Africa’s most populous nation has lots of parties that call themselves “socialist” or “communist,” but “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.”
“Having lost its own ideological bearings, the movement could not provide enlightenment and ideological leadership.”
As in many post-colonies, the Socialist movement in Nigeria has failed due to the organic divorce of the movement from the struggles of the oppressed. Revolution is no longer seen as a practical necessity, largely because of the movement’s petty bourgeoisie class origins.
To revive the movement, this class needs a deep and radicalizing experience of privation and oppression out of which it can find no escape but revolution.
By organizational failure of the Nigerian Socialist movement we mean its inability to sustain itself as a body of independent, more or less stable and coherent organizations 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 of Socialists exist, some of which self-delusionally describe themselves as “the Socialist 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 of 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 bourgeoisie’s program of neoliberal restructuring of the economy. That an otherwise objectively radicalizing material situation has not resulted in a subjectively radicalized 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 organizational failure and impotence of the Nigerian Socialist movement.