Friday, 11 May 2007
Since February 28, the authorities of the OAU in Ife have kept the campus shut down in their desperate bid to repress legitimate protests of the students. The police were brought in on February 26, to force students to write the semester exams! This is in spite of the fact that the students were demanding the legal one-week lecture free period to prepare for the exams. It was actually this crude behaviour that further radicalized the students.
The mobile police (the notorious "kill-&-go") were then used to eject all the students in the most violent manner. Not only were innocent students heavily brutalized, but all members of the university community witnessed numerous examples of brutality. Nobody was spared by the assaults of the mobile police: lecturers, workers, traders, and even those who reside on the main campus have many horrifying tales to tell.
The police brutalized many people, but worst of all was the fire that resulted from their murderous actions at one of the main campus shopping centres. This occurred on March 3, five days after the students had been ejected. The authorities ordered another raid on the campus and anybody seen on campus was brutalized.
By Workers’ Alternative
Tuesday, 15 May 2007
For the first time in years there was one joint Mayday rally in Nigeria of all the trade unions. The Marxists intervened successfully in spite of attempts by the police to stop the distribution of material. Meanwhile the petit bourgeois left are once again making the same mistakes as in the past by mouthing the same slogans as the bourgeois “opposition”.
By Ola Kazeem in Lagos - Campaign For Workers Alternative
Wednesday, 20 June 2007
In less than a month since the massively fraudulent election that ushered in the present administration, the Nigerian working class is in a determined mood and on the offensive against it. This comes as somewhat of a surprise to some on the left and seems almost miraculous to those sectarians who had earlier condemned the Nigerian workers as reactionary, simply because the Labour leadership refused to mobilize the rank and file behind one wing of the ruling class in opposition to the fraudulent election.
Opportunists were demanding the subordination of the interests of the working class to the interests of one supposedly "democratic" wing of the ruling class. They rejected the independence of the working class and acted as a transmission belt of the ideas and influence of that wing of the ruling class into the arena of the working class.
We, the Marxists of the Workers' Alternative have been consistent in our demand for independence of the working class from any wing of the bourgeoisie. We have maintained that the only consistent opposition in Nigeria remains the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the two main trade union federations, and that any section of Nigerian ruling class - notwithstanding any of their superficial claims to being "democrats" - represents simply a bunch of reactionary elements out to defend their own greedy interests and they can never play any progressive role. We have always understood that the masses move through their traditional organisations. In Nigeria, the NLC/TUC remain the only traditional mass organisations, and to us it is no surprise at all that they are leading the Nigerian masses against the constant attacks of this regime.
What are the demands?
By Oke Ogunde in Lagos
Friday, 25 April 2008
We are told that today "democracy rules" in most of the world. Where there were formerly military dictatorships now we have civilian rule, elections, parliamentary democracy and so on. The truth is far more concrete!
In Pakistan Musharraf has gone, and now there is an elected government. But no one should have illusions about the elections being "fair and free". There was blatant rigging, as we reported in Pakistan: PPP confirms blatant fraud in elections and Massive fraud! - An Eyewitness Account. It was clear that imperialism was pushing for a coalition government, and hey presto the results fitted just right.
In Mexico there was electoral fraud on a grand scale in 2006, which led to the massive mobilizations in the Zocalo Square in Mexico City, with up to three million taking part. The masses rightly see the present government as illegitimate.
In Nigeria last year, again there was fraud on a grand scale, in fact on a scale never seen in the past. The leaders of the western powers may fool themselves that there is real democracy in Nigeria or, to put it better they fool the general public that that is so. The masses in Nigeria know full well that the elections were not fair. They know that there was blatant fraud, stealing of ballot boxes, falsification of results, physical threats and even murder.
By the Workers’ Alternative Editorial Board
Friday, 11 May 2007
Special Mayday Editorial Statement by the Workers’ Alternative Editorial Board
Labour must act now! Demand an end to "reform"! For socialism!
Fraternal greeting to all workers on this special day for workers. Mayday has come to be a very important date in Nigeria and to workers in particular. Traditionally this day is very important to the working class movement internationally. It is a day of international solidarity and its origins are in the struggle of workers for improved living conditions.
This year's Mayday comes at a very critical period in the history of the Nigerian working class movement, a period of growing hardship, turbulent instability and an urgent need for a programme of action by the workers.
However, it is quite commendable that both the leadership of the NLC and TUC agreed to have a united Mayday rally this time around, instead of separate rallies. This should be a step towards uniting the Nigerian workers as the strength of the working masses lies in their unity. This is an essential ingredient now in the face of the problems facing the working masses.
By Ola Kazeem in Lagos
Tuesday, 05 June 2007
No doubt, the Nigerian ruling class has landed itself in a very deep mess. It has created a situation that has made it extremely difficult for it to continue ruling in the old way. Within a period of eight years, all the ingredients required to sustain a minimal level of "bourgeois democracy" allowable in a neo-colonial economy like Nigeria have been completely eroded.
The Nigerian ruling class has been carrying out the policy of the IMF/World Bank over the years and is already paying dearly for this. But is there any alternative for them? Can the Nigerian ruling class refuse to do the bidding of imperialism?
Privatization, mass sackings and serious cuts in public spending on social services have created an unheard of level of inequality (a GINI coefficient of 0.75!) and extreme level of poverty with over 78% of Nigerians living on less than $1 dollar a day.
The consequences of these criminal policies are easy to see. The Nigerian ruling class has been completely discredited, without the slightest support among the people and, most expectedly, they are extremely divided among themselves, with one section accusing the other for the woes of the working class, but most unfortunately for them, both sections are completely discredited and mistrusted by the people.
By Oke Ogunde, Lagos
Friday, 22 June 2007
Wednesday June 20th 2007, was the day that the strike action called jointly by the two labour Centres in Nigeria commenced nationwide. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had called the strike action as a response to the 15% increase in the price of petroleum products, 100% increase in Value Added Tax (VAT), the rushed sales of two major government-owned refineries and to demand a 15% increase in the salary of public service workers.
The strike took off after the fourteen days ultimatum given by the labour centres lapsed and the newly "elected" government of Umaru Yar'adua refused to heed the demands of labour. The Yar'adua People's Democratic Party's (PDP) regime was just 23 days in office when the strike commenced and this development has raised a series of class-related issues about what this regime represents.
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
About a hundred and fifty years ago, Marx wrote that capitalism would enormously increase the wealth of society, but that this wealth would be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. If you have the will, glaring contrasts of wealth and poverty are not hard to come by in 21st century capitalism. Indeed, they strike you in the face.
"Ill fares the land," wrote Oliver Goldsmith, in his poem, The Deserted Village, "to hastening ills a prey/ Where wealth accumulates and men decay." Young men on the corner, like scattered leaves - decaying, heaps of garbage, rotten, decaying houses and schools. Over whom has capitalism "triumphed?"
This year May day celebration was also jointly celebrated by Trade Union Congress (Senior Staff) and the Nigerian Labour Congress (The union of Junior workers). These are the main trade union centers in Nigeria. We can only attend the one that took place in Lagos, the main industrial city of Nigeria. The National joint congress held in Abuja and was keenly followed through media report and eye witness accounts.
Fraternal Greetings to our Comrades in the Nigerian Union of Teachers. We humbly salute the courage and steadfastness you have clearly demonstrated before and during this just and necessary industrial action that you have embarked upon to force the regime of Umaru Musa Yar adua to approve the Teachers Salary Scale for Nigerian teachers in Nigeria.
71% of Nigerian workforce engages in Agriculture. Over 90% of Nigeria’s Agricultural output comes from peasant farmers who dwell in remote rural areas where 60% of 150 Million of total population lives. Agricultural landholdings is generally small and scattered, average number of farm plots per household ranges between 2 and 28 plots increasing from South to North. Nigeria cultivates over 25 Millions hectares of land for various food crops.
Despite all these obviously abundant human and natural resources, Nigeria is still unable to feed her citizens. Nigeria produces only 500,000 tonnes of rice while the annual consumption is 2.5 million tones. Nigeria is the world's second-largest rice importer after Singapore. Before now, Nigeria spent over $350 Million on rice importation alone. Now there is a global food crisis; can Nigeria ruling class turns things round overnight?
Nothing can be truer than the graphic description of the present economic mess, as described by Mick Brooks on “World economy in crisis - The financial panic: where are we now?” of 23 of January, 2008, as published on www.marxist .com, he said and I quote:
“The upswing since 2001 has been one of the most lopsided in the history of capitalism. It has been powered by the American consumer, referred to by some economists as ‘the consumer of last resort,' so important are they conceived to be to the functioning of the world economy. Though comprising less than 5% of the world's people American consumers' demand has been responsible for an incredible 19% of the growth of the world economy in recent years. How is this possible? After all American workers' incomes (and most American consumers have to work for a living) have not risen in real terms for three decades. Yet they have more money in their pockets to spend, and to buoy up a world economy of six billion souls in the process. The answer to this question is because of what is called the wealth effect. House prices have been going up so Americans have felt richer. Consumers have been able to borrow against the rising value of their houses. In effect they have been using their homes as ATMs, spending like there's no tomorrow. Now tomorrow has arrived.”
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