Movement for Social Democratic Alternative (MOSODA) Reacts to President Weah’s First State of the Nation Address, Takes Him To Task on Thematic Issues
(Monrovia, January 31, 2018) – MOSODA extends heartfelt revolutionary salute to the ordinary people, domestic workers, petrol attendants, the working poor, the peasant masses, the patriotic professionals, and the working class of Liberia. Most of whom live in the cesspool of poverty as a consequence of the globalization and concentration of capital in the hands of the ruling class.
MOSODA expresses incurable optimism in the people’s determination to alter the course of history in the direction in which the development and the structure of relation of the productive force of our economy will have at its nucleus egalitarianism and scientific socialism with Liberian characteristics. It is this faith in the people that necessitated the establishment of MOSODA, a left wing Pan-African political Movement. A Movement whose guiding objectives is to ensure the overthrow of the economic status quo, the promotion of class consciousness among the oppressed people of Liberia, the elevation of African unity and solidarity, and the ushering in of a socioeconomic order that will harness the natural and mineral resources of the Republic with the total participation of the working class, in alliance with the economically deprived mass of the people, etc.
Fellow Liberians, on January 29, 2018, President George M. Weah adhered to Article 58 of the Constitution of Liberia. The President presented his first State of the Nation Address to the joint session of the 54th National Legislature. MOSODA extols the President for conforming to such provision in our Constitution which states: “The President shall, on the fourth working Monday in January of each year, present the administration's legislative program for the ensuing session, and shall once a year report to the Legislature on the state of the Republic. In presenting the economic condition of the Republic the report shall cover expenditure as well as income.”
As a revolutionary left-wing political Movement, we categorically state we are under no illusion to entertain the slightest thought that the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led regime, in relations to economic and political ideologies, is a deviation of other previous regimes that have governed this state. Obviously, we are not surprised in the least that this administration subscribed to liberal democracy as its political creed and neo-liberal capitalism as its economic philosophy. Such economic system, since the existence of this Republic, has proved futile in providing food, clothes, shelter, education, and other basic necessities of life to the people.
But at this moment, the euphoric masses are impervious to accepting our appraisal of the national ruling clique, as the political honeymoon is still at full throttle. In history, as in nature, MOSODA is quite aware that the people only learn through experience and big events. As a mass based political Movement, MOSODA is committed, on one hand, to stand with the people as they experience the anomalies of private ownership and control of the means of production by the bourgeoisie at the expense of the producers of wealth (workers), the concentration of capital in the hands of few, the exploitation of the working class, the perniciousness of unemployment, the pervasiveness of rising inflation, etc. under the CDC-led government. On the other hand, MOSODA will continue to agitate, politically educate, and organize the people behind a proper working class agenda. Such dialectical symphony of opposites will lead to the negation of neoliberal capitalism and ushering in a regime which will prioritize the economic ideology of scientific socialism with Liberian characteristics.
This is why as a political Movement which is dedicated to building class consciousness and organizing our people, it is prudent that MOSODA provides an elaborate reaction to the President’s State of the Nation Address which focused on pseudo reform of the neo-liberal capitalist agenda, believing that the system will self-correct. This assumption has proven erroneous, as capitalism cannot safe itself from the cycle of boom and bust, coupled with its senile decline in 2008, this economic ideology has not recovered since. What the Liberian people get from it is, climate change occasioned by the reckless profit-driven motive of multinational corporations, the degradation of our ecological balance, the destruction of our fertile soil as a result of the planting of cash crops, the destruction of our forest which leads to massive deforestation, the contamination of our waterways which lead to the death and extinction of our marine life and the illness and death of some of our compatriots, while our raw materials and natural resources are plundered, leaving the working class and peasant masses in the mausoleum of poverty and misery.
Fellow Liberians, MOSODA will not venture into providing an analysis of the first four-pages of the President’s twelve-page State of the Nation Address. As the first four pages consist of greetings, acknowledgement of God, and the reading of many provisions in the Constitution of Liberia, and we suspect that was a tactic to buy time and to make a short message long. However, the Movement will proceed with unpacking and cascading the most controversial aspects of the address.
In his address, President Weah asserts: “Total revenues collected in calendar year 2017 amounted to 489.1 million US Dollars, which is a 13 percent decline over revenue collected in 2016, which was 565.1 million. I cannot vouch for the accuracy or completeness of this information, in the absence of verification by a full and proper audit conducted by a competent authority. This highly unusual situation is caused by the delays in the recent electoral process, which had the effect of reducing the transition period from three months to three weeks. Nevertheless, and in spite of the above-described situation, it is possible to inform you that the state of the economy that my administration has inherited leaves a lot to be desired. This is plain for all to see, for we are all affected by it. Our economy is broken, our government is broke, our currency is in free-fall, inflation is rising, unemployment is at an unprecedented high, and our foreign reserves are at an all-time low.”
Fellow Liberians, the aforementioned contradictions in the Liberian economy, as was succinctly outlined by President Weah amount to the misery of the capitalist mode of production, which is premised on the private ownership of the means of production, the free market hypothesis, the monopolization, and concentration of capital in the hands of transnational corporations. When a country auctions the commanding heights (Iron ore, gold, diamond, tropical forest, arable land and etc.) of her economy to predominantly foreign monopoly capital with hooping tax holidays under the guise of investment incentives, her revenue intake does not commensurate with her drive to roll out social programs aimed at improving the material conditions of her people.
MOSODA pauses and asks the question: how does one expect an economic system which prioritizes the crude exploitation and exportation of the country’s mineral and natural resources, subjects the working class to wage slavery, grants paltry sum in rent to the government, demands deadly tax breaks from the government, etc. to deliver the people from the agony of poverty and misery.? Compounded by the lack of a stock exchange and data to have a close approximation of the annual revenues of enterprises that privately owned the means of production in our country, it is difficult to compare the balance sheets of those enterprises to that of the state’s annual total revenue. However, inference holds that those enterprises combined collect more than four times the revenue of the state.
The United States of America, which is an ardent apologist and arch disseminator of capitalism, is unable to insulate herself from the anomalies of system. For instance in 2017, the capitalist mode of production gave rise to the top 500 enterprises in the United States accounting for 73.5% of her total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), what more about Liberia? One can simply infer that is while Liberia’s government revenue is decreasing at a paraffin speed of 13percentt, the total revenues of these enterprises in the mining, forest, agriculture and service sectors of the country are increasing at an accelerating rate. Since the regulation on them are lousy, the government gets a paltry sum from the enterprises, and the Liberian workers are being subjected to low wage as well. Shareholders of these enterprises who are predominantly foreigners, a situation caused as a consequence of the globalization, concentration, and monopolization of capital in the cycle of the ruling class, are exporting precious foreign exchange generated from the economy of this country to their home countries. This is why the economy of the Republic is experiencing a sharp slump in foreign currency to aid in the stabilization of the exchange rate. As a result, the attendant consequences of inflation and unemployment continue to plague the homeland.
MOSODA urges the President to spare the Liberian people the excuses and worn-out political recitations of his predecessor. The people voted change in the hope that it will be a break with the past, not its maintenance of the socioeconomic order which continues to subject them to inevitable poverty and economic deprivation. The people expect the President to change the chorus not through perfunctory reforms within the limits of the capitalist system. Rather, through radical economic transformation in conformity with Article 7 of the Constitution of Liberia which states: “The Republic shall, consistent with the principles of individual freedom and social justice enshrined in this Constitution, manage the national economy and the natural resources of Liberia in such manner as shall ensure the maximum feasible participation of Liberian citizens under conditions of equality, so as to advance the general welfare of the Liberian people and the economic development of Liberia.” Obviously, the objective in the above constitutional provision cannot be achieved on the altar of capitalism but rather through a revolutionary socialist agenda with Liberian characteristics.
Fellow Liberians, instead of the President outlining how his government intends to tackle the structural imbalances in the economy, he bombarded the Liberian people with the vague and poorly scripted four pillars in his party’s “Change for Hope” agenda, which do not adequately address the major contradictions in the society, and find expression in offering prescriptions that are found wanting. Every Liberian knows that we are confronted with the challenges of “revising of our education system, improving health and sanitation, promoting and strengthening gender equality, and ensuring youth re-orientation and empowering through training of all kinds, the creating of jobs, and the expanding of sports.” Notwithstanding, every Liberian does not understand overcoming these hurdles is subject to how the country’s organizes the productive forces of her economy.
The capitalist system, even its beneficiaries and indigenous accomplices, know that the capitalist mode of organizing any society’s productive forces is not geared at improving the social existence of the people, but rather centralizing the wealth produced by the working class in the hands of the few and subjecting the majority to agony and misery. With the capitalist mode of organizing Liberia’s productive forces, there has been over 16billion worth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Liberia under the neo-liberal regime of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Unfortunately, these FDIs’ worth have not been reflected in the social condition of more than 80percent of the people. While the country boasts of such huge investments in her forest, mining, agriculture and service sectors, according to an IMF 2016 Report, Liberia is the fourth poorest country in the world with a GDP per capita of US$ 882.00, which means the average Liberian lives on not more than US$2.40 per day.
MOSODA believes that, as opposed to the President presenting the ambiguous pillars in the CDC’s “Change for Hope” agenda to the 54th National Legislature, as a way to “Overcome these constraints and reverse the trends,” the following bills should have been proposed by the President to the First Branch of Government:
- A Bill to Review all Concession Agreements to Ensure not less than 40percent Government’s ownership of multinational corporations in the forest, mining, agriculture and service industries: This will ensure the government receives not less than 40percent shares in the annual revenue intake of those corporations, thus increasing her revenue generation instead of limiting herself to revenue sources such as taxes, rent, loans, grants, aids and goodwill. This will capacitate the state to mobilize more capital in order to, through capital expenditure and not recurrent expenditure, improve education, health, infrastructure, youth empowerment, gender equality, security, etc.
- A Bill to Grant the LACC Prosecutorial Power and give the GAC Full Financial Autonomy: This will empower the two institution and ensure those accused of plundering the national treasury are booked and prosecuted and if found guilty, be sent to jail and all assets confiscated by the state. This is how a regime that is committed to shifting the paradigm in the interest of the people starts to initiate its “Pro-poor governance” agenda.
MOSODA is stunned that the President will de-prioritize the participation of the government in the organization of the country’s productive forces so in order to tackle the structural imbalances in the economy, ensuring element who siphoned the state’s resources are prosecuted in accordance with the law, but has chosen as his “most urgent and imperative agenda,” the granting of citizenship and the rights of property ownership to people of non-Negro descent, thereby calling for the amendment of the Alien and Nationality Law of the Republic to legalize dual citizenship. If this is not a confirmation that President Weah has been captured by big businesses than MOSODA doesn’t know what is.
Mr. President, your consideration as imperative and urgent agenda of issues that do not have any reflection of the people’s aspiration is nothing but a betrayal of the people’s confidence they reposed in you. Instead of waging war on the logjams that strangulate the people’s path to a progressive future, you are obsessed with granting citizenship and property rights to people of non-Negroes descent. Your proclamation makes this Movement to ask you the following questions:
- How does that deconcentrate wealth from the hands of the few economic elites and elements in the ruling class and spread out to the impoverished working class and wretched peasant masses of our people?
- How does that enable the state to participate in the organization of the country’s productive forces in order to raise capital to invest in education, healthcare, security, infrastructure, etc.?
- How does the issue of citizenship for non-Negroes, as an imperative and urgent short term objective, deals with the question of economic and property rights for citizens in the retail, service and manufacturing sectors, who are dominated by non-Negroes merchants from Lebanon and India?
- How can you, Mr. President, follow the path of Presidents Tubman and Ellen by giving exclusive protection to foreign monopoly capital, without presenting any short term plan for private, domestic capital mobilization for the Liberian citizens?
Mr. President, as MOSODA suspects, you are not only continuing the mystery of capital but you have also fallen victim, in the early days of your regime, to state capture. Just one week in office. Instead of you instituting short-term reforms in the limits of capitalism that benefit Indian, European, American settlers, Lebanese merchants and shopkeepers so they can protect their wealth which was accumulated through the fouled ownership and control of our mineral and natural resources and the exploitation of workers at the various mining pits, plantations, hotels, and shops, President Weah should focus on that which will deliver social goods to the people. The Movement wonders if you are aware about how blacks have been dispossessed of their land by minority wealthy whites in South Africa and, in Zimbabwe, before President Robert Mugabe instituted his drastic Land Reform Program.
On another note, MOSODA takes your pledge to construct a coastal highway linking the Southeast of the country, beginning from Buchanan, before the expiration of your tenure with a grain of salt. Your pronouncement goes against the previous feasibility study conducted for said construction, emphasizing that the construction of the highway should commence from Cape Mount to Cape Palmas. Your pronouncement to begin the highway from Buchanan is to alienate the people of the Western region of the country who overwhelmingly voted you in the second round of the election.
MOSODA says in the absence of a full declaration of your asset and the publication of your full budget, we are not impressed by your pronouncement of a 25percent cut in salary and benefit that are mere lines in your lucrative budget. MOSODA realized that such populist gimmick was made as a pretext to sway the unsuspecting public from unmasking your deleterious attempt to grant citizenship and property rights to non-Negroes who have already alienated Liberians in their own country.
Alfred P. B. Kiadii, Secretary General
Leon M. Talery, Chairman,