FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Letter to a Fellow Haitian Immigrant

A brilliant trogon, absolutely willing to defend the forest, Haiti soldiers on. At what? It is pretty hard to parse through the mediatized and actual humanitarian catastrophe that Haiti today hosts, and pinpoint a specific reason why the republic is suffering. Some would say that it is a curse. Others that Haiti was not ready to govern itself when it became a nation-state that first of January of 1804. The truth, friend, is that Haiti’s misery today is the product of an unfortunate circumstance: the rapprochement of Haitian comprador elites and American government after 1915, and it being devoid of both popularity and humanism, an entente that burdens and represses the Haitian poor and disenfranchised masses. To answer “ at what?”, at resistance, and also compliance sadly.

Haiti’s agonizing political present is a product of how central the capital city of Port-au-Prince became after the American occupation of 1915 – 1934. Capital city of a relationship that is not working for the Haitian republic, Port-au-Prince is unable to govern Haiti and prosper as it is held hostage by a suffocating dialectic: political complicity with the USA as a state that represses nation and opposition versus radical dissent as state and opposition.

Before the American occupation, several cities in Haiti, such as Jacmel and Cap-Haitien, dominated national life as major urban centers. In an effort to dominate the country from one central location, the Americans focused on building Port-au-Prince with Haitian treasury dollars. Buildings were erected left and right, as the beginning of the contemporary era of Haitian history.

The capital city became the capital of Haitian-American political relations led by complicity, whose main features are armed repression and oligarchic capitalism, that continues to dominate Haitian life. Haitian elites came to conspire with the American government as the new “leaders” of the Haiti as an American colony. These new leaders, the great example during the occupation being Louis Borno, and after the occupation, Elie Lescot and Stenio Vincent, became puppet governments of the US, as it was and still is the case all around the world.

Port-au-Prince was newly, and still is, segregated. For this complicity, the wealthy are the main economic agents as oligarchs.

They, those who have become wealthy through conspiracy with the Americans, live, work, and play in excluded areas. The middle class, a spectrum living in relation to both French culture and American influence, live, work, and play in specific areas. Finally, the poor, the largest class, anti-American government, live, work, and play in other areas. These areas, neighborhoods, are the public spheres that produce political parties and politics in Haiti, where the lower middle class, teachers, civil servants without lineage or patronage, and the lower class belong to a single public sphere. These spheres, and only these spheres with some exceptions, separate and distinct as if parallel polities, are the breeding grounds for national bureaucracy depending on the President and the cartel in power.

After the Americans left in 1934, Port au Prince continued to host this dialectic, infinitely exacerbated. This dialectic continues to dominate Haitian politics to this day. Radical dissent is generally what is popular in the public sphere of the masses, and “modernist” pro-Americanism from the puppets of American government and the enterprise that it promotes.

Why is radical dissent so popular in Haiti? It is the vanguard of a human rights battle that has long existed in Haiti. The Haitian poor are considered similar to what the dalit are in India: foul and untouchable. They live in peripheral areas of Port au Prince where starvation, prostitution, but also humor, and life reign. This human rights battle, the rights of the poor, who are mostly dark skin black people, is waged by radical dissent.

Radical dissent has let Haiti down. Radical dissent has come to power, first in 1957 with Francois Duvalier, or Papa Doc, a doctor, poet, anthropologist, and labor leader, before his reputation as a bloodthirsty dictator, and then with Jean Bertrand Aristide in 1991. This radical dissent has never been able to formulate a new state, or even a new voting / participation system whether it be democracy or not, and has more than often quite simply continued to use the state apparatus born out of the American occupation to remain in power and produce a new class of itself, “it in power”.  Why? Perhaps to leave the lower class public sphere, full of material incertitude.

This radical-dissent-in-power class is always unable to govern Haiti towards prosperity because it is rooted in a balancing act that attempts to maintain power and not stimulate production, or use the same state it rallied against. This lack of production “obliges” these governments in power to tax, formally and informally, in order to fill its coffers, and continue the relation with the US (as part of a balancing act.) Thus, Haiti is never liberated from this dialectic: the end of such a relationship with American government and its focus on promoting American supremacy and enterprise by producing the means for a rupture.

Adolf Alzuphar is a community organizer in LA.

More articles by:
September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail