The world’s eyes are riveted on scenes of horror in Haiti. The world’s hearts are straining. People everywhere are trying to support the Haitian people in any way they can. Meanwhile, the clock ticks very urgently, as people literally die beneath the rubble and perish on the streets as well for lack of medical care, water, food, and shelter.
The means exist to rescue and aid the Haitian people! These must be made immediately available by the governments of the world and, first and foremost, the United States. While some governments have sent doctors and other forms of aid, as of Thursday morning the United States has focused on sending paratroopers and militarily securing the area. While Obama has now promised 100 million dollars, the U.S. government is above all concerned with ensuring the continuation of the repressive government order and controlling and/or suppressing the initiative and efforts of masses to deal with this horrible situation. (100 million dollars is less than one-tenth of one percent of U.S. yearly military expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan.) The U.S. government must immediately focus its resources on getting aid directly to the Haitian people, putting supplies on the ground and marshaling the many doctors, engineers, construction workers, etc. who work for the government, as well as the many many people who would volunteer to help any way that they could. THIS IS A HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCY, AND MUST BE DEALT WITH AS SUCH.
The Haitian people themselves must be assisted, and not suppressed. The media—just as it did in Katrina—is already portraying the Haitian people as animals and criminals. In fact, the masses in Haiti—as they did in New Orleans during Katrina—are in the main mobilizing to collectively deal with their situation. These efforts must be supported in all aid programs, and there must be no suppression by the U.S. troops of those who are trying with all their might to save themselves and their people. Volunteers coming from other countries must be assisted by the governments now sending aid to Haiti, and not suppressed.
History shows that there will be, and must be, a struggle against this system to demand that the needs of the masses actually be met and that there NOT be suppression of the masses. As part of this:
There must be no harassment, prosecution or deportation of Haitian immigrants within the U.S. attempting to locate, or aid, their loved ones and friends. Instead, government assistance must be made available to those trying to communicate to the island with a guarantee of at least temporary amnesty for any attempting to go through U.S. government agencies to do so.
There must be no attacks on Haitian people attempting to flee their situation through boats. Instead, the Coast Guard must help people attempting to flee to safety and if they are trying to get to the U.S., must help them do so.
The disaster in Haiti is neither the result of the so-called “will of God” nor the fault of the Haitian people. It is the result of centuries of imperialist domination, occupation and isolation. The news reports talk about Haiti ’s poverty, but they don’t tell you why Haiti is so poor. Very few people know that Haiti was the scene of the only successful slave revolution in history—when the heroic descendants of African slaves drove out the strongest army in the world at that time, the French. Very few people know that the world’s powers—especially the U.S., which at that time feared the influence of Haiti on the slaves in this country, and France —embarked on a policy of isolating and impoverishing Haiti. Very few people know that for nearly 20 years in the early 1900’s the U.S. marines occupied Haiti , suppressing a liberation struggle and implanting puppets. Very few people know that the U.S. backed the infamously cruel tyrant “Papa Doc” Duvalier, and then his son “Baby Doc,” in the middle of the century. And all too few know that it then conspired to overthrow the popular president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the 1990’s and then again just a few years ago in 2004. All these criminal actions—this long criminal history of oppression—flowed from the economic and political needs of the U.S. ruling classes during the time when the United States was run, first, by a coalition of capitalist and slave-holding classes, and then more recently (and up to today) by the ruling capitalist-imperialist class. Throughout the last two centuries the U.S. has backed up reactionary ruling classes within Haiti as part of this.
In other words, the fact that the Haitian people live in terrible conditions and now must face this disaster with little resources other than their own hands and minds, and up against an extremely repressive set of social relations, is the result of a worldwide system. As the message “The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have,” from the RCP,USA puts it:
“Throughout the world, as a result of this system, a billion people or more go hungry every day…with many facing the threat of starvation. Hundreds of millions of children are forced to work like slaves and to live in putrid slums, in the midst of garbage and human waste. Waves of immigrants, unable to live in their own homelands, travel the earth in search of work—and if they find it, they are worked until they can hardly stand and are forced into the shadows, with the constant fear that they will be deported and their families broken apart. Growing numbers of people cannot find work at all now, with many losing their homes as well as their jobs, while others are worked even more mercilessly. Everyone is lured and driven to consume more and more, at the cost of ever mounting debt and the loss of any sense of larger purpose or meaning to life or any deeper connection with other human beings. Many are being pushed to the edge… growing numbers are going over the edge, often lashing out in crazed desperation.”
Now this system makes a terrible disaster even worse. Imperialism, of course, did not cause the earthquake. But the system of imperialism dictates how that earthquake is responded to and dealt with.
In sum: this is NOT the best of all possible worlds. We do NOT have to live this way. To again quote the message:
“And it is through revolution to get rid of this system that we ourselves can bring a much better system into being. The ultimate goal of this revolution is communism: A world where people work and struggle together for the common good… Where everyone contributes whatever they can to society and gets back what they need to live a life worthy of human beings… Where there are no more divisions among people in which some rule over and oppress others, robbing them not only of the means to a decent life but also of knowledge and a means for really understanding, and acting to change, the world.”
As we work and struggle side by side to fight for the urgent demands of the Haitian people, we call on people to also engage with us in discussion on why things ARE the way they are, and wrangling over how to get to a whole different, and much better, world and to get into the work that our leader, Bob Avakian, has been doing on the kind of revolution we need and the ways that such a revolution could be made.
Go to revcom.us for ongoing coverage and updates and send us information and stories you hear about what is going on in Haiti . [email protected]