PORT-AU-PRINCE, February 27 — Many workers in many industries in Haiti have been fired for organizing a union or striking, including printers, hospital workers, archivists, transportation workers, teachers, city workers and others. This treatment violates labor laws on the books but never enforced. One such group who has stayed together in their union and are still — years later — demanding their jobs back, met with PLP to find out about the Party and to ask how it could help them expand their campaign.
This is a very determined group of workers, including many active women, who have dared to oppose the repressive and cruel capitalist system here by staging demonstrations, confronting the corrupt management, organizing petitions and press conferences, and requesting the support of various unions and organizations. Although their efforts so far have been ignored by the rulers, they continue their fight-back.
Those of us present were thrilled to see such courageous workers who, in spite of the misery being imposed on them by the deadly duo of capitalism and imperialism in Haiti, continue the struggle for dignity and bread. We explained that we will do what we can to obtain the support of other unions where we have a presence. Our student friends will continue to meet with a workers’ committee to plan how students and workers can help one another’s struggles. The workers clearly understood the need for this unity of workers and students in confronting a common enemy.
Spreading the Struggle
Our exchange of experiences and ideas gave rise to a pledge on our part to work harder in the U.S. to denounce these attacks on workers in Haiti and to step up circulation of a petition in their support. We delivered some petitions containing hundreds of signatures for the workers, who received them with great appreciation and will show them to other unions. They will also gather signatures on a petition of their own supporting U.S workers’ struggles.
We stated, however, that we have no “magic bullet” to help them win their demands. The capitalist system is a deadly treadmill of attacks against workers worldwide. Like any reform struggle, even if they succeed, the bosses can take those wins away the next day, or make new attacks. Without an outlook that involves the destruction of capitalism and the fight for communism, we will always be fighting the next assault against our class since that’s what the system produces in its thirst for profit from our labor.
During the meeting we discussed the ten PLP principles stated in “Our Fight” from the Kreyòl issue of CHALLENGE. In response, women workers were especially passionate in their hatred of the system. One told us she lives in a single room with four grown children since being fired. She asked how workers could win an armed revolution when the state has all the weapons. One answer stressed that our strength is in our numbers, if we get organized.
Some liked “Our Fight” but asked how these ideas could help win their long struggle for their jobs. We stressed that each battle, win or lose, can “win” if we come out of it stronger in numbers and with more comrades committed to revolution. One comrade found it very painful to have to tell such hard-hit workers that only revolution and expanding the Party can win. But that is the challenge we all face.
Their determination is a good example of a working-class fighting spirit. No matter how destitute, hungry and oppressed the workers might be, they are fighting back and refusing to submit to the nightmare of misery and neglect that their masters have created for them in Haiti. They have our support and admiration as communists. In the course of their struggle, they can understand that capitalism, just like a leech sucking up our blood, must be destroyed so that we can live and prosper under a system of justice and equality: communism.