#ENDSARS AND THE STRUGGLE FOR A MASS WORKERS’ PARTY: THE SPN JOURNEY
By Aj Dagga Tolar&Davy Fidel
If we can learn anything from a review of the year 2020, it is the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic revealed that the ruling elites cannot be relied upon to provide for the working masses in the face of any huge crisis or humanitarian emergency. This is a consequence of the failure of the ruling elites and the Nigerian Capitalist class to significantly develop the means of production, and by so doing provide the basis for the working class to set out to be able to provide for their basic needs and as well as improve the quality and standard of the existence of the masses.
The #EndSARS protest another landmark event of 2020 equally demonstrated the readiness of the working masses and youth to come into the arena of struggle against the ruling elites. However, any struggle against the ruling elites and indeed for a permanent improvement in the working and living conditions of the working masses, a mass party of the working people and youth must be built to contend and wrestle political power from the ruling elites. This is the very task of Trotskyism, a standard the MSA holds high.
Since the inception of civil rule in Nigeria in 1999, governance has been dominated by the pro-rich political parties. PDP was in power for 16 years and followed by the APC. These two parties have not demonstrated any difference both in policies and programmes. They have continued like the military regimes before them to implement neo-liberal, capitalist policies of deregulation, privatization and cuts in public funding of education, health, etc., even more fiercely.
Under the Buhari regime, electricity tariff has been increased not once but severally; same with the pump price of fuel and an attendant growing inflation of foods items and other essential commodities. Yet decade upon decade of the dominance of capitalism and its twin policies of deregulation and privatization, through both military regimes and their civilian counterparts, have failed to yield any diversification of the economy, indicating that only a government of the working people and youth, democratically managing the resources and wealth of society, can employ it to develop the means of production and bring about the needed diversification of all the sectors of the economy to the maximum possible level to benefit the working masses and the whole of society. Capitalism has demonstrated with its scorecard in Nigeria and the world that it is not capable of organizing society to meet the needs of the working masses except satisfying the greed for profit of the members of the billionaire club.
For this same reason, it seeks to dominate and monopolize power. It took a struggle led by the late Gani Fanwehmi to challenge and defy the proscription of political parties by the military dictatorship of the Abacha regime, which led to the formation of the National Conscience Party in 1994. It required a monumental political and legal battle with the support of socialists and other change seekers to win the party as an electoral platform even when civil rule had been birthed in 1999. It was this legal victory in 2002 that enabled the NCP to present Gani Fanwehmi as her presidential candidate to contest the 2003 General elections. An election that was massively monetized and rigged by the pro-rich parties of the PDP and the then AD. Rigging out the NCP from that election was to have a demoralizing effect on the founder of the party, who on the ground of age, decided to step aside from the leadership of the NCP, giving room for the Osagie Obayuwana-leadership of the NCP to emerge.
The new leadership was surrounded by a right-wing caucus, and soon launched an attack on the very backbone and most organized and strongest section of the party. It chose to behead the leadership of the party, even against the direct appeal of Gani Fawehinmi, Segun Sango and other leading members of the party in Lagos and Ogun were expelled. This was followed by an orientation to the Labour Party, with the formation of a Campaign for a Mass workers PARTY, canvassing workers to join the Labour Party (LP), but again it was clear that the labour leaders as represented by the egg heads of the labour movement represented by Sylvester Ejiofor. The LP soon rebuffed this move by socialist activists and put in place the necessary bureaucratic hurdles that will make the LP completely unattractive to workers. As far as the labour leaders were concerned, the LP was a party to be locked up in a box, only to be made available for the use of the members of the wealthy ruling elites, who can afford to pay the nomination fees. This was what led to the emergence of the likes of Mimiko and Fayose contesting elections in Ondo and Ekiti respectively under the standard of the party.
This was what left socialists organized, at the time, in the DSM from wherein the MSA emerged, to draw the conclusion to commence the quest and struggle for the registration of the Socialist Party of Nigeria. A struggle that had, even with all of the hurdles, led to the registration of the party. The party is taking on another political and legal battle for the SPN to be re-registered, after de-registration by the INEC that was nullified by the Court.
The MSA continues to be opposed to the cumbersome process of political party registration, which in reality is only aimed at preventing the working masses from organizing themselves politically, and permanently leaving them with the option of either joining a pro-rich political party to choose between any of the available stealing members of the ruling elites or become apolitical. The working masses must reject this and get organized. Political participation is everyone’s right, which is why the MSA canvasses the need for a mass Working People PARTY. A party not for the billionaires and millionaires but for the millions of labouring people, a party that would elect public officials on an average wage of the working people and would immediately recall them if they cease to represent the interest of the working masses. A party that will organize to END the rule and dominance of the economy by capitalism and its greed for profit, and place it under a democratically planned socialist economy.
Yet the road to a mass revolutionary workers party will not be a straight road, nor will it be a smooth one. This is why it is important to challenge INEC and the ruling elites, whose interest the electoral body is defending and representing through de-registration of political parties that are not partaking in electoral fraud, rigging, or violence, but for the spurious reason of not winning an election, when the electoral system is so organized and monetized to allow only those with looted funds of the state to win any electoral contest.
The point must be made that INEC does not have the constitutional power to de-register the SPN. MSA members who have remained active in the party will continue to challenge de-registration of SPN, both legally and politically. We must continue to build the party as a party of the working masses, the urban poor and the rural poor farmers, youth and students. The SPN must continue to organize and be at the forefront of the struggles of the working masses and youth; it must not like the pro-rich party function only as an electoral platform. While taking on these tasks, we must also explore the possibility of the emergence of a mass Workers PARTY, for only such a mass revolutionary party of the working masses can take up the task of accomplishing a revolution and end the disastrous rule of capitalism. We call on workers and youth to join the MSA and together let’s build the SPN.