ILO: rising unemployment and social crisis
The International Labour Organisation recently pointed out that social upheaval across the world will deepen due to rising unemployment. This position is in its “World of Work Report 2011”, ironically titled “Making markets work for jobs”.
Raymond Torres, Director of the ILO International Institute of Labour Studies described the present time as “the moment of truth”, calling on the G20 leaders to take steps, based on the market, to address the jobs crisis. Due to the adverse impact of the world capitalist economy’s crisis since 2007, over 80million jobs need to be created in the next two years. But estimates show that less than half of these are likely to be created.
The ILO fails to see the actual truth though. Capitalism cannot guarantee jobs, particularly during its periods of crises. Even during normal periods, some level of unemployment is always characteristic of capitalist development, and “useful” for intimidating employed workers to accept “reasonable” wages. This is because the driving motive of capitalists is profit and not the wellbeing of working people.
It is not surprising that the ILO has illusions that the market which created and cannot but create unemployment could be made to “work for jobs”. The organisation was created in 1919 at the end of World War I as a means of ensuring that the anger of the working class against capitalism across the world would be diverted into the quest for reforms rather than for socialist revolution that would make workers the masters of society.
It is exactly this same role that it is trying to play at this period of global revolutionary resistance. Socialists are not against reforms. We stand for universal social security which the ILO has equally been calling for. But it is important to stress that reforms cannot resolve the contradictions of capitalism. Without workers overthrowing capitalism, and re-building society on the basis of our collective and democratically enforced power, we will continue to suffer in the midst of plenty while the capitalist elite enjoy the wealth which our labour creates.
STATE OF THE NATION
(Issued by the Socialist Youths League)
WE MUST FIGHT DEREGULATION NOW!
All talk and no action, for us is ranting! This has been the lot of those who are saddled with the responsibilities of protecting the rights of the working people i.e. NLC and TUC since the Federal Government decided to “remove oil subsidy”.
One has to start by exposing some set of press galivantists who go by the name- Campaign against waste (CAW). They have been trying to mobilize Nigerians to support their already exposed robbery policy of deregulation. CAW believes that Nigerians are foolish and can be lured into believing that the oil subsidy removal is in favour of some politicians who gain from it. That argument exposes the real corruption behind the subsidy itself. How can you subsidize oil for Nigerians when it actually belongs to them? And even when you subsidize and it is looted, a sensible government would ARREST THE LOOTERS.
So, once Jonathan and his allies are not ready to arrest those looters, the onus lies on organized labour to force them to. In other words, part of the actions NLC/TUC should immediately take is to demand the names of the looters from the senate and take full political and legal actions. Also we are not taken aback by the positions of different political parties who go against JONATHAN/PDP on deregulation because they only paid lip service to the welfare of the people. The truth is; most parties go against deregulation due to electoral politricks. This is why various alternative proffered by the parties are hypocritical and indifferent. For instance a party believes that allocation should be review before deregulation policy is effected. The position is hypocritical, greedy and grossly anti-people i.e. Jonathan should first increase state allocation before dealing a harsh economic blow to the people.
Standing against deregulation on the basis of prosecuting those who stole the “oil subsidy” and building refineries is like speaking the half truth by not hitting the nail on the head. We al know that anti-graft agencies in the country are foot-soldiers of the chief-looters, but corruption can only be fought through system change. So, the only pro-people solution is for the oil to be nationalized only for the full benefit of the people under the democratic control of the working people.
In all, we want to implore students, youths, artisans and working people that the recurring anti-people policies like SAP, NEEDS, PPP and deregulation are products of imperialism that is fostered on Nigeria by global capitalism. We urge all people who are change agents to mobilize and organize against the genocidal economic policy called deregulation. We call on NLC/TUC to stop their mouth and paper resistances and organize real mass action and must not wait for Jonathan/PDP/IMF to implement. NANS leadership, civil societies and real pro-masses organization are called upon to mobilize and join the campaign against “oil subsidy” removal now. Nigerians are angry with this rotten system. Their fury must be channeled properly by organizing, mobilizing and acting now.
WORKERS AND YOUTH! UNITE AND FIGHT!!
for SYL, Osun State Council
Mayhem in Damaturu
By Yusuf Lawal
Boko Haram went on rampage once again in the first week of November. This was in Damaturu, Yobe state and resulted in the loss of more than 150 lives. The sectarian group organised a coordinated spate of suicide bombings and shootings of innocent citizens at police stations, government offices, churches and mosques.
This recent despicable act goes to show how a major danger in defining struggle on sectarian basis, particularly when this is religious. Even within a religion, most violent fundamentalists –be they Moslems, Christians, Buddhists, Animists or any believers of any other creed- do not see fellow religionists as being “pure” so long as they do not belong to their sectarian cults. This is why even mosques were attacked by the Boko Haramists.
The contradictions of the capitalist system, as we have rightly pointed out on a number of occasions in SWB are at the roots of the Boko Haram contestation with the Nigerian state. Not based on a class analysis which realises that the wealthy oppressors are the enemy their “struggle” is being waged in a counter-productive many in which most of the lives that are claimed are those of poor working people who are Christians, Moslems etc.
The ease with which the sect strikes and gets away with it, despite the fact that most times they make information available of their intent and targets also points at two possibilities. One is that the Nigerian police is totally ineffective, except when they are being used to oppress poor unarmed people. The second is that there are supporters of Boko Haram within the Nigerian elite.
While the first possibility might very well be a fact, the second one has been confirmed by information that several Boko Haram operatives had been arrested over the last four years who were eventually handed over to some emirs and other members of the Nigerian elite, who stand surety for them and assure the state that these merchants of violence would subsequently be of good behaviour.
Interestingly, even one of those involved in the UN House bombing was arrested a few years back by the SSS but a prominent emir got him released, as reported by Wikileaks. Why do some sections of the elite give tactical support such as this to groups like Boko Haram? Could the reason be based on religion, ethnicity or regional affiliation?
These are elements of our lived realities which capitalist elite all over the world manipulate to serve their interests and for the continuity of this oppressive system. In the case of Boko Haram, the emirs try to present themselves as guardians of the north. This is however the same north where poverty is so rife whilst the children of the emirs and other elite live in luxury.
The mayhem in Damaturu once again confirms the fact that the problem is not primarily one of religion. Moslems as well as Christians where killed in their places of worship. Close collaboration between Boko Haram and members of the elite also point at the fact that there is a crucial need to organise working people in the north around a revolutionary socialist agenda. The same of course is also true for the south and globally.
Our emancipation from the exploitation and oppression which we all suffer as working people and which disregard our creed or where we come from can be won only by overthrowing the present system, politically as a class.
Osun: striking lecturers refuse palliative
The Council of Academic Staff Unions in Osun-Owned Tertiary Institutions (CASUOSTI) on October 31 rejected the state government’s proposal of 75% salary increase. Lecturers at the state-owned: Polytechnic Iree, College of Technology Esa-Oke and Colleges of Education Ilesha and Ila-Oragun, united on the CASUOSTI platform have been on strike since August.
The demands of the workers are for: the implementation of the CONTISS 2007 salary structure; 7% academic allowance as enjoyed in other states; implementation of CONPOCASS 2009 salary structure (for polytechnic lecturers) &; 65 years retirement age as endorsed by the NBTE & approved by the Federal Government. In this light, the 75% increase proposed by the state government amounts to mere palliatives to undermine their legitimate struggle, especially as lecturers in other states’ higher institutions have been receiving the benefits being demanded.
The lecturers have vowed to carry on with the strike till their demands are fully met. The SWL Osun State Council and SYL branches in the affected institutions have been very active in supporting the strike thus far. We will continue to stand by the lecturers until victory is won.
LGs workers ground Kogi state
Local Government Councils’ offices in Kogi state were shut down on November 1, as workers on the platform of NULGE commenced an indefinite strike. Comrade Tom Abutu, the NULGE Kogi State President rightly asserted “we are on strike and all the 21 local government secretariats are under lock and key”
The workers demand is for the implementation of the relativity salary increase, which workers at the state level have been benefitting. NULGE had issued an ultimatum which the state government ignored. Its attempts at cajoling the union at the last minute were duly rebuffed.
SWL fully supports the Kogi local government workers strike and the League’s cadres in the state will participate actively in picketing and any further action the union pursues in defense of workers.
Weather forecasters set for strike
The 1,500 workers in the Nigerian Meterological Agencey (NIMET), who are members of the Amalgamated Union (AUPCTRE), are set to commence an indefinite strike action from November 9. The demand of the workers is for the 53.37% relativity increment in public sector workers’ salaries since last year to be extended to them.
AUPCTRE had issued first a 21-day ultimatum and then a 7-day extension of the ultimatum which expired on November 1. The union kept the strike on hold when it seemed government was ready for negotiations after the subsequent 7-day extension. This was because of its consideration of the severe impact a NIMET workers strike would have on aviation, the oil industry and certain agricultural enterprises, all of which rely daily for NIMET forecasts.
The FGN however revealed itself to be merely stalling and as typical of capitalist governments is really not ready to grant workers their rights without struggle. The stage is now set for what could turn out to be a far-reaching strike. The union has commenced circulation of leaflets and other materials to enlighten the public on its forthcoming industrial action.
SWL which has over the years had close relations with AUPCTRE will give all the support it can to AUPCTRE in this legitimate struggle. We shall join NIMET workers on the picket lines across the country and participate actively in mobilising public support for the impending strike.
ASUU: STRIKE FROM 12/11
E. ‘Todun Jagun
University lecturers in Nigeria organised as ASUU will commence an indefinite strike action on November 22, if the FGN still remains adamant in not implementing the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties in October 2009. That date is based on the timeline government proposed at the meeting it held with ASUU on September 22, when it had summoned a warning strike. But all indications point at lack of good faith on the part of the FGN.
At the meeting, ASUU had reiterated its demands which had been accepted in the MoU for: annual increment in budgetary provision for education towards meeting the UNESCO recommendation of 26%; adequate funding to revamp public universities; payment of accrued allowances &; retirement age of 70years for professors.
Nigeria’s elites do not consider education particularly that which working people’s children could benefit from, as a priority issue.
As Professor Emmanuel Ajisegiri, the Ibadan zone coordinator of the union pointed out during a press conference on October 31: “It only took the federal government three days to approve 81 billion for INEC and this also passed through the National Assembly…the Central Bank of Nigeria also released N450 billion to ailing banks recently. But ASUU has been agitating for just N67 billion for years, yet government has turned a deaf ear.”
While public universities are made to suffer, most children of the elite attend private universities in the country that charge up to a million naira per session as tuition fees or even go outside the shores of the land to school. The struggle of ASUU is our collective struggle in defense of public universities.
It is also part of the broader struggle to salvage tertiary education in the country. In several polytechnics, mono-technics, & colleges of education, lecturers have gone on strikes in recent times. Students have also been forced to demonstrate against increments in school fees and for better conditions of education. These show the need for united action to save the education sector.
The various unions of lecturers, teachers, non-academic & administrative staff and students need to establish a common platform to build a collective and more decisive force that can challenge the various governments and struggle to turn the degenerating state of public education around. The formation of CASUOSTI in Osun state and its close collaboration with the students’ movement is a great example of how such united front could be built and how effective it could be.
Such a united front in defense of education would need to work closely with the broader labour movement which includes trade unions, NLC, TUC & such progressive coalitions as the Joint Action Front (JAF) & UAD.
The crisis of the education sector is a part of the broader crises of the capitalist system. At the root of this dilemma is the fact that the system puts profit over people and the greed of a few over the needs of the immense majority. To ultimately resolve the problems confronting the education sector, we would have to overthrow capitalism and build a socialist alternative where the unfettered development of the masses, is the sole criterion for policies, which would be formulated and implemented by we the working people ourselves.
Socialist Worker monthly; N500,000.00 appeal
Socialist Workers Bulletin has in the past three months come to have a broad readership within the working class movement across the country. Socialist Workers League appreciates this confidence in us by workers which is borne out of deep roots established through work within the trade unions and amongst rank and file workers over the years.
We are at a very critical point in the history of Nigeria and indeed that of humankind. The rising waves of resistance and revolution points at the deepening of the class struggle as we, working people rise to emancipate ourselves.
A revolutionary workers newspaper is a crucial element of building organisation for revolution. It serves as a collective educator, mobilizer, organiser and tribune of the workers. SWL intends to build such a newspaper.
From January, we shall commence the monthly publication of Socialist Worker, a 12-page, full-coloured, national newspaper of worker. To do this, we need your help. Members of SWL are working people and youths, who make sacrifices to carry out activities as workers within working people.
We are thus appealing to you: workers, students, trade unions, students unions, community based organisations, civil society organisations and all who believe in the revolutionary struggle against capitalism and for a better society, which we stand for.
The estimated amount for the first few months of publication is N500,000.00. We know that his is a huge amount for those of us that are not moneybags like the elite who oppress us. No amount is too small; our little drops of water will make up this ocean of funds. Every single kobo donate will be acknowledged and duly accounted for.
Payments are to be made to: account name; socialist league, account number; 2591050031064.
We shall continue with the bi-weekly publication of your bulletin, the SWB, while Socialist Youths League, the SWL structure on branches will commence the publication of Socialist Youth! this month, as well. Together, with consistent conscientization and organising, we shall change the system. Donate and organise as we fight for socialism in our lifetime!
Reinstate Ogunruku NOW!
Comrade Olawale “Ogunruku” still remains denied of his due studentship by t Obafemi Awolow University’s management, for no just cause. Every one of the five students who illegitimately deprived of their studentships for daring to demand the withdrawal of increment of school fees has been reinstated by the school authorities.
The reason for Ogunruku’s continued victimisation is not far-fetched. The management of AwoVarsity is not unaware of his principled stand as a socialist over the last two years and feel threatened of his role as a mobiliser on the campus. The present continued victimisation of the student would however be met by stiff resistance. The SYL OAU branch has commenced a reinstatement campaign, leafleting and pasting posters on campus.
A national campaign will be organised if the management of the school remains recalcitrant. Students at Awo Varsity would however be central to his reinstatement through lecture boycotts and demonstrations.