WORKERS AND POOR: WE NEED OUR OWN PARTY
WORKERS AND POOR: WE NEED OUR OWN PARTY
The real explanation for very limited success of this January’s massively supported anti-fuel price hike struggle and all the industrial disputes is that labour does not have a leadership to fight for political power. The infamous statement of the labour leadership that it is “not seeking a regime change” during the course of the strike , smacks of lack of understanding of the historical task of the working class to change society.
With disastrous consequences for the class struggle, the labour leaders continue to wallow in the illusion that self-serving capitalist politicians can be made to use the resources in the interest of the vast majority. Meanwhile on the contrary, none of problems of Nigeria can be resolved if the mainstay/pillars of the economy are in the hands of handful few capitalists. Yes, as the struggles around minimum wage and fuel price have shown the ruling elite could be forced to grant some concessions. But this cannot be on a lasting basis.
Therefore, the most crucial task is the building of a mass workers’ political party that stands for the interests of the poor and working people and that can struggle for political power. This was a key missing element in all the general strikes and mass protests led by labour in the last 13 years. With a workers’ political party armed with socialist programs, it is possible to provide a political leadership for the working class and poor masses during struggle and an electoral voice during elections.
The DSM is committed to the task of campaigning for the formation of such a party. We propose that working class, being the most organized and historically positioned to lead a genuine working people’s revolution, must take the lead role in building such a party. We again call on the central labour leadership to convene a conference of trade unions, pro-labour civil societies, socialist organizations, mass organizations youths and other oppressed strata to discuss on the formation of a working people’s party that will wrest power from the hand of the capitalist class.
However we believe that for such a party to be embraced by the vast majority of the working masses as a worthy alternative, it must be built both as a fighting platform as well as an electoral machine representing the political interest of the working people. This means that in and out of elections, such party must constantly stand with workers, youth and poor people to collectively struggle against privatization, retrenchment, unemployment, education commercialization and all anti-poor policies.
To be able to play this role, the party must have a complete alternative economic program distinct from the vicious neo-liberal capitalist policies of privatization supported by bourgeois political parties and anchored on the objective of using society’s resources to improve the life of the majority. During struggle and electoral campaigns, the party must be able to explain how with the socialist program of nationalization of key sectors of the economy under workers democratic control, the wealth of Nigeria can be rescued and used according to a democratic plan to begin to expand social infrastructures, create gainful jobs and improve living standards.
To avoid the ugly fate of the Labour Party which was formed by the trade unions but abandoned to anti-poor politicians, such a party must be directly owned, built and funded by the workers, youths and poor masses. At the same time, such a party must adopt the socialist program of party’s candidates in elections not collecting more than the wage of average workers and subject to recall. This will demonstrate to vast majority of Nigerian workers and poor angry at the corruption of the ruling elite a bold example of how a new society of equality can be built.
The struggles of the last one year have shown that the working people can change society. However only a party of workers and poor can make this happen.