Socialist Workers’ Movement
The wave of indignation and rebellion against racism, which began in Minneapolis after the assassination of George Floyd and brought millions onto the streets of the United States, has been present on all continents, in great demonstrations of solidarity.
The Dominican Republic, one of the countries with the worst expressions of institutional and structural racism in the world, could not remain isolated from this phenomenon.ÂÂ Without the massiveness of anti-racist demonstrations in other latitudes, under difficult conditions, an act of solidarity was called by eleven organizations for June 9 under the title «A flower for Floyd and against racism».ÂÂ It was a simple act in which flowers were placed in the historic place of Santo Domingo where the head of Lemba, the great leader of the anti-slavery struggle in the 16th century, was exhibited.
Immediately, a counter call was launched by extreme right-wing racist groups, who support racism both in the United States and in the Dominican Republic itself. They are groups with paramilitary characteristics and an ideology akin to that of the military dictator and genocide perpetrator Trujillo, who in 1937 perpetrated the worst campaign of ethnic cleansing of the 20th century in the region, through which more than 30,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were murdered. The spokespersons of these fascist groups made death threats through digital media and social networks against anti-racist activism, declaring that they considered a tribute to George Floyd an offense to the «homeland».
From 8 a.m. the fascists began to concentrate in Independence Park, in front of the corner where the homage and the antiracist demonstration were to take place. The concentration point was accompanied by the National Police, as documented in videos and photographs. One can see how the fascists and the police fraternize. Two hours later, when the event began in honor of George Floyd, in support of the anti-racist struggle in the U.S. and against racism in the DR, with the placement of flowers, candles, and Black Lives Matter banners, the group of fascists attacked in coordination with the police. The group acted as they pleased, some fifty people, mostly former military and police officers, led by a lawyer and a professional staff from El Nuevo Diario, an extreme right-wing newspaper. The police arbitrarily detained anti-racist activists Ana Belique and Maribel Núñez and leftist activist Fernando Corona, to the satisfaction of the fascists. The anti-racists were more numerous but the action of the police, who claimed to be acting in accordance with the state of emergency that prohibits rallies, generated dispersion and confusion.ÂÂ In any case, and in spite of everything, the act in homage to George Foyd took place. The fascists and the police did not get away with it. More importantly, it was demonstrated at the national and international level that there is racism in the DR, a racist state and a government that is complicit in fascist groups. And this is very important for the struggles to come.
This is not the first time that neo-Nazis and fascists, calling themselves «nationalists», have threatened to «spill blood» if public activities are carried out against racism or in defence of the rights of immigrants. They have also publicly threatened journalists, workers and human rights defenders. The head of the national police, Ney Aldrin, in 2018 made statements in defence of one of these fascist groups, refusing to investigate the death threats against journalist Marino Zapete and claiming that this group, whose motto is «God, Fatherland and Freedom», was made up of «young people… fighting for the values of our children and hopefully there are more people willing to fight for the values of this country». One of those «values» is obviously rabid racism.
Now everything has been exposed before the eyes of the world, precisely in the midst of one of the most inspiring and powerful anti-racist mobilizations of an international nature. We call for solidarity with the anti-racist organizations of the world, to denounce the situation in the Dominican Republic, where anti-racism is criminalized and racism and fascism are promoted and protected, all in the service of a voracious bourgeoisie that super-exploits thousands of immigrant and racialized workers. It has also ratified the need to articulate a great anti-racist front that can fight in a united and sustained manner for the elementary democratic rights that are systematically trampled upon by the government. To accompany the struggle against the denationalization of Dominican people of Haitian descent, to fight against racist lynchings and for justice for their victims, to defend the right to unionization of immigrant workers and to pensions, as in the case of the sugar cane workers, to end state tolerance for actions of racist hate. The opposition in the coming elections reproduces the same racist and xenophobic speeches of the government, because they also represent the interests of the bourgeoisie: nothing can be expected from them. On our own organization and mobilization depends the conquest of equality and the defeat of racism, as part of the struggle against capitalism.ÂÂ We will have the last word.