Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Other Worlds

Other Worlds is an economic justice group that supports economic and social alternatives around the world.

February 24th, 2010 2:25 PM

Raising Up Another Haiti

As Haiti moves forward from the current point of devastation of its population, capitol city, and economy, what could a different nation look like?

Who knows better than the Haitian majority? Why not ask them what they need and want?

Their perspectives have been sorely lost from the post-earthquake plans of some of the world’s strongest powers. Their analyses went unheard by the foreign ministers and financial institutions at the international donors meeting in Montreal on January 25. Their voices have been lost amidst the declarations of the International Monetary Fund, President Obama, and the leadership of the 32,500 troop-strong U.S. and U.N. military operation now underway.

On February 13th and again on the 20nd, more than fifty organizations representing grassroots sectors met in Port-au-Prince to develop their political, economic, and social priorities, and to make their voices heard. The declaration from February 13th read in part: “[We have] decided to launch a national and international campaign to bring forth another vision of how to redevelop this country, a vision based on people-to-people solidarity to develop the opportunity now facing this country to raise up another Haiti. We [want] to build a social force which can establish a reconstruction plan where the fundamental problems of the people take first priority. These include: housing, environment, food, education, literacy, work, and health for all; a plan to wipe out exploitation, poverty, and social and economic inequality; and a plan to construct a society which is based on social justice.”

Discussions toward a cohesive forum of social movements are still underway. In the meantime, a subset of the grouping - the Consultative Group of Social Movements on Reconstruction – committed itself to organizing a meeting on March 12th and 13th to explore priorities and how to achieve them. The Consultative Group will seek broad participation from different sectors and regions. The groups leading this network include the Platform to Advocate Alternative Development in Haiti (PAPDA, by its Creole acronym) and its six member organizations, the Alternative Justice Program (PAJ), the Society for Social Mobilization and Communication (SAKS), and a few others.

Dozens of interviews with social movement leaders reveal a clearly emerging consensus on the priorities for reconstructing the country – or, as some call it, “constructing the country,” since few are served by reconstructing what existed before. The priorities are as follows.

ß Creating participatory democracy. This has been at the heart of social movements’ demands from the moment Haiti emerged from the brutal 30-year Duvalier dictatorship in 1986; it may be more relevant today than ever. Government must serve the people, be accountable to them, and include their participation. Community organizer Marianne Moïse captures the objective when she says, “We have to be the principal actors in changing our country. No one else can change it for us.” Citizens assert that it is their right to be involved in decisions regarding future policies and programs. After all, they are the ones who will have to live with the impacts.

• Rebuilding under a new economic paradigm, one which breaks free of the old path where agricultural production is undermined by unfair trade rules, where food and many other basics are imported, and where a coveted job is as a sweatshop worker earning $3 per day. Social movements are adamant that Haiti from here on out must be based on principles of economic justice, including: no more payments on a long-since-repaid foreign debt, trade rules that privilege Haitian producers and Haitian goods, food sovereignty, employment opportunities, and workers’ rights.

• Protecting the environment. This is connected to a new economic model, part of putting people and the earth before profits. Central to social movements’ environmental advocacy is tough environmental regulations for industry (which are currently nonexistent) and a new model of ecological agriculture. Creating environmentally healthy citizen practices is another factor.

• Putting social needs at the center. As articulated by experts, women in a rights group now living under sheets in a refugee camp, those needs are, in a rough ranking of priority: housing, food, health care, education, and work.

• Privileging agriculture. In a country where the rural farming population comprises 65% to 80% of the population (depending on who’s answering, as no census has ever been taken), substantial investment in developing peasant agriculture is critical. This is especially true in a context of a food crisis that was already severe before the earthquake and that will soon become much more so, since farmers have had to use much of this year’s seed stock to feed the deluge of people fleeing Port-au-Prince for the countryside. Just trade policies which protect local production are key.

• Ensuring women’s and children’s rights. In the fragile and dangerous post-catastrophe environment, social and economic rights for women and their children must be front and center. Security against the violence now escalating against them is also critical. Malia Villard, organizer of rape survivors, says, “They didn’t respect our rights even before the Presidential Palace was destroyed, even before the Palace of Justice was destroyed. We need that in the reconstruction.”

The agenda is monumental in the best of times. Today it is being shaped by people who still don’t know where their child is, who came to work today after attending another funeral, who are still wearing casts from earthquake injuries. It may be that their pain and difficulties sharpen the determination to have their needs met in a context of social and economic justice and democracy.

That is the perspective, at least, of Ricot Jean-Pierre, director of programs for PAPDA. He says, “Sadness can’t discourage us so that we stop fighting. We’ve lost people as in all battles, but we have to continue fighting to honor them and make their dreams a reality. The dream is translated into a slogan: ‘Another Haiti is possible.’”

Tags:

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

If you have a moment today, I hope you can read the obituary for my father Francis (Frank) Moore, who died this past Saturday at the age of 92: Francis...

Apr 22nd
6:33 PM
Read More

My father, Francis (Frank) Moore, passed away this morning a few months shy if his 93rd birthday. He was a great dad I am blessed to have had him in my life. I...

Apr 20th
2:58 AM
Read More

Time to put the cuffs on Chris Christie -- not for the bridge scandal, but for this: Chris Christie's $300m pension proposal broke state anti-corruption...

Apr 18th
7:31 PM
Read More

George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him... www.theonion.com President Bush has a new hobby -- painting! --...

Apr 17th
7:28 PM
Read More

Big new story from David Sirota and Pando on top Christie adviser and appearance of corruption at New Jersey's pension fund: REVEALED: Gov....

Apr 17th
12:41 PM
Read More

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States www.theonion.com WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract pando.com As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors pando.com If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa ...by Nick Turse www.michaelmoore.com Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 www.theguardian.com Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? www.huffingtonpost.com I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | RootsAction.org act.rootsaction.org The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles