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Ayiti: occupation or freedom?

category central america / caribbean | imperialism / war | opinion / analysis author Wednesday February 14, 2007 09:16author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D. Report this post to the editors

Aba lenperyalis! Viv larevolisyon!

The following, is an abridged version of the article in Spanish "Ayití, entre la liberación y la ocupación"
Full references and a longer discussion of the main ideas of this article can be found there.
The peacekeepers in action...
The peacekeepers in action...


Haiti makes it to the news only when there’s turmoil or a disaster. But for most of the year, the silent drama of the poorest country of the Western hemisphere is conveniently ignored by the world. Last year, on the 13th of February, Haiti made it to the news as the masses took to the streets to denounce electoral fraud and defend the most popular candidate in an election with over 50 presidential candidates that were nothing but a bunch of makouts[1] and businessmen devoid of any political proposal. This candidate was René García Préval, former prime minister of Aristide (1990) and former president (1995-2000). He was seen by the masses as a figure they associated with the populist Aristide, up to this day the most popular Haitian politician.

Usually, elections in Haiti are seen at best with indifference by most of the population. What was special about this particular elections is the context in which Haiti is now: since the coup orchestrated by the CIA and approved by France in 2004, that resulted in a bloodshed at hands of the former makouts, armed and trained in the Dominican Republic by their yankee master, and the kidnapping of Aristide, Haiti has been under foreign military occupation, first by Canada, USA, France and Chile, and since June 2004, by the MINUSTAH, a UN mission of blue helmets. This occupation has been continuously denounced for various reasons:

- Though supposedly a peace-keeping mission, some 10,000 people have been killed since their deployment and 35,000 women have been raped. Not only they have failed to provide security to the population from the right-wing paramilitaries (makouts) but they have taken an active part in the political elimination of prominent militants from groups opposed to the government installed by the coup or loyal to Aristide. There have been widely-reported punitive actions against whole neighbourhoods like the recent massacre in Sité Soley on the 22nd of December when nearly 40 people were massacred.

- The composition of the mission consists of armies that have an appalling human rights record, such as Jordan, Nepal, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Pakistan, etc. So the above-mentioned participation in massacres and rapes should not surprise anyone really. Even a former agent of Pinochet’s political police (CNI) got to be, for a brief period, head of the MINUSTAH armed forces.

- Any occupation is an obnoxious presence in one’s country. But it is all too clear in this case that what MINUSTAH is about is being an armed wing of the Haitian bourgeoisie and of their imperialist masters in the absence of a local army (let us remember that back in 1995 Aristide dissolved the army for its role as coup-mongers). This is a very worrying sign, because it has set a precedent for the first time of Latin American countries invading another one, demonstrating a new modus operandi of imperialism in the region by actively mobilizing its allies in the region when unable to cope with a new military pressure, since the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. But as well, the occupation is showing the changes in the balance of world power, with the decline of the absolute hegemony of the US and the ascendance of new regional powers: Brazil, in the Latin American case (they want to show through this occupation their credentials to gain a permanent seat on the UN’s Security Council). I would say certainly that we are in the presence of an act of sub-imperialism taken to a parody with the meeting in Lima on the 12th of February, where the Latin American governments with troops in Haiti met to discuss Haiti with the same arrogance as the US would regarding the Middle East.

So when the people came out to protest last February it was not just a simple electoral affair: they wanted to denounce the occupation and the oppressive de facto government. They saw an alternative in Preval and they saw this vote as a protest. They put him in power with a clear mandate: an end to the occupation and a change in social policies to meet the needs of the vast majority of the population, that live in abject poverty.


However, since Preval took office in May last year, he has consistently disappointed bitterly everyone who had any hope in him. Basically, he has not challenged the occupation, the most sensitive issue for Haitian people and, not happy with that, after his electoral victory was admitted by a still-wary bourgeoisie he toured Brazil, Argentina and Chile congratulating the rulers from those countries for the “splendid” work MINUSTAH has done as a putschist army in Haiti (I wonder if the girls raped by the blue helmets interviewed recently by the BBC would agree). He has not even criticised the notorious abuses and excesses of MINUSTAH, let alone demand respect for the self-determination of the Haitians. Instead, he has loudly asked for the troops to remain. Furthermore, after releasing a handful of high profile political prisoners, Preval has kept the bulk of them (around 1,000) still rotting in Port-au-Prince dungeons. Despite the numerous protests of the Haitian people and the numerous abuses and massacres they have been subjected to at the hands of the occupation forces, they seem to have come to stay for a while...

But Preval has been as subservient of the occupation forces as of the capitalist class. Haiti has traditionally had a peasant economy; notwithstanding that, the politics of the last 30 years have increasingly deteriorated the peasant economy and have produced a massive exodus from the countryside to the slums in the big cities, where the population dwells in inhuman conditions, starving and living with unemployment. Many factors contribute to this: first, the fact that the Haitian State has long relied on heavy export tariffs, that are usually passed on from the merchant and the middle-men to the peasant. Secondly, since the adjustment measures pushed by the IMF and implemented during the first Preval government, tariffs for imports have decreased to a ludicrous level (3% for rice), ruining the local peasants that have to compete with subsidised farmers in the US. As a result, dependence on foreign food imports has increased and so has hunger. Also, the lack of electricity makes around 70% of the population dependent on charcoal and this is a major factor in erosion. But above all, the concentration of land into the hands of a few has destroyed the old peasant economy, has left numerous acres of land idle and is a major cause for the lack of incentive for the peasant. Yet, not a single word from the government about Agrarian reform, not a single policy to effectively address this major issues that are plunging the majority into desperation.

With the exodus to the big cities, the number of unemployed has been on steady rise. It is among this milieu that numerous local and foreign sweatshops do fabulous business by exploiting Haitian labour for U$ 1.85 a day, with no safety conditions and in extenuating long hours. This has not created any kind of Caribbean Taiwan as was promised back in the '70s, and nor has it solved the problem of unemployment. All this fake development has done is to increase the dependency and vulnerability of Haiti’s economy and bring wages and conditions to the ground. Sweatshop workers in the Free Trade Zone of Ouanaminthe, near the Dominican border, were brutalised for attempting to unionise and were, at some point, forced to work at gunpoint during 2004. However, we saw the government of Preval all excited about the HOPE Act approved by the US parliament in December, that allows some Haitian products (mainly from the textiles industry) to enter the US market with little or no tariff. Great news for the bourgeoisie. As for the workers, we don’t expect it to improve their lives even a bit. The government insists that it will create new jobs; but it has been proved that this kind of investment not only fails to create jobs, but depresses the general conditions of life. As well, this is an all too hypocritical line of argument, considering the efforts of Preval to further shrink the public sector and his reluctance to deal with the peasant crisis.


Often the news about Haiti is deliberately distorted in order to conceal the true nature of the exploitation and oppression underlying the crisis. The problem of “insecurity” has grabbed most people’s attention over the last couple of years. No one talks any more about poverty and exclusion. The biggest sole problem in Haiti seems to be insecurity. And insecurity can “only” be fought efficiently with an iron fist.

We denounce all this hype around insecurity to be politically motivated. To be honest, there were over 30 kidnappings in January. That is a lot, no doubt. But this problem completely pales in the face of the bigger issues of Haitian society. While everyone talks of the “bandits”, no one talks about real unemployment bordering 80%, no one talks about the non-existent social services, about infant mortality. Haiti is a society full of misery and deprivation, in which conditions of life are just desperate. Criminality is only the expression of those factors and, naturally, it is a problem felt mainly by the tiny privileged classes of Haiti, who really don’t mind if the poor starve, as long as they don’t come to rob in their neighbourhoods. But faithful to his bourgeois politics, Preval gives the rich a wink and promises them a heavy hand in solving their insecurity headache, while neglecting the problems that affect the vast majority of the population – that are the source of criminality in the first place.

Unable to understand society beyond repression and the “respect for order” (that is to say, the rich will remain rich, you starve but we want to see you smiling), their answer is purely military and the recent incursions of MINUSTAH in some popular neighbourhoods prove his contempt for the popular masses who put him into power and his willingness to serve the interests of the tiny oligarchy. He seems quite ready to fill the already overcrowded jails with more of them “bleeding bandits”, so the rich are not disturbed in their privileged lifestyle, like an island in an ocean of misery.

But not only has the discourse of insecurity proved useful to distract attention from the most pressing needs of the Haitian people: it has also been useful as a way to veil naked repression. Not surprisingly, though crime is well known to exist in all of Haitian society (having quite a prominence as an extra-job of the police force), the only neighbourhoods that seem to be systematically targeted by the anti-crime efforts, are those who are in opposition to the occupation or loyal to Aristide. “Gangs” and “bandits” are terms of abuse that could well be synonymous of “opposition” today. Whenever they want to get a popular militant into jail, they just blame him or her of gangsterism and voilà, they can shoot to kill or lock them up and throw away the key. Certainly the phenomenon of political gangs does exist, but it is completely understandable in the face of the level of violence in that society, in the face of the military occupation and because of the lack of a tradition of a consistent political organisation. Still, it is absolutely misleading to treat all opposition as gangsterism (thus dismissing the legitimacy of resistance) and not to distinguish between the political gangs and the non-political (many of which have been formed by Haitian criminals deported from the US).

As well, there’s an absolute double standard when it comes to the discourse of insecurity: insecurity is not poor Haitian kids in the slums of Port-au-Prince being shot by MINUSTAH in the dead of the night; it is not popular organisers being targeted by the makout death squads such as the Lamé Ti Manchet. Insecurity, in their dictionary, means rich or middle-class kids getting kidnapped and that’s it. Worst of all is that behind the discourse of “insecurity”, all the nostalgic makouts of duvalierism are gathering behind the lead of prominent thug Youri Latortue (nephew of the Latortue, prime minister during the dictatorship of 2004-2006) to demand the reform of the army. They are gathering momentum and they are looking forward to re-establishing the pre-1986 status quo. Preval, by deeds and words (as well as by his silence) has proved to be in the nauseating trench of imperialism and capitalism.


Some say that, given the precedent of the 1990 coup that toppled Aristide, Preval is being cautious and doesn’t want to confront openly the dominant block. But Preval cannot be excused. He has not just been cautious: he has obediently and enthusiastically applied the politics of his predecessor. He consciously chose the worst political option ahead of him in the particularly complex political circumstances he faced when elected: being at the centre of the tensions between a bourgeoisie that mistrusted him, with an occupation force that has the last say and with a popular movement pressing for demands of its own as well. Limited as his margin for options was, he did have options but he chose the most reactionary path possible. Right now, he is just the “democratic” and “popular” facade of the occupation and the capitalist plunder of Haiti.

But no matter how wrong the positions taken by Preval are, we feel it would be too simplistic to understand his turns as a mere act of treason. The current situation unequivocally expresses a much deeper crisis: first, of the form of capitalism in Haiti, one of the most unproductive and parasitical we can think of (heavily reliant on cash crops and cheap labour, with no significant production and where every item has to be imported), that has produced an absolutely deformed State that acts as a machine to enrich the parasitical classes of society. Actually, in a country with such a limited internal market, politics have been in many cases the only possible job for the middle and rich sectors of Haitian society. This has been done historically through the indirect taxation of the peasants and more recently through the provision of cheap labour (in the Free Trade Zones) and through open corruption. This last way of getting rich through politics has been exacerbated by the collapse of the precarious and dependant Haitian productive structure. This is too obvious when we see that money laundering, drug trafficking and humanitarian aid play much a bigger role than any productive activity.

Secondly, Haiti has proved the limits of its reformist experience: reformism requires a public sector of economy in order to carry on projects in education, health, etc., that tend to increase standards of life in third world countries. But in Haiti, the room for reformism is extremely limited, almost non-existent. Everything has been privatised, the economy has collapsed and since the adjustment agreed as a condition for Aristide’s return in 1994 (that made Haiti one of the most open economies in the world) there are no conditions necessary for the accumulation of capital to invest in public services. 80% of public services in Haiti are provided by international charity and 65% of this year's budget came from international donors. The State is nothing but a hollow shell to pay foreign debt and get the politicians brand-new cars (not even can fulfil its repressive role, having to rely on international occupation!). It is as hollow as Preval’s promises of more schools.

In the face of such a grim scenario, some reactionaries want Haiti to be declared a failed state so it can openly become a US or UN protectorate: they are right in one thing only, that the political, economic and social model developed in Haiti for most of its republican life has proved completely failed. But this is no failure of the Haitian people. Neither is it a failure of the slaves of 1791 or of their offspring. This is the failure of the tiny but powerful block of the Haitian ruling classes and their imperialist patrons in Washington and Paris. So, we strongly reject any such proposal by the reactionaries, who are afraid above all of the popular masses taking power into their own hands: the solution to the failure of the Haitian State and economic model can only be solved through revolutionary means, by the popular masses stepping decisively onto the scene. There has long been an absolute dislocation between the State and the institutions of the people themselves[2]. Well, then it is these people, from the grassroots, from the bottom up, that need to surprise the world once again with their creative capacity to break away from the old order and build a new one: capitalism can’t be reformed, it needs to be buried under the foundations of socialism. The State has to succumb to institutions better suited to the very nature of the Haitians, which can empower the poor, the workers and peasants, the bulk of society, and decentralise the country. The answer to how these institutions might work can be found in the vast organisational networking and experience of the Haitian toiling classes.

Haiti is a prime example of a country completely ruined by imperialist interventions, by the rapacity of its dominant class and by fake aid. We see no way out other than a radical break away from this order. Difficult it might be, extremely difficult for sure, as difficult as it was to abolish slavery in the late XVIII Century, but to reform the present system is just impossible. Despite everything, the Haitians will sooner than later master their own destiny.

José Antonio Gutiérrez Danton

February 13th, 2007.

[1] Name given to a supporter of the former dictator Duvalier, who created a political police called Tontons macoutes back in the late 50s early 60s that spread terror until the fall of his son in 1986. Up to this day, the former makouts act as right wing paramilitaries.

[2] Michel-Rolph Trouillot wrote a famous book eloquently called “Haiti, State against Nation”.

Revolution is the Solution (photo from 1986)
Revolution is the Solution (photo from 1986)

author by Jean-picpublication date Thu Feb 15, 2007 04:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The people of Haiti only voted for Preval because they thought he would facilitate the return of Aristide which he used to his advantage not because they had hope that he would improve their lives as he is incapable. Preval was incompetent in his first term in office and had it not been for jean-Bertrand Aristide he would have never been elected in the first place. Now it seems the only way Preval can remain in power is to use the U.N. to slaughter the people of Haiti and hoping to silence them. The only solution is for Preval to be removed along with his U.N. rapists and murderers and the revolution is the only way. The day is coming when Haiti will be free of western influence. Long live Toussaint L'ouverture
Long live Jean-jacques Dessalines
Long live Henri Christophe
Long live Francois Duvalier
Jean-Bertrand Aristide will return

author by Marie Nadinepublication date Thu Feb 15, 2007 15:30author email maroonrrebel at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Preval is a loser who hates the poor downtrodden Haitians who are most victimized by the UN occupation. I don't know what his problem is. He has the same disease of self hatred that Latortue and the other post modern Noirist in power have. They hate the downtrodden, wretched Haitians whom they feel ashamed and angry at. These folks see the wretched as a symbol of their slave past and their African heritage and that is not to their liking at all. In addition, they continue to abuse and use the downpress and their cultural outputs and/or production and their labor to justify their position in the kkkapitalist market. As the author points out this is part of the imperialist agenda to denounce, demonize and vilify the oppress and consequently enslave them.
I cannot believe Preval's recent stance against the war on drugs especially since this will only affect the majority poor street peddlers and not the big dealers like Latortue's nephew and perhaps Preval's drinking buddies. Moreover. I am incenssed about the fact that so many are still lokkked up in deadly Haitian cages that are not fit for beasts. Where's the justice?

Jean, is Aristide's return THE answer? As I recalled, he applauded the UN mission and praised the kkkoon Anan.

The struggle continues...and one day soon we will be free.

author by Marie Nadinepublication date Fri Feb 16, 2007 08:52author email maroonrrebel at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sak Pase again:

I wanted to write also that at times in our quest for equality speciifically in the socialist movement we forget that we are not all oppressed at the same level. For instance, while homosexual white males are discriminated against in society as are non protestant ones they are still more priviledge than white women of any sexual orientation and/or religion. Similarly, in Haiti, there are layers of oppression whereby females particularly the dark skin and poor are at the very bottom. I don't think that it's a coincidence that almost two thirds of the population of Ayiti is young (25 and under) (similar to Iraq) and the powers that be feel inclined to take advantage of that group. These also include females and the mostly single mothers responsible for these youths.

Jean, this brings me directly to the point that I wanted to emphasize regarding your closing statement: Long Live Toussaint....Duvalier! Out of all those who you name not one was female! Do you really believe that Ayiti can get anywhere without the full emancipation of its female and poor? Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso said that no society can progress without the full emanicpation of its female members. Part of that is recognizing our contributions in total. Not just the times we lay low or agree to cook. But also the times when we have tactical suggestions and recommendations on how the revolution is to go on. I believe that there were and are tons of thosre females in Ayiti and itd Diaspora but their voices are silenced.
Also,Toussaint was an overseer and he wasn't a field slave and neither was Dessalines (at least not for long). None of the men you cite would qualify as poor and downtrodden and they are all MEN!. I am so tired at how Mari Jann is overlooked and how female work within the Revolution is constantly minimalized and underappreciated. As well, I am angry at how the contributions of the Haitian Maroon rebels (who escaped to the mountains upon debarking from the slave ships back in the early 16th century. A tradiiton that continued for centuries) is also not written about and ignored especially when it comes to the Revolution. I strongly believe that they helped a GREAT deal.

Finally, how could you write long live Francois Duvalier!? That misguided Noirist who solidified the kkkaste shitstem in Ayiti!?

Best regards to you and thanks again to the author, Jose Antonio Gutierez for bringing truth to the net.

And long live Mari Jann and all other females who continue to slave away and put out and put up with so that the Revolution can continue. And to all of my Maroon rebel ancestors. May their souls rest in peace.

Maroon Rebel.

author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.publication date Tue Feb 20, 2007 20:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think Marie has referred to a number of extremely important issues...

1. The fact that oppression and exploitation do exist hand by hand, but not necessarily match in every situation; and that some people suffer from oppression at different levels. While exploitation derives purely from an economic-social condition (property of the means of production and extraction of surplus), oppression derives as well from cultural and broader social phenomenons.

I'll exemplify it with the case of St. Domingue (pre-revolutionary Haiti, XVIIIth Century): Both mulattoes and blacks suffered from race oppression. Still, a number of free blacks and mulattoes were themselves property owners (and sometimes even slave-owners), therefore, they weren't exploited at all, but were exploiters themselves. Yet, they were a vulnerable group given the colour of their skin, and found themselves in both legal and social disadvantage in comparison to the poorest of the whites. They were consequently oppressed. Certainly, this can be better explained if we understand the class structure of that slave society -pigmentocracy was developed to "morally" justify slavery, and to accept equality of some blacks would jeopardize the whole of the Slave-Colonial system, for you would need to acknowledge at least some humanity in other slaves as well. But the exclusive socio-economic explanation does not explain this matter in all of its depth -culture played a decisive role in consolidating skin oppression.

This is an extremely important point. It means that pre-capitalist oppressions (race, nationality, religion, gender) have been used by capitalism, not because they are inherent to their system, but because in the drive to maximize profit, they are willing to abuse vulnerable segments of society and will stimulate oppression as long as it is useful in that sense.

But it means, as well, that the end of capitalism will not mean, automatically, the end of all sorts of oppression. The need for an active challenge of oppression at any form has to become, therefore, an active element of a truly liberating revolutionary politics. True, in a libertarian socialist society the material foundations that nourish oppression will have objectively disappeared, but the vices from the old regime will persist for a while, because culture is an extremely dynamic process. The cultural aspect of revolution is of paramount importance.

Another aspect, would be that we need to understand in all of its complexity the network of oppression that lay deep in capitalist society and how it works. Oppressed groups, many times, are composed by different classes of society. Let's take, for example, the case of women: women find different levels of discrimination and oppression according to the class to which they belong. Still, in comparison to any man of their own class, they would be in disadvantage. What political implications this simple acknowledgment has? That, while we acknowledge the revolutionary potential of the working class alone to challenge the foundations of capitalist society, we actively should oppose women's oppression, regardless of what woman in particular is being oppressed or discriminated.

Does this mean proposing class-cross politics? Not at all. It only means that no woman should be in disadvantaged for the sole fact of being a woman. The same can be said about any other form of oppression (nationality, race). Coming back to St. Domingue: certainly, we can't feel sympathy for the mulatto or free-black planteurs as a class for their treatment of slaves was not any better than that of the white grand-planteur. But to accept their racial oppression is out of question. In such cases, not forgetting class struggle for a second and its centrality, we cannot forget other types of oppression that are incompatible with a socialist ethics.

To put a brutal example that clarifies my position: if I see a black man being racially abused on the street by a white gang, I'm not going to ask your man what class does he belong to, before trying to help him in whatever way I can. No matter if you are worker or a businessman, no one should abuse you racially. And we should stand up against oppression in any form without compormising our anti-capitalist principles.

This is relevant, because we are not only against the "oppression of the working class women". We acknowledge that working class women have the revolutionary potential and we acknowledge that their condition is ten times worse than any other women; but we are against the oppression of women FULL STOP. And AS WELL as being against the oppression of women, we are for the abolition of the class society and to bring out revolutionary change -this last aspect constitute the foundation of all of our theory, for we recognize that the material and class conditions of life are essential to determine other social relations. But our struggle against capitalist society therefore needs to incorporate more of an ethical element when it comes to standing up for any vulnerable or oppressed group. There's no room in revolutionary politics, no matter how strongly rooted in class struggle, for any kind of oppression -even though we might acknowledge that not all of the oppressed have the same revolutionary potential.

(I'll come back later on this, now have to go back to work)

author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.publication date Fri Feb 23, 2007 06:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Of the many important points you mention Marie, is the point of sectors of the people conveniently ignored by history. Women have been largely ignored in most revolutionary histories, and many times is genuinely very difficult to find any information of their role, but so has been the contribution of the sectors that did not "take over the State". This is particularly truth in the case of the Haitian revolution: the maroons not only played a very important role in the defeat of the French, but their role was crucial. It was the maroons and labourers that started the rebellion in 1791while Touissaint hesitated; it was maroons and the labourers that reassumed the fight against Leclerc while the "Black Jacobins" were compromising. Maroons were a critical force, silenced by the history of the big men and of the statesmen.

It is extremely important another issue you mention: few of the most prominent of the black generals were plantation labourers and most of them belonged to the slaves' more well off layers (supervisors, domestic servants, hotel servants, etc.). Probably had they been plantation labourers themselves, it would have been much more difficult not to blush when militarizing plantations and forcing labourers to work in them through the system of caporalisme agraire, always in the name of the superior interest of the homeland. Statesmen usually tend to require "sacrifices" from the masses that they are not willing to do themselves! The incapacity of the generals to find another solution than plantation economy and Republican politics "French style" is of paramount importance to understand the dramatic further history of Haiti.

CLR James admits that often the rebel labourers and the masses of maroons were right, but their big problem was the lack of a political organisation to make their alternative hegemonic. Their mere existence, though, speaks loudly that there are no unavoidable events in the past and, therefore, that history is always full of "alternatives" giving us the chance for things to work out differently -to deny that fact, would equal to deny the relevance of revolutionaries today, of the relevance of people proposing and fighting for an alternative, unthinkable to the modern capitalists and their official opposition.

In order to learn from history, it is important to challenge any untouchable figure, to be critical and not to stop in such a criticism in the face of the iconic fathers of the country. In doing so, through the past, we will be able to explore the new roads we need to walk for the future.

author by Marie Nadinepublication date Sun Feb 25, 2007 16:11author email maroonrebel at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Jose:

Thank you so much for your response to my comments. I feel genuinely validated and enlightened.

The truth will set us free indeed. Some have also argued that Haitian (his) story has been written by a selective group to make themselves look good and glorious. And certainly, CLR James' Black Jacobins attempted to give us a different side or a glimpse of the "other" reality.

Best regards,
Mari Jann and the spirit of the maroons lives on...

author by what world is this author living?publication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 06:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Aristide refused to privatize civil enterprises between 2001-2004. Latortue has fired over 10,000 workers from the civil sector. These are the trade unionists that the ICFTU, ILO, AFLCIO, and all the others have ignored. Get your facts straight. TELECO, APN and the rest were protected uner Aristide. He said after the coup the reason for the coup was "privatization, privatization, privatization"

author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.publication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 07:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First of all, I would appreciate that instead of being so defensive (and aggressive), you had a bit more of care to read what I wrote exactly, so when you criticize you get your point right. Actually, in no part I said that Aristide had done privatizations. What I say is,

"Everything has been privatised, the economy has collapsed and since the adjustment agreed as a condition for Aristide’s return in 1994 (that made Haiti one of the most open economies in the world) there are no conditions necessary for the accumulation of capital to invest in public services."

This is factually accurate and if you see the conditions upon which the Cedras dictatorship was brought to an end and Aristide was brought back to Haiti, you'll see that those conditions provide the political framework to understand the increasingly neoliberal turn in Haitian economy from 1995. Certainly it was Preval who had to take the measures on the tariffs and privatizations, but it was part of the accords agreed by Aristide. Surely he was under pressure. Surely he was not happy with the measures (and in recent interviews he states it clearly, saying that he had no option back then, what can be arguable, but that's part of another discussion), but he did sign them up. That's factual. And it was his reluctance to carry the programme on in his second term in government, what infuriated Washington (That's why he rightly says that the reason of the coup was that they wanted "privatizations, privatizations and more privatizations").

I have stated that in numerous articles in the past, so there's no need to state that again -actually, the main point of the article is not that, but the role of Preval's current government and it is that what I'd rather be discussing. As well, the other intention of the article is try to explore the possibilities of an alternative to the crisis in terms others than reformism (this is a leftist criticism to a political line, not to the moral integrity of this or that leader), so I prefer to finish this comment with the same words that I finished the article:

"Haiti is a prime example of a country completely ruined by imperialist interventions, by the rapacity of its dominant class and by fake aid. We see no way out other than a radical break away from this order. Difficult it might be, extremely difficult for sure, as difficult as it was to abolish slavery in the late XVIII Century, but to reform the present system is just impossible. Despite everything, the Haitians will sooner than later master their own destiny."

author by Waynepublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 05:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jose Antonio has written both an excellent review of recent events in Ayati (Haiti) and a fine summary of the nature of the interaction of the capital-labor relationship with various other oppressions (especially women).

It is certainly true, as he says, that the overthrow of capitalism will not automatically end the oppression of women (or People of Color, Gays, neo-colonies, the Deaf, etc.). But I want to add one point. All these oppressions interact, lean on each other and support each other, as they support capitalism. A blow at any form of oppression--and especially a blow at capitalism--weakens every other form of oppression. As Jose Antonio says.

But the reverse is also true. The survival of patriarchy and sexism after the (hoped-for!) overthrow of capitalism is not just bad for women (which is bad enough). It threatens to cause the revival of capitalism! It would not be possible to have freedom for the workers while half the population (and half the working class) is still oppressed. Attitudes and patterns of behavior would cause people to act in selfish, authoritarian, and submissive ways to each other, instead of cooperative and mutually respecting ways. This would play into the hands of those who want to restore capitalism. So we must fight against the oppression of women as an integral part of the fight against capitalism--and vice versa.

author by Nestor - Anarkismopublication date Wed Jun 20, 2007 18:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This article in French:

Related Link:
author by Ezili Dantò - HLLNpublication date Fri Jun 22, 2007 04:22author email erzilidanto at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Not primarily a class struggle:
A Few Comments on Gutiérrez' posts

Mr. José Antonio Gutiérrez wrote an excellent article on the current situation in Haiti- (Ayiti: Occupation or freedom?). The points made in the following two paragraphs are worth reiterating for suitably illustrating the crux of the matter:

"....80% of public services in Haiti are provided by international charity and 65% of this year's budget came from international donors. The State is nothing but a hollow shell to pay foreign debt and get the politicians brand-new cars (not even can fulfil its repressive role, having to rely on international occupation!) . It is as hollow as Preval's promises of more schools..." (Ayiti: Occupation or Freedom by Jose Antonio Gutierrez )

"...Haiti is a prime example of a country completely ruined by imperialist interventions, by the rapacity of its dominant class and by fake aid. We see no way out other than a radical break away from this order. Difficult it might be, extremely difficult for sure, as difficult as it was to abolish slavery in the late XVIII Century, but to reform the present system is just impossible. Despite everything, the Haitians will sooner than later master their own destiny" (Ayiti: Occupation or Freedom by Jose Antonio Gutierrez )

Also, certain points made in the commentaries are quite revealing. Marie Nadine makes classic points and calls Jean on his promotion of macoutes.

But what interest further are the explorations, in the commentaries, written by Gutiérrez and reiterated by Wayne about the various levels of class, gender, race and special oppressions and exploitation. To which, I'd like to herein add these comments and HLLN links for further dialogue and consideration:

Indeed, Haiti's struggles is not soley a "class struggle" as certain neo Marxists, Marxist, or "Leftists" continue to insist. José Antonio Gutiérrez is correct - the end of capitalism will not mean the end of all oppression.

But here, I hasten to add a caveat. Private means of ownership is not the issue for Haitians. For most Haitians wish to own their own land, be masters and lord of the land and its resources in Haiti (Dessaline’s Law) and have its value recognized as part of their net worth, not ignored. Still, concepts such as "capitalism," "socialism," "communism" have fairly run their course and contain too many abused analysis, notions and presumptions scarcely based on our reality, but on abstract theories. The problem is that, as practiced by the world oligarchs and their "artificial legal entities" capitalism is nothing less than just plain rehashed feudalism.

Haiti, shall find its own way based on its own needs. Besides capitalism, in my view, is not inherently evil, nor is socialism or communism. Each may be used to promote humane but economic values that could take Haiti out of containment in poverty. For instance, capitalism has assisted the heretofore poverty-ridden Native Americans in Connecticut, USA to be economically self-sufficient in a relatively short period of time without blithely destroying their neighboring, more privilege communities. The Mashantucket Pequots now own the world's largest casinos (Foxwoods), the profits of which are used to make life easier - even possible - for people who weren't born to privilege but to all sorts of deprivations. Private ownership (capitalism) combined with the use of social subsidies (socialism) for a particular group, in this case was a valuable means for elevating the Pequot masses, and to tool to provide long overdue catharsis, promote cohesion, connection and community. (Of course, Casinos, per se, may, by definition, prey on human vulnerabilities and the poor. But that's another issue and one that's not too ominous or relevant in a State that's considered one of the richest of the US).

But, to get back to the point to be made here with reference to the commentaries: The end of profit-over-people, feudalistic capitalism/financial colonialism will not mean the end of all oppression based on race, gender, nationality, religion and the cultural and social phenomenon that are part and parcel of biological fatalism. No.

Indeed, it is not debatable that oppression based on "pigmentocracy," sex, religion and gender predate the capitalist system. These pre-capitalist oppressions, especially patriarchy (a form for racism, sexism and original sin-ism/religion-based-exclusions) were utilized by the old feudal oligarchs to feed, nurture and help create and secure capitalism. Today its various structures - colonialism, neocolonialism, neo liberalism, globalization, still vie for the soul of Black and Brown folk, not because racism, sexism, original sin-ism are inherent to capitalism but because they are convenient tools to promote the feudalistic hegemony of a particular male grouping historically endowed with what has been codified as "white privilege" - economically, socially and culturally.

Moreover, so-called "race" oppression oftentimes trumps sexual oppression. For, in many ways, the greater majority of (socially-defined) Black and brown women of this world, of any hue, are more likely to be socially and economically oppressed than the greater majority of (socially-defined) white women of any economic status. There is "race" oppression, economic oppression, gender oppression, nationality oppression, oppression based on religion, et al. All, are used to maintain Officialdom's current balance of power, and profit-over-people values, at various levels.

A few points may be made in terms of the revolutionary potential of Haiti and how Haiti addressed, at its inception, "varying levels of oppression and exploitation" from a race, religion/myth/cosmological/psychological, and from the economic and cultural perspective.

(For full comments and links, go to: )

Ezili Dantò

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author by Yves Roy - CaribPresspublication date Sun Jun 24, 2007 00:34author email yvesketlie at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone 718-314-5460Report this post to the editors

Why should Aristide's return be considered as the solution of the Haitian "problématique?" It is about time that we realize that Haitian comatose state is not the result of a man's or a government's actions or inactions, but the symptom of a nation suffering from a chronic illness; a nation poisonned by hate, greed, superstition, evil, spirit of division, spirit of destruction, and blattant contradictions.
It is time that we call on for an emergency communion--that all our intellectuals, our priests, our thinkers, our elders gather to see what can be done for this nation in peril . We need a fundamental change within the Haitian society. Call it revolution, if you please; but, it will have to be spiritual, first, and political, second.
Without this radical transformation that must be accomplished, first, within our élites; and second within our masses, our nation will remain the bouc-emissaire it has become to the International community; principally to the nations by whom it was regarded once as the beacon of liberty.
Until this cultural, political and cultural awakening takes place among the Haitians, all governments will come and go--honourably or dishonourably-- and nothing will be done.
Certainly, it is hard for Aristide constituency to swallow this bitter pills; but let's face the reality. Aristide has been overthrown twice from power. Is not this proof enough to show that the man was a political handicap? How many more coup-d'états do we need?
In addition, why should we be mourning on the past? Is there any other Haitian in his siociety, or if you want, from Aristide's constituency, that would embrace what Aristide has stood for in the early days of his political career? If such person exists, let her stand! If not, let us invent her!
Aristide has missed his chances to help Haiti as he claimed he wanted to do; he must therefore learn to leave with the consequences of his mistakes stoically. Let's move on.

Yves Roy,
Author of "Voyage vers la Gloire"

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