The year 2020 was probably the most historic year in history. COVID-19 pandemic, global economic crisis, and government repression were met from below with renewed organising and some of the largest mass struggles in history. These included the Black Lives Matter movement which erupted after the killing of George Floyd in the United States and swept across the globe, and the EndSARS revolt in Nigeria which marked the mass awakening of a generation to struggle against police brutality, repression, injustice, and systemic bad governance.
There will be decisive class battles this year. The country has slipped into its worst recession in four decades and the Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) regime, in line with the dictates of the IMF and World Bank, intends to make the poor masses bear the burden. Thus, while the prices of basic food items and cost of living in general have skyrocketed, we are also likely to see further increases in fuel pump price – compounding an already terrible situation for millions of working-class people and youth.
The regime will be ever ready to use the police, state security service, army, and its other means of coercion to repress the resistance that will emerge. But we must not be cowed. We are many and they are few. The people united and determined cannot be defeated.
State repression by the increasingly unpopular regime in an unfolding year of crises and revolt has already begun. Within the first two hours of 2021, Omoyele Sowore, Juwon Sanyaolu, Michael Adenola and at least two other members of the African Action Congress, a CORE affiliate, were brutalised, arrested, and detained at the notorious “abattoir”, the SARS FCT headquarters. Their “crime” was organising a peaceful crossover night protest with lit candles and placards.
CORE calls for their immediate and unconditional release. And we urge all mass democratic and civic organisations to demand their immediate release. This assault is a message from the regime that it aims to snuff out any dissenting voice as it rolls out further anti-poor policies. We must respond with one voice in calling for the release of Omoyele Sowore and all comrades thus arrested and condemn this flagrant violation of their fundamental human rights.
We also seize this opportunity to make it clear to the regime that this act in itself will not delay its day of judgment. It cannot stop an idea whose time has come. The time has come for system change, Buhari and the corrupt, exploitative, and oppressive regime of the rich few which he represents must go. We want a better Nigeria, we want a better world, and we will mobilise and fight for our total liberation.