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 given as 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 email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Batay Ouvriye Haiti Solidarity Network is calling on all Progressives to join us in the aftermath of the Earthquake Disaster to help us organize support for the various Workers” Unions, Peasant Associations, Toilers’ Associations in the Batay Ouvriye Movement in Haiti.
For those in NYC,
Batay Ouvriye Haiti Solidarity Network
Join us on Saturday January 16, 2010 at 5 P.M. at 963 Rogers Ave, between Beverly Road and Tilden Ave in Brooklyn. The Batay Ouvriye Haiti Solidarity Network has been active and doing solidarity work with Batay Ouvriye for the last decade while its members are experienced activists who have been working in the People’s Camp for over thirty years.
We would like to differentiate our orientation for the disaster relief effort from other organizations and imperialist institutions on the ground.
We want to empower the People’s Camp to take charge of rebuilding their lives with dignity independently of reactionary and imperialist control.
For the Batay Ouvriye Haiti Solidarity Network