Vous êtes ici : Accueil » Afrique de l’Ouest » Nigeria » Nigeria:WHAT IS POLITICS ?


D 26 novembre 2022     H 05:30     A Boney Akaeze     C 0 messages

For most people politics is just about elections. That is electing people into public offices like the National Assembly, the Houses of Assembly in the States, the Local Government Councils as well as various appointments into government at all levels.

So at the moment, politics is viewed in the light of who will win the presidential election next year, Obi, Tinubu or Atiku and who will be appointed into positions in the administration that will be led by whoever wins. The people may not be adjudged to be entirely wrong in this notion of politics because essentially, politics deals with power relations such as, who takes charge and who directs the affairs of the society, community or even the state and other human groupings including Trade Unions, social clubs, fraternities etc.

Those who hold this notion see elections to be synonymous with politics because it is through elections that people secure the mandate and legitimate authority to act on behalf of others, nothing else than elections, confer such legitimacy to exercise authority over free citizens.

However ; socialists see politics beyond elections. For them, it is about the class struggle in society. It is mostly about the balance of power between the bosses, the Trade Unions, the wider labour movement and the masses generally. This is because it is very axiomatic that it is this class struggle that makes a direct difference in our lives. The class struggle is between the social classes which are a creation of inequality in wealth distribution in our society. It is a struggle between the haves and the have-nots.

Politics is therefore the conflict in the struggle in which the haves not only want to keep but to increase what they have while the have-nots want to survive. So when the have-nots are winning in this struggle as a result of their organised power, they can buy more with their incomes, public health and education are funded properly and the bosses are less able to dictate the details of how we work. When we are winning the class struggle they are not able to govern to the detriment of the well-being of the common people ; the have-nots.

The prevailing narrow view of politics in our country is predominantly an argument about the relative merits of Obi, Tinubu and Atiku. So their attributes, health and behaviour become relevant. For socialists, politics remains a wider, more important and more exciting issue. It is about how the working-class, the wider labour movement and the masses can organise to gain more benefits from the work that we do and the commonwealth of our country. As the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) motto says ; Labour Creates Wealth and the name of their monthly publication is the State of the Struggle.

Politics for Nigerians at the moment should transcend the argument over the 2023 General Election, it should give considerable attention to learning the lessons of the recent strikes by ASUU and other Unions in the education sector. There should be popular concern over how we can organise active strikes that win our demands. How do we ensure that popular strikes are supported by all Trade Union members ? How do we ensure that leaders of Trade Unions locally and nationally support the strike ? How do we ensure that the NLC and the TUC use the power of their Trade Unions’ mass membership to support strike calls in pursuit of better deals for the working people ?

It should be acknowledged that politics is about what happens in our workplaces and our communities. Politics should not be just about what other powerful people promise to do for us if we vote for them. It should be viewed as what we can do to win our demands and increase the power of our colleagues at work, and more generally, the standard of life of our friends irrespective of where we live.

For socialists, politics is about what we can do every day to make a difference. How do we win arguments with people that we chat with every morning ? What are the issues that are important for our workmates ? How can we organise to improve our daily conditions and our monthly incomes ?

Trade Unions are central to our idea of politics. Trade Unions can be the collective embodiment of working-class power. But they can also be contradictory organisations. The Trade Union leadership should be about how the Unions can organise solidarity for local or sectional strikes. But unfortunately, many times the Union leaders, like politicians, make promises that they fail to implement or were never committed to their implementation. A clear example in this regard is the NLC when it promised to organise a general strike in support of the striking ASUU lecturers, but despite high expectations generated by the promise, the strike was not delivered and, as a result, eventually the ASUU strike was not victorious.

For socialists, Trade Union activity is what we ought to do each day to encourage our workmates to take action. We have to identify what they see as important and then, plan how action can be taken locally to address these demands. We then have to ensure support from the Trade Unions locally and nationally to win our demands. We must not be oblivious of the need to try to ensure that we identify the best leaders and get them elected to lead our Trade Unions locally and nationally. However, we must not wait for them to lead action rather we should organise the actions locally and demand that the Trade Union leaders give their support.

Politics shouldn’t be about waiting for our political or Trade Union leaders to deliver on their promises. It should be understood as issues about what we can do at any given time to improve our lives. Peter Obi and the Labour party are not important because of their promises of what they will do if elected. They are important because, especially if elected, they will give confidence to millions of workers that change is possible. If elected, the Labour Party will encourage so many people to struggle for the demands in the NLC Charter of Workers Demands. It is this collective struggle that is taking place now and will continue after the coming elections. This is what we need to discuss and plan upon. This is what socialists call politics.

By Boney Akaeze

Source from https://socialistlabour.com.ng/