Yankee Marauders Out
by the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
the US army has intervened in a "crisis", this time invading and
occupying Haiti behind a heavy barrage of slogans like "humanitarian
interests", "stemming the refugee flow", "reinstalling a democratically-elected
president" and disarming the dictatorship's "brutal armed forces".
What?! - the world's biggest thugs and exploiters promising to "liberate"
some of the world's poorest people from the clutches of the very
killer thugs they themselves have trained and hired?! The US military's
true mission in Haiti is as familiar as their increasingly frequent
invasions around the world: to establish order, US-imposed order,
in a situation that has slipped out of the imperialists' control.
In the present
international framework, marked by deepening imperialist crisis,
the US imperialists are trying to head off mass revolts against
their rule, especially in the neocolonies, while shoring up their
position relative to the other imperialist powers. Since the collapse
of their main rivals in the East, the Soviet social-imperialists,
the US rulers feel they have a freer hand to clean up messy spots
and patch up real and potential faultlines in their New World Order.
But, as they have seen in Somalia, taking such a path is also filled
with danger. Deep divisions exist within the US ruling class over
how to proceed. These divisions were reflected in sharp in-fighting
over whether, when and how to invade Haiti. But this in-fighting
did not at all change their basic drive to establish political stability
in the region and throughout Latin America, as a major step in dealing
with the problems of their empire.
masses have been desperately pressed between dire poverty and the
military generals' campaign of terror; many have struggled courageously
in the face of this, while many others have been trying to escape
the rampant killing and utter misery by going to the US (which has
either detained them or sent them back to their deaths at the hands
of the junta and police). The fact that the US imperialists finally
chose to invade shows their determination to snap their local henchmen
into line and defuse the explosive social tensions that have built
up there. They want to stop the exodus of refugees towards their
shores and most of all to prevent another revolutionary uprising
of the Haitian people from completely unraveling their control in
Haiti and igniting the neo-colonial tinderboxes stretching across
their so-called backyard of Latin America.
people have a long, rich history of struggle against slavery and
feudalism, colonial invaders and imperialist-installed military
regimes. Little has changed in the US' basic relationship to Haiti
- that of strangling the economy and propping up a local reactionary
army - for almost 100 years. The US first invaded Haiti in 1915,
right on the heels of its bloody incursions into the Philippines,
Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Nicaragua. This first invasion was
part of the regional consolidation of the US' imperialist empire
and its drive to crush armed struggle against feudal landlords.
Widespread peasant resistance continued against the US invasion
and its harsh 19-year-long colonial occupation, during which thousands
were massacred. The Yankees pulled out militarily in 1934, but they
extended their economic and political hold, turning Haiti into a
neo-colony, helping to build up a small comprador class, along with
a state, including an army and laws. A leap in this process took
place with the coming to power in the late 1950s of "Papa Doc" Duvalier,
a CIA favourite, followed by his son "Baby Doc", which helped consolidate
the reactionary classes and suppressed the masses' struggle against
the murderous military machine. This paved the way for more thorough
imperialist penetration and dispossession of the peasants.
In 1986 a
mass dechoukage (uprooting) movement spread throughout the island
and overthrew this bitterly-hated Duvalier dictatorship. People's
justice was meted out to his death squad members, called the Tonton
Macoutes. The mass struggle and revolutionary mood did not subside,
and a succession of new governments with the old Duvalierist repressive
apparatus still in place were not able to contain the sharp infighting
within ruling circles.
The US imperialists
shifted strategies in 1991 and helped to organize elections in an
effort to channel the fury of the masses into the electoral process
and to restructure and stabilize the state through a realignment
of pro-US forces within the Haitian elite. The result was the election
of the radical populist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who got 70%
of the vote. Aristide emerged from petit-bourgeois forces opposed
to the Duvalier regimes who wanted to alleviate some of the poverty
and suffering of the masses. But his immense popularity, due in
no small part to his posturing against US domination at the time
and his measured support of the dechoukage, did not mean he had
full political power: Aristide's position at the top of the same
state and military structure he wanted to reform was precarious
and short-lived. Just six months after his election, Aristide was
toppled in a military coup (in which powerful forces in Washington
DC are widely believed to have lent a hand). He was replaced by
General Raoul Cedras.
years the US has been debating how to stabilize Haiti again. One
section of the US bourgeoisie wanted to abandon Aristide and preferred
to pressure the corrupt military junta to step down or at least
to loosen its destabilizing clampdown against the masses. But it
was of course the people who suffered from the subsequent economic
embargo, while CIA kickbacks and "anti-drug" funds continued to
fatten the generals.
of the US rulers, including Clinton, insisted on seizing the opportunity
of returning Aristide to power in order to send in the US marines
(posing as freedom fighters) to get a firm grip on the situation.
To convince public opinion, the Clinton government exposed to the
world some of the torture, rape and murder that these local brutes
were guilty of, while trying to conceal who signs their paychecks
and to pretend that the "new" army, also trained by US killer police
and soldiers, will be different. For his part, Aristide, exiled
in the US, has been negotiating his return to office in exchange
for completely surrendering to US demands and conditions.
torrent of appeals for reconciliation in Haiti, his future role
remains uncertain. With or without him, and partly camouflaged by
the arriving hand-picked international peacekeeping force and police
trainers from places like Israel, the US will continue its occupation
in an effort to reorganize a reliable Haitian military and police
force that can maintain the comprador-feudal order in Haiti and
protect imperialist interests.
At first the
US troops allowed the people to let off steam from the pressure
cooker building up. But the masses' desire for revenge against their
enemies is displayed in great disorder everywhere. The US troops'
job of enforcing amnesty at gunpoint for the people's murderers
in the police and military will inevitably throw the masses into
direct conflict with the Yankee army, which will then spill plenty
of the people's blood if necessary in the name of "order", that
is, suppressing violence by the oppressed.
are being spread among the Haitian masses about what the new situation
will mean for the economy. It was many years ago under the Duvalier
regime that the situation of the always poor Haitian masses became
the living hell it is today. Economic production was organized to
serve US requirements. Landlords threw large numbers of peasants
off the best land. Imperialist agro-industry penetrated the countryside
setting up coffee and cacao plantations for export. Big export-oriented
capitalist pig farms replaced small family pig production through
a phoney health scare. US-owned sweatshops sprang up in free trade
zones in which the daily wages of the masses did not even feed them,
and all the profits left the country untaxed.
masses are literally starved by their dependency on imperialism
and the semi-feudal system in the countryside; they eat a less than
subsistence diet of rice, corn and sometimes plantains, if they
can afford them. They get little protein, except for what they can
get from sorghum, and consumption of meat, eggs, milk or even beans
is rare. The average Haitian earns less than a $1 a day and spends
almost 20 cents of it to buy water. (See A World to Win
1986/6 for more background information.)
A new president
might even be able to raise a small section of the masses out of
the hellish depths of poverty and misery they are currently in,
thus fueling illusions about what they can gain from a new government.
But most of the poor people will likely be plunged into deeper poverty.
And, even if some of the middle classes see their situation improve,
Aristide's cooperation with the US to tighten the noose on the basic
masses - with the usual package of developing the "free" market,
keeping foreign investors happy, and IMF and World Bank austerity
schemes - is bound to throw the people into renewed struggle against
him or any future president.
As for the
US claim to restore democracy, when Clinton says, "Democratic neighbours
make better trade partners", it is obvious that he means US-imposed
order is better for exploiting the poor masses in neo-colonial sweatshops
like Haiti. This is the basic relationship underlying the forms
of very "undemocratic" political rule over the masses in Haiti,
which they know as terror and weekly funerals of their people. One
of the purposes of this so-called democratic mission is to foster
hopes and disarm the people with another big lie: that a "new" regime
under the present set-up in an oppressed nation like Haiti can reform
and develop a bourgeois society that will offer the kind of political
rights and partial freedoms generally allowed some sections of the
people in the rich countries. Such a fantasy - that loyal US guardians
in Haiti, even new so-called reformers, could somehow reverse the
imperialist domination of the country - is as ridiculous as it is
But it is
possible for the people to rise up and liberate themselves, and
this is what they must do: make revolution - New Democratic Revolution.
This requires developing a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party that can
lead an alliance between the proletariat and Haiti's majority peasant
population with other progressive classes to wage a protracted people's
war. Such a revolutionary war, like the one the people of Peru are
waging today under the leadership of the Communist Party of Peru,
aims to overthrow bureaucrat capitalism and semi-feudalism in Haiti
and break free of imperialism's grip. Only this type of revolution
can begin to give real political power and genuine democratic rights
to the masses oppressed by the old society, such as the central
demand for land to the tiller, by mobilizing the peasants to seize
back their land, while paving the way for socialist revolution.
masses have a wealth of experience of fighting against US imperialism
and Haiti's reactionary classes. Many will learn through this occupation
just who they are up against, that these are the very same enemies
who have raped their country and its labouring people for a century
and whose own "attachés" - the whole class of US-dependent
comprador and feudal rulers - have drowned their many heroic struggles
in blood. A significant section of the people already know this
and have a deep hatred for the US. Most of all, the Haitian people
can learn that it is only the proletariat guided by its science
of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism that can create a peasant guerrilla army
and unite the broadest ranks of the people to transform Haiti into
a stronghold of liberation.
Haitian people's enemies are trying to replace the lid on their
struggle with another tighter fitting one, the imperialists are
playing with fire - and they know the lid could blow off altogether:
the fact is that the people are aroused to deal blows to their oppressor
and can rapidly become an unpredictable factor exploding in the
US' face. People around the world must expose and loudly denounce
this latest invasion by the Yankee marauders and firmly support
the struggle of the people against them. Dechoukage of the old order
is fine - let it go all the way and prepare to uproot reaction and
imperialism from Haiti altogether!