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

National Borders:
Prisons for Workers and the Poor

Nov 27, 2023

This article is translated from the November issue #311 of La Voix des Travailleurs (Workers’ Voice), the journal of the Organization of Revolutionary Workers (Organisation des Travailleurs Revolutionaires) active in Haiti.

In the context of capitalist globalization, there is no shortage of international treaties for the free movement of people, goods, and capital. There is no such freedom for the exploited. This is the case now in Haiti. Even those whose lives are in danger face multiple barriers if they want to leave their country in search of a better life.

The United States has just ordered its lackeys in power in Haiti to suspend all flights to Nicaragua, where entry visas are not required. Following the closure of land, air, and sea borders last October by the president of the Dominican Republic, one more door is closing on desperate people fleeing the misery and gang violence visited mostly by the poorer classes.

The right of people to leave their country and choose their place of residence is recognized, especially when their lives are in danger, by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and also by numerous global and regional treaties.

The reality of the bourgeois-run world is a very different story. National borders—lines drawn on maps, vestiges of generations-old balances of military power, and often traced by colonizing or imperialist powers—are, in reality, walls, barriers erected between dreams and reality, depriving individuals of mobility while allowing goods and money to circulate unhindered.

Everywhere you look, these borders separate the hopes of a better life from oppressive realities. Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the same island, are separated by physical and administrative barriers that have reached dizzying heights in recent years. By 2023, for example, Dominican visas were selling for up to 1,000 U.S. dollars, compared with 50 dollars the year before.

Facts keep showing that capitalists and their henchmen in power don’t even respect their own laws. All that talk about freedom of movement and other freedoms only applies to the rich.