The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Haiti:
Popular Self-Defense against the Terror of Armed Gangs

Jan 18, 2021

The following is a translation of excerpts from Voix des Travailleurs, the paper of the revolutionary workers organization active in Haiti.

Doctors spontaneously took to the streets after the kidnapping of an intern from the general hospital. In Carrefour, the population resisted a group of gangsters for three days. Armed with picks, batons, and machetes, some parents bring their children to school in groups. These are signs people are fed up by the violence of armed gangs: the generalization and organization of all these initiatives in the working-class neighborhoods of the whole country is the only effective way to stop the criminal gangs.

Robberies, kidnappings for ransom, summary executions: violence against the population is taking on alarming proportions. The armed gangs certainly have sophisticated arms. With the complicity of the government, they take advantage of the chaos of the fight for political power. But they are only a tiny minority. Faced with these cowards who go after isolated and disarmed people, including young girls, women workers, pregnant women, and elderly people, we must put forward the conscious and organized fight of the majority of the population....

The population must remember and be inspired by the fights that it has led against gangs like the criminals beholden to the Raoul Cedras regime, FRAPH, the death squads under the reign of Regala and Namphy, and the militia of grim memory, the Tonton Macoutes. The power of the state, at the service of which these gangs functioned, did not stop them. Indeed it took the fight of millions of residents of the popular neighborhoods. The workers put themselves out of harm’s way.

The police and the government of Jovenel have shown that they are on the side of the assassins by dispersing the start of the demonstration of medical interns in solidarity with their kidnapped colleague last Saturday at the Champs de Mars, and by going after with full force all the initiatives of the population to protect itself. And so, to defeat the armed gangs, the popular masses can only count on their numbers, their determination, and their fights.