Forward to the general strike in Nigeria! Down with the regime of Goodluck Jonathan! Forward to working class power!

 

The struggles of the working class and the rest of the impoverished masses have finally spread from Wall Street, Tahrir Square, Syntagma square, Porto del Sol, Misrata, Sanaa, Homs, Santiago, La Paz etc to Lagos and Abuja.

 

The fight in Nigeria today is a fight against capitalist dictatorship. It is a fight to overcome ‘democracy’. All over the world, ‘democracy’ means the freedom of the imperialists to plunder. In the semi-colonies (neo-colonies) the form of capitalist rule is either a military dictatorship or a limited democracy. Nigeria is no different. Having suffered under a number of military regimes since ‘independence’ in 1960, the election of the regime of Goodluck Jonathan on the 19th April 2011 was hailed by the capitalist media as the most ‘free and fair’. And yet the regime of Jonathan is launching the most harsh attack on the living standards of the Nigerian masses by increasing the price of fuel from $0.41 a litre to $0.74. This means that the pump price is doubling.

 

Except for the islands and small pockets where the elite of Shell and Chevron and the Nigerian capitalist class live, the rest of the country is a virtual slum. The only ‘benefit’ that the masses had up to now has been subsidized fuel. The regime of Jonathan wants to end this subsidy.

 

Further north, the unelected TNC (Transitional National Council) is trying to disarm the militias and the masses in general- a move hailed by all the capitalist forces. Yet in the USA the first principle of the Bill of rights is for the right of the population to bear arms. But such ‘democratic’ right is denied not only Libyans but all the masses all over the world, especially in the colonies and semi-colonies. The only way that the Libyan masses could begin to get rid of the hated Gaddafi regime was by arming themselves and destroying the armed forces of the state. The masses destroyed all the police stations and huge sections of the army went over to the side of the masses. Some of the shortcomings of the Libyan revolution was the failure of the masses to set up their own regime based on the militias and workers committees, uniting local and immigrant workers, independent of all elements of the old Gaddafi regime and independent from the Nato forces and their TNC. Up to now the Libyan masses have not adopted a programme for the expropriation under workers control of the oil wealth and the banks (without compensation to the capitalists). A section of the left is calling for ‘workers and popular committees’ in Libya. In other words, they place the centre of the Libyan revolution on the backs of revolutionary workers and the revolutionary middle class, instead of being centred on the industrial working class. Most of the revolutionary middle class (although clearly not all of them) get involved in the struggle only for self-preservation. This does not make them Socialist. In the absence of an independently organised working class to lead the fight, by putting an equal sign between the middle class and the working class, leads to the domination of middle class prejudices. Without a class independent programme and revolutionary party, the most heroic struggles of the working class would end up in defeat. These are some of the life and death questions that would also face the working class in Nigeria and elsewhere.

 

The root cause of the attacks on the Nigerian masses- the crisis of imperialism and of US imperialism in particular

Sixty percent of Nigeria’s oil exports go to the USA. In fact 11% of US fuel requirements come from Nigeria. US imperialism is the biggest ‘investor’ in Nigeria. In other words the Nigerian regime is under the control of US imperialism. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell and other oil companies that operate in Nigeria hire the local navy, the army and the ‘shoot and go’ police to protect the oil platforms and other installations. The oil multinationals have been known to have activists killed. Despite Nigeria having vast wealth, not only in oil and gas, but gold, bauxite and other minerals, it has been kept as a primary producer of raw materials. It even has to import all its processed oil! It has 4 refineries but these are largely dysfunctional. Even the ‘local’ oil company Oando is 62% controlled by pension funds, trusts and private companies- this shows that it is really controlled by imperialism behind the façade of ‘local’ control.  

 

The 2012 Nigerian budget allocates 20% for ‘security’ while only 0.5% for land and housing. This shows the cutting of the oil subsidy has nothing to do with building adequate housing for the masses. The supposed planned ‘infrastructure’ from the $7 billion ‘saving’ is about building a mechanism to more efficiently exploit the wealth of Nigeria. Further, as the world capitalist economy is in stagnation, the imperialists come up with fake projects which are nothing else but a way to rescue their falling profits and a new way of milking the masses in an ever-increasing manner.

 

In China, South Africa and elsewhere the imperialists are setting up trillion dollar infrastructure projects, such as coal and nuclear power stations, new airports, shopping malls, etc. Solar and wind power, once set up, have very low running costs, but these are rejected because they do not provide ongoing sources of profit. Hydropower from the DRC could provide 200 000MW, ie enough to double the electricity capacity of the entire Africa, but these are rejected. The same fake projects such as coal and nuclear are being planned by imperialism for Nigeria.

 

For decades the imperialists bled Nigeria dry, keeping the masses in slum conditions, while most of the oil income was siphoned off for ‘debt’. Now that Nigeria has paid off the debt (in 2006), the imperialists need new schemes to keep the Nigerian masses enslaved.

 

Through ECOWAS, the Nigerian regime helps imperialism put down the masses in Liberia, Sudan, and Ivory Coast.

 

In essence the Nigerian regime is a glorified security guard for imperialist plunder of the masses in the country and in the region. They have to go.

 

A draft Programme for the Nigerian revolution

1. The first step is to set up committees of action centred on delegates from the workers in the oil industry. Action committees of workers and unemployed should be set up in the cities and rural areas. Efforts should be made to draw in the rank and file soldiers into the action committees. The action committees should spearhead the action of the masses such as the general strike which starts on the 9th Jan 2012. Although middle class joining the fight against the regime should be welcomed, a careful eye should be kept on them to ensure they do not dominate the struggle.

2. Due to the role of the state in suppressing past attempts at general strikes, it is important that committees of self-defence are set up as part of the action committees. Whichever soldiers are won to the cause should assist with the training of the masses in the use of arms for self-defence against the attacks of the state.

3.  Watch out for the trade union leaders who want to limit the fight to an economic one, ie just to reduce the price of fuel or to make a compromise with the regime. These trade union leaders are calling the strike only to remain in control of the mass action. What is needed is to start with a reverse in the price increase and for the struggle to be extended to the total removal of the Jonathan regime.

 

For sure, many capitalist ‘opposition’ are lining up to take over the struggle for them to replace Jonathan in positions of privilege. This must not be allowed- they merely want to become the new chief security guards for Chevron and Shell.

 

What is needed is a workers’ council of delegates of the action committees, locally, regionally and nationally. Preparations should be made for the setting up of a revolutionary workers’ government based on councils of the action committees of the strike.

 

The strike should be transformed from a stayaway into occupation and a takeover by the workers and the communities of the oil installations and other capitalist factories, farms and banks. The trade union leaders of the strike protect the bosses through the stayaway, a tradition that comes from Stalinism, which keeps the fighting working class away from taking over the means of production (factories, farms, mines, banks etc).

 

4. Expropriate the multinationals and the local capitalists, without compensation, place these companies and farms under workers control. The first step must be the setting up of factory committees with delegates of all workers, be they casual or permanent, local or immigrant.  It is only a workers government that can implement these demands. It is only through expropriation of the commanding heights which includes the banks, that the masses will achieve housing and jobs for all.

5. Nationalise the land, expropriate the capitalist farms, place them under workers control through the setting up of model collective farms; cheap credit and assistance to the small farmer while encouraging them to join the collectives.

6. For workers in the US to set up solidarity action through the Occupy Wall street movement and other means to block US military intervention in Nigeria, to stop the killing machines of Exxon Mobil and Chevron in their tracks. US imperialism is terrorizing the world masses, not only that in Nigeria. What is needed is for the working class to take power in Nigeria and the US (indeed all across the globe). For this to happen, is required a working class party in Nigeria, in the US, indeed in every country in the world, as part of a revolutionary International (the refounded Fourth International).

 

Forward to a Soviet United states of Africa!

9.1.2012