruitment drive particularly among workers, youths and poor in general. This is because the Labour Party can only be built by workers and poor people – the true owners of the party. The leadership must ensure that day-to-day activities are carried out in the party. Campaigns on concrete demands and to build the Party need to take place, the Party must aim to sink roots in every workplace and neighbourhood. For this to be achieved there is the need to have functional secretariats at all levels for the organization and dissemination of information. Proper planning of political, work-place and community interventions will be given the life through regular general as well as leadership party meetings. Issuing of bulletins, circulars, leaflets, party newspaper, press releases, etc., will be more easily organized and achieved if these secretariats are manned by genuine members of the Labour Party that are active and dedicated to the principles and ideologies of the party.
As opposed to the leadership style adopted in preparation for the 2007 general elections whereby pro-establishment politicians were allowed to become flag-bearers of the Labour Party, genuine class leadership must be built through the ranks of the Labour Party. For this to be achieved, poor workers, students, petty traders, artisans, peasant farmers etc., that are registered members must build the party in due course through their financial contribution, participation at meetings and programmes, recruitment drive, intellectual contributions towards progressive decision making etc. For a genuine Workers’ Party (Labour Party) to be built, such members that devote time and resources at work-places, local government and state levels- whichever their primary constituency is- have the democratic right to represent the Labour Party as flag-bearers at elections- if they emerge winners at their party primaries.
The Labour Party must be on ground as a ‘fighting Labour Party’ on the side of the masses with genuine pro-masses’ programmes as well as initiate interventions in communities, factories and work-places. The Labour Party leadership must begin to distance itself from pro-rich and anti- poor politicians and their political parties. For this to be achieved, the Labour Party leadership must begin to appreciate the fact that that there are only two classes- the rich and the poor; and as such, there could only be two parties: the party for the rich and the party for the poor.
The growing anger among the masses has further distanced them from active involvement in political activities since they could not see any visible difference between the Labour Party and the other political parties that represent only the interest of the rich. The growing army of the masses is ready and willing to struggle whenever it is called upon. A fighting Labour Party will be able to ‘animate’ the anger of the masses and channel it through the right course by providing the much needed political leadership that has always been lacking.
The popularity and good will presently being enjoyed by Adams Oshiomhole, is a product of the 9 general strike calls, 8 of which were embarked upon by the NLC, during his leadership against the neo-liberal policies of government. Currently there are no major general strikes, but there are pockets of actions and reaction. However today’s general political, social and economic problems are more than enough catalogues that will arouse one, but the prevalent indices need to be exploited. This could only be done if the Labour Party has a visionary leadership that is ready and willing to organize its forces and provide selfless leadership.
BUILD-UP TO ELECTIONS
Half-hearted battles could at best be fought half-way. This approach is partly why general strikes most times do not achieve the desired results- leading to inconclusive struggles. The weakness of Labour Leaders in general is further amplified by some far-reaching decisions being made without consulting the masses which it is supposed to lead. At the end of such struggles, the masses get more distressed and lose confidence in the ability of Labour leadership to genuinely take their struggles to a logical conclusion.
The Labour Party must roll out a ‘plan of activities’ as we approach the local government election in Lagos state. Grass-root mobilization and activities must be given priority. The party Secretariat if properly organized will animate the party and give life to its activities; as such, it must be made genuinely functional.
The liberation of workers and poor people in general will only be achieved if there is genuine re-orientation within the rank of Labour Leaders who are also expected to play leadership roles in the Labour Party. It will be a great disservice to humanity if the Labour Party that is supposed to be a genuine party of poor workers and all other oppressed people is not on ground to wrestle political power in the forth-coming local government elections as well as in the build-up to the 2011 general elections.