PORT-AU-PRINCE — The May Day march here was very spirited, stopping traffic by occupying a main intersection in the Champ de Mars (the principal city square) for half an hour. Marchers called on the tent-city residents filling the square to join them and fight for housing: (“People of the Champ de Mars, O, it’s by struggle that we’ll get housing.”) Some young camp-dwellers came out to look on as the marchers rounded the square at a run, forming circles at intersections to perform street theater skits pillorying MINUSTAH (UN) troops, college deans and other bosses.
The circle songs and chants in some cases went back centuries into the voodoo rituals that feed the Haitian culture of resistance. As the circle drew in tighter to bring things to a close, a group of U.S. marchers, there in solidarity with workers and students in the struggle, started a chant in English: “Same enemy, same fight; workers of the world unite!”
It was an unforgettable moment as the other marchers warmly embraced the U.S. comrades. “To the final victory,” a March leader murmured into the ear of a U.S. marcher as they hugged.
The march was smaller this year because of a split in the trade union movement. One union held an indoor conference to celebrate May Day, where a PL’er asked for the mic and sang the May Day song from the mid-’70s PLP album, “May Day is the workers’ day, May Day,” to great applause.
This May Day was marked by the launching of DEFI, the Kreyòl version of CHALLENGE ( to be posted on http://www.plp.org). The ten-page Vol. 1, No.1 included the international May Day editorial and poetry and articles written locally, on the history and meaning of May Day, and on the recent elections (“People Deceived, Bosses Happy”). In addition to PLP’s Statement of Principles, the paper had an article from Colombia on Party organizing among construction workers, and a tribute to three comrades recently gone from the struggle: Janil Louis-Juste and Jean Filbert Louis, both assassinated in Haiti last year, and Luís Castro, long-time editor of CHALLENGE.
At a May Day dinner, plans were made for distribution of DEFI and for readers’ networks. Despite weaknesses in the mass organizations, the appearance of DEFI begins a new stage, a challenge launched into the dark night of one of the most oppressive capitalist societies