The term ‘rural community’ is very ambiguous, and as such it can be very cumbersome to define. Though some obvious characteristics of rural communities are a lower population density, a lack of social amenities, and an absence of healthcare providers relative to their urban counterparts, the rural community can also be associated with all kinds of good. All of the unspoiled serene earthly beauty, families whose diets are nearly free of processed foods and sugary carbonated beverages, and landscapes free from toxic waste and polluted air. That’s just the beginning of what rural communities can be.
Right now though, this is no longer the case in the Nigerian rural communities who in recent times have faced threats of hunger, insecurity, pandemic, ecological disaster etc. Members of rural communities in Niger delta are breathing bad air, drinking contaminated water, and have lost the ecosystem they long depended on, all because of hydrocarbon exploration by multinational oil companies and oil bunkering. Industrial ventures that only serve capitalist elites in the city and a select privileged few willing to exploit their fellow man in the rural communities. This exploration impacts the livelihood of people in the Niger Delta which revolves around farming and fishing. Because of the exploration the lands and water have become so polluted with crude oil that there is continuous gas flaring and pipe eruptions. The combination of factors have led to a brutally overwhelmed ecosystem. This ecological disaster combined with corporate greed has greatly contributed to an increase in poverty, poor health, benefited the continuing rise of organized communal warlords, and the overall misery of Nigerian rural communities.
Read our previous article on capitalism-in-nigeria/ for more on the ecological disaster caused by oil exploration activity in the Niger delta.
Rural Nigeria has been ever burdened with poverty, lack of healthcare, poor infrastructure, poor education, high maternal death rate, high child mortality, a severe lack of social amenities, and so much more. Despite this extreme poverty there has been too little to no legislative action nor substantive policy attempts to address these conditions in the rural communities suffering in this country.
Despite the devastating effects of colonialism on the culture of colonized people, rural communities still retain their cultural heritage. Most annual cultural festivities continue to take place in these communities; cultures and traditions that promote communality and the impersonal relationships that continue to exist among the rural people. The spirit of cooperation and mutualism that exists among members of rural communities in Nigeria is ever visible relative to the urban areas. But in time the indigenous cultures will face evermore cultural erosion and extinction, but until then rural communities remain a place of hope .
Nigeria’s rural communities are foundational to guaranteeing the colonizer’s food security going into the future.
As food insecurity, poverty, and malnutrition continue to ravage the Sahel Region, it is rural communities that have continued to provide the backbone to the remaining food security in the region. In spite of this most rural communities have faced a systematic and total disconnection from the apparatus of government. Poverty, hunger, disease, inadequate healthcare if it exists at all, the dilapidated road networks, and underfunded schools clearly highlight the complete exclusion.
One will wonder then, in spite of its major role in feeding the nation, why over the years the government of Nigeria has not implemented policies and programmes to ensure a continuing, decent standard of living. Things like providing the rural areas functional healthcare, electricity, and aqueducts. At least provide them with an accessible road network to accommodate the transportation of their farming and agricultural products. This is supposed to be the primary responsibility of any functional government anyway!
It is imperative to advocate for policies and programs that will ensure rural communities get attention from both government bodies and concerned individuals. We can help rural farmers organize a union that will push forth their demand either through protests. It could be boycotting moving their agricultural products to the urban areas. We can help train rural farmers on ICT Nigerian government to pay attention to the yearnings and aspirations of people living in the rural communities!
After a week of mass organizing across Nigeria, officials announced on Sunday, Oct. 11, their intentions to dissolve the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), a particular unit of the Nigerian Police Force known for corrupt policing and excessive use of (often lethal) force.
Protesters have continued to hit the streets following the announcement, unconvinced that state officials will follow through. Officials have promised police reform for years, and the rampant police brutality has only gotten more severe. If the mass mobilizations end now, many Nigerians don’t believe that officials would seriously address issues of police brutality. In fact, already there is word of creating a new police unit that would replace SARS.
SARS was founded in 1992 as a way to combat the rising rate of robbery in Lagos; however, these specialized units very quickly cropped up in every state of Nigeria. The unit originally focused only on robbery, but their role expanded to include kidnapping and cultism. As their rules of engagement became increasingly broad and ill-defined, the unit devolved into corruption, brutality, and unprofessionalism, paralleling the decaying structure of the Nigerian police force as a whole.
Protest in Port Harcourt. (Okezie Adindu)
Allegations of extrajudicial killings, bribery, extortion, sexual assault, and harassment seem never-ending when it comes to the Nigerian police, especially SARS in particular.
Horrific history of police brutality and misconduct
In late 2009, a report by Amnesty International stated that hundreds of people are unlawfully killed by the Nigerian police every year. Many of these murders are the result of excessive force during arrest. Others are simply extrajudicial executions by police officers. Some officers have even killed people for failing to pay a bribe to officers—and this is only the most severe form of extortion.
In June (2020), Amnesty International reported that Nigerian authorities had failed to prosecute even one single SARS officer for misconduct. This is despite anti-torture legislation passed in 2017 and substantial evidence that SARS officers have continued to torture people taken into custody—sometimes to death. In February, BBC African Eye even uncovered footage of torture being used by multiple branches of the Nigerian police and armed forces. One particular form of torture seems to be widely used on detainees, both as punishment and during interrogation—the method has even been used on children detainees.
This has been going on for well over a decade, yet Nigerian officials fail to act, instead preferring to turn a blind eye to the brutality, extortion, and lack of professionalism. Perpetrators face no legal justice, and the families of victims very rarely receive any sort of reparations.
Protesters familiar with empty promises of police reform
In spite of the president’s assurances to reform the police, and the subsequent announcement that SARS would be dissolved given by the Inspector General of Police of Nigeria, protests have not slowed.Protesters are demanding the unconditional release of those arrested during this last week of protest.
Further, the Nigerian people have seen countless instances of governmental promises to reform the police that never come to fruition. In fact, just two days after the announcement that SARS would be “disbanded,” the Inspector General of Police then announced plans to replace SARS with a new policing unit, this time under the new name Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
It’s unlikely this new policing unit will address the issues seen in SARS. Consider that in 2018, the government set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the activities of SARS and make recommendations for reform. The commission’s report has yet to even be made public—and this is almost two years after the panel submitted its findings to the government.
Of course, you hardly need an official report to notice misconduct within SARS. Viral videos capturing countless acts of brutality by SARS officers dominate the internet in Nigeria. Nigerian youths are especially likely to be victimized. SWAT will almost certainly continue this legacy of police brutality, and this is why the mass mobilizations in Nigeria are not about to subside any time soon.
Relationship to global movement for Black Lives Matter
“Our lives matter!” chant protesters in Port Harcourt. “End police brutality!”
The movement in Nigeria is, of course, part of a larger movement that’s been happening internationally. What began in the U.S. following the murder of George Floyd has spread to countries all over the world, demanding an end to police brutality and the racist targeting and murder of Black lives.
This indicates just how influential these kinds of mass mobilizations can be. Further, this trend has strong implications for the self-determination of oppressed peoples. Nigeria, once a British colony, officially attained independence back in 1960, but the impact of imperialism remains a strong influence on the country.
What has been achieved in a few days of relentless effort is an indication of the power of the masses working together as a united front. In Nigeria, people face political corruption, insecurity, and total government failure to provide basic needs like housing and medical care. This victory has shown the masses of Nigeria that their power lies in independent organizing against the oppressors.
As the class struggle in Nigeria deepens, workers will see the importance in organizing a revolutionary political party independent of the ruling class. After all, we have nothing to lose but our chains!
Isimala and Yusuf are from Gwadabawa, the local government area of Sokoto, but both now live in Abuja Nigeria. Isimala was born 1978 (42yrs) and Yusuf 1975 (45yrs) respectively; Isimala has two wives with seven children, while Yusuf has three wives with ten children. Both reviewed that they have been farmers all their lives and did not attend any form of classroom education.
Rice and corn FarmDeiDeiAbujaNigeria#Yusulf&Isimalay
In Spite of being farmers all their lives, they do not have farmland of their own. They are farming for big oligarchies who have the power to seize land and control the peasant economy. Like many other small farmers that make up this peasantry class, Yusulf and Isimala are in abject poverty. Life has not been easy for them–something true for all the oppressed people of Nigeria, regardless of whether they are out in the farms or taking on wage labor in the city. Like in much of Nigeria, In a time where house rent has risen unprecedentedly in Abuja, one will wonder with the level of poverty in Nigeria, which Yusulf&Isimala is completely victims of, how have they managed with accommodation? According Yusulf&Isimala, they have lived in Abuja for 14years and have found shelter on any uncompleted buildings and sometimes move under any available cave. It is disheartening that our people are poor in the midst of plenty, is painful that millions of Nigerians are going to bed hungry, Nigeria’s poverty crisis is worsening, Oxfam, World Bank data, while politicians keep looting our common resources with numerous tactics, with corruptions well planned and executed.
These variables over the years have become powerful divisive tools used in Nigeria, to keep the oppressed class isolated and angry against each other. The oppressors have hid under them to divide and keep us away from each other. Someone like Yususl and Isimala who is Muslims from Northern Nigeria, have a different political and religious view which is designed in such way that made them think the right people to be in position of power are muslims, and the best religion is Islam, and this is applicable to someone in the in the Southern Nigeria. This is completely a gamic and designed injustice by the the oppressor to make sure we don’t unite.
Ethnicity, Religion, political affiliation and gender a gamic of the oppressors .
We are one people, all the oppressed people of the world are one, all the oppressed Nigerians are one people. Religion, ethnicity, political affiliation and gender does not matter. We must unite against political corruption and we must unite to change those who have kept us in the cave for many years.
Since Yusulf&Isimala is suffering abject poverty as a result of corruption and Emeka and Olamide are still suffering the same poverty as a result of corruption makes us one people. What we have is two classes of people, two religions, two political parties, the oppressed and oppressors.
We are one people.
Musa is a herder from #Abuja. He is passionate to succeed in life, but the system subjected him to this exploitative job. Musa, has never been to any classroom education before. The deprivation is intentional, and is geared towards making him a lesser human who’s psych can be manipulated to serve the master business.
The ethnic tensions, which many have lost their lives to, is a manipulated battle to grab up land by the herders, all while getting protection of the land by farmers. This animosity serves the oligarchies, who profit off the land. Its obvious this divide is manipulation by the oppressors to further divide the people who are oppressed. People like #ShyibuMusa walk miles to feed cattle that he has no economic control over.
He is from #Fulaniethnic group, I am from #Igboethnic group, two ethnic group that the oppressors have manipulated in hopes of dividing us. But I love him and he loves me. He is a victim of oppression and I am a victim of oppression, so we are one. We must, as people from the same oppressed class, unite irrespective of your ethnicity, religion gender, and sex. We must unite in a formidable class movement. This is how we will end oppression of us both.
I stand in solidarity with him and I feel his suffering as if it were my own. Workers of the world unite.
Pop feminism in the United States. Taking a look at the US, there is an undeniable link between gender and class, with women throughout the US not getting the right to vote until 1920. While women can now participate in electoral politics, their economic position has hardly budged since the suffrage movement. Prior to the […]
“Neoliberal theorists are, however, profoundly suspicious of democracy. Governance by majority rule is seen as a potential threat to individual rights and constitutional liberties. Democracy is viewed as a luxury, only possible under conditions of relative affluence coupled with a strong middle-class presence to guarantee political stability. Neoliberals therefore tend to favour governance by experts and elites.”
I could go on, but I’d rather not because talking about the DNC is honestly just boring. Now I’m not saying election corruption necessarily lost Bernie the nomination. It’s possible he’d have lost even if this were a fair election (though, not sure the extreme concentration of media ownership ever constitutes a “fair” election).
But all things considered, I’d understand if a lot of people heavily-invested in Bernie’s campaign (his “bros,” is the proper terminology, I believe) are furious with the DNC right now.
NOTE: People like me are not why he lost, if that’s what you’re thinking. I fully intended on voting for him in the primaries (I’m registered in a state that hasn’t voted yet, so it’s sort of moot now), and I strongly encouraged everyone and their grandmother to vote for the guy on the off-chance it worked. I’ve gone without healthcare before, I’ve had a number of shitty run-ins with the criminal justice system, and I’m in hella debt. I’d have been stoked if Bernie got in there and lifted that authoritarian boot off my face, even just a little bit.
Welcome to the Bern Unit.
So instead of Bernie, the DNC is riden’ with Biden…an old man riddled with dementia known for, uh, yeah…
Bernie Sanders endorsed Joe Biden because he ultimately doesn’t believe a progressive movement is possible without backing from the DNC. He doesn’t believe a workers party is possible at all―the DNC and RNC are both political parties that represent the ruling (capitalist) class interests. This is why electoral politics in the US collapses into what is essentially a culture war…neither party represents the interests of working people. Nor do they represent the interests of small business owners…if lobbying isn’t in your budget, then expect this ruling class to throw you under the bus the moment it benefits them (e.g. COVID-19 bailouts that essentially screwed over everyone but massive corporations).
Staying within this two-party system framework forces you to assume the position that some workers do need to be sacrificed to maintain the existence of an extremely wealthy capitalist class. What changes is which workers you deem expendable. Do you draw the line at child labor, but excuse low wage labor exploitation? Do you draw the line at white workers, but excuse the exploitation of people of color? Do you draw the line at American workers, but excuse exploitation overseas? Do you draw the line at college-educated young adults, but excuse young military recruits being sent into excessively dangerous situations?
These are all morality arguments that hinge on the cultural norms you grew up with. And yeah, the Bernie campaign really did push back on this: Not me, us. No one needs to be sacrificed!
And such a stance is materially opposed to any political party representing the ruling class. Like, say, the DNC. A capitalist political party that really does love rules and formality and civility…which is why Trump is so offensive to them. He’s so crass, it’s no wonder the poors love him (which…they don’t really, but reality’s never stopped the libs before).
The libs love a good loophole, are suspicious of real democracy, and they want to maintain their own class (the ruling class) far more than they want their own little cultural wing of the party to succeed. Sure, they think Trump lacks taste, but at least he isn’t talking about redistribution.
They’re so ineffective, it almost seems…performative. Like they don’t really oppose Trump’s political agenda that much, they just think he’s gauche.
You fell for one of the classic blunders: the popular front vs. the united front.
The Bernie campaign wasn’t a workers movement, so much as it was a popular front due to its reliance on the DNC. A popular front is an alliance between workers and the capitalist ruling class…one that relies on that capitalist class support to sustain itself. The issue with this sort of organizing lies in that fundamental power imbalance. While workers in the movement sacrifice their political goals in an effort to make “realistic” demands (e.g. demands the ruling class may willingly give up), the ruling class is never actually obligated to give anything. You’ve made it clear you think working with them is the only route to power. You’re not a threat to them, so why would they give up anything?
This was the flaw in trying to “take over” the Democratic party. You’ve literally told them you don’t think a workers movement is possible without backing from the DNC. The leftwing of the capitalist class isn’t you’re fucking roommate…they’re not just going to give you rights because you showed a willingness to compromise.
This is opposed to the united front, which is a coalition of working people who unite around a shared political goal. For instance, the push for ending child labor in the US constituted a united front, with some groups in the coalition being explicitly socialist, while others were the working children themselves, many of whom likely did not identify as socialist. Still, others may have been small business owners (who are not actually in the capitalist ruling class despite not entirely being workers either).
The united front doesn’t need to make concessions to some ruling class allies to sustain itself. As such, it is typically this type of coalition-building that lends to a weakening of ruling class power, as opposed to a mere reshuffling of how labor exploitation occurs. Child labor laws didn’t mean adult workers would need to work longer hours at lower pay…they meant capitalists materially got to extract less profit from laborers. This was an actual economic win for the working class.
Of course, if your organizations dissolve because “we did it,” you risk capitalists slinking back to steal back the profits they lost while no one’s organized enough to react. They’ll always extract as much profit as they think they can get away with. My boyfriend grew up doing unpaid labor for commercial construction projects…so child labor in the US. This was in a religious cult, so the upaid part made him “closer to God,” or some shit. It also made the cult leader/capitalist a shit load of money. And while this might surprise some that this took place in the US, I hope it’s not news that US corporations use overseas child labor all the time.
This is what happens when your movement is about reshuffling oppressions, rather than materially changing conditions for all workers. Stop giving up ground to a capitalist party that literally owes you nothing in return. Meanwhile, that compromising is very often what’s limiting your movement. If your organizing could include all workers in the US, but you limit your scope to citizens as a stipulation of a popular front alliance with the capitalist class…the capitalists will fuck you over, and you’ve just shown non-citizens that their rights are negotiable. That is more damaging to the movement than telling the ruling class you will not capitulate to their demands. Honestly, that’s very likely why they proposed you do it in the first place. They didn’t just waste your time, they set you back.
That’s how you get supposed feminists telling rape survivors that they’re morally bad if they don’t vote for the blue rapist. That’s how you get all these motivated leftists thinking, what the fuck do I do now? That’s how you get people throwing up their hands and bailing on the political realm altogether. It’s how you get people thinking politics is just voting. That’s how you get black, transgender, and disabled comrades feeling like they have no place in the movement aside from occasionally being some sacrificial pawn so we can maintain an alliance with capital.
Despite the global ecological devastation caused by climate change (especially in Nigeria), the Nigerian government has done little to implement legislation that will put a check on oil companies and other large industries polluting the environment. 80% of all wastewater coming from Nigerian industrial facilities receives no form of treatment whatsoever, and approximately 40m litres are spilled in just the Niger Delta region of Nigeria annually, often causing dangerous gas flaring that can kill hundreds of people. These industries continue to pollute our waters and destroy our farmland, making it impossible to fish or grow food. The response by the governmentㅡpast and presentㅡhas not been impressive. Indeed they’ve left many families homeless, hungry, and without access to clean drinking water, leading to cancerous diseases and other forms of illness.
Further, there has been little to no academic curriculum adjustment that will teach the younger generations of Nigeria the devastating effects of climate change, let alone the causes or remediation solutions. One can’t help but wonder if this is a deliberate act ensuring the Nigerian working classes suffer the brunt of this ecological disaster, all while left in the dark to what is happening to their soils and their waterways so that they are not inclined to speak out. It would seem the capitalist forces in power care only for increasing their profits, even at the expense of the ecosystem and the Nigerian people.
The Unite4Action-Nigeria branch is on a mission to spread awareness and raise consciousness in Nigeria, especially among the youths. We want to educate the people on the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as how us Nigerians can push for remediation and political change to end the destruction. To my fellow workers of the world, please join Unite4Action-Nigerian in demanding the Nigerian government implement the Nigerian Climate Change Commission Bill into law immediately by signing our petition. This bill would compel multinational companies and industries to stop the pollution of our waterways, which currently ranges from oil spillage, to plastic and industrial wastewater disposal. Runoff further leads to the destruction of our farmlands, causing an outright public health risk. THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE COMMISSION BILL was introduced in the National Assembly years ago, yet we’ve gotten little information on when the bill will be passed into law. The government must act now!
Eco-psychology deals with the relationship between human beings and the natural world, through the lens of ecological and psychological principles. That is, eco-psychology is a way of comprehending the emotional connection between individual and the natural world. Beyond the individual developing a sustainable lifestyle, it is a remedy for the alienation from nature inherent in capitalist society.
Eco-psychology proposes that the human mind is affected and shaped by the modern social world—this can bond or alienate us from the natural world. In capitalism, there is a disconnect between nature and human society. This is, of course, an incoherent worldview. Climate change and environmental destruction have been caused by exploitation of the natural world and, in turn, the destruction of our physical environment is an existential threat. As the environmental threat grows, the capitalist system become more and more schizophrenic. Rather than discontinuing environmental degradation, rather than restructuring society to be sustainable, capitalism adapts the spectacle of eco-socialism minus the material and emotional substance. The market is being flooded with “green” products, companies like Uber claim to be part of a “sharing economy”, and data-collecting mindfulness/meditation apps are being framed as the solution to alienation. Recuperation has morphed environmentalism into an individualistic consumer-oriented practice, washing it of any systemic political criticism.
Eco-socialism offers a solution to climate change and inequality, but we have to advocate for it. It won’t come about on it’s own. The longer capitalism is left to handle the environmental problems it’s caused, the more it will slide towards the paranoid position of the eco-fascist. A position that ultimately argues that, well climate change can’t hurt us if we’re all already dead. If a system strives for the destruction of all the people in it, then the extinction of the human race isn’t the end so much as it is the grand finale. Is that a contradiction? Sure. It’s also the path we’re on. As the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze once said,
“The death of a social machine has never been heralded by a disharmony or a dysfunction; on the contrary, social machines make a habit of feeding on the contradictions they give rise to, on the crises they provoke, on the anxieties they engender, and on the infernal operations they regenerate. Capitalism has learned this, and has ceased doubting itself, while even socialists have abandoned belief in the possibility of capitalism’s natural death by attrition. No one has ever died from contradictions. And the more it breaks down, the more it schizophrenizes, the better it works, the American way.”
Gilles Deleuze, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
With the global mobilization of the working classes of the world we see growing evidence of global class consciousness. The persistent, yet hidden truth is that the foundation of our societies is built on working class labor. As global class agitation rises and mass organization demands that the workers of the world replace these oppressive and exploitative rulers, it becomes increasingly clear that we need global systemic changes. The old system must be uprooted and replaced with international socialism.
Throughout various periods of history, the proletariat workers have had opportunity to unite and overthrow their oppressive regimes. Yet their attempts were thwarted by docile workers willing to bargain with the ruling classes. These class traitors typically sympathized with their oppressors due to a variety of underhanded attempts by the ruling classes to confuse the workers class interest with their own, primarily through isolation, disorientation, and misdirection. This is often accomplished by increasing the availability of aesthetical aspects of bourgeois life, pushing a false media narrative, and eliminating channels of communication between comrades. For example, the archetypal white American suburb of the 1950s physically and ideologically seperated this so-called “middle class” from other workers. They could view themselves as homeowners, fundamentally different from urban renters. Homeowning pushed them to sympathize with the capital-owning classes, as they were encouraged to conflate personal property with private property (the means of production). Another example is fascistic ideaology that confuses ruling class antagonism with some ethnic, racial, or gender identity. The rulers with their monopoly on the means of production and their growing profits extracted from slavery, wage labor, and manufactured scarcity…this is not the problem, says fascism, it is “the Jews” or “the gypsies”—the mysterious other. Such a misdirection requires social isolation from this other, and a false understanding of one’s own class position.
The oppressors maintain control over the means of production, and subsequently our choices, tastes, and culture. They own and/or control all legitimate sources of news, media, and communication, allowing them to frame degrading material conditions as the fault of an other, and improving material conditions as the result of their own generosity and competence. They mute class consciousness, yet their efforts are losing effectiveness. The global proletariat have an opportunity to evolve this exploitative system if we can ward off false consciousness. With the threat of growing environmental disaster, this becomes increasingly crucial that we spread class consciousness and unite with our fellow proletariat comrades from all over the world. We cannot let ignorance pull workers towards becoming self-destructive class traitors, who protect the ruling capitalist class due to a false understanding of class and their own class position.
Under our current global economic system, ecological collapse is inevitable. The future well-being of humanity and our environment requires change through class consiousness. It require active organization. It requires these things on a global-scale. With that, I assert with urgency, workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose, but your chains.