By Robert Lodimus, Haiti Liberté, June 14, 2023
To understand the behavior of Haitian politicians it is important to revisit the works of Frantz Fanon. Fanon died on December 6, 1961 in a military hospital in Bethesda, Washington. "Peau noire, masques blancs" (Black Skin, White Masks), the revolutionary intellectual's master book, is perfectly suited to describing the situation in Haiti.
Where is the Republic of Haiti headed today? The question is improperly defined. Haiti does not have the power to define its own social, political, economic and cultural orientation. The catastrophic failure of a state is above all a failure of its elites. For the state only exists through the men and women who occupy positions in the state apparatus. It is their patriotic responsibility to nurture the elements of its growth and modernization. In every respect. In every field, physical and cognitive. For the well-being of individuals and territorial communities, the family, the school and the church are, therefore, responsible for shaping the individuals whose duty it is to care for and substantially nourish the organs that drive, energize and perpetuate the state.
We have drafted too many sentences, written too many complicated words to reveal a "truth" that, in our opinion, is already obvious. Evident to the naked eye. The ever-deteriorating conditions of the biosphere reveal the self-destructive nature of mankind. The human species is destroying itself and its environment. Without even realizing it, man is the sole producer of his own misfortunes. Universities have given us the bad habit of complicating our thinking with philosophical, methodological, Socratic, and dialectological considerations, when a simple sentence would have sufficed to describe an objective phenomenon, a subjective situation and a subversive fact: Haitians are the "shame" of their descendants. Why beat about the bush? It's extremely difficult for anyone to deny the validity of this statement.
Incompetence, navel-gazing (Fanon would say narcissism), absurdism and amorphism are gradually alienating and annihilating Haitian society. Observing the incorrect, reprehensible attitudes of many of our fellow citizens, we, who spend nights writing and publishing avant-garde texts, should perhaps stop for a moment, take the time to identify, understand, and decode the true aspirations of Haitians. What exactly do they want for themselves and for others?
It's completely irrational to repeat, as many do, "Haiti comes first. Everything I do is for my country". In fact, the French language calls this linguistic device a metonymy. There is a logical relationship between "Haiti and Haitians". Our love of country is none other than that which characterizes and relativizes our feelings towards our compatriots. We are crossing the border into the metaphysical world reserved for the "gods" of philosophical thought. And this is not at all the purpose of our approach. We couldn't possibly rise to the level of Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, Heidegger, Mill... "Changing Haiti" concretely means "changing the living conditions of the Haitian people". The "revolution" is carried out for the benefit and well-being of the people. Haiti is an archetype.
Frantz Fanon declares: "Dozens and hundreds of pages assail me from all sides and try to impose themselves on me. Yet a single line would suffice. A single answer and the black problem loses its seriousness. What does man want? What does the Black man want?" We would have to ask these two interrelated questions of every Haitian indiscriminately.
It is extremely embarrassing to reflect on the future of a failing state, such as that which characterizes Haiti, which is held hostage by the hegemonic powers who have on their "conscience" the misfortunes of humanity. Perhaps the noun "conscience" may not be appropriate when describing the disastrous consequences of the societal depressions we are discussing here?
Haitians don't know where heaven and hell are. They're trapped in a purgatory. Over two hundred years of political wandering, social misguidance, economic and financial dystrophy for a people alienated by neoliberal countries, and betrayed by their own children! The desert crossing is proving to be long and arduous for individuals who have been disoriented, kidnapped, torn from their motherland, depersonalized and turned into objects, drained of energy, and so far unable to find a Moses, an Aaron or a Joshua to guide them... What hope do they have of ever getting anywhere?
Surprisingly, the Republic of Haiti has become a heap of pariahs looking for an impossible elsewhere to fill the gap of chronic misery. To walk, don't you need to have a destination in sight? Otherwise, we do not move forward. Instead, we walk in circles. The children of Toussaint, Dessalines, Christophe and Pétion don't know that the sun exists outside Plato's cave. They have no access to the "intelligible world". They run after the shadows that represent for us, in this metaphor, the Western Nations. The gluttonous imperialist countries. The slave powers. They do not see the regions of the rising sun. They remain prisoners of the "sensible world", which symbolizes cunning, hallucination, disillusion, falsehood, conscious deception, and fabricated lies.
The intellectual elite of the Republic of Haiti - if there is one today - should take the time to speak to the Nation about Anténor Firmin, Jean Demesvar Délorme, Edmond Paul, Jean Price Mars, Jacques Roumain, and Jacques Stephen Alexis. Shining stars who have shone in the sky of universal literature and who are the glory of our homeland. Popularizers of progressive ideas. Olympian architects of philosophical revolutionary thought. Those who didn't go from fair to fair to sell a few copies of their work, with the sole aim of keeping the noodle pot boiling for a few days.
It is the role of politicians to return from time to time in their speeches of the various personalities who represent models and values for the future of Haiti. Anténor Firmin said in front of the tomb of Jean Demesvar Délorme on December 28, 1901, in Paris:
"He had words, gestures, and sentimentality that exerted a kind of magic on the enthusiastic youth he bewitched. I don't know if politics can offer greater satisfaction or a more beautiful triumph! Undoubtedly, we have a whole host of remarkable men, in more than one specialty...but none of them shares with Demesvar Delorme the immense glory of having ushered in the era of true literary blossoming... ".
Haiti's legislatures should remember Edmond Paul if they are to pull the country out of the grave social, political, and economic morass into which it is sinking further every day. Edmond Paul's financial and economic intelligence was able to pull the State out of the mess. President Sylvain Salnave, like the two illegitimate PHTK governments, led public finances to disaster and ruin.
In a 1998 interview, we asked the late Gérard Pierre-Charles about the involvement of Haiti's elites in the causes of the Haitian people's misfortunes. His answer could not have been clearer:
"In terms of Haiti's economic and social development, you can't absolve yourself of all blame and attribute it solely to others. I believe that the Haitian elite, the governmental elite, the political elite, the economic elite of this country are responsible for the fact that Haiti has not been able to enter a dynamic phase of development. From the 19th century onwards, a dynamic phase led to progress in many countries of Central America and the Caribbean: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, which were still very backward. At the beginning of the 19th century, imperialism manifested itself in these countries through military occupations and all forms of economic control. At the same time, the latifundio excelled because the elites in these countries were able to create processes of accumulation and transformation that enabled them to jump from a period of backwardness onto the bandwagon of capitalist development and modernization. And today, globalization..."
"In my opinion, the Haitian elite has failed in this challenge. There's one country I've studied in particular: Costa Rica. Between 1880 and 1890, this country had a small coffee industry compared with Haiti. But the Costa Rican coffee oligarchy understood that it had to transform itself into a sector of coffee entrepreneurs. They transferred their capital by transforming coffee latifundia into modern capitalist farms. Haiti's intellectual, political, economic and cultural elites have failed in their role of leading the country towards the poles of sustainable development. The responsibilities of the international environment were very strong at a given moment. But, from the end of the 19th century onwards, the exercise of national capacity had to manifest itself - as it did, with all the differences that implies - in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, in other words, in countries that were also black or mixed-race; ex-colonial countries that were victims of a whole exercise in discrimination and exploitation. But the elites have not been able to rise to the imperatives of development ."
From the mid-1940s onwards, the countries of the North seriously sought - and succeeded - in imposing their own models of economic growth on the countries of the South. The race to increase productivity led the planet down a slope of irreversible environmental deterioration. The unfortunate result has been a phenomenal waste of non-renewable natural resources, causing social distress and economic damage everywhere, with irreparable consequences. Suddenly, the capitalist states exporting industrial pollution woke up. They realized that their territories were part of the same planet and shared the same risks with the countries they use as dumping grounds for their radioactive waste. They began to sound the alarm in the early 1990s. They held a series of "biodiversity symposia" here and there. But the damage was already done. The environment was dangerously degraded. Wealthy countries developed at the expense of peripheral regions.
It is not easy for anyone to draw a predictive trajectory for the future of the Haitian people. The human species is threatened, like prehistoric animals.
How will Haiti, its legs amputated first by 29 years of political dictatorship, and then by 37 years of chaotic political transition - manage to get back on its feet and finally start moving forward again, in the direction of the "Dream" carried by its legendary ancestors? The Republic of Haiti is spinning like a top in a circle of dissipating turbulence. It has sunk in the river of cruelty, corruption, mediocrity, incompetence, irresponsibility and the immobility of opportunists of all stripes, on all sides, who took over the political scene after February 7 1986. It needs to be fished out before it drowns.
No, as far as the people of the South are concerned, "God" should not write the play and entrust the direction of the theater to "the Devil", to paraphrase Victor Hugo. We must destroy the "Devil", take over the running of the theater. Rethink, plan, and organize a new staging in which roles are better distributed. Put the actors in the right place.
We've lost a few friendships on the road to earthly existence since we began wearing the epaulettes of the artisans of a global revolution. Some phone calls became rarer before disappearing off the radar altogether. Nevertheless, what counts above all, what gives life value, is the duty to apply the lesson drawn from Guevara's moral conscience. We must have the necessary strength, and unfailing bravery to embrace and defend all causes that depersonalize, dehumanize living beings held captive in the obscurantist caves of imperialism.
After the overthrow of the bourgeois state, the new Republic of Haiti must enlist the economic and military help of Russia and China in an attempt to smooth the path of hardship for its people. It must join BRICS. The United States, Canada, France, England, Germany, Japan and Spain are not reliable allies for the people living in the periphery. Their presence in Haiti coincides with situations of indescribable inhumanity and cruelty: drug trafficking, murder, gangsterism, mass exodus, destitution... We fervently advocate the re-chartering of Haiti's diplomatic relations with the northern Nations. A revolutionary government will understand that. Priority should be given to forging closer ties with Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and the countries of Africa, the Near East and the Middle East.
Even in a situation of extreme misfortune, there are "dirty hands" - as Jean-Paul Sartre would say - that should not be shaken, hugs that should be refused, gestures of subtle hypocrisy that should be stopped.
Frantz Fanon declared: "The future must be a sustained construction of the existing man ." The years 2022 and 2023 are particularly trying for our compatriots. We are watching the winds of a global popular insurrection quietly begin to rise on the horizon. As Karl Marx predicted, capitalism is digging its own grave. Poverty has become a global phenomenon.
Nevertheless, tomorrow will not be like yesterday. The hope of "Change" is here.
 Cité dans les notices biographiques des Éditions Fardin qui ont réédité l’ouvrage de Jean Demesvar Delorme, Réflexions diverses sur Haïti, paru pour la première fois en 1873.
 Robert Lodimus, La guerre des Lavalassiens ou Le scrutin de la discorde, ouvrage inédit.
 Frantz Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs, page 29, Éditions du Seuil, 1952.
Translated by CHIP editors
Posted June 24, 2023