Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)

For struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

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3rd November 2004

Mobilising for November 16th General Strike:

LABOUR AND CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION HOLDS RALLY IN LAGOS

As part of the mobilisation campaign to kick-start the second phase of the nation-wide general strike, scheduled to commence on the 16th November, 2004, in protest against the pro-rich, anti-poor, neo-liberal policies of the Obasanjo led capitalist government, the Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) held mass rallies in the Ikeja and Yaba districts of Lagos today, 3rd November, 2004, to, amongst other demands, press for the reversal of the recent increments in the prices of petroleum products.

The rally, which began at about 12.p.m and was massively attended by all sections of working class people, was addressed by the president of NLC, Adams Oshiomhole and some notable labour activists from the civil society groups. These included Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, the acting chairman of LASCO, Comrade Segun Sango, the General Secretary of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), who also doubles as the chairman of NCP Lagos State. Others include Chief Mike Ozekhomhe, a human right activist and chairman, NANS/JCC, Lagos State.

The NLC president in his address urged the working people of Nigeria to give their total support to the impending nationwide general strike billed to commence on the 16th November, 2004, in protest at the recent hike in pump prices of petroleum products by the Obasanjo led government. Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti also spoke in similar vein and urged the people of Nigeria to come out en masse and demonstrate their total opposition to and rejection of Obasanjo’s inhuman policies during the strike.

Segun Sango in his remarks faulted the IMF/World Bank induced anti-poor, pro-rich, neo-liberal policies of Obasanjo’s led capitalist government and demanded a halt. He urged the mass and the working people of Nigeria to fight for an immediate end to the Obasanjo’s government as well as its anti-peoples’ policies in all ramifications. This demand was enthusiastically received by the people at the rally not minding the heavy presence of armed policemen at the venue.

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) intervened at the rally with our materials which included current and old editions of our paper Socialist Democracy and our perspective document - Nigeria Crisis: Time for System Change. These materials were well received. In fact we sold out of all the materials we took to the event.

One significant thing about the rallies at both Ikeja and Yaba was the significant presence of many young men and women who mostly were either unemployed or belong to the poorest layers of the working masses. Thus with this kind of enthusiastic support being expressed by this layer for the November 16 2004 general strikes/protests, we can reasonably expect another successful battle.

We in the DSM will be demanding that the kind of rallies held in Lagos today must be organised across the country. One major shortcoming of these rallies though was the absence of political materials and banners produced by LASCO clearly stating demands of the movement. As we proceed with further mobilisation for general strike/mass action, which commences on November 16, 2004, this kind of lapse must be corrected.

We in the DSM will continue to take concrete steps to organise rallies, leafleting, etc before and during the forthcoming struggle as we did in the October 11 to 14, 2004 general strike/protest. From our practical experience, struggle of this nature is better coordinated and mass consciousness about the issues involved better enhanced where there are planned interventions by activists in support of those organising such struggles. For this reason, the demand for the building of strike/struggle committees in the communities, states and national levels for effective mobilisation and focused struggle and results remains a major issue we campaign for in the larger labour movement.

Our ultimate goal is to help build a powerful pan-Nigeria working masses movement that is strong enough to take political power from the hands of the self-serving capitalist elements and in its place create a workers’ and peasants’ government committed to the implementation of pro-masses socio-economic policies.