Haiti solidarity

Submitted by Matthew on 5 March, 2010 - 4:08 Author: Gareth Munro

No Sweat activists met in London for a forum on Haiti to follow up the massively successful music and comedy benefit which raised over £1,000 for Haitian workers' organisation Batay Ouvriye.

The meeting heard from Andy Taylor of the Haiti Support Group, who gave an inspiring account of how grassroots organisations in Haiti have tried to pick themselves up and continue organising after the devastating earthquake. He explained how the hyper-exploitative sweatshop capitalism operating in Haiti directly worsened the impact of the earthquake; 500 workers in a single factory were killed because bosses locked them into the workplace hours after their shift was supposed to end so that they could complete the day's quota.

Vicki Morris from No Sweat discussed the meaning of solidarity, and talked about why No Sweat chooses to make direct links with organisations like Batay Ouvriye rather than supporting mainstream charity appeals. The meeting discussed the difference between solidarity and charity, as well as debates current within the social justice movement (is the key dividing line in the world between "rich countries" and "poor countries" or bosses and workers?).

It was agreed to investigate which companies are active in Haiti's Free Trade Zones and organise direct action, targeting their UK stores to highlight the struggles of Haitian workers.

No Sweat holds monthly organising meetings on the first Thursday of every month at Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, King's Cross.

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