May Day: Imperative of Working Class Solidarity and Revolution

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On 1 May, workers worldwide celebrate May Day, also which is the International Workers’ Day. It carries profound significance for the workers in Nigeria, as part of the international working class. The day serves as a potent reminder of workers’  struggles, and hard-fought victories, inspiring continued solidarity to fight against persisting injustices and exploitation faced by workers today, globally.

Rooted in the late 19th-century labour movement’s struggle for better working conditions, May Day symbolises the relentless fight for improved working conditions and fundamental rights. The historic Haymarket affair of 1886 in the United States, where workers demanding an eight-hour workday were met with brutal repression, epitomises the spirit of resistance that birthed this commemoration. Nigeria has a storied history of labour activism, marked by courageous efforts of unions to secure fair wages, safe workplaces, and social welfare benefits for workers.

On May Day, workers traditionally celebrate the solidarity of our class  It is also a day for us to draw attention to the need for the labour movement’s struggle to be taken up with a more radical approach, in Nigeria. Rather than seeking mere concessions from employers and policymakers, we need to fight for a revolutionary transformation of society, t to dismantle the exploitative and oppressive structures of capitalism and build a more equitable society, with a socialist programme.

The emancipation of the working class in Nigeria and globally cannot be won with incremental reforms.  Widespread unemployment, rampant exploitation, precarious employment arrangements, and inadequate wages combined perpetuate cycles of poverty for workers and unending social inequality. Addressing these issues requires more than just piecemeal measures or token gestures. The structure of the capitalist system facilitates our exploitation. So we need systemic change, which we can win only with a socialist revolution.

Solidarity among the working class is essential for fostering a revolutionary spirit that can challenge the dominance of the ruling class. It necessitates transcending divisions of ethnicity, religion, and political affiliation to unite in a common struggle for justice and liberation. As workers, we must consistently utilise our collective power and organise effectively to confront the forces that perpetuate our oppression.

The path to a workers’ revolution requires a fundamental reimagining of society, one where workers are not merely cogs in the machinery of capitalism but active participants in shaping our destinies. Grassroots organising, education, and mobilisation efforts are essential in building a broad-based movement capable of effecting revolutionary change.

May Day should be a day of reflection and a call to action for our fight to transform society. It is a call to arms for Nigerian workers to rise, challenge the injustices we face, and strive for a future that we will build together with dignity, free of wage slavery to the capitalist bosses and all oppressors. 

In conclusion, as we mark another May Day in Nigeria, let us heed the call for a workers’ revolution. We should stop believing in small changes and start fighting for a complete transformation through revolution. Together as workers, we have the power to create a more just and liberated society.

And our battle cry must be “Workers of all lands unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains and a world to gain!”

by Kaleb UTANGE

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