JUNE 12 ANNIVERSARY: SPN CELEBRATES WITH WORKERS, YOUTH AND POOR NIGERIANS
* PRESIDENT BUHARI’S OFFICIAL RECOGNITION OF JUNE 12 AS DEMOCRACY DAY IS FOR IMAGE LAUNDERING
* 26 YEARS AFTER, WORKING PEOPLES’ HOPES AND ASPIRATIONS OF JUNE 12 REMAIN UNACHIEVED
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) celebrates with workers, youth and poor Nigerians on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of June 12. We salute the victims and heroes of the June 12 struggle whose blood and sweat watered the tree of freedom from despotic military rule.
Unfortunately, it would now appear that all their labour is in vain considering how none of the hopes and aspirations of a better life, which drove the working class, heroic youth and poor unto the streets against the armed military junta in countless strikes and mass demonstrations, have gone largely unachieved over the past 20 years of unbroken civil rule.
Capitalist-induced mass poverty in the midst of abundance, illiteracy, the collapse of electricity, water and other public infrastructures, insecurity, attack on democratic rights, corruption, implementation of anti-poor policies of privatisation and deregulation, high unemployment rate and collapsed living standards remain a permanent feature of life in Nigeria. This means that except the change in the garb of the ruling class from military fatigue to flowing robes, civil rule has not brought any fundamental improvement to the condition of the working and toiling people. Rather things are worse today with record-level unemployment among young people. That suicide is on the rise among young people is a sign of the sharply deteriorating situation.
More so, the same kind of military jackboot authoritarianism, repressive policies and attacks on democratic rights which were the hallmark of military rule have regularly been a feature of civil rule since 1999. Two examples suffice. Firstly, all across campuses today, student activists are being routinely expelled and suspended and students union banned for the simple reason that they challenge anti-poor policies of the school administration. Secondly, the persistent assault on the most basic democratic rights by the military, police, DSS and other security agencies over the past two decades have frequently torn off the mask of what was presented in 1999 as democracy but which the experience of the past two decades now fully shows to be no more than a dictatorship of the capitalist ruling elite over the working class and poor.
For instance, over the past three months, Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) have been used to harass the acting chairperson of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and a prominent workers activist in Oyo State, Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye for the simple reason that he chose to solidarize with workers of Sumal Foods Ltd to oppose the Management’s unfair labour practices including exploitative casual/contract staffing. He has been arrested about 7 times over the past two weeks and arraigned on Friday 7 June 2019 at the Magistrate Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State. Anyone familiar with the sordid history of military rule in Nigeria especially how security agencies were used to hunt down and cast into jail journalists, lecturers, activists, workers and students leaders would see how this pattern of events we have just described under Nigeria’s civil rule bears a striking resemblance.
Against this background, President Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day is nothing but an image-laundering exercise by a regime which has failed just like its predecessors to meet the basic needs and aspirations of ordinary Nigerians over the past four years. Despite all efforts to present him as a democrat, history clearly shows that President Buhari holds as much responsibility as all past military rulers in Nigeria for the military incursion into political power in Nigeria and all the consequences that flow from it.
June 12 marks in the annals of Nigeria a confirmation of the bravery, resoluteness and courage of the working class, youth and poor Nigerians to struggle against an oppressive and unjust order. This fact is something the current capitalist rulers will like to keep away from the new generation which has come of age since 1993. They will try to present June 12 as the effort of heroic figures while rarely mentioning how the strikes of workers, the protests of students and urban youth against the military junta on the streets of Lagos, Ibadan, Kano etc., were the decisive actions that broke the back of military rule. This is because of their mortal fear that the working class and youth will not continue to fold their arms while their conditions and future come under attacks.
As the 2nd term of President Buhari progresses and the promised “Next level” turns to one of mass misery and pauperisation, the working masses especially the youth will rise again in militant general strikes, protests and demonstrations. And in rising, they will rediscover the bravery, sacrifice and traditions of June 12 struggle as well as the key lessons. A central lesson of the June 12 struggle was that the working class had no party of their own or an independent class programme. This is what enabled the civilian wing of the capitalist class to seize the initiative to come to power after the mass struggle had already made continuation of the military rule untenable.
For the struggle to liberate the working class and poor from capitalist misrule to succeed, we need such a working peoples’ party armed with socialist ideas. This is why the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) exists as a platform to mobilise workers, youth and poor masses to take political power and enthrone a workers-led government under which Nigeria’s wealth shall be collectively owned and democratically managed for the benefit of the majority. Against the background of Nigeria’s continuing chaos, lost opportunities and mass poverty we shall continue to commit ourselves to the task of socialist transformation of Nigeria, and call on workers, the poor and the youth to join us in the SPN.
Acting National Chairperson