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March 18, 2006

At different periods, contradictions evolve. According to their characteristics, some tend to cluster and constitute a movement. This has marked the development of contradictions among the bourgeois sectors fighting each other to control state power in an attempt to establish their own hegemony. It has also marked the development of the contradictions between the Haitian social formation and foreign domination. Both are linked; they’re directly part of the same mix and the same movement. They’re occurring at the same moment and moving at the same pace.

At other times, however, though taking place at the same moment and within the same general “situation”, some contradictions evolve at a different rhythm and at a different pace. Today, Batay Ouvriye is presenting two types of struggles, and mobilizations – BATTLES. Each is presently occurring, but as we’ll see, each at its own rhythm, different from the other.

The first remains linked to the electoral process. As we already know, the recent presidential elections concluded with fraud, mobilization, struggles… finally blocking the ‘fascist’ pole represented by Baker and a few pseudo-democrats. The Senate and House of Representatives elections will go to a second round. And then, the local elections for Mayor, ASEC, and CASEC (communal section administrators) will follow.

As we said in our January Political Bulletin, blocking the ‘fascist’ pole was necessary, while being fully aware that the Preval pole houses negative aspects. Today, in the workers’ battles to create better conditions to carry out their struggles, denunciations and struggles are being waged against all candidates known as criminals, murderers, corrupt individuals, thieves, and big-eaters and who shamelessly re-appear on the political scene. To facilitate their infiltration, they come under the cover of the L’Espoir (HOPE) Party. Some are former LAVALAS members who committed various crimes under the Lavalas/BIG EATERS’ regime. Others were goons during the 1991 Coup d’Etat who were able to change into gangs under the blessings of Aristide’s reconciliation.  The following example is happening in St Raphael ( Northern Haiti ) but it is only one instance among others for which mobilizations are on-going in many areas in the country where Batay Ouvriye is present.

At the same moment as these focused battles, other struggles are always on-going. They are more protracted, and wider; they have to do with longer-lasting states of affairs. Contrary to the struggles around the elections, they are not time-limited, though one might note that in the context of certain situations such as that of the elections, they do evolve and mature. Again, the workers are fighting in various places all over the country and Batay Ouvriye , wherever it is present, is at the center of those mobilizations. The example we’re providing here illustrates these struggles in Arcahaie (Lakayè, in Creole).

As you will see, those two struggles don’t have the same rhythm. But the important lesson is that both concern contradictions opposing the dominated and ruling classes (though the petty bureaucrats represent the ruling classes’ interests). Therefore, the point is for us, workers and progressives, to clearly understand that what’s constantly facing us is the bourgeoisie, big landowners, big-eaters, technocrats and bureaucrats domination on all of us, whether in the specific context of the elections or in long-term protracted struggles. Therefore, our struggles, all of them, despite differences in pace or rhythm, need to articulate into one big struggle, a single movement of struggle in the defense of our interests against all that come facing us.


                                                                                                                        March 2006

Comrade Workers,

Today, in the name of Batay Ouvriye , we greet all those present to reflect on the situation, specifically on the elections. Analyzing the elections is no easy thing today, especially since they are occurring in a heavily charged moment. Much passion exists, even if it is not generalized. This isn’t the first electoral situation we’re living as an organization. Batay Ouvriye was in the field in 2000 and spoke out on this subject in many regions. We faced various aggressions because of our stands. This is normal. Today again, the same situation is repeating itself. In the present arbitrary environment in the country, our members are arrested in certain places because of the position we defend on the elections. So, given the importance we feel this question currently has, we approach it firmly on the basis of our interests, those of the workers.

Elections are a moment in which the dominant classes seek to renew their representatives at the head of the State. During these moments, they allow participation of the popular masses in the process of casting ballots. In this way, electoral campaigns are a form to rally the masses behind different Parties or candidates who are under or - more or less under - the control of the bourgeoisie. Therefore, the masses participate in a process that the ruling classes control thanks to the State that is there to defend their interests, the media that they own and control, and their economic power.

 The electoral process is used to keep the workers, the toiling classes, and the popular masses divided and keep them from building unity among them: to hold them back from addressing the necessity for their Independent Struggles. In that vein, generally speaking, THE ELECTIONS ARE A REFLECTION OF THE FACT THAT THE RULING CLASSES ARE PUTTING THEIR “HOUSE” IN ORDER, ON THE BACKS OF THE POPULAR MASSES. Notwithstanding, if we do participate, we must choose candidates who are ready to listen to our demands and who are willing to satisfy them at least. However, we must not simply swallow their promises. We must corner them. Nor should we allow passion to get the better of us. For instance, if some prefer or agree with the L’Espoir (HOPE) Party, this doesn’t mean they should vote for swindlers just because they belong to L’Espoir.

Let’s take as an example, Romaire Gelin. He was a member of the three mayor team under Brenn Severe’s administration. What did he do in the city? Nothing! Garbage was all over the place. In addition, he was making money with the French Cap-Haitian based bourgeois Jacques Novella in Guacimal while the peasants were demanding salary negotiations during the orange harvest. This same Romaire kicked out many peasants, stole their land in the town of Logalit . Therefore, even when his own interests weren’t directly involved, he was defending those of the latifundistas without limits against the workers. Are we forgetting all of this or are we determined to vote someone just because he or she is a member of L’Espoir? We, in Batay Ouvriye , are reminding everyone of all of this while also unflinchingly denouncing Romaire Gelin.

Now, there is Papito too (as he is known), who was a watchman at Guacimal and is presently a L’Espoir candidate for ASEC. We knew all too well that he participated in the massacre perpetrated against the peasants at Guacimal in which two comrades were lynched and hacked to death with machetes and then buried in a pit on May 27, 2002. So: are we inviting another massacre in Guacimal? We, in Batay Ouvriye , say there are a lot of crooks in L’Espoir and we are denouncing Papito as a criminal!

On the other hand, there is also Sergo Sajous who denied people the right to have even a morsel of the sugar-cane on his land. At harvest time, if he noticed someone eating one, even a little piece of sugar cane, he used to race to the person to grab it. Today, now that he’s campaigning for the elections, he is giving away sugar cane. But when he’ll be mayor, he’ll be right back to his past practices. Will we, then, have to pay him for the sugar cane? He is going to make us “climb up the hills backwards”, so to speak, especially after he already chased out the peasants, stole their land to plant his sugar cane. If he becomes the mayor, he will have no limits when it comes to stealing our land. Therefore, we are denouncing him as well.

We are advising everyone to keep their heads on their shoulders so we know what to do so as not to bury ourselves in the abyss deeper than we already are.

Though the elections don’t concern our real interests, in this present context before us, we cannot simply ignore what’s going on around us. We must oppose those people who wish to take a free ride on our backs, and denounce them regardless of their affiliation, L’Espoir or Lavalas. We already know their crimes. We cannot let anyone be fooled.

As for the more acceptable candidates, we must express our demands to them and tell them, “These are a cross that stand for your mother and your father, dare to step on it”. (In other words, dare to meet those demands!).

We will have to meet again to discuss our demands, our struggle platform so that whoever the candidate is, opposition or not, L’Espoir or not, our demands, and our struggle platform are first on the agenda.






               March 12, 2006


During the Aristide/Lavalas period, everyone knew we were facing a major problem. The drinking water system was out of order. Because of many different problems, people couldn’t obtain water. In fact, many of the engines didn’t work or were broken. The city administration was in the red, with numerous debts. The population fought with it continually because we had to pay without receiving the service. So: this was a terrible state of affairs!

Following February 29, 2004, the population stood fast and chased those in charge. It appointed a new management with a new conception and the democratic participation of the people. To change the orientation, fierce struggles had to be waged. During this period which did not last long, all the engines were repaired.  The customers received water on a regular schedule. They paid less on their water bills than previously. The waste stopped. All debts were paid off and all employees received their salaries on a timely manner. Furthermore, there was an accumulation of funds deposited and still in the bank until today. In addition, there were better relations with the water company (SNEP) as an independent entity. The report the new management drew up before its departure, due to the new swindlers’ arrival, reveals all this.

For, as we know, the low-level gangster politicians by no means have the population’s interests in mind. Following the short period when the people took their responsibility and Aristide left the country, the new regime, particularly in Arcahaie, showed it only functions through arbitrary force. It also showed it lacks any notion of management. It broke the system down. And today, we are in an even deeper mess, with the customers paying higher fees and the system shut. THERE IS NO WATER! For sure, the Mayoralty holds the main responsibility in this predicament. To facilitate such a major entanglement, they used the SNEP. And, now, they are trapped. They dismissed SNEP as being useless. Clearly, those occupying the mayoralty now, replacing those loyal to Aristide, played a role in breaking up the committee the people had appointed. Even before their arrival at the mayoralty, they were already responsible for negative practices. For our observations to be complete, we have to point out another very important point. The population had adequate services with the committee it appointed. Services were much better. However, for all it was worth, it remained passive despite repeated appeals from the committee. They didn’t understand that it was a COMBAT, and that they had a role to play in it. It was a big weakness which facilitated the swindlers’ unsavory games and opened up this can-of-worms we have today.

All this shows:

·        We do not need those corrupt swindler-politicians. WE MUST STAND UP TO THEM!

·        YES, WE CAN! If and when we do take our responsibility in our own hands, we move forward, advance.

·        As for the political power, with the gangsters at the helm of state in the area, they will use their political posts to block us. WE MUST RAISE THE ISSUE OF POLITICAL POWER WITH OUR REAL INTERESTS IN MIND.

It was a short-lived experience, true! However, it allows us to draw great lessons. We must generalize those lessons in all of our struggles. We must garner strength, step up to the plate and take over the system. As of now, we must start our meetings again which gave us the original committee and we must remain mobilized.

            Depending on the political evolution, the conditions under which we will be moving forward will be different. However, we must be clear that we have to wrestle the services we need even when we take them into our hands. Others will not come to do for us in our place. We must be ready to advance no matter what conditions exist.