Resist ultraleft sectarianism, comrades

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Tue Nov 21 08:45:04 MST 1995


Louis:

Adam Rose of the SWP sneers at the reformist Workers Party of Brazil and its
capitalist lackey Lula.

Sigh, if politics was only so simple. Joaquin Villalobos was the leader
of the Communist Party of El Salvador who resisted the formation of a
guerilla army and advocated electoralism for the longest time. But
finally he became convinced of the error of this path and joined with the
forces of the FMLN and became one of its most important leaders.

Only a few months ago everybody was sure that Aristide was the abject
servant of the IMF and the World Bank in Haiti. Now we read:

 -----------------------------------------------------------
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Nov 16 (IPS) - The acrid black smoke of flaming
barricades that filled the skies of Haiti this week signaled more
than the mounting frustrations of many Haitians at the lack of
justice and security.

Along with the tires and scraps of wood that shut down major
roads and cities nationwide the last three days, the politics of
national reconciliation - a condition of President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide's return to Haiti by 20,000 U.S.-led troops last year -
appears to be going up in smoke as well.

The protests were over the murder of a popular legislator and the
lack of disarmament by U.N. forces. Seven people died in three
days of protests in the wake of last week's killings of two
prominent Members of Parliament connected to the Lavalas Political
Platform (LPP), which is loyal to President Jean Bertrand
Aristide.

Jean Hubert Feuille and Jean Gabriel Fortune were believed to
have been killed by opponents of the president.

''We want reconciliation, but the macoutes don't,'' explained
one member of the Association of Young Militants of the
Arrondissement of Port Salut, a popular organization from the area
represented by Feuille, the 31-year-old murdered deputy.

''Feuille was killed and we can't reconcile with people who did
that,'' said the youth who, reflecting the continued fears for
personal safety, spoke on condition of anonymity,

As the Caribbean country entered into second week of the
sharpest political crisis since President Aristide's return to
power last October, grassroots organisations and government
officials said political rapprochement between Aristide and his
Lavalas movement with the various pro-coup sectors of Haitian
society could be collapsing.

''President Aristide's concept of reconciliation and justice is
to be able to have a kind of balance so that the country can move
forward without any catastrophe,'' said Yvon Neptune, a
spokesperson for Aristide.

''He has been giving a lot to certain sectors that have money,
that supported the coup. He has made life easier for them. But
what have they done to help the country? What have they done for
the people so that life can be easier? We haven't seen anything,''
Neptune said.

He noted that anti-democratic sectors, that include old
supporters of the Duvalier family dictatorship (1957-1986) as well
as the small Haitian elite, have often made matters worse by
continuing to commit acts of violence, and to block the electoral
process and the institutionalisation of democratic rule.

''There are people from the old regime who don't want change
and there are pseudo-democrats who still want the piece of the pie
handed to them. This makes progress extremely difficult,'' Neptune
said.

In practice, the politics of reconciliation has meant allowing
those sectors which supported the bloody Sept. 1991 coup to remain
present and active in different areas of Haitian society, such as
government ministries.

Of the more than 20 political parties that initially
participated in this past June's parliamentary and local
elections, for example, the vast majority supported or took part
in the coup governments of Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras.

But popular organizations have never fully accepted the
politics of reconciliation either. Many see it as tantamount to
impunity and a way to block legitimate popular demands for social
justice and social change.

That has placed Aristide in a difficult balancing act this past
year, trying to appease the demands of his militant base, as well
as those of the international community and the Haitian elite.

''It's a mess,'' said Harry Numa of the National Popular
Assembly (APN), one of the larger, largely urban based popular
groups in Haiti that first supported and then split from Aristide
following the U.S.-led intervention in the country.

''When Aristide tries to please the people, the bourgeoisie and
the U.S. put pressure on him. When he seeks to please the
bourgeoisie and the U.S., the people say no,'' Numa argued, saying
the politics of reconciliation will eventually end because of the
conflicting interests.

To be sure, Aristide appears now to be moving more towards his
base, although it's not clear that the Haitian government has the
capacity or political will to break entirely with the
international community and the Haitian elite.

Still, the new government of Prime Minister Claudette Werleigh
is solidly Lavalas, a departure from this past year's government
of ''national concord.''

And with the Nov. 7 shooting of the Lavalas deputies Jean
Hubert Feuille and Gabriel Fortune whatever governmental and
popular support for reconciliation has quickly eroded. Indeed, the
murder of Feuille and the wounding of Fortune provoked a popular
uprising in the southern towns of Port Salut and Les Cayes, their
respective districts.

President Aristide himself fanned the flames in an
extraordinary and angry speech at the National Cathedral this past
Saturday.

Resembling the militant liberation priest of the late 1980's
and early 90's, rather than the genial and urbane diplomat of his
three-year exile period, Aristide slammed the international
community for its ''hypocrisy.''

He demanded that the some 6,000 soldiers of the U.N. Mission in
Haiti (UNMIH) do more to support total disarmament - a long
festering issue between Aristide and international forces - and
called on the Haitian people to actively seize illegal weapons.

The speech was intended and indeed received as a clarion call
for popular mobilization in support of what Aristide called
''operation disarmament.''

And in a sign of the remarkable rapport between Aristide and
Haiti's poor majority, people responded immediately.

In the capital city here, and then in key cities throughout the
country, thousands hit the streets, erected flaming barricades,
searching cars and houses for illegal weapons, and, in the case of
the western town of Gonaives and Cap Haitien in north, shutting
down entire cities. Even official U.N. cars have been stopped and
searched.

Both the U.N. Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) and the U.S. Embassy
Monday condemned what they called lawlessness, but have not yet
offered any public concessions to Aristide.

Haitian government officials Monday called on demonstrators to
maintain order and discipline, while stopping short of asking
people to return to their homes. (END/IPS/DC/FN/95)


Origin: Amsterdam/HAITI/
                              ----

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