June 12 Anniversary: DSM calls on the working masses and youth to organize and fight against President Tinubu’s anti-poor policies
On Monday, June 12, 2023, members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) Ifako Ijaiye branch, held a tabling/stall at Abule Egba, Lagos, to mark the 30th year since the annulment of the June 12 presidential election which was won by MKO Abiola.
By Gideon Adeyeni, DSM Ifako Ijaiye Branch
The main aim of the tabling was to try and begin to rally the working masses and youth who are affected by the failure of the leadership of the labour movement which had once again suspended a general strike meant to challenge the removal of fuel subsidy and increases in the price of petrol. The policy which was announced nearly two weeks ago, on May 29, as President Bola Tinubu was been sworn in represents a consummation of an IMF/World Bank supported programme of deregulation of petrol which had been in the works for over 20 years but mitigated by the struggles of organized labour and the poor masses. At the tabling/stall we had the DSM paper – Socialist Democracy (SD) – and hundreds of copies of a new leaflet of the DSM calling for independent initiative of the working masses to fight back.
A key feedback from the tabling/stall is the fact that there currently exist mixed consciousness among the working class and broad masses with regards to the fuel price hike.
On the one hand, while there are those who genuinely share the illusion that the present government means well and will do well with time as they believe that petrol subsidy only benefit a few rich people. This is despite the fact that the policy has made lives more difficult for the mass of the Nigerian people. There are also those who are angry and are looking for direction. There are also those who have not yet recovered from the brutal repression of the #EndSARS protest and thereby afraid of embarking on another protest.
There are also those who, based on the propaganda of the ruling elites, argue that the increased prices of fuel price will soon subside as soon as Dangote’s privately-owned refinery and petrochemical company becomes fully operational. This section of the population shows lack of awareness of the fact that even though there may be some reduction in the price of petroleum when Dangote’s refinery becomes operational as a result of the absence of freight cost, import duty and such other expenses in supply process, the imminent near monopoly of the supply would make Dangote sell petroleum only at high prices.
Obviously, consciousness can change rapidly over the coming days or weeks as the full implication of the policy and other neo-liberal agenda of the regime begin to unfold. Socialists however need to prepare for the possibility that the struggle to defeat the petrol subsidy removal policy may be complicated and long drawn with some layers of the masses showing readiness to fight right here and now if leadership is provided while other sections may only become convinced based on their bitter experiences.
It is noteworthy, however, that despite the mixed mood reported above, a segment of the working people engaged during the intervention displayed great enthusiasm to support the work of the organization by indicating interest to join the activities of the DSM and giving assurance of reading our leaflet and the Socialist Democracy (SD). 4 copies of the DSM paper were sold, hundreds of copies of the leaflet were circulated while nothing less than 10 people put down their names to attend the next meeting of our DSM branch.