Haiti’s crisis: the ruling classes have failed; we need an autonomous alternative!


(The leaflet, in English and Kreyol, follows this introduction)

February 24, 2016


The Haitian masses have been mobilizing in the streets for the past 6 months or more to derail the sell-out alternatives of the Haitian dominant classes to imperialism. The most recent political election was derailed by massive popular mobilizations. The Haitian masses thwarted the imperialist plan under the slogan “WE WILL NOT OBEY”—even if only for a short time.


Unfortunately, the combativeness of the masses has been limited, and has been mostly co-opted by various sectors of the petit bourgeois linked to a consortium of the capitalist power bloc, against the political sectors represented by the anti-popular and anti-national government of the bourgeois bureaucrats’ Martelly, linked as well with a consortium of the capitalist power bloc.


There is an intense competition within the Haitian ruling classes. Cliques of petit bourgeois elements, ranging from left to right populists, are offering their services to sectors of the Haitian dominant classes and imperialism. That is the main plot of the political crisis surrounding these failed and trumped up elections. These cliques are offering themselves as either a new potential bureaucratic bourgeoisie (rural and metropolitan petit bourgeois) or a recycled bureaucratic bourgeoisie (represented by the “Fanmi Lavalas”, the political party of Aristide, or the Duvalierists, former “macoutes”). But the masses, even under the leadership of those forces, are still coming up with their own demands.


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.


Sanders and the Debacle of the Left




by Jan Makandal

October 24, 2015


The left’s coup de grace certainly did not originate with Sanders. Its degeneration is the result of persistent and long-term opportunism and populism. Bernie Sanders is simply one additional element accelerating the debacle of today’s petit bourgeois radical left, a pertinent effect pushing it into an abyss of its own creation.


This radical petit bourgeois left is expert at quoting dead proletarian revolutionaries, tuning their valuable contributions into verses frozen in time. But they are totally inept at using these quotations as a guide for the future.


They refuse to acknowledge or use proletarian theory (Marxism at its core) as a science. Marxism can’t stand still in time, but is in a constant mode of rectification and consolidation. The insistence of using quotes, making others speak for them, is not a sign of political unity with these previous revolutionaries, but is instead an exemption freeing them from elevating the quotes to a theory which can eventually guide them in their own practice.


For proletarian militants, practice is a validation of theory, whether it proves a theory is incorrect (indicating the need to rectify the theory) or correct (from which follows the need to consolidate). But we can observe that even when these petit bourgeois radical leftists cite quotes, their content is far apart, very far apart from their own political practices. In other words, for them there is no dialectical relation between theory and practice. Instead, these quotes become ossified and inevitably contribute to the stagnation of proletarian theory.


Racism as an Element of Fascism, a Political Tendency of Capitalism




By Proletarian Alternative

June 21, 2015   


fascismOn Wednesday, June 17, 2015, a 21-year-old man walked into a church, prayed with the parishioners, and opened fire, killing nine people. All were Black. Subjectively, he thought that African-Americans are soon going to take over an imperialist social formation—so killing nine of them was apparently for him an initial step of slowing down the process of realizing that transfer of power.


This was an act motivated by racism, but it was also more than that. We must analyze the conditions underlying incidents like this one, if we are to combat and overcome these conditions effectively, and to transform society in a way that eliminates them forever. Let us draw the connections between racism, fascism, and the current structural crisis of capitalism. Understanding the fundamental dynamics of our conditions as deeply as possible will allow us to delineate a way forward out of this US-American capitalist/imperialist hell.


In reality, Dylann Roof committed a political act. Because it was a political act, we need to interpret it in the realm of class struggle. No political act is committed outside of the reality of classes and class struggle. This is true even if one does not even recognize that his/her action is a political act, and that it is in the interest of particular classes. Each of our actions, committed over our lifetimes, usually benefits one class or another. Since our political acts are in the interest of specific classes, then they are INEVITABLY against the interest of other classes, either antagonistically or non-antagonistically.


So it would be insufficient, and very limiting, to reduce this event to the act of a crazy person or even to an act of terrorism. Acknowledging it as a terrorist act is an upgrade from merely attributing it to mental illness, but to limit our thought process even to that is in this case (as in all cases) also a political approach that will benefit particular classes, mainly the dominant classes.


Populism at the level of the working class




Proletarian Alternative

(January 2015)

Populism is a very important object of struggle in the ideological and theoretical development of the working class. The struggle against populism is and will be a very important component in the struggle of the working class for immediate demands and for the long-term objective of the class. It is indispensable that we have a clear-cut conception of populism and its nature.

What is populism?

  • Populism is a political, theoretical and ideological approach in which we look at the masses (or the oppressed, or the people) without looking at class. It is to talk about the masses or the oppressed without attempting to understand the differences among them, even if there is an attempt to lean on particular classes or fractions of classes.
  • In the moment of imperialism, in the US and internationally, there is a strong tendency to look at people or oppressed as an amalgam without, once again, making a class distinction. In reality, it is an approach of looking at the non-proletarian dominated classes as a political alternative, because they are more numerous, or even poorer than the working class, or may play a conjunctural and immediate contextual or historical cultural role. This approach is not innocent. It is rooted in the classes that practice populism.