AGAINST TERRORISM IN ALL FORMS
WORKERS MUST RESIST THE TERRORISMS OF BOTH BOKO HARAM AND THE BOSSES!!
The war between Boko Haram and the Federal Government, in the north east is fast assuming new dimensions, with the sect seizing over a dozen communities within the three states under state of emergency.
According to the government, over 12,000 people have been killed in the conflict, 8,000 maimed and 700,000 displaced from their homes, since the insurgency started.
But the government is silent about the fact that the army (and police) has killed as many people as Boko Haram has killed.
Similarly, about $14bn is claimed to have been spent on defence and the National Assembly is debating a request for another loan of a further billion dollars. But rank and file soldiers are ill equipped, badly paid and poorly motivated.
As working class activists, we must stand against all forms of terrorism. We want to build a better society, a task which only the working class can fulfill because of our central place in the process of social production and our solidarity.
The socialist character of such a society will only be won through democratic mass action. Self-emancipation and not individual terrorism is what we need. Thus, as socialists, SWL stands against the terror tactics of Boko Haram.
But, the Federal Government is equally using institutionalized terror tactics and wants us to support these. Extra-judicial murders, detentions without trials and other human rights abuses by the army, police and secret police (SSS) have been recorded by local and international rights bodies.
If we accept such methods there is no guarantee that they will not be used against activists. Indeed, the major targets of government’s terrorism over the years have been activists. Human rights violations under the any guise, including “war on terror” must be condemned.
The root causes of the insurgency spreading across the north are: the social-economic deprivation of millions of poor people, and; manipulation of religion by members of the ruling class.
We must insist that the politicians and businessmen who fund Boko Haram are brought to book. We must also fight against the capitalist system which has made poverty, illiteracy, hunger and disillusionment the lot of the poor working masses in the north east and all over Nigeria. We must stand firm in saying No to all forms of terrorism.
THE 12 SOLDIERS MUST NOT BE KILLED
The condemnation of 12 rank and file soldiers to death by a court martial must be resisted by all well-meaning Nigerians. This is nothing but an attempt to strike fear into the hearts of soldiers so that they will go to their deaths, while the Generals feed fat on the budgetary allocations for the ministry of defence.
It is clear that the morale of lower ranks in the war is low generally. Almost 500 soldiers also deserted to Cameroon. Several Nigerians have pointed out why: poorly paid, ill equipped, what do you expect?
Further, how many senior officers have died there? They are in the comfort of their air-conditioned offices and jeeps, while rank and file soldiers go to the warfront to face much more sophisticated weapons in the hands of Boko Haram fighters.
It is high time soldiers elect their officers. This will make the top brass to give the rank and file’s welfare top priority. More importantly, the army as a separate body from the masses is an instrument of the ruling class to maintain their domination over the working masses and defend the interests of the rich elites.
The greatest defence force of the people is we the people ourselves. The 1999 constitution allows for universal military training for all able-bodied citizens. But the Federal Government has not invoked this section, despite the bold armed struggle of youths in Borno and neighboring states who have organized themselves as the Civilain JTF against Boko Haram, why?
Obviously, the ruling class does not want to arm the people. The poor people fighting against Boko Haram now could ask questions tomorrow that “why are we poor and a few of you so rich?”, with arms in their hands!
Rank and file soldiers are part of the poor working masses. The ruling class realizes this. That is why the sentence against the 12 soldiers was passed. It is an attempt to remind other poor people in the lower ranks that they are supposed to merely be tools in the hands of the rich and their state.
This is the more reason why we must vigorously campaign that these men must not be killed. SWL thus categorically calls on all workers, poor farmers, artisans, women and youth to SAY NO TO THE DEATH SENTENCE OF THE 12 SOLDIERS.
NLC STATE LEVEL SCHOOLS; EDUCATION FOR WORKERS
Organizing brings workers, togather uniting us and thus concentrating our power as labour to win improvements in our wages and living conditions, through collective action, and also to change the world.
Education is critical to this process by raising.our consciousness to grasp the connections between our various struggles now and in the past, with the ultimate aim of bringing to birth a new world based on solidarity and cooperation through workers’ power. The NLC State Level School serves this purpose of working class education for members of NLC affiliates across the country.
It is a platform for workers’ education through sessions of “learning together” for union members, every Wednesday for ten weeks. This has been going on for nine years. There are modules for each session on key topics like: trade union history, state and economy, collective bargaining, grievance handling, gender mainstreaming, HIV and AIDS, labour law and trade union finance. The Participatory Active Learning Method (PALM) is used, with most discussions taking place in small groups.
Trade union activists participating at the FCT State Level School have been very enthusiastic in sharing experiences and ideas over the last five weeks. Robust discussions have taken place with the sole aim of building workers’ power in the workplaces. Several participants bought copies of Socialist Worker and four participated at the SWL symposium to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the Marikana massacre where the award-winning film by Rehad Desai Miners Shot Down was screened.
UAD commemorates Chima
Activists from all parts of the country gathered at Aba, on September 20 to 22. They were from affiliates of the United Action for Democracy and had come for the National Coordinating Council (NCC) meeting of UAD and to commemorate the 9th year anniversary of the deaths of Chima Ubani and Tunji Oyeleru.
Chima was a committed activist who dedicated his entire adult life to the struggle for a better society, while Tunji Oyeleru was the photo editor of Vanguard newspaper. They both met their untimely ends in a ghastly auto crash at Potiskum, during the Labour and Civil Society Coalition’s mass mobilisation against fuel pump price increment.
During the “June 12 struggle”, Chima acquired national fame for his fearless pursuit of the demands of the pro-democracy movement for: an end to military rule; the formation of a mass-based provisional government and; the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference.
Correctly described as a “People’s General” after his death, Chima was never tired despite his arrest ad torture by the Abacha regime. He was central to the formation of the United Action for Democracy on March 17, 1997, as a renewed platform of collective action.
UAD remains the only pan-Nigerian coalition of pro-democratic civil society organisations committed to changing the system through mass resistance.
Speaking after the coalition’s NCC, the National Convener, Comrade Baba Aye, informed that UAD will forge closer relations with trade unions at all levels and will mobilise other patriotic Nigerians and civic organisations to demand a referendum on the proposals of the National Conference for a new constitution, through a nationwide signatures campaign.