CAN THE CEASEFIRE WORK?
INSURGENCY REFLECTS A DEEPER CRISIS ROOTED IN CAPITALISM: WE NEED SYSTEM CHANGE NOW
The recent ceasefire reached between the Federal Government and Boko Haram has been hailed by many Nigerians as a herald of peace.
But within days after this declaration, there have been fierce battles in the main conflict zone with dozens of insurgents, soldiers and civilians killed.
This raises fundamental questions about the possible enthronement of peace without changing the capitalist system at the root of the crisis in particular and the general socio-economic and political crises in the country and globally, in general.
As activists, we must not lose sight of the fact that so long as the majority live in poverty, there will always be rebellion in one form or the other.
Where revolutionary forces are not well organised and sections of the ruling class manipulate such mass anger to divide the working people, the coast becomes clear for groups masquerading as being anti-establishment to recruit discontent youth to wage war against the state.
In the particular case of insurgency in the northeast and beyond, SWL has always argued that Boko Haram is just one piece of a larger jigsaw of desperation and poverty of poor people on one hand and the manipulation of religion by different sections of the elite on the other hand.
That is to say that the Boko Haram conflict is bigger than Boko Haram which itself now, not surprisingly, has several factions. So militarily smashing or reaching ceasefire agreements with one Boko Haram or the other cannot solve the problem.
Negotiations and agreements can be okay as a stop-gap measure, particularly to secure the release of the Chibok Government Girls School pupils and other abductees, for example.
But in the final analysis, there is the need for us to build strong working class organisations, especially a working people’s party, with a revolutionary socialist programme.
These would present concrete alternatives to the dog-eat-dog capitalist system and lead the working masses in struggle to change the system, and build society on the basis of solidarity and cooperation.
“BRING BACK OUR GIRLS” MARCH ON ASO ROCK
Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) advocacy group “Abuja family” organised yet another procession to Aso Rock Villa on October 9.
This rally, organised 183 days after the abduction of almost 300 Chibok Government Girls School pupils, was part of a series of protests activities organized around the demand for over 200 of the girls still in captivity to be brought back alive to join their families and loved ones. Earlier in the week, a seat out protest and a candle light vigil had been held.
The 168 day rally could not start at the Unity Fountain where it was earlier fixed for because hired “protesters” who mobilized in their numbers to stop the peaceful procession to Aso Rock, in collusion with armed military and police personnel, had taken over the area, in a bid to counter the procession of the Bring Back Our Girls group.
However, the activists and campaigners outsmarted the security apparatus by converging in another location (Giwa Park at Asokoro) and took another route from that advertised, to appear at Yakubu Gowon crescent where a combined team of heavily armed soldiers and anti-riot police prevented the advancement of the group into the presidential villa (Aso Rock).
The FCT Commissioner of police addressed the leadership of the movement and pleaded with the protesters to exercise patience for about 15 minutes, after which somebody from the presidency will come and address the crowd. And exactly 15 minutes later, the Minister for Women Affairs Hajiya Zainab Maina, and her entourage were brought to address the crowd.
The Minister in her address claimed that the president was not around to address the protesters but is deeply concerned about the plight of the abducted Chibok school pupils and their families. She said the presidency is doing everything within its means to ensure the safe release of the girls.
But the campaigners wondered why the Presidency had not been able to furnish Nigerians with a progress report of its effort to get the students released, 168 days after the abduction.
Socialist Workers League members, who were part of the procession, argued that the Government is not making any significant effort to ensure that the abducted girls were released. This brings to question the efficiency of a government that cannot guarantee the security of citizens’ lives.
It also calls to question any justification for the huge sums of money yearly earmarked for security as well as the activities of the military force, which in its actions have killed more people than the Boko Haram since the start of state of emergency in the affected states.
We have to realise that the Boko Haram insurgency is part of the crisis of capitalism where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, leading to explosions which might assume the clothing of “religion” or ethnic tensions.
SWL has always called for negotiations between the Federal Government and Boko Haram not because we have any illusion that this will bring an end to the insurgency in the north east, but so as to ensure the Chibok students return back home.
Examples of such approach can be seen in the case of the Cameroonian government, which negotiated the release of kidnapped persons from the hands of the insurgents and even the United States which exchanged several Taliban leaders in Afghanistan for an American soldier. We thus welcome the ceasefire, to an extent. This is to the extent that the Chibok girls are brought back home and alive.
NLC STATE LEVEL SCHOOLS GRADUATE 2014 SET
The 10-week NLC State Level Schools with the aim of raising workers’ consciousness on trade union and political issues across all states in the country came to an end at Abuja, on Wednesday October 15.
During the closing ceremony, the class Provost Com. Sani Adisa emphasised the fact that participants were more aware as working class activists than they were before coming to the school.
There were fraternal messages from leaders of affiliate unions and the Socialist Workers League all of which encouraged participants to spread the knowledge they had acquired in the course of study at the school in their various workplaces.
There was equally a general consensus that the enthusiasm for learning of the 2014 set was unparalleled, by most union leaders that have witnessed the activities of several sets since the schools started, and the facilitators as well.
Comrade Baba Aye in his message observed that in the ten years of the school’s existence a significant impact could be noticed in the awareness it has brought to shop stewards.
He also suggested the need for symposiums, and shop floor education activities to be organised regularly by the NLC State Council. Former participants at the schools, he said, should be ambassadors of the working class’ worldview amongst rank and file workers.
On the heels of his suggestion, he formally informed the leadership and participants of the upcoming symposium with the theme: Labour Party and The Working Class-The Way Forward which is being planned by the Socialist Workers League in collaboration with the Labour Party FCT Chapter to hold at the Labour House Abuja on Thursday October 30, 2014.
The FCT council Chairman of NLC, Comrade Yahaya Abdullahi advised that every union activist should go back and sensitize members at the workplaces and communities on the need to make the Labour Party genuinely a workers’ party. He further reiterated that, for NLC to take over the party, it must be funded by the workers not the politicians.
Baba Aye at this juncture supported the Chairman’s view, asserting that Nigerian workers can build the Labour Party anew only when it is independent and this requires it to be funded by workers through membership dues and unions support or grants.
He concluded by admonishing participants to be in attendance at the forth coming symposium at the Labour House where the issue will be on the front burner, as only we, the workers ourselves can determine our fate, including building the party and winning our self-emancipation.
The Abuja branch of the Socialist Workers League is organising a symposium in conjunction with the FCT Chapter of the Labour Party, to foster discussions by rank and file workers and activists on the possible steps necessary for building a labour party of the workers, by the workers, for the working class’ self-emancipation.
The theme of the symposium which is taking place on Thursday October 30, 2014 at the Labour House auditorium is: Labour Party and the Working Class: Which Way Forward?
Confirmed speakers for the symposium are:
- Comrade Joe Ajaero: General Secretary NUEE/Chairman NLC Political Commission;
- Comrade Musa Lawal: Secretary General, Trade Union Congress
- Comrade Lucy Offiong: Vice President/Chairperson NLC National Women Commission;
- Comrade Bashir Lawal: Secretary General, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN);
- Comrade Leke Zambuk: General Secretary, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE);
- Comrade Isa Aremu: General Secretary, National Union of Textiles, Garments and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN);
- Comrade Yahaya D. Abdullahi: State Chairman, NLC FCT Council
- Comrade Jaye Gaskia: Coordinator, Protest to Power Movement;
- Comrade Olushakin: Chairman, National Automobile Technicians Association (NATA)
- Comrade Felix Che Oyinatumba; Chairman, Labour Party FCT Abuja Chapter;
- Comrade Baba Aye: National Chairperson, Socialist Workers League
You cannot afford NOT to be there! Come, and invite your colleagues and friends at work and in your neighbourhood. Let us together deliberate towards building the party we need, to fight for our rights and bring to birth a new world on the ashes of the capitalist system!