Showing posts with label Imagining a better Haiti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Imagining a better Haiti. Show all posts

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thinking in Public with the Haitian People by Celucien Joseph

 Thinking in Public with the Haitian People by Celucien Joseph 


I'm currently working on a short essay for "Haiti: Then and Now" on the role of the Haitian intellectual and cultural critic in fostering social change. I am thinking about a lot of questions such as what should be the public role and function of the Haitian intellectual in Haitian society and the Haitian Diaspora in fostering social transformation? What does it mean for the Haitian intellectual to know the people, work with the people, and understand the desires of the people? 

In this forthcoming piece, I consider what it means to "think in public with the people." To think in public with the people does not entail that the Haitian thinker is doing the thinking for them nor does it suggest that the common people do not and cannot think (for themselves).

To me, thinking in public with the people means to listen to them, to their causes, desires, longings; to affirm their humanity; to promote their will of self-determination; and to work together with them in order to break down the chains and cycle of oppression that enslave them. Public thinking with the interest of the people in mind is another way to promote true justice, a politics of relationality,  and an ethics of collaboration and mutuality. 

I believe the Haitian intellectual, in the Gramscian sense and logic, should be “an organic intellectual” and a public servant committed to the public good through sacrifice and self-giving. The Haitian intellectual does not just imagine a promising and emancipative Haiti; he actualizes it. In other words, he makes it happen by working together  with grassroots movements and subaltern social groups.  He realizes that his opinions and ideas about the future of the Haitian communities in Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora are not penultimate.; that the ideas, value-judgments, and worldview of the people on matters of life, sustainability, and global futures, also matter.

The Haitian intellectual knows where the people, the poor, the outcast, the oppressed, and "moun andeyo yo" (a reference to the Haitian peasants and those living in the countryside of Haiti) live--be it in the slums of Port-au-Prince, Lafoset in Cap-Haitien, or in the Little Haiti in Miami.


 Working with the people will produce the social transformation we and they so desire….

* Do look forward for my next piece in the next few weeks: "Thinking in Public with the Haitian People"