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On the payroll? Debate on the accusations to Batay Ouvriyé

category central america / caribbean | the left | debate author Wednesday January 11, 2006 04:32author by Paddy Rua - WSM Report this post to the editors

What way for the Haitian left? Tactics and Strategy

Recently, Batay Ouvriyé, the Haitian workers' union has been under fire from Aristide supporters in relation to its politics before the coup and the source of its funding today. This debate has been marked by bitter accusations in both ways, and BO keeps rejecting the charges. In order to help to promote a healthy and constructive debate around the political issues at stake on the current denunciations on Batay Ouvriyé, we facilitate links to the articles so people can read the whole debate and make up their own minds on this particular issue. We hope this way, the debate is useful to clarify the practices of the organisation being questioned and to address fundamental issues concerning the development of a leftist line at the service of the Haitian people.
Batay Ouvriyé's logo
Batay Ouvriyé's logo

For the last couple of months, there has been a debate going on in the Haitian Left –mainly in the USA- in relation to the independent workers’ Union Batay Ouvriyé (BO). This debate relates to a number of important issues that should be dealt with by any leftist movement. Issues like economic independence, tactics, revolutionary strategy, oppositions from the left and how to deal with the contradictions in the popular movement, the nature of democracy, etc. are all issues that we believe should necessarily be discussed in depth, with an eye on the practical realisation of the politics discussed.


Unfortunately, this debate has been charged with slander, insults, theories built up over shaky ground and conclusions lacking solid proves. We believe this debate, carried responsibly, free of gossip and slander, with an in depth outlook, with solid arguments, not losing from sight the long term struggle and dealing with the real issues at stake, can be extremely fruitful to both the solidarity movement and the Haitian left in order to clarify positions and help re-build a left able to address the serious problems facing the Haitian people. We have always to keep that in mind and don’t let sectarianism become a hindrance to building such a left.


We want to help to facilitate that debate in the most constructive manner possible –therefore, we have decided to move all of the comments and articles related to the debate to a single article. This to make it easier to follow and to avoid situations in which, for instance, BO posts a statement against the bosses’ “strike” of January the 9th, and we receive a number of comments about BO’s funding sources, that have no relation, whatsoever, with the theme of the article itself. We welcome all of the sectors to participate in this discussion and give their arguments, to detail facts and positions as clear as possible. We would ask people to avoid launching sectarian accusations with no solid ground.


The relevant articles for the debate are:


1. The first, is Jeb Sprague’s “Supporting a Leftist Opposition to Lavalas: the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center and the Batay Ouvriyé” –in this article he details the disastrous effect of the AFL-CIO on the world of trade unionism, by financing reactionary movements, and criticises BO’s positions on Lavalas. Then accuses BO of receiving a sum of money from the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Cener, as an open contradiction to its leftist talk and its activities in the Free Trade Zones, and states that this funding is part of a deeper relationship between them both. http://www.haitiaction.net/News/JS/11_17_5.html


2. The second, is the response of BO to the article of Sprague: “Response to Slander at the ‘Haiti International Tribunal’”. In this response they defend their right to oppose Aristide, state that this opposition cannot be at all confused with the G-184, that they are an independent worker’s organisation, not on the AFL-CIO’s payroll, explain the nature of the money given to the strike and impeached the moral authority of some people behind the accusations http://www.batayouvriye.org/English/Positions1/responseithp.html


3. The third one is BO’s “Clarification on the debate concerning working class and BO independence”, in which they develop a bit more their positions on class independence, why they opposed Aristide and on what grounds, about the problems in relations with the AFL-CIO, about the repression and occupation and it ends up in an addendum in which they deal again with Sprague’s article http://www.batayouvriye.org/English/Positions1/clarificationithp.html


4. The last relevant article on the debate, is Jeb Sprague’s one on the “Coup payoff in Haiti: BO’s smoking gun –the $100,000 NED grant”. Here, the author relates BO to the “democracy promotion” programmes of the USA in Haiti that served as a launching platform for the coup. He states that BO has receives a grant of U$100,000 from the NED, and that is why BO has failed to denounce effectively the repression of Lavalas militants in the slums. It concludes by summarising some of the reactions that supporters of BO had with his first article. http://www.haitiaction.net/News/JS/1_6_6.html

author by Paulpublication date Mon Jan 09, 2006 01:34Report this post to the editors

THIS WEEK IN HAITI
January 4 - 10, 2006 Vol. 23, No. 43

by Jeb Sprague

(Haïti Progres) Both before and after the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d'État in Haiti, Washington infiltrated "democracy promotion" programs (also known as "democracy enhancement") into almost every sector of Haitian civil society: political parties, media, human rights groups, student groups, vote monitoring organizations, business associations, and labor organizations.

Recently declassified National Endowment for Democracy (NED) documents reveal that a "leftist" workers' organization, Batay Ouvriye (BO), which promoted and called for the overthrow of the constitutionally elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was the targeted beneficiary of a US $99,965 NED grant routed through the AFL-CIO's American Center for International Solidarity (ACILS). Listed in NED's "Summary of Projects Approved in FY 2005" for Haiti, the grant states, "ACILS will work with the May 1st Union Federation- Batay Ouvriye [ESPM-BO] to train workers to organize and educate fellow workers."

The NED, which is funded through the U.S. State Department, provided the grant to ACILS, also known as the Solidarity Center. The grant money is then to be used by the Solidarity Center to fund and aid Batay Ouvriye's labor organizing activities for 2005-2006....

Related Link: http://haitiaction.net/News/JS/1_6_6.html
author by Batay Ouvriyépublication date Mon Jan 09, 2006 02:46Report this post to the editors

We quickly read through Sprague's latest "thoughts". Just as quickly, we'll make a few remarks:

1.. Once again, we have here mere speculations, extrapolations ending up or insinuating conclusions that have no basis or foundations. This doesn't surprise us from this student revealing himself quite frankly more and more mediocre.

2.. These "revelations" give way to his "conclusions" that are always one step late (following our interview with a reporter - undercover agent, amongst others, and also a liar -, he naturally - "reveals".)! For a "researcher", this isn't a highly noteworthy method.

3.. For example (and this will probably be his next "revelation") Sprague forgets to mention that, our position and our concrete struggles being crystal clear, we also informed the undercover agent-reporter Fenton that the rumour (or error) leading to believe that a million dollars were in question (rather than $100,000) was completely indifferent to us, simply because it this had been the case, we also would have taken it!

4.. We don't post overall solidarity we obtain non-resulting from public appeals, just as Haiti Progrès - PPN doesn't post the exact sums it collected from the NYPD or those of the capitalists financing its travels, productions or actions (and before whom, it, has to render accounts!) on its website either. Support members from various networks aren't informed of all our undertakings (even though, if they ask us, we inform them to the extent we can) and they only debated the amount that came from the public appeal.

5.. The little nitwit Sprague sees in this a dissimulation (he thinks the whole world functions, like him, at the level of gossip) and, on this basis, elaborates a whole cloudy construction which is devoid of real structure and, furthermore, totally useless since, again, following point "3", we would have accepted any amount coming in solidarity, on the basis of our independent line. See, more precisely on this subject, our "Clarification"

(http://www.batayouvriye.org/English/Positions1/clarificationithp.html).

We understand that this recent document is beyond Sprague's level of understanding but, more deeply, we believe that if the group supporting him is thrashing about so, it is because, on the contrary, these individuals understood it quite well but can't (and especially don't want to - in order not to be increasingly and finally totally revealed)debate the essential matter at hand. So they mask the debate, even if the lowering they constantly suggest would, for any serious individual, be detrimental. So what? For them, deviating minds is the most important.

6.. Indeed, the Haiti Progres populist, opportunist and reactionary current, through Sprague whom they support, actually constantly refuses to discuss the essential subjects, THE theme needing to be debated, i.e.: whether the Lavalas government, those bourgeois bureaucrats who also sought to accumulate in their own turn (and did it, largely!) were to be defended in their confrontation with the bourgeois opposition, both having, besides, happily called for the occupation?
The Lavalas current itself having already legally (through a letter addressed to the UN and referencing chapter 87 of this organization's charter), besides, largely opened the way to the penetration at the end of 1994 of foreign troops on the Haitian soil? Shouldn't the people have been warned concerning these two enemies?
That's what any workers' current needed to do then and still must do. Clearly.

7.. These populist maneuverers thus seek to confuse opportunism and orientation of struggle. As we clearly said ever since our first stand on this question, it is in the field, concretely, confronting the big landlords and "traditional" or "bureaucrat" capitalists that we should, rather, meet with them. Unfortunately, they always shine there by their absence.

8.. This is why it is again - and always - to our practices that we refer readers today. There, our mobilizations and confrontations may be observed, our relentlessly precise denunciations heard and methods for partaking in the workers' struggle, as well as that of the people in general, discussed.

author by Haiti Action - Haiti Actionpublication date Mon Jan 09, 2006 08:58Report this post to the editors

Both before and after the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d'État in Haiti, Washington infiltrated "democracy promotion" programs (also known as "democracy enhancement") into almost every sector of Haitian civil society: political parties, media, human rights groups, student groups, vote monitoring organizations, business associations, and labor organizations.


Long cut and paste from an article already on the web deleted - it is available at the link below. - Please do not paste articles from elsewhere onto the site - provide a link and summary instead.

Please read the Commneting Guidelines and note in particular point 12
"Cut and pastes. Posts that are publicly available elsewhere on the internet, or in the mainstream media. We do realise, however, that there can sometimes by a strong case for articles published elsewhere to be brought to the attention of Anarkismo readers. In these cases, we ask contributors to write an original introduction to the article, highlighting its relevance to Anarkismo readers and include a link to the article. Users can also choose post a short article and a link in either the 'non anarchist press' or other libertarian press' link at the top of the newswire. Articles that consist of an original introduction and contain several links to articles containing background information may even be made into front-page features"

Related Link: http://www.haitiaction.net/News/JS/1_6_6.html
author by batay are fake anarchistspublication date Mon Jan 09, 2006 09:01Report this post to the editors

It's not gossip that batay ouvriye is the target of large AFL-CIO solidarity center campaign, which is funded by the NED and the U.S. State Department.

This is not gossip.
It is fact.
The Batay Ouvriye has spread continous disinformation about the Lavalas movement in Haiti. Now they are on the U.S. State Department payroll.


Oh, but they are "anarchists" and they "will accept anything" from the U.S. State Dept.

What a joke.

author by Andrewpublication date Mon Jan 09, 2006 18:31Report this post to the editors

The claim about Batay Ouvriye being 'fake anarchists' seems to be a rather odd red herring as I'm not aware of any claim that Batay Ouvriye have made to be anarchists in the first place!

author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Mon Jan 09, 2006 19:41Report this post to the editors

Gossip is gossip; facts are facts. To prove someone’s saying the truth, you need proves. Let’s see what are the “indisputable” proves of Sprague –the fact that after months of strike, with all the economic constraints that that means for the workers and their families in a poor country like Haiti, a union in Batay Ouvriyé issued a public appeal asking for economic support, and the ACILS responded to it. A well known fact, but that not proves much –if Lavalas would have sent the money, it would have been taken as well. This does not prove a systematic funding or Batay Ouvriyé being under the NED’s payroll.

In the same way, you could say that Aristide’s return to power in 1994, sponsored by the USA, proved that he was in the payroll of the Department of State.

Then Jeb Sprague appears with “new evidence”, after his initial article was proved devoid of any real substance. Let’s read again the evidence:

“Recently declassified National Endowment for Democracy (NED) documents reveal that a "leftist" workers' organization, Batay Ouvriye (BO), which promoted and called for the overthrow of the constitutionally elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was the targeted beneficiary of a US $99,965 NED grant routed through the AFL-CIO's American Center for International Solidarity (ACILS). Listed in NED's "Summary of Projects Approved in FY 2005" for Haiti, the grant states, "ACILS will work with the May 1st Union Federation- Batay Ouvriye [ESPM-BO] to train workers to organize and educate fellow workers."

There’s no evidence but Sprague’s statement. You can’t just go and state something like this without any copy of the declassified document and without making it public on its entirety. If this is true, then it is really serious; but then, come back with more concrete evidence.

All you can prove is “The Batay Ouvriye has spread continuous disinformation about the Lavalas movement in Haiti.” But then, the contrary could be easily said of Lavalas now in relation to Batay Ouvriyé. You say they are on the CIA payroll, you call Batay Ouvriyé “anarchists”, when they have never claimed to be that- do you realy mean it, or are you using the term “anarchist” as a term of abuse, in the same vein as “chimére” is used to describe militants of Lavalas?. All this proves is that the levels of sectarianism in Haitian left are pathological and have been a big hindrance to build a proper resistance to the occupation and a proper popular alternative for the long term. That it is preferred to slander opponents than to discuss politically –“if you are not with me, therefore, you are a CIA agent”… we have heard it all along in the Stalinist years, buddy.

I don’t think accusations like this are any service to the cause; quite the contrary, I think it is highly questionable that someone in the “international solidarity movement” takes part into a Sectarian fight. The role of the international movement is to support those in struggles, whether in the sweatshops, whether in Cité Soléil –irrespective of partisan lines, as long as they are in the interest of the people and against the exploiters and oppressors (even Sprague is forced to admit that BO works in the sweatshops in undeniable). The role of a Yankee Student that wants to support the struggle of Haitian people (that is not reduced to the figure of Aristide) is definitely not to build a whole conspiracy theory on the basis of no solid evidence, divide the Haitian left into goodies and baddies, ignore the real issues on discussion, fuel sectarian tensions and thus contribute to the current weakness of the movement. I think Haitian people deserve better than all this.

As for us, we will keep supporting every struggle against imperialism and exploitation, on the people's interest. No matter what partisan group is behind it. It is not up to us to make those options.

author by mitch (personal capacity) - workers solidarity alliancepublication date Mon Jan 09, 2006 23:07author email wsany at hotmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Comrades,

I would like to briefly comment on the Haitian situation.

As someone who has supported the indpenedent struggle of the Haitian workers and people since the 1980s, I find the current siutation to be rife with all sorts of distortions and power plays going on within the Haitian
solidarity movements and trade unions, both in Haitai and N. America. Some of this is evident in the postings on this site.

While I generally tend to support the independent efforts of BO and their criticisms of all the Haitian governments thus far, I suspect that their developing relations with trade unions and trade union centers affiliated with the social democrtatic International Confederation of Trade Unions (ICFTU) is deepening.

http://www.icftu.org/default.asp?Language=EN
http://www.icftu.org/list.asp?Type=ALL&Order=Date&Language=EN&STEXT=haiti

I am not sayiong that BO takes social democratic positions. In fact, I think otherwise.(REPORT ON THE WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS (WFTU) XVTH CONGRESS AND BATAY OUVRIYE’S INVITED PRESENCE
http://www.batayouvriye.org/English/Positions1/fsm.html)

For sure the BO is not anarcho-syndicalist.
BO writes:
Addendum: An end to useless loitering – Final words on the “left-” and “anarcho-”slinging red-baiters…

"By falsely accusing Batay Ouvriye of “anarcho-syndicalism”, “advocating for the control of industry and government… through the use of direct action, such as sabotage…”, of being “ideologically opposed to working with or under any form of government”…, and so on and so forth, whereas never has our organization put out any such declaration publicly or privately ..."
(http://www.batayouvriye.org/English/Positions1/clarificationithp.html)

I find the attacks by the left from the right by anti-BO opponents to be somewaht strange.

Briefly on the critics of BO. The main charges seem to be coming from many who are, more or less, aligned with the authoritarian socailist camp (US neo-staliniist International Action Center/Workers World Party) or simply Aritide supporters.

http://www.workers.org/ww/2004/haiti0513.php

The main trade union competitor (and critic)of the BO is the Confederation of Haitain Workers (CTH). The CTH is affiliated to the christain trade union federation World Conferedation of Labor (WCL)
http://www.cmt-wcl.org/cmt/ewcm.nsf/_/960E6974C0844F84C1256E3D004B42AA?opendocument
and its Latin American-Carribean regional organization the CLAT.
http://clat.org/modules/tinycontent/index.php?id=205

Both the ICFTU and WCL are to merge in the next few years.

The point Paddy makes about Aristide and his return to power by the US government is right on.

It appears to me that all sides on the left and labor movement to the current crisis aren't fully accurate in their charges and counter charges. It seems to me, from afar, that things fall somewhere in the middle.

As anarchists, I think, we need to be principled in our support of anti-imperialism and principled in our support for all truely independent workers movements.

author by a joke?publication date Tue Jan 10, 2006 08:28Report this post to the editors

Umm.. are you crazy.
you can support the batay when they get $100,000 from the NED?

Lavalas and Aristide did so much to help the plight of poor people in Haiti. It's discusting the people like Batay can totally ignore this, and attack ariistide, and then get money from the US state department.

But yet they are still considered comrades..
what a joke.

The US government is interested in undermining populist governments like chavez and aristide. the poor people came out in massive numbers at the polls to support both these presients.

Someone who states that is not a "stalinist".
Just because they published in haiti progres does not make them a "stalinist".
you people are crazy with your opportunism and rumor mills.

the fact is batay is heavily funded now by mainstream u.s. labor orgs who do not want populist democracy in haiti.

Batay ouvriyes members have claimed anarchist leanings in the past. why does anarkismo post their stuff? but refuse to post stuff critical of them.. ? eh

author by solidaritypublication date Tue Jan 10, 2006 08:36Report this post to the editors

How can you build a Haiti Solidarity movement with people like the Batay? They stab you in the back. They attack the government that was elected by the people. people have died defending the vote in haiti. Today Batay continues to attack the memory of Haitian democracy. The solidarity movement for haiti is growing and working together BUT not with the likes of opportunists like batay ouvriye.

author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Tue Jan 10, 2006 21:07Report this post to the editors

Are you serious or are you on drugs "joke"? Has there been any refusal of anarkismo to post critical stuff on BO? We published in the comments the article and the link to the article of Sprague... we just don't want to have published 4 or 5 times the same article (in the same vein we won't publish BO reply in the newswire again, while it was a comment).

Anarkismo will remain open and plural to discussion as long as it is done with solid arguments, it is of any use to building a movement, if it gives good material for constructive debate and respecting our editorial guidelines.

By the way, we are preparing a special article with all the links on this issue, including the two articles on Sprague and the numerous replies of BO. All the comments and links will be moved there. You are more than welcome to post there stuff if you have anything new to say and not repeat again and again the same.

To say again and again that they are in the US payroll, with no further proves, does not make it truth. So you can say it as much as you want, and it won't change the basic fact that you completely lack of solid ground to state that. It sounds utterly sectarian.

Still, you should not forget that even Sprague himself in his first article mentions the good work they have done in organising Haitian workers in the sweatshops... so according to your sectarian logic, workers in sweatshops don't deserve support as long as they don't state openly their unconditional support for the "supreme leader"? If that is not Stalinism, tell me what it is...

author by BO - Batay Ouvriyépublication date Wed Jan 11, 2006 04:18author email batay at batayouvriye dot orgReport this post to the editors

Jan. 9, 2006

As some may know, our Batay Ouvriye workers’ movement has recently been under the attacks of a questionable political current based in the United States. This current has published several articles, individually intervened on the internet, hosted presentations and debates, and held various other activities questioning our sources of funding.
According to the latest article published by Sprague “Batay Ouvriye’s Smoking Gun” (Haiti-Progrès, Jan. 4 – 10, 2006):
“Instead of supporting unions which did not call for the overthrow of the elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the AFL-CIO, along with mainstream international labor centers… has sought to strengthen marginal groups like Batay Ouvriye…”.
Here, at long last, we have reached the bottom of this current’s reasoning. According to it, these funds, regularly funneled to Haiti through the NED-ACILS relationship ($250,000 in 1997, for example – whose utilization, as all others, except perhaps for those of 2005, thanks to the ‘researcher’ -, we are completely ignorant of) should have been allocated elsewhere.
But where?
For us, of Batay Ouvriye, who have never, ever, compromised our line of complete working class independence by entering into cross-class coalitions such as the 184 group, the claim is revealing because actually: every single major Haitian union federation, regardless of their internal divisions, EXCEPT US, participated in this reactionary alliance’s notorious Dec. 26, 2002 statement in favor of “collective measures to redress the national boat” which initiated the movement to overthrow Aristide’s regime (http://tinyurl.com/8ajkq).
Here is the full list of 184-affiliated Haitian unions: http://tinyurl.com/doa8s - (although many may actually be NGO’s:

Acronym Full Name in French or Creole English Translation
CATH Centrale Autonome des Travailleurs Haïtiens Autonomous Central of Haitian Workers
CFOH Confédération des Forces Ouvrières Haïtiennes Confederation of Haitian Working Forces
CGT Centrale Générale des Travailleurs Workers General Central
CISN Confédération Indépendante des Syndicats Nationaux Independent Confederation of National Unions
COH Congrès des Ouvriers d’Haïti Haitian Workers Congress
CONITH Confédération Indépendante des Travailleurs Haïtiens Independent Confederation of Haitian Workers
CSH Coordination Syndicale Haïtienne Haitian Union Coordination
CTH Confédération des Travailleurs Haïtiens Confederation of Haitian Workers
FETRAGA Fédération des Travailleurs de la Grand’Anse Grand’Anse Workers Federation
FETRAGOM Fédération des Travailleurs Agricoles de Gros-Morne Federation of Agricultural Workers of Gros-Morne
FETRASMA Fédération des Travailleurs Agricoles de Saint-Michel de l’Atalaye Federation of Agricultural Workers of Saint-Michel de l’Atalaye
FNTS Fédération Nationale des Travailleurs Syndiqués National Federation of Unionized Workers
FOS Fédération des Ouvriers Syndiqués Federation of Unionized Workers
FTN Fédération des Travailleurs du Nord Federation of Northern Workers
KOMOKA Kombit Motosiklis ak Kondiktè d’Ayiti Haiti Assembly of Motorcyclists and Drivers
KOTA Konfederasyon Ouvrye Travayè Ayisyen Haitian Workers Confederation
MNTH Mouvement National des Travailleurs Haïtiens National Movement of Haitian Workers
MOPPA Mouvman Peyizan Patriyot Ayisyen Haitian Patriotic Peasants Movement
MOVICIH Mouvement Inter-Syndical Indépendante d’Haïti Haitian Independent Inter-Union Movement
MTCH Mouvement des Travailleurs du Cap-Haïtien Cap-Haïtien Workers Movement
OGETNO Organisation Générale des Travailleurs du Nord-Ouest General Workers Organization of the Northwest
OGITH Organisation Générale Indépendante des Travailleurs Haïtiens Independent Organization of Haitian Workers
OTRA Organisation des Travailleurs pour l’Avancement de l’Anse-à-Foleur Workers Organization for the Advancement of l’Anse-à-Foleur
RENAFAM Réseau National des Femmes National Women's Network
SCCF Syndicat des Chauffeurs Coopérants Fédérés Federated Cooperative Drivers Union
SCCF Syndicat des Chauffeurs et Coopérants et Fédérés Union of Cooperative and Federated Drivers
SCPTEP Syndicat des Chauffeurs et Propriétaires de Transport d’Eau Potable Union of Owners and Drivers of Drinking Water Transport
SOST SOS Transport
UTDL Union des Travailleurs du District de Limbé Workers Union of Limbé District

All the more grotesque is that the Haiti Progrès’ propelled or favored CGT union federation also participated in this tragic farce. The also favorably presented CTH is Christian-Democrat and deeply involved in food distribution..
We so far refused to attain this level of argumentation in order to avoid falling into the Sprague-Haiti Progres current’s favorite practice of finger-pointing. Singly confronted with this harrowing and unending defamation, however, we simply must put forward what to us has always appeared evident: Batay Ouvriye has obtained, and will continue to obtain support for the manifest reason of its being the only present active union movement in the field. Period.
Bottom Line
For us, these are sums recuperated. We don’t care how many figures are involved (agreeing, finally, in this with Kim Ives in his note to Mitchel Cohen on the Haiti Corbett list: “The point here is NOT the amount of money given”), how much may come to exist and/or how long they may last. We are determined to continue receiving all funds available for working class organization. In fact, the present debate has reinforced us in this resolve. One of our spokespersons, Paul, recently discussed the issue with the American “free-lance journalist” Anthony Fenton . To Fenton’s surprise, Paul openly stated that yes, firmly armed with our line of working class independence, we are prepared to accept any amount, even if it were a million dollars (!) coming from wherever it may come. (The million dollar figure was “erroneously” given to Fenton by the NED, it seems, instead of the $100,000 “targeted beneficiary” sum).This stand has been unanimously approved at every level of our organization.
Batay Ouvriye has never, nor intends to appeal to the NED, the US State Department or USAID and has NO relation with any of these bodies. In this sense, Sprague’s illustrated comment that our organization is “funded by the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and the Solidarity Center” is purposely misleading and deeply dishonest. It’s unfortunate (but telling) that we haven’t had access to any of these NED “recently declassified” documents, which we haven’t able to find on the internet either. So we aren’t even notified. But as we said in our statement on solidarity, where supporters obtain their funds is their problem, not ours. In our line of working class independence, we deal directly with those we are directly in contact with, such as the Solidarity Center whose line and practices we have unequivocally confronted in all situations.
And just as Mario of the Batay Ouvriye Solidarity Network pointed out, it’s up to providers to decide when and if they’re fed up with us. They aren’t obtaining any information from us, nor collaboration. We continue our practices in unswerving conformity with our line, nationally and internationally. We certainly won’t alter an inch from this line (and duty) due to the pressure of North-American petty bourgeois knee-jerk reactions either.
Accounts
We, at Batay Ouvriye, resent being put on the line for accounts that our challengers don’t publicly divulge themselves - what sort of arrogance does this reflect, especially in terms of inversing North-South relations?!! But in the end, if this may help to settle the qualms of upset supporters, and also perhaps (though we doubt it) quiet the dogs barking up the wrong tree, we comply. First: it appears Haiti’s Batay Ouvriye union may be a “targeted beneficiary” for $100,000 this year, through the Solidarity Center which solicited the NED. In this bulk amount, $20,000 (of which $13,000 remain to be disbursed – there is no $13,000 or $20,000 “further funding”) have been allotted for a Ouanaminthe Workers’ Center. Presently in discussion is a possible additional $50,000 we’ve been offered for a potential free trade zone practice in Port-au-Prince; this amount has not yet been signed and we haven’t received a cent of it. The Ouanaminthe funds being strictly destined to this locality and the procedures bureaucratic, we hope such central funds may at least help cover Port-au-Prince long outstanding debts and phone bills (our phone line being presently cut off) while also providing for meeting spaces, perhaps a fax, the internet only occasionally paid and so on… but especially worker militant stipends. The free trade zone practice is not one of Ouanaminthe but rather one of national dimension, demanding much coordination and travel. Workers living on a day-to-day basis have to leave money at home for their families to subsist.
Since this is the first time we’re in such a position, to claim we’re “heavily dependent on “foreign ‘democracy promotion’” is just ludicrous. And the affirmation that we we’ve been recently linked, because of this, on the reactionary “Haiti Democracy Project” website, is a patent lie that can be proved a simple link click – the site merely references an article on this debate on Indymedia, amongst numerous others articles they chose to blog that week such as Corporate Watch’s Lucy Komisar article on the Aristide Telecom lawsuits!

On being deaf, dumb and blind to obvious internal contradictions
Perhaps the obtuseness evident here reflects the noticeable incapacity of some North-American progressive organizations, as yet, to live up to their immense challenge, that of nationally and internationally proposing genuine alternatives to the Republican / Democrat false dichotomy, the AFL-CIO / Change to Win impasse and others... Such Manichaeism, insensible to manifest contradictions in historical and political development, appears to be part and parcel of other strategic and tactical limitations. The frequently dismally low level of this debate on the San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia internet commentary section, for example, reveals a high degree of team back-patting and regurgitation conducive to a rather gloomy outlook on the “left”’s advancement in North America. It’s clearly much less difficult to scapegoat others than to lucidly examine and address the visibly progressing contradictions of limited social movements that even we may have participated in.
Defending Aristide
The messiah Aristide’s defense consequently ends up as this supposed left’s last holding rampart concerning Haitian progressive politics. “Throngs” demonstrated for Aristide – but it is indifferent to our detractors whether these individuals were workers, masses, demonstrating in their own interests or recruited lumpen proletarians, often defending quite opposite interests. In fact, the very debate appears dull for them.
Although we’ve already said we’re determined not to be prey to the provocateurs’ lure and remain resolute in avoiding sterile debates where we repeat key positions that seem to fall on deaf ears, we repeat nevertheless that: for us, the issue of clearly recognizing populist opportunists sectors reconstructing the bureaucratic bourgeoisie as a reactionary fraction of the Haitian bourgeoisie is crucial. As we already showed, the “legitimately elected” President argument doesn’t hold with respect to the preservation of workers’ interests (as we said: what of Bush? What of Chirac?). Helping the workers and masses to quite distinctly draw the line between their real interests and those of all new bourgeois fractions which may be just as negative as the ‘traditional bourgeoisie’ with regard to their medium- and long-term interests, is vital to avoid repeating errors of the past. That the Lavalas current, alongside the bourgeois “opposition”, repeatedly called for Haiti’s occupation, that it favored the concentration of capital and the application of neo-liberal policies such as the free trade zones, that it repressed workers’ mobilizations… are all extremely important points we need to scrutinize in the interest of the workers. And our general stand on this debate guides us, as a line, in permanently exposing all the ruling classes’ various forms and disguises, in complete working class independence.
We should note that, throughout this dialogue, we haven’t received the slightest response on these reiterated points. Which proves, for us, the fact that these attacks aren’t in view of any real progressive critique and/or advancement but, rather, alternate current “bashing”. So we’re prepared to battle, just as we’ve been doing since many years, against the ruling classes.
In fact, several Haitian progressives are beginning to sincerely question the deep-lying interests of American progressives in defending such frankly exposed “Lavalas family” politics. Certainly, being mistaken by the mainstream media is understandable. But to remain entrenched in such fallacy is beyond us, leading to the question of whether the problem might not rather be related to class nature and composition.

On the presentation of facts
Several progressives have indicated reserve with respect to Batay Ouvriye’s gradual presentation of the facts and stands we’ve taken in the finances debate. Given the importance we have always given their support and the negative effects we realize this situation may have created, we considered it important for us to clarify. But we also want to point out two things that may help to explain how this situation came about. First, that this debate has gradually grown into a full-blown discussion of numerous issues, that is being followed by a good number of sincerely concerned progressives. We learned this. At first, we had no knowledge of who was participating and/or following it and in what objective. Secondly, related to this, is the fact that the debate evolved by parts. When it started out, it concerned the question of whether we had obtained funds from the AFL-CIO to participate in the Aristide regime’s “destabilization”. We demonstrated quite clearly (http://tinyurl.com/djjlb) that we hadn’t received any funds from the Solidarity Center before Aristide’s departure in February 2004 and that only several months later did this organization offer $3,500 to the Free Trade Zone striking SOCOWA workers in response to a public appeal. The debate then came to concern whether a genuine workers’ movement could accept any funds from the American government or the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center. We again responded to this with our “Clarification” document (http://tinyurl.com/89zpn), establishing clearly what we exactly understand to be relations of solidarity and working class independence (“On Solidarity” - http://tinyurl.com/8fgcx) and addressing numerous other points as well. At present, since the Dec. 22nd debate in San Francisco, we are solicited to open the books and state precisely what our solidarity funding is, has been and may be. Once again, we’ve fully complied, in the interest of unity and solidarity, and with respect for the struggles of the workers and popular masses in Haiti and internationally.

Batay Ouvriye
BP 13326, Delmas, Haiti
Phone: (509) 222-6719

Related Link: http://batayouvriye.org
author by NED eh??publication date Wed Jan 11, 2006 16:51Report this post to the editors

So they finally admitted it..
After they lied for months and months about only receiving $3,500..
I'm sorry but I can never trust these people again.

author by Andrewpublication date Wed Jan 11, 2006 18:35Report this post to the editors

I'm not exactly sure how worried you expect them to be that an anonymous person on the internet will never trust them again!

That aside the statement you appear to reply to actually repeats this, ie We demonstrated quite clearly (http://tinyurl.com/djjlb) that we hadn’t received any funds from the Solidarity Center before Aristide’s departure in February 2004 and that only several months later did this organization offer $3,500 to the Free Trade Zone striking SOCOWA workers in response to a public appeal . Maybe you didn't read it to the end?

The 100,000 being talked about is for last year and if I understand the BO statement correctly they have yet to receive most of it. It is of course right to ask questions about what strings may be attached to such aid but their taking the money proves nothing unless you believe Lenin was really a German agent because he accepted German gold and transport for the Russian revolution. Or more relevantly that the acceptance of Russia and Libyan aid during the British Miners strike of 1984 somehow made the NUM Russian or Libyan agents. Unions in a difficult position will accept funds from where ever they can - the only real issue is what if any strings are attached to such funds.

author by Charles Arthur - Haiti Support Grouppublication date Wed Jan 11, 2006 20:58author email haitisupport at gn dot apc dot orgReport this post to the editors

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeb Sprague
To: haitisupport@gn.apc.org
Sent: Tue, 27 Dec 2005 14:02:22 -0800
Subject: Haiti Support Group Question
Dear Charles Arthur:
Are you willing to publicly state how much money the Haiti Support Group and your organizations provide in financial support to the Batay Ouvriye?
Thank you.
Jeb Sprague
Freelance Journalist/ Graduate Student

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Open letter to Jeb Sprague

Dear Mr Sprague

Thank you for your email. The Haiti Support Group is happy to answer your question - we have nothing to hide, we believe in the value of transparency.

Firstly, we'd like to deal with the apparent misunderstandings on your part in relation to the Haiti Support Group and what sort of organization it is. In your email you refer to "the Haiti Support Group and your organizations", and in your article, "Supporting a Leftist Opposition to Lavalas: The AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center and the Batay Ouvriye", you describe the Haiti Support Group as "a key Batay Ouvriye backer in Europe". The idea that the Haiti Support Group is a large network of organizations with the capacity to act as a "backer" - a term that clearly seeks to imply significant financial power - is absolutely wide of the mark. The true nature of the Haiti Support Group is accurately described on the home page of our web site under the headline, 'What is the Haiti Support Group?', (and it has been there, online, for anybody to read, ever since the web site began in the year 2000!): "The Haiti Support Group is an association of individuals who support the Haitian people in their struggle for justice, human rights, and participatory democracy. It is a solidarity group based in the United Kingdom."

For your information, the Haiti Support Group is run by one part-time consultant, who answers to a management committee, currently composed of eight people. The Haiti Support Group is now entering its fifteenth year of existence thanks to the support of 150 or so individuals and organizations who provide financial support by way of donations and annual affiliations to our newsletter and emailed information services. In addition, the Group also receives annual grants from OxfamGB and Christian Aid to carry out an awareness-raising and advocacy project with aims that can be summarized as follows:
1) to influence opinion and raise awareness in the UK of the problems facing the Haitian poor; and to project the demands, proposals, and initiatives emanating from the country's grassroots and popular organisations in the national and international media and with all relevant national and international bodies, institutions and governments;
2) to work in solidarity with grassroots organisations in Haiti. This solidarity is direct, in the form of co-operation between the Haiti Support Group and Haitian organisations, and indirect, in the form of liaison between Haitian organisations and sympathetic organisations and networks in the UK, in continental Europe and in North America.

To give you an idea of the size and capabilities of the Haiti Support Group, you should know that the total expenditure for the year 2004-5 was approximately £24,000 (approximately US$41,000 at the current exchange rate).

The Haiti Support Group has not been - and is still not - in any position to provide financial support to Batay Ouvriye. Would that we could, for we have found Batay Ouvriye to be one of the most dynamic, determined and courageous progressive organizations in Haiti!

We state categorically (and with some regret), for the record, that the Haiti Support Group has not provided any direct financial support to Batay Ouvriye.

In the year 2004 we were though able to raise a very modest sum of money to support the Sendika Ouvriye Codevi Wanament (SOKOWA), a union of workers at the CODEVI FTZ in Ouanaminthe, which is affiliated to the Batay Ouvriye-First of May federation. As you know, the SOKOWA union has been involved in a long and bitter fight for both its own existence and for the right of its members to unite to demand better pay and conditions. After the Grupo M management tried to break the union in early 2004 by firing all the known union members, the Haiti Support Group managed to raise the sum of £1,160 (approximately US$2,000) to help keep the union alive. This total was made up of small donations from individuals all over the world, money put into a bucket at the opening night of a CIIR photo exhibition about Haitian workers, a 'whip-round' at the annual general meeting of the Battersea and Wandsworth trade union council, and a donation from the anti-sweatshop campaigning organization, No Sweat. The total was disbursed in two parts on 2 April 2004 and 6 May 2004. This is the extent of the Haiti Support Group's financial contribution to the emergency appeal in support of the SOKOWA union.

You may be interested to know that while our precarious financial position prevents the provision of significant funds to organizations in Haiti, the Haiti Support Group has over the last decade done whatever it can in other ways to support Batay Ouvriye''s fantastic work with agricultural laborers, assembly plant workers and other Haitian workers - work that no other organization, political party or government in Haiti has ever carried out to such good effect.

We hope this clarifies things for you. We conclude by asking you to look again at relations between the different classes in Haiti over the last twenty years, and to address what we regard as some very serious flaws in your piece, "Supporting a Leftist Opposition to Lavalas: The AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center and the Batay Ouvriye".

As it appears that you have only recently become interested in Haiti, whereas the Haiti Support Group has been in existence since 1992 and has been involved with Batay Ouvriye since 1996, can we suggest that you take an in-depth look at the struggle for workers' rights - involving assembly plant workers and agricultural laborers - in Haiti over the last ten years, analyse the roles played by a) the Lavalas Family Party and b) Batay Ouvriye, and then ask yourself who was really acting in the interests of the workers?

We think you will find that what you describe as "the majority political party of the poor in Haiti" consistently sided with the bosses and foreign companies in their attempts to destroy independent workers' organizations. Just one example, which may not be generally known, epitomises the approach of the Lavalas Family Party. In March 2001, on the back of links created in the UK by the Haiti Support Group, a delegation from the War on Want organization and the GMB union visited St Raphael to meet and build solidarity with newly organized workers at the Guacimal company that supplied orange extract to the French giant, Rémy Cointreau. As the visitors from the UK climbed down from their vehicle, Fernand Sévère, the local Lavalas Family Party mayor appeared, and pulled a gun to stop the meeting from happening. A few weeks earlier, Sévère - clearly acting in support of the local bosses - had forced Guacimal plantation workers to end a 10 week strike. (Despite the determination and bravery of organized workers at Guacimal, and a spirited and well-supported international solidarity campaign, Guacimal and Rémy Cointreau managed to stall the struggle for decent pay and conditions. You can read one part of this story in the Haiti Progrès article entitled, "Haitian government supports big landowners in clash with peasants" www.haitiprogres.com/2002/sm020605/eng06-05.html). Later in 2001, Fernand Sévère was shot dead by the bodyguards of the local Lavalas Family deputy. The response of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, head of the Lavalas Family Party, clearly signalled that the mayor's brutal anti-union activities accurately reflected national party policy. Aristide not only ensured that the repression of the workers' movement continued by installing the murdered mayor's brother as his replacement, but at the opening of the first 2002 session of the Haitian Parliament, on January 14th 2002, Aristide called for a minute's silence in memory of Fernand Sévère! Less than five months later, in early May 2002, the full extent of the Lavalas Family Party's determination to crush independent workers' activity was revealed with the horrific and murderous attack on a peasant/worker rally at Guacimal, and the Lavalas Family Party leaders' subsequent justification for the attack on the grounds that the rally was composed of "terrorists" - now where have we heard that before?

The issue of foreign funding of civil society organizations in Haiti is an interesting one, but attacking Batay Ouvriye in order to defend the reputation of the Lavalas Family Party really is 'barking up the wrong tree'.

Charles Arthur
for the Haiti Support Group
www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org

Related Link: http://www.haitisupport.gn.apc.org/fea_campaign_index.html
author by Daniel Simidorpublication date Thu Jan 12, 2006 21:21Report this post to the editors

This fifth column attack against Batay Ouvriye goes beyond the individuals involved, i.e. the “independent researcher” Jeb Sprague and the Larouche-like Ben Dupuy and his cronies. It comes at a time when that organization (Batay Ouvriye) is dealing a serious blow against the neoliberal agenda, the low wage sweatshop dynamic with Haiti as ground zero for the entire region.

The “$100,000 Smoking Gun” is a set up that goes hand in hand with Sprague’s and Haiti-Progres’s fingering of key Batay Ouvriye organizers for potential violence. The whole thing stinks of US government counter intelligence and character assassination.

That Jeb Sprague should have revealed his own funding sources is an obvious requirement in terms of transparence or accountability. How much money did Haiti-Progres collect from the Aristide regime? We’ll never know since that book is kept closed.

author by Batay Ouvriyepublication date Sat Jan 21, 2006 23:00Report this post to the editors

On Saturday, January 16th, 2006, in New York, a Batay Ouvriye delegate met with various members of progressive American currents during an activity organized by Grassroots Haiti, a New York group in support with the Haitian peoples' struggles. The agenda featured a Transit Workers' Union (TWU) delegate presentation, followed by that of Batay Ouvriye.

The delegate of the TWU, the union that just courageously waged the recent MTA employees strike in New York, first spoke about the strike mobilization and the negotiations and contradictions that accompanied it. He then concentrated his presentation on the present differences surrounding the new contract resulting from the negotiations led by the union's direction[*] and the need, according to some workers, for this document to be rejected because of the little obtained (the Assembly General vote will take place on January 20th) ; from there, the possible scenarios to be examined.

Various suggestions were put out by the participants at this meeting. Most important were those indicating the need for grassroots organizing, to extend struggle awareness to the most workers possible and to maintain mobilization if indeed the 'no' upheld by the strikers most aware of their rights prevailed. Remains that if, again, this negative response comes to be generally endorsed, then changes will be needed in the negotiating team and even the union's general committee if ever it chose to refuse to comply to the assembly's decision: the workers' resolve must be represented by those convinced of it.

Followed the presentation on the situation in Haiti, its structural roots, the role of the populist leaders in the imperialist strengthening at the detriment of the struggles for the defense of the workers and popular masses' interests, and the concrete form class contradictions presently take. Highlighted were the need to fight the occupation requested by all the ruling classes and that is presently taking place, the obligation to go about this in a serious, independent and deep manner, all this in the present and historical interest of the country's workers and popular masses. The second part of this presentation focused on our organization's position on the criticisms we've been addressed concerning our having accepted AFL-CIO Solidarity Center funds, given this organization's direct relation with the dominant establishment of American imperialism and its recent most reactionary past in Latin America. Rejecting first the calumniating, red-baiting and totally false (and furthermore highly interested) lowly arguments of the opposite current, we emphasized how the political situation in Haiti has accelerated, which has given rise to an unprecedented expansion of workers' organization and, especially, many antagonistic and dangerous conflicts which we've had to face during these extremely hazardous times. The contradiction of our concrete responsibilities confronted with increasingly limited financial capacities needed to be resolved in such a way as not to hinder the struggles' functioning and the workers' independent organization. Fully aware of all of this, then, we entered these relationships with all the contradictions we plainly realized.

The participants, for their part, also categorically rejected the calumniating aspect of the Haiti Progrès current's criticisms, as well as their tendentious amalgams and their lame hasty conclusions, perceiving just as much the reactionary interest of this undertaking since it pretends to uphold (without for so much risking to do so in a serious manner) the lavalas leaders recognized for their notorious betrayal. They generally supported our political position on the situation but nevertheless maintained their deep-seated criticism of the fact that, to resolve the above-mentioned contradiction, we chose to accept these funds from the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center. Our response, once again, jointly now with certain Grassroots Haiti members, was, foremost, to demonstrate the high level of responsibilities we had stake. We then presented how employees of this agency were already in the field itself (American workers presently having interest in the reinforced organization of workers' resistance in dominated countries, given the acceleration of delocalizations following globalization, which has resulted in surges of unemployment within the US itself). We showed the complete distortion of the Solidarity Center's line (which is that of the AFL-CIO generally) thus present, in any case, in the field and that we needed to fight, with or without funds. We've denounced this organization in working class meetings and publicly. We've made public the deviant aspects of their line and have also denounced the apparatus they belong to, even if these funds might come to be blocked. Nevertheless, the militants participating in this meeting insisted on showing the dangers of such an approach, given the links between this organization and the CIA and even the "sophisticated" nature of its functioning at the service of the US establishment which can, through so many ways, and this despite the independence of our line, destroy in a future difficult to calculate, any organization and independent orientation of on-going struggles.

We listened to these criticisms (which sometimes even blamed us) and interiorized them individually and collectively. We nevertheless continued to perceive within them a very clear insensitivity to the precise moment the independent workers' mass struggles in Haiti are going through, to the attacks they are undergoing from all the ruling classes (traditional bourgeois as well as bureaucrats and big landlords) and to the imminent confrontations which should be foreseen and anticipated. This insensitivity, for us, borders irresponsibility. Which is troubling.

Some participants, on the other hand, began to envision alternatives towards the end of this meeting. These suggestions most retained our attention.

Batay Ouvriye, January 19, 2006

--------------------------------------------------------------
[*] These disagreement, beyond the consensus on management's withdrawal of its attempt to impose differential treatments of old and new employees, concern: health benefits, maternity, pensions, holidays, wage adjustments (with respect to inflation rates), as well as vote methods and contract expiration dates.

author by yespublication date Mon Jan 23, 2006 05:47Report this post to the editors

chile is doing the dirty work for the U.S.
the us overthrew the elected government of Haiti with democracy promotion. giving millions to anti-lavalas organizations.. labor, human rights, political, students they all got money.
now this is the chaos you have.

author by Jan Mackandalpublication date Tue Jan 24, 2006 00:41author email vantvan at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

An interesting debate is now going on after the vicious attack made against Batay Ouvriye, a worker’s organization that I support which is based in Haiti. This debate is a positive one and needs to continue in the interest of the workers’ struggle in Haiti and internationally. In the course of this debate a clear class line of demarcation needs to be drawn between our friends, genuine progressives and revolutionaries and our class enemies, the dominant classes and their defenders in the petit bourgeoisie. With our friends, the objective is to consolidate unity with them in the spirit of unity-struggle-unity and struggle-unity-struggle in order to further the objective cause of the proletariat and the masses. With our class enemies, the dominant classes in imperialist states and the dominant classes in dominated states and their representatives in the petit bourgeoisie, the objective is to expose them and to reinforce our strength in order to build an alternative that will enable our camp to advance its struggle until victory and build a new society.

As a combatant, my support for Batay Ouvriye is not just based on the fact that Batay Ouvriye is helping a few unprivileged men and women win some basics right of survival. For our friends who want to support this struggle on just a humanitarian level, this is a positive, welcomed, even if limited support. My support is based on the fact that Batay Ouvriye as a mass workers’ movement incorporates a level of the struggle against capitalism. Organizing seminars held by Batay Ouvriye with workers and other laborers are based on developing struggles based on the worker’s and laborer’s autonomous interests, without any class collaboration or collusion with their exploiters. That position manifests itself in the struggle against factory owners in the sweatshops inside the industrial zones, in the free trade zone, and in plantations. In the neighborhood and in the countryside where workers live, they play a crucial role in organizing their class allies in their fight against the Haitian dominant classes, mainly the bourgeoisie and the state apparatus. The nature of these struggles is limited in nature. Batay Ouvriye is a mass worker’s movement struggling on the level of broad mass demands for the respect of worker’s and laborer’s rights, but in my view, this is part of the struggle to get rid of this dependent form of capitalism and feudalism in Haiti.

In class society, democracy as form of political organization of a social formation, exists in order to facilitate those classes which are in power to reproduce that power and maintain it while keeping classes they dominate disorganized and under their domination. This is achieved through the main political structure, the state apparatus and its components. Even in the most advanced capitalist social formations this is true and relatively absolute. In the US in the sixties, the repression came down hard in order to maintain the status quo. The Black Panthers, individuals such as Malcom x, even pacifist such as Martin Luther King paid with their lives. In Haiti with the “return of democracy” the workers and some progressive tasted that bittersweet return in the interest of bourgeois democracy. The repression by Lavalas goon squads and the police in Guacimal, in Archaie, in state universities, the repression of the Duvalier regime against progressive and revolutionaries are perfect examples of the wrath of bourgeois democracy. Batay Ouvriye just released a “press alert”, similar to the one before the massacre in St. Raphael, announcing a possible massacre in the countryside. These reactionaries’ finger pointing should not be taken lightly by progressives and revolutionaries.

In a response to a criticism from a progressive element, they tried to justify the paid police ad in their reactionary newspaper (which at a certain times even identified the leadership of Lavalas as traitors.) The paid ad was to promote the recruitment of minorities into the police, an institution of the imperialist state. The demand for minority cops originally came from the civil rights struggle led by African-American petit-bourgeoisie. In the fifties and the sixties this demand was at best a reformist demand (not to be confused with struggle for reform), but now after more than thirty years and all the experiences accumulated we can safely say that this demand is a reactionary one that no progressives should participate in. We need to be aware of what we ask for and so that when we get it, we don’t have to feel sorry.

The students’ movement against the war, the civil rights movement, the progressive movement were all infiltrated by white and minority cops. In a city like Miami, many protest marches have been brutally repressed and monitored by cops of Haitian descent. The political structures of these institutions are geared toward protecting bourgeois democracy. We do need to restrain their harassment, but not by trying to sugar coat them. Malcom, in his time, was right in identifying the opportunist negro as a “house nigger.” They are always present in attacking the comrades that are fighting for revolutionary transformation. They are always defending their masters.

Nowadays bourgeois democracy has reached its peak. There is nothing humanitarian or progressive that will come out of bourgeois institutions. These attacks against Batay Ouvriye are coming from the enemy’s camp, they are not just criticisms. Their aim is to destroy and participate in creating a base to justify the repression against workers. The proponents of these attacks have gone as far as exposing organizers involved in the struggle by naming their names and even giving their whereabouts. Only agents of our class enemies would stoop so low. Exposing members of Batay Ouvriye is a repressive and unprincipled act, inviting repression against them. At the same time, these reactionaries are defending the return of the “constitutional order” that brought the second occupation to Haiti. Even Aristide, this sycophant of imperialism, fell out of privilege and did not benefit a damn from the third occupation. Imperialist policies are a failure, the dependent form of capitalism defended by the Lavalas, and now the de-facto regime are bankrupt policies. Without or with Aristide, imperialist policies through neo-liberalism will still be implemented. Let’s not forget that it was Aristide who called himself the twin brother of Clinton, a main proponent of NAFTA. Just like the renegades who defended the return to constitutional order without conditions while Aristide was selling out, the same could be said for these reactionaries fighting for his third coming.

YOU ARE THE ONES WORKING FOR CAPITALISM. THE RETURN OF ARISITIDE CARRIES WITH IT NEO LIBERALISM. THE SECOND ONE WILL ONLY BRING ABOUT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PROTECTORATE.

Any class society’s democracy has a class content and it goes hand in hand with dictatorship. One needs to distinguish bourgeois democratic rights from the concept of democracy. The concept of democracy is a formal structure that exists in the abstract. In reality, as a complex structure, bourgeois democracy allows the dominant classes to organize themselves and keep the masses disorganized. The state apparatus plays a fundamental role. Class struggle is at the core of a class society where one or a group of classes dominates and the others resist. It is a constant battle taking place. In fact it is a war. This war manifests itself at two levels. One level is a democratic level where through their resistance dominated classes are able to conquer some rights. Throughout time many rights have been conquered in the interest of different classes. Rights such as the 8 hour day and civil rights are perfect examples. These rights were not handed to us on a silver platter, we had to fight with our blood to conquer them. But in time, even these democratic rights, which came from our struggles, became bourgeois rights and were recuperated by the dominant classes. There is a need to continue these struggles since they are tactical in nature and the objective in waging them is to weaken the dominant classes while we [workers] are building up our forces.

Let’s for one moment argumentatively consider Aristide becoming president and defending popular demands. Even in such a scenario the working class should not disarm itself. The struggle of the workers should continue in order to achieve an aspect of our final goal, which is to get rid of capitalism and its state apparatus. Now, let’s get back to reality. It is impossible to defend the leadership of the Lavalas movement. Defending it, one objectively takes the side of one of the fractions of the Bourgeoisie, the bureaucratic bourgeoisie, the policies of imperialism, and imperialism.

With class struggle, the masses are under domination at all levels, economic, political and ideological. The class that dominates will dictate at all levels the political practices of the masses, unless they attain the maturity to break away with this domination. Now in Haiti the dominated classes are under the influence of the politics of the dominant classes. Soon after the exit of Jean Claude Duvalier, a sector of the masses was calling for a deeper “dechoukaj” (uprooting). The mot d’ordre at the time was THERE IS NO NEED FOR A PRESIDENT, WE NEED PEOPLE’S POWER. The defenders of bourgeois politics went on the war path to pacify these demands, transforming them into CONTINUE THE DECHOUKAJ THROUGH ELECTIONS. The weakness of the revolutionary forces prevented the defeat of this opportunist line. But the revolutionary forces did not bend to the will of the masses under the leadership of bourgeois propagandist from the petit-bourgeoisie. They continued to build an alternative to bourgeois politics. The struggle for the “return of constitutional order” is in fact the continuation of that opportunist political line, this defeatist line to serve the interests of a fraction of the dominant classes and the dominant classes as a whole. Revolutionary workers should not sway from their strategies under any circumstance, even for a populist like Aristide.

In any complex situation one cannot be simplistic. To do so is to proceed from an external superficial grasp of a situation, therefore defending a reactionary viewpoint. Agreeing that Aristide must go doesn’t mean being in alliance with other sectors of the dominant classes that are or were seeking the same. Under Duvalier, the reactionary right was also seeking the departure of this oppressive regime. We waged staunch struggles against the opportunist left which allied itself with the reactionary pro-imperialists which were also calling for Duavlier’s overthrow.

This opportunist left dropped its anti imperialist stand in the name of a so-called unity with the reactionary opposition to Duvalier. The bourgeoisie is our fundamental enemy, our relations with them are antagonistic. We also denounced Aristide when he opened up to them in his return, when he named them in the committee to rebuild the Haitian economy (a total farce). In reality Aristide used a populist discourse to mystify the masses while serving bourgeois interests. In Duvalier’s time all forces that upheld that line were attacked. Now after all this time, we could surely say that this position was correct and just. The so-called anti Duvalier democratic forces along with the rest of the reactionary right are now fighting to see who will be imperialism’s pick to continue in the path of Aristide.

author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Tue Jan 24, 2006 02:30Report this post to the editors

In order to contribute with the debate, I want to address a number of issues that I find problematic in Jan's posting. In the first hand, I think it is important to have in mind that violence tend to occur in capitalist societies as part of the natural clashes between classes and the people with the bourgeois institutions. Haiti under Aristide could not be an exception to this rule. Certainly, acts of repression might have happened, but from acknowledging that fact and taking a class stance on it, to equating the scarce acts of repression and political violence under Aristide to the systematic abuse and State sponsored terror of Duvalier or nowadays Haiti, I find quite problematic. Specially, as it plays well in the grotesque picture of Aristide as a "dictator" depicted by the so-called "international community" to justify the intervention. We should be really careful on this and ponder the effect of our interventions in the current context of occupation (what does not mean to be indulgent or tolerant with it).

Certianly life for the Haitian working class was not all pinky hues under Aristide and there were cases of repression. The comparison, though, with the duvalierist dictatorship is absolutely over the top, though. It undermines the point that you are trying to put across: that class violence will exist under any form of bourgeois institutions, no matter how populist they might be and that justifies the struggle for direct people's power.

Secondly, it is the problem of the workers' opposition: were Haitian workers justified in their opposition to Aristide, when faced to the application of neoliberal measures imposed by the accords to bring Aristide back to power in 1994, when faced to the hardening conditions of work in the Free Trade Zones derived from those measures and when faced to the undermining and attack of some Lavalas figures on the independent trade unions? Yes they were. But how that opposition can be expressed and organised in an extremely fragile context as Haiti in the 2000s remains a big problem though. How can you strenghten an independent workers' alternative without playing into the hands of a few ultra-reactionaries interested in destabilising the populist government so they can get the complete control over power again? Many workers have been faced with similar questions in the past -particularly in the Spanish (1936-1939) and Chilean case (1970-1973). The answer is not an easy one and I'm not quite sure we can come out with magical answers.

It is important to discuss on the possibilities of building a workers' independent movement, that looks well beyond reformism, that can strenghten and radicalise a workers' position and not only weaken the reformist party. That is, that can oppose the burgeois State and build people's power, going beyond reformism, while it does not leave the flanks open to the Reaction. The possibility of doing this has an enormous impact on the results of a radical political process.

And this leads to a final question: how today, without losing from sight the need of class independence, can be built a movement that opposses openly and corageously the ignominous occupation of Haiti? How can be created a movement that brings together all those on the people's side against the occupation and that is not a mere cross-class alliance, but where the workers' and popular movement will remain autonomous and indepenedent?

This are some of the questions that should be addressed; keeping in mind that no matter the political mistakes or shortcomings in any of the parties in conflict, certainly the primary enemy remains among the ranks of imperialism and the Haitian bourgeoisie. In addressing these issues lies the main possibility of re building a popular and revolutionary movement, able to gain again the political initiative.

author by Ralphpublication date Fri Feb 03, 2006 13:48author email ralph3892 at yahoo dot comReport this post to the editors

I just read the message on the CHAN delegation to the Caracas Social Forum. It reminds me of Kim Ives’ posts that I’ve read on other lists.
The problem I have with these people is that they seek to pass the Lavalas government as a “popular” administration, even comparing it with those of Castro or Chavez. This is an enormous mystification, in fact one that is exactly the same as those of the Aristide administration: fooling the people while serving the bourgeois. Because in fact there are important questions, fundamental ones, people should be asking:
1 – Who came for the first time to Haiti with 20,000 soldier occupation troops in 1994-1995? Who? Who, in 2003, signed his agreement for the 822 UN Resolution asking for the present occupation? Who? It’s simply Aristide himself. What happened is that, with the imperialists, it turned out wrong for him.
Both Castro and Chavez would never commit such actions. It is a dishonor for them, it is marring their names to compare such a traitor, such an imposter, with such integrate persons who always not only fight the imperialists but also denounce it each time they can.
2 – The 1994-1995 invasion cost the US administration millions and millions of dollars to come reinstall their puppet in power. Who is talking of financing??! Furthermore, the Lavalas government turned the training of the new police force over to the US, French and Canadian imperialist governments: what could be more submissive, subservient, lackey? And the truth is that since then the Haitian people never heard again of “malfini” –falcons nor any other anti-imperialist criticism.
3 – The World Bank and IMF programs were executed without the slightest hesitation under Aristide: what a brilliant application of the Haitian adage Aristide loved to repeat in electoral meetings, that, for him, the new economy would be self-sufficient, based on the nation’s own means, that the “pork’s lard would cook its own meat”!!!
4- And what about Aristide’s famous “I love you, bourgeois”! he said in Miami, while hugging the most corrupt, nefarious elements of the Haitian bourgeoisie. After having surrendered himself, all the Haitian people, all the history of this so proud country to the imperialists, he now surrendered them all to the Haitian bourgeoisie, one of the most archaic in the world, one of the most “repugnant” in the world. .
5 - “I love you, bourgeois”, a huge leap towards reconciliation. Who asked himself where all the FRAPH “attachés” (criminal militia of the macoute-bourgeois reaction during the 1991-1994 coup) went? Who asked himself how this reintegration happened? The answer is simple. Under the regime of reconciliation with the biggest bourgeois and macoutes, under the control and complete surrender to the imperialists, in military, political and economic terms, the FRAPH attachés changed into the Lavalas gangs. That’s what reconciliation was in the popular neighborhoods. And that was one of the most cowardly decisions Aristide took, since, while he refused to return in the presence of his foremost military and paramilitary enemies (General Cedras and the major FRAPH leaders), he submitted his partisans in the popular neighborhoods to this very demand, he submitted these partisans who nearly died for him to living with these ferocious enemies.
6 - “I love you, bourgeois” and the surrender of the Haitian people to the attaches transformed into Lavalas, for them, all of them, to come make money in the government and, as the climbers they were, to change into bourgeois, just as the Duvalierists had done so. Yes, indeed, who would, then, become the President of the Commission for the Economy’s Relaunching? Jean-Edouard BAKER, a foremost sweatshop owner, president of the private business sector’s association (ADIH) and, above all, who had sold the blood of Haitians abroad, in a partnership he held with Luckner Cambronne, one of the most prominent figures of Duvalierism. Jean-Edouard Baker, the brother of the present electoral candidate, Charles Henry Baker.
7- Jean-Edouard Baker, like Lilas Desquiron (Aristide’s Minister of Culture who just recently again wrote in his defense - and her own!), like Mathilde Flambert, one of the most reactionary factory owners who was named Aristide’s Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, in charge of class conflicts, and even Marc Bazin, the “Chicago Boy” who is right now the Lavalas “Table’s” candidate! Even Bayard Vincent, since the early Lavalas days, a “macoute gwo ble” (meaning one of the most active Duvalierists) who was named Minister of JUSTICE!
8 – Without counting the permanent stealing of these “grand mangeurs” (big-eaters), the scandals (rice, aluminum roofing, ‘pyramid’ cooperatives…).
9 – When the imperialists finish using a puppet, when social problems become overwhelming, when the inability to resolve the situations goes overboard… they simply take it out. That’s exactly what happened to Jean-Claude Duvalier who wished to remain as well, “rèd tankou ke makak” (stiff as a monkey’s tail). That’s all.
10 – The question now is what Haiti Progres, the Canadian reporters and this whole group who say they’re in defense of the Haitian people are really looking after, in their attempts to confuse everybody in mixing up the peoples’ real struggles with those of the Lavalas socially upwards ? These are all now participating in the slated elections (under occupation). And those who aren’t, like Jean-Juste who represents a last branch of them, if he isn’t, it isn’t because they didn’t wish so.

Ralph

Related Link: http://www.indybay.org/news/2006/02/1799627.php
author by questionpublication date Sat Feb 04, 2006 03:36Report this post to the editors

Why is this debate titled "alleged"?
Batay has admitted to receiving NED funding and the Solidarity Center has admitted to the NED grant.

Why do anarchists on this website support an NED funded group that called for the elected government to resign and leave the country? Have any of you been to Haiti?

author by Tom Wetzelpublication date Sat Feb 04, 2006 03:58Report this post to the editors

As Andrew has noted previously in this
debate, the fact that Batay Ouvriye has
said it is willing to accept the
$100,000 from the NED doesn't show that
Batay Ouvriye is an agent of U.S. imperialism
or controlled by U.S. imperialism. If that
were so, then the NUM in Britain would be
an agent of Moscow for taking Moscow gold
during the 1980s UK miners' strike, as Andrew
points out. What the critics of BO haven't
show is that the money comes with strings that
BO has agreed to.

The Levalas party government under Aristide
may have provided some benefits compared to
the Papa Doc regime or the repression preferred
by Aristide's elite opponents. That said,
what the critics of BO are obviously objecting
to is BO's unwillingness to line up behind
the Levalas party government. But no state
can liberate the mass of the people in Haiti
from the class system. As the Internationale
had it, "we want nocondescending saviors to
rule us from a judgment hall." This being
the case, a stance of working class independence
is warranted. A state, no matter how "leftist"
or "progressive", is an institution of class
domination.

A poor workers' union in desperate circumstances,
such as strikes like those that led to the
$3,500 Solidarity Center donation, may be willing
to look to any source for funds. What Kim Scipes
fails to point out, while correctly criticizing
the AFL-CIO's being in bed with U.S. imperialism,
is that U.S. unionists could develop their
own aid program for authentic worker struggle
in Latin America. A couple million dollars
is not a large sum, and could be easily raised
by an independent Latin American labor aid
organization formed by grassroots labor bodies
in the USA -- local unions and local labor
councils -- who want to pursue an alternative
course, independent of U.S. imperialism, unlike
the AFL-CIO leadership.

author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Sun Feb 05, 2006 09:05Report this post to the editors

I'll be very clear to answer to "question" (that by the tone of his comments is obviously the former "joke", "yes", etc... in the debate) as you obviously have reading comprehension problems or are a bit thick:

"Why is this debate titled "alleged"?"

The title is: "On the payroll? Debate on the accusations to Batay Ouvriyé ".

Do you know how to read?

"Why do anarchists on this website support an NED funded group that called for the elected government to resign and leave the country?"

First of all, anarchists in this website stay neutral on the debate, but we are trying to facilitate a proper constructive debate as we received insidious comments and articles related to the matter on discussion. We have engaged in discussion against simplistic arguments and have tried to take it to discussing issues of concern for the broader leftist mileu (issues like funding and others that are better detailed in my comments called "problematic issues"). I insist, we do not support one side or the other, for we reamin open to publish articles from everyone on this issue as long as they are serious enough.

Secondly, the fact that a government is "elected" does not make it sacrosant. That is the weakest argument and the most narrow minded perspective possible about politics and reveals an understanding of the popular movement as deep as the one of a mussel. Popular movements topple governments that have been "democratically elected" all the time. Lucio Gutiérrez in Ecuador, Carlos Mesa and Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada in Bolivia were toppled by popular revolt and it was absolutely legitimate, as they betrayed systematically the will of the people and were nothing but the local representatives of imperialism. Anarchists not only welcomed this but took active part in the movements that toppled those "elected" governments. We reject bourgeois democracy in favour of direct and popular democracy; therefore, I have no will to defend a bourgeois principle that shapes the very foundations of the capitalist State. We opposed though the toppling of Aristide, not because it was an "elected" government, but because it was an imperialist aggression that favoured the tiny local and foreign elite that rules Haiti. There was no popular movement neither carrying revolutionary demands but a bunch of thugs financed by the CIA.

According to your muddle-headed mind, maybe you should start defending as well "poor" Sanchez de Losada in the US to go back to Bolivia -after all, he was democratically elected.

"Have any of you been to Haiti?"

I think many possible answers to this question:

1. It's none of your business
2. We have been involved for long in the solidarity movement with the Tenth Department and we know quite well a lot of progressive Haitian people
3. The question is not relevant for the debate
4. People in this website have researched a lot before publishing or commenting
5. Can we only give our opinion on places where we have been?
6. Yes, some have been there.

Whatever answer you want to pick, there is one thing clear: that you are incredibly narrow minded to come to that point to invalidate people discussing in an international website (have you ever been in Haiti "question"? Have you ever crossed the US border? If you have or have not, that wouldn't make much of a difference to have an opinion on this issue)

To finish, there is a number of things I'd like to ask you to keep in mind for the future:

1. When you write a comment, try to deal with the issues discussed
2. Try to do it in a constructive way, contributing something and not repeating again and again the same old line, because that makes it obvious that you are not interested in engaging in a debate and that you don't read (or understand maybe) what other people are trying to say. It makes obvious as well that you don't have much of a point, in fairness.
3. Please read first what other people have written and the articles, so you don't get wrong again your accusations (anarchists supporting this or that) or get even the title of the debate wrong!
4. Don't criticise others without arguing in an intelligent fashion.
5. Remember that our humble role is to give a public space for a debate where you can have the two sides of it (unlike other websites that only give you one side of the story) so we are not taking part and we publish everything about this, and we will keep publishing articles from everyone oppossed to the occupation.
6. Try to stick to one nickname so we can follow a proper discussion (obviously, you are not very interesting in discussing though)

Those are some basic common sensical rules to make a debate of any use for the popular movement. That's what we try to do, for we are not interested at all in a debate between goddies and baddies, in turning our wensite into a tribune for BO and HP to bitch out on each other.

author by Jan Makandalpublication date Tue Feb 28, 2006 18:55author email vantvan at aol dot comReport this post to the editors

On the problematic raised by Paddy

As mentioned in a previous posting, I do think a constructive debate needs to take place after the attacks made against BO [Batay Ouvriye]. I think the response of Paddy Rua conforms to that spirit.
It is clear that we have a different understanding of the concept of violence. For me, violence is not a random act that tends to occur in capitalistic society as part of the natural clashes between classes…. For me, violence is endemic to these societies and it manifests itself at all level of structures within these social formations. It is part of the economical, political and ideological structures. It is also part of the practices that we find within these structures, for example exploitation at the economic level, repression, oppression and terror at the political level, and the propaganda of the dominant classes to impose its views and pacify at the ideological level are all part of the violence produced by these societies. In fact, violence is a sub-element of the concept of domination. It is ever present in the daily life of the dominated masses. Violence is mainly organized by the State Apparatus, the main political force in these societies to keep the dominant classes organized and keep the masses disorganized. In every society, due to class struggle, violence also is not mechanically applied to the masses. All classes resist based on their interests, so it is a complex element that functions with a series of contradictions general and specific to these Social Formations. So violence for me has a class content when applied against the masses, specially against the proletariat.
Inside capitalist social formations, or the ones that are dominated by capitalism, intense classes struggles exist [collective or individual] for the conquest of democratic rights. But they cannot be equated to the struggle for radical change. These are two different levels of struggle, although related, but very distinct in their goals and objectives.
Revolutionaries such as Marx and Engels have greatly contributed to the revolutionary science of the proletariat, from lessons learned of the experience of the Paris Commune. This experience also contributed to the uninterrupted “proletarization” process of these comrades.
Historically one must be relatively certain now that there cannot be any pacific passage from one Social formation to another, or a “historic compromise” such as Chili with Allende and the State Apparatus cannot be a state for all the people
I do recognize the importance of regimes [in their own specificity] such as Chavez, Evo Morales and the newly elected president of Chili, within limits, in the struggle against imperialism. At least one will see, even if they are blind, that democracy Made in USA simply means “follow my leadership and policies.”
One of the important things about working class autonomy lies on the fact that in their resistance each class tends to resist based on its own interest. That resistance will determine how far it will go based on its final interest. Even Karl Marx with all his wisdom and contributions to our science did not quite understand the concept of autonomy in his days. The positions he took during the bourgeois revolution in the USA at the time did not quite draw that demarcation line between bourgeois and worker interests. He congratulated the Bourgeoisie for its bourgeois revolutionary demands but failed to mention the oppression/repression of the working class at the time. At the time, it was a crime against the security of the state for workers to strike or even ask for a raise. From the beginning, the bourgeoisie recognized the working class as its mortal enemy.
This brings me to your second point. It was not my intent to compare the reactionary regime of the Duvaliers to the reactionary regimes of Aristide since the political conjunctures were not the same, the social contradictions were not the same. We should not forget the gains of the 1986 uprising that contributed to the demise of Duvalier and that Aristide could not simply bypass. I was merely taking example of acts of repression and terror.
But since you raised the point, I will try to go further in some analysis of how I understand some of the questions you raised. Since the seventies, a huge sector of the left has confused two important entities, the State Apparatus and the government that is the central element of the state. The concept of dictatorship is and will always be class related, just as is the concept of power.
By the way, the intervention did not happen because Aristide was a “dictator”. In all three cases, the interventions occurred because the Haitian dominant classes could no longer control the situation. In the last two occupations, with Aristide and without Aristide, the dominant classes and imperialism even with their military presence could not stabilize the situation. This why progressive and revolutionary are rightfully claiming that “they have no SOLUTION…”
If we go back to the original point, it would be reformist in essence if our struggle were limited only to a regime change which itself does not affect class dictatorship. We have seen in the last 30 years a lot of reformist struggles. Some of them ended up in a violent regime change: Nicaragua. Socialism or at least scientific socialism is not and cannot be equated to a mere regime change since we are talking about a total, radical transformation of a social formation. History has already proven to us that is not a pacific process. Even before Marx, the Haitian slaves were a perfect example. Regime changes can bring us some reform in the State apparatus even some democratic changes that also will be determined by the relation of forces within these societies.
A lot of experiences occurred in our lifetime and a lot lessons need to be learned from them. These kinds of experiences continue to occur nowadays, the most recent ones are the South African experiences, Chavez in Venezuela, and Evo Morales in Bolivia. I do recognize that in their own right these experiences will help us understand the violent nature of bourgeois democracy. A regime change in essence is ephemeral, scientific socialism is not. But Aristide cannot be compared to any of these experiences. Besides his fiery speech, all his practices in nature were reactionary. THE SUPORTERS OF ARISTIDE CAN LIE ALL THEY WANT BUT THEY CAN’T HIDE THE TRUTH.
As mentioned before, I was not comparing the two regimes. Duvalier went through a process in order to achieve the hegemony of the fraction of the bourgeoisie he represented within the power block. He neutralized the comprador bourgeoisie, which the Army was influence by, he set up his own parallel army, the VSN (Volontaires de la Securite Nationale), he set up his Paramilitary forces, the Tonton Macoutes, he crushed the student movement and also the left at the time. Due to the international situation, he played with imperialism by making fiery speeches and threatened to go East. Any class or fraction ascending to power needs to express its own ideological identity. “Noirism” was his trade mark.
Aristide is the product of a struggle that culminated in Duvalier’s departure. I do think that Aristide was in the process of re-establishing the hegemony of the bureaucratic bourgeoisie through his autocratic practices. The dynamic of classes struggle and social contradictions that arises from that dynamic is a complex one.
You raised other points that I will respond to in the future, specially on the question of working class alternative.

In solidarity,
Jan mackandal

author by BO - Batay Ouvriyepublication date Sat Mar 11, 2006 03:22author email batay at batayouvriye dot orgReport this post to the editors

The « National Endowment for Democracy », NED, is a U.S. government agency established in 1983 receiving funds from the US State Department to finance projects throughout the world. In recent times, these funds have served to try to overthrow the Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela and to allow the 184 bourgeois Group to deploy its activities against the Haitian people. The Aristide administration’s opportunist, populist politics helped, assisted this, in accepting the UN 8221 Resolution admitting the occupations and, especially, opening the door to all sorts of occupation, even the 20,000 U.S. soldiers in 1995!

Generally, the US people aren’t informed of where these funds are coming from and what their objectives are. The NED is like a “secret fund” from which they operate that which they wish. That’s why several progressives have organized a major mobilization within the United States, asking to close the secret funds throughNED, of which an individual even involved in its establishment said “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”. The NED HAS TO BE CLOSED DOWN!

The struggle to close the NED is a conscientious battle that concerns us! BATAY OUVRIYE STANDS FIRMLY WITH PROGRESSIVES IN THE UNITED STATES WAGING IT!

During the year 2005-2006, the CODEVI free trade zone workers’ struggle obtained various forms of support, from different places. We learned that the funds the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center sent Batay Ouvriye were from the NED. As we always do, we received these funds in the context of our complete independence, and this is how our line of action always stays firm and unwaveringly in support of the workers alone. We realize all organizations don’t function in this way or may not function this way but, for us, in the context of our independence, our position is always clear: NED SECRET FUNDS SHOULD BE CLOSED! Otherwise, the imperialist plan of death spread out will finish us off.

The imperialist policies of the United States in Haiti, as in the rest of the world, are a death plan! In the context of the ruling classes’ and middle classes’ failure, in the context of the populist opportunists’ failure, indeed, since 1986, we’re the ones, workers of all sorts in Haiti, that know how much, thanks to US State Department funds (taxpayers’ money, those of the working people), these projects serve imperialism to kill us. And, when to do this, they use tools such as the USAID, NED, IRI, and so on. Through so many plots, seminars of various sorts, through all the many NGO’s disseminating the bourgeois democratic orientations everywhere, throughout all sorts of big and small projects the middle-classes are disseminating throughout the country, the Haitian people are being killed. NED SECRET FUNDS HAVE TO BE CLOSED! This is the institution responsible for the ruling classes’ death plan we are dominated by:

· They killed our local pork breed, destroyed our rice cultures, plantains, sugar cane… even our coconuts, plunging all our small peasants in a hole in which all we see in front of us is death and exile, going to the cities or foreign countries, in the worst conditions….;

· Haiti has become the trashcan of countries like the United States’ ruling classes. Not only has second hand clothing taken over the market, putting small artisans out of jobs, but even toxic waste was sent over to us to kill the people of Gonaives.

· All of this, in complicity with the opportunist governments, allowing the imperialists to attain their goals: destroying the national economy and, within this very framework, turning the Haitian people into the hemisphere’s stock of cheap labor, where we work in inhuman conditions in the industrial parks and free trade zones, under the weapons and blows of “security” agents, the police and the military.

· NED, IRI and the various other American government institutions are responsible for the numerous criminal imperialist policies in the country in which they're deeply involved, twisting all the consequential battles we wage, taking out all the criminals or lackeys they don’t need anymore, landing with all their soldiers when they want, as they want and, presently, advancing in their plans to impose a complete protectorate, with their moldy politicians in the field preparing their way, helping them in this.



All of this is the US and supposedly “friendly countries’” ruling classes’ imperialist policy in Haiti, along with their puppet governments who, in some way or another, allow the application of their orientations. We, workers and progressives, need to understand all of this clearly, to enter in tireless battle against these imperialist, their covers (the supposed “agencies”) and the puppet governments aiding them in their tasks!

THE NED HAS TO BE CLOSED! It’s a necessary battle! But also an enormous one! With the interests of the workers always in mind, we’ll wage it firmly!



DOWN WITH THE IMPERIALIST BOURGEOIS POLICIES UNDERMINING THE WORKING PEOPLES’ THROUGHOUT THE WORLD!

DOWN WITH THE PUPPET GOVERNMENTS AIDING THE IMPERIALISTS IN THEIR TASK OF EXPLOITATION!

FORWARD THE STRUGGLES OF ALL WORKERS, TOGETHER WITH ALL CONSEQUENTIAL PROGRESSIVES ,TO ATTACK IMPERIALISM WITH ALL ITS AGENCIES!

author by NEDpublication date Thu Apr 06, 2006 08:06Report this post to the editors

Nearly half a million dollars from the U.S. State Department probably helped. Too bad the unions and labor organizations with thousands of workers who have been laid off and hunted down by the interim government's goons since the 2004 coup have not received any attention. While Batay Ouvriye "supports" bus workers in New York City it hasn't done a god damn thing to support the hundreds of public school bus drivers in Haiti who had their buses ripped to shreds and destroyed by paramilitary death squad. What the Batay Ouvriye writes on the internet is a total disconnect from what it does on the ground - just like the NED, USAID, and the AFLCIO's Solidarity Center.

author by Didier Philomepublication date Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:18Report this post to the editors

People in (or in bed with those in) power are quite vitriolic when they have been exposed. Such blind support for a State Department funded NGO makes as much sense as the leader of Batay Ouvriye - Paul Philome, denouncing the President-elect Rene Preval, while at the same time Philome, under his other identity as Didier Dominique, is reportedly cozying up to that same President-elect. So we have to ask was it Philome or Dominique who decided that Batay should publicly denounce the NED, one of the very same organazations from which their financial lifeline is drawn? It's enough to make one's head spin. Sadly, I think that's the idea.

author by humpublication date Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:46Report this post to the editors

How many fake names does this guy have? didier is prevals friend? but yet with his other name he denounces the NED and Preval? Whats going on? He sure knows how to sling mud and ignore the issues at hand.

author by Smitherzpublication date Wed Sep 13, 2006 13:09Report this post to the editors

Pierre never answered to the fact his organization is receiving $450000 USD in support programs via the state department and NED. His organization was vital in destabilizing the elected Aristide government prior to the coup.

Left, Right, Left, Right...
The right funded left in Haiti.

author by M. Pierrepublication date Mon Sep 18, 2006 19:13Report this post to the editors

You much like other supporters of the lavalas bourgeoisie (Big Eaters) are missing the point. You make three false assumptions erected as facts:
1) You referred to me as if I was a member of Batay Ouvriye
2) You said Batay Ouvriye received U.S. $450,000 from the state department and the ned
3) Finally, you stated Batay Ouvriye “was vital in destabilizing the elected Aristide government prior to the coup.”

I) I am not a member of Batay Ouvriye which is the only independent, democratic and combative Workers’ Movement in Haiti today. I do work with an organization in solidarity with Batay Ouvriye. This is a very important difference.

II) Although Batay Ouvriye clearly stated that it will accept any amount of money from any source, no one has the liberty to lie with reference to that. That is to say that it is not true that Batay Ouvriye ever received $450,000 from the state department or the ned. It is a pure fiction of Jeb Sprague’s imagination. The burden of proof is on him who advanced this nonsense.

III) Batay Ouvriye played absolutely no role in any of the demonstrations led either by the students or the traditional bourgeois opposition. Increasingly though, a large sector of the popular masses started to raise their voices and march to call on Aristide to step down. Batay Ouvriye did criticize the reactionary, undemocratic and anti-worker orientation and repression of the Aristide government. Batay Ouvriye did not call for Aristide to step down at all. However, the workers saw no difference whether Aristide left or not because they would continue to face the same reactionaries.

You have to remember Aristide returned to power with the support of 24,000 U.S. imperialist troops in a cage in an act of treason and betrayal of the Haitian People’s original economic and political demands and Haiti’s sacred sovereignty. He came back with a neo-liberal agenda signed in Miami, Washington D.C. and New York’s Governor’s Island. Throughout the three years Aristide spent in exile, his salary was paid by U.S. imperialism while he called for a crushing embargo on the already starved Haitian People, the consequences of which are still felt today. So what then, if Batay Ouvriye accepted some grant funds from the Solidarity Center especially with no strings attached?
Batay Ouvriye’s combative outlook offered hope to put in place an element of control on delocalization of companies from the U.S. No other unions in Haiti had this combative outlook. Therefore, they were overlooked. The Solidarity Center’s thinking was that by supporting a more combative workers’ union, fundamental elements of workers’ rights would then be in place in Haiti. Therefore, companies eventually would think twice before leaving the states. That would leave the door open for other investors who want to come to Haiti. Meanwhile, American workers wouldn’t have to lose jobs so massively because of delocalization and globalization. They thought this strategy would effectively stave off the negative effects of globalization on the American workers and Haitian workers. That was the logic behind the grants the Solidarity Center provided to Batay Ouvriye. This had absolutely nothing to do with Aristide in any way, shape or form as talks about the grants came about months after Aristide left Haiti. Batay Ouvriye didn’t really care where the Solidarity Center was going to get those funds because it was clear that the funds themselves weren’t going to change the orientation or fundamental nature of Batay Ouvriye as an independent, democratic and combative workers’ movement. Batay Ouvriye was going to keep its fighting spirit intact regardless. And to this day, it is the only independent, democratic, and combative workers’ movement on the ground in Haiti. Go to Haiti and see for yourself.
From 1994 to his ouster on February 29, 2004, Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas followed a neo-liberal agenda against the interests of the working-class for the total benefit of the reactionary ruling classes and imperialism. In May 2002, his government branded the Guacimal workers terrorists because they were protesting the seizure of their lands by big landlords. 2 workers were decapitated by lavalas goons at the time and buried on the spot. Many others were arrested by lavalas authorities and brought, by orders of the Presidential Palace, to be incarcerated in the National Penitentiary in Port-Au-Prince.
You have to differentiate the lavalas bourgeoisie that includes Aristide from the people’s movement on whose back Aristide climbed to power on December 16, 1990. You also cannot look at 1990-1991 and 2000 the same way. In 2000, Aristide was totally a bourgeois, a complete member of the reactionary ruling classes in Haiti. Like Duvalier, he wanted to have absolute control of every living institution of the country. He institutionalized the gangs called chimeres to keep the people in the slums in their place just like Duvalier did with the Tonton Macoutes. The only difference is that the chimeres did not wear uniforms. However, basically he had the same concept as Duvalier.
Finally, you also have to realize that both Aristide and the opposition to his despotic tendencies called for the present occupation although Aristide was not the beneficiary of the imperialist intervention this time.
It’s all nice and cute for so-called “leftists” who are eating chicken heads here in the states and elsewhere to say that Batay Ouvriye should not have taken any money at all from the Solidarity Center because, you know, it works close with the NED and the State Department that are killing the poor around the world. Grabbing some dough to carry out your own agenda is definitely very different from carrying out someone else’s agenda. If they think that they can get something in the implementation of your own agenda, and choose to support you, it’s their business.
Batay Ouvriye is not, cannot be, and is not interested to be on the NED/State Department payroll or anybody else’s. It wholly enjoys its total political and ideological independence from the reactionary ruling classes and imperialism.
Truthfully speaking, those Fanmi Lavalas/Aristide defenders pretend to criticize Batay Ouvriye but it is interesting to see their blatant hypocrisy in being totally silent about the way Aristide sold out to imperialism in his return on the backs of 24,000 U.S. soldiers with the IMF/World Bank neo-liberal agenda to Haiti in 1994/1995. They are equally silent about the continued repression of the workers under lavalas. Their real problem with Batay Ouvriye is that the workers’ movement never succumbed to the lavalas repression and survived. Today, if you support Aristide, you support the reactionary ruling classes and imperialism because they are two sides of the same coin.
Therefore, as I see it, the line is drawn between the workers and their supporters on the one hand, and the reactionaries including the traditional bourgeoisie, the lavalas bourgeoisie, and their petty-bourgeois followers, and the imperialists, on the other hand.

author by M. Pierrepublication date Mon Sep 18, 2006 19:27Report this post to the editors

Letter to the Editor



Dear Editor,

In the article, “Death Threats against Lancet’s Haiti Human Rights Investigator” by Jeb Sprague and Joe Emersberger (September 11, 2006), in CounterPunch, it was said, “Also affiliated with the Haiti Support Group, the Batay Ouvriye (BO) who called for Aristide to "leave the country" is the recent recipient of $450000 USD in NED and State Department programs through the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS).”

http://counterpunch.org/sprague09112006.html

In only one sentence, the duo “journalists” misled the readers with three blatant lies:

1) Batay Ouvriye is “affiliated” with the Haiti Support Group

2) Batay Ouvriye called for Aristide to “leave the country”

3) Batay Ouvriye is the recent recipient of $450,000 USD in NED and State Department programs through the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS).

I) The relationship between Batay Ouvriye and the Haiti Support Group is a relation of Solidarity and not “affiliation”. It is clear that Sprague and Emesberger are unable to decipher the difference between those two concepts. Solidarity is a process of showing support through concrete practices and actions politically, socially, ideologically and/or materially. Affiliation is a totally different concept depicting an organic association between two or more entities. It suggests an internal structure for decision-making for practices and actions. This does not exist between Batay Ouvriye and the Haiti Support Group. By using this term so loosely in the article, Jeb and Emesberger knowingly and consciously misled your readers.

II) Batay Ouvriye explained in how many ways already that, yes, it criticized the Aristide government because this government was truly a reactionary, pro-imperialist, and anti-worker government (http://www.batayouvriye.org/). As a working-class movement, Batay Ouvriye knew the ground very well and also knew the practices of lavalas against the working-class. In Haiti, the mass media did not make any noise about what lavalas was doing to organized independent and combative workers throughout the country from 1994 to 2004. CIMO, the police SWAT Team, under Aristide’s control, was often called by the bosses to crack down on workers in factories. Bosses also often called on Aristide’s chimeres to crack down on workers in factories. The media only gave news about the struggles within the ruling classes for power. The downfall of Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas Party government was part and parcel of these struggles within the reactionary and pro-imperialist Haitian Ruling Classes. This suggests clearly that Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas was reactionary and pro-imperialist. U.S. progressives only remember Aristide as this slum priest, a leader of the poor Haitians who used to blast imperialism. They don’t know about Aristide’s transformation over the years into a pro-imperialist bourgeois. Both camps in the ruling classes, the Aristide camp and the Apaid/Group 184 camp, in 2003 and 2004, called for the imperialist occupation of Haiti. Therefore, Batay Ouvriye in its analysis of the situation, at different moments, let it be known that it didn’t make a difference for the workers whether Aristide left power or not. The workers would still have to deal with the same reactionaries. Further, Batay Ouvriye has affirmed that both reactionary camps are two sides of the same coin. Omitting all the facts in this context is also very misleading for your readers.



III) Although in many instances, Batay Ouvriye always affirmed that it will accept any financial support regardless of where it comes from, it did not receive the alleged $450,000 USD from the NED/US State Department/Solidarity Center. It is not true. It is clearly false. Sprague and Emesberger would have to prove that.

In their article, they insinuated that Batay Ouvriye is on the payroll of the NED/State Department/Solidarity Center. Such an accusation is gratuitous and absolutely unnecessary. There is a major difference/contrast between an organization or movement that accepts financial contributions from any sources and an organization or movement that is on the payroll of a given government or governments. To confuse the two is unconscionable, parasitic, opportunistic, and misleading. Batay Ouvriye had already said what amounts it accepted long ago. Batay Ouvriye is not, cannot be, and has absolutely no interest in being on the payroll of the NED/State Department/Solidarity Center or any other reactionary and imperialist institution or government. The facts on the ground are proving the assumptions of Jeb Sprague wrong. Jeb Sprague is exploiting people’s limited knowledge of the workers’ struggles to spread disinformation. Batay Ouvriye is the only independent and combative workers’ movement in Haiti. Again, Jeb Sprague and Joe Emesberger use, in an opportunistic way, an occurrence to deface and smear the only genuine independent and combative Workers’ Movement in Haiti. In this instance, Sprague and Emesberger’s practices are also very misleading.

To continue to attack Batay Ouvriye in an article that has nothing to do with the Workers’ Movement proves to me that Jeb Sprague is part of a reactionary propaganda machine whose goal is to target the workers’ movement in the interest of the reactionary Haitian ruling classes and imperialism. These are the forces that will benefit wholly in the event that the Workers’ Movement is tarnished in the eyes of the progressive international solidarity movement. And this is key. The perpetrators are cleverly playing on progressives’ feelings in a carefully-crafted and very sophisticated seemingly international pro-Aristide campaign to absolve and uplift the reactionary Fanmi Lavalas Party and Aristide and silence the Workers’ Movement at the same time. One of the objectives of this campaign which is an effort to try to isolate Batay Ouvriye is not to be taken lightly. We really need to ask ourselves the very critical question: ‘Why is Jeb Sprague and co doing this? What forces does this controversy Jeb Sprague is feeding benefit? It is not the Haitian Workers, absolutely! It would be really interesting to find out who’s really behind these imposters.

Personally, I do not have a problem if Batay Ouvriye grabs a tool or money from the enemy to advance its struggles. It is controversial in the sense that other progressives would not be comfortable with that because, it seems, their only criterion to distinguish the good from the bad is “not to take anything from the enemy”. This logic is too simplistic. Jeb Sprague is exploiting this soft area as much as possible. However, the reality is more complex and hard core. Instead, in that complexity, the only criterion that truly serves the interests of the workers’ movement is really the concrete independent and combative practices and actions in the struggles of the movement on the ground that can be documented and proven. The Haitian Workers Solidarity Movement does not have adequate means to put the word out quickly enough. We need international support to do this. With that in mind, I am sure and certain that genuine progressives would quickly realize that, yes, Batay Ouvriye remains the only genuine, independent and combative Workers’ Movement in Haiti. And this one, and only one criterion, is the only cure that will protect them from Jeb Sprague’s (and co) pro-Aristide, pro-imperialist, misleading and anti-worker venom.

Please publish this letter in close proximity with Jeb Sprague’s and Joe Emesberger’s article of September 11, 2006. Thank you in advance.

Mario Pierre

September 13, 2006

author by Mario Pierre - Batay Ouvryepublication date Tue Sep 19, 2006 23:34Report this post to the editors

One Mario:

Thank for writing this response to the inflamatory article by those two haters. The fact that it was put out on 9/11 says a lot to me. The establishment has used this date as a code to come out in full force against dissent and the self determination of all struggling people. And of course Haiti and Haitians would be at the top of their lists.

I am sorry that they even tried to smear the good name and work of Batay Ouvrye. I remain hopeful however that those who courageous will seek the truth. And you stated it well and clear.

Mesi anpil.

author by JSpublication date Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:09Report this post to the editors

To Mario Pierre

#1. A BO organizer openly said that BO was working for the Aristide government to "leave the country". I can forward you this.

#2. I have Solidarity Center officials on tape (you want to hear the recording??) stating the following:

"The solidarity center has 2 grants that are working in Haiti. One grant was awarded in May of 2005 [$350,000] and the 2nd is the NED grant for September 2005 [$100,000]. Those are the only grants that we have for the Haiti work between 2000 and 2006.
That May 2005 grant is from the anti-sweatshop fund from the democracy rights and labor department of the U.S. state department."

The money goes to Solidarity Center programs in Haiti to work solely with Batay Ouvriye. This is a fact. If you do not believe me then go call the Solidarity Center.

author by Kdogpublication date Wed Sep 20, 2006 13:05Report this post to the editors

Mr. Sprague,

I am in no positon to evaluate the truth about the NED funds. But is it your position that there was NO basis for left anticapitalist opposition to the Aristide government?

Thank you,
Kdog

author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Thu Sep 21, 2006 00:15Report this post to the editors

When Jeb Sprague came out first with his series of articles on Batay Ouvriye and the funds from NED, we thought it was important to discuss such a crucial issues as alliances, funding and so on. At this stage, with Mr. Sprague coming back again and again on the same issue in a truly obssessive compulsive fashion, it becomes clear that Mr. Sprague has somehow a fixation with Batay Ouvriye, that borders psychological issues. The fact that he is unable to talk about anything without a mention to the same old story is a proof of that. His inability to move forward in the debate is further proof of that.

Anyway, at this stage, I think it is quite clear the answer to Kdog; in Mr Sprague´s frame of mind, there is no room for dissent. That, for him, seems to be synonim with sin.

I have another question for Mr Sprague: given the current mess in Haiti, do you really think that your protracted campaign against Batay Ouvriye is of any use to the Haitian toiling and impoverished masses? Do you think that the venomous assaults on this organisation are of any good for the cause of ending the military occupation? do you really think so?

I believe criticism and discussion is important to move forward. But you can´t discuss with an autistic child. If discussion is to make any progress, then it is necessary to move from the starting point of it. Sprague has been unable to move from that initial point and keeps coming back exactly to the same old story that Batay Ouvriye has answered again and again. Is there anything more substantial to your criticism against Batay O.? If there is, we would appreciate a lot an articulate discussion on that.

I want to insist on the fact that there are political questions at stake of far more importance to the Haitian people than mere funding of one organisation, small as it is. Sprague´s reluctance to discuss them is quite telling. We would appreciate quite a lot if there was discussion around the political issues raised by the articles and positions of Batay Ouvriye, instead of all the slander everytime that there appears an article of Batay Ouvriye.

Mature discussion can really help to clarify a path towards change and liberation. It would be really bizarre if Sprague really thought that in inflamming sectarian divisions he was doing a contribution to the cause of the Haitian people. I definitely think that this is not the role of international solidarity, and in behavinmg as he has done, he is doing great harm. Probably, if he answered to some of our questions, we would start a serious discussion of some use to the people in struggle not only in Haiti, but anywhere.

author by Critiques on the Double Standard for Haitipublication date Thu Sep 21, 2006 02:32Report this post to the editors

Aristide was the democratically elected President of Haiti. If you go into slum communities in Haiti you will meet person after person who will acknowledge that he was a spokesman for the poor, they are not populist dupes as BO and others would have it. Lavalas owned Aristide. He did not own it. These people voted Lavalas because they felt and experienced the gains that were made. They saw the schools and medical centers. They saw the food distribution networks and town squares that Reuters and others refused to report on.

After his 2004 overthrow somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 people died. Much like following his overthrow in 1991. The interim government cracked down on the poor who wanted back democracy. The last defense for the poor were armed groups of urban youth - denounced as gangs by the elites. They were denounced as unpolitical gangsters by the educated "leftists". The most right wing critic of Aristide counts 216 politically motivated deaths during Aristides time in office (and this was during the time of a paramilitary campaign being waged from the Dominican Republic) Throughout Aristide's time in office, the United States, Canada, and Europe spent a tremendous sum of money to overthrow him, making Haiti politically skewed by dependency. After the coup this financier's relationship continued. 20 years of propaganda calling this man insane.

The sad story is that the large grassroots trade unionists - such as CTH who Pierre denounces as bureaucratic - have no voice. They have no computer or Internet. They have no bilingual officials. These are the unionists that were thrown in jail and hunted down after the coup. They had no ICFTU delegation to investigate the attacks. These are the trade unionists that every day works with the UNT and other unions that threaten imperialism.

Batay has NEVER condemned the mass repression and persecution of Lavalas or Lavalas affiliated unionists in Haiti. The Solidarity Center, who it works with closely, has never once condemned the mass repression and persecution of Lavalas workers. By not condemning it they have condoned it. There is a good reason Batay is not being attacked by the current US-installed government. Thousands of its members, which is rhetorical since it is so small and marginal in Haiti, have not been killed, jailed or forced into exile for a good reason. They are seen as tactical allies in the politics of fear and hate that have sought to justify the coup of February 29, 2004. Have you ever seen a single statement by Batay condemning the repression or persecution? The answer is no, because it quite simply does not exist in their lexicon of tactical appeasement with the current order.

When BO is confronted on it’s funding from the NED and the State Dept for Solidarity Center programs they have denied it time and again. Except for the few times that have back tracked- see their addmission of NED funding. Anyone can call the Solidarity Center and get a clear answer. $449000+ is being used for this ACILS program with Batay Ouvriye.
Wherever they stand on the political spectrum, most ‘well-educated’ critics of Aristide and Lavalas share similar values and priorities, and suffer from similar limitations. Their lack of any popular appeal, their reluctance to work in the neighbourhoods where most people live, their contempt for what they call ‘populism’, deprives them of any significant political strength. The left-leaning critics of Aristide and Lavalas who work for media-friendly and foreign donor-friendly groups like PAPDA or Batay Ouvriye are now regularly cited as ‘alternative’ voices in the international press, but when they hold a sit-in or demonstration in Haiti’s capital, perhaps fifty to a hundred people are likely to attend.


Batay Ouvriye has always used the story of Guacimal to attack the Aristide government. No evidence shows that the Aristide government sanctioned this attack. Everyone has said the killing of the two BO supporters was wrong. It was a horrible incident. But in fact the Aristide government took many positive steps towards aiding labor, which have been previously discussed. The Batay Ouvriye, along with its international supporters, used this incident to denounce the entire government - adding to the propaganda campaign. AHP, a Haitian newspaper, reported that one government official was killed and another wounded in this brief fight - an issue that has been ignored by the numerous Batay and other press releases.

The other problem is that these anti-Lavalas "left" groups are nearly all connected with CIDA/USAID/NED/British Govt funding. An issue that they and supporters have side stepped time and again. It is easy to denounce elected governments as corrupt and cruel because people in government always make mistakes, always commit abuse - but this essentially constructing an argument to blame the victim - to justify the coup and legitimize the campaign waged against Haitian participatory democracy.

Doctor Paul Farmer once explained that everyone knows Aristide is bad, the academics, the politicians, the educated, the middle class, the upper class - everyone knows he is bad, everyone that is except the 85% that voted for him and those he supported time after time.

author by For the recordpublication date Thu Sep 21, 2006 03:01Report this post to the editors

BO officials have stated that they worked for Aristide to "leave the country".

author by Andrewpublication date Thu Sep 21, 2006 03:23Report this post to the editors

1. Please stop using sock puppets on these threads - it is disruptive, pretty obvious and only serves to make you use dishonest. Please stick to posting under a single name.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_sock_puppet

2. Please respond to the responses to you. M. Pierre has replied to you at some length. Simply reposting the same accusation under a sock puppet identity is not a response at all. At this stage I'm seriously questioning what your motivations are - you have clearly been offered a chance to debate these issues out and instead are resorting to cheap tricks. You have failed to respond to any of the substantive posts and to enter into any real discussion.

It's time for you to either produce the evidence for your claims or to shut up. If you really have audio interviews for instance why not make an mp3 file of them and upload them to radio.indymedia.org and then post the url here. Failure to do so will leave me to conclude that you have no evidence.

author by sock puppets?publication date Thu Sep 21, 2006 07:23Report this post to the editors

202-778-4500
Ask for Terresa Casertano.
This is the Solidarity Center official for Haiti.
Ask her if the NED and the State Department have provided funding to the SC for it's Haiti Program , they have ongoing with Batay Ouvriye and its May 1st Coalition. Ask her how much these two programs are for.

author by M. Pierrepublication date Thu Sep 21, 2006 13:39Report this post to the editors

Duvalier, the dictator, left a legacy in Haiti. Aristide inherited that legacy. That legacy is the 'Theory of two Elites': a Dark-skin Elite and a Mulato Elite. The mulato elite accumulated capital through import-export commerce. The dark-skin elite accumulated capital through political power.
To enforce their political power, the dark-skin elite, (their more scientific nomenclature is the bureaucratic bourgeoisie), leaning partly on the lumpen-proletariat, created a notorious and infamous para-military force called the tonton macoutes, very brutal and very much feared in Haiti before 1986.
In 1994, Aristide refined Duvalier's theory and started building a new bureaucratic bourgeoisie(the people called the members of that class fraction, the BIG EATERS). They also leaned partly on the lumpen-proletariat to create gangs in the slums to keep the population in its place. One difference is that those gangs did not wear the heavy-blue uniforms the tonton macoutes wore.
The other difference too is that the tonton macoutes were abusing, killing, arresting without warrants the masses. They were also dealing a heavy blow on the import-export bourgeois opposition. Whereas, under the Aristide regime, only organized, independent and combative workers, and other elements in the masses not under gang control suffer this kind of abuse, arrests and killings, but not the bourgeois . Instead, the Aristide government defended their interests against the workers.
From 1994 to 2004, there is not even one conflict involving workers and any of the bourgeois bosses where any lavalas official sided with the workers,, not one. I dare any Fanmi LavalasAristide supporter, defender and apologist give one and only one example where any lavalas official defended a worker.
The Seeds of Batay Ouvriye were sprinkled during Jean-Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) years. Batay Ouvriye is the burgeoining of the work of those seeds in the masses, particularly in the working-class.
The embryonic current that preceded Batay Ouvriye,criticized Duvalier vehemently but never called for the government to leave the country or step down simply because the masses were not ready to take control of the country. Scientifically speaking, Batay Ouvriye would never call on any government to leave for the same reason, namely, the masses, the workers in particular, are not in any position to take control of the country.
It is not Batay Ouvriye's political line to 'destabalize' governments no matter who's heading that government. However, the workers reserve the right to criticize any government no matter who heads it.
The struggle is not a struggle against a government; it is a struggle to change and transform society as a whole. The naked truth is that for the past 20 years, governments come and go in Haiti, and look at the state of the country.
One last point that should also be part of the debate is that the masses in Haiti are influenced deeply by catholicism. As a result, priests are very much respected, loved, cherised and trusted. They are truly considered a link between human beings and God. This phenomenon is beyond worldly things like money, materials and political issues.
In this light, it is understandable that Aristide as a former Roman Catholic priest still hold sway on a section of the population even after all the damages he caused, his betrayal of the original demands of the masses in 1990, his selling out the country to imperialism to bargain his return in 1994-1995, and all the corruption, repression of workers under his regime for the past 10 years he had been in Haiti.
The Interim de facto Boniface/Latortue regime only continued the work of Fanmi Lavalas/Aristide in moving forward with the corruption, the repression, and the selling out of the country to the imperialists of all stripes.

author by M. Pierrepublication date Fri Sep 22, 2006 00:09Report this post to the editors

The writer of the piece, "Talk left, Funded right" needs to answer the following questions for me:
1) Who called for the 1994 imperialist occupation of Haiti on the backs of 24,000 U.S. soldiers in return for a presidency of personal power?
2) Who called for the February 2004 occupation of Haiti together with the opposition but got duped?
3) In May 2002, who sent orders to transfer the Guacimal workers wounded, arrested, called 'terrorists' by lavalas local and national authorities, and transported by helicopter dispatched by the presidential palace to be taken to the Port-Au-Prince Penitentiary? That's after two workers were brutally decapitated and buried on the spot by lavalas goons in Guacimal. That's not a 'story'. The question is, "is it true or not?"
4) Did the author of this sophistry ever supported the workers' movement, Batay Ouvriye, financially during the ten years of its existence from 1994-2004 before the solidarity center/ned/state department issue came up?
Please answer those 4 simple questions without endless rambling. Thanks!

author by callpublication date Sun Sep 24, 2006 04:21Report this post to the editors

202-778-4500
Ask for Terresa Casertano.
This is the Solidarity Center official for Haiti.
Ask her if the NED and the State Department have provided funding to the SC for it's Haiti Program , they have ongoing with Batay Ouvriye and its May 1st Coalition. Ask her how much these two programs are for.

author by questionpublication date Mon Sep 25, 2006 08:57Report this post to the editors

Why does Batay Ouvriye not acknowledge the death of one government official at Guacimal? Their is no evidence that the Aristide government sanctioned this local fight between land owners and batay ouvriye, and possibly a few local corrupt officials. Why do you use this to destabilize and undermine the entire legitimacey of the Aristide government? Do you resepct the vote of the massive popular turn out in 2000 that voted for Aristide?

author by M. Pierrepublication date Mon Sep 25, 2006 13:15Report this post to the editors

Please, before you earn the right to ask any questions or make any additional statements, read the previous post thoroughly in "Cut through the chase", and answer the questions posed there. Supporters of the lavalas bureaucratic bourgeoisie have a very bad habit of ignoring frontal and pointed questions. You can run but you can't hide. Answer the questions first. Thanks!

author by M. Pierrepublication date Mon Sep 25, 2006 13:24Report this post to the editors

You should also read thoroughly the post, "Good question Kdog" (Thursday September 21, 2006). There are truths about the true nature of the lavalas bourgeoisie too.

author by M. Pierrepublication date Mon Sep 25, 2006 15:21Report this post to the editors

Paddy Rua’s “Questions in order to move forward” (September 20, 2006), raised some very important points. Sprague’s obsessive-compulsive fixation on Batay Ouvriye speaks volumes of his deep-seated immaturity, infantilism, and an extreme supremacist attitude that what he says goes. He is also very limited politically and ideologically because he could not discuss anything of a political nature in the Haitian context. He does not know much about Haiti, Haiti’s history, and the history of the Left. He knows nothing about lavalas and what became of it. Does he know about the development of the ‘lavalas bureaucratic bourgeoisie’ with Aristide at its head? No! Did he know that Aristide did not admit criticism within his own Fanmi Lavalas Party? Does he know that Aristide is “President-for-Life” of Fanmi Lavalas Party?
The guy knows nothing. He is holding on to his original false assumptions about the whole funding question regardless what has been said by Batay Ouvriye or the supporters of the Workers’ Movement, or anyone else for that matter. His very simplistic logic that if anyone criticizes the Aristide government, you are part of the ‘democracy promotions’ project of the NED/IRI borders on George W. Bush’s “either you are with us, or you are against us!” nonsense. In other words, there is no room for dissent.

The real questions are does the Fanmi Lavalas Party represent the true interests of the popular masses? The answer is a flat ‘no’. Does the Republican Party represent the true interests of the American popular masses? Yet, they “won” the presidential elections and control the House and Senate. You could win lots of votes in elections by being reactionary, opportunist, populist, or a simply a demagogue. Aristide was all four. In addition, he is a former priest with the Jesuit Order. In Haitian religious tradition, priests are a link between human beings and God. Aristide’s so-called, ‘popularity’ has absolutely nothing to do with the masses’ popular political, economic and ideological interests. He used some inflammatory rhetorical demagogy to get people excited just like Hitler was able to do because he is charismatic. However, charisma does not deliver.
Jeb Sprague’s animosity toward Batay Ouvriye is not in the best interests of the Haitian Working Class. He is in effect doing a very good job in the exclusive interests of the reactionary Haitian ruling classes and imperialism. They are the ones who will benefit from the seclusion and annihilation of the Workers’ Movement. Why does Jeb Sprague choose to go that way? Perhaps, he is vying a very lucrative post to reap millions of dollars on the backs of the Haitian People just like other opportunist media had done in case Aristide returns to power again. This might be Sprague’s main motivation to hijack the discussion and keep it stale and stagnant so much. I also think that he likes the attention this issue brings to his person. What an ego!
I agree with Paddy that there is a necessity to move forward in the discussion. Everything is already put out there in true transparency. Batay Ouvriye has nothing to hide. It is a Mass Democratic Movement under the direction of the Workers. There are burning and urgent political issues that need to be addressed today in the Haitian context and internationally. The Workers’ Movement Batay Ouvriye managed to challenge corporate giants like Disney, Cointreau (French Liquor Company), Marnier-Lapostolle (French Grand-Marnier company), Levi Strauss, Victoria Secrets etc with the workers’ bare hands for 10 years from 1994 to 2004. There were no funds coming from the Solidarity Center or anywhere else. Sprague can’t just erase that dynamic history and bravery of the Haitian workers. The way forward for the International Solidarity Movement is to reflect and ponder on the concrete situation of the Workers’ Movement on the ground in Haiti today and look for concrete ways that movement can be supported.

author by M. Pierrepublication date Thu Sep 28, 2006 16:17Report this post to the editors

Greetings,
Batay Ouvriye sent the following in response to Jeb Sprague’s continued attacks against it. Since September 24, 2005, Jeb Sprague and a host of other agents of the lavalas bureaucratic bourgeoisie (Ben Dupuy, Haiti-Progres, National Popular Party, Kim Ives, the International Action Center, Haiti Solidarity Network) launched a smear campaign against the Haitian Working-Class Movement, Batay Ouvriye. This systematic international campaign aims to erase the heroic struggles of the working-class against all reactionaries, including the traditional bourgoisie, the lavalas bourgeoisie, opportunists of all stripes, and the imperialist company giants for the past twelve years in Haiti. This reactionary political current leading this campaign is trying to downplay, in a very twisted way, the repressive acts of the reactionary Aristide government while it was in power, and its poignant defense of the haitian ruling classes and imperialist interests.
In this response also, there is a formal rebuttal of the Solidarity Center concerning Jeb Sprague’s accusation that it received $ 450,000 in programs with Batay Ouvriye. Hopefully, with this latest revelation, Jeb Sprague will realize how misleading he has been up to now and change course.
Finally, that reactionary current should stop hiding behind the funding issue to avoid discussions around concrete battles and struggles of the working-class on the ground against the exploiters today. Its main characteristic is to revert to demogogy to get breathing space. Batay Ouvriye is still looking for representatives of the former lavalas government and its supporters in these very important struggles of the working-class in Haiti.
M. Pierre
Here it is:

Dear Comrades,

A while ago (July 8th, 2006), your site[meaning, 'rebelion.org'], as well as others, reproduced an article by Jeb Sprague (“El Fracaso de la Solidaridad: La CIOSL, AFL-CIO, OIT y ORIT en Haití”). In it, the author put out deliberate confusions, lies and false accusations concerning our movement, Batay Ouvriye. Given the right to an answer we believe we hold in such circumstances, we’re requesting you also publish our version.

While thanking you beforehand, we’d like to clarify, in starting, that this isn’t the first time this student, who would like to be a “militant of the Haitian situation” – although certainly from very faraway –, is hurling these libelous allegations. We’ve never considered answering him, nor the team upholding him, worthwhile, since we’ve determined that we play a part in the role he’s carved out for himself amidst the international left: with sensationalistic titles and statements, he is attempting to call attention to himself (with the individualism characteristic of the American petty bourgeois) and, especially, disparage organizations like ours which are in the field of combat, daily confront concretely the ruling classes and their rotten State. This can be verified on our website (http://batayouvriye.org) or, better yet, if one really wishes to be serious, in the field of the struggle itself, in Haiti.

We’ve chosen not to answer these people, ever calling for them, rather, to meet with us, precisely, in the field of struggle, opposing the bourgeoisie and the landowners… which, up to now, doesn’t seem to be happening. We won’t answer them because in spite of all possible demonstrations proving the falsehoods and weaknesses of their arguments, they always pretend to agree (as was evident in a San Francisco debate we participated in), but as soon as they address a different audience or people yet unaware of the depth of the debate, they return to the same maneuvers. This is a systematic disinformation campaign. Most important would be determining who is backing them, who they’re “working” for, what they’re really promoting.

We aren’t answering them directly because they’re using the characteristically bourgeois method of spitting lies and leaving the burden of proof to the victim party. This is a typical capitalist tactic, worldwide, to fire factory workers, for example.


However, we’ve always felt it necessary for us to clarify our positions before comrades potentially misled by the “revelations” of these students seeking recognition. And thus, once again, we will do so this time.

*

To begin with, we’ll clearly state: the financial sum advanced by Sprague is totally false. We have obtained funds from the Solidarity Center, first, following an public appeal (to which many others also similarly responded) and later with a financing of roughly $100,000 total for struggles in the free trade zones which, given the delocalization currently occurring in the global industry, in effect destabilizes employment within the United States itself. This logic of support, we understand it as such and all can also understand it so, insomuch as they think a little, if they can think a little. Ourselves, we use it. Furthermore, several times, we’ve repeated that as long as we can draw funds from wherever, we’ll do it. A militant criticism, at this point, might be threefold: to what use would these funds be put? According to what line of functioning, of struggle, would they be employed? What degree of independence might such a relation allow? In our case, it is with TOTAL independence that we function, in which the workers’ interests, and, more largely, those of the people, are the only pertinent criteria for us. Anyone can verify this. Further yet, we’ve openly and even in meetings organized by the Solidarity Center itself, criticized both its line and it past history in Latin America, as can be confirmed in our answer within this very debate (http://tinyurl.com/refmp), in a report on a meeting organized in Guatemala by the Solidarity Center itself (http://tinyurl.com/me8kf) and in the “Letter” that, after the event, we sent to the participants (http://tinyurl.com/rrw8h). In the same way, our position concerning the NED is also equally clear (http://tinyurl.com/mag5z).

*

In his more recent pieces, once again without any real proofs, Sprague continues to uphold his positions, alleging that those concerned in the Solidarity Center haven’t denied his assertions. We understand perfectly that virtually no one sees answering Sprague. However, since he believes his position is confirmed for this reason, we requested a clarification from this Center. Which we finally received and decided to include directly below – it can easily be confirmed with the author of these lines, Teresa Casertano, Americas regional program director at the Solidarity Center. When we asked about the $350,000 or $450,000 mentioned in the article in question, the answer was the following:

“This sum isn’t a grant to Batay Ouvriye. It’s a grant to the Solidarity Center and with this money we’ve covered Evelyn’s (Solidarity Center employee in the Dominican Republic) expenses and the agreement for the work in Ouanaminthe. He (Sprague) is referring to this grant when he asks about 12 or 18 months. The point in this is that it is a large amount of money and the Center requested that it not be used in only 12 months since it doesn’t make sense to spend money unnecessarily simply to spend it, but rather it should be used with moderation for needed things. The government told us we could use the same quantity in 18 months instead of 12 months and we accepted these 18 months because it was more sensible to have more time.” (June 23rd, 2006).

*

Thus, based on the principle of complete political independence which is for us uninfringeable and which, worldwide, drastically differentiates currents in struggle (the Cuban example is a quite clear one), that we say (and have said) that whatever sum is welcome. In a statement of position opposing other lies of another journalist of this same team, we referred, once again, to our “Clarification” (see http://tinyurl.com/89zpn) and, without hesitation, answered in point 3: “For example (and this will probably be his next "revelation") Sprague forgets to mention that, our position and our concrete struggles being crystal clear, we also informed the undercover agent-reporter Fenton that the rumor (or error) leading to believe that a million dollars were in question (rather than $100,000) was of no interest for us, simply because if this had been the case, we also would have taken it!” (Corbett List, # 27115, Jan. 2006).

*

Thus, ALL has already been said by us concerning this theme. Why, then, are these professional denigrators returning once again to forever set it on the table, using the ignorance of militants who perhaps might be greatly interested by such a debate?

First, to continue with their screaming headlines, in an attempt to assimilate us with the bourgeois-led movement that rose up against Aristide. Which we categorically refute. And no false speculations or deliberately and maliciously conjectured mishmash can prove the contrary. A flier of ours (our only participation, from afar, in the 2003 movement) quite clearly established our position (see, here, http://tinyurl.com/q2gob).

The feeble argument of attempting to assimilate us with the bourgeoisie-led anti-Aristide movement actually walks hand in hand with another, much more important, one, in which this league endeavors to pass the Lavalas government and its “big-eaters” clan (“gran-manjè", as the people named them) as the peoples’ choice. Which, once again, we clearly countered in our analyses and concrete struggles (http://tinyurl.com/89zpn).

We’ve come to realize that Sprague and those sending him to the front line have always refused to seriously debate this theme, hiding behind such limited arguments as the Aristide government’s democratic election, the attacks it underwent due to this origin, even going so far as to attempt comparisons with Chavez and Castro (this being the farce’s key argument). Beyond our clear rebuttals on this subject, clarifying for the public that is was Aristide himself who allowed (worse: worked for!) the first American intervention in 1995 and the following one, in 2004, which he signed just as well (the only difference amongst the various reactionary currents involved in this practice being that, this time, the imperialists kicked Aristide out)… beyond, therefore, our clear refutations on this subject, we should add that the lavalas government also received finances (from the IMF, the World Bank…) upheld by the extraordinary development wave of financial capital and the unsurpassed renewal of the banking system, both national and foreign (principally American). But the worst is that once this relationship was established, NEVER again did the people hear mention of “imperialism” or capitalist domination! Quite the contrary, the balance sheet of this government reveals its basic craving to serve the national and international ruling classes. NEVER, indeed, was there space or even a glimmer of support for the workers in the registered conflicts of this period.

Presently, the leading core of Lavalas isn’t directly in power. It’s useful – and possible – for it to use the basic popular demands anew to fool the people again, just as they had done when they felt attacked in 2003. This is a classical attitude of this populist movement which, in fact, never (ever since, and once at the head of the State) left the slightest leeway for the people and the workers’ demands, faced with their class enemies.

Analyzing, – better – seriously and scientifically, the historical process presently occurring in this Caribbean country, to precisely know how to proceed (in order therefore to advance consequently) towards the true emancipation of the workers and, with them, the entire people... Such is our objective. An analysis to which we invite all militants, internationally, instead of stagnating in the populist miasma. To leave the speculations of these small opportunists for whom the goal has always been to slip into the ruling classes, bureaucratic big shots first, the landowners and bourgeois of tomorrow.

Batay Ouvriye
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, September 15th, 2006

author by Anonymouspublication date Sun Oct 01, 2006 02:17author address http://www.ned.org/grants/05programs/grants-lac05.html#HaitiReport this post to the editors

American Center for International Labor Solidarity
$99,965
To promote the development and capacity of democratic unions in free trade zones. ACILS will work with the May 1st Union Federation, Batay Ouvriye, to train workers to organize and educate fellow workers. Training will include how to develop organizational plans, network with workers outside their factories, form community and factory unions, and research and monitor working conditions. Finally, NGOs and trade unions from the United States and Canada will visit to discuss working conditions in Haiti.

author by KOPApublication date Sun Oct 01, 2006 03:27Report this post to the editors

Since last year, Batay Ouvriye (BO) a workers’ movement based in Haiti, has been the target of vicious and unfounded attacks from a political current that thrives on controversy and sensationalism. It uses a sort of National Enquirer, Globe tactic and hearsay mixed with a low level of political, theoretical and ideological content. KOPA, the Autonomous Committee of Haitian Progressives (anti-imperialist) in Miami, is not only sending and reaffirming its solidarity to BO but strongly denounces these acts of provocation against one of the most militant workers organization in Haiti. These attacks emanated from the uncompromising position of BO against the Lavalas bourgeois leadership and their role at the reign of the Haitian State Apparatus.
In the course of our militancy in Miami, we have entered in discussions with many comrades engaged in political struggles. This is part of our on-going struggles, guided by a spirit of unity. The objectives were clear: to build a higher level of unity or at least to know the depth of our disagreements and define the level of unity with which to guide our political social practices. In fact, this is an on-going process guided by the principle UNITY-struggle-UNITY. Many points were covered and discussed without any form of opportunism for the sake of unity. We debated the questions of the working class in Haiti and its role qualitatively and quantitatively.
We discussed economist/reformist deviations in the struggles. We also covered questions of the Imperialist social formation of the US and imperialist domination. We do believe that the theory and the production of theory are a responsibility and a must for every progressive and revolutionary in the interest of our struggle internationally. Theory can’t be a recipe, a dogmatic or empirical guide for our struggles. It needs to be as up to date as the objective reality we are trying to give an interpretation to.
For this theory to be progressive, it needs to be done in a way for history to advance in the interests of the oppressed and dominated people. To be revolutionary, it should aim to transform reality radically where the workers play a determinant role in transforming that reality. Therefore, we in KOPA are not afraid of struggles and debate in order to achieve a higher level of unity.
Some comrades have addressed many points based on baseless and provocative attacks against BO. We are covering some aspects that have not yet been covered. That BO was part of the movement to build a labor front organization for the 184 group IS A BLATANT AND UNFOUNDED LIE. SUCH ACCUSATIONS COULD ONLY COME FROM PATHOLOGICAL LIARS. One thing for sure, namely, BO and the COMRADES affiliated to BO are not shy in expressing our positions, even if we are in a minority.
BO has always expressed clearly its position on the reactionary pro-imperialist opposition and the reactionary pro-imperialist Lavalas government. Those were not empty words in many conferences in Haiti, in demonstrations, even those organized by this reactionary opposition. The presence of BO was a force to reckoned with. In one of the marches organized by a reactionary sector of the students’ movement, the progressive students, revolutionary students and workers were denouncing Boulos, Apaid and Baker as our enemies.
In the May Day march in Cape-Haitian, in which well over a thousand people took part (there is video footage to prove it), the bourgeoisie was denounced as the mastermind of our problems. BO has always stood firm against any form of class collaboration. Now, where were these people who are now making these provocations against BO when the Lavalas forces were sending messages of love to the same people accused of killing and exploiting hundreds of Haitian laborers in the masses? Where were these ‘agent-provocateurs’ when Aristide nominated those butchers as head of economic development, and also nominated some old guard Duvalierists in many ministerial posts?
Aristide even went so far as to handpick a leading member of FRAPH as mayor of Cité Soleil. Where were these National Enquirer-style ‘journalists’ when the Lavalas government expropriated peasants and sold mostly fertile land in Ouanaminthe to build Free Trade Zones (FTZs). Their silence about these anti-national, and anti-popular practices of the Lavalas bourgeois leadership only shows the complicity and reactionary character of those who support its anti-popular and anti-national orientation.
These “journalists” also mentioned that BO kept quiet about the mass firings of civil workers. This speaks volumes of their limited understanding of countries dominated by imperialism, in general, and Haiti, in particular. In Haiti, a problematic that the Haitian dominant classes could not resolve basically is the contradiction of a dependent capitalism and a decaying feudalism. One of the consequences of this contradiction is large scale unemployment. The state apparatus becomes one of the biggest employers. Many governments use these public sector jobs as a strategy to silence dissent and maintain their political base through jobs of political patronage.
So, one can’t approach these complex problems from a simplistic viewpoint. It will only benefit the dominant classes and the hegemonic ruling class fraction, in this case the lavalas embryonic bureaucratic bourgeoisie. All the governments that preceded Lavalas, and including Lavalas itself, have used public sector employment as a way to co-opt, corrupt and control their political base, particularly in the sub-proletariat and the petit-bourgeoisie.
In fact, the proponents of privatization used these practices to justify the need for structural adjustments. However, it is equally true that all those governments have used their political base and equipment and vehicles in public sector enterprises as tools of repression. The different provisional military governments were accused of such. Lavalas governments were accused of doing the same during different protests organized against them, and also during the periods of student protests.
Lavalas chimères – as well as ‘tonton macoutes’ during the Duvalier years – were ballooned onto these institutions’ payrolls, i.e. the ‘zombie’ checks. Some visible members of the Lavalas embryonic private and parallel repressive forces were on the State payroll and participated in acts of repression against students. Nevertheless, any real employees that were unjustly dismissed must fight and organize themselves to regain their jobs. In this light, Progressive organizations should strive to understand a problem from its internal contradictions to the concrete external manifestations of those contradictions before formulating a position.
KOPA reaffirms again its Unity and Affiliation with BO and denounces unscrupulous, unconscionable, anti-worker and reactionary attacks from the enemy camp, but welcomes constructive criticism in the spirit of unity, for our struggles against the dominant classes and imperialism to advance.

author by M. Pierrepublication date Thu Oct 05, 2006 16:57Report this post to the editors

By insisting on publishing this out-of-context article, “$100,000 NED Funding for Batay Ouvriye”, Haiti Progres is reaffirming its reactionary anti-worker character more and more. It is making a colossal mistake of historic proportions to choose to ignore the real issues here and prefer to lie about the true political orientation of Batay Ouvriye. The facts and truth are more powerful than pathological lies. Contrary to the false assumptions Haiti Progres wish the readers of this site to swallow, Batay Ouvriye has absolutely no relationship with the NED or the State Department of the United States. Batay Ouvriye has nothing to do with any imperialist-sponsored “democracy promotion” programs in Haiti. It further has nothing to do with the coup d’etat against Aristide. On the contrary, it denounced the fact that Aristide himself together with the opposition to his autocratic rule called on the imperialists to intervene in Haiti toward the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004. He was the one who had set the precedent in 1994-1995 for imperialists to come as they please and occupy the land of Dessalines in total violation of our country’s sovereignty. All Aristide cared about was his freaking power. He was the one who signed UN/OAS resolutions giving those imperialist institutions the right to intervene in Haitian affairs. He and his “hired guns” should therefore stop blaming others just because he was not the beneficiary of the occupation he called for.

Since its inception in 1994, Batay Ouvriye - as all progressives who knew its work in Haiti can attest - had been at the vanguard of workers’ struggles in Haiti. The workers movement took on many international company giants such as Disney, Cointreau (French liquor company), Marnier-Lapostolle (Grand-Marnier Liquor company-French), Victoria Secrets etc. The workers built their movement with their bare hands, teeth and nails for twelve years from 1994 through the present. Not once had Fanmi Lavalas, Haiti Progres, National Popular Party or the International Action Center ever offered any kind of support, financial or otherwise to Batay Ouvriye. The workers movement grew and baked itself in its own lard, so to speak. The movement had solidified itself in many parts of the country despite outrageous efforts on the part of the bourgeois leadership of lavalas to destroy it. Even Haiti Progres, in May 2002, at the time of the lynching of the Guacimal workers, criticized the lavalas government for siding with the big landowners against the workers. Was that a hypocritical cry on the part of Haiti Progres then? The lavalas government was calling the workers who were protesting to defend their rights to their land, “terrorists”.

The lavalas government in 2001 secretly signed an agreement with Hypolito Mejia, the then president of the Dominican Republic, to set up Free Trade Zones in Ouanaminthe on the border with the Dominican Republic. Aristide seized thousands of acres of fertile land from the peasants for this project. The various protests of peasants were to no avail. The lavalas government did not take into account the rights and interests of the peasants in this macabre deal. The peasants never got remunerated for their losses.

A branch of the workers movement, Batay Ouvriye, had established a solid foothold in the area of Ouanaminthe at the time that the Free Trade Zones became operational. Very carefully and subtly, the workers created a Union, known as, SOCOWA, affiliated with the May First Federation-Batay Ouvriye. When management learned of the formation of the Union, they started to harass and intimidate its members. Finally in June 2004, the management of CODEVI sacked 400 workers. Immediately, Batay Ouvriye made a national and international appeal for solidarity. In response to that appeal, the Solidarity Center among other individuals and organizations offered their help. Batay Ouvriye received $3,500 from the Solidarity Center to help out the fired workers. Within the period of time following that, the Solidarity Center, with its presence already in the border region in the Dominican Republic, began talks with Batay Ouvriye about the possibility of opening up a worker center for worker Union education in Ouanaminthe. Batay Ouvriye was the only workers’ movement with a solid foothold in that area. Batay Ouvriye hesitated for a while. However, with the dire situation of the 400 fired workers, the uncertainty of a resolution to the crisis any time soon, in the Free Trade Zone created by management, and the survival of the movement in the area, Batay Ouvriye, after a lot of thinking, analysis of the concrete situation, after considering all the possibilities, decided to proceed with the idea of setting up the center. At that point, the Solidarity Center promised to do some fundraising within the U.S. and internationally by summoning all its contacts for help. At that point, Batay Ouvriye didn’t really care where the Solidarity Center was going to find the support, financial or otherwise.

The AFL-CIO Solidarity Center explained that their concerns had been the negative effect of globalization and delocalization of U.S. companies overseas on American workers. They reasoned that by helping set up projects like a worker center, workers will know their rights and be in a better position to fight for them. In such instances, U.S. companies will have to think twice before leaving the American labor market on a wink. In addition, this would help the American workers maintain their current salary as well as be able to fight for its increase. This is the whole logic behind the money given to Batay Ouvriye by the Solidarity Center to organize this worker center in Ouanaminthe.

Why Batay Ouvriye and not a pro-lavalas bureaucratic bourgeoisie union?
They chose Batay Ouvriye simply because Batay Ouvriye had a strong foothold in the Free Trade Zone, in the area of Ouanaminthe, where the worker center was going to be established. Would it make sense for “CTH” to receive assistance to open up the worker center in Ouanaminthe?

The money Batay Ouvriye received had absolutely nothing to do with criticisms Batay Ouvriye made toward the lavalas bureaucratic bourgeoisie. The reactionary lavalas government deserved those criticisms big time because it was bourgeois, pro-imperialist, and anti-worker. The lavalas government became so autocratic that many members of Fanmi Lavalas began leaving the Party, splitting it into pieces, and asking Aristide to resign. Around January-February 2004, when Aristide was calling on the imperialists to intervene, he was in control of nothing in the country. Therefore, on February 29, 2004, when the U.S. plane transported Aristide out of the country, they actually short-circuited a growing popular movement to take Aristide out. That was a popular movement outside of the control of the group 184. The imperialists panicked at the sight of this eventuality. They weren’t certain they would be able to control that without a massacre that would complicate matters for them. And that was one of the main reasons that they took the ultimate step of taking Aristide out very quickly. They didn’t want to take any risks with that popular movement just like they did when they quickly took Jean-Claude Duvalier out on February 7, 1986. Remember! They saw it coming. At this point, it became clear that they had no need for Aristide, their servant, anymore. Historically, this has been the way U.S. imperialism treat its servants who fall out of favor around the world.

It is unconscionable that Jeb Sprague in his article speaks of a ‘constitutional democracy’ under Aristide. That’s a big laugh. Over the years, Aristide made use of his gangs and the police to get control of every living institution of the country. His autocratic tendencies scared the hell out of his other bourgeois co-conspirators who are equally anti-worker. Repression against independent and combative workers organizations, in particular, Batay Ouvriye, journalists, and other popular organizations not under the control of his gangs was rampant under the reactionary Fanmi Lavalas/Aristide government. There was no rule of law. Aristide and his gangs decided everything. They had power of life and death on the people. How can anyone have the audacity to speak of “constitutional democracy” under this impostor?

In my opinion, in 2000, Aristide didn’t respect even the minimum of the rules of bourgeois democracy in carrying out the elections. Only 5% of the electorate voted because of the insecurity that reined as a result of lavalas gangs’ politically-motivated criminal activities throughout the country. Most of the opposition boycotted the elections. I am not a believer in bourgeois democracy because there is nothing in it for the masses. If Jeb Sprague, Haiti Progres and the International Action Center want to believe in the crumbs of bourgeois democracy, that’s their business. They should not try to force their opportunistic and reactionary beliefs on others. There was absolutely no democracy for workers under Aristide. That was quite clear. I dare the Jeb Sprague, Haiti Progres, Ben Dupuis, and International Action Center gang name one case involving labor conflicts between the workers and the bourgeois bosses where the lavalas government’s labor department favored the workers. Name just one!

What progressives around the world should know is that for the past 50 years, the petty bourgeoisie turned politicians, starting with Francois Duvalier in 1956-1957, once in government, turned state power into a cash mill to accumulate capital leading every time to the creation of a fraction of the bourgeoisie nominally called the bureaucratic bourgeoisie. The populist-opportunist petty bourgeois fraction that rode to power on the backs of the people in 1990 with Aristide as president was no exception to the rule. They failed to deliver the expectations of the masses. They were incompetent to be able to fulfill all the expectations of their masters in the rest of the bourgeoisie and for the imperialists. They were only able to make themselves so filthy rich that the people called them ‘Gran Manje or Big Eaters’. They became the embryonic bureaucratic bourgeoisie using state power to accumulate capital.

We should not forget the Latortue/Boniface government came about as a result of the intervention/occupation called on by Aristide and his opposition brothers and sisters. Aristide was the one who named Boniface as Chief Justice of the Haitian Supreme Court. According to the 1987 Constitution, in the absence of the president of the Republic, the head of the Supreme Court shall assume the role of president. Boniface was an Aristide buddy and a lavalas. The repression under the Latortue/Boniface de facto interim government systematically avoided the gangs but hit the masses hard in the slums. The repression targeted the masses to intimidate them. However, the strategy had been to try to neutralize or co-op the gangs into the general repressive apparatus not under the control of their gang leader, Aristide. Those that resisted got killed. However, as I said, the gangs were not the main target of the U.N./Police repression but the masses.


Why then the attacks against the Workers’ Movement?
The lavalas bureaucratic bourgeoisie just like the other fractions of the Haitian bourgeoisie and imperialism are afraid of the workers’ real mobilization and organization. It is classical class struggle. It is natural that those who stand to benefit financially from the crumbs of the bureaucratic bourgeoisie in the hope of making millions some day too should target the workers now. They have to do everything in their power to stop the growth of the workers’ movement. They know the workers’ movement will stand in their way sooner or later. They have to use continued provocations against it on a daily basis. This is a form of ideological and political repression against the workers by these stool-pigeons. As hard-headed and die-hard opportunists and reactionaries, Haiti Progres, Jeb Sprague, Ben Dupuis are using the Solidarity Center support of the May First Federation-Batay Ouvriye as an opportunity to concoct silly stories and pathological lies to attack the Workers’ Movement. They wish to erase twelve years of dynamic, harsh and heroic struggles of the Haitian Working-Class. At the same time, they are hard at work in the attempt to whitewash the horrible crimes, intimidation and repression of the reactionary lavalas government against the workers. History has already classified them as enemies of the Haitian Working-Class and the Working-Class around the world.

It is clear to me that a durable solution to Haiti’s structural crisis is in the hands of the Haitian Working-Class, and no one else.

PS: Mario Pierre is not a representative of Batay Ouvriye but a solidarity supporter of the Haitian Workers’ Movement, Batay Ouvriye.

author by Andrewpublication date Thu Oct 05, 2006 17:35Report this post to the editors

Jeff on 20th September you claimed to have a recording that would prove your claims and also on 20th September among other requests I wrote "If you really have audio interviews for instance why not make an mp3 file of them and upload them to radio.indymedia.org and then post the url here. Failure to do so will leave me to conclude that you have no evidence."

It is now October the 5th and you have yet to post this evidence - you have however continued to use sock puppets to repeat the same claims again and again and in doing so ignored the very long and detailed responses posted by others. This combination of the disruptive methods you are using here, your failure to produce audio evidence you claimed 15 days ago to have in you posession and your inability to respond to the responses made to you are leading me to wonder just who's payroll you might be on. 'Bad' jacketing was a well know COINTELPRO methodology and you are engaged in a version of that here.

author by Chepublication date Mon Dec 25, 2006 21:56Report this post to the editors

"Jeb Sprague’s erroneous perception of US imperialist domination on Haiti made him blind to the fact that the Lavalas régime under Aristide, Préval and Aristide was completely submitted to US imperialism. The latest neo-liberal plan was accepted and signed by Aristide since 1993, while he was in exile."

Sprague’s Fallacies and Haiti Progrès’ Dirty Campaign against Batay Ouvriye
http://www.grassrootshaiti.org/Feedback/CabralSprague.html

CLARIFICATION
http://www.batayouvriye.org/English/Positions1/clarificationithp.html

On Sprague’s Alleged “Smoking Gun”
http://www.batayouvriye.org/English/Positions1/smokinggun.html

Batay Ouvriye, Haiti Progres, Jeb Sprague and the War Against Haitian Workers
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/01/03/17937131.php

Letter to the Editor re: Death Threats against Lancet's Haiti Human Rights Investigator
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=11063

author by Michael Deibertpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 03:24author email michaeldeibert at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

I find the whole Batay Ouvriye funding controversy interesting I think
discussing what groups are receiving money from which sources is a legitimate
line of questioning to take, but I have also always found it odd that, as one
of Haiti's most militant and effective labor unions, Batay Ouvriye would be
vilified (without any apparent irony) for receiving money from the AFL-CIO's
American Center for International Labor Solidarity by relatively well-off
foreigners living in the safety of North America. Batay Ouvriye's years of
steady and courageous organizing against exploitative labor practices in Haiti
(at great, sometimes fatal, physical risk to its members), meanwhile, go
unlauded. Should Rene Preval's government likewise be attacked because it
accepts aid from the United States? From Venezuela?
> From Cuba? Should North American activists lecture Preval - as they survey
the desperation of Haiti - that he is "on the payroll?" I think Haiti needs
help from anywhere it can get it, at this point. The suffering is simply too
great for some sort of ideological litmus test.

The whole discussion reminds one that Haiti is hardly unique in the issues that
it raises: The use of poor countries as political footballs by larger ones, the
corrupting influence of power and money on politicians, the threat posed to
fragile nascent democracies by the drug trade (and by the unacknowledged role
of drug-consuming countries such as the United States), and the failure of
various right-and-left wing political currents in so-called "developed" nations
in North America and Europe to see beyond their own narrow, political goals to
honestly and altruistically address the needs the developing world in a
clear-headed, post-ideological way. To borrow a recent turn of phrase from
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (currently embroiled in his
own controversies), this whole debate appears to be riddled with hypocrisy and
cynicism.

Like the attacks on Batay Ouvriye, look at the steady assault against the
Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH, previously known as
NCHR-Haiti). RNDDH is attacked for advocating for justice for the victims of
the killings in Saint Marc (who apparently don't deserve justice on the grounds
that there was more than one group fighting in the town during February 2004),
and for receiving C$100,000 (US$85,382) from the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA) in 2004. Never referred to is RNDDH's strenuous May
2004 protests against the arbitrary and illegal arrest of the former Fanmi
Lavalas Mayor of Delmas, Dr. Jean Maxon Guerrier, or its statement that the
August 2004 not-guilty verdict in the Louis-Jodel Chamblain case was "a mockery
of a trial," or its protests against the warrantless October 2004 arrests of
then-Lavalas leaders Yvon Feuille, Gerald Gilles, and Rudy Hériveaux.

But turn the microscope another way, to face the Institute for Justice and
Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), for example, and this chorus of criticism of links
and sub-links suddenly falls mute. My old acquaintance Brian Concannon ably
leads the IJDH as its public face, but how far can the organization's links
from Haiti's former government be when, in the IJDH's own annual report, this
organization ostensibly headquartered in Oregon, where Mr. Concannon resides,
directs donations to be sent to P.O. Box 806, Key Biscayne, Florida, 33149,
where Jean-Bertrand Aristide's personal attorney (so identified in a March 2004
press release from the office of U.S. Representative Maxine Waters) Ira Kurzban
resides? In the IJDH's own annual report, Kurzban is listed as one of its main
donors, as well as "one of the founders" and "a member of the Board of
Directors" in a March 2005 letter to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
head Santiago A. Canton.

If the IJDH or its affiliated organization, the Bureau des Avocats
Internationaux (BAI), have ever criticized Mr. Aristide or the Fanmi Lavalas
party for any violence they have been responsible for, or called for justice on
behalf of the many victims among the regime's opponents in any statement, I
have never read it, and indeed, why should they? According to the Foreign Agent
Registration Act (FARA) filings on record with the U.S. Department of Justice,
between 2001 and 2004, Mr. Kurzban's law firm - Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger &
Tetzel - received some $4,648,964 from the Aristide government on behalf of its
lobbying efforts alone, chunks of which were then distributed to various other
individuals and outfits in the United States, including Mr. Concannon,
University of Miami Law School Center for the Study of Human Rights director
Irwin Stotzky (who received almost $9,000 from the firm in 3 separate payments
between 2001 and 2002 and was instrumental in preparing that body's 2004 human
rights report on Haiti) and even Mildred Aristide's brother, Erickson
Trouillot. This is all a matter of public record easily checkable by anyone who
wants to do so, as is the $989,323 that the public relations firm of former
U.S. congressmen and head of the Congressional Black Caucus (and current
Oakland mayor) Ron Dellums received between 2001-2004. Mr. Kurrzban has said in
the past that this money was almost exclusively to help prosecute human rights
abuses that occurred during Haiti's 1991-1994 military regime and not for
lobbying activities, but, if one goes by the statements on the law firm's own
filings with the Department of Justice (where it lists its activities as "wrote
an Op-Ed that was published in the Miami Herald" and "appeared on a local radio
show," for example) this is simply not the case.

All of this, of course, is perfectly legal, but would a lawyer ever come out
and publicly condemn his most lucrative client for that client's involvement in
wrong-doing or, what's more, allow his employees to do so? Sorry, but looking
at our own examples in corporate America, I think not. I also think that, when
examining the public statements of these groups over the years, though none of
them exactly reflect my own analysis of Haiti, it is relatively easy to see
which of them - Batay Ouvriye, RNDDH, IJDH, the University of Miami Law School
- have taken the most strident and unyieldingly partisan stands.

Alas, much like other tumultuous countries that pop up on the world radar from
time to time, Haiti is also a place, it seems, to paraphrase George Packer's
assessment of Iraq, where it is always possible to prove that you've been right
all along. Virtually anyone can suddenly become an expert or an activist on the
subject without first educating themselves on some of the basic facts about the
country, where journalists, academics or filmmakers, after one or two trips
there and never having bothered to learn the language or understand the
culture, can then produce books or films claiming to be the final word on the
political and social development of an entire nation, rather ironic given
Haiti's own rich intellectual tradition of analysis, oral and written, which
they could learn a lot from if they took the time.

Haiti, in my experience, is anything but black-and-white, and so, while such
extremely polarized views may play well in front of crowds in North America,
they do precious little to shed light on or ameliorate the situation of Haiti's
long-suffering people who, it must be said, have been failed equally by the
narrow self-interest and opportunism of both the international community and
their own political leaders.

author by Macho Philipovich - Canada Haiti Action Networkpublication date Fri Mar 07, 2008 20:19Report this post to the editors

I am as anarchist as the next guy, but it should probably be noted here that Batay Ouvriye are on the payroll of the US State Department and Orwellianly named "National Endowment for Democracy" (NED)[1], though they initially denied this. They joined the scores of Haitian "NGOs" funded by imperialist countries to oppose the Lavalas party in the early 00's, a party who are massively popular with the country's poor, as evidenced by the 92% of the vote Aristide received in 2000. He was removed by a US-led, Canada-backed coup in 2004. The US carried out their first coup against him in 1991.

It's true that the current president, also overwhelmingly elected by Haiti's poor to the consternation of the imperialist powers, who is criticized here by Batay, is not doing a great job for his constituency, but it should send off major warning signals that Batay do not waste much breath criticizing the real violators of Haiti's poor: the US, Canada, France, MINUSTAH (the UN "peacekeeping" mission, i.e. occuping force, in Haiti that carries out regular deadly raids in the poor slums), the Haitian elite (who Batay are linked to), and the international lending institutions. It's these actors that have president Préval in a stranglehold, preventing him from carrying out the reforms that are so desperately needed.

Just thought I'd give you a heads up. Peter Hallward's new book on Haiti[2] is highly recommended and has a brief section on Batay.

Notes

1. http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=55&ItemID=11093
2. http://www.versobooks.com/books/ghij/h-titles/hallward_p_haiti.shtml

author by Jan Makandalpublication date Tue Mar 11, 2008 01:25Report this post to the editors

I am not an anarchist and nor is Batay Ouvriye, the organization that I support. I do agree with a lot of points of anarchism and I do think there is a possibility of cooperation based on the spirit of Unity Struggle Unity. But these attacks on Batay Ouvriye are irresponsible, baseless, and are, objectively, acts of provocation. I think Batay Ouvriye has proven, thru its political practices and positions, its political objectives as a workers’ movement in a social formation dominated by and dependent on imperialism.
Unlike Lavalas, Batay Ouvriye has never declared its love for these reactionary dominant classes nor nominated them in a committee to rebuild the economy of Haiti, In fact Batay ouvriye has always put them in the enemy’s camp and considers the Haitian dominant classes as the fundamental cause of Haiti’s structural crisis, along with imperialism. Besides, on a daily basis, Batay Ouvriye, on the ground, is confronting them in their constant work of organizing the Haitian workers.
The Haitian state apparatus in which the Haitian army, now the National Police forces trained by imperialism and the occupying forces, are defending bourgeois democracy by keeping the Haitian masses disorganized and by maintaining a constant state of terror. But not once did Batay Ouvriye support the training of the new police force by ICITAP, not once did Batay Ouvriye support the reintegration of old military in the new National Police forces. In fact the new Haitian police forces, even when some of it members were hand picked by Lavalas, were always considered THE ENEMY OF THE MASSES. They were always the gatekeepers of the dictatorship of the dominant classes on the popular masses.
The genuine progressive movement and proletarian Haitian movement denounced Aristide when he declared on his inauguration that he was also marrying the Haitian military. That is the same Haitian military that any one who has their head on their shoulders, knows clearly has a tradition of organizing Coup d’Etats in the interest the dominant classes and their boss, Imperialism. To denounce Batay Ouvriye and at the same time support Aristide and Lavalas who were the real sycophants of imperialism is to raise the ANTI IMPERIALIST FLAG IN ORDER TO BETTER SUPPORT IMPERIALISM AND ITS POLICY.
Batay Ouvriye never took funding from the NED. It has clarified this on many occasions. Batay Ouvriye took support from the AFL-CIO Labor Center. And Batay Ouvriye clearly points out it will take funding from anyone as long as it does not affect its political stand and political practices. It costs a Haitian worker approximately 80 Gourdes to cover a round trip to go to work and a meager lunch while the minimum wage is 70 Gourdes a day, a minimum wage that most of the time is not even respected because of quotas. The struggle to increase the minimum wage is a just cause.
Now, it is necessary to be clear on your position on what was the problematic theme in the Batay Ouvriye leaflet that prompted such provocative attacks besides your desire to denigrate a combative workers organization.
The minimum wage is the role of the government and the legislative body to pass the law regarding either an adjustment or a hike. The popular masses, as rightly pointed, took the streets to elect Aristide in 1991 and Preval in 2006. They took the streets and forced their will on the reactionary forces on both occasions. It is the duty of the Lavalas regimes to answer to their demands, to the needs of the ones who voted for them. The popular masses did not vote for them to accommodate the bourgeoisie, to declare love to them. The bourgeoisie did not give a mandate to the Lavalas regime, THE POPULAR MASSES DID. The popular masses gave them a mandate and the only thing they have done is to accommodate the people who were against them. The progressive forces, working class organization and revolutionary organization need to expose them and denounce Lavalas as demagogues and lackeys of imperialism and the dominant classes. As Preval stated, he couldn’t produce a miracle then why he took the office.
Again your accusations of Batay Ouvriye is the manifestation and desire to support a bankrupt political line that can’t offer any alternative to the structural crisis facing the Haitian social formation. I do agree with BO in this analysis: “the contradiction between Lavalas and the Opposition are secondary contradictions, both of them are anti-popular and anti-national”.
You claim Batay ouvriye is linked to the Haitian elite and the international lending institutions. That is completely false and a bold lie. There is a need for genuine struggle between progressive and revolutionaries in order to pursue and achieve a higher degree of unity to defeat our enemy at all levels. You baseless attacks totally deprive us of a fertile ground in order to pursue this struggle and have better coordination in the fight against our enemy. That why they are an act of provocation and should be dealt as such. But even if they are provocations, the best way to defeat agent provocateurs is to maintain the debate in a level that will never stoop low and build political unity thru struggle with other forces without falling into opportunism. Build unity by demarking ourselves. Let’s put the record on the table. Batay Ouvriye has fought Disney for their unfair labor practices in Haiti. Batay Ouvriye stood firm against Cointreau and Hanes. Batay Ouvriye is in the Free Trade Zone against Groupo M and with their struggle, the workers were able to sign a collective bargaining with the bosses and are in a daily battle with these bloodsucking bosses to respect it.
BO is organizing for an adjustment and an increase of the minimum wage and also for the government to lower the cost of living. This type of struggle is antagonistic to the interests of the dominant classes. BO denounces HOPE and HOPE 2 that yellow service unions are supporting. Where is the linkage to elite and the international lending institutions? The political line of Lavalas, elaborated in the manifest of Fanmy Lavalas, is a bourgeois plan that even demanded that wages should be determined by the demands of the market, a basic principle of neo-liberal policy.
Lavalas orchestrated the last 2 occupations even if they weren’t favor in the last one. Some old guard Duvalierists participated in different Lavalas governments, and some parasite elements served the Duvalier as well as Aristide. Lesly Delatour, a proponent of an aggressive form of neo-liberal policy, was hand picked by Aristide after progressive students denounced him. So what is wrong with that picture? Who is really linked to imperialism and the dominant classes?
There is a political difference between popular and popularity. No one will deny the popularity of Aristide. The reason was simple, in the 1990 he took some positions that really built his popularity, He denounced imperialism, he celebrated Charlemagne Peralte and Benoit Battraville. As soon he became president. He sent a letter of intent to the IMF and the World Bank. He quickly dropped the forefathers in the anti imperialist struggle.
To be popular, in the interest of the popular masses, is when we are articulating a theory and we are engaged in a struggle where the interest of the popular masses is at the forefront, especially the workers and laborers, as the main popular forces in a society mainly dominated by capitalism and feudalism. The struggle to increase the minimum wage is a popular struggle; the struggle to fight feudalistic social relations is a popular struggle. The struggle to destroy capitalism and feudalism are not only popular but revolutionary struggles.
In essence popularity has nothing to do with popular; to think contrary would be a populist approach of interpreting popular. Because the popular masses participate in a struggle it doesn’t make it popular automatically. The support of American workers to the Vietnam War did not make imperialist aggression popular. The support of a vast majority of the German masses to the Third Reich did not make fascism popular. The American masses participated in electing Bill Clinton. That did not make NAFTA, the bombing of a factory in Somalia, or the Patriot Act popular. To represent so would be a total misunderstanding of a fundamental question CLASS STRUGGLE and the battle for political power.
Participating in an electoral process, totally controlled by the bourgeoisie and imperialism, even if the choice of the masses is elected, doesn’t make that process popular in essence. The popular masses, even the working class, can adopt political positions under the leadership of the bourgeoisie that are not in their interest. The support of the masses in Haiti for the return of Aristide was not a popular stand. In fact, it was a reactionary position taken under the leadership of the anti-popular and anti-national forces in Haiti. It is the responsibility of the progressive, autonomous workers movement and revolutionary forces to be among the masses and struggle to break the influence of bourgeois politics, and the demagoguery of bourgeois democracy on the masses.
BO is the main workers’ movement in Haiti that has been very combative in the struggle against exploitation and domination. Inside their factories, bosses have called the National Police and organized repression against the organizing work of Batay Ouvriye, such as in Guacimal. In fact, the organizing work of BO on the ground is exposing on a daily basis the demagoguery of bourgeois democracy in the interest of the atrocities committed on their way to accumulating capital. Anyone who thinks that just the act of voting in itself is democracy is about 200 years behind the advancement of history.
These attacks also show clearly the limited knowledge of our provocateur. At least, if you choose to be an agent provocateur, be a good one. Do a good job. Go on the BO site, go to Haiti and see the synthesis of BO’s political practices on the ground. At least recognize that BO has constantly denounced, rejected and exposed the dominant classes and is actively building organizations to better engage in the struggle against them as a fundamental enemy. BO has used an adage that will enlighten you and also expose your lies. The contradiction of labor and capital is like Milk and LEMON.
BO also has been consistent in the struggle against the occupation. In fact a BO delegate participated in many activities in Latin America, mainly in the countries that have their troops in Haiti. Our struggle against imperialism is being waged in the free trade zone, conceded by Aristide, in the industrial park, against occupation legitimized by Aristide, continued by the de-facto regime, and reinforced by Preval.
You are barking at the wrong tree. The supporters of imperialism and imperialism policies are within your midst. Please, clean house first and then we will debate how we should wage a struggle for the minimum wage hike, against the high cost of living, and against occupation and really against the dominant classes and imperialism. To ask for the return of Aristide is equal to a prolongation of the occupation. By the way, Preval, Aristide’s Lackey, is doing quite a good job already in maintaining the occupation.
Preval made his choice to be a lackey. No one is preventing him from implementing reforms. Well, if he is incapable, he should know what to do. The masses that voted for him need an answer now. Even if he answers, as the masses become more conscious and better organized, the more should be asked of the reactionary politicians, till we are ready to take over.

author by above poster is confusedpublication date Tue Jul 28, 2009 05:29Report this post to the editors

The above poster seems very confused. Lavalas is not sided with the elites, it is the main movement being targeted and killed in the thousands by the elites. Batay Ouvriye did not get shut down, run out of the country or killed by the Latrotue regime. It has been Lavalas that has been kept out of the elections, thrown in jail, murdered in massive numbers, blockaded into the slums, etc. In a way it is RIDICULOUS to even discuss the two on an equal level. BO is made up of a few hundred people (& heavily funded by foreign govt agencies), Lavalas is in the hundreds of thousands with many more sympathizers. BO earlier last year acknolwedged that it received money from NED. They finally acknowledge the truth, after years of their members and people on this forum making all sorts of insults on researchers and scholars (Ives, Hallward, Sprague, etc) uncovering their funding trail.

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