NIGERIANS: A CALL TO ACTION
[JAF’s Programme as adopted at its 2nd National Delegates Conference on October 8th – 9th 2011]
That we live in turbulent times is not in doubt. That we have to fight for our lives is a reality the masses of Nigeria know. That we desire a strong organization to lead us in struggle is not in doubt. That the conditions in our country are going to continue to degenerate except the masses directly intervene by taking their destiny into their hands is an indisputable fact of history.
This explains why JAF is assessing the current situation and reinvigorating itself toward playing a decisive role in the struggle of the Nigerian working people.
- BASIC PRINCIPLES OF STRUGGLE
2.1 The Programme anchors JAF as a movement against all forms of exploitation and oppression.
2.2 JAF as a social movement means that its programme of action should appreciate reform and revolutionary transformation of the polity towards the social emancipation of the country and people.
2.3 JAF identifies the forces to achieve such immediate and ultimate goals as socialist and non-socialist working class organisations including human rights and other civil society groups that subscribe to the programme of actions of JAF.
2.4 The Programme of Action shall be to fight for welfare and well being of the working people, social infrastructures and against neo-liberal capitalist policy, corruption, inequality and other forms of exploitation and oppression. The specifics shall be determined from time to time.
2.5 JAF shall reposition itself to galvanise all working class political forces against the existing social order with the aim of capturing political power.
2.6 Ideological education classes shall be provided for rank and file workers, working class women and youths including cadres of the organisation.
2.7 There should be established a Code of Conduct for Organisation Discipline.
2.8 There should be a Resource Mobilisation Committee that handles issues of access to materials and funds.
2.9 For effective running of the organisation JAF shall put in place committees such as secretariat, organising, finance and mobilisation; and other committees shall be constituted from time to time depending on situation.
2.10 Encourage and strengthen the partnership with Labour in Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) to provide leadership in the mass struggle in the country that will bring about working people’s government.
- JAF DEFINED
3.1 JAF is a united front of pro-Labour organizations and activists in Nigeria who have faith in the Labour Movement, who believe in the strength of the working masses and youth.JAF understands that in the struggle to change Nigeria, the working class must play a decisive role and should form alliances with other working people, marginalized groups and oppressed strata of the society.
3.2 The Joint Action Front (JAF) represents the third arm of the Labour and Civil society Coalition (LASCO), a coalition of the NLC, TUC and JAF, which represents the pro-labour civil society arm of the LASCO.
3.3 JAF understands that for real change to come there must be a system change. In essence, the establishment of a democratic working class government, responsible to the interests of the working people, remains the sole solution to the crisis imposed on the society by the current capitalist class.
3.4 JAF is committed to system change, which can only occur with the mass mobilization of the Nigerian working people. The path of change remains the building and strengthening the independent organizations of the working people and the struggle against all forms of capitalist attacks; and opposing all forms of corruptions and undemocratic measures within the labour movement.
3.5 JAF is also committed to the consistent political education of the masses. When the majority of the masses clearly see through their practical experience in struggle that system change is the only way forward, no force can stop them.
3.6 JAF is committed to working with the leadership of the Nigerian trade union movement (NLC and TUC) and the rank and file workers in the day-to-day struggle of the working people.
3.7 JAF is committed to the defense of the rights of the working people in the informal economy and the oppressed strata in the society, such as the artisans, the unemployed, the unorganized, poor rural farmers, non-students youths, etc, and shall forge close relations with their independent organizations and help deepened their alliances with organised labour.
3.8 JAF is committed to the struggle to defeat all anti-people programmes inspired by IMF/World Bank such as privatization, deregulation, etc. and for a working people’s government committed to progressively reversing all the anti-people policies.
3.9 JAF is committed to the unity of the Nigerian working people and will fight against all attempts to split the masses on religious and ethnic lines by the ruling elites.
4. IMMEDIATE PROGRAM
- The 2011 elections we have been told will usher in a new period in the history of our country. The bosses and politicians have claimed that the elections were “free, fair and credible”. But it is impossible for elections to be truly “free and fair” when those that can contest are only the rich and wealthy. Those that have been “elected” will formulate and implement policies and laws that will favour their continued exploitation and domination of the masses. There can be no real alternative which represents the aspirations and yearnings of the working people at all levels of government, when those in power are capitalists and their representatives.
- It is crystal clear that those who have been “elected” will continue to unleash neo-liberal attacks on the people, which have already started. Hence, JAF should be positioned to intervene and mobilize mass resistance against all social-economic and political attacks against working people in the coming period.
- JAF should be ready to be a force and supporting voice of the working people by regularly stating its position publicly on policies, programs and actions or inactions of the government.
- JAF should be ready initiate actions and protests against all forms of neo-liberal attacks in all sectors of social life.
- Specifically, it must intensify efforts in the struggle against privatization particularly of the power sector, which has started but presently suspended.
- Support workers in their struggle for a living wage. The current national minimum wage of N18, 000 has been signed into law. As experience has shown, there is tougher struggle ahead to ensure strict implementation of the minimum wage by all states of the federation.
- JAF has to begin, separately and along with labour leadership, mass mobilization of workers and the general public for a struggle should any state government fail or refuse to pay the new minimum wage.
- JAF must also show interest in issues and attacks at workplaces, communities and schools.
- The major lesson of the 2011 election is the absence of a working people political alternative at the polls. JAF should therefore commence immediately the discussion on the current state of the Labour Party (LP), the attitude of the leadership of the Nigerian trade unions to politics, and work towards either transforming the current NLP or building a new mass party of workers, youths, artisans, traders and other strata of the oppressed.
5. IMMEDIATE LINE OF ACTION
Topmost in the agenda of JAF is the task of building the JAF nationally, because of the imperative necessity to build the bridge of unity among pro-labour activists nationally. This will facilitate the linking of the masses of the north and south in struggle and enhance the raising of the consciousness of the Nigerian masses. Towards this end, JAF makes the following demands:
5.1 No to unemployment! Work or full employment for all! Organize the employed now! Unemployment Benefits to the Unemployed!
5.2 Down with business secrets! Open the books! Let the workers have access to information about all the swindles, speculation, tax dodges, shady deals and excessive profits and bonuses. Let the people see how they have been swindled and who is responsible for the present mess!
5.3 No to factory closures and Layoff of Workers! Workers should occupy and run workplaces to save jobs!
5.4 For a wide-ranging programme of massive public works through direct labour, a massive building programme of affordable housing for all, schools, hospitals and roads.
5.5 A living wage and pension for all! A sliding scale of wages linking wage increases to increases in the cost of living.
5.6 JAF in alliance with the trade unions, co-operatives, consumers, women, etc., should work out the real index of the cost of living.
5.7 Set up committees of workers, small shopkeepers and unemployed to control price increases.
5.8 Abolition of all indirect taxation and the introduction of progressive system of direct taxation.
5.9 An end to fuel (petrol, kerosene, diesel, aviation fuel, etc) scarcity and drastic reduction of fuel prices!
5.10 Independence of the unions and resistance to state interference. An end to compulsory arbitration! No-strike deals! End to measures to restrict the scope of action of the unions!
5.11 JAF demands democratization of the unions and firm control by rank and file workers; including the strengthening of the shop stewards committees and the creation of ad hoc strike committees during strikes and other conflicts as a means of ensuring the fullest participation of the widest number of workers.
5.12 JAF stands for a militant programme to mobilise the workers in defence of jobs and living standards.
5.13 Demand for free and qualitative healthcare and education as a fundamental human rights.
5.14 Defence of the rights of people living with disabilities.
5.15 Resistance to neo-liberal policies.