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Haiti Struggles

Demands Independence from Wall Street Rule

(March 1930)

From The Militant, Vol. III No. 13, 29 March 1930, pp. 1 & 2,
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The killing of fire Haitians on December 7 by a detachment of United States marines, forced into the open the serious nature of the protest of the Haitian masses against United States occupation, and also against its puppet president, Borno. Since then the movement for Haitian independence, although curtailed and misguided by a bourgeois and liberal leadership, showed the increased temper of the mass of Haitian peasants, whose protests were set forth under such slogans as, “Long live Independent Haiti”, “Down with the Council of State”. They culminated during the past number of weeks in a demand for an end to the occupation of Haiti by the United States marines and the National City Bank of New York.

The past history of the occupation of Haiti by the United States, is a record of bloody extermination of the peasant masses. From a period of the occupation In July, 1915, the “peaceful guardianship” by the marines has resulted in the slaughter of over 3,000 Haitians, who dared to protest against the military dictatorship and exploitation of United States capitalism. The state of affairs brought about by American occupation finds the Haitian masses in a virtual state of peonage. The [repeal of the] old Haitian laws against the ownership of land by foreigners resulted, since 1915, in the dispossession of the peasantry and allowed for large holdings by the United States and other foreign imperialists. Dr. Dalencour, head of the Haitian Medical Journal, characterizes the situation in the following manner: “The Haitian peasant sees his future endangered by the entry of American capitalism. This necessarily results from the creation of large estates which would cause the subjugation of the peasants into a servile peon class.” The peasantry of Haiti are actually in such a state today, which accounts for the vigorous struggle they are making for an “independent republic of Haiti”.

The occupation of Haiti by the United States took place with its rapid expansion into the arena of the leading world imperialists. Haiti’s favorable geographical location in the Caribbean Sea, as a naval base, and its strategic importance as an aid to the defense of the Panama Canal, along with its offensive possibilities against Great Britain, led to America’s military and financial invasion and resultant control. This condition came about through the intense exploitation and persecution of the Haitian masses.

The present movement for Haitian independence is undoubtedly an expression of the current feelings of the masses. At present it is still weak in its outlook. With a bourgeois and liberal leadership, the movement is so far led into channels of subservience to American dictates. The open revolt against the puppet president, Borno, and the intensity of the struggle of the masses, caused Hoover to form a commission with the object of “studying” the conditions. Realizing the revolutionary temper of the Haitians, the commission made a proposal for election of a temporary president to replace Borno, as if the removal of Borno would solve the problem of Haitian independence.

The newly elected president, Eugene Roy, a broker by profession, was elected under the supervision of both the leadership of the opposition and the United States in collaboration with Borno. However, Roy does not take office until May 15, when Borno’s term expires. When Roy takes office, he is to continue as temporary president until next fall. Then legislative elections are held, and a new president seated by the deputies and senators. The further proposals of the commission for “gradual” removal of marines as a basis of permitting a slow solution to independence testify to the fact that Haitian independence, under the “good will” of the American capitalists, is just a guise with which to nullify the movement of the Haitian masses.

Election of Roy – A Sham

The election of Roy, as the temporary president, is the biggest farce in the commission’s program. Roy, just as all his predecessors, will continue to serve the interests of the National City Bank of New York. Being a broker himself, this will not be a difficult task. The “eventual independence” of Haiti, given freely by the United States, is an illusion, handed down in order to quiet the discontent. It is easy to understand, in view of this, why the removal of the marines will be only a “gradual” process. The marines will be kept in Haiti in order to act as the sword of American capitalism. They will be there to protect the continued exploitation of the Haitian masses.

The present “solution” can only be a temporary one. American capitalism has only removed one puppet and replaced him by another. But this temporary “solution” while it may for the moment soften the discontent of the masses, can in the end only add fuel to the existing state of revolt in Haiti. The leadership of the masses have succeeded in misdirecting the movement into accepting the further dominance of “dollar diplomacy”. Roy’s election, and the maintenance of the marines, along with continued domination of U.S. capitalism will only bring further persecution and exploitation. The military dictatorship of the United States will lend fuel to the further growth of the revolutionary movement of the Haitian masses.

The struggle for independence must be accompanied with a decisive fight against American imperialism. It must be accompanied with a struggle against the military dictatorship by United States marines. This end however is not alone the struggle of the Haitian masses, but is likewise a task of the American working class who must join in the fight for Haitian independence, against the domination of Wall Street and the military occupation.

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Last updated: 14 February 2020