Hurricane Matthew in Haiti: Aid vs International Solidarity

img-20161011-wa0026The root of the disease was political. The treatment could only be political. Of course, we encourage aid that aids us in doing away with aid. But in general, welfare and aid policies have only ended up disorganizing us, subjugating us, and robbing us of a sense of responsibility for our own economic, political, and cultural affairs. We chose to risk new paths to achieve greater well-being.

Thomas Sankara on Western aid 

Class Struggle and International Solidarity

As soon as people heard of the ravages done by Hurricane Mathew, mostly in Southern and Northwestern regions of Haiti, many were volunteering to send support. Some even posted online what they perceived as reputable NGOs. But for us, whether or not some NGOs are reputable, the point to ask is whether or not sending money to NGOs, even reputable ones, is in the best interest of the Haitian popular masses. This is especially the case after the earthquake of January 2010, in which millions of dollars poured in for the same reasons of support and Haiti today remains in even worse shape. We hear the arguments that quick-fix support is important for the immediate survival of people, but we face the facts already proven in previous catastrophes that, for the long term, those quick fixes have become part of the problem and only represent a bail out for the Haitian dominant classes, the State Apparatus and imperialism.

As those catastrophes continue to occur internationally, other dominated and exploited classes from their respective societies will also manifest their spontaneous need to support and be interdependent with the most affected victims, with a total spirit of abnegation. This solidarity is a precursor, although limited, of the need for solidarity and internationalism, which under the leadership of conscientious social classes could become a powerful force underpinning the construction of new societies. But to realize this positive spirit of interdependency, progressive and revolutionary forces must promote a correct conception of internationalism and of solidarity based solely on the interests of the popular masses. We must demarcate ourselves from bourgeois conceptions that finally end up bailing out the dominant classes, the state apparatus and imperialists. Under capitalist direction, humanitarian aid is a bourgeois conception that inevitably serves bourgeois interests.

Haiti is Not a Poor Country

Haiti is a rich country. Much of our wealth has been stolen or is being stolen. The Haitian dominant classes should not be viewed as part of the popular masses in any scientific or materialist class analysis. In any social formation, the capitalist class and feudal classes are not part of the popular masses. Their nationalism is based solely on the interests of the power block exercising its class dictatorship over the popular masses, especially the proletariat.

Humanitarianism supports a parasitic form of capital accumulation

In fact many fractions of the capitalist class, especially the bureaucratic bourgeois and imperialist institutions such as NGOs are using the donations of well-intended people as a parasitic form of capitalist accumulation. This has even been documented as a growing trend of “disaster capitalism.”

Humanitarianism Promotes Dependency

We are not arguing that acts of solidarity, even humanitarian, are not warranted. On the contrary, they are necessary, but not under the dictatorship of capital. Capitalism only uses them to create a condition of dependency. Effective solidarity needs to be practiced within a revolutionary perspective of self-determination: COUNTING ON OUR OWN STRENGTH. In the response to the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, there was no attempt to promote self-determination. The politics of misery were used to guarantee capitalist accumulation. Aid, even humanitarian aid, has become one of the central forms of accumulation for the reproduction of capitalism in Haiti. As Thomas Sankara said of Western aid: “The root of the disease was political. The treatment could only be political. Of course, we encourage aid that aids us in doing away with aid. But in general, welfare and aid policies have only ended up disorganizing us, subjugating us, and robbing us of a sense of responsibility for our own economic, political, and cultural affairs. We chose to risk new paths to achieve greater well-being.”

A Quick Overview

It would be irresponsible and ultra-leftist not to ask for aid. We do support the need for donations. But the devastation of nature can’t be uncoupled from the reactionary political line of Haitian capitalism and imperialist domination. The way we deal with the devastation of nature must be determined in the field of class struggle, and now in the field of class struggle, capitalism is calling the shots. Haiti is a social formation that is rotten to the core. The inter-class struggles among the ruling classes in Haiti are secondary contradictions that provide no solution to the degradation of Haiti’s social structures. As long as capitalism is in control, as long as the policies of capitalism dominated by imperialism are in effect, exceptional crises caused by nature and the perpetual ongoing crisis caused by the anti-national and anti popular policies of the power block, the social formation will continue to deteriorate and reach a barbaric state in which the unacceptable becomes the norm of the day.

What Is to Be Done?

Although support is necessary at this time, progressives and revolutionaries must always denounce the role of the anti-national, anti-popular politics of capitalism in Haiti and demarcate themselves from the alternatives given to us by capitalism and imperialism. We must offer our own alternatives. Haiti is a failure of capitalism and imperialist domination. Our alternatives should be based on two aspects:

1] International solidarity and internationalism should start with progressives and revolutionaries organizing against their class enemies in their respective social formations, especially in the belly of imperialist social formations. Our future, in all social formations, can’t be based on whom we vote for but rather on our own capacity to organize in our interests and under the perspective of classes that have the most interest to rid humanity of capitalism.

2] Identifying organizations and movements we can support, from the perspective of unity and collective struggle for the conquest of popular democratic rights and the elimination of capitalism and feudalism. The more we organize and struggle in our own social formation, the more our vision of international unity and solidarity and internationalism will sharpen and consolidate. The more we demarcate from populism and opportunism the more our international unity will consolidate.

In Haiti, the MayDay Batay Ouvriye Federation of unions is a combative movement of laborers and workers that is organizing to struggle for the conquest of popular democratic rights. Batay Ouvriye [BO] is organizing workers and has worked to set up to unions in the garment industries in Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, Ouanaminthe and Caracol. BO is also organizing poor peasants in rural communal sections of Haiti as well as agricultural workers. Most recently, the Organization of Laborers and Landless Peasants [OPTST] held its first general assembly. Under the leadership of the most advanced workers, BO is constructing a combative path to conquer popular democratic rights battling feudalism and capitalism.

Compounding ruling class repression, Mathew has hit BO as a movement among the popular masses. Some of our members in rural areas have lost their homes and the means to sustain themselves. In the face of this crisis, we urge progressives and revolutionaries to extend their solidarity directly to BO in support for the continuing struggle for popular democratic rights.

The devastation Hurricane Matthew left behind is yet another proof of the anti-national and anti-popular nature of the Haitian ruling classes, their state apparatus and imperialism. As global capitalism fuels growing environmental disasters, dominated and exploited masses all over the world must organize to build political organizations and movements to confront directly the mother of all catastrophes and disasters: CAPITALISM.

2015 Elections in Haiti




By Kiki Makandal
November 18, 2015

premyemebo2015.inddSince 1986, after the popular uprising that led to the ouster of Baby Doc Duvalier and ended the 29-year Duvalier totalitarian regime, there has been, at times, a widely held position in “left” political tendencies in Haiti that elections under imperialist domination should be denounced and opposed because they could only serve to impose a pro-imperialist political solution to the political crisis in Haiti. Even Aristide and the Lavalas movement once held those positions. But, as election dates have drawn closer, inevitably, this consensus has fallen apart as populism and opportunism have teamed up to engulf the majority of these “left” political tendencies.

2015 is no different, although anyone with any sense of objectivity could easily draw conclusions from the failures of earlier attempts and realize that the objective conditions are even worse this time around. This time, the ruling faction in power is openly taking its directive from the American embassy, it has managed to gain control of the electoral apparatus, particularly in terms of vote counting and tabulation, and its armed thugs are brazenly beating down and killing political opponents. Never mind that the OAS, the “Core Group” (US, Canada, France, Brazil, Spain and the EU) and the UN MINUSTAH occupation forces have the final say in validating election results (that they have financed).

With a voter turnout maxing out at about 25% and rampant brazen ballot stuffing, only those completely sold out can lend any legitimacy to this masquerade. The low voter turnout makes the manipulation of results even easier.

It is not hard to understand how “left” populist opportunism predictably makes a recurring resurgence around election time, particularly in Haiti. With about 70% unemployment, job opportunities for petty-bourgeois intellectuals are limited mostly to NGOs and government jobs. Elections are like a desperate mating ritual for the few available positions of political patronage that depend on personal connections to winning candidates. How many so-called “left” militants have we seen jump ship to take on government positions, from minister to president? This is a class phenomenon of political opportunism, and government jobs are one-time opportunities to make a racket.

The Haitian popular masses have paid for their election lessons in blood: in 1988 massacres put an end to the first attempt at elections after the ouster of Baby Doc. In 1991 a violent coup and subsequent massacres put an end to the first Aristide populist government. In 2005, the popular masses once again showed their ability to thwart the most openly right wing pro-imperialist candidates by voting in Préval, only to see this Préval government enact the same neo-liberal reforms they had voted against… The 25% voter turnout shows how much disdain the Haitian masses have learned from these experiences of massacre and deception.


Why Does Terrorism Occur and What Is the Proletarian Response?





Jan Makandal

November 14, 2015

All terrorist acts, whether from the left or right, are in the final analysis a reactionary political practice. Terrorist acts are blind populist isolated acts in which an enemy is not well defined, and all are being terrorized.


Genuine anti-imperialist progressives need to denounce them, since these acts usually benefit the dominant classes, who recuperate them to serve their interests and justify narrow nationalism (another version of right populism). Proletarian revolutionaries also need to denounce them since they are not in the interest of the proletariat, and ultimately benefit the capitalist class and imperialism by giving them ammunition to intensify their internal acts of aggression.


The most recent acts by ISIS should be exposed and denounced along with all such isolated reactionary acts like the planting of bombs by the freedom fighters and the CIA in the port of Nicaragua, the planting of bombs in Israel, and the occupation of Vietnam by a minority force.


The isolated acts by ISIS in the imperialist social formation of France should not be considered progressive simply because they happened in the belly of an imperialist beast. The popular masses in imperialist France are being terrorized sporadically by these acts while being simultaneously dominated and exploited daily by their dominant classes. Those who commit these isolated acts do not seem to make a fundamental distinction between the masses and the dominant classes. This is why they are populist. All classes are dealt with as a potential enemy. Any unity with the popular masses of France becomes impossible since they too are targeted as a potential enemy.


To think that the struggle against terrorism should be directed against Islam is very limited, and is only looking at a tree but not the forest. Islam, like many other religions, is a sub-ideological component produced by a mode of production, mainly feudalism. As a sub-ideological component of religion, Islam, unlike Catholicism, is one of the few tendencies very difficult to adapt to capitalism.


Because of imperialism and capitalism, the feudalist mode of production (which is totally antagonistic to the capitalist mode of production) is in a process of decomposition. In many social formations this is a deformed process of decomposition, in which we will find the co-existence of two antagonistic modes of production. This inherently creates a constant contradiction: reproduction alongside and inside the dynamic of that decomposition. One of the effects of that complex problematic is constant political instability. One must appropriate that complexity in order to offer a solution that will not become feudalism or capitalism.


100 Years of Imperialist Domination: The US Occupation of Haiti (1915-34) and its current consequences


Kiki Makandal
July 28, 2015

UncleSam2July 28, 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of the first US occupation of Haiti. The occupation lasted 19 years, from 1915 to 1934. It was a turning point in the history of Haiti, a turning point that jolted the country into a steeper downfall under the boots of US imperialist domination. These days, because of this centenary, we have the opportunity to reflect more thoroughly on these events. While we are engaged in these reflections, as we are condemning all the aggressions, murders, expropriations, repression, exploitation, abuse and criminal injustice of the occupying forces, it would also be worthwhile to ponder what factors facilitated the occupation, how the degradation of the Haitian social formation opened the doors to the occupation: “even rotten teeth can chew soft food”.

On July 28, 1915, a squadron of about 400 marines (who had been aboard a US warship in the bay of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital) landed in Bizoton, close to the capital, and took over the country. According to Suzy Castor’s book “The US Occupation of Haiti”, the Haitian military’s resistance was sporadic and limited to just a few places. The vast majority of Haitian forces surrendered. In all, the occupation began with a force of 2,200 marines. This force was reduced to about 1,000 soldiers for most of the occupation. It was supplemented by a local gendarmerie of about 3,000 Haitian recruits under the command of US officers. This gendarmerie was the main force responsible for the US occupation.

It was the Cacos (mostly poor peasants, poorly armed mostly with machetes) under the leadership of Charlemagne Péralte and Benoit Battraville, who waged the main resistance struggle against the occupation forces. Even though there were many other fields of resistance, particularly from workers in plantations that were set up by US agro-industrial firms (Plantation Dauphin, SHADA, HASCO…), or workers in the ports loading and unloading products, and even petty bourgeois intellectuals who stood up and denounced the occupation (mostly in the cities), it was really the poor peasants who waged the strongest resistance against the occupation. Poor peasants were mobilized because they were expropriated from their land, and they were forced to work in slave-like conditions in chain gangs building roads for the occupying forces. In the South, there was the resistance of the Lamontagne and Marchaterre regions, but there was resistance everywhere against the exactions of the occupation forces. The North, the West and the Central Plateau were the main areas of resistance where the armed struggle of the Cacos was rooted.


The Working Class Vs. Imperialism: from Haiti to the Belly of the Beast



Kiki Makandal
June 2, 2015



Since the start of the 20th Century, not counting secret operations, there have been over 120 US military aggressions, an average of more than one a year. In Central America and the Caribbean alone, the US has intervened militarily: 6 times in Cuba, 4 times in the Dominican Republic, twice in El Salvador, once in Grenada, 3 times in Guatemala, 4 times in Haiti, 7 times in Honduras, 3 times in Mexico, 6 times in Nicaragua, 8 times in Panama, and twice in Puerto Rico.

There are more than 865 US military bases abroad in more than 63 countries. In 2011, 20% of the US federal budget, or $718 billion, went to defense and security-related activities, representing 41% of the world’s military budget. The US Navy is larger than the combined navies of the next 13 countries, 11 of which are US allies. The US maintains 5,113 nuclear warheads, enough to exterminate humankind a few times over. Right now, the US is engaged in at least 6 theaters of war: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and the Congo.

These are staggering statistics. But they only represent what many have called “the iron fist behind the invisible hand of the Free Market.” The US military is the enforcement arm of US economic policy: the composite of “investor friendly” policies, coerced, through financial crises and the accumulation of state debt, onto working peoples all over the world. These “neoliberal” policies include privatization of state services, austerity plans, reductions in wages and living standards, cutbacks in pensions, cutbacks in education, cutbacks in healthcare, cutbacks in social services, union busting, Free Trade Zones, WTO enforced free trade agreements… all ushered in under the guise of balancing budgets. The burden of state debt is being used to achieve the objectives of colonial invasions in prior centuries. These policies are being pushed through under the cover of a global war on terror, which equates dissenters to terrorists. All of this while the rich get tax breaks, global financial corporations get bailouts, giant multinationals get tax heavens, and CEOs get million-dollar bonuses.

These policies have wreaked misery on working people throughout the “third world” and are now striking workers in industrialized nations, as we see happening in Greece, throughout Europe and even here in the US. Finally, as the threat of catastrophic environmental change collides with bursting economic bubbles and rising global popular unrest, working people are becoming the targets of an increasingly repressive surveillance state.

While most of America’s population has been brainwashed into believing that the U.S. is a “good cop” worldwide peacekeeper and a defender of democracy, that “humanitarian interventions” are aimed at saving masses from massacre and disasters, and that US aid is geared to helping starving masses, the facts prove quite the contrary. For over a century, the U.S. has been and is still today the leading international imperialist aggressor. And now, with the global war on terror, drone warfare, with a joint strike force of special operations forces, signature strikes against “enemy combatants” defined in combat zones as any male over 14 years of age, secret kill lists, NSA global surveillance, the militarization of local police forces and anti-terror legislation that can be secretly interpreted in secret courts and used to detain and repress almost anyone they choose to target, the tools of repression and oppression have been honed for both inside and outside the US.

সাম্রাজ্যবাদের সংক্ষিপ্ত সংজ্ঞায়ন (A Brief Definition of Imperialism)



English version:

Original translation:

পুঁজিবাদের ঐতিহাসিক সম্প্রসারণ অপ্রতিরোধ্যভাবে (সমরূপে নয় যদিও) পুঁজির কেন্দ্রীভবনের দিকেই ধাবিত হচ্ছে। উৎপাদনের মাত্রা বৃদ্ধি, একচেটিয়া বাজার দখল ও প্রযুক্তির বিকাশ এই সস্প্রসারণকে করেছে আরও ত্বরান্বিত। পুঁজির কেন্দ্রীভবন তৈরি করেছে একচেটিয়া আধিপত্যের; যা তাদের শাসনকৃত অধীনস্থ সমাজ কাঠামোর অর্থনৈতিক ও রাজনৈতিক ব্যবস্থার উপর সমানুপাতে (নিয়ন্ত্রণ করে) ক্ষমতার প্রয়োগ ঘটাতে সাহায্য করছে।

যখন পুঁজির নিয়ম অনুযায়ী অপরিহার্য বিকাশের পরিণতি স্বরূপ, প্রত্যাশিতভাবেই তার নিয়ন্ত্রিত এলাকায় (জনগোষ্ঠী বা সামাজিক কাঠামোতে) পুঞ্জীভূত উদ্বৃত্তমূল্য সর্বোচ্চ সীমায় পৌঁছে, তখন পুঁজি বাধ্য হয়েই নিজ বিকাশের স্বার্থে ঐ এলাকার গণ্ডি পেড়িয়ে অন্য এলাকার দিকে আগ্রাসী হয়। রাষ্ট্র/রাষ্ট্রসমূহকে ব্যবহার করে সে তার মূল ভিত্তি হিসেবে, অন্যান্য সামাজিক কাঠামোর ওপর রাজনৈতিক কূটকৌশল প্রয়োগ করে (যুদ্ধ, যে রাজনীতির চরমতম রূপ) – একে একে ওগুলোকে পুঁজির অধীনে নেয়ার জন্যে। পাশাপাশি প্রতিযোগিতা চলে, অন্যান্য পুঁজির ওপর দিয়ে ছড়িয়ে পড়ে কীভাবে বিশ্বকে বিভক্ত করা যায়, তা নিয়ে। (more…)