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Editorial: Haiti - Racist disregard & disarray demands revolution

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29 March 2024 305 hits

The latest eruption of anti-worker violence in Haiti is yet another reminder of the utter failure and decline of U.S. imperialism. Amid divisions among Haiti’s local bosses, and with the U.S. rulers preoccupied by a war in Ukraine and the Israeli genocide in Gaza, armed gangs are fighting viciously for their piece of the capitalist pie. As families flee for their lives, the gangs are waging pitched battles with the national police and now control most of the capital, Port-au-Prince. State institutions are broken. Water and sewage systems have collapsed. Nearly half Haiti’s 11.7 million are suffering from hunger. More than 360,000 workers and children are internal refugees (msn.com, 3/21).
This deadly chaos is more proof that the international working class has no stake in the profit system. The working class—youth, workers, and comrades of Progressive Labor Party—need international solidarity from our class sisters and brothers now! Only communist revolution can liberate workers in Haiti and worldwide from the profit-driven violence of the capitalist bosses. Only communism can stand to meet workers’ basic needs and give our children a healthy future.  

Gangsters big and small

The gangs in Haiti are not merely workers gone rogue. Many are trained ex-operatives or ex-cops seeking to dominate the country for whatever share of the pie they can grab. The state of anarchy in Haiti forced the U.S. imperialists to oust the widely-hated Ariel Henry, the acting president and prime minister whom they’d backed since 2021, when Haiti’s last elected president, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated. Henry’s tenure was viewed as illegitimate by Haiti’s traditional elite, which also saw Moise’s election as the result of manipulation and outright fraud by the administration of the U.S. President Barack Obama.

At the time of Henry’s ouster, he was returning from Kenya, where he’d signed an agreement on a “security” deal with the U.S., France, and Canada to bring in a thousand notoriously violent cops from Kenya to “tame” the gangs in Haiti (CNN, 3/22). But it was already too late for Henry. On March 5, when his plane was to land in the Dominican Republic, the gangs had shut down the airports. Henry’s plane was diverted to Puerto Rico, where his U.S. imperialist masters forced him to resign. They established a new transitional council and packed it with some of their favorite thieves and gangsters. 

The use of gangs to terrorize and torture the working class in Haiti can be traced back to the 19-year U.S. occupation of Haiti in the early 20th century, and to the subsequent thirty-year reign of the murderous “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvalier. With open U.S. support, the Duvaliers terrorized the workers in Haiti with their paramilitary, the infamous Tonton Macoutes. In 1994, years after Baby Doc was overthrown, the U.S. once again invaded the country to restore capitalist order by reinstalling their puppet, the fake leftist Jean-Bertrand Aristide. In 2004, they returned as part of a “peacekeeping” force to put down a militia revolt. All the while, the U.S. imperialists collaborated with gangs with close ties to the old Duvalier regime and the Tonton Macoutes.

As workers continue to be terrorized with rape, kidnappings, and murders, there is no “fix” for Haiti under capitalism. The U.S. imperialists have only racist contempt for workers and youth who live one step away from death, with limited or no access to electricity, safe drinking water, sanitation, health care, or housing. The U.S. bosses have already justified their next invasion under the guise of restoring democracy and ridding the country of gangs. But their real concern is that the crisis could result in a flood of hundreds of thousands of Haitian workers into the U.S. in an election year. They also fear that it could destabilize the Caribbean and give China and Russia, their imperialist rivals, an opportunity to make inroads in the region at their expense. Meanwhile, the racist bosses in the Dominican Republic are working with vigilantes to violently expel Haitians seeking refuge. Taking a page from the ethnic cleansers in Israel and the U.S., President Luis Abinader is building to keep Haitian workers out. 

The working class is not taking these capitalist atrocities lying down. In neighborhoods under the small gangsters’ brutal control, workers have united in groups like Bwa Kale. They are turning the guns around, attacking and killing known gang members. But these rebellions pose a threat to the biggest gangsters of all, the U.S. imperialists.  Well aware of the long history of anti-imperialist class hatred in Haiti, which could turn a direct intervention into a bloody debacle, the U.S. bosses went to the United Nations for troops to quell violence against the gangs. Genocide Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are basically outsourcing their next invasion of Haiti to Kenya and other African countries. As in Gaza, the imperialist rulers are determined to prevent embattled workers in Haiti from joining in mass rebellion. But the bosses have one big problem: Workers always fight back!

Workers in Haiti need solidarity & communism!

As ruling-class organizations call for “charity” for Haiti, Progressive Labor Party calls for working-class solidarity and internationalism among our members and friends–and for communist revolution.  Nationalist liberation struggles only replace one set of bosses with another; they can never solve the problems of the international working class.

In 1804, when workers in Haiti won their violent rebellion against their French enslavers, they became a beacon of inspiration for enslaved workers everywhere. Enslavers around the world shook in their boots. But where chattel slavery has been abolished, capitalist wage slavery has taken its place. Now workers need to take the next step, to a society run by and for workers–to communism.

Under communism, profits, and money will be eliminated, along with the capitalist parasites who steal the fruits of our labor. Freed from the bosses’ terror and exploitation, workers in Haiti will help create a new society to serve our class’s needs. Fight for communism! Join Progressive Labor Party!