For immediate release
Contact: Haiti Anti-Sweatshop Committee, 212-781-5157 • 347-792-7091
Haiti Three Years After the Earthquake: A Labor Perspective
When: Saturday, January 12, 2013, 6 pm
Where: CWA Local 1180, 6 Harrison Street, basement, Manhattan (between Hudson Street and Greenwich Street, 1 to Franklin St or A, C, E, 2 or 3 to Chambers St)
What: Forum on Haiti three years after the earthquake
New York, Jan. 10—Three New York-based activist journalists are marking the third anniversary of Haiti's 2010 earthquake this Saturday with a report-back on their visits to the country last October. The forum, held at a union hall in Lower Manhattan, will focus on grassroots organizing by Haitians, especially in the garment assembly plants.
The anniversary has brought a run of articles in the media here. While the coverage notes the failure of international aid to help Haiti “build back better,” it also claims there has been “some progress,” in the words of a New York Times editorial. The paper’s example is “a new industrial park north of Port-au-Prince, the capital, providing the first 1,300 of what are supposed to be many thousands of manufacturing jobs.”
The three New Yorkers got a very different perspective in talks with Haitian assembly workers, who are currently struggling just to be paid the new legal minimum wage of $7 a day. They are looking for grassroots solidarity from the United States, they said--not projects like the new industrial park, built largely with $124 million in U.S. tax money170 miles from the earthquake zone, and mostly benefiting multinationals like Walmart..
The forum will include a photo projection from photojournalist Tony Savino and talks by David Wilson and Marty Goodman. Savino, who visited the northern city of Ouanaminthe in October, has photographed Haiti regularly for a quarter century; a sample of his work can be found at http://www.tonysavino.com/. Wilson was in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake struck, and has written about that experience and about the economics of the assembly sector. Goodman, a retired transit worker and former member of the TWU Local 100 Executive Board, began covering Haiti in 1986 with reports on the overthrow of Jean-Claude Duvalier (“Baby Doc”); an article on his most recent trip appeared in the November Socialist Action.
The forum has been organized by the Haiti Anti-Sweatshop Committee and is endorsed by One Struggle (NY) and the Batay Ouvriye Solidarity Network. The presenters are available for interviews. For more information, call 212-781-5157 or 347-792-7091, or visit http://www.facebook.com/events/512833625416529/