DSM HOLDS NATIONAL COMMITTEE MEETING
A cross section of comrades at the DSM NC April 2014 , photo DSM
DSM HOLDS NATIONAL COMMITTEE MEETING
By Dimeji Macaulay
Over the weekend of Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 April 2014, members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) from different branches gathered at the Textile Labour House, Lagos for a 2-day meeting of the National Committee (NC) of the organisation. Between the two days over fifty (50) delegates from 12 branches were present at the meeting.
The agenda for the first day included Nigeria Situation and World Relations while on the second day discussions were held on building the DSM and campaigns, labour, community and student works, report of efforts to register the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and finance.
Nigeria’s Crisis: A Crisis of Capitalism
Dagga Tolar at the DSM NC April 2014
Dagga Tolar who gave introductory remarks at the meeting described Nigeria’s crisis as a crisis that emanates from the misrule of capitalism.
In his lead-off on the Nigerian situation, Segun Sango, General Secretary of DSM, started by saying politically, economically and socially, Nigeria’s story remains the same since our last National Congress held last year October. In every way, the Nigeria’s neo-colonial capitalist ruling elites have shown their inability to move the country forward.
This is exemplified by the recent Immigration Service stampede where close to a million unemployed youth trooped to stadia nationwide to partake in a job test offering less than 5,000 vacancies. At the end, about 20 died in a stampede. This kind of horrific tragedy is only possible and inevitable under capitalism.
As new statistics reveal, Nigeria’s economy has been growingly steadily at an over 7% growth rate for years now. So why are adequate jobs not being created to absorb the army of unemployed? This is because all the benefits of economic growth have only gone to swell the bank accounts of the rich. As Eko John Nicholas pointed out “this an arithmetic growth accompanied by a geometric growth in unemployment. According to the rebased GDP figures, Nigeria’s economic growth has been driven mainly by the service sector. Without growth in agriculture and manufacturing sectors, there is no way the economy can absorb the army of the unemployed”.
In many ways, Nigerians are worse off. When we held our last Congress, the electricity sector had just been privatised with promises that this would herald improved electricity generation and distribution. Today the vast majority have seen electricity supply to their homes and businesses plummet. Communities in Lagos that during the era of PHCN could expect electricity supply for at least once in two days now cannot hope to have electricity supply once in four days or more. The story is generally the same nationwide thus confirming the failure of privatisation as a means of providing social services to the people.
The only solution to Nigeria’s problem is socialism – a political and economic system that prioritizes the needs of the vast majority over the profit of a few. This requires that the working class takes political power and begin to run society in the interest of the vast majority. This is why building a working class political party is the most vital task of the moment.
Unfortunately, the Labour Party (LP) formed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) has been transformed into a party with a “labour” name but whose conducts and activities are totally opposed to the interests of the working class and poor masses.
2015 General Elections
Segun Sango spoke on the coming general elections in 2015 where all the major political parties that would be up for election are anti-poor capitalist parties that have no program to rescue Nigerians from the situation of poverty and unemployment amidst abundance. The All Progressive Congress (APC) is the biggest opposition party but there is nothing really in terms of policies and programs that differentiates it from the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
In all the states the APC presently controls, the masses are groaning under brutal imposition of anti-poor policies. An example is Lagos state where the Lagos State University (LASU) fees were increased beyond what the poor can afford. Similarly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a party that breeds hunger, joblessness and insecurity. But unfortunately especially because of the absence of a mass workers political party, the working people will have to choose between these two great devils come 2015.
SPN Registration: We Shall Remain Steadfast!
This is why the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) in collaboration with other activists has started the process of building and registering the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) so that a fighting alternative to capitalist neo-liberal policies can be posed.
Last year November the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) held its National Convention where members of a National Executive Committee (NEC) were elected and thereby fulfilled one of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) requirements for registration. Also we have met another requirement of INEC which is payment of an One Million Naira non-refundable application fee. Segun Sango went on to report on the many antics the INEC have been using to frustrate our efforts. For instance well over three weeks after the payment of N1million INEC has not furnished the SPN with the necessary forms and documents to file its formal application for SPN registration. But as Sango put it, “we shall remain steadfast”.
Kola Ibrahim led off a discussion on world relations. He started by saying that since our Congress last year, the global capitalist relations have continued to show that all capitalism can offer humanity is barbarism.
More than ever before, working and poor people are compelled to search desperately for solutions to the quagmire and misery capitalism has plunged the world into. The story is the same from USA – the centre of global capitalism, to economically battered Europe to Latin America and Africa. Everywhere working and oppressed people are confronted with the task of overthrowing a system that has meant more suffering for the mass majority.
However, the fallout of the Middle East and North African uprising has shown the limitation of struggle without an independent mass organisation and a program to show the way forward to socialism.
The situation in Venezuela where the rightwing opposition backed by the imperialists are working to upturn Maduro’s government is a reminder just as Chile was in the early 1970s of the dangers of trying to create an accommodation between capitalism and socialism. There is no half-way house between capitalism and socialism. Our comrades in Venezuela are making intervention with slogans and demands for a complete socialist revolution. Without this, the danger that the right wing backed by the US may come to power is real. If this happens, all the progress made since the beginning of the Bolivarian revolution will be reversed.
The theme of revolution and counterrevolution is implicit in the world situation. This is as a result of many factors including the weakness of mass organisations of the working class, treachery of labour leadership and the “left”, confusion in mass consciousness etc. But mass uprising from different parts of the world from Greece to Turkey and also Ukraine are also signals of the potentials of the working class to unite to struggle to fight and end global capitalism if well organized with a revolutionary leadership. There may be setbacks and confusions here or there, but the general march of events is forward.
Our role as Socialists in all these developments is crucial. If we intervene correctly, we can have a decisive impact on the course of struggle by ensuring that the working class does not necessarily have to suffer several defeats before finding the right road to end capitalism.
This is why the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) exists to coordinate the struggle of the working class internationally. Over the last two years, our international has recorded important successes. An instance is the success story of the CWI supporters in the USA the Socialist Alternative who won a council membership in Seattle with Kshama Sawant. This was not magic but because of the steadfastness of the comrades in the daily struggle of the working people in the US.
Another tremendous achievement was the forming of Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) by our comrades in the South Africa. The formation and registration of the party was also as a result of our comrades’ intervention in the miners’ struggle in 2012. As the CWI observed, socialist consciousness is far higher in South Africa than anywhere else in the world at the moment.
These success stories should serve as inspiration to us in Nigeria that we can accomplish the same if we continue to build our organisation and intervene in the daily struggles of the working class, youth and poor masses.
Building the DSM and SPN
Led by Chinedu Bosah, the meeting next day discussed building the organisation and expanding our work and campaigns in the trade union movement, workplaces, communities and campuses.
Reports from branches show how our work and campaign have grown, and of course, there are areas we need to do much more. The meeting ended with resolutions that our comrades should kickstart activities to mobilize change seeking elements into the organization and also building of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) where we have branches and beyond. A recruitment target of 100 comrades between now and the next national meeting was set. A struggle fund N53, 020 was raised with N15, 020 in cash and N38, 000 as pledge.