The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Military Intervention in Haiti:
Hesitation by the Imperialist Powers

Feb 20, 2023

This article is translated from the February issue #301 of La Voix des Travaillers (Workers’ Voice), the journal of the Organization of Revolutionary Workers (Organisation des Travailleurs Revolutionaires) active in Haiti.

In Haiti almost nothing is left of the traditional bourgeois state. The headquarters of Haiti’s supreme court has been occupied by armed gangs for many months. The police are badly trained and underpaid, and when they leave police stations they fall like flies under the murderous bullets of armed gangs. The executive office and what remains of government institutions operate as if they were in hiding. But in spite of all this, as far as the imperialist powers are concerned, there is no fire to put out. Why? Because the foundation of their system of exploitation—private ownership of the means of production—is not yet threatened.

The reign of terror by the gangs continues. As if on conquered ground, they continue to invade new territories and carry out massacres in working-class neighborhoods. The exploited masses are the main victims, while the bourgeoisie gets collateral damage. Economic activities are collapsing. The main roads linking different parts of the country are blocked. The ports operate in slow motion. Fleeing the gangs’ fury, many businesses have shut down. Some bosses and foreign nationals are kidnapped. Others are killed.

At the request of the prime minister and his government, in October the Haitian ruling classes asked the imperialist powers to immediately dispatch a specialized armed expeditionary force to counter the gangs’ rise.

But since then, the imperialist powers have blown hot and cold. The U.S. government’s cautious attitude and contradictory statements by Canada’s ambassador in Haiti and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez are typical. Presumed to be imminent 4 months ago, Canadian ambassador to the UN Bob Rae recently said any major military intervention would have no lasting impact. Gutierrez disagrees and continues to call for military intervention to resolve the security crisis.

Proponents of the global capitalist order hesitate. Their Haiti is not yet on fire. It would be if the working class and the starving millions took to the streets contesting for control over the wealth of the country. Or even if some bourgeois politician dared to spread illusions among the popular masses. In that event, they would not hesitate one second to intervene, as they did in the Dominican Republic in May 1965, or in Cuba after Castro’s victory. They hesitate now because they fear that their military presence would trigger greater militancy among the working class and poor themselves against the gangs and the exploiting class.

The little gangs in workers’ neighborhoods and the big gangs of imperialism which dominate the world have this in common: they all live off the exploitation of the working people. Let’s be clear. As long as that continues, there is no other solution for the exploited masses than to fight to overthrow this social order on the scale of Haiti and internationally.