The Spark

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

Haiti:
Organize to Survive

Feb 15, 2010

The population of Haiti continues to struggle to survive. Food rations bring some relief, but these relief supplies rarely reach the poor neighborhoods.

Since the beginning of the catastrophe, the population has had to rely on itself. Local authorities did not organize aid. The television in the U.S. emphasizes people saved by Western aid workers, but the majority have been aided by the population itself. The population of Haiti can have confidence only in itself. This is the assessment made by comrades of the Revolutionary Workers Organization of Haiti (OTR-UCI), who address the population in the following way.

The officials in charge have failed. They reveal themselves completely incapable of facing up to the consequences of the catastrophe. They were simply absent. The population is left not only without means, but without a plan, without the least indication of what must be done, without the least coordination. Those who were saved were saved by the population itself, through solidarity. This solidarity is our strength. Through these times of catastrophe, we’ve been able to verify in each courtyard, in each chance gathering, the value of men and women. It is among these whom we have been able to appreciate that we should choose our leaders.

It’s necessary to create, everywhere where it can be done, “survival committees,” to take charge of drawing up an inventory of needs and the distribution of everything that’s necessary to survive: water, medicine, food, bedding. We can trust only in ourselves, in those among us whom we’ve elected and who we can continue to watch. We don’t have to accept individuals profiting off of food and filling their pockets when we’re under the threat of death through hunger and thirst.

We can no longer have confidence in the police or the occupation troops from other countries. We ourselves must insure our own security. It’s necessary for men and women coming from our ranks, under our control, to assure order and security for all.

We’ve seen that we can’t count on anyone. But by organizing ourselves, we don’t need anyone. Organizing ourselves, electing our own leaders, we make ourselves heard collectively. These are the vital tasks of the hour. It is in our reach and it is indispensable.

It’s necessary to requisition all the food stocks, those of warehouses belonging to big importers, to the supermarkets and wealthy individuals, as well as the stocks of bedding material, cooking material and tools needed for clearing up the debris. Private property has no place in a collective catastrophe, and it’s opposed to the survival of human beings. It must be suspended, all the more as a number of rich individuals departed on the first evacuation planes, with their lives safe and suitcases full. The inventorying of these stocks must be done collectively. They must be requisitioned and where appropriate distributed under the control of all those leaders chosen by the concerned community. Individual pillage can and must be prevented through the discipline of a community that determines the priorities and stops things from being divided according to the law of the jungle.

In the same manner, food arriving through international aid must be apportioned. The control of the distribution of food by troops armed to the teeth not only is harmful to our dignity, but it absolutely doesn’t prevent anarchy, the law of the strongest; for these dispensers of food don’t know our real needs or priorities. It’s up to each community to assure its own discipline.

The authorities, the national ones who reappear now that they have demonstrated that they serve no purpose, as well as the international ones, in reality U.S. forces who openly exercise power, will all the more respect our needs and our demands when we make them heard. And to be heard means, above all, showing that we’re organized and that the representatives we give ourselves enjoy the mass support of the poor population.