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28634: Pierre (Reply): Workers' Struggles (fwd)
Sorry that you fell into a trap of answering to an event that was
put forward by the bosses of Grupo M two years ago to try to fight and
intimidate the SOCOWA workers at CODEVI who were demanding better working
Is there something wrong with demanding your rights on the job? Think about it!
Recently responding to John, my post said, " Since April 2004, the
SOKOWA Workers-May First Federation - Batay Ouvriye at Grupo M - CODEVI Free
Trade Zone in Ouanaminthe won a big victory through their struggles to have
Collective Bargaining and Contract for the first time in the History of
This opened the way for all workers in the Free Trade Zone factories
this right as unionized workers. Their struggles also establish a Historic
precedent that make it possible for the World Bank to change its criteria
conditioning their disbursements worldwide to social responsibility, and
sustainable development. Now, there are regulations for the right of workers
collective bargaining, health rights and protection against unemployment.
It was proven that the Workers' struggles were not to create conditions
to close down the factories but on the contrary to create beter, humanely
sustainable conditions in the factories at CODEVI. All the talk in that June
10, 2004 article about a radical group was part of an unsavory propaganda
campaign by Grupo M officials to maintain sweatshop conditions in the
You mentioned the following, "As for the Bataye folks themselves, their
prime motivation has nothing to do with helping poor workers and everything
to do with classwarfare. Grupo M's closing a plant on the Dominican/Haiti
border is avictory in their eyes because heck, those rich,
must have lost millions on their ill-fated investment. Take
that, you filthy capitalist roaders, etc. etc."
Who are the Batay Folks? The dichotomy you are creating does not
exist in reality. When speaking about the Batay Folks, you are referring to
the organized workers themselves, in flesh, bones amd blood in factories, and
plantations in at least 8 out of 10 Departments throughout the country. Those
of us outside of Haiti support their cause because, as workers ourselves, it
is our cause too. Does it make sense that the workers would do anything to
close down their jobs? They simply demand better working conditions.
As for the class warfare, the workers did not create it. As a
matter of fact, they are the victims of the class warfare the capitalists
against them for two hundred years already. Therefore, they have a right to
fight for better working conditions and the right to organize themselves.
slavery, there was full employment. The slaves had to fight valiantly for two
hundred years to change those working conditions. Don't forget history, man!
You said, "Thoughtful people might ask themselves a simple question (:)
If it is so
easy to make a fortune exploiting poor factory workers earning the
Haitian minimum wage, why are there so few export-oriented factories in
The whole thrust of the 2006 Elections in Haiti was to push forward
Haiti's tutelage under the Interim Cooperation Framework that sets the legal
basis to establish Free Trade Zones throughout the country. This means nothing
less than brutal working-class exploitation. The workers must brace themselves
struggle for better working conditions and the right to set up Unions. That's
a necessity. Anyone who suggests otherwise must be one of those capitalists
waiting to exploit the workers to their bones, in other words, "Plimen Poul la,
Pa Kite l Rele" (Pluck the Chicken but don't let it scream).
You concluded, "No doubt $3/day labor had initially looked attractive to
Grupo M. My
guess is that they underestimated the many other quite substantial
costs which anyone manufacturing in Haiti has to cover. In reality,
Bataye's labor activities, while no doubt a factor, were probably only
the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back."
Unfortunately, and contrary to what John Helmstead thought, your
statements are a de facto endorsement and strong defense of the capitalist
against the fundamental interests of the working class in Haiti.
You see, Lance, sometimes silence is more illuminating than just saying
things especially when you did not read the date of the occurrence of an event
and did not do the necessary research to provide an intelligent response.