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2013

The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation


Seven Theses
The author argues in this document, which synthesises his basic conclusions in an on-going work, that the immediate organisational challenge facing the Nigerian socialist movement is to build a revolutionary vanguard party of the Leninist type, and he offers a proposal on how to achieve this in light of the current state of the movement.

Osaze Lanre Nosaze 5/4/2013

The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

Table of Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 3 Thesis 1: What is the Challenge Facing the Nigerian Socialist Movement? ........................................... 3 Thesis 2: The Imperative of Socialist Revolution .................................................................................... 4 Thesis 3: The Reformist, System-Reproductive Character of the Current Social Conflict ...................... 6 Thesis 4: The Organisational Failure of the Socialist Movement and Its Interventional Impotence ...... 8 Thesis 5: The Challenge of Organisation and the Imperative of Revolutionary Organisation.............. 18 Problematising the Challenge ........................................................................................................... 18 What is the Challenge? ..................................................................................................................... 23 Thesis 6: The Challenge of Revolutionary Organisation and the State of the Nigerian Socialist Movement............................................................................................................................................. 27 What is a Revolutionary Party?......................................................................................................... 27 Mass Party or Vanguard Party? ........................................................................................................ 28 Is the Nigerian Socialist Movement in a State to Build a Revolutionary Vanguard Party? ............... 30 Thesis 7: Towards a Marxist-Leninist Party: A Modest Proposal .......................................................... 32 Where and How to Begin? ................................................................................................................ 32 Organisational Framework................................................................................................................ 37 Financing ........................................................................................................................................... 39 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................. 39

The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation: Seven Theses
Osaze Lanre Nosaze1

Introduction
There is a growing awareness within the Nigerian socialist movement of the need for socialist political organisation. This flows from an increased realisation within the movement that the nongovernmental organisation the predominant organisational form of the popular struggle since the early 1990s has exhausted its potentials as the instrument or vehicle for the struggle. The struggle of the oppressed is definitely stagnated in the rut of a social liberalism and an ethno-nationalism that are increasingly absorbed into the dominant ideology of the Nigerian bourgeoisie. The initiative in the social conflict is indisputably with the ruling class, as the oppressed social classes and groups have retreated into a defensive and reactive position out of which the NGO-based civil society movement has been unable to find a way since the early years of the current regime of civilian rule. The discussion on the question of organisation within the socialist movement is still in its early stages but already the burden of the movements less than illustrious past on this question is weighing heavily upon it. In spite of a labour movement that remains one of the largest on the continent, the socialist movement has failed in more than fifty years of its existence to constitute itself as a body of relatively stable organisations with the capacity to lead the working class. Fractious and weak, the movement has been unable till date to take advantage of the dire decline in the material conditions of the oppressed classes to guide their struggle in a revolutionary direction. The developing discussion on the question of organisation shows evidence of the ideological dross that the movement has accumulated over years of practical inactivity and of divorce from the working masses. Of particular importance is a certain slurring over of the implications of the movements disastrous organisational history, resulting in an inadequate understanding of the very character of the organisational challenge confronting the movement. This article, presented in the form of extensively developed theses, synthesises some of the conclusions reached so far by the author from an on-going work on the organisational challenges of the Nigerian socialist movement in light of the imperative of revolution in the country.

Thesis 1: What is the Challenge Facing the Nigerian Socialist Movement?


The immediate organisational challenge facing the Nigerian socialist movement is that of building revolutionary vanguard organisations.
1

The author is the Editorial Director at XtriMedia Limited, a publishing services company, and was until 2011 the Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Organisation, Nigerias first human rights organisation.

The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

The challenge confronting the Nigerian socialist movement today is that of revolutionary organisation. It is the challenge of building a revolutionary vanguard party of the Leninist type, i.e. a political organisation capable of leading the Nigerian working class and other oppressed classes and social groups in a successful struggle for socialist revolution in Nigeria. See the theses below for the reasons for these proposals. Our proposal for a revolutionary vanguard party of the Leninist type for the movement proceeds from the conviction that none of the existing organisations of the socialist movement qualifies objectively to be described as such or even at all as a party in the proletarian sense. We believe that while it is a theoretical possibility for one organisation to transform itself over time into a Leninist vanguard party as conceived in our theses below, this will be extremely difficult in the present circumstances of the Nigerian socialist movement and will probably take a very long time. The quicker route to the Leninist vanguard party is, we believe, via a cooperative enterprise involving all socialist organisations who subscribe to the goal. This is one of the background assumptions of our Thesis 7: Towards a Marxist-Leninist Party: A Modest Proposal.

Thesis 2: The Imperative of Socialist Revolution


The challenge of revolutionary organisation confronting the Nigerian socialist movement arises from the imperative of socialist revolution in Nigeria today. For a socialist revolution requires organisational forms capable of organising and developing the working class and other oppressed groups of capitalist society into a force capable of, in the first instance, overthrowing and destroying the bourgeois state and replacing it with a socialist state, and, in the second, abolishing capitalist relations of production and replacing them with socialist ones. The imperative of socialist revolution in Nigeria springs from the necessity of such a revolution in order that the oppressed might be able to halt and reverse the deepening barbarisation and dehumanisation of their social existence. In respect of the imperative of socialist revolution in Nigeria, we hold that reversing the barbarisation and dehumanisation of the existence of the oppressed masses in the country, as in all the countries of the capitalist periphery today, requires as a first condition the unprecedented development of the countrys productive forces. In addition, however, such development must be based on a restored and enhanced organic ability of the labour force to master the natural and social forces of its environment and to apply them practically to the end of more effectively and efficiently meeting the widest variety of human needs in the society. That is, the development of Nigerias productive forces must be auto-centred and driven by the needs of the labouring masses. Otherwise, any development of these forces i.e. if it is governed not first by the human needs of the working people of Nigeria but by the accumulation needs of foreign monopoly capital will at best only result in an improvement in the material conditions of the domestic bourgeoisie and sections of the upper petty bourgeoisie (including sections of the labour aristocracy). Any improvements in the conditions of the working masses will be only marginal and insignificant. Nigerias neocolonial social formation, long a relative hindrance to such independent development, is today an absolute obstacle to it. This has two aspects. First, whereas previously the undevelopment of its productive forces was a function of imperialist domination and exploitation, today with the tighter and more complete integration of the world capitalist system under the

The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

unchallenged dominance of neoliberal imperialism its very reproduction requires the complete abandoning of all aspiration or effort at auto-centred development and the adoption of dependent and subordinate development under the governance of foreign monopoly capital. Thus, whereas up until the late decades of the 20th century the undevelopment of the productive forces of Nigerias neocolonial formation was an effect and expression of the unequal balance of power between the Nigerian bourgeoisie and imperialism, today it is a necessary condition for its self-reproduction. Second, whereas in those decades the dependent development of the formation nevertheless left room for the possibility of some independent development of the productive forces that an independent-minded domestic bourgeoisie could take advantage of, today with the greater integration of the formation into the world capitalist system under the dominance of triad imperialism no capitalist development of the productive forces is possible except under the dominance and in the interest of foreign monopoly capital. For, it is important to understand that the present globalisation of imperialism is neither merely a conjunctural phenomenon nor simply a quantitative growth of the world capitalist system. It is rather the opening of a qualitatively new epoch in the development of global capitalism. Just as the system transited from competitive capitalism to monopoly capitalism in the late 19 th and early 20th centuries, so it is now transiting from the epoch of a multiplicity of imperialisms competing with each other to an epoch of the concentration of these imperialisms into one global body of unified monopoly capital. With the absence of a viable socialist bloc today, this global unification of monopoly capital and the resulting elimination (or at least, drastic reduction) of any meaningful competition amongst imperialisms leaves the countries of the periphery little room for manoeuvre in their quest for development. The tighter integration of the world capitalist system under the dominance of this unified imperialism means that, but for a few exceptional cases, the countries of the periphery cannot develop their productive forces on a capitalist basis except under the dominance and in the interest of this unified foreign monopoly capital. That is, their capitalist development, if any, can only be dependent and externally-oriented, serving the accumulation needs of global imperialism but not the human needs of their own labouring masses. Thus, the historical obsolescence of the path of capitalist development in the periphery, identified and asserted by the radical underdevelopment theorists of the late 1950s and the 1960s, is today a practical one. Only by abandoning the capitalist path of development totally is it today possible for the countries of the capitalist periphery to achieve the sort of auto-centred and human-needs-driven development that is necessary to reverse the barbarisation and dehumanisation of the existence of their labouring masses. Therefore, any revolution against imperialist domination and exploitation in Nigeria must be at the same time a socialist revolution, one that abolishes or aims to abolish not only the neocolonial character of the social formation but also its capitalist character. An antiimperialist revolution that is not at the same time anti-capitalist and socialist will only result in the final analysis in a capitalist social formation that eventually returns under imperialist domination. That is, it will again become a neocolonial capitalist formation, and will again reproduce the undevelopment of Nigerias productive forces and the barbarisation and dehumanisation of human life in the society. Herein lays the final historical obsolescence of the liberal-democratic and radical-democratic revolutions in the capitalist periphery, the complete exhaustion of whatever liberating potentials they possessed before now. In light of the advent of this new epoch of a unified and globalised

The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

imperialism as argued above, the domestic bourgeoisies of peripheral countries today cannot be, even if they wanted, genuinely nationalistic or anti-imperialist. They must be the enthusiastic junior partner to triad imperialism in the domination and exploitation of their working people and in the pillage of their natural resources by the latter. This is abundantly clear in the Nigerian bourgeoisie. It is no less clear in the Nigerian civil society movement. For, irrespective of the ideological views held personally even by its most radical leaders, the movement is structurally dependent on globalised imperialism for its self-reproduction, and today it objectively functions as part of the mechanism for the reproduction of Nigerias neocolonial formation under the ideological and political dominance of this imperialism. Insofar as the liberal-democratic movement, which embraces most of the civil society organisations and the most progressive sections of the bourgeoisie seeks to leave intact the structural premises of Nigerias neocolonial formation, any social change they bring into effect will in fact accelerate and exacerbate the barbarisation and dehumanisation of the existence of Nigerias labouring masses. For the objective even if perhaps among the most nave of them, the unintended result of their struggle is to suit the political, ideological, and legal superstructure of the neocolonial formation as well as certain elements of its substructure more perfectly to the capital accumulation needs of foreign monopoly capital in Nigeria. Similarly, insofar as the radical-democratic movement seeks only to abolish imperialist domination and exploitation of Nigeria while leaving intact the basic elements of capitalist social relations within the country, their revolution would only lead in the final analysis to a return under the very imperialist domination and exploitation they oppose. This would mean also a return to the very conditions that have produced the barbarisation and dehumanisation of social life in the country. Nothing short of a socialist revolution can abolish those conditions.

Thesis 3: The Reformist, System-Reproductive Character of the Current Social Conflict


The socialist revolution that is imperative in Nigeria can only come about when in their social struggle the oppressed go beyond seeking only improvements in their immediate circumstances and set themselves the objective of ending the structural conditions that produce those circumstances, i.e. when their struggle becomes system-subversive, becomes revolutionary. However, the current struggles of the oppressed classes and social groups in Nigeria are of a reformist and system-reproductive character. This is due in the final analysis to the interventional impotence of the Nigerian socialist movement, the incapacity of the movement to influence the struggle in the direction of socialist revolution. In respect of radicalising the social conflict in Nigeria, it is necessary to recognise that the current social conflict in Nigeria which concretely is over its on-going restructuring primarily in aid of its more-complete integration into the world capitalist system and subjugation to foreign monopoly capital is of a system-reproducing rather than a system-subverting character. This is in the sense that the struggles of the oppressed social classes and groups generally do not aim to abolish but to refine or modify the neocolonial capitalist formation to suit it more adequately to their immanent interests. That is, first, their goal is to achieve those interests of theirs that presuppose the essential social relations of the formation, that can be achieved within those relations, and that therefore

The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

leave them basically unquestioned. These struggles have hardly ever pursued the transcendent interests of the oppressed, those whose realisation require the abolition of those relations and that therefore transcend them, point beyond them to an alternative social order. Second, and proceeding from this reformist social programme, the current struggles for social justice, democracy, human rights, etc. amount in the final analysis to struggles to enhance the efficiency of the selfreproduction of the neocolonial formation, by suiting its superstructure more adequately to the capital accumulation needs of global imperialism. This is not to say that the working masses and the oppressed have nothing to gain from these struggles. A regime of social justice, democracy, and human rights would open up the political space to an unprecedented extent, allowing better and more favourable conditions in which the oppressed could wage their struggles, and enhance the ease of revolutionary work among them. There is no doubt about that. The point, however, is that, given their reformist programme in the current social conflict and, more critically, the divorce of this programme from a larger one of revolutionary change, achieving these goals would only create a neocolonial formation that more adequately serves the interests of imperialism in its domination and exploitation of the Nigerian working people and in its pillage of their natural resources. How? In part by enhancing the political legitimacy of the social order and, thus, more powerfully channelling the struggle of the oppressed into the formal structures of political management and, by this means, constraining it within bounds that do not subvert the social relations of the neocolonial formation. In part also by eliminating (or reducing to manageable proportions) the superstructural suboptimalities such as corruption, disrespect for the rule of law, weak protection for copyright and other property rights in general, slow dispensing of justice, political instability, etc. that hamper capitalist accumulation in Nigeria. This system-safe and system-reproductive character of the current struggles of the oppressed is a function of two factors. The first, which applies to the oppressed and excluded ethnic sections of the bourgeoisie, consists in changes to the economic and political relations of the neocolonial formation following the political crisis of 1993-1998 which have created a relatively more equitable and inclusive distribution of power and wealth among the various ethnic sections of the class.2 The second, applicable to the working masses, is their subjection to bourgeois consciousness, in the form of ethno-nationalist, neoliberal, or liberal-democratic ideologies (trade-union economism being a form of the later). This question of the reformist character of the struggle of the oppressed is of great importance in light of the imperative of socialist revolution. The structural crisis of the neocolonial formation offers the best opportunity for the development of the social struggle into a revolutionary crisis of the formation; it thus offers the best possibility for socialist revolution. The current structural crisis of global capitalism holds the probability of such a crisis of Nigerias neocolonial formation developing anytime soon. It thus holds the probability anytime soon of an opportunity for the
2

The current regime of bourgeois civilian rule is significantly different from that of 1960-1966. Here we have greater cooperation of bourgeois elements across ethnic divisions, based on a common interest in the expropriation of the oil wealth of the Niger Delta peoples. The ethnic-enclave pattern of the First Republic is essentially over. In that pattern, an ethnic enclave was dominated by an ethnic section of the bourgeoisie organised in one dominant party and in which capital accumulation by that bourgeoisie depended principally on resources derived within the enclave. Now, all the ethnic sections of the bourgeoisie depend on Niger Delta oil for capital accumulation, and we find that the bourgeois parties are no longer as ethnically based or constituted as previously.

The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

Nigerian socialist movement to create or take advantage of a revolutionary crisis to make an attempt at socialist revolution. However, a structural crisis of the neocolonial formation does not straightaway translate of its own into a revolutionary crisis. A key element in the creation of a revolutionary crisis from a structural crisis of the neocolonial formation is the character of the struggle of the oppressed, itself a function of the state of their class consciousness. As we have seen in the on-going struggles generated across the world by the current structural crisis of global capitalism, even in the most severe of such crises the oppressed classes and social groups with a tradition of reformist struggles and with a reformist consciousness will generally refrain from calling the system itself into question. This is notwithstanding the fact that they may put up the most energetic protests against the adverse effects of the crisis on their interests. The issue is not the demands emblazoned on banners raised by radicals and revolutionaries at rallies or protest marches; it is rather the goals the oppressed as a whole in fact fight for, the goals for which they in fact risk life, limb, and liberty in the clash with their oppressors. In order that the Nigerian socialist movement may successfully create a revolutionary crisis from the next structural crisis of the neocolonial formation and make the best use of the opportunity to make socialist revolution out of it, the movement must accomplish the task of radicalising the consciousness of the oppressed masses before the outbreak of the next structural crisis or early enough into it. Even in the absence of such a structural crisis, the current programme of attacks on the material interests of the oppressed by the alliance of the domestic bourgeoisie and globalised imperialism provides an objective basis for such radicalisation. What is missing is a socialist movement with sufficient capacity to intervene effectively in the struggle of the oppressed and to influence it in a revolutionary direction, to remove it from the rut of ethno-nationalist, liberaldemocratic, and radical-democratic consciousness and move it into revolutionary socialist consciousness. The movement can only acquire this capacity by successfully addressing the challenge of organisation.

Thesis 4: The Organisational Failure of the Socialist Movement and Its Interventional Impotence
This current interventional impotence of the socialist movement is due structurally to its loss of grip on the oppressed masses, rendering it unable to become a material force in the social conflict. Two factors are immediately responsible for this current loss of grip: the campaign of interventional incapacitation of the movement by the Babangida regime during the anti-SAP uprising of the late 1980s and early 1990s and the ideological collapse of the movement following the fall of Existing Socialism. That the socialist movement has been unable to regain grip of the oppressed masses since that time has been due to its inability to reconstitute itself organisationally. Organisation is necessary for effective social agency: unable to reconstitute itself organisationally since Babangidas campaign of repression against it, the socialist movement has been unable to regain grip of the masses. By the organisational failure of the Nigerian socialist movement we mean its inability to sustain itself as a body of independent, more or less stable, and coherent organisations capable of effective effort to connect with, learn from, and influence the oppressed social forces in their struggles against the bourgeoisie and imperialism in pursuit of socialist aims. Quite a few groupings and even organisations of socialists exist, some of which self-delusionally describe themselves as the socialist

The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

party or the communist party of Nigeria. However, the brutal truth is that all of them fail by the crucial criterion of possessing sufficient interventional capacity for sustained and broad-based influence over the agenda, course, pace, and outcomes of the social conflict between the oppressed and the oppressors. There is certainly no more eloquent testimony to this than the extremely odd phenomenon of the social conflict in Nigeria being at this time primarily of a system-safe and system-reproductive character despite the devastating attacks on the interests of the oppressed occasioned by the bourgeoisies programme of neoliberal restructuring of the economy. That an otherwise objectively radicalising material situation has not resulted in a subjectively radicalised mass of the oppressed is of course primarily a function of the ideological hegemony of the bourgeoisie. That this hegemony itself has remained unchallenged, however, is in significant part a function of the organisational failure and impotence of the Nigerian socialist movement. Nigerian socialists have sought to explain this failure and impotence by one or a combination of the following: the repression of the socialist movement by the bourgeois state, the outbreak and consolidation of opportunism within the movement, and the movements ideological collapse following the fall of Existing Socialism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is indubitable that these factors have indeed featured in the organisational failure of the Nigerian socialist movement and in its impotence in the social conflict since at least 1966.3 Repression by the bourgeois state under colonialism as well as under the military dictatorships of Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida have repeatedly decimated the movement as an organised structure by degrading its capacity to reproduce itself. Employing measures including the detention of activists and leaders without trial, the outright banning of socialist organisations, and the suppression of public activities by these organisations, these campaigns of decimation have sought to prevent the process of organic interaction and interchanges between the movement as an organised social force and the oppressed social forces, the very process that builds them into a unified social force in the class struggle against the bourgeoisie and its own allied forces. For the socialist movement the possessor and material embodiment of the most advanced and best-organised consciousness of the proletariat in its pursuit of its immanent and transcendent interests is effectual in the social conflict only to the extent that it transforms in its own image the consciousness and practice of the class and its allies. This transformation cannot take place except by this organic interaction between the movement and the oppressed; theory cannot grip the masses and become a material force in the social conflict except by the two-way interaction of the two. By preventing this interaction, the bourgeois state sought to

Edwin Madunagu (The Tragedy of the Nigerian Socialist Movement and Other Essays (Calabar, Nigeria: Centaur Press Ltd., 1980), p.2.) dates the impotence of the movement from 1966, but this is tenable only if one accepts his implied conflation of the socialist movement and the workers movement (Ibid.). We insist, however, on differentiating them from each other. We therefore define the socialist movement as that body of organisations and individuals engaged in the struggle to abolish the social relations undergirding Nigerias neocolonial capitalist formation and to replace them with socialist ones. This at once differentiates between the two movements. For it is obvious that not all organisations of the workers movement are engaged in the struggle for socialism, some of them limiting their goals only to achieving the immanent (bourgeois) interests of the working class. They reject its transcendent (communist) ones the latter however being precisely those that demand the abolition of capitalist social relations and their replacement with socialist ones. Based on this distinction, it becomes possible and indeed necessary to reconsider the question of dating the impotence of the socialist movement. For instance, was the 1944 General strike or even that of 1964 evidence of the potency and interventional capacity of the socialist movement as such or of the workers movement under the influence of bourgeois radicalism rather than socialist ideology? This is one of the very few flaws in Madunagus otherwise splendid (although too brief) study of the Nigerian socialist movement.

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prevent the establishment of the organic relationship between the movement and the oppressed which is necessary for the interventional capacity of the former; it sought to prevent theory from becoming a material force. The effectiveness of this campaign of repression is certainly a key factor in the impotence of the Nigerian socialist movement. The cancer of opportunism in the movement is similarly a key factor. If state repression aimed to incapacitate the socialist movement by preventing its interaction with the oppressed masses, opportunism functioned objectively i.e. irrespective of the intentions or rationalisations by its agents in the movement to subject the extent and terms of that interaction to the accumulation interests and career interests of these agents. Sacrificing the interests of the whole working class and other oppressed groups for their own sectional interests, these agents built a socialist movement whose organisation, operation, and intervention in the social conflict was governed not by the dictates of the struggle of the oppressed but by those of their personal interests. Thus, the struggle meant for these agents and the socialist movement they created not really the engagement of the oppressed with the oppressor but the conflict with rival groups (of other opportunists in some cases but also of genuine revolutionaries in others) over control of power and the resources of the movements organisations. In other words, the dynamics of conflict in the socialist movement found its basis, just like those of conflict in the bourgeois polity, in the contradictions of the process of accumulation of power and wealth. This, rather than any serious ideological, programmatic, or strategy differences, has been the principal source of the long and pernicious history of factionalism and splits within the movement, even to this day. Driven by the imperatives of personal accumulation, a leader (and the group built around him or her) who cannot gain control or adequate access to the resources of the organisation would rather destroy it or split off to create another that would be under his or her own control. Similarly, as the demise of the 1964 Joint Action Committee demonstrates, these leaders prefer to lead tiny organisations over which they have personal control although such organisations have little capacity to intervene in and influence the social conflict than to merge them into a larger and more effective organisation over which however they would have no personal control or over whose resources they would not have unrestricted access. This has been a key factor in the organisational failure of the Nigerian socialist movement. Finally, the ideological collapse of the Nigerian socialist movement, by which we mean the more or less complete disintegration of its organic body of premises, methodological principles, theories, concepts, practical goals, ethics, and strategies that receive their logical coherence and social rationale from the transcendent interests of the proletariat and that constitute the movements instruments of ideological intervention in the social conflict as an organised social force. This collapse involved any one or combination of the following in the political practice of the organisations or individuals that previously constituted the socialist movement and many of whom still considered themselves socialists: 1. Rejection of a proletariat-led socialist revolution in Nigeria as a socio-historical necessity whose realisation should be the goal of immediate political practice 2. Abandonment of the perspective of the proletariat in the analysis of social reality 3. Abandonment of socialist propaganda among the oppressed classes in the practical social conflict

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Babangidas war on the socialist movement left its organisational structure in tatters and severely degraded its interventional capacity. However, the movement would probably have recovered subsequently and begun to rebuild its organisations and capacity, especially in the less repressive environment that came with the demise of General Sani Abacha in 1998 and the advent of bourgeois civilian rule in 1999. That it did not do so was due primarily to its ideological collapse following the fall of Existing Socialism in the last years of the 1980s and the early ones of the 1990s. This ideological collapse of the socialist movement resulted directly from the crisis and collapse of the formations of Existing Socialism and of the ideology of their ruling classes. Never in its history having attained a generally high degree of theoretical development, socialist thought in Nigeria especially in its dominant tendencies always was susceptible to a sterile dogmatism that equated Existing Socialism with the only socialism possible in existing world conditions and took the ideology of its ruling classes to be the true Marxism of the epoch. Thus, for the dominant sections of the Nigerian socialist movement, the crisis of the countries of Existing Socialism translated more or less directly into the crisis of socialism and of Marxism, and the eventual collapse of those countries meant for these sections the collapse of socialism as a historical project and of Marxism as a worldview and a science of society. The ideological collapse paralysed much of the movement and threw it into disarray. Having lost its own ideological bearings, the movement could not provide enlightenment and ideological leadership as an organised body representing a viable alternative to the variety of bourgeois ideologies present in the mass of the oppressed. Indeed, in many a case, the socialist organisation simply collapsed and expired, or, what amounts to the same thing, lost itself in bourgeois ideologies in the self-delusion of radicalising them.

These are the principal explanations socialists have offered of the organisational failure of the Nigeria socialist movement. However, deeper thought reveals these to be only immediate and contingent factors in a mediated causation with deeper and in fact structural roots. This becomes obvious as soon as we consider the fact that many socialist movements across the world and particularly in the capitalist periphery have experienced these same conditions without then suffering organisational failure in such a sustained and apparently intractable manner as has the Nigerian movement. The socialist movements in Brazil and other South American countries in the 1960s and 1970s and in South Africa and other Southern African countries all through the 1960s to the late 1980s suffered repression of such brutality, intensity, duration, and totality as the Nigerian socialist movement has never experienced. Yet they were able to sustain themselves in most cases and for most of these periods and after as a body of more or less coherent and effective organisations with the capacity to intervene in the social conflict on a class-wide basis. Even granting for a moment that the Nigerian movement has experienced repression with similar features and that this has played a key role in the persistency of its organisational failure, it still remains to explain this failure in periods relatively devoid of such repression. The movement has experienced the sort of repression capable of incapacitating it and decimating its organisational structure only under the Babangida regime (and to a much lesser extent under the military regime of Obasanjo). Before, between, and after these episodes of repression which in both cases were relatively brief

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the political conditions were relatively benign (even if not conducive) and the socialist movement could have reconstituted itself organisationally, even if only operating illegally. Why could it not do this? The problem of opportunism does not answer this question satisfactorily. Many Nigerian Marxists have given a correct explanation of opportunism in the movement. The question is why it has produced organisational failure in the Nigerian movement when it has not in many others. For opportunism has been a global problem in the world socialist movement since the rise of imperialism in the later decades of the 19th century. It has not however had the same organisational result in all the national socialist movements: some have disintegrated under its influence but others have not. What differentiates the first group from the second? Why has opportunism resulted specifically in organisational failure in the Nigerian socialist movement when it has not in many others? Similarly, the ideological collapse of the movement cannot be taken as given datum but must itself be problematised. This collapse only took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s; yet the problem of organisational failure has been with the movement since its inception in the 1940s. While it is certainly a factor in explaining the current organisational state of the movement, this collapse itself still needs explanation. For not all national socialist movements experienced ideological collapse due to the fall of Existing Socialism. Why was the Nigerian socialist movement so ideologically susceptible to the fall? This indeed is the crux of the matter: why has the Nigerian movement been so susceptible to the organisationally destructive effects of repression, opportunism, and ideological collapse when other socialist movements have not? Why have these important but nonetheless contingent and immediate factors resulted in its organisational failure when they have not in other movements? As we already said above, the causation of this problem is mediated and has structural roots. These consist in the organic divorce of the Nigerian socialist movement from the oppressed and their struggle, i.e., the fact that its organisations have functioned not as organic instruments of the struggle of the oppressed, but either as interventional instruments in that struggle by an affinitive but nonetheless extraneous social force or as instruments for the internalisation of alien conflicts.4 As an organic instrument of the struggle of the oppressed, the socialist organisation is called up by the objective necessities of the domestic struggle of the oppressed and is given both its purpose and reason by those necessities. As we have said above, the organic interaction and interchanges between the socialist organisation and these oppressed social forces build both into a unified social force in the class struggle. On the one hand, this makes the organisation not just a necessary product of the struggle but also a necessary instrument for furthering it, which gives the oppressed a stake in its survival and effective operation.5 On the other, the interests of the oppressed and the demands of the struggle for those interests become the governing imperatives of the organisations operation and self-reproduction, defining what practices, attitudes, and beliefs are acceptable and what are not, i.e. defining its organisational morality. Thus, the necessities of the struggle provide

For instance, the global struggle between the USA and the USSR, or between Maoism or Trotskyism and Stalinism. 5 Fanon said something relevant to this in connection with the nationalist party in the decolonisation struggle. See Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1982).

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not only the being and purpose of the organisation, but also its morality and the enforcer of that morality. As either interventional instruments of extraneous social forces or instruments for the internalisation of alien conflicts, the socialist organisation is called up by the necessities of an alien struggle or of the ideological persuasion of an extraneous social force, and it receives both its purpose and reason from those necessities, which become the governing imperatives of its operation and self-reproduction. Unless it somehow transforms into an organic instrument of the domestic struggle, such a socialist organisation has little need for the organic interaction with the oppressed that we have described above and its interaction with them remains entirely theoretical, perfunctory, and decorative; for its real driving force is external to their struggle. Thus, the oppressed have little stake in it and no reason to take an interest in its survival and proper operation, and the organic interstices created by its divorce from the necessities of the domestic struggle become room for the sprouting and flourishing of practices, attitudes, and moralities other than those disciplined by those necessities. Thus, the organic socialist organisation is disciplined by the necessities of the struggle of the oppressed of which it is an instrument; those necessities define the mores of the organisation, provides the enforcers of the mores, and furnishes them with a powerful incentive for action to enforce them. The non-organic organisation lacks this disciplining force and the disciplining mechanism it creates. Its discipline is only as strict as the personal discipline and morality of its individual members and no external force exists to control its internal conflicts.

The foregoing provides the basis for understanding the structural susceptibility of the Nigerian socialist movement to the devastating organisational effects of opportunism, repression, and ideological collapse. The dominance of opportunism (as opposed to its mere presence) and its resulting in organisational failure in the Nigerian socialist movement are a structural function of the absence of an organic relationship between socialist organisations and the struggle of the oppressed masses. Freedom from the harsh discipline of the necessities of this struggle invites into these organisations persons who cannot bear that discipline and provides liberty for opportunism to flourish in them and to overwhelm them. For, here, the governing principle in every discussion and manoeuvre is not the implications for the interests of the oppressed as a whole but the implications for the personal or factional interests of the leaders and members of the organisation. This freedom from the discipline of the struggle at once also prevents the development of any mechanism that can counter and correct the flourishing of opportunism. Since the organisation is not to the oppressed a necessary instrument in the struggle to achieve their goals, they have no reason to become part of it or, if they are members, to enforce the morality of the struggle in its theory and practice. Either they shun it or themselves become more or less willing instruments of the opportunism of its leaders. Thus, where this opportunism is not only an ideological one but also involves the pillage of the resources of the organisation as it has often been in Nigeria there exists no mechanism to control the avarice of the leaders and to subject it to the dictates of the struggle. The conflict over the pillage of the organisation therefore knows no bounds and it spirals until it destroys the organisation.

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

This absence of an organic relationship between the socialist organisations and the struggle of the oppressed masses also explains the absence of organisational tenacity and durability in the Nigerian socialist movement in the face of repression, why repression so easily results in the failure of its organisations. A socialist organisation that functions as an organic instrument of the struggle of the oppressed is a practical necessity, one that drives socialists who are committed to this struggle: if the organisation does not exist, they must create it; if it exists but is under repression, they must protect it; if it existed but has been destroyed by repression, they must re-create it. Thus, they invest every ingenuity they possess into creating and sustaining the organic socialist organisation. Although repression could be so severe as to cripple such an organisation and to make its open operation impossible, it has hardly ever been so severe anywhere as to make absolutely any operation impossible. Even in the face of the most severe repression many socialist movements have been able to undertake measures to sustain their organisations and to maintain some level of operation, including going underground, relocating their command and control organs beyond the reach of the repression, etc. That the Nigerian socialist movement has collapsed under repression in most cases i.e. dissolved its organisations is a function of the absence of an organic relationship between those organisations and the struggle of the oppressed masses, a function of their structural superfluity in the struggle. The ideological collapse of the Nigerian socialist movement in the face of the fall of Existing Socialism was immediately a function of the ideological dependence of the bulk of the movement on the states of that socialism, which itself was due to the absence of an organic relationship between Nigerian socialist organisations and the struggle of the oppressed masses. Governed by the necessities and challenges of the struggle of the oppressed, an organic socialist organisation develops its theories, programmes, and strategies under the imperative of achieving the goals of that struggle. Although it may borrow ideas, lessons, and insights from another socialist movement, its perspectives and borrowings are determined in the final analysis by the needs and realities of the struggle in which it is a necessary, organic instrument.6 This is because its performance in terms of the correctness of its perspectives, programmes, strategies, and tactics, and of their effectiveness in the struggle determines not only the fate of that struggle but also its own fate as an organisation; for it will quickly lose relevance in the struggle if it keeps failing in it. It therefore cannot afford to depend blindly i.e., uncritically on a foreign socialist movement for its theories, programmes, and strategies. This imperative does not exist for the non-organic socialist organisation, which can therefore afford such ideological dependency. That the bulk of the Nigerian socialist movement was so ideologically dependent on foreign socialist movements and for so long is supreme evidence of its organic superfluity in the struggle of the oppressed. That is why with a very few exceptions it has made little contribution of any great significance to socialist theory but has engaged mostly in wooden and deadbeat academic Marxism, or in merely exhortatory and declamatory popular Marxism. Lacking that organic interaction with the practical struggles of the oppressed that at once grounds theory in concrete reality and yet challenges it to soaring flights of creativity and insight,
6

We see this clearly in the case of Maoism, for example. See Isaac Deutscher, Maoism: Its Origins, Background, and Outlook, The Socialist Register 1, no. 1 (1964): 1137. The South African Communist Party furnishes an interesting case of a socialist organisation that experienced a measure of ideological dependence on the Soviet Union but survived the collapse of Existing Socialism and struggled to re-establish its own independent ideological bearings. See Focus on Socialism, South African Labour Bulletin 15, no. 3 (September 1990); and Towards a New Internationalism?, South African Labour Bulletin 15, no. 7 (April 1991). See also the continuation of the debate in the pages of The African Communist.

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

Nigerian Marxism has mostly just waddled and hopped along the ground after Soviet Marxism like a quacking duckling after Mother Duck.

Now how do we explain this organic divorce of the Nigerian socialist movement from the struggle of the oppressed? The movement has failed to establish an organic relationship with the oppressed, not simply because of its predominantly petty bourgeois class origins, but because the Nigerian petty bourgeoisie as a class has until the advent of neoliberal structural adjustment generally escaped the extreme privation and oppression that the labouring classes have experienced. It has yet to have a deeply and generally radicalising experience, an experience of privation and oppression out of which it can find no escape but revolution. The class was generally comfortable and upwardly mobile in the pre-SAP period, receiving a good share of the surplus from the exploitation of the labouring classes and the dispossession of the oilbearing communities. Although the neoliberal restructuring of the neocolonial formation has occasioned a drastic reduction in state-mediated transfers to the petty bourgeoisie, the class still receives a significant portion of the social surplus through various sources. These include transfers through expanded employment by foreign monopoly capital operating in Nigeria, foreign and domestic grants to non-governmental organisations, and legitimate and illegitimate enrichment through politics and political activities. Occupational emigration (the brain-drain problem, American Visa Lottery, etc.) and the booming music and film industries serve as important options and escape routes for many of those who cannot find accommodation within these other mechanisms. Although unemployment and underemployment are rife within the petty bourgeoisie as within the proletariat a large and growing portion of the class staves off complete destitution by entering into the informal sector. The class has also experienced little political repression. The period of its most intense and extensive repression Babangida and Abachas war from 1986 to 1998 to squash antiSAP and anti-military rule forces ended in a bourgeois civilian rule that has restored many liberties of the class almost completely. Thus, this general absence of an objectively radicalising situation has enabled the bulk of the petty bourgeoisie to still see options and escape routes from its situation and to continue nursing hopes of actually escaping. Those who have come to the struggle of the oppressed have therefore not done so as of practical necessity but in most cases as an expression of ideological conviction or as the necessary conclusion of their theoretical analysis. Others have come out of occupational necessity (trade union and human rights workers, for instance). In both cases, they have come to the struggle of the oppressed as extraneous social forces and their socialist organisations have served as interventional instruments without organic links to that struggle. This has also made possible the transformation of these organisations into instruments of the internalisation within it of alien conflicts. Thus, socialists who are absolutely committed to the struggle of the oppressed have been few and far between. Their efforts at forging organic links with the oppressed have been generally hindered and frustrated by the majority who cannot or will not make that commitment. That is why they are heroes.

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

It follows from the foregoing that the structural basis for overcoming the organic divorce between the Nigerian socialist movement and the struggle of the oppressed and therefore of overcoming the organisational failure of the movement is that the Nigerian petty bourgeoisie (at least a significant portion of it) must undergo an experience of privation and oppression out of which it can find no escape but revolution. The movements history provides strong evidence of this. It was surely not coincidence that the most successful bottom-up organising effort of the socialist movement in which it established a nationwide network of base and intermediate structures with good links with the struggle of the oppressed occurred during the 1978-1995 structural crisis of Nigerias neocolonial formation and during the worst years of the structural adjustment programme pursued by the bourgeoisie and imperialism to resolve it at the expense of the working people and the middle classes. While the problems of opportunism and infantile schism were abundantly in evidence in the movement in this period, it is a telling fact that it took the brutal campaign of repression by the Babangida regime to break the developing organic links between the movement and the oppressed masses and to decimate the movement itself as an organised force. The privation and oppression suffered specifically by the petty bourgeoisie in the period was such a radicalising experience for the class that it was driven increasingly to revolution and increasingly to make efforts at forging organic links with the urban working masses, in the realisation that it could not make revolution without them. In addition to Babangida's war against the movement, the momentum toward an organic socialist movement was frustrated by the de-radicalising effects of, on the one hand, the massive infusion of funds from countries of the capitalist centre into the growing civil society movement and, on the other, the corruption-fuelling introduction of free money into the economy by the military regime. Similarly, we find that in South Africa, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Mozambique, Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil and many others, the radical petty bourgeoisie predominantly formed an organic link with the oppressed masses in the social conflict when and where they suffered such privation and oppression as they could find no escape from but by the revolutionary path. To the extent and as long as they saw or thought they saw a way out of their situation, they tended to pursue a reformist approach and built alliances with the oppressed masses only to harness them to their reformist programme. More directly relevant to the question we are dealing with, those who in these circumstances nevertheless chose a revolutionary path tended to intervene in the struggles of the oppressed masses as extraneous agents acting on their behalf, as messiahs bringing salvation to the hapless multitudes; and their organisations tended to remain insulated from the masses. In other words, although they intervened in the struggle of the oppressed masses and in many cases made great sacrifices in aid of that struggle, they did not build organic relations with the oppressed masses and their struggle. They did not themselves become one with the oppressed and their organisations did not become the oppressed themselves organised for their struggle against their oppressors, they remained an extraneous, alien social force intervening in the struggle of the oppressed on their behalf.

Any meaningful prospect therefore of the Nigerian socialist movement becoming organic, i.e. developing organic links with the oppressed masses on a structural basis, depends on the petty bourgeoisie or at least significant sections of it having a radicalising experience of privation and oppression so severe, total, and implacable that it can find no way out but through revolution. It is

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of course in the very nature of historical things that we cannot predict them with exact scientific rigour. It is therefore not possible and in fact not necessary to fix exactly when and exactly how this radicalising experience will occur. Yet Marxism would not be the revolutionary science that it is of society in both its diachronic and synchronic dimensions if it did not consist in analytical tools enabling thought to grasp the material premises and logic of social dynamics and statics. We are therefore able to offer the prognosis that the current immiseration and pauperisation of the Nigerian petty bourgeoisie will worsen in the course and immediate aftermath of the next structural crisis of the neocolonial formation if it is grave and long enough. As we have said above, we believe the probability of such a crisis to be very good in light of the current structural crisis of global capitalism and given the structural vulnerability of the Nigerian formation to the vicissitudes of the global capitalist system. Already, the crisis in the countries of the capitalist centre is occasioning deep cuts in development aid for sub-Saharan Africa, with the result that the externally-dependent civil society is experiencing a funding crisis that is causing many CSOs to downsize drastically or even to suspend operations. The crisis is causing a slowdown in the economies of the centre, thus limiting their capacity to absorb migrant labour from the periphery and especially from Africa. If the analyses of Marxists like Samir Amin and Istvan Mszros are correct, we should expect the crisis to be persistent and to grow worse over time, with any recovery being weak, short-lived, and followed by another long and intractable crisis.7 Should the Nigerian neocolonial capitalist formation go into a prolonged and severe structural crisis in these circumstances, the situation will indeed be most dire for the working masses but also for greater sections of the petty bourgeoisie. This will block off the routes of escape for more and more of the latter and almost certainly drive more of their numbers to revolution, creating simultaneously objective and subjective grounds for the forging of organic relations between them and the struggle of the oppressed.

This is not to say however that all effort at building a socialist movement with such relations with the struggle of the oppressed must wait until the next structural crisis. That would be to subscribe to the most brutish sort of mechanistic determinism; it would be to reject the Marxist notion of the dialectical determination of the superstructure by the substructure. For such crude determinism is completely alien to Marxism, a scientific worldview that accords full recognition to the creative and thus active role of the subjective factor in the historical labour process both of reproducing the existing social relations and of fashioning a new society. That is surely the import of the first of Marxs Theses on Feuerbach: The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism that of Feuerbach included is that the thing, reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the
7

See the following by Samir Amin: A New Phase of Capitalism, or Rejuvenating Treatment for Senile Capitalism, accessed December 4, 2012, http://www.forumtiersmonde.net/fren/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=126:a-new-phaseof-capitalism-or-rejuvenating-treatment-for-senile-capitalism&catid=54:critical-analysis-ofcapitalism&Itemid=116; and Ending the Crisis of Capitalism or Ending Capitalism , trans. Victoria Bawtree (Cape Town, South Africa: Pambazuka Press, 2011). See also the following by Istvan Meszaros: A Structural Crisis of the System, interview by Judith Orr and Patrick Ward, Socialist Review, January 2009, http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=10672; Structural Crisis Needs Structural Change, Monthly Review 63, no. 10 (2012), http://monthlyreview.org/2012/03/01/structural-crisis-needsstructural-change; and The Structural Crisis of Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2009), http://www.readingfromtheleft.com/Books/MR/structural%20crisis%20of%20capital.pdf and http://monthlyreview.org/press/books/pb2082/.

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

object or of contemplation, but not as sensuous human activity, practice, not subjectively8 Thus, all through its history there have been individuals and organisations in the Nigerian socialist movement who have tried to build organic links with the oppressed and their struggles, even in the periods of greatest affluence ever enjoyed by the petty bourgeoisie. The task of building an organic socialist movement in Nigeria must commence today even as we anticipate the next structural crisis of the neocolonial formation and the infinitely more favourable circumstances it will create for success at the task. The question is how to do that.

Thesis 5: The Challenge of Organisation and the Imperative of Revolutionary Organisation


Recognising the structural basis of the organisational failure of the socialist movement is necessary for arriving at a correct conception of the organisational challenge confronting the movement. Explaining this failure by the contingent factors commonly adduced, it is only possible to arrive at a structuralist and mechanistic conception of the challenge, i.e. as merely that of overcoming the differences among Nigerian socialists to make possible the building of a socialist party. This has been the most widely held conception of the challenge among Nigerian socialists. Only by recognising the structural character of the failure is it possible to realise that the challenge before the movement is to transform itself into an organic element and instrument in the struggle of the oppressed. That is, to build a socialist movement with the organisational capability, first, to organise, develop, and lead the Nigerian working class and other oppressed groups to successfully make a socialist revolution in Nigeria, and, second, to act as the tool of the revolutionary forces in their self-constitution as the ruling power after the revolution. These two conceptions of the challenge are not the same: the first does not imply any internal necessity to build an organic relationship with the oppressed masses, while the second necessarily does.

Problematising the Challenge


The Nigerian socialist movement has always recognised the imperative of organisation, but only as an unmediated fact of the social conflict, not as a mediated problem of praxis that requires the expenditure of any serious mental energy. Thus, we cannot find in the literature of the movement that grappling with the problematics of organisation such as we find in, for instance, Frantz Fanon, Amilcar Cabral, Eduardo Mondlane, or Mao Zedong. We do not find that wrestling as with a problem of vital import for the social conflict in which the movement is involved, a matter of life and death for the struggle and its cadres, not one of merely theoretical interest. This absence is due to the abstractness and artificiality of the movements connections with the practical struggles of the oppressed. One gets the unshakeable impression on reading the available literature of the Nigerian socialist movement that it considers the question of organisation a matter long settled in the debates during the formation of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party and in the argument between Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg. The Leninist conception of the socialist party having been formulated in those
8

Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach, 1888.

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

exchanges of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it is now simply a matter of setting up such a party in Nigeria. However, the party is considered predominantly only in terms of structure, as a self-contained structure of relatively stable operational relations among a group of persons in the coordinated pursuit of socialist goals. The more vital element of social function is lost to sight. There is precious little evidence that the thinkers of the Nigerian socialist movement have made any serious effort to grasp the party in its aspect as a tool of collective agency in the social conflict. This question of the party as interventional capacity, which constitutes the very essence of the revolutionary socialist party, which makes the party a living entity pulsing with the very vitality of the struggle of the oppressed and depending on the imperatives of this struggle for its very being and form, has occupied little if any space in the literature of the movement. Thus, for the socialist movement the challenge of organisation has predominantly been conceived simply in terms of how to overcome the interpersonal, ideological, programmatic, and strategy disagreements among socialists sufficiently to enable the building of a united socialist political party. There has been little concern with the problematics of the relationship between the party and the masses, the problematics of not only how theory (embodied in the party) grips the masses but also how the masses take hold of theory and make it into their own weapon in their struggle against their oppressors. Yet it is precisely this latter set of problematics that must be of graver importance for a socialist movement that is genuinely intent on making revolution. For such a movement, organisation is in essence an instrument of intervention in the social conflict, with the problematics of structure (i.e. the definition of stable relations amongst members on the basis of a formal division of labour and powers in pursuit of common goals) deriving their relevance and logic only and entirely from this function. Theory does not grip the masses by the elegance or efficiency of its architecture but by its instrumentality in expressing their interests and concerns and in enabling the realisation of these. That is to say, the touchstone of organisation is its effectiveness and efficiency as a weapon in the hands of the oppressed in their struggle against oppression. The central problematics of organisation therefore must concern its relationship to that struggle: to what extent does it express the consciousness and interests of the oppressed, to what extent is it effective in protecting and advancing those interests and consciousness, to what extent are its structure and operations determined and shaped by the struggle of the oppressed, to what extent is it a weapon in their own hand for their own self-liberation, to what extent is it the people themselves organised for their own struggle? In one word, does the organisation have an organic relationship to the oppressed and their struggle, does its life, logic, structure, and operation flow dialectically from that struggle? Thus, the challenge of organisation cannot be seen merely in terms of overcoming the disagreements among Nigerian socialists and setting up a structure and system of rules that everyone can accept to work within. No one denies that these issues are of the utmost importance, but giving primacy to these questions of structure over those of organic function results in an elitist and, it must be said, bureaucratic conception of the party. Such a conception can only result in a party that is more or less divorced from the oppressed themselves and from their struggles. Which is not to say that such a party does not become involved in those struggles but that it functions not as an instrument and measure of the interventional capacity of the oppressed in their own struggle but as the interventional instrument of an alien sympathetic but still alien social force in that

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

struggle on behalf of the oppressed. Its ultimate product can only be a dictatorship of the party over the oppressed rather than a dictatorship of the working people over their former oppressors. In contrast, we understand the challenge of organisation in terms of the practical and immediate necessity to reconstitute the socialist movement as a body of independent, more or less stable, and coherent socialist organisations capable of effective effort to connect with, learn from, and influence the oppressed social forces in their struggles against the bourgeoisie and imperialism, all of this in strict consistency with the transcendent interests of the proletariat. In this conception, we hold from the start that the purpose of organisation is the achievement and enhancement of interventional capacity in the social conflict. Effective organisation therefore cannot be merely the existence of structured relations among certain persons for the purpose of intervening in the social conflict. It must be the achievement of the capacity to do so effectively; which for a revolutionary socialist movement means the capacity to organise and lead the oppressed on both a national and global basis; which in turn means giving primacy to the task of establishing an organic relationship between the party and the struggle of the oppressed. This latter is meaningless if it does not mean the party becoming the working people themselves organised for their own struggle. This organic conception of the challenge of organisation transcends the elitist-bureaucratic conception in the sense that the structural aspect of the question (i.e. the setting up of the structured relations among members) is not absolutised but absorbed as a subordinate and relative moment in the by far more important task of building a weapon of intervention in the hands of the oppressed themselves. Thus, the challenge of organisation confronting the Nigerian socialist movement is not merely to create a socialist party but to create a party that is really nothing less than the oppressed themselves organised for their own struggle, i.e. an organic party of the oppressed.

If in the final analysis the imperative of socialist organisation in Nigeria today issues from the imperative of socialist revolution, the implication of all we have said above is that this latter imperative provides the vital key to the building of a socialist movement with organic links to the oppressed and their struggle. For if socialist revolution is the necessary historical means by which the oppressed can save themselves from the complete barbarisation and dehumanisation of their existence, it follows that the socialist organisation wishing to build organic links with them must be completely and utterly their instrument in the struggle for that revolution. It must be the oppressed themselves organised for the making of their revolution. It cannot be, as socialist organisations in Nigeria have tended to be, a mere instrument for the intervention in that struggle by extraneous revolutionists or for the internalisation of alien conflicts in the domestic conflict. It follows also that the party must subject itself completely to discipline by the imperatives of the struggle in which the oppressed are actually involved rather than those of an alien struggle. If revolutionary organisation both receives its own imperative from the imperative of revolution and serves as the mediating link between the consciousness of this revolutionary imperative and its realisation in practice, it i.e. revolutionary organisation must be nothing but a constant grappling with the issues, challenges, problems, and tasks thrown up by the struggle to realise this latter imperative, i.e. to make the revolution, in the face of the recalcitrance of the bourgeoisie and imperialism. Otherwise, it cannot be an effective means of intervention by the oppressed in their own struggle. For we must

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

understand from the start that the socialist movement cannot build organic relations with the oppressed unless revolutionary organisation becomes for them not just in theory but also in practice a means of creating and enhancing their own interventional capacity in the social conflict on their own behalf and in their own interest. These principles at once imply certain organisational necessities. First, the organisations of the socialist movement must be completely and directly involved in the struggles of the oppressed, working with them to identify and articulate their concerns and interests, organising them, leading them in their practical engagements with the oppressor, developing their class consciousness, building their confidence in themselves as their own liberators and salvation, enhancing their capacity to act effectively on this confidence. This direct and complete interaction between the socialist organisation and the oppressed is an absolute necessity for the building of organic relations between them, for it is the very process that builds them into a unified social force in the class struggle against the bourgeoisie and its own allied forces. The organisation becomes not merely an instrument of intervention by a sympathetic but nevertheless alien group of revolutionists in the struggle of the oppressed, but begins to become the instrument of the oppressed themselves for their own effective intervention in their own struggle. Second, the socialist movement aiming to become an organic instrument of the oppressed must draw the masses of the oppressed into its ranks, i.e. it must develop mass membership among the oppressed. It is of course understood that the socialist vanguard party will necessarily include only members of the proletariat who have developed revolutionary class consciousness and a commitment to preparing and leading the proletariat to make socialist revolution and to build socialism. However, the socialist movement as a whole must work from the first to expand itself beyond this vanguard party. It must identify mass organisations in which the mass of the oppressed are already waging their struggles and work to bring them into the socialist movement i.e. win them to subscribe to a socialist programme or it must create new mass organisations addressing pressing issues of concern among the masses and work to recruit the masses of the oppressed into them. Third, and parallel to the second point above, the vanguard party itself must identify and recruit class conscious revolutionaries from these mass organisations into its own ranks and must work to develop them into cadres and leaders of the party, providing them with the training and knowledge they require to lead the party and the mass of the oppressed in the struggle for revolution. Fourth, the vanguard party must develop and enforce a revolutionary morality and discipline whose substance and logic flow from the dictates of the struggle itself, and by its example and work it must help the oppressed organised in the mass organisations of the socialist movement to do this also. This includes the practice of revolutionary inner-party democracy, transparency, rule of law, and effective checks and balances founded on the principle of majority sovereignty. Fifth and finally, the vanguard party and the mass organisations of the movement must develop strategic self-dependence in financing their operations.

It might be objected that these basic principles of organic revolutionary organisation are already very well known. That is indeed true: revolutionary struggles in the past two hundred years in the capitalist centre and periphery have reaffirmed and demonstrated repeatedly the universal validity of these principles. That is precisely why it is surely one of the most terrible tragedies the less charitable might say, crimes of the Nigerian socialist movement that it has consistently failed let us not say, refused over the decades of its history to apply them in its efforts at self-

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organisation. Not even in the most successful of its organising efforts that of the 1980s did the movement really apply them as consistently and completely as required. Whatever else one might deduce from this failure, it undoubtedly betrays the fact that the movement for all its talk of revolution has never treated the question of organisation with anything near the seriousness it deserves, which itself lends a hollow and false ring to its revolutionism. For, as Georg Lukcs so aptly put it, Organisation is the form of mediation between theory and practiceEvery theoretical tendencymust immediately develop an organisational arm if it is to rise above the level of pure theory or abstract opinion, that is to say, if it really intends to point the way to its own fulfilment in practice.9 The goal of socialist revolution demands revolutionary practice. One aspect in which the socialist revolution differs radically from the bourgeois revolution is the greater, indeed critical, role of conscious, mediated, human activity in bringing it about, in contrast to the spontaneous and immediate action that was sufficient for the latter. Revolutionary organisation, which is the objectification of the revolutionary consciousness of the proletariat, is thus of infinitely greater significance in the socialist revolution. For it is the critical mediating link between the theoretical recognition of the imperative of revolution and the actualisation of revolution. Anyone is therefore entitled to question the genuineness of the revolutionary talk of a socialist movement that gives short shrift to the challenge of organisation. That the Nigerian socialist movement does precisely this is seen in its purely structuralist, technical, and, therefore, abstract conception of that challenge, which conception itself reveals the movements purely abstract recognition of the imperative of socialist revolution. For the movement, the revolution has always been an abstract, theoretical proposition, not a concrete, practical necessity.

Having said this, it must be recognised that the above prescriptions for building the organic socialist party might require some clarification. For instance, does not this notion of the revolutionary organisation as the oppressed themselves organised for their struggle obliterate the necessary distinction between the vanguard and the mass, thus rejecting the very concept of the Leninist vanguard party? Is it not the product of a romanticisation of the masses and an idealisation of their spontaneous revolutionary potential? This issues goes to the very heart of the contradiction between, on the one hand, the historical necessity of the emancipation of the working class being the work of the working class itself, and, on the other, the no less historical fact of the proletariat being subordinated under the ideological hegemony of the bourgeoisie. The Leninist vanguard party is based on the conclusion whose correctness has been demonstrated in every capitalist society that the proletariat cannot on its own attain revolutionary class consciousness under conditions of bourgeois society. For, although all consciousness in class-based social formations is necessarily class-conditioned, not every classconditioned consciousness is class consciousness. In fact, the class-conditioned consciousness generated spontaneously by any such formation is necessarily an expression of the social relations underlying the formation and of the social conditions produced by those relations. It is thus fundamentally an expression of the social interests embodied in those relations, i.e. the interests of the ruling class, making any spontaneous class-conditioned consciousness in essence the

Georg Lukcs, History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, trans. Rodney Livingstone (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1971), p.299.

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

consciousness of the ruling class. Thus, although the relatively developed forms of the spontaneous class-conditioned consciousness of the proletariat typically include an awareness of an opposition between the interests of capital and labour, this consciousness nevertheless takes this opposition as given. This is because it accepts and takes as given the material premises of bourgeois society, i.e. bourgeois property relations and the entire network of bourgeois social relations. In this consciousness, therefore, the struggle of the working class for emancipation must remain within those premises, must not call into question the essence of bourgeois social relations, including bourgeois property (whether in its private or collective forms). For those premises are the very earth upon which it stands, its irreducible necessity for existence, its very existential substance. This consciousness is completely bourgeois and is only class-conditioned by the immanent interests of the proletariat, i.e. precisely those interests of the class that presuppose bourgeois social relations, that can be realised within those relations, and that in fact define the working class as a class of bourgeois society and as merely a necessary factor in the accumulation of capital. Given that this spontaneous consciousness takes bourgeois property and the profit motive as given, the utmost the proletariat can aspire to under its sway is a radical reformism that distributes a larger portion of the social surplus to the working class and other exploited classes and strata, without nevertheless abolishing wage slavery and class exploitation. Lenin conceived of the socialist party as a vanguard detachment of the proletariat, composed of persons members of the proletariat by class origins or social affiliation who have attained revolutionary proletarian class consciousness, i.e. consciousness and commitment to the transcendent interests of the proletariat, those interests that demand the overthrow and abolition of bourgeois social relations. One function of the Leninist vanguard party was to bring this consciousness to the proletariat in its interaction with the class in the course of the class struggle. The party was to help the class come to the understanding that its liberation not only had to be its own work but also required the abolition of bourgeois property and all bourgeois social relations, and their replacement with communist relations. In order to play this role effectively, the party had to restrict membership only to proletarians who had attained this revolutionary class consciousness, and who were committed to helping the entire class or its largest possible portions to develop this consciousness and to organising and leading them to make socialist revolution and to build a socialist society. Thus, the Leninist party is both an extrusion and extraction from the working class and from all other classes and groups of the oppressed, insofar as its members are drawn from these classes and groups. It is the oppressed themselves organised for their self-liberation, not in their multitudinous masses but in their best and most advanced elements. It is the oppressed putting their best foot forward. For its members themselves are the representation of the oppressed, whether by class origin or by class suicide.

What is the Challenge?


The challenge of organisation facing the Nigerian socialist movement is not that of political organisation in general but of revolutionary organisation in particular. This derives logically from the revolutionary task confronting the movement: from the imperative of revolution flows that of revolutionary organisation. That means that the objective must be to build a movement capable of making successful revolution, not merely of intervening in the social conflict. Organisational

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

planning and construction must be rationalised according to the demands of the imperative of revolution, must be subject to the demands of making a socialist revolution. Making a socialist revolution demands drawing the mass of the oppressed into the social conflict and raising their struggle to a socialist revolutionary struggle, above and beyond the system-safe spontaneity and reformism it can only achieve by itself. This at once means the need, on the one hand, to build a socialist mass movement out of the most advanced and class conscious elements of the numerous streams of the spontaneous and reformist struggles of the oppressed. On the other, it means the need to build a vanguard (comprising of one or more revolutionary socialist parties) to provide leadership for the entire mass movement in all its strands socialist-revolutionary, reformist, and spontaneous. The organisational challenge confronting the Nigerian socialist movement is therefore not merely that of building a socialist party, whether to offer a socialist electoral alternative to the oppressed or to lead them in a revolutionary struggle. The challenge is rather to build a revolutionary socialist movement with an organic relationship with the masses of all the oppressed social classes and groups in Nigeria, with the former acting as an engine pulling the latter (which constitutes the body of the vehicle) in its wake towards revolution and with its vanguard element acting as the driver of the engine. In this broad conception, the whole body of the struggle against Nigerias neocolonial capitalism and its ruling powers comprises three elements: 1. The broad spontaneous mass of the oppressed who, under a wide variety of spontaneous or reformist ideologies, engage in a wide range of non-socialist struggles against the ills of Nigerias neocolonial formation (economic, political, human rights, gender, ethno-national, ethical, and developmental), 2. A narrower, socialist mass movement of class-conscious individuals and organisations drawn from every stream of protest and opposition in the broad-based mass struggle and engaged in the struggle to seize political power from the ruling bloc of the domestic bourgeoisie and foreign monopoly capital in order to replace the neocolonial capitalist relations with socialist ones, thus serving ideologically as the vanguard of the broad spontaneous mass struggle and organisationally as the oppressed masses organised for their revolutionary self-emancipation, and 3. A socialist revolutionary vanguard anchored on the transcendent interests of the proletariat, comprising the most advanced, committed, and disciplined elements of the socialist movement, and serving as the advanced detachment of the entire anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement (comprising the mass socialist movement and the entire oppressed masses) in the struggle to effect a socialist revolution and build a socialist society

This broad conception of the organisational challenge situates it within the context of the struggle for revolution, ties it concretely and immediately to the imperative of socialist revolution, and thereby renders imperative the building of revolutionary organic relationships with the oppressed. It thus provides the solution to the persistent organisational failure of the Nigerian socialist movement. In contrast, the narrow conception at best only implies abstractly and remotely the imperative of socialist revolution and therefore can pretty well be met without building organic links with the oppressed masses, or without those links being of a revolutionary character. It is therefore a prescription for the reproduction of the movements historical failure of organisation.

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

An essential implication of the imperative of revolutionary organisation is that the revolutionary organisation must be conceived, constructed, and operated in such a manner as to enable it meet the challenges and threats involved in the struggle to fulfil its mission of making socialist revolution and building a socialist society. It must be able also to take advantage of the opportunities offered in the many and often sudden twists and turns of this struggle. Otherwise, it cannot fulfil this mission. This applies generally to the socialist movement in both its mass and vanguard (or "core") elements but more particularly to the latter, which is the cornerstone of the resiliency, continuity, and steadfastness of the movement and of the entire anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle. Herein lays the superiority of the Leninist conception of the revolutionary party over all the alternatives before or after it to date. It is constructed on a materialist and concrete understanding of two vital issues. First is the issue of the character of bourgeois state-power and of its exercise to protect bourgeois society against insurgency and revolution. Second is that of the power of bourgeois ideological dominance over the working class and other oppressed masses and of the necessary process by which these classes and masses can develop the revolutionary consciousness necessary for successful revolution. There are undoubtedly many elements in Lenins organisational prescriptions for the Russian socialist movement that derive from the particular circumstances of the autocratic rule of the time. However, the essence of his conception remains universally valid today because it is based on the essential characteristics of bourgeois society and bourgeois state-power characteristics that remain the same today except insofar as they have become more sharply defined and developed than they were in Lenins times. Who today can deny the validity of his thesis that neither the proletariat the only truly revolutionary class by its structural position and role in capitalist society nor the other oppressed social groups of capitalist society can by themselves develop revolutionary socialist consciousness, that this consciousness must be brought to them from the outside? Quite in spite of the deepening severity and persistence of the structural crisis of global capitalism over the decades, universal commodification in the form of the social relations of capitalist society continue spontaneously to generate a reified bourgeois consciousness in all classes of society. The class-conditioning of this spontaneous consciousness in the case of any particular class of the oppressed does not eradicate its bourgeois essence but merely lends it a slant or perspective influenced by the immediate material conditions as directly experienced by that class, while the basic terms and premises of the consciousness remain as determined by the existing social relations. It is true that the class struggle generally enables sections of the oppressed to rise above this spontaneous consciousness to a simple sort of class consciousness in which they become aware of their class being and interests and of a distinction and even opposition between the latter and those of the bourgeoisie and other classes. This consciousness however retains the terms and premises defined by bourgeois social relations and generally accepts their historical, moral, and functional legitimacy, never calling them into question in their essence. Revolutionary socialist consciousness still has to be brought to the working class and other oppressed masses by the revolutionary vanguard. For this consciousness requires advanced knowledge of the structure and workings of bourgeois society, a type of knowledge that penetrates and overcomes the reification of subjective and objective structures that is spontaneously generated by bourgeois commodity production. The structural divorce of mental and manual labour in bourgeois society and the restriction of the labouring classes primarily to the latter denies them this type of knowledge, a type that therefore cannot come from the practical class struggle alone. Thus, the oppressed masses of bourgeois society cannot on their own develop

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a stable consciousness higher than the simple or reformist class consciousness described above; and they will tend to fall down to it again even after an episode of particularly sharp struggle against the bourgeoisie has temporarily elevated it to revolutionary levels. This validates the Leninist insistence that the revolutionary vanguard party cannot be open to everyone simply insofar as they accept its programme and perspective, that it must comprise only of persons who have achieved and demonstrated a stable revolutionary consciousness and unwavering commitment to the making of socialist revolution. In other words, the Leninist revolutionary party cannot be a mass party but only a cadre party of advanced and committed revolutionaries; only thus can it avoid becoming polluted with the spontaneous and reformist consciousness of the popular masses, only thus can it influence and lead their struggle along the consistently revolutionary path. Similarly, who today can deny the validity of the second principal thesis of the Leninist conception of the revolutionary party that in order to survive the inevitable counter-insurgency attacks by the bourgeois state, it must be organised so that it is able to operate in conditions of legality or illegality and must therefore be founded on principles of strict secrecy and the highest standards of centralisation and internal discipline? Events in the first half of the 20th century proffered preliminary evidence of this validity. The Russian party was able not only to survive persistent repression by the czarist state but also to make a successful socialist revolution in 1917. In contrast, the German easily the most advanced at the time, and much admired by Lenin not only failed to make a revolution in 1918 but also did not survive the Nazi repression in 1933, despite its mass base and armed militia. The repressive power of the bourgeois state is infinitely greater today and its black operations and other counter-insurgency capabilities have grown and been refined beyond compare. The intensifying and globalising revolt generated by the deepening and persistent (some insist on permanent) structural crisis of global capitalism today represents a growing albeit still ineffective threat to capitalism. Should it acquire a certain level of ideological clarity and organisational definition and stability, however, it could become a revolutionary challenge to the structural foundations of the system. This has undeniably caused the imperialist bourgeoisie to rely more than ever before on the repressive element of its global strategy and it has left no one in any doubt of its willingness and ability to deploy the vastly increased powers of the state with increasing effectiveness and efficiency against all subversive forces, whether of a socialist or non-socialist character. Thus, we witness across the world a serious erosion of the democratic content of bourgeois democracy, the weakening of guarantees of human rights, and the increasing resort to state violence against the masses who rise in revolt against their oppression and exploitation. The first implication of all this is that the legal road to socialism (i.e. by bourgeois electoral democracy) is revealed finally for the illusion that it has always been. Thus, the role of the legal socialist mass party cannot be anything other than to exploit every opportunity offered by bourgeois democracy for legal work to develop revolutionary consciousness in the oppressed masses and to guide their political activity towards revolution. The second implication is that the revolutionary socialist movement must retain the organisational ability to resort to illegal work when legal work becomes impossible. Indeed, the movement must prioritise this ability above everything else. This is because it is the guarantee of its physical survival and of the continuity of its revolutionary leadership of the mass struggle under conditions of bourgeois repression. The Leninist vanguard party is precisely the embodiment of this capacity.

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Thesis 6: The Challenge of Revolutionary Organisation and the State of the Nigerian Socialist Movement
What is a Revolutionary Party?
In respect of party-building then, the imperative of revolutionary organisation implies two tasks: to build a mass party and a vanguard party. The one is necessary to exploit every opportunity available within the limits of bourgeois legality to draw the oppressed masses into the political struggle and to develop revolutionary consciousness in them, and the other to provide consistent revolutionary leadership for the struggle of the oppressed and provide the socialist movement with the capacity for work in illegality. Neither of these party-forms exists in Nigeria at this time. This is obvious in the case of the socialist mass party: neither the Democratic Alternative (DA) nor the National Conscience Party (NCP) or any of the other legal parties that espouse socialism has developed into a mass party in actuality. The fact of the non-existence of the revolutionary vanguard party is less obvious because a number of socialist organisations today lay claim to being a (or even the) revolutionary vanguard party of the Nigerian working class. Putting aside the question of whether any of them is truly revolutionary in anything but aspiration, there is that of whether they are indeed parties in the proletarian sense. The proletarian party of revolution is qualitatively different from the bourgeois political party. Subject to satisfying certain legal requirements, a bourgeois organisation becomes a political party merely by dedicating itself to the pursuit of the capture and exercise of the government (the instrument of control over the bourgeois state) in order to implement a programme of socioeconomic policies and measures. Its existence rests on legal formality and its relationship with the bourgeoisie is essentially formal. The case is different with the proletarian party of revolution. Revolution is illegal by definition, and the revolutionary party cannot exist on the basis of legal formality but only in concrete actuality. Given its revolutionary purpose, the party cannot be simply any organisation that decides to call itself a party; on the contrary, it must be an organisation that indeed has the capacity to make revolution. Since revolution can only be the work of the oppressed masses, this means the party of revolution must possess the capacity to mobilise, organise, develop, and lead them for this purpose. Thus, at the very least it must have ideological, programmatic, strategic, and practical influence over a significant portion of the mass of workers in their struggle against capitalism. In addition, however because this is the very essence of revolution it must have the capacity to act as the tool of the working class in its self-constitution as the ruling power, to organise the class to seize and wield power. That is, the organisation must have the capacity, first, to realise (mobilise, direct, concentrate, and apply) the coercive force of the working class and other oppressed classes and groups against the bourgeois state as well as the non-state (informal) repressive forces of the bourgeoisie and its allies, and, second, to organise the working class into a new state power to rule over the defeated class bloc and the whole of society. In light of this, that aspect of the challenge of organisation which involves the formation of the revolutionary socialist party - whether of the mass type or the vanguard type - cannot be conceived in terms of the mere coming together of socialists in an organisation on the basis of agreement on a perspective, programme, strategy, and tactics. Such an organisation would be a cell, a study group, or some such base structure, not a socialist party. It still would not constitute a party even if it replicated itself countless times in urban and rural centres across the country without however

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acquiring the sustained capacity to influence the practical struggles of the working class in terms of their goals, perspectives, and strategies. It would only be a party by name or aspiration.

Mass Party or Vanguard Party?


Having said this, we still have to address the problem of priority posed by the duality of the organisational task facing the Nigerian socialist movement. In one word, the question is this: since neither a socialist mass party nor a vanguard party exists today, the building of which should the movement attend to first? We do not hesitate to answer that it should be the vanguard party. It is apparent from what has been said above that the vanguard party has strategic organisational priority over the mass party. As we have said above, revolution the first strategic aim of any revolutionary socialist movement is illegal, unlawful, forbidden. That being so, the movement must give priority to its organisational ability to achieve this unlawful aim. Bourgeois democracy in the imperialist epoch allows room for propaganda and agitational work to raise the class consciousness of the workers and other oppressed groups but not for the making of revolution. Indeed, it operates to co-opt the socialist movement into the mechanism for the reproduction of capitalist society and a legal socialist movement that will not serve this purpose must perish. The whole history of Eurocommunism and labour socialism is eloquent proof of this, and the history of Popular Unity socialism in Chile a tragic proof of it. The electoral, non-revolutionary road to socialism is an illusion. For the revolutionary socialist movement therefore participation in bourgeois electoral politics is a tactical, not a strategic, operation, and the instrument or vehicle of this operation the socialist mass party is only a tactical organisational form in so far as it is conceived as a vehicle of electoral politics.10 And the revolutionary vanguard party is the only guarantee that this tactical operation will not become a strategic one, that policy does not become principle, that the socialist movement does not become absorbed into the mechanism of capitalist reproduction. It is thus the guarantee of the continuity of the revolutionary struggle and of the revolutionary socialist movement itself including the socialist mass party as a going enterprise. For when the structural crisis of capitalism creates a revolutionary situation as it is wont to do with such frequency in the periphery of the system and the capitalist class unleashes repressive violence against the insurgent masses, it is often only the revolutionary vanguard party that remains standing in the socialist movement by the time the raging storm is over. Then there is the fact that the mass party must be legal in order to exploit the opportunities offered by legality to draw the oppressed into the political struggle and to develop their consciousness. Meeting the requirements for initial and continued party registration the conditions for legality has proved onerous to the various socialist organisations that gained registration as political parties in Nigeria. The de-registration of some of them by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) represents a monumental waste of the resources in money, time, and effort poured into securing their initial registration. Although this de-registration has been presented as only an administrative exercise, the fact is that there has been pressure from within the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) since the first years of this regime of civilian rule to constrict the political space by limiting the number of parties that can participate in the electoral contest. This pressure
10

This is apparently how many Nigerian socialists conceive of the socialist mass party. This is actually a degradation of the notion of this party, however. As we have said above, the mass party enables the socialist movement to take advantage of bourgeois legality to organise and educate the oppressed for revolutionary struggle. While this might involve engaging in bourgeois electoral politics, it is a degradation of the notion of legal work to restrict it only to such engagement.

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will probably increase with the expansion and radicalisation of the mass struggle against oppression, exploitation, and immiseration by the Nigerian ruling class. In the absence of an effective counter to INECs powers of party de-registration, the gathering tendency towards a two-party system will not eventuate merely in the dominance of two bourgeois parties but probably in the complete extermination of all other parties as they become increasingly unable to meet the conditions to remain registered. This dire scenario may not attain complete realisation in every particular detail, but there can be little doubt that INECs powers of registration and de-registration which could be expanded and increased allows the bourgeoisie to deny registration to a socialist mass party or to annul it with a stroke of the pen where it had already been granted. It makes more sense therefore to devote the massive resources that would thus be put at such great risk to the safer project of building a revolutionary vanguard party, safer because the key factors determining its success would be under the control of the socialist movement. Finally, there is no guarantee that a military coup will not occur at any moment, resulting in the banning of all political activities including the operation of parties. The current bourgeois civilian regime is not only a paupers gruel in terms of its democratic content; it is also an extremely anaemic sapling with only the shallowest and most gossamery network of roots in the democratic earth. The lightest storm of hail could easily crush it and the lightest flash flood could easily wash it away. With the rising public concern over the increasingly apparent ineptitude of the civilian regime to deal with the growing atmosphere of insecurity, the decline in public services, the barbarisation of social life, and the raging monster of corruption, few would deny that a storm is indeed gathering. There are important factors that oppose the immediate probability of this resulting in a military coup dtat, including popular memory of the bitter years of military rule and the interests of imperialism and of domestic capital. This could easily change however should the countrys slide towards anarchy become so grave as to seriously jeopardise the process of capital accumulation, the security interests of foreign monopoly capital in the country, or the possibility of continuing the daily routines of life by the ordinary Nigerian. Then the promise of stability and security that a coup dtat would offer no matter how insincerely or unrealistically would become very attractive to imperialism, domestic private capital, and even the average citizen. Even if a coup does not occur, such a situation would encourage and strengthen the already-evident tendency towards civilian authoritarianism in the governance of the country. In either case, the upshot would be the further erosion of democratic and human rights guarantees and, probably, a repression of radical tendencies in the polity. In other words, room for open, lawful, and free work by a socialist mass party would probably narrow so much as to make it ineffective and meaningless. Only illegal revolutionary work would be possible, and only the most idealistic could think that the socialist movement could then switch to such work by starting at that time to build an organisation capable of doing it. The whole history of the Nigerian socialist movement is a definitive rebuttal of that line of thinking. It is therefore not simply a matter of abstract or theoretical rationality but of concrete and practical necessity that the socialist movement should apply itself and its resources first to the building of the revolutionary vanguard party rather than the mass party.

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Is the Nigerian Socialist Movement in a State to Build a Revolutionary Vanguard Party?


The pressing, immediate organisational task of the Nigerian socialist movement therefore is to build a revolutionary vanguard party of the Leninist type. However, it is a pressing, immediate fact also that the movement is today not in a state to carry out this task, not without first undergoing a preparatory process of self-clarification and purification. A Leninist party demands in its members a consistent revolutionary consciousness founded on the transcendent interests of the proletariat, an unwavering and demonstrated commitment to socialist revolution based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, and the highest standards of selflessness and discipline in personal and social conduct. Few would deny that these qualities have always been very rare in the Nigerian socialist movement and are even rarer today. That is not to say that there are not socialists scattered across various organisations who possess these qualities, even in abundance. Yet, it is a sad fact of the history and practical reality of revolutionary organisation that a few extra-ordinary comrades do not a revolutionary vanguard make: they can serve as no more than the initial stem cells from which to develop such a party. The present state of the Nigerian socialist movement features the following principal characteristics: Ideological and Programmatic degeneration: The movement is in a state of ideological degeneration, which has been masked and therefore gone generally unnoticed only because there has been little open discussion within the movement of the issues and tasks thrown up by the social conflict. We have itemised the principal elements of this degeneration under our fourth thesis (see specifically the list on page 10 and the paragraph preceding it), and only need to emphasise that the issue is not what a socialist individual or organisation may believe privately but what they practice in their actual intervention in the social conflict. The Nigerian socialist movement from the early to the late 1980s offered a reasonably coherent and tenable socialist theory of the essence and dynamics of the neocolonial formation, as well as a socialist programme of measures to solve its contradictions. With the ideological crisis of the movement and its organisational demise, however, the alternative analysis and programme offered by many groupings and individuals who have remained active in the social conflict and who still consider themselves socialist have become increasingly infused with and indistinguishable from social liberalism and bourgeois ethnonationalism in their basic premises, logic, and conclusions. There is little doubt that with its ideological collapse of the early 1990s the Nigerian socialist movement has since ceased in the majority of its members to represent or embody the highest development of proletarian class consciousness in Nigeria. Its ideology is today little different from petty bourgeois radicalism and it is a tragic measure of the depth of its ideological degeneration that few of its members recognise this fact. In the self-delusion of introducing a radical perspective into the struggles for human rights and ethnic justice, many have actually abandoned the key elements of a Marxist position on these issues and adopted the perspectives of the liberal and radical wings of the petty bourgeoisie. Quite in consistence with this, there exists no defined socialist programme to guide the movement, beyond a general aspiration to the abolition of neocolonial capitalist relations and their replacement with socialist ones. Indeed, the programmatic vision of the movement has drifted in most cases, imperceptibly into a radical-democratism that is garbed in socialist-sounding phrases but that has actually become historically obsolete (see our critique of the liberal-democratic and radical-

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democratic movements under our second thesis). Outside this radical-democratism, most Nigerian socialists operate in a programmatic vacuum. Organisational Atrophy and Disarray:11 The socialist movement has shrunk drastically from its size in the period before the violent incapacitation campaign waged against it by the Babangida regime in the 1986-1993 anti-SAP revolt. At the heart of the movement before and for most of that period were a number of core organisations with more or less extensive nationwide networks of base and intermediate structures (predominantly but not only in educational campuses). Associated with these core organisations was a variety of mostly campus-based mass organisations over which they had ideological and programmatic influence and whose leadership they mostly provided. The most important constituents of the mass element (as opposed to the core element) of the movement were the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). The core organisations had not only ideological and programmatic influence over the former but also direct leadership control for the period from 1980 to 1992; and they had strong influence until 1988 over the perspective, programme, and leadership of the latter. As Babangidas war against the movement progressed, however, the core lost control and influence over the mass element of the movement, some of which simply expired as in the case of many of the campus-based mass organisations while the NLC fell under the more or less direct control of the state and the NANS sank into schism and opportunism. Thus, the movement essentially shed its mass and shrank to just its core organisations. Many of these latter themselves withered under the repression or fragmented under the impact of the opportunism unleashed with the massive inflow of donor funds into the Nigerian civil society movement. There has therefore been a drastic drop in the number individuals who both subscribe to socialism and intervene in the social conflict in pursuit of socialist goals. Similarly, only a few socialist organisations exist today, in the sense of relatively stable structured relationships amongst persons performing defined functions in the coordinated pursuit of common goals. Further, most individuals subscribing to socialism do not belong to any socialist organisation, while some others belong to what are no more than discussion groups or even just circles of socialist friends. There exists little or no coordination among the individuals, discussion groups, and the few existing socialist organisations in their interventions in the social conflict. These constituent elements of the atrophied socialist movement act mostly independently of each other. Interventional incapacity: The socialist movement today has very little interventional capacity, in the sense of the ability to initiate processes in the social conflict or to influence the direction, pace, or outcomes of such process. This has been described adequately in our third thesis concerning the reformism of the current social conflict. We will only state here that the fact of the interventional incapacity of the movement is hidden only by the fact that socialists, liberals, and radicals are in most cases co-existing in one broad and more or less undifferentiated opposition movement at the moment,12 even in the same organisations. This provides the basis of the illusion of a socialist movement that is stronger than it really is, the basis of a pernicious self-delusion among many socialists. However, a structural crisis forces each class or group of a capitalist formation to more closely conceptualise its interests, to determine the implications of the crisis and of capitalist social
11

Lukcs posits, I believe correctly, that organisation is a material expression of consciousness. See History & Class Consciousness. The organisational state of the Nigerian socialist movement is therefore an expression of its ideological state. 12 The opposition movement is united principally by a common dissatisfaction with the quality of democracy and with the harsher results of the neoliberal reform of the neocolonial formation.

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relations for those interests, and to formulate a programme of action to advance those interests in light of those implications. This often brings to light the contradictions or affinities between the interests of different classes and groups, necessitating a separation or alliance between them in the social conflict generated or exacerbated by the crisis. The next structural crisis will therefore probably force a greater differentiation of the broad opposition movement, decomposing it into its basic elements as defined by the individual bodies of class interests that each of the three strands of the opposition represents. This will expose the interventional incapacity of the socialist movement.

Thesis 7: Towards a Marxist-Leninist Party: A Modest Proposal


Where and How to Begin?
The Nigerian socialist movement is therefore not in a fit state today to build a Leninist vanguard party. Yet, this is the immediate organisational task with which history confronts it as a revolutionary imperative. The question is, to borrow from Lenin, where to begin? It is clear that the traditional conferencing approach has not worked in the past and it will surely not work today.13 However, this is not because of any intrinsic fatal flaw in conferencing. No party-building programme can realistically do without holding conferences of the participating organisations and individuals. On the contrary, such conferences are a vital platform for clarifying critical organisational questions of perspective, goals, strategy, and tactics. The problem with the approach has been that participants in these conferences have always approached the task of building the party as an act of establishing structured relations among socialists in pursuit of a common goal and always saw the conference as a platform to iron out the differences among them sufficiently to allow this to be done. This flows necessarily from the narrow and structuralist conception of the organisational challenge that has been dominant in the movement, and, given the pollution of the movement with the ideological, attitudinal, and behavioural dross of a neocolonial petty bourgeoisie, could only result in reducing these conferences entirely to battlegrounds for the control of offices and for ideological dominance. Proceeding however from our broad conception of the organisational challenge and from what we believe to be a realistic assessment of the present state of the movement, it is apparent that we must approach the task of building the vanguard party as a process rather than as an act, one that must involve indeed, commence with the movement ridding itself of the petty bourgeois dross it has accumulated over the decades. This self-purgation and clarification is an absolute necessity to bring the movement to a fit state to undertake with a realistic chance of success the task of forming a Leninist vanguard party, and it was the folly of previous attempts that they were made with the expectation that a flabby and polluted movement could succeed at this task. Again, the question is, where to begin; or perhaps more pertinently, how to begin? We cannot start the journey of forming the revolutionary vanguard party from any place else but the earth directly beneath our feet. In other words, we must start with the circumstances ready to hand, the conditions handed us from the past and present of the socialist movement. The relevant circumstances are these:

13

For a trenchant critique of the conferencing approach to forging socialist unity in Nigeria, see Edwin Madunagu, Tragedy, pp.1516.

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1. A few socialist organisations exist but most socialists today do not belong to any one of them 2. The movement as a whole is in a state of ideological collapse and degeneration 3. The discipline and the attitudinal and behavioural qualities required by the Leninist party is generally lacking in the movement 4. There is a strong sense of mutual distrust, antipathy, and bitterness among individual socialists and among socialist organisations 5. The movement has no mass element, having been delinked from the principal mass organisations during the anti-socialist repression by the Babangida regime; it is now composed of only a few core organisations 6. The movement has no significant network of base and intermediate structures in any part of the country, these having been decimated also by the Babangida campaign of repression; it now exists in most cases simply as a number of more or less isolated grouping and circles of socialists in the principal towns and cities

These circumstances dictate a gradual, step-by-step process in the building of the vanguard party. This is necessary to allow sufficient time for the participating individuals and organisations to establish a foundation of initial confidence in the sincerity of everyone in respect of the project and for them to demonstrate their qualification to be part of the party by their performance of the practical tasks involved in the project. These tasks, themselves dictated by the circumstances and fitting neatly into the necessary phases of building the party, are to: 1. Rebuild the ideological coherence and integrity of the movement, through a process of articulating a revolutionary draft programme and organisational rules for the party 2. Building the base structures of the movement for cadre development and for engaging with the struggles of the oppressed masses 3. Articulating the institutional framework of the vanguard party and filling its functional positions with persons who have proved themselves in the course of the two previous tasks

In the first of these tasks/phases, all individuals and organisations subscribing to the project will engage in an extensive discussion, probably on the platform of a website set up specifically for the purpose, with the aim of articulating a revolutionary draft programme for the party. Such a discussion on goals, strategies, and tactics will necessarily involve a broad range of theoretical issues that must be considered in defining the programme of the party. One may reasonably anticipate that the qualifying criteria for participation in the project will include, at the minimum, subscription to the theses that making a socialist revolution and building a socialist society in Nigeria should be the imperative goals of every immediate and future political activity of Nigerian socialists, and that the building of a revolutionary vanguard party for those purposes is the immediate organisational task of the socialist movement. This however does not settle all the theoretical issues involved in formulating a programme for the party. Far from it. What is the specific character of the Nigerian social formation and what are its basic and principal structural contradictions? What are the immanent and transcendent interests of the Nigerian working class in light of this character? What is the role of foreign monopoly capital (imperialism) in the formation and how is the latter

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integrated today into the global capitalist system? How does the mechanism of capital accumulation operate in the Nigerian formation and what are the implications for the articulation of precapitalist modes of production under the dominance of the capitalist mode? What are the implications of all these for the interests of the various classes and non-class groups in the country? How do these interests relate to those of the proletariat and what are the implications for possible relations of alliance or conflict between these classes and the working class? What are the bases and structures of structural and contingent power relations in the Nigerian formation and what are their implications for the revolutionary strategy of the working class? What are the mediations between class, ethnicity, and religious identity in the social conflict, and how can the proletariat take advantage of them to achieve its goals? What are the structural articulations between the struggle for socialism and those for human rights, gender equality, environmental protection, minority rights, and ethno-national justice? How can the revolutionary struggle embrace and combine them in itself? In light of all these, what should be the goals of the socialist revolution and by what strategies and tactics should the vanguard party pursue them? These are just a few of the questions the socialist movement cannot escape addressing in articulating a revolutionary programme for the vanguard party. The expectation is that areas of agreement and disagreement will become clarified in the course of this discussion, shattering the illusion of ideological unanimity within the movement, an illusion sustained only by the fact that the movement having declared the revolutionary struggle suspended or no longer necessary has not engaged in any serious discussion of practical issues of revolution for decades. This will enable the ideological self-reconstitution of the movement, making it possible to differentiate the MarxistLeninist trends from the liberal-democratic and radical-democratic ones that have been able, under the ideological collapse of the movement, to continue presenting themselves as socialist and Marxist. This ideological differentiation is absolutely necessary, for the perspective of each trend has fundamental implications for the class character of the programme of the vanguard party. It will allow the trends with irreconcilable differences of principles and theory to part ways, so that the Marxist-Leninist trend can continue the task of building the revolutionary vanguard party on the basis of a shared body of principles and theory among its constituents. With formulation and adoption of the revolutionary programme, the project enters the phase of the party-underconstruction. The vanguard does not yet exist in the fullness of being, but the adopted draft programme provides a basis and structural framework on which to proceed with the work of fleshing out its being, and the organisations and individuals subscribing to the programme become members of the party-under-construction. The second task/phase will involve these members engaging now on the basis of a common programme and organisational rules in the building of training-and-testing base structures (cells) for and in the name of the party-under-construction. They will engage in propaganda and agitational work among the working class and other oppressed classes and groups in the course of their practical struggles, organising them, developing their consciousness, and leading them in these struggles, thus building organic relations between them and the party-under-construction. Based on the draft organisational rules, they will establish training-and-testing cells whose members they will draw from among themselves and from the most developed and promising of the active participants in these struggles. These base structures which the constituent organisations and individuals party-under-construction will endeavour to build in as many places as they are able will serve the dual purpose of developing cadres for the future party through both practical and theoretical

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education and of engaging with the oppressed in their struggles in order to organise, educate and lead them. Thus, on the one hand, the cells will conduct basic theoretical and ideological training for their members to introduce them to Marxism-Leninism and to its application to the issues of the social conflict in Nigeria. They will also conduct theoretical and practical training in the ethics, attitudes, and behaviours required for leadership in the revolutionary struggle. On the other hand, they will engage in propaganda, agitational, and organisational work among the oppressed masses in their practical struggles. This will include holding meetings with them on their issues of concern, educating them (through speeches, leaflets, etc) on those issues from the viewpoint of MarxismLeninism and of the programme of the party-under-construction, organising them for their struggles on those issues, and both joining and leading them in those struggles. By this programme of practical and theoretical work, the cells will serve collectively as a training and testing ground for their members, allowing the members of the party-in-construction to separate the wheat from the chaff among them, and to identify those who possess the ideological, attitudinal, and behavioural qualities to become members of the future vanguard party. This organisational work at the level of base structures will again allow the members of the party-inconstruction to demonstrate in practical terms their commitment to the party-building project and to prove in terms of performance the real skills and abilities they are bringing into it. Their work will be assessed by commonly agreed standards of performance and verification, enabling the party-information to determine without sentiments or bias those members who will add value to its work or at least will not constitute a deficit and risk. For it is in the course of this practical organisational work that true qualities and capabilities of all participating organisations and individuals will manifest, not only the excellent qualities of leadership, commitment, and perseverance but also the dross of infantilism, selfishness, laziness, and ineptitude. It is also in the course of the work that these members, having become aware of their weaknesses, will have the opportunity to correct them if they are so inclined. The party-in-formation will therefore be able to determine by the results of this task/phase who to include and who to purge from its ranks. For admission into the vanguard party cannot be based merely on acceptance of its programme or even of genuine commitment to Marxism-Leninism and the socialist revolution. It must also include the possession of the skills, ethics, attitudes, and discipline necessary both for the realisation of the revolution and the survival of the party. Otherwise, the vanguard party becomes a party of honest but impotent dreamers, people able to envision a new world but unable to bend themselves to the imperatives involved in actualising it. The work will also allow the party-in-formation to operate its draft programme and body of organisational rules in the field of practical struggle. This will certainly generate a discussion on their appropriateness and correctness in light of practical field experience. With the benefit of this experience, the members will be able to refine the programme, organisational rules, and all aspects of the partys operations that had been agreed on previously, with the aim of enhancing the ability of the party to survive and fulfil its revolutionary mission. It is again probable that the discussions on these issues will unearth differences in the perception and interpretation of the experiences of the party-in-formation in this phase, and in the conclusions and lessons drawn from them. Again, it is quite possible that some of these could be so serious and irreconcilable that they result in a parting of ways. It is to be hoped that this possibility does not eventuate, but it should not stop the partybuilding project should it happen unavoidably. For a key factor in the survival of the vanguard party and in its success at its revolutionary task is its ability to assess its experiences impartially and to

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The Nigerian Socialist Movement and the Challenge of Organisation

draw the proper conclusions for corrective action. An incorrect evaluation of experience or an incorrect conclusion drawn from it could spell doom for the party and result in devastating reversals from which the struggle might not recover for years or even decades. It is necessary therefore that the party should conduct this review of experience with every seriousness, objectivity, and thoroughness, and that its conclusions should be founded on the practical results of the actions taken (with allowance made for the peculiarity of circumstances where appropriate, and with consideration of the experiences of other socialist movements and parties). Where all this is done and there remain differences of assessment and conclusion so serious that they cause a parting of ways, so be it; in the certainty that future events will prove or disprove the conflicting arguments and in the hope that those proved wrong will be humble enough to admit their error and to rejoin those proved right. At the completion of the second task/phase of the proposed party-building project, the party-inconstruction will already have the following: 1. a final programme and body of organisational rules that have been tested in the course of practical work among the oppressed masses 2. A body of candidate-members (those who passed the tests in the training and testing cells) waiting to be inducted and organised into the base structures of the future party 3. A network of these training-and-testing cells across the country from which to continue the development of promising activists into candidate-members 4. A growing body of organic relationships with various groups of the oppressed across the country, and 5. Practical experience as an organisation, albeit in inchoation, of working with the oppressed masses in their struggles against the oppressor, as well as experience of fighting the state forces of formal repression and those of informal repression

In the third task/phase, the party-building project will create a stable system of structures, announce its existence and programme to the working class and the oppressed masses, and step forward as the advanced detachment of the working class and all oppressed social groups. This task/phase will involve, among others, inducting and organising the candidate-members into the base structures of the party, establishing its intermediate structures, consolidating and rationalising the propaganda and cadre training mechanisms of the party, and setting up its security and self-defence apparatuses.

This phased and task-based approach will enable the Nigerian socialist movement to purge itself of its ideological, ethical, and attitudinal dross accumulated over the decades, and to build a vanguard party reasonably free of the corruption and opportunism that doomed previous enterprises of the same sort. The movement has more than its fair share of Marxs, Lenins, Maos, Fidels, and Chs who, convinced it is their duty and right to dominate and dictate to any vanguard party, will come to this party-building project precisely with that purpose in mind. This task-based approach is predicated however on a recognition of the degeneration and ineptitude of the entire movement, degeneration and ineptitude whose supreme proof are, first, the long-running impotence of the

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movement in the social conflict, and, second, the persistency of the movements organisational failure over four or five decades despite the unprecedented deepening of the social conflict. Thus, it recognises no unquestionable authority among the Marxs, Lenins, Maos, Fidels, and Chs of Nigerias socialist pantheon; rather, it requires that every socialist prove his or her credentials in the practical and theoretical tasks involved in building the vanguard party.

Organisational Framework
It is unrealistic nevertheless to expect that this process can proceed or succeed without some form of authority structure. The Nigerian socialist movement, despite its signal failure in meeting its organisational challenge, has produced many genuine revolutionaries with valuable experience in respect of the tasks at hand. These must play a key role in shepherding the process and bringing it to success. The question is how to do that without submitting the project to the destructive heritage of the movement in the question of organisation. There must be an organisational framework within which this process can to take place and conclude successfully. Again, we need to proceed from the earth beneath our feet and from a completely realistic and unromantic assessment of the state of the Nigerian socialist movement. We propose therefore that the organisational framework for the party building project has to be such as would not place too much strain too soon on the present structure of the movement and would evolve from a state of loose cooperation towards greater centralisation in keeping with progress on the tasks outlined above. For all the evidence of the collective impotence of the movement furnished daily by the state of the social conflict in Nigeria, the various organisations in the movement nevertheless cling zealously to their organisational independence and ideological autonomy. It would be a grave error of procedure and of assessment of character to require them to give these up without their having come by practical experience to the recognition of the necessity to do so. The evolution of the organisational framework of the party-building project therefore has to commence on the basis of a loose cooperation among these autonomous organisations, with the evolution proceeding from level to higher level in tandem with the tasks/phases of the project. Thus in the first task/phase, the project only requires a small representative organ to perform the following tasks: 1. Setting up the platform for the discussions on the issues involved in the formulation of the draft programme and body of organisational rules 2. Moderating the debate according to rules adopted by all participants 3. Summarising the state of the debate at intervals, in terms of identifying and laying out the areas of agreement and disagreement 4. Producing a draft programme and body of organisational rules from its assessment of the final outcomes of the debate, and 5. Organising the first conference of the party-in-construction to: a. Review and adopt the draft programme and body of organisational rules, and b. Set up a body to oversee the second task/phase of the party-building project

This representative organ, which might be considered in the nature of an editorial collective, will be independent of the participating socialist organisations but also will have absolutely no power or

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authority over them, except insofar as it concerns the general terms for the conduct of the debates and of the programmatic conference. With the adoption of a draft programme and body of organisational rules, the project moves into its second task/phase which, from its description above, would clearly require greater operational coordination among participating organisations and individuals. This coordination could be provided by a representative coordinating committee with the tasks of: 1. Devising the rules for performance assessment and verification in the setting up of the training and testing cells (the rules for their constitution having already been set out in the draft organisation rules) 2. Articulating the training and testing programme for the cells, as well as the education programme they will conduct among the mass of the oppressed 3. Running the centralised management of information and reports about the membership and operations of the cells 4. Conducting the assessment and verification of the performance of members of the party-inconstruction in the cell building task 5. Conducting top-level propaganda operations, including publishing a newspaper for the party-in-formation, managing the website for the continuation of discussions on questions of theory and practice arising from the field work of the cells and member organisations 6. Coordinating actions in the field of struggle that involve joint operations by members 7. Speaking for the party-in-formation on public issues 8. Conducting the second conference of the party-in-formation at which: a. The committee will present the performance and verification report on the basis of which the conference will decide which organisations and individuals have passed the test to remain in the formation b. Members will adopt the final versions of the programme and body of organisational rules c. Members will elect a central body for the third task/phase of the party building project

It is clear that this task/phase, which will probably run for a number of years, will feature a duality of, on the one hand, extensive organisational autonomy for its participant-organisations in terms of their internal operations and, on the other, extra-organisational coordination in field operations concerning the work of the party-in-formation. This will enable the work of building the party to proceed while also allowing sufficient room for each participant-organisation to decide freely whether it wishes to continue in that work and to dissolve finally into the party. Thus, the organisational framework for the task/phase would be a sort of working federation. With the completion of the second task/phase and on the eve of the third, however, the transition will have to be made to the democratic unitarism that is an absolute necessity for the survival and effectiveness of the vanguard party. All participants in the process will have to decide at the end of the second task/phase whether to subject themselves to the democratic centralism of a unitarist vanguard party or to continue relating to it only as an allied organisation.

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Financing
This entire project will have to be financed somehow, specifically in its first two phases. Few would contest the position that strategic financial autonomy the ability to finance from ones own resources all operations that are of strategic necessity for the achievement of ones goals must be a cardinal organisational principle for the socialist movement. This is even more so for a revolutionary vanguard party of the Leninist type. In the case of the proposed project, this translates into the requirement that its subscribers should finance it. This is both as a matter of principle and as a measure of their commitment to the project. The cost of the strategic operation in the first task/phase i.e. the setting up and management of the website for the programmatic discussions, and conducting the first conference of the party-information could be financed entirely by levies on subscribing organisations, with all unaffiliated socialists in a town or city being grouped together in one undesignated organisation for the purpose of this project. Participants in the conference should be required to finance their own transport and feeding. The strategic operations in the second task/phase might be grouped into those conducted by the coordinating committee of the socialist federation (see Organisational Framework) and those conducted by the participating organisations, the latter including all propaganda, agitational, and organisational work among the masses by the cells, and all educational and training activities for the cells. These organisations could finance these latter operations entirely and directly, i.e. from their own resources. The operations conducted by the coordinating committee could be financed by a combination of levies on participating organisations, dues from cadres-in-training (activists recruited into the training-and-testing cells), and donations from persons and organisations carefully selected by the coordinating committee. As in the first conference of the party-in-formation, participants in the second should be required to finance their own transport and feeding. In the third task/phase of the project, the central committee of the party which would have emerged in the fullness of being at the end of the second task/phase will build upon and expand these financing operations to meet its tasks.

Conclusion
The Nigerian socialist movement is today confronted with the task of overcoming its long history of organisational failure if it must realise itself as a revolutionary force and succeed in leading the oppressed in the making of revolution in the country. It cannot do this except by shedding all its illusions about itself and boldly confronting its weaknesses and failings. Otherwise, the current discussion on organisation will probably end in failure like many before it. This must involve a thorough discussion of the wide range of theoretical and practical issues directly implicated in the organisational failure of the socialist movement. We hope our theses above will play some positive role in this.

Osaze Lanre Nosaze May 04, 2013