On the payroll? Debate on the accusations to Batay Ouvriyé
central america / caribbean |
the left |
Wednesday January 11, 2006 04:32 by Paddy Rua - WSM
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
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