Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard, Nigerian Section of the RCIT, https://revolutionarysocialistvanguard.wordpress.com/. 16th September, 2021
The hubbub surrounding the recent passing into law of the bill which gives Lagos state government the powers to collect Value Added Tax (VAT) instead of the Federal government and moves by the Rivers state government to do same confirms our 5 months old position:
“…the national conflicts have crossed a Rubicon because just like the capitalist chaos that threw them up it will be nearly impossible to return to pre-crisis normal. In this case both the oppressor nations of the far north and the oppressed ethnic nationalities of the south are determined to change the balance of forces forever.”¹
This is further seen as more Southern states have begun passing Anti-Grazing laws. Similarly, the rejection of the Anti-Grazing laws and state collection of VAT by various northern groups and political figures especially with the strengthening of Sharia in Zamfara states proves this further as we have said in the past:
“However, such conquest and national oppression has reached such a climax due to the peaking crises of the capitalist system. The present chaotic dispensation of the capitalist system exacerbates other tensions upon which the system of exploitation is founded, part of this is national oppression. So not only do the oppressor Hausa-Fulani alliance of the far north have no other choice than to step up operations for their conquest, but the southern ruling class also finds it extremely difficult to continue to collude with the northern cabals. Hence, more notable figures of the southern ruling class have begun to campaign, albeit, in the reactionary ways for a Nigeria where the North has significantly less control.”
“Only a handful of left wing forces reserve a correct assessment of the nature of the crises, even less are able to give limited support to the national movements or agitators. In essence, this means leaving the leadership of the movement for equality across all ethnic nationalities to petty bourgeois-liberal or even outrightly bourgeois forces like the governors of the southern states.”²
Even with the betrayal of the southern state governments where they openly disowned the more grassroots movements calling for self-determination in the region and despite the cold feet of many left wing and intellectual forces. The militant organizations which have spear headed the national liberation struggle of the southern ethnic nationalities have not totally backed down.
This can be seen in the sit-at-home boycotts in the South Eastern part of the country declared by the IPOB especially during Buhari’s visit two weeks ago to Imo state.³ Yoruba immigrants have also continued demonstrations for an independent Oduduwa Republic in the UK, the most recent of which the erstwhile leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn was at the scene.⁴
Some Thoughts on the Sit-At-Home Boycotts in Biafra
There are already signs of discontent with what critics call the incessant sit-at-home boycotts ever since the arrest and arraignment of Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB’s leader. These critics often point out the fact that the East is a region largely based on petty trade and retail where the many indigenes get their source of income from local markets especially that large Eastern cities like Onitsha are commercial centers. The boycotts they say is cutting the income of the average Easterner.⁵
It goes without saying that for any form of social change to be achieved sacrifices must be made. However what these criticism reflect is that the IPOB cannot continue to be run by a group of commandos giving orders to the rank and file who turn enforce it throughout the region. At the same time it means that the defensive posture of the IPOB can no longer be sustained.
If the operations of the IPOB have become unsustainable at this stage it can only be saved by making their activities the product of mass-based discussion. This can only be done by the thorough democratisation of the organization and goes hand in hand with involving other structures of the oppressed working class. This does not mean a dissolution of the existing structures such as the ESN it only means putting them under the democratic control of the members of the organization. This does not also mean that the IPOB should do nothing until the labour unions call for a strike or rally, on the other hand, it implies that the national liberation movements cannot be fully successful without workers power.
More on the Effects of the Taliban’s Victory
There seems to be an acceleration in the cases of attacks by ISWAP, Bandits, most linking it to the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan. However true this maybe the fall of Kabul and the expansion of ISWAP have different ends. Hence for the following reasons while the one is basically an anti-imperialist national force, the other is a reactionary body which further consolidates the imperialist grip on Nigeria.
First the past decade is full of reports of covert sponsors of Boko Haram/ISWAP in the Nigerian government. Even the former president Goodluck Jonathan made mention of them. These sponsors have more or less being servants of Western powers. Not so for the Taliban after the US invasion of 2001, rather the US empowered the Mujahedeen warlords who were overthrown by the Taliban in the ’90’s. So the possibility of the Taliban having sponsors in the Coalition government is very slim.
The Taliban built over the period of 20 years its popularity and base amongst the masses and oppressed. No wonder it took over the capital with much ease.⁶ The only group of which the same can be said is the IPOB judging from the recent sit at home boycotts in which there is near total compliance throughout all 5 States of the south-east.
While we condemn the dictatorial methods of the IPOB and the policies of female subjugation of the Taliban. We note in passing that these groups have a positive effect on other layers of the society. For instance, Hamas and Hezbollah were not only jubilant but also congratulated the Taliban for their victory. Similarly, demonstrations by the IPOB boosts the morale of other groups such as other oppressed southern ethnic nationalities and vice versa. Moreso these groups now call for independence for Biafra as Biafra does for them.
Many leftists ignore these peculiarities out arrogance or absurdity. They classify the Taliban with ISWAP and crown the list of what they refer to as barbarism with the IPOB and the Yoruba Nation agitators. To them whatever is not bourgeois democratic; whatever is does not resemble liberalism; in short whatever is not in the image of their colonial masters can only be barbaric or a descent to savagery.
For us, Sharia should be practiced by voluntary adherents not by force. It must also be practiced without limiting the powers of secular laws in the region where the adherents live.
It is not enough to emphasize how anti-masses or anti-people VAT is, the national inequality that pervades the system must also be addressed.
Free Nnamdi Kanu! Free Sunday Igboho! Release and Drop All Charges Against Sunday Igboho’s Aides and All Persons Arrested In Connection With Secessionist Movements!
Democratise IPOB for the Workers and Masses to Run! Turn the ESN and all armed wings of the Liberation Struggles to Self Defense Militias for the People! Fight for Independence for the Southern Ethnic Nationalities!
Defeat ISWAP & The Fulani Bandits! For an Indefinite General Strike to Bring Down the Buhari Regime!
Throw the Southern Bourgeoisie Out of Power! For Workers and Poor Peasant Republics in the South As A Step Towards Socialism in West Africa!
2. See 1. above
6. See by the RCIT: Afghanistan: Understanding (and Misunderstanding) the Taliban. Class Contradictions, Women’s Oppression and Anti-Imperialist Resistance, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/afghanistan-class-contradictions-women-s-oppression-and-anti-imperialist-resistance/; See also a collection of articles by the RCIT: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/collection-of-articles-on-us-defeat-in-afghanistan/