Batay Ouvriye Banner

October 2008

ONE LAST NOTE CONCERNING THE SOLIDARITY CENTER

 

There is always a considerable amount of complexity in political struggle, whether it concerns the internal practices of an organization or its dealings with other organizations. In this context, even when two organizations claim to have the same goals, they often define different political lines to try to achieve them. Principles, criteria and concepts are presented to analyze these positions and to determine to what extent they are or are not correct, but even then, there can be varying degrees of sensibility to certain points, different appreciations of others, which can lead to divergent positions. We should strive to always take the standpoint of the workers fundamental interests to define what is to be done, applying criticism and self-criticism as we move forward, without pretense of false apologies.

It is within this framework, based on our practices and on those of other organizations concerning our practices, that we see the need to issue this statement, in the interest of the working class as a whole. It concerns our relationship with the Solidarity Center , where it has ended up, and to clarify our position on this matter. We think that from the standpoint of workers’ interests, this note should help those who are truly concerned with the advancement of workers’ struggles internationally to define themselves and to define a political line to best lead the advancement of these struggles.

Before we go any further, we should say that for many organizations, based on our previous declarations, this case has already been closed. For others, with good will, it may still be open. And others still will be trying to take advantage of this to oppose workers’ struggles, and we won’t be able to stop them from trying to do so. But on the whole, this is a matter that has moved on, and through moving forward, it has lost much of its relevance. We do not wish to give it life again, but rather to bring it to a close once and for all. Ongoing practices and developing struggles will shed more light on this matter if necessary. We are moving on.

 To reiterate previously issued statements, that can also be found on our website, our relations with the Solidarity Center started in the context of concrete workers struggles which developed in the Free Trade Zone. We were confronted with various difficulties and material needs, struggling against big companies… Batay Ouvriye appealed for international solidarity and various organizations answered our appeal, amongst them, the Solidarity Center . The Solidarity Center proposed to support 2 instances of our struggles, one in Port-au-Prince and the other in Ounaminthe. They looked for funds to contribute, and that was the root of all the trouble: the funds originated from the NED, an imperialist agency that tries to thwart popular struggles all over the world, and the Solidarity Center itself has taken an active part in various reactionary imperialist plots, particularly in attempts to overthrow Chavez, among others.

 

 In our prior statements we insisted on 2 things:

            • Struggles require funds in order to advance. And we said that we would accept all funds as long as they don’t tie our hands and don’t compromise our autonomy, as long as we maintain the ability to denounce and struggle against all our enemies, including those who give us funds, and most importantly, that our political line in the defense of workers’ interests remains uncompromised.

            • That was the basis of the political differences and debates that ensued, although we can say that these positions themselves have not really been debated.

  

Taking into account workers and laborers interests and the interest of the working class as a whole, notwithstanding some negative impact for ourselves, we decided it was necessary to break totally with the Solidarity Center . This is why for over a year now, we have totally and openly broken with the Solidarity Center , and we have made them aware of our decision.

We have said it, and we say it again: Batay Ouvriye does not have any relationship with the Solidarity Center . There is no financial relationship. There are no relations whatsoever.

 This has had an implication: the form of our struggle against Solidarity Center has changed. Before, as part of our relations, Batay Ouvriye was engaged with various other organizations in other countries where the Solidarity Center was trying to immix itself in workers struggles. This was an avenue that Batay Ouvriye used to fight against the Solidarity Center ’s influence, to thwart their attempts to co-opt workers struggles and to reorient these struggles in the workers interests. Although this double struggle was fraught with difficulties, we had managed to make some headway. This avenue of struggle is no longer available to us. Instead, we have tried to contribute to these struggles from the standpoint of international proletarian solidarity. Batay Ouvriye has decided to keep up this struggle everywhere against the Solidarity Center . This is the case in Haiti , where the Solidarity Center has spread its influence into the rotten and corrupt central labor federations with the help of the International Labor Federation. This also applies to the Solidarity Center ’s presence throughout Latin America . In effect, in its attempt to replace AIFLD throughout the world, the Solidarity Center is replicating AIFLD’s old practices. But we should be aware that other organizations are also trying to play the same role through their relations with corrupt labor federations. Without making any amalgams, we will stand up to them in a manner corresponding to their nature.

 In the struggle against the Solidarity Center, we not only have to confront their practices, but we must also confront their political line which finds easy ground to spread its corrupting influence in dominated countries and goes hand in hand with the corrupt yellow unions that they tend to support.

 In our struggles against the Solidarity Center , we always denounced its role in the global imperialist agenda. These struggles took various forms. Not only did we denounce them in our autonomous struggles, but when we could, we also forced them to answer to the denunciations others made of them. Till the end, they never took a clear stand, publicly, for everyone. That was the case about their practices in Venezuela and Chavez. Their silence further confirmed their reactionary activities. We will continue to denounce their past actions along with all those to come.

 The Solidarity Center has access to substantial funds through its implication with imperialist subversion. It receives money in the name of other organizations while it only gives them a pittance. That’s how some of its members are living it up on the backs of workers while trying to co-opt, corrupt and subvert workers movements. We denounce these practices in general and we denounce their practices with us. From a total of $440,000 they got from the NED in our name, we only received $90,000 while they kept $350,000! On top of that, they simply refused to give us the remaining $6,000 that had been granted to us and they simply used it for their own needs. Not only are they doing the bidding of imperialism, but they also maintain imperialist relations of domination with those organizations with which they are involved. We forced them to take clear positions vis-à-vis their superiors and through statements we issued. There again they balked.

While the Solidarity Center ’s nature is clear for most, some are still not sure. There are some who will “never be sure”. We will continue to take part in the struggle to block them. We know they will continue to attempt to subvert workers struggles. More damning evidence is continuing to come out against them, particularly with regards to their practices in Latin America . We will continue to denounce them.

But we also know that some will only look at the fact that we once took money from them. We will not fall into that trap. Concrete practices on the national and international levels, through the struggles in which we are taking part, throwing all our weight in the interest of the working class, will show clearly the reality of the situation. We will see!

 We were never aligned with them. We were using them, and we know they came to realize this. We were like a fish bone stuck in their throat. We have broken off all relations with them, both formal and in the field and we are standing up against them in new ways. We appeal to all organizations that understand the role they play to stand up to them everywhere, in the US as well as in dominated countries. This common struggle should help clarify the situation.

Some would like us to simply state that our previous practices were wrong. We still think that the situation was more complex than that. If necessary, the debate on this matter will continue. We think we have offered a better framework to decide this matter. At this time, there are exchanges with the LRP. They are public, for all who wish to follow them, even if they are not the main aspect of our practices on the international level.

We think that the debate on Batay Ouvriye and the Solidarity Center was fruitful and that, on the whole, it contributed to weakening the Solidarity Center ’s efforts. We must look for ways to extend this struggle against the Solidarity Center .

For us, victory will be for the working class, for workers organized to defend their real interests through their concrete struggles in organizations they truly control.

Down with the imperialists! Down with all imperialist operatives, including the Solidarity Center ! Long live the international working class!

Please consult our website for more information concerning our practices and our positions, the struggles in which we are engaged and the debate around this issue.

Stands: