The recent demonstrations throughout major cities in Haiti are a response to the recent election results. The protestors are denouncing the proposed final candidates, Jude Célestin and Mirlande Manigat. However, one could argue that this rage was fomented because of six years of occupation by the United Nations Stabilizing Force. Reporters have been documenting, through photography, the daily experiences of Haitians and their various forms of protest.
After attending a wonderful talk by Keeanga Y. Taylor at Columbia University the night before, I could not help but think about her account of the Civil Rights movement and the motivations for African American struggle and liberation. People in the United States have been fighting since slavery began with the Bacon’s Rebellion.
The Kerner Report, conducted by the U.S. government, to investigate the reasons that African Americans were rioting throughout northern cities in the U.S. They found that the reasons were primarily material, i.e., inadequate housing condition. For example, the 1967 report found that 53% of African Americans in Detroit did not have indoor plumbing despite the technological advances in other areas. The North did not have the same segregationist laws as some southern states. Yet, it created a system such that blacks were disproportionately living in horrible living conditions. I mention this because the dilapidated communities, along with institutional racism, created a well-justified atmosphere of rage. It also spoke to a larger issue when people become conscious of their oppression–they resist. That resistance manifested itself into civil disobedience and armed methods. What we can learn from the U.S. Civil Rights movement is that mass mobilization and political organization is essential to reform and subsequently revolution. These struggles must allow Haitian people to assert themselves.
If you want to participate in direct action condemning the recent elections please attend a rally in New York City:
Haitians & Supporters to Protest Sham Elections and UN Occupation On Friday, December 10, 2010 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in front of the United Nation’s General Headquarters in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, at the corner of First Ave and 47nd St, Manhattan. More info: Jean Rameau, 718-576-2667Kim Ives, 718-421-0162Marquez Osson, 917-251-6057