Written by Ola Balogun Monday, 08 November 2010 19:29
Nigeria ruling class continues to lose its social base. Rather than this process being reversed, it is accelerating. The main social base upon which this present bourgeois democratic experiment bases itself has almost completely eroded. The ruling class finds itself more and more isolated from the ever-increasing number of Nigerian masses. More and more Nigerians are joining en-masse, the rank of those vanguards of the masses that are correctly skeptical of the possibility of Nigerian ruling class solving any of our fundamental problems. All the attempt of the ruling class to reverse their misfortune has been unsuccessful and how can it be otherwise? When at independence in 1960, per capital income was $2000 and was just barely over $200 as at 2006, when life expectancy was almost 70 years in the 60’s but just a little over 40 years now, when over 40 million Nigerian youths are roaming the streets looking for jobs and survival. Nigerian Universities were among the best in Africa in the 70’s to 80’s but have now completely collapsed and are no longer rated even within West Africa. This is a recipe for a decisive and aggressive battle between the haves and have-not. The present situation is unavoidably beckoning to an all-out fight between the thieving, inept, mafia-like Nigerian ruling class and the Nigeria masses. Everything is pointing to one thing and just one thing, a big battle is imminent, therefore, the big question is, how is Nigerian ruling class preparing for this battle and how are Nigerian masses too preparing for this major onslaught? While Goodluck Jonathan is helping the ruling class to mark time through deception, Babangida is preparing for a civil war against the masses, but the question is, who is going to lead the masses?
Nigerian ruling class is preparing
The theory of Marxism, as Marx himself wrote in the introduction to his work “Critique of Political Economy”, established approximately the following propositions with regard to revolution:
“No social system departs from the arena until it has developed the productive forces to the maximum degree attainable under the given system; and no new social system appears on the scene unless the economic premises necessary for it have already been prepared by the old social system. This truth, which is basic for revolutionary policy, unquestionably retains all its meaning as a guide for us to this very moment. But more than once has Marxism been understood mechanically, unilaterally and therefore erroneously. Wrong conclusions may likewise be drawn from the foregoing proposition”. (A school of Revolutionary Strategy L.T )
If the above proposition from Marx is correct, why then has capitalism continued to survive in Nigeria? When in the 70’s manufacturing was 14% of GDP and presently less than 1%. When urban unemployment was 10% in the 70’s but is now over 40%, with decaying infrastructure, inability to generate more than 3000 Megawatt of electricity when the actual need is over 67,000 Megawatt, when most unfortunately, Nigeria has been demoted from a net exporter of food to one of the world leading importers of staple foods. It will be naïve of anybody to expect a dying socio-economic system to just honorably excuse itself out of the way of people’s progress; it will not commit historical suicide, but will rather continue dragging on until it is overthrown or else it continues to destroy everything in its wake. Behind every socio-economic system are human beings who are actually benefiting from it. These human beings will readily go to any extent to save the systems upon which their livelihood depends. As it is for human, so it is for socio-economic systems, when its life is in danger, it will mobilize all its reserve forces and make all frantic effort to survive. Capitalism in Nigeria is not an exception; it is mobilizing all its social weight and reserved energy to continue dragging Nigerian masses into an unfortunate abyss. It mobilizes religion, army, police, deception and forces of tradition to fight its way through despite enormous quantity of blood dripping from all over its body.
The ongoing transition, which is better described as a transition from six to half a dozen, a movement without motion is one of the tactics of Nigerian ruling class to continue dragging on. An interesting development is gradually rearing its head in this ongoing transition, which must of necessity be of special interest to all the vanguards of Nigeria working class. The division between Nigerian ruling elites is getting sharper and becoming hot. What does this division consist of? A section of Nigerian ruling class (Jonathan and co) is saying let us continue deceiving the Nigerian masses, let us blame this or that man for all the problems, let us present to them another gentle face as their leader so that they won’t revolt against the system, a system which is the real culprit. Another section (Babangida and co) says “stop there” to their colleagues and reason in contrary, saying: “we must stop all these deceptions at once and face the reality of the situation, get our police and army ready for an inevitable battle with Nigerian masses on the street”. If we continue the deception they reason, “the masses will keep having hope where there is no hope, faith where there is none and they will keep asking for what we cannot give. They will then revolt against the system because all the promises are not met and they see us too weak to stop them from overthrowing our cancerous system, therefore the best option is to have a strong leader to keep the masses mouth shut”. Both of them are right and both are wrong at the same time. Despite the gentle and pretentious posture of Jonathan, it does not prevent the Nigerian workers from militantly asking for their right; the last strike by NUEE and preparation for another round is a striking confirmation of this observation. As their colleagues in other section rightly warn no amount of pretentious and futile promises will prevent Nigerian masses, from challenging this useless and inefficient ruling class, the destination of this deceit is a powerful battle. The other section too is wrong because, no amount of preparation and intimidation can cow the Nigerian masses led by organized Nigerian workers from struggling for their survival. The rank of the military they rely on for protection is very angry with them; their colleagues who are presently imprisoned for legitimately asking for their salary are heroes. Though, the rank and file of Nigerian army is quiet now; in upcoming decisive battle, soldiers will realize that they are just ordinary workers in uniform. They will fraternize with their brothers and sisters in the factory. The coming battle is a battle for survival; it is about bread, shelter and clothing.
Most unfortunate in this whole episode is the hue and cry of the NGOs and some pseudo left who keep shouting of “One Man, One Vote” without any substance. They ask Nigerian masses to vote right and vote wisely, but on who to vote for they keep mum. What does this call mean? They want the masses to choose between deaths by firing squad or death by hanging; alas death is death. This is the time to aggressively and quickly build an alternative platform to struggle and to win power. Now is the time to build our political alternative; to match behind the working class under a genuine, courageous and determined leadership.
Build Labour Party as a genuine working class alternative
In the contemporary society, of all the social classes, only the working class is in the best and adequate position to lead other oppressed classes out of the ruinous domination of the ruling class. Who will deny this in Nigeria? Who led us to fight against destructive policy of Obasanjo regime on “oil subsidy”? Who led all the oppressed strata against burdensome VAT Yar’Adua regime wanted to impose on the working class? There are 10 million organized Nigerian workers and 57 million working people, this is enormous power. Nigerian working class is one of the most powerful in Africa, in terms of number and influence, but as Trotsky always emphasized; “working class is potentially very powerful, but without organization and bold, revolutionary leadership, working class is just a mere raw material for exploitations”. Working class needs its own political party, completely independent of Bourgeois influences and prejudices. Interestingly enough, Nigerian Labour Congress formed its own party, which was hailed by all progressive elements, but no effort has been made to boldly and energetically mobilize the rank and file of Nigerian workers into the party. As Nigerian ruling class is getting set for a violent attack on Nigerians, the only preparation we can hold on to is to double our effort in building a Labour Party and insist on the independence of the party. Time is now for all the vanguard of the working class to move from factory to factory and room to room, mobilizing all the best elements of the working class into Labour Party and we collectively evolve a genuine leadership, a leadership that is bold, honest, tested and truly capable of leading us out of the quagmire that Nigerian ruling class has immersed us in.