Friday, February 26, 2010

Peter Hallward on Haiti

Peter Hallward editor of Radical Philosophy, and one of the most prominent commentators on the work of Alain Badiou, was on Democracy Now! recently discussing the situation in Haiti. The key point he makes, which I am sure others have made before him, to my mind here is:

The crucial thing is the—I think, to facilitate something like a genuine collective mobilization. But Aristide has his place in that. He’s one of many people who could contribute to that. But he is the most important person, I think, the one who has the highest profile, the person who is—who was able, has been able to do this time and time again, to find the right words to say what has to be said. This is what people appreciate about him, and to do it in ways that are not deferential. You know, one of the things that people appreciate him is that he stood up to pressure and that he stood up for people’s right to confront military pressure, for example, and to defend themselves. So he’s been a very articulate spokesman for that, for justice and for empowerment. So he’s important because of that, not because of he’s an individual, he would come and have all the solutions [inaudible]. I’m sure he’d be the first to say that’s not the case.

But that the empowerment of Haitian people, as a whole, and in meaningful ways, not in the kind of trivial ways that everyone will say, it has to be driven by the Haitian people. What does that actually mean concretely? And I think, concretely, in terms of organization, in terms of having something like a program for national change, it’s been Fanmi Lavalas, the mobilization around Fanmi Lavalas, that has been the most important development in Haitian politics since the mid-‘90s. So, to maintain a kind of continuity with that, to allow it to go forward, to allow the organization to reestablish itself, to reorganize itself—it suffered a great deal, you know, under the pressure of the last six years, in particular—would be a very important way forward. It’s simply allowing the Haitian people to use the resources that they’ve got, rather than maintaining them in a sort of state of passive, deferential docility.

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