Tag Archives: solidarity

Batay Ouvriye – ON THE ELECTIONS!

The following is text from a flyer being handed out by Batay Ouvriye (Worker’s Fight) in Haiti. Batay Ouvriye is an autonomous mass working class movement which has been organized over many years of intense repression from the bosses. Capitalists in the US have shipped many production and assembly jobs oversees where they can exploit and abuse the workers and laborers around the world a lot easier for a lot less pay, often with the help of mainstream US unions. Workers Struggle stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Haiti in their attempts to construct a new Haiti, one where workers have their own autonomous power and control.

They have several types and forms of organizations present within the movement. This text is from a flyer currently being handed out by the intermediate level organizations  to the workers there, often concentrated in sweatshops within massive complexes known as “Free Trade Zones” and “Industrial Parks” (The pleasant language of the capitalists hiding the intense levels of exploitation taking place).  Workers Struggle will develop and put out a text on this concept as it is the focal point of unity among ourselves. American workers and Haitian workers (as well as workers all over the world) are under brutal assaults by the same capitalist class and together we can fight for our own interests! Since they have been organizing for decades, their language and levels of unity might seem complex at times, but this is the language of the working class constructing its own power in a place so brutally attacked by so many masters of wars. It is an extraordinary example of what workers and laborers can do, if we organize ourselves!

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Batay Ouvriye

 

For many years, we of Batay Ovriye have been saying this society is in crisis. It’s a crisis that has splintered the whole of the inner frame of society. This is an economic, political and cultural crisis. This is a crisis that is decaying society. Neither the ruling classes, the state, nor the imperialists can find solutions to this crisis.

Since 1986, they employed many schemes to try to get out of this crisis : elections, coup d’etats, occupations, fraudulent elections…however, the country falls deeper into worse recurring crises. We in Batay Ouvriye, we are clear of one thing for sure: whether it’s an orange, the state apparatus, or the social formation of society that is sucking our blood, when it’s rotten, it’s rotten for good, there is no cure for it.

When the orange is rotten, we can only throw it away in the trash. This social formation exploiting us, this state that’s repressing us, this state that has become rotten and under the orders of imperialism, there is no cure for them. WE CAN ONLY THROW THEM AWAY IN THE TRASHCAN OF HISTORY. 

Today, once more, the ruling classes and the imperialists want the popular masses to follow their plan of exploitation. They want us to go and vote in the elections. Society is decaying, the wound is the « electoral crisis ». The ruling classes and all the candidates want us, the candidates want us to vote for them, but they will do nothing for us, they will only cater to their own interests. Further, each candidate is surrounded by a plethora of electoral thugs tagging along behind them in pursuit of state jobs. Many elections have been done already, and the country is in deeper crises forevermore. All the past governments have clearly demonstrated they were incapable to deal with the crisis the country is experiencing, while politicians are filling their pockets.

We witnessed how the elections of August 9 and October 25, 2016 stuck in their throats. Despite such a big contradiction, the politicians managed to mobilize a good part of the popular masses and divided us in their own interests. This contradiction plays a major role in mystifing the popular masses. Today, we are facing the same situation in which the enemy is leaning on us to rebuild themselves with only one intention and that is to take state power.

In this context, we must think deeply about the electoral lies and deceit the candidates are presenting before us in the popular masses.  Notwithstanding, all we can say, there are many among the popular masses who lend their ear to the election propaganda. For example : we talk about elections, we mobilize and we strive to vote despite all the complaints among us.

The elections are a struggle among the politicians to enrich themselves in the plan of exploitation of the ruling classes and the imperialists. None of these politicians will do anything for us, workers in the sweatshops or other factories.

We must be clear, for the ruling classes and the imperialists, it’s either they organize the elections or extend and consolidate the occupation to maintain their power over us.

In the popular masses, we are facing another choice : either we tag along the plan of our enemies fighting in the electoral arena, or we have to pursue our own independent struggles. Elections or not, new president or not, or a more stringent occupation because of the bankrupcy of the Haitian ruling classes, the fight on the electoral arena is not ours.

Our Struggles are :

  • Fight against exploitation, fight against the abuses of the capitalists and feudal lords
  • Fight for the minimum wage of 500 gourdes for an eight-hour workday ($7.81) at the least
  • Fight for the poor peasants to find land, sharecroppers to change to 3 parts, day laborers to get better wages
  • Fight for all workers to get health insurance and work insurance
  • Fight to organize our own unions without retaliation
  • Fight to build another type of state, our very own state
  • Fight to build another type of society in the interests of the popular masses with the laborers as the backbone under the leadership of the workers.

There is not one candidate nor political party that articulates these demands, and even if they did, it would surely be political pandering. This state is not ours, these elections are not ours.

The most advanced workers who are beginning to see clearly and understand their historical responsibilities must have a clear battle cry and clear orientation for the masses to demarcate themselves from the rotten orientation the traditional politicians are spreading among the masses.

We have a challenge : finding a solution to build an immediate alternative for the masses to get out of this situation, so we can stand up on our feet firmly to make decisions based on our interests, and to not let politicians use us.

In the context of this challenge, there are no easy solutions. Poisoned food does not cure stomachache. We must organize ourselves based on our real interests with a clear line and battle cry above all.

Our work must allow us to build a combative independent organization of workers.

The Struggle has just begun.

ADVANCED WORKERS : LET’S ASSUME OUR HISTORICAL RESPONSIBILITIES !

October 20, 2016

Fired textile workers call for support!!

500gourdesWe received the following from the Rapid Response Network:

Textile workers in Haiti ask that we pressure H&H sweatshop (where clothing for retailers like Walmart is produced) to rehire the workers who were fired, respect the right to organize, and to pay the wages workers demand. Working class solidarity knows no borders! Workers of the world: unite! Please share widely.

Details here: http://goo.gl/PW0h8l

and here:

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We’re In This Together!!

We in Workers Struggle and working people in the US and Canada support textile workers in Haiti, members of the Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO), who are fighting for the minimum wage and the right to organize.

We are watching how companies and political agencies and NGOs are putting obstacles in front of workers who are struggling for a better life. Similar outrages are perpetrated upon us – often at the hands of these same multinational companies and institutions, and their allies!

Workers around the world suffer while a small minority gets rich by exploiting us. We need to reach our hands across the borders they created, and start coordinating our struggles. If we stand together, these companies won’t be able to keep pushing us into their “race to the bottom,” forcing us to compete for the lowest pay. Instead, we need to force them to pay at least a living wage to all workers, everywhere!

We demand:

* Premium factory: No retaliation against union organizers! Rehire Telemarque Pierre!
* Gildan and other global brands: Make sure the factories you contract with—everywhere—pay workers what they are due, and treat workers with dignity!
* Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor of Haiti: Concede to workers’ demands for a minimum wage of 500 gourdes!

Workers of Haiti, we stand in solidarity with you in our common fight. As we support your struggle, our best contribution is to build a strong, autonomous, militant working class movement of our own, in the belly of the beast. That is our goal!

Signed,

WorkersStruggle-Fort Lauderdale
WorkersStruggle-Miami
WorkersStruggle-Sudbury, Ontario

Call for Solidarity: Demand Reinstatement of Union Organizer in Haiti

We received the following call for international solidarity from Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO). Please take action, and send solidarity statements to the workers (info below). Kreyol original is behind the cut.

Textile workers mobilize for the minimum wage May 11, 2016 in Port-au-Prince.

Textile workers mobilize for the minimum wage May 11, 2016 in Port-au-Prince.

Following the day of mobilization on May 11, 2016 that the Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO) launched to demand that the government set the minimum wage at 500 Gourdes ($7.94 for an eight-hour workday) and publish an Executive Order to make it official immediately, Clifford Apaid, owner of the plant, Premium Apparel, made the decision to fire our comrade, Telemarque Pierre, General Coordinator of Apparel and Textile Workers Union (SOTA-BO) and spokesperson for PLASIT, on Saturday May 14, 2016.

The firing is an act of repression, which is not a surprise to us after we learned of the declarations of capitalist organizations such as ADIH (Haitian Industrialists Association), Better Work and USDOL (United States Department of Labor). They are united to denounce and condemn acts of violence they claim to have been committed against property and people during the day of mobilization. After these declarations of war, we knew the bosses were going to retaliate against us, workers, who are fighting to change our lives.

We denounce the repression against our comrade. We say, “an injury to one is injury to all of us.” We’re calling on our friends and comrades, brothers and sisters in national and international organizations to demand the reinstatement of Telemarque Pierre in his post immediately.

To do so, contact the companies and agencies below :

Premium Apparel (factory): premium@agacorp.com

Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST), Haiti : maffairesocial@yahoo.fr

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In addition, you can contact the following:

AGA Corporation (Premium is its subsidiary):
7209 NW 41 St., Miami, FL 33166-6711
305-592-1860

Gildan (the international clothing brand that contracts with Premium):
Jason M. Greene, Director of Supply Chain: 843-606-3750
Corporate office (Montreal): 514-735-2023; toll free 866-755-2023; info@gildan.com
Customer Service (Charleston, SC): 843-606-3600
Twitter: @GildanOnline; facebook.com/GildanOnline/

Use #RehirePierre #SolidarityForever #500Gourdes

Send statements of solidarity directly to the textile workers, and let them know of your activities: batay@batayouvriye.org

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