Nigeria : Founding Convention of the SOCIALIST WORKERS’ LEAGUE
The Socialist Workers’ Movement and the Socialist League : being groups of revolutionary socialists in Nigeria who have been separately identified with international socialist politics, over the last two decades ; realizing the pressing need to unify and build the forces of workers and youths committed to forging a platform of struggle that will be unrelenting, unapologetic and ever consistent in defending and inspiring the working class ; noting the rising tide of the self-activities of the working people sweeping across borders of the world in resistance and revolutionary upsurges ; concerned about addressing the need for organization and programme which alone could make it possible for revolutionary situations to be consummated as international socialist revolution, do today merge to found the Socialist Workers’ League.
The Socialist Workers’ League, SWL, at its Founding Convention held at Abule-Egba, on Saturday, January 29, 2011, resolves thus :
1. The living and working conditions of workers in the country has worsened : rising unemployment ; collapse of real wages ; increasing casualization ; hazardous work conditions and ; worsening poverty have become the norm, for working people. The way forward to redress this situation is through the self-emancipatory struggles of the working class. Every struggle of the working class, in challenging the powers of the bosses and their state, in the workplace and the broader society contributes to this struggle. SWL activists shall strive to be part of every struggle of the workers in Nigeria, presenting the inter-connections between their various struggles in different parts of Nigeria and at different points in time, to the socialist goal of workers self-liberation ;
2. The capitalist system quite clearly, has nothing to offer the working masses but misery, sorrow, tears and blood. At different times, in response to the struggles of workers against such terrible situations, or to prevent revolutionary risings, capitalism has instituted reforms in the form of social services. Over the past three decades though, neoliberalism has risen to be the dominant expression of capitalism, attacking the minor gains of reforms won in earlier times, and proclaiming its creed of ; privatization, deregulation and cuts in the funding of social services, as near-divine ! Despite the fact that the Great Recession has shown that neoliberalism is a fraud and a failure, its tenets still remain the guiding principles of state policy in the Nigerian economy. Rather than abate, through unbundling, concessions, deregulation and other forms of “privatization” the Nigerian state is selling off our national social wealth to a few individuals and indeed subsidising the greed of a few, with resources that should be used for the benefit of the immense majority of the country’s population. There is every need for a mass campaign against privatization, which shall further put it in perspective as being a pivotal strategy of capitalism in general, and thus combat both neoliberalism and the logic of capitalist development as a whole. The SWL shall thus establish a Movement Against Privatization, along with other like-minded activists, and which shall work with other progressive, anti-capitalist forces in the country ;
3. The ideological and political bankruptcy of the ruling class in Nigeria is legendary. While through patrimonial systems of nepotism, and “favouritism”, it has been able to use the masks of religious fundamentalism and “tribalism” to confound segments of the masses at different times, it is becoming more difficult for it to fool many people most of the time. As the 2011 elections draw closer, different sections of the ruling class are finding it ever more difficult to reach compromises, with strong likelihood of bitter struggle between them reaching crisis points in the unfolding period. SWL notes that cracks within the front of the ruling class present opportunity for revolutionary forces in the struggle against the present oppressive order. SWL shall, and calls on working people in the struggle to seize the space such cracks will present and rather than side with this or that side of the oppressors, fight to enthrone a government of workers and poor farmers, which will be brought to power through revolutionary mass actions of the working people such as ; street demonstrations, strikes, processions, etc ;
4. The 2011 elections bring to the fore debate on people’s votes being their power. SWL realizes that moments of elections are marked by mass mobilization of the people with hope for possible change through the ballot box. We do however also realize the limitations of the electoral process. It is almost impossible for workers to come to power through elections in a capitalist society. Big business and money play central roles in elections in Nigeria and indeed virtually all capitalist countries, leaving the choices open to the masses being that of, which of their oppressors will be in charge of the oppressive state for the next four years. SWL shall thus, during this period of elections conduct a campaign to present the limitation of electoralist reforms to Nigerian workers, pointing out the primacy of the revolutionary path as the only way that leads to our self-emancipation. Further, the present situation of the voters’ exercise under Attahiru Jega goes to show the problems of institutions and processes for elections go far beyond the issue of the personality of the INEC chair. Jega might be incorruptible, but the signs are obvious that the first step of elections rigging, which commences during voters’ registration across the country, particularly in the rural areas, by different parties controlling the different states of the federation. SWL calls on workers not to be fooled, by the unfolding abracadabra ;
5. SWL notes the parlous state of the students’ movement of today in Nigeria. The collapse of revolutionary values, including commitment to the study of socialist ideas by students and the pursuit of radical politics have become key stumbling blocks to the development of the students movement and for the possibilities that students movement mobilization could hold for progressive politics in Nigeria. While SL and SWM structures had been operational in a few tertiary institutions, SWL shall expand the frontiers of its work within the students movement, building on membership in the schools we have structures in, and initiating a campaign for building presence in more schools across the country ;
6. SWL is committed to socialist unity and struggle in its myriad of forms, considering the need for progressive organizations to bring our concerted efforts together to bear in the struggle of the workers, towards socialist change. Socialist unity, though, has to be based on programmes and principles that deepen socialist influence and popularize socialist politics. Thus, SWL shall be part of united fronts of socialist and other anti-capitalist forces in the country which have clear cut programmes and which are involved in practical actions based on these, such as the Joint Action Forum, without dissipating its strength on sterile efforts ;
7. The SWL Convention-in-session felt inspired by the revolutionary waves sweeping through Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. It also noted the rousing of the working class in Europe last year, which was not defeated, even where victory was deferred. These developments reflect the mood of the current global situation which will have renewed workers’ militancy as its common denominator. This will require ever greater international solidarity and struggle. SWL shall stand by the working class in every country in the world against the global might of capital and its state structures, and welcomes the groundswell of international solidarity in support of the unfolding revolutions in North Africa. The SWL Convention-in-session thus expressed its solidarity to the working people of Tunisia and Egypt and unequivocally condemns the murder of hundreds of working people in Egypt ;
8. SWL considers the double-talk of the United States of America on Egypt, Tunisia and indeed the world at large as being masks of the naked masquerade of imperialism. The United States and its allies really have no concern for our countries beyond that of exploiting them. This sudden waking up to the “rights” of Egyptian citizens, which it has helped Hosni Mubarak to trample on for decades, is obviously suspect. SWL notes that our struggle against local tyrants and bosses is closely tied to fighting against the imperialist interests that work with them. We thus condemn the US statement as hypocritical, and say loudly that the American state can be no friend of any revolutionary movement of workers and the youths on the street. SWL demands that the repressive use of the military and police forces against the protesters be stopped immediately, all protesters and earlier political prisoners behind bars be released unconditionally, the fundamental human rights of Egyptians to assembly, movement and expression restored and Hosni Mubarak and his cohorts brought to popular justice for the massacre of over a hundred citizens ;
9. SWL realizing the need for close working relations between international socialists, sharing similar revolutionary politics and bonds with the working class. The Conference-in-session noted the past ties of SWM and SL with the politics of the International Socialist Tendency and resolves to seek affiliation with the IST, forthwith ;
10. For the purposes of its coordination and publications, in-between Convention, the SWL Convention-in-session constituted a Central Committee and Editorial Board, which shall be responsible to the organization of the League.
Sgd Baba Aye the Chair
Sgd Basirat Oguniana The national secretary