With respect to Batay Ouvriye, I asked Charles Arthur the following, which needs to be developed further for reasons of historical accuracy and so that lessons can be learned collectively. Right now, it appears that so-called (rightly or wrongly) leftist organizations are on the defensive after being clearly on the offensive with respect to Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government. At times, it even seemed that those organizations (particularly RNDDH, known previously as NCHR-Haiti) behaved undistinctly from fully dedicated political opposition groups. In doing so, I sense that they may have lost a measure of effectiveness with respect to their primary objectives of serving large constituencies with diverse political affinities. IF that assumption is correct, and IF we agree that human rights organizations and worker unions do have an essential role to play in Haiti for the betterment of Haitian
society, then the question is how (and when, if ever) it will be possible for those organizations to, once again, regain the mantle of leadership in the fields of Human and Haitian Rights, for increased social justice in a less polarized society.
I once again offer my specific comments to Charles about the BO situation, though they could easily be extended to several other organizations.
[quote]There needed not be personal reasons to dislike the Aristide government, but certainly there were plenty. Does it make a difference? It might, because personal reasons tend to cloud our political judgement and strategic planning.
You don't have to convince me how bad the Aristide years were. What interests me is the ability of groups such as Batay Ouvriye to strategize, based on the fundamental interests of their constituency, and effectively make a bad situation better.
That ability comes into question if they blindly supported the GNB political opposition whose purpose was
to rid Haiti of the Aristide government BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY, with scantly a thought about what other dominoes might fall and how to rebuild the country from the not-so-hard-to-anticipate ravages of an armed rebellion, led by a ragtag army of racketeers, bandits, and murderers, equipped with illegal shipments of arms from the United States, and crossing the border into Haiti from the Dominican Republic, whose inhabitants (or a significant portion of) would welcome with glee the disappearance of all Black Haitians from the island of Hispaniola.
Who's bemoaning the loss of sovereignty in Haiti now? Like they did not see it coming? Please!!!!! To have Human and Worker Rights organizations confounded with "tabula rasa" "rache manyòk" "bay tè a blanch" "grenn nan bounda" dirty work political opposition groups might have brought an unwise, unintelligent and severe blow to said organisation whose paramount interests should have been the steady, if incremental, progress of their constituencies, in terms o
f economic, social, and political rights. To say, in response to the grave deterioration of human rights in the poor slums of Port-au-Prince and the despicable failure of the Haitian political class (with all the subsidies of their "International Community" patrons) to organize free and fair elections (instead of the masquerade we have been witnessing, with the jailing without charges of a suspected front-runner in the tricked up electoral farce in the making), that if the general state of Haitians has worsened after the coup it is equally true that they worsened during the Lavalas periods seems disingenuous. I would think that a progressive and enlightened workers' union would seek not to repeat the same stupid mistakes of the past. That is not arguing that we ever had it good, and I would emphatically side with you in critiquing the abject lack of transparency and high level of corruption during the Lavalas administrations, along with the recycling of former Duvalierist policy makers, but to throw the baby
with the bath water, as was done in 2003-2004, should preclude the convenient washing of the hands à la Ponce Pilate as so-called leftist organizations attempt to do in Haiti.
I take no pleasure in seeing the sad developments of the feud between Batay Ouvriye and the "Jeff Sprague/Ben Dupuy/Haiti Progrès/International Tribunal on Haiti" camp. The whole thing is sad, sad, sad... because in all this back and forth, I fail to recognize the voice of the disenfranchised Haitian voter who is thought to be too stupid to participate in straightforward referendums about the political direction he would prefer to see the continuance of the never-ending struggle for a better life.
Political chaos, bloodshed, partisan witch hunts, ideological clean up of slum areas, governmental improvisation designed to put an indigenous face to cover up a de facto surrender of sovereignty, hardly seem the kind of fertile ground for the respect of workers' rights in Haiti or anywhere else on the planet. Haitians need c
ivic leaders to do more than showing them an exit door to the hell they experience. One would naturally presume that such leaders have taken a look at what resides on the other side of the door before urging their constituency to take a leap of faith. Credibility, once lost, is exceptionally hard to restore. In that, I wish those "devil may care as long as they have their way" so-called leftist organizations the best of luck as they have made their task considerably harder for themselves. Even with the availability of funding while it lasts, they may find the public realignment of their stated purpose and their political strategies one of the hardest acts to perform convincingly in front of a jaded audience.
If Batay Ouvriye does not fit the profile... mea culpa, for even suggesting it.
I am communicating to you my general impressions. You are welcome to correct them where they may be faulty.
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