01/14/09- A natural disaster has descended upon Haiti whose scope we only are seeing the surface of at this time. The Haitian people will be struggling to rebuild their lives and their home possibly for decades in light of unprecedented collapse, both physical and social. Yet despite the unpredictability of earthquakes, this disaster is unnatural, a monstrosity of our time. The extent of the damage of the earthquake is part of the cost of unrestrained exploitation which at every step put profit above the health, safety, and well being of the Haitian people. While the world watches on ready to help, power is being dealt an opportunity. The Haitian workers and peasants have been fighting for their rights to even the most basic level of existence for decades, while the UN-occupying force, the state, and the ruling elites maintain the social misery without relenting. Now as Port-Au-Prince is in rubble, new opportunities arise for rulers to rebuild Haiti in their own interests, and likewise for the Haitian workers and peasants to assert their right to their own Haiti, one where they will be not be forced to live in dangerous buildings, and work merely to fill the pockets of elites, foreign or domestic.
As we move from watching in horror to taking decisive action, progressives can offer an alternative. There is a strong and beautiful desire to do something, to help others in this time of need. Our actions are strongest when we organize ourselves, and make a concerted effort in unity. Right now we can have the deepest impact by committing ourselves to act in solidarity with the autonomous social movements of Haiti directly. They present the best possible option for the Haitian people, and are in the greatest need. At the same time, we are in the best position to help them out our common interest as people engaged in struggling against a system that works to exploit us all. We are calling for solidarity people-to-people engaged in common struggle. It is not only a question of money for AID but also an autonomous and independent act of international solidarity that illuminates the bankruptcy of the occupying forces, multinational corporations, and Haitian elites that are primarily responsible for the decayed state of Haiti. There will be aid flowing and money givenas a form of charity until the next disaster. Our act of solidarity should, in no shape or form, be solely an act of humanitarian aid. It should not be an apolitical act, and we shouldn't give the green light to those that wish to capitalize on the suffering of others. It should be an act of solidarity to the struggling people of Haiti and their organizations while at the same time rejecting the totally inept Haitian elites and their state apparatus for bankrupting Haiti. The earthquake is a natural disaster, but the state of Haiti, the abject poverty of the masses and the vile injustice of the social order, are unnatural.
We have a relationship with one organization, Batay Ouvriye, and are putting our resources and time into helping Batay Ouvriye to help rebuild from the catastrophe and maintain the struggle for a better Haiti and a better world. Batay Ouvriye is a combative grassroots worker and peasant’s organization in Haiti with workers organized all over Haiti, especially in the Industrial sweatshops and Free Trade Zones. We have set up a means to send money to Batay Ourviye. If others wish to send money to Batay Ouvriye, please DONATE HERE or mail checks payable to “Miami Workers Center” with a note “for: MAS/BO” in the memo line to the following address:
Miami Workers Center
6127 Northwest 7th Avenue
Miami, FL 33127-1111
Miami Autonomy & Solidarity and Batay Ouvriye Haiti Solidarity
BATAY OUVRIYE is an organization that regroups factory unions and committees, workers’ associations and militants, all struggling in Haiti for the construction of an independent, combative and democratic union movement, and to organize wage-workers, self-employed workers as well as the unemployed for the defense of their rights. Theorganization is an alternative to the traditional bureaucratic, corrupt union movement that upholds the dominant classes’ power amongst the exploited masses of Haiti. Not only does it take the initiative of developing spontaneous direct issue struggles, but also it incites the working class to fight and to organize themselves to defend their independent interests. Batay Ouvriye also links these particular struggles with those, more wide-ranging, of the people. In this sense, it takes part in all types of popular democratic struggles by encouraging the involvement of workers.