CWI African Commission discusses perspectives and building a socialist alternative

Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI Nigeria) stall, July 2021

The African Commission of the Committee for a Workers International (CWI) met by zoom in July. The CWI is an international socialist organization that aims to build national sections which intervene in struggles in individual countries but are also part of a worldwide struggle of the working class against capitalism and for a socialist alternative.

At the African Commission meeting were comrades from the Marxist Workers Party (MWP) and Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), which are the CWI sections in South Africa and Nigeria respectively. Also in attendance were comrades from the CWI’s International Secretariat, as well as the Socialist Party in England and Wales.

The meeting coincided with the outbreak of horrific riots in South Africa which, as noted by Comrade Weizmann, who led the discussion on South Africa, marks in terms of scale and intensity a new turning point of the crisis in the country.

The violence was on the surface a reaction to the ruling of the Constitutional Court which jailed the former president, Jacob Zuma, for boycotting a corruption trial. However, in reality, this outburst reflects, on the one hand, the anger and frustration of the masses in this “most unequal country on the continent”, with some seeing the riot as an opportunity to get some groceries and other essentials to survive for a few days. On the other hand, it is also a result of the internal struggle within different power blocs in the ruling ANC, some of whom in cahoots with criminal elements instigated the riots for their own ends. However, an important development even as the crisis unfolded is the emergence of local initiatives by the working class and poor to defend their communities through the creation of defense committees and other formations.

As comrades Weizmann, and Shaun in his reply, emphasized, this new horrific crisis only goes to prove the urgent necessity for the building of a mass workers party, which the MWP has been campaigning for by calling for the re-convening of the Working Class Summit, initiated by the Saftu trade union federation in 2018.

Enormous anger and readiness to struggle

In Nigeria, the youth revolt last year, dubbed #EndSARS, which at its height demonstrated the enormous anger and readiness to struggle of the youth to struggle, has given way to sectarian strife of all kinds. Comrade Soweto while leading off on the situation in Nigeria described the horrific nature of the crisis, with daily killings and kidnapping by bandits, Boko Haram/ISWAP militants, criminal Fulani herdsmen and others. This has provoked new agitation for secession in the Southwest, while intensifying the old agitation for a separate and sovereign state of Biafra in the South East.

The Buhari APC regime, which is dominated by the Northern elite, has responded with more state terror, attacks on journalists, protesters, banning of Twitter and general repression. This has further intensified the crisis and complicated the national question. Unfortunately, the labour movement has provided no bold answer to this worsening situation. Shoots of struggles like last year’s aborted September general strike, and the ongoing workers’ struggle in Kaduna against mass sackings, have demonstrated the capacity for united and bold struggle by the working class but which is effectively blocked by the labour leadership that does not want to challenge capitalism.

Comrade Pelad in his reply to the discussion explained how just as in South Africa, the CWI in Nigeria face the task of campaigning for the rebuilding of a democratic and fighting labour movement, as well as a mass workers’ party on a socialist programme. The DSM, despite fighting at the law court to defend the right of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) to stand in elections, has continued to support any initiative to build such a mass workers’ party. This explains while we are currently intervening in a new initiative called, “The Peoples Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M)”.

In contributions and other exchanges by all participants, the need to strengthen the two national sections of the CWI was emphasized, alongside seeking new opportunities to recruit and develop our forces in different parts of the continent, to bring the ideas and programme of socialism to working class and radical elements on the continent. This means the African Commission, as articulated by Comrade Bob, from the CWI”s International Secretariat, in his introduction, needs to meet more regularly and draw a systematic plan for the intense work required to accomplish this objective.

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August 2021