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

Against the Murderous Fury of Armed Gangs, Organized and Conscious Self-Defense of the Popular Masses

Sep 18, 2023

The following article is translated from the latest issue (#308) of Voix des Travailleurs, published in Haiti by comrades of the Organization of Revolutionary Workers (OTR).

Encircling the whole of the West department, with its population of around 4 million, criminal gangs have, over the last few weeks, stepped up the pace of the war they are waging on the masses of people in the various areas they control. Abandoning their lodgings and fleeing in all directions to escape the various attacks of the rogue gangs, with the indifference, or even complicity, of the police and government leadership, the exploited masses have an interest in building collective, conscious self-defense organizations to protect themselves.

The images circulating on social networks throughout August are terrifying. The echoes coming from working-class neighborhoods where gangs are rife are chilling. Here, the image of a teenager trying to rescue an elderly man by carrying him on his back, there, a pregnant woman fleeing with two other small children. Houses on fire, one with seven children from the same family. Before long, makeshift camps were springing up in public squares, schools, and sidewalks, in terrible conditions. Hundreds of fleeing families try to find shelter, perhaps until the police or town councils decide to dislodge them with batons or tear gas because their presence is disturbing, as happened in front of the American embassy or in the Hugo Chavez square near the airport.

But the more the population flees, the more blows they take, the more powerful the gangs feel. The gangs know they have to keep on intimidating, panicking, killing and massacring to survive, otherwise they have no chance of resisting a population that is mobilized, organized and determined to fight for its freedom.

Even with a spontaneous and partial mobilization involving part of the population in a few working-class neighborhoods, the struggles of the popular masses against the armed gangs have recently shown their effectiveness. The population of Carrefour-Feuille has resisted and continues to resist, despite the numerous massacres perpetrated by criminal gangs. These struggles need to be extended to the entire population.

Aware that it is up to them alone to organize to protect themselves, the exploited masses need to forget asking or waiting for the police, the armed wing of the bourgeoisie, to come to their aid, or for imperialist foreign military forces to liberate them. This attitude will only perpetuate the suffering of the population, handing them over to their enemies hand and foot. Present in the country since 1994, civilian and military missions under the aegis of the UN or the OAS have not prevented the development and proliferation of armed gangs against the population.

Across the country, organizing by the exploited masses and the working class into a collective force is the best way to resist the wrath of the bandits and their accomplices. Getting organized, setting up forces of conscious self-defense with the participation and under the control of the population, is the only way the popular classes can give themselves a chance to emerge victorious from this war imposed by armed gangs.