Batay Ouvriye Banner

May 1, 2006

Comrades and Friends!

MAYDAY is here!

As we in Batay Ouvriye always emphasize, MAYDAY, is neither Agriculture Day nor Work commemoration in a vague sense where the bosses and their reactionary state can come and participate. This is a form of mystification the ruling classes have invented in Haiti to make people forget or deny them the knowledge of what the real MAYDAY was all about.

MAYDAY marks a monumental BATTLE , internationally, that industrial workers in various countries carried out in solidarity with workers in a factory in Chicago . Facing the workers’ mobilization, instead of satisfying their demands, the bourgeoisie rather set on them inside the factory. Indeed, more than 120 workers died burnt up and suffocated. BATTLES raged at that moment, and despite numerous arrests, deportations, crimes and endless repression perpetrated by the bourgeoisie and their reactionary state, the workers continued their struggles steadfastly. Likewise, workers in many other factories in Chicago as in many other cities in the United States stood up too. In the same vein, other places around the world saw a surge of struggles also.

One of these workers’ principal demands was the eight-hour workday. And it is in this way, with this monumental BATTLE , that the workers scored victories on MAY FIRST, 1886. From then on, this demand has become a legal stipulation concerning all workers in the world.

Today, May 1st, 2006, we, Haitian workers, are in a special situation. Above all, we should never forget, we are under OCCUPATION, where the imperialist countries, because of the treachery and corruption of the politicians, have put in place a military domination as well as political control over us with all the attacks, humiliation and crimes that come with the territory.

This MAYDAY is special too because we’ve just emerged from the elections in which the ruling classes attempted to steal our mobilization on February 7, 2006 to block the principal project of the bourgeoisie together with the pseudo-democrats in what we called the “Fascist Pole”. But, again, it is a special MAYDAY also because, as we stated already, the Preval team is filled with people, currents, and contradictions that are very negative in it. Therefore, we should neither fall asleep nor rest on our laurels. MOBILIZATION TO DEMAND OUR ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL RIGHTS IS THE ONLY GUARANTEE OF VICTORY.

Indeed, in Cap-Haitian, as in many other places in the country, the workers, peasants, and the toiling masses are standing up to SEIZE THEIR RIGHTS. In this way, the employees at the Beck Hotel stood up and challenged a sadistic individual who had decided to fire all the workers without severance pay. Also, in MarnierLapostolle (Grand Marnier), the orange workers have negotiated a 315 Gourdes-a-day wage base. In Ouanaminthe, following a monumental BATTLE , the Free Trade Zone workers forced the bosses to rehire all the fired workers while at the same time they won a COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT and other improvements in wages, working conditions and work relations. And more important, these conditions become mandatory wherever the World Bank is lending money for a particular project.

Further, in many rural areas, the peasants have won the 3-tiers demand in sharecropping while others occupy land to work: Agrarian Reform is in process. We have effectively blocked the illegal formation of a rural police by the landowners in complicity with the local justices. In the same vein, again, the mobilization for the elections must help us to understand that we have to have our OWN INDEPENDENT IMPACT at the political level too, and not only on the electoral front. If we are ORGANIZED with this in mind, if our organization is built on that basis, our INTEREST will be the ONLY COMPASS.

All this illustrates that, on the basis of our MOBILIZATIONS and BATTLES, WINNING OUR RIGHTS IS POSSIBLE!

However, today, MAYDAY is special for us because, this time, we workers are not alone in its commemoration. Among us are the Peasant Associations, and Workers’ Associations in Neighborhoods. Therefore, with the MOBILIZATION OF THE WORKERS AS MOTOR, THE POPULAR MASSES ARE STANDING UP.

So, in unison, we say:

Down with the Occupation!

Members of this Government must be called to Justice!

Those who commit crimes must not be allowed to leave the country!

Down with all illegal Treaties, Contracts, and Agreements they signed under the table!

Justice for all Workers!

The bourgeoisie must respect the law!

The minimum wage must be US $3.00 at the least!

Unions must be able to set up in all factories!

Down with the  boss-friendly Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor!

Regional Offices must have the means to function!

Down with a boss-friendly Justice!

The Justice Department must be cleaned!

The Labor Code must Change! The Rural Code must be eliminated!

Peasants must have land to work!

Down with the 2-tier Sharecropping System!

The Decree on Free Birth Certificates must be implemented!

We must have Drinking Water, Electricity in Neighborhoods we can live in, well!

We must all have Free Health and Education!

Down with the Rise in the Cost of Living!

The cost of Gasoline must come down together with the cost of basic products!

Down with Deportations! Respect the Rights of all Immigrant Workers!

Long Live the Struggles of the Popular Masses with the Workers as Backbone!