Workers' Alternative With Dr Musa Bashir: Class Struggle In Nigeria Intensifies As JAF Declares For Socialism


The global crisis of capitalism, including the Nigeria’s revenue crisis, has led to explosion of class struggle in Nigeria as symbolized by the historic January 2012 Uprising. This has led to splits and cracks among the ruling elites ending the implosion of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and crisis of All Progressive Congress, APC’s merger. This crisis has also strengthened Marxist forces with the Joint Action Front, JAF (an association of the NLC and TUC) declaring for socialism as the way forward for Nigerian workers and the poor. The three major classes in Nigeria are building their weapons for the raging struggle. The liberal bourgeoisie are putting forward the illusion of APC “progressivism” and wooing some layers of petty bourgeoisie. The conservative wing are vacillating between remaining in PDP and providing veiled support for APC. The head of the Nigerian bureaucracy, President Jonathan, weakened by revenue crisis, is also vacillating between carrot and stick measures; between bribing opponents and employment of state’s security against them. The National Conference is the carrot-side of this zigzag strategy aimed at bribing some layers of petty bourgeoisie and also cashing into the latter’s ethnoreligious prejudices. 

How PDP Imploded?

The ruling PDP was never a party independent of state bureaucracy, as was obtainable in advanced bourgeois democracies of America and Europe. PDP was from day one a product and an extension of state/military bureaucracy. Of course this bureaucratic machinery was presented as a democratic alternative to military dictatorship. The truth of the matter us that the transition from military to PDP civilian rule is only one of form; the bureaucratic content remained the same. The leading role played by former dictators (OBJ, IBB, TY Danjuma etc) in the post-1999 civilian rule confirms this perspective. 

The inseparable connection between PDP and state bureaucracy was proven by the fact that the internal struggle within the latter (Federal Government versus Nigerian Governors’ Forum) triggered by revenue crisis; this struggle immediately found its expression within PDP as the rebellion of G7 governors, five of which and many lawmakers eventually defected to opposition APC. 

What is the Meaning of APC?

In backward countries like Nigeria, the opposition is a rule a representation of the less influential section of the bourgeoisie. State bureaucracy defines how influential a party of the bourgeoisie is. Now as Nigerian state bureaucracy went into a revenue  crisis, which was transmitted into the ruling PDP, illusions arose among different layers of petty bourgeoisie as to the emerging strength of opposition APC. But the absolute reliance of bourgeois parties on state bureaucracy was immediately proven by how quickly the APC leaders handed over the party structures in individual states to the defecting PDP governors. This dependence on state bureaucracy was proven on a second level by defection, in protest, of APC chiefteins to the ruling PDP. This blurring of borders between APC and PDP signifies how belated Nigerian bourgeoisie are; how it is absolutely impossible for them to be independent of state bureaucracy. 

What Does All This Mean for the Nigerian Working Class?

Is the Nigerian proletariat sleeping amidst all this? Absolutely not. This revolutionary class has also moved  not only spontaneously through strikes, including January 2012 Uprising, but also SUBJECTIVELY THROUGH JAF’S DECLARATION FOR SOCIALISM. And among the leftist organizations with a significant mass base only JAF can deservedly claim the title “vanguard of the Nigerian proletariat”. JAF enjoys this privileged position not because of my subjective preference but because of its objective revolutionary program of socialism, a program other civil organizations timidly avoid. JAF stands in relation to other civil society organizations the way vanguard of a class  stands in relation to its rearguard.

Now what should be the task of the Nigerian proletariat and its vanguard organization? For the proletarian vanguard, the task is to raise the consciousness of the Nigerian working class to a level where the latter will comprehend its historical task as a class. And by comprehending this task of the vanguard, we will judge the correctness or otherwise of rejecting APC and boycotting National Conference. And at this juncture, let me say this: the conscious and advanced layers of Nigerian workers are already aware that both APC and National Conference are deceptions by various sections of the bourgeoisie; our task is to build on this consciousness and organize these advanced layers into JAF and revolutionary socialism. We will be descending lower than these elements and discredit ourselves if we join, critically or otherwise, either the National Conference or APC. This is because the bankruptcy of both the National Conference and APC is to these conscious elements self-evident. Participating in the National Conference means lagging behind the unorganized yet conscious workers and youth. This is position befitting only of the rearguard not the vanguard of the working class. By boycotting the National Conference, JAF is aligning itself with the objective level of the consciousness of the advanced layers of workers and youth. JAF needs to rise even higher with its socialist programs. Those who choose to participate in the National Conference align themselves with the most backward strata of working class and petty bourgeoisie. Of course, we are also aware of the material NGOist basis of these “Conferencists” i.e. the billions of Naira budgeted for the National Conference.

Where is Nigeria Going? 

The foundation of the existence of Nigerian bourgeoisie, the state bureaucracy, was being shaken by the current revenue crisis (triggered by global crisis of capitalism and Shale Oil Revolution in United States). This means political crisis of the bourgeoisie that immediately manifested itself as PDP implosion. But President Jonathan remains the head of the battered yet powerful bureaucracy. The priveleged position occupied by Jonathan was revealed recently when when priminent APC leaders in Northern states of Kano and Sakkwato joined the ruling PDP. This clearly showed the limits of APC just as defection of G5 governors revealed the limits of PDP. Understandably, APC has adopted a pro-working class rhetoric to create some mass base and counter the overwhelming bureucratic power of PDP. Jonathan has also put forward National Conference as the bureucratic form of this populist deciet. The most pathetic section of the ruling classes are some conservative wing elements including Generals Obasanjo and IBB. These have no base anymore and keep on whining like small children in the so-called open letters. 

As the revenue crisis of Nigerian bureaucracy deepens, all bourgeois parties (PDP and APC) will get weaker and the working class and poor will be more agitated. Militarization of the society and illusions of National Conference and APC progressivism would be more prominent as means of derailing and aborting the revolutionary movement of the masses. Revolutionary socialism defended by JAF will also get more and more prominence. The perspective is one of intensified class struggle that will end either in revolutionary socialism or common ruin of all classes (barbarism). 

Some petty bourgeois elements underestimate the gravity of the economic and political crisis Nigeria is passing through. For these elements, everything reduces to contest of power between PDP and APC. These elements cannot see the global crisis of capitalism and the waves of revolutionary movements it triggered; even more tragic, these elements had f orgotten the historic January Uprising in Nigeria. The far-sighted bourgeoisie as well as Marxists know better; the January Uprising is the most important event in recent times and it is a dress rehearsal if what is to come. 

What is to be Done?

Fight illusions of APC “progressivism” and expose the deciet of National Conference. Build JAF as a fighting platform for the struggle for socialism all over the country. Let the advanced layers of workers and youth build an independent fighting organization for working class and poor. The current political  crisis is not electoral but revolutionary; the task is not sending PDP government out of power but socialist reconstruction of Nigeria through revolutionary means. 

*Down with PDP and APC!

*Down with National Conference!

*For Revolutionary Overthrow of Capitalism!

*For Socialist Reconstruction of Nigeria!

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