On Monday, May 6, 2019, workers of the CODEVI free trade zone in Ouanaminthe, Haiti went on strike to protest a wage tax imposed by the Haitian state. The alleged tax is for social services which the workers have never received though it has been in effect for some time. In fact, factory owners have set up run down trailers for sick workers who have no sick time! The hypocrisy of the capitalist class knows no limits. The workers in the SOKOWA textile union (an affiliate of the Batay Ouvriye worker's movement) have been leading this struggle for at least two years now. Yesterday’s strike involved 98% of the workers.
These workers are facing attacks on several fronts from different fractions of the capitalist class. Fundamentally, they are exploited at the site of production where their labor power and the fruits of it (the clothing they produce for imperialist markets like in the US, Canada, etc) are stolen throughout their shift. Part of this process includes the horrifically low wages they receive which go into the pockets of the factory owners.
On top of this exploitation, there is the added reality of import/export businesses keeping the costs of food pretty high. Add in the state’s wage tax which the bureaucratic bourgeoisie forces them to pay, you have a situation where workers can barely afford to survive.
WORKERS GET THE SHORT END OF THE STICK, AND THEY’RE SICK OF IT!
Facing such a dire situation imposed on them by capitalism - the workers are fed up and are still on strike as of this morning (written May 7, 2019). CODEVI Industrial Park is an imperialist project to pound the Haitian working class for as cheap labor as possible.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN?
The cheaper the labor, the more accumulation of capital. This project (the CODEVI Industrial Park) is an imperialist form the capitalist model takes and even though they claim part of its aims are to: “Make sanitary food accessible for employees of the CODEVI industrial park” and “Promote the well being of park employees by incorporating additional services”, we see that at the end of the day it’s just more capitalist and imperialist propaganda for us to support the brutal exploitation of our sisters and brothers in the international working class. The courageous struggles being waged by the Haitian workers (striking is difficult business – especially in such extreme conditions) demands of us here to understand the nature of the beast that we face, and calls on us to take action.
We must understand that we are not lazy and undeserving of higher wages because ALL VALUE in society is produced by the working class. Workers and laborers are exploited and dominated by capital and we have a responsibility to organize ourselves into autonomous organizations, free from the grips of the capitalist unions to fight for our class interests. The trade union struggle on its own has limitations. We must build our intermediate level organizations that can unite the various struggles of workers and laborers across borders at and beyond the democratic struggles of the trade union level. We must build our theory and construct a working class movement based on a proletarian perspective and proletarian internationalism that has the capacity to strike at capital everywhere it runs!
If organized, we can develop our capacity to construct a worker’s alternative to the madness of capitalist society and its turn to fascism.
LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLE OF OUR CLASS SISTERS AND BROTHERS!
NO SERVICES, NO TAXES!
LET’S BUILD OUR COMBATIVE WORKER’S MOVEMENT!