The economic, social and political situation in Haiti continues to deteriorate. Anti-government protests continued in the last few months of the year. Faced with these repeated uprisings against his regime, Jovenel Moïse is using the police and gangs to massacre and terrorise the masses in the streets and in poor neighbourhoods. Note: this article was written in December 2020.
Despite the terror and intimidation aimed at keeping him in power, the masses continue to hit the streets demanding the resignation of Jovenel Moïse and others. As the end of his “presidential term” approaches on February 7, 2021, the people continue to decry the poverty imposed on them by the ruling class. This was evident with the massive demonstrations of the opposition on December 10, 2020. With each minute that he remains in power, the people continue to cry out: “Jovenel and others are pushing us further into the valley of the shadow of hunger, insecurity and death!”
If for some members of the fragmented, so-called opposition, the president's term comes to an end this year, for the people the time is now.
The crimes of the state: when the ideological tools of capitalism can no longer be used to subjugate the people, all that remains is repression
Crime is increasing and is imposed at this time as a great scourge, hammering the population day by day. The massacres and summary executions conducted by the authorities continue to amplify the anger of many sectors in society. Several professionals, academics and schoolchildren have been kidnapped, raped and murdered in this same wave of systematised terror. It should be noted that several of these cases of assassinations have been carried out by the henchmen of those in power, sometimes on the grounds of the president’s private residences or the National Palace. Not to mention that, during this same period, many other cases of serial kidnappings have been reported throughout the country.
As has always been the case, it is the exploited, oppressed class that is the main victim of these reprisals. This form of repression is part of a strategy to depoliticise this layer, aiming to distract the people from their main demands. The ruling class aims to intimidate the oppressed class quash all forms of denunciation of administrative and political mismanagement: the squandering of CIRH funds (Interim Haiti Recovery Commission) and PetroCaribe; not to mention the various massacres organised by this regime, and the atrocious misery that the people face on a daily basis.
However, these practices carried out by the police and gangs cannot hold back the anger of the people, who never cease to point out the compromise between the state and the gangs, who allow the situation of insecurity to worsen in order to maintain themselves in power by means of chaos and blood.
Insecurity: a reflection of the economic struggle - how the insecurity that plagues the country is legitimized and legalised by the state
It would be a misinterpretation to consider this scourge as a simple isolated fact: the product of chance in our society which, for centuries, has been subject to the influence of a social and economic order which enriches a tiny minority. This situation didn't fall from the sky. It is a form of class violence against the majority. In this society, where the economy is at a backward stage, with weak and deficient productive forces, the bourgeoisie uses insecurity, poverty and the ruthless exploitation of the working class and the poor to compensate for the weak state of industrial infrastructure. It is the poor who suffer from these effects.
Moreover, it should be noted that, despite the sharp rise in crime, businesses continue to operate normally as if all is well in the country. The bosses do not feel any panic in the face of the ordeal that this social unrest represents for the exploited class. In addition, they have their own affiliated gangs, paid to continue the crackdown on workers whose every attempted protest expresses their suffering and discontent. These bosses have at their disposal the state power, which allows them to enrich themselves not only by exploitation, but also by the corruption of institutions; to achieve this end, all bad means are good.
Take the example of the Caracol Industrial Park. The management staff are openly bragging in the media that all is well for the park's businesses and that they will receive more than $65m from the Inter-American Development Bank for the execution of the park's expansion plan, in particular for new constructions. Rodolphe Daniel, director of the Caracol Industrial Park, has confirmed this. Interviewed by Le Nouvelliste on November 9, 2020, he said that overall, the park “is doing very well despite COVID-19, episodes of peyi lòk, fuel outages”. This representative of the employers spoke with serenity and had the audacity to say that, for a year and a half, the park has been working without interruption, and that all measures have been taken to create better conditions for its 16,800 workers. These lies about the plight of Caracol workers, and those in other industries, are part of the bosses' nature. They sow illusions while in reality, the workers are living the worst moments of their lives, from their homes to the factories.
The workers are for the most part those who live in the most tormented and insecure working-class neighbourhoods in the country, ghettos run by armed gangs, sowing terror all day long. At dawn, the workers must leave their homes, despite the risk of violence and gang shootings, if they do not want to lose their jobs, since their employer will have no concern for the risks they face.
Consequently, this class demands respect and the guarantee of its inalienable rights; bread instead of social and economic war, along with the right to work. The eradication of the capitalist system and the bourgeois government through the dismantling of the PHTK (Haitian Party Tèt Kale) regime is the only practical and concrete way to guarantee a decent existence for this class.
However, these demands and the popular will are not taken into account by the government and some opposition groups. The people are going beyond the superficial struggle between opposition and power, with one side fighting for the seizure of power and the other fighting to keep it.
Jovenel has issued government decrees establishing an intelligence agency and calling for a new constitution. Such acts confirm the authoritarianism and obscurantism of this regime wanting to trample all the historical gains of the Haitian people. The regime wants to control everything in order to repress us. The alliance of gangs and the reforming of the Haitian National Police was already proof of this. Neither a change in the constitution nor the seizure of power by the opposition can improve the lot of the working class and poor, which suffer from hunger, illiteracy and insecurity.
Notwithstanding this generalised precariousness, the people are not lowering their heads, they are holding their own. Every time they are believed to be collapsing, they bounce back more forcefully with their cries, their songs, their slogans, their barricades and their placards. They stare right at their opponents and strike. The Haitian popular movement continues, and aims to overturn the current social and political state of the country. It alone is capable of crushing the bourgeoisie, the corrupt politicians and their mafioso politics that trample over the peoples’ well-being. The end of this malicious criminal Jovenel's regime is near. The trade magnates who plunder the country are destined to drown in the flood of history.
Class unity to overthrow Jovenel Moïse
What remains to be done to put an end to the PHTK regime is not beyond the moral and material forces of the revolutionary movement of the Haitian masses. The unity of the masses must be achieved through a united front supported by the various organisations of the movement. The factional struggles between the different sectors of the opposition, their opportunism and their petty-bourgeois posturing in search of compromise or negotiation with the regime, constitute an obstacle to the final victory. If nothing changes, we risk reproducing the same mistakes of the past, i.e. helping the enemy of the people to perpetuate itself despite all the energies expended by the masses to maintain their struggle.
There is no way forward for the mass movement in Haiti on the basis of capitalism and bourgeois politics and parliaments. As we pointed out previously, the country's old political framework is disintegrating due to the crisis of global capitalism and the intensification of the class struggle. The ruling class can no longer govern as it did in the past. This is why Jovenel is moving towards the rewriting of the Constitution and towards the dictatorship.
But what about the leadership of the opposition parties and the movement in general? Moise Jean-Charles and his political party the Pitit Desalin are calling for a new regime. Lavalas, led by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, for example, also called for a new regime in Haiti. In a recent statement by the Lavalas leadership, the party correctly denounced the PHTK electoral coup and condemned the gangs and massacres. Lavalas also rightly criticised Jovenel and the PHTK for wanting to “replace the country's constitution with one already prepared without the support of the people”. It also exposed Jovenel's movements towards dictatorship, claiming that “they continue to declare war on the people by pouring oil on the fire of the dictatorship.”
Lavalas proposed a “government of public safety” that would unite “the whole nation”. It's not clear what this means, but if it means another bourgeois constitution with a bourgeois parliament, it would not be fundamentally different from what currently exists. In fact, what exists now is disintegrating under the pressure of the economic crisis, the pandemic and the class struggle. So in reality that would not represent any change at all.
How could such a “government of public safety” unite the “whole nation” when the nation is fundamentally divided between the capitalist class on one side and the working class and the poor on the other side? A bourgeois government will rule in the interests of the capitalist class, and therefore no unity is possible on this basis. Many opportunists in the opposition propose something exactly like the status quo, only with them in power instead of Jovenel. Or perhaps they propose something like a return to the 1987 Constitution. But it is not at all a solution to the crisis: this proposal will ultimately lead to the same situation we have now.
The bourgeois and petty-bourgeois opposition launches vague calls for a transitional regime in which it will hold power. Despite phrases about democracy and human rights, they really only want to replace Jovenel with their own gang of crooks. Such a regime would mean no fundamental change for working people and the poor, and would mean the continuation of instability and chaos.
The working class cannot be fooled into supporting one wing of the bourgeoisie against another. The working class and the socialist and workers' organisations must fight for a radical break with the rule of the bourgeoisie. A transitional regime is necessary, yes, but a transitional regime based on the class domination of the bourgeoisie will not solve the crisis. The workers and the poor must fight for their own class interests and call for a workers’ transitional regime, a regime based on the class interests of the working class and the poor and on workers' democracy.
To this end, we should fight for a united front of socialist and workers' organisations, as conceived by Lenin. We are in favor of united action by the working class, the left and the workers' organisations against this regime. The socialist and workers' organisations do not merge with, they do not mix their political banners with and do not need to adopt the programmes of others, but they must remain united in their actions against the Jovenel regime and the rule of the bourgeoisie. We must all be united in the fight to end the regime. As Lenin said, “march separately but strike together! “
There are calls for a transitional government after Jovenel’s term ends, or calls for a transitional government to replace his regime. But, a transition would also be very unstable. If the situation becomes too unstable in Haiti, another international intervention could also be possible. The UN is discredited in Haiti, but it could still return, or one of the imperialist powers could send troops to maintain control. This would cause problems for the opposition and could even silence parts of it. Other members of the opposition could even support foreign troops in order to achieve stability. Some in the opposition may see a path to power for themselves based on international intervention. However, foreign troops would basically solve nothing.
We must also keep in mind that the class struggle does not stop with the end of Jovenel's regime. Whatever happens with his regime, we cannot forget the class struggle, we cannot forget the class interests of the workers and must continue to fight against the bourgeoisie. If a bourgeois transitional regime becomes a real possibility, either through the internal dynamics of the situation in the country or as a result of imperialist intervention, the working class must fight against the class rule of the bourgeoisie and fight for a workers' transitional regime. If the working class does not come to power, Haiti will remain in a situation of instability and chaos, and the bourgeoisie will try to impose a dictatorship in the hopes of achieving stability.
The Haitian people have already been in this situation. The government of the bourgeoisie is corrupt and incompetent and always ends up falling, to be replaced by another government of the bourgeoisie just as corrupt and incompetent. What is needed in Haiti is a total break with the politics of the bourgeoisie and the imperialists. The workers themselves must take power, create their own regime and govern in the general interest of society: this is the only way out of the impasse.