FOR A CONFERENCE OF TRADE UNIONISTS, SOCIALISTS AND ACTIVISTS NOW!
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) heartily applauds the declaration of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for the "adoption of a socialist welfare state as against the current capitalist system in Nigeria" (Leadership, Abuja – August 12, 2014).
Against the background of the predominant pro-capitalist philosophy reigning supreme within the trade union movement bureaucracy in Nigeria, this declaration is like a silver lining in a darkened sky.
Indeed, there can be no other solution to the scandalous condition of mass poverty in the midst of prodigious wealth that presently characterizes our dear country Nigeria than the socialist transformation of the country through the public ownership and democratic control and management by the working people of the mainstays of the economy for the benefit of the mass majority.
For this to happen, the working class leading the oppressed masses must come to power so as to be in a position to bring an end to capitalism and begin to reorganize society along socialist lines.
In addition, we completely agree with ASUU that "there is need for a genuine people's worker's party, organized with full lessons from past efforts. The party must be organized to meet the challenges of forging the building of a Nigeria where nations and individuals live in freedom and happiness" (ThisDay – August 12, 2014).
The historical responsibility for carrying out the above task is that of the trade union movement in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the labour movement is Nigeria is dominated by a leadership that is incapable of appreciating the urgent need for a political working class alternative to the capitalist rot. This is fundamental reason why the Labour Party (LP), formed by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), was not built by the labour movement but abandoned to political careerists and anti-poor politicians such that the party is now almost indistinguishable from other anti-poor political parties. Besides, the labour leadership has not only abandoned building LP as a fighting working people party but has also openly declared official support for various bourgeois anti-poor politicians contesting elections.
In a certain way this development has politically contributed to the throwback in consciousness within the labour movement in particular and the working masses in general. And most unfortunately, as a result of this state of affairs, the working class, the youth and poor masses in the run-up to the 2015 general elections will have no political party to represent and defend their interest. What this most certainly means is that the present distasteful condition of mass poverty in an ocean of wealth which has characterized the rule of capitalism is bound to continue after the 2015 elections to the detriment of the working masses and youth.
Notwithstanding this however, socialists, trade unionists and activists who recognize the importance of a genuine mass workers party must not be discouraged but unite and mobilize their forces to begin the work of forming and building such a party before and after the 2015 general elections in order to arm the working class with the weapon for the economic and political liberation of the country. This is important as the first step to begin to rebuild consciousness and win the entirety of the labour movement and the working masses over to the idea of a socialist transformation of Nigeria.
It is in recognition of this crucial necessity that members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) alongside with trade unionists and activists formed the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) last year. Between then and now, the party has been able to surmount many of the undemocratic obstacles erected by the electoral act and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) including the election of a 27-member National Executive Committee (NEC) representing 24 States and the Federal Capital Territory as required by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (amended) and payment of N1million application fee. We have now submitted an application for registration as a political party and are hopefully awaiting INEC's response.
We urge ASUU to begin concrete moves to practically actualize the Union's public declaration in support of "a socialist welfare state". This could be achieved by convening a conference of labour and socialist organizations as well as activists that subscribe to socialist transformation of Nigeria in order to begin discussion for a formation of a mass working people party to end capitalism in Nigeria and enthrone a democratic socialist government. We believe ASUU commands enormous goodwill and authority in the working people movement to successfully convene the much-needed conference.