We Are Digging the Graves of Our Oppressors Across Nigeria

1531
protesters at the 26 February JAF-CORE protest. Photo credits: BBC

“The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers”

These words of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The Communist Manifesto highlight the inevitable collapse and destruction of the capitalist mode of production, which is rooted in the maximisation of the exploitation of working people by the capitalists, who own the key means of production in society.      

Marx, in his lifetime, argued that the logic of capitalism would lead to its planting the seeds of its demise. The brutal stinging whips of economic exploitation of the workers who create the social wealth on one hand, and the need to organise them in large numbers as a central part of large-scale production will both contribute to raising their class consciousness and promoting their combination into collective bodies to fight for their class interests.       

In Nigeria today, the ruling class has imposed an avalanche of anti-people economic policies on the working class since this administration was inaugurated on May 29th, 2023.                          

The immediate removal of the fuel subsidy announced by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at his inauguration was an ominous first step. It was the opening firing of a canon in what has now become a siege being laid by the Nigerian ruling class on the economic rights of the people.

With the removal of subsidy, and the sky-high increase in the pump price of petrol, came the rise in the prices of almost all other products in the Nigerian consumer market due to how closely linked most sectors such as agriculture and transportation are with petrol prices. Food inflation, for example, has hit record-breaking numbers.

The Federal Government’s decision to float the Naira against the dollar, leaving “the laws of demand and supply” to determine the exchange rate as opposed to pegging a fixed rate seems to have added more mud to this already messy sty of the Nigerian economy.

As a heavily import-reliant nation, the effects of the flying exchange rates could be felt on the dinner tables of the poor working people in Nigeria. Rice, which is mostly imported, now may be falling off the category of a staple food in Nigeria. Technological goods have also seen an astronomical increase in prices as well.

Only recently, the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) announced an increase in interest rates by 4% which now leaves it at 22.75% as at the end of February 2024. This is based on a neoliberal economic framework with the aim to curb inflation. But the lesson that can be learnt from other climes and similar efforts in Nigeria as well is that it will have little to no effect on assuaging the economic wounds of Nigerians at this harrowing moment.

All of this looks like the perfect page out of the Bretton Woods playbook. The overall economic policy of Nigeria is indistinguishable from the IMF(International Monetary Fund) and World Bank recommended policies for the neocolonial economies of the so-called developing countries. Steps such as devaluation of the currency, increase in interest rates, and removal of subsidies fit the prescription of these modern-day imperialist organisations.

The policies being implemented are reservations for the cheapest back-row seats in the periphery of the theatre of the global capitalist system based on an extractivist economy which is geared essentially towards the production of primary commodities like minerals and agricultural produce. That is a seat our political elite are more than happy to occupy, so long as they continue to have access to steal huge amounts from the public treasury.

These policies have been fashioned to favour big capital i.e. the international conglomerates, the big banks and financiers. They all profit from the current state of the Nigerian economy, to our detriment. We, the poor working people and youth in Nigeria, bear the brunt of their gain.      

Just as Marx noted, the capitalist system will birth its grave-diggers. And in Nigeria, we can now see the seeds of resistance to the system sprouting all over.

From Chadawa in Sokoto to Egerege in Baylesa, the Nigerian people have now been confronted with crippling hardship, and they have gotten up on their feet to march in resistance to the government’s anti-people policies. The one who clamoured for the poor to be allowed to breathe has become a boa constrictor wrapped around our necks.

There has never been a time in Nigeria’s history where the economic interests of the people have been protected. The poor have been relegated to the category of sub-human: unworthy of even the most basic of human needs, like food, shelter and dignity.

What has happened now in recent months has been the deepened erosion of the already fleeting middle class. The pangs of hunger extend to them gradually like a house being swallowed by erosion — slowly, gradually, until its eventual collapse into the state of want, hunger, disillusionment and anger in which the working class has already found itself.       

From Chadawa to Egerege, the working people and their organisations, including the trade unions, have taken to the streets to demonstrate the power of our collective action. The exploited Nigerians have directed a clear statement at the government: we will fight to ENDHUNGER.

Although, Organised Labour under the umbrella of the (Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has pulled out of the protests and extended its ultimatum to the Nigerian government to remedy the current situation we have not seen the last of the Nigerian people collectively registering their displeasure to the ruling class.

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles… Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another.” -(The Communist Manifesto)

In these times, as an affected Nigerian, and also a revolutionary socialist, I hope, and I believe all my comrades hope so as well, that this is a moment where we must educate, mobilise and organise to raise class consciousness and independent organisation within the Nigerian working class.

The Nigerian workers must know that they are confronted with a foe, whose interests are diametrically opposed to theirs, and whom we must struggle to defeat, and not appeal to.

This first round of protests, however successful, will hopefully be a forerunner of greater actions to come.

With the hunger and hardship unleashed on the Nigerian people all around the country, may our oppressors and exploiters find not even a square inch of shelter anywhere they run to at the hour of the people’s revolt.

A Luta Continua!

by Oghenero ABU

Comments

comments

Previous articleNigerians No Gree For Hunger And Oppression Again! From Resistance To Revolution Now: Fight For Total Liberation!! Nationwide Protest Kicks Off On 26 February: Join One & All!!!
Next articleNurses Struggle Against the New Verification Guidelines