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(en) Ireland, Anarchist Workers Solidarity #89 - Elections in Haiti - What about Democracy?

Date Wed, 07 Dec 2005 08:59:39 +0200

The 30th of September marked a new anniversary of the first coup against
Aristide in Haiti. That day, activists in 47 cities around the world,
held an international day of solidarity with Haitian people who, once
again, are suffering from the effects of a coup and a bloody occupation
under the command of the UN
Elections in Haiti - What about Democracy?

The 30th of September marked a new anniversary of the first coup
against Aristide in Haiti. That day, activists in 47 cities around the
world, held an international day of solidarity with Haitian people who,
once again, are suffering from the effects of a coup and a bloody
occupation under the command of the UN.

In Dublin, we were visited by a Haitian activist, Obed Alexis, who
gave a conference and we participated in the picket organised by the
Latin American Solidarity Centre, joining this international protest.
We showed Haitian people that they are not on their own and that
there are plenty of hands ready to help them in their struggle against
the occupation and Latortue's dictatorship.

The demands behind the protest were simple: respect for Haitian
people's sovereignty, release of all political prisoners and the
immediate retirement of UN troops from Haiti, which have backed the
elite and have worsened repression. It's worth mentioning that most of
the armies involved in this UN mission, like the Nepalese, Pakistani,
Peruvian, Chilean, Moroccan, etc. have serious records of Human
Rights violations and still, are supposed to be guardians of democratic
values in Haiti.

Now, with the date of the Haitian presidential elections approaching
(mid December), we're told this is a concrete way for Haitian people to
exercise their right to sovereignty and to express their will. Without
getting into the argument of the banality of "democratic" elections, we
can wonder how this will can be expressed as Haitian society is
crushed under the weight of rampant violence promoted by the death
squad of the ruling classes, by the brutality of its police and the
occupational forces, and when prominent militants of the most
popular political party &endash;Fanmi Lavalas- are imprisoned, dead
or exiled. These are the reasons why popular organisations have called
to a boycott of the elections and why the people are reluctant to believe
that any democratic progress could be achieved with them. That was
reflected in the low turnout to inscriptions in the first months of the
process; this trend only changed when, in order to force people to
participate in a blatantly irregular process, the de facto government
introduced a new ID card that will be given only to voters. After the
elections, this will be a compulsory document for Haitian citizens.

This elections will be a milestone in the occupation; it's the necessary
illusion of democracy in a world dominated by multinationals in a
deeply undemocratic way. It's the way the ruling class have to sanctify
the coup and its violent aftermath. It's the way they have to show the
world that Haiti is back to normal &endash;with 10,000 citizens less.
It's the way the elites validate themselves in power as a result of
popular will, instead of a bloody coup. The US and France, with its
firm grip in the region are quite interested in this process running
smoothly: The elections will cost U$60 million, 90% coming from the
EU and the US. After all it's good investment; the sweat shops will
keep going on at low cost, the markets will keep wide-open, there'll be
more control of the flow of cocaine and immigrants into the US, and
the prospect of a reliable ally in the region is always welcome.

The candidates are a motley bunch of 34 businessmen and thugs,
quite representative of the worse of Haitian history of oppression. And
Aristide's party is torn between those who call for active resistance and
boycott, and the bourgeois sectors that are trying to accommodate to
the new situation and presented their own candidates: ex-president
Preval and Bazin, former prime minister of the dictator Cedras!.

The elections can't be expected to solve Haiti's deep problems, but
have highlighted a number of issues for the international movement:
the inconsistence of a strategy that brings together in equality of terms
the popular and bourgeois sectors of society and the new "democratic"
face of imperialism, that globally is imposing its will through elections,
showing the true face of capitalist democracy. Not much is left for
Haitian people, but the need to go back to its popular roots, to its
tradition of "popular democracy" from below and to draw from there
an anti-capitalist program to overcome the source of Haiti's problems:
the sharp class division between the rich and the dispossessed.
Without addressing that issue, the danger of new coups will prevail,
and any democratic dream will only remain as an illusion.

Paddy Rua
More details on Haiti at http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=1159

For related articles see Anarchism and the fight against Imperialism
This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'. http://struggle.ws/wsm/paper.html

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This edition is No89 published in Sept 2005
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