TIME TO RESIST
SUPPORT AND ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN THE NLC AND TUC INDEFINITE GENERAL STRIKE AND MASS PROTEST AGAINST HIKES IN FUEL PRICE, ELECTRICITY TARIFF AND VAT
* FOR AN END TO DEREGULATION, PRIVATISATION AND ALL ANTI-POOR POLICIES
* THE BUHARI CAPITALIST GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED! PDP’S NO ALTERNATIVE! FOR A WORKERS AND POOR PEOPLE’S GOVERNMENT ARMED WITH SOCIALIST POLICIES
As an indefinite general strike and mass protest commence nationwide against the hikes in fuel price, electricity tariff and VAT, the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) urges all Nigerian workers and oppressed masses to fully and unconditionally implement the strike directive by stopping all work and joining mass protests and other mass activities the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Joint Action Front (JAF) and other civil society allies are organising to fightback.
We call for the unity and fullest participation of workers and all oppressed masses in the strike in order to send the appropriate signal to the Buhari capitalist government and the capitalist ruling elite that their days in power and attacking our living conditions are numbered. Only this kind of unity and active participation by all and sundry can force the government to reverse the anti-poor policies.
CAN A GENERAL STRIKE WIN VICTORY?
Quite rightly, many Nigerians will question the need to participate in another general strike when previous strikes did not win full demands. Many could even say there is no point joining the strike when the labour leadership cannot be trusted to fight uncompromisingly. Indeed the way the massively supported January 2012 general strike was suspended before winning victory is still fresh in peoples mind.
We in the DSM share in these concerns as well. However, we strongly believe that there is no alternative other than to continue to organise to resist attacks on our living conditions. The only other way would be not to do anything at all. Of course, it needs not be said that the consequence of doing nothing is that the capitalist elite will become more emboldened to impose more anti-poor policies on us thus making our life even more miserable.
Even though previous general strikes did not win full victory yet it cannot be denied that without the over 9 general strikes which labour organised between 2000 and 2012 against fuel price hike, not only would the oil sector have been successfully deregulated years before now, the living conditions of Nigerians would have worsened beyond what we have now. Therefore, the DSM urges workers, youth and oppressed masses not to be discouraged. Rather we must take the current general strike as another opportunity not only to deepen the struggle for our emancipation, but also to actively organise to avoid past mistakes which led to previous struggles not winning full victory.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF THE STRIKE?
To avoid the pitfalls of previous struggle, the DSM calls on workers, activists and radical youth to begin to set up democratic strike/action committees in all workplaces, schools and communities These committees, which must take up the crucial questions of how to coordinate and build grassroots support for the general strike, implement compliance and also arrange supplies, must be linked up from each workplace and communities to the state and national level.
The strike/action committees which at their full growth will become the best representative body of workers and oppressed masses at the barricades must, alongside the trade union rank and file, also be regularly consulted by the labour leaders so they can have a say on the strike’s progress and as to when the general strike will be suspended. This in our view will be the best democratic way than what is usually the practice whereby the NLC and TUC leaders undemocratically suspend general strike without consulting workers and oppressed masses at the barricades.
FOR THE RE-BUILDING OF THE WORKERS MOVEMENT, A MASS WORKERS PARTY AND SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE
By virtue of its role in production, the working class is in a key position to challenge the ruling class and other oppressed masses to dismantle capitalism and bring forth a new society that meets peoples’ needs and not the profits of a tiny handful. Socialists and activists must continue to put pressure on the labour leadership to act. But ultimately, the workers movement need to be rebuilt alongside with the leadership. Workers more than ever need a militant leadership which is ready to struggle at all times uncompromisingly. This is why the DSM is calling and working for the rebuilding of the labour movement as a mass democratic fighting platform with a militant and Marxist leadership.
Alongside this, we need a new mass workers party based on socialist programmes. This is because the only sustainable solution to the crisis of mass poverty in the midst of abundance afflicting Nigeria is to defeat the Buhari capitalist government and replace it with a workers and poor people’s government armed with socialist policies. Such a government will bring forth a new society under which the key sectors of the economy will be nationalised under democratic workers control and management to ensure that there is planned use of the country’s wealth to benefit the vast majority instead of enriching a few elite. To achieve this new society requires that workers and poor people are politically organised under our own mass party to defeat the parties of the rich and exploiters like APC, PDP and others. The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), formed by the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) alongside other socialists and working class activists, is a step in this direction.
We hereby reiterate our call on the leadership of the NLC and TUC as well as pro-masses’ organisations to take up now the building of the SPN as a party that can be transformed into a mass workers’ party in the meantime in order to ensure that the working masses are politically organised in the immediate. This will neither be a contradiction nor prejudicial to any plan in the medium and long term to form a bigger party in which could the SPN play the role of a constituent part.
DSM leaflet, September 27, 2020.