Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)
For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria
DSM, PO Box 2225, Agege, Lagos
Come to DSM secretariat at 49 Charity Road New Oko-Oba, Abule-Egba, Lagos,
Call our national office on 0805 304 5953
25 April 2016
Capitalism is a Dead-end for Humanity
DSM National Committee discusses crises in Nigeria and worldwide
The National Committee (NC) meeting of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) held over April 16 and 17 took place as important changes are beginning to be seen as Nigeria's many crises and the new government's inability to stop the rot is resulting in growing pressure from below for something to be done. Pressure which has resulted in the trade union leaders threatening to call a "one-day national warning strike/protest", although up to now no date has been announced.
The meeting was attended by about 60 members from about 13 branches. Most were young people active on campuses as well as other areas of our works in the communities. Some dock workers who are struggling against unjust sack and other anti-worker policies in their workplace were also at the meeting. The meeting started with discussions on perspectives for the Nigerian and international situations on Saturday, while reports of the activities of the organization in the past six months were given the next day alongside with discussions on how to build the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) in a period of growing dissatisfaction with the major capitalist parties.
THE FIRST SESSION:
Unending suffering under Buhari government: Where is the Change?
This session was opened by AJ Dagga Tolar who spoke of Nigerians' mood of disappointment towards the Buhari regime in whom they recently invested an illusion of hope. He described the recently celebrated deals secured by the trip of President Buhari to China as an attempt to substitute one imperialist (IMF, western) for another ("Chinese imperialism"). He noted the intensification of fuel scarcity and the epileptic power supply, while laying the blame at the feet of the capitalist system. He went on to expose the many excuses of the Buhari-APC regime with which their flag-bearers defend their irresponsibility.
He linked the state of security in the state to the level of unemployment and underemployment as demonstrated in low minimum wage, casualization in both public and private sector and the army of unemployed loafing on the streets. This was he stressed, alongside the unresolved national question and alongside the poor state of the education sector, the major factor behind Boko Haram terrorism, Fulani herdsmen-farmers crisis, Shiite crisis, Biafra crisis, pipeline vandalism, ritualism and kidnapping.
He stressed the necessity of the young DSM comrades to ensure rapid ideological development so as to live up to the historical tasks ahead of them. He gave the charge with a sound note that Nigeria will rise out of this present economic crisis, only with the programmes of the working class to end capitalism and change society alongside socialist lines.
For socialists, Nigeria's socio-economic crises including the rapacious corruption of the ruling elites are products of capitalism. Therefore all of Buhari efforts to allegedly end these crises while remaining within the framework of capitalism will fail and fail again. These crises can only begin to end permanently by first and foremost putting into public ownership and democratic management the commanding heights of the economy like the banks and finance sectors, oil industry etc. Only this kind of arrangement can on the one hand allow all of Nigeria's resources and revenue to be accounted for and on the other create the conditions for the introduction of socialist policies that can begin to develop society. This precisely is the aim of the Socialist Party of Nigeria formed by the DSM.
Unfortunately, despite the potential power of the working class to change Nigeria, the reformist leadership of the labour movement has historically acted as break on struggle by foot-dragging and also through compromises with capitalist governments and bosses. This is why despite the opportunities that exist, the labour leaders have failed to build a real mass working people's political party. The Labour Party (LP) which they formed has since been taken over by pro-capitalist politicians. For days now, the NLC and TUC have raised an intention to call a nationwide strike to fight the increase in electricity tariff as well as fuel scarcity all of which have further worsened the living condition of the working masses. But, up until now, no date has been declared for the strike, let alone a serious plan of mobilization announced. Yet the socio-economic crises and hardship continues. Cost of food and basic services have risen atrociously.
In this given situation, side by side with urging the reformist labour leadership to act, socialists call on the working masses and youth who have been taking actions in communities and campuses on the issues of electricity and other crises to intensify these struggles and unite them for a more effective strike at the government and the private bosses of the DISCOS and GENCOs. Our task as Socialists is to intervene in all of these struggles with a view to arm the working class with the knowledge of the root causes of their sufferings and the socialist alternative to it.
No Socialism without the true liberation of women
A female comrade, Abibat Jimoh of the Agege DSM branch, presented a discussion on 'WHY SOCIALISTS FIGHT FOR THE LIBERATION OF WOMEN' and the position that over 50% of the population should not be left in a condition of oppression. In her words "there can be no socialism without the true liberation of women". She stressed the cases of rape and sexual harassment, especially in the citadel of intellectualism, our tertiary institutions and why there is need to take up the system to ensure justice for victimized females, while stressing that sexism has a fundamental economic cause entrenched in capitalism.
A solidarity message was sent from a sympathizing group of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) in Cote d' Ivoire. In their message, the comrades mentioned the struggles taken place in Cote D'Ivoire especially in the education sector over the profit-first policies of the Ouattara capitalist government. Their message to the meeting helped to reinforce the understanding that everywhere, the same task of ending capitalism faces the working class and poor masses.
Contributors stressed the importance of winning genuine change-seeking minds into the organization while ensuring their fast growth and depth of ideology to meet up with the challenges of the present capitalist crisis. Comrade Segun Sango, the General Secretary of the DSM, debated a comment that held the possibility of coming back of military dictatorship appears remote given the national question. He however pointed out that the fact that there is such discussion within the rank and file of Nigerians shows the depth of the frustration of the Nigerian populace with this capitalist government. He further stressed that a semi-dictatorship could become widely seen as an option for Nigerians if the labour movement does not wake up to the task of productively directing the frustrations of Nigerians towards revolutionary ends.
The dock workers, who were unjustly sacked and victimized by their employers without any compensation, appreciated the role of the DSM in their struggles and expressed assurance in the victory of their struggles.
The session was summed up by Comrade Kola Ibrahim, who enjoined us to take our idea to the grassroots and try to provide and explain our socialist alternatives to the failed capitalist policies or actions of Buhari government in our propaganda to the masses. He also raised the need to bring class analysis into the Fulani-farmers' crisis. This is because the just like in cultivated farming, there are big business farmers among the cattle owners, who will probably benefit the more from government provision of agricultural services. Therefore, just as we propose government's direct investment in cultivated farming and direct support to poor and peasant farmers' cooperatives, we must clearly highlight that government support and policies should serve the interest of peasant farmers, farm and agricultural workers and the development interest of the country and not those of big business farmers, who are already salivating to gain from the so-called solutions being propounded by government, as reflected in the grazing bill currently before the national assembly.
He also called on members to use the NC's and other organizational documents as educative materials in their various branches, and to discuss the issues raised in the NC documents in the branches. He proposed that a special pamphlet on how socialists can build the SPN at grassroots for our comrades. He also highlighted the need to produce SPN flier and poster that will state the manifestoes of SPN in simple and shortened form. This, especially the flier, can serve as handful material for interventions by comrades.
THE SECOND SESSION:
ON THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION
The lead-off by Comrade Abbey Trotsky on the international situation exposed the failure of capitalism all over the world and the betrayal of reformist parties all over the world has redirected consciousness, in some countries, towards a socialist alternative. The re-election of Kshama Sawant in Seattle council election and election of three of the comrades of the Irish section into the Irish parliament as well as the phenomena of Bernie Sanders in US and Jeremy Corbyn in Britain are indication of this. This is also demonstrated by the fact that the rapid betrayal of the Syriza leaders in Greece accepting austerity measures has not discouraged layers of working people in Britain, US and Spain from moving to support left alternatives that are seen to challenge austerity and corporate capitalism.
The world is groaning under the devastating feet of global capitalism. From Europe to Asia, North America, Africa, Middle East and North America, all are in the frying pan of few rich beasts that corner the collective wealth of the world and subject humanity to endless suffering and hardship.
In Middle East and North Africa, the capitalist crisis is well demonstrated with the monstrous war ravaging of the region with the epicenter in Syria and compounded by the activities of Islamist terrorist group ISIS which controls territory. This has created serious refuge crisis in Europe with Germany as the worst hit.
On the other hand, the working class across the globe is resisting as reflected in the series of mass protests and resistance that has broken out across nations of the world.
In actual sense, all of these show the incapacity and failure of capitalism to proffer permanent solution to the heap of problems faced by humanity. Instead of proffering solution to all of these problems it rather worsens the crisis even further. All in all the working masses and even some of the capitalist pundits are now convinced more than ever that capitalism has outlived its usefulness.
Europe, just like any other part of the world, is yet to recover from the economic recession that gripped the world between 2007/2008. Some of the key countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, quite apart from Greece, are mired in economic crisis and still have levels of mass unemployment.
Even in the US where on the surface there appears to be economic recovery particularly with recent improvement in employment, the reality is that the economic crisis and inequality hasn't been solved but increasingly deepened.
This time around China's 'magic hand' has failed to get the world economy out of the wood unlike 2007/2008 when China played a crucial role as a kind of 'mini Atlas' propping up the world battered economy and feeding the voracious turbocharged appetites of many countries of the world especially the neo-colonial countries. Instead China itself is helpless as it is deeply in big economic mess. The Chinese intervention on this kind of unprecedented scale was possible because of the ruling elite's maintenance of significant state sector. This is in addition to the huge Chinese economic size and weight.
Now the neo-colonial world, previously tagged "emerging market", the great hope of the world economy has now become submerging market. They are now experiencing massive upheavals from consequences of the direct effect of the Chinese economic travails combined with the terrible slash of oil prices which is now affecting the whole continent.
Like most neo-colonial countries of the world, Latin America situation is suffering from the slowdown in the Chinese economy. Brazil which used to be the great hope of BRICS has now been plunged into its deepest economic recession since the 1930s. Unemployment has rocketed with over a million workers being made redundant in less than a year. This development is also a product of Chinese economic slowdown. The last approval rating has shown that Dilma is the most unpopular Brazilian president since the collapse of the military dictatorship in 1985.
The inability of capitalism to develop Africa in a rounded way is seen in the general trend by local capitalist to invest in finance, property or in products that can be immediately sold locally like foodstuff; building materials rather than longer term investment that would bring them into competition with the international monopolies. They are generally local compradors of imperialism not trying to develop their nation state. Currently the South African government is posing the question of cut. This is because its economy is staggering on the edge of recession and rising government debt owning to the slowdown in Chinese economy.. In Nigeria, a combination of falling oil prices and corruption has led to a large number of public workers and pensioners not being paid. In Ghana, the new slowdown is also undermining the hopes and expectations of millions of people who are who are of the expectation that the new found raw material wealth like oil would fundamentally change their lives and that of their family.
The Turning point
Many established bourgeois political parties are losing their base across the globe. This is an expression of disaffection by the working class of different countries. This development is a consequence of the failure of world capitalism to solve humanity problems.
In Britain, last year's unexpected election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party signifies that it has entered into a period of political convulsions. It is important to state that Corbyn's election reflected the already existing huge anti-austerity mood and rejection of right wing social democracy which had been evidently developing in Britain over recent years.
One of the most illuminating events that demonstrate masses disaffection of the established parties is the electoral victory recorded by the three members of the Irish section of the CWI. Their election into the Irish parliament has no doubt confirmed the correctness of the political orientation made by the Irish section of CWI. In the same vein, the rising tide of discontent among the US working masses has created a huge potential for the growth of socialist ideas as is reflected in Kshama's election victory, the support for Bernie Sanders and not least the rapid growth for the CWI forces in the US. However as promising as these achievements appear, it is important to state the need to consolidate on them for more achievements.
Contributions from comrades decried the new subjection of Nigeria to "Chinese imperialism", the gross corruption exposed in the Panama papers and how all of these widen the crack within the ruling class. The perspective for struggle to break out is not only valid for countries like Nigeria and South Africa which are undergoing economic crises. Even in countries like Cote D'Ivoire, which is benefitting from higher prices of Cocoa and Coffee and lower crude oil price, struggles could break out especially because the fact of economic prosperity could raise the question of how the wealth is distributed
The sum-up by Comrade Lanre Arogundade among other things reminded us of the theoretical exposition of Vladimir Lenin, that the first three conditions necessary for the achievement of a socialist revolution is already available. He stressed that the only requirement left unfulfilled is the presence of a genuine revolutionary mass workers party and explained that the world revolution becomes more imminent in the face of the greater interdependence of countries and the internationalist nature of our organization
THE THIRD SESSION:
REPORTS FROM BRANCHES AND ASPECTS OF OUR WORK
The first report of the organization was given by Comrade Chinedu Bosah on our impacts in the doctors and teachers' salaries struggle, the CRIN anti-retrenchment struggle, struggle against police brutality, electricity tariff hike struggles, private workers (IPWA, La Casera, etc.) struggles and updated the numbers of the victories achieved, both politically and legally. Suggestions were made that members should share the reports of all of these struggles on the social media, while quoting the organization website as source so as to reach more audience with our ideas and our successful works.
The second report was given by Comrade Soweto on the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) work. He exposed the intentional sabotage of our party registration process by the INEC while trying to avoid the judicial process by appealing for out-of-court settlements. We were charged to use the SPN to intervene in all struggles of the working masses and youth. We should also use the SPN to intervene where possible in future elections by stating the programmes of a socialist alternative to the rank and file; either we are registered before then or not.
The third report was given by Comrade Michael Lenin of the OAU student branch on the reports of our interventions in students struggles all over the country, with press conferences, leaflets and posters circulations, Socialist Democracy sales and leadership of major student mass actions. An extension of the ERC summer school was suggested while more practical initiatives to unite all the pockets of struggles in the education sector were taken.
Comrade Pelad gave the financial report of the organization while stressing the need for a revolutionary organization to be fully accountable. N27, 560 was collected as fighting fund while pledges totaling N69, 500 were made during the meetings. These collections and pledges are to support the Socialist Democracy (SD) and other DSM publications as well as the campaign for the registration of the SPN. The meeting ended with solidarity songs.