Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dr. King., Haiti's Path Capitalism or Socialism?

From: "Richard Menec" <>

Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.

We do remember that you said this:

"This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our
nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate
into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and
bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged,
cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues
year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of
social uplift is approaching spiritual death." -- MLK


From: "Gary Crethers" <>

Haiti's Future Path Capitalism Or Socialism?

January 14th, 2010

People are dying in the streets of Port Au Prince. There are planes coming
in loaded with aid and there are aid teams such as the French team waiting
for instructions. There are teams from Miami that explained that they are
not going to set up triage units in the parks. First they need an
infrastructure, that includes power, transport, security. In other words
until they had a marine escort nothing would happen.

The media images show a city in chaos with impassable roads, etc, but today
on Warren Olney's program there was a representative from Oxfam saying that
the roads from the Dominican Republic are open. It is about a 2 hour drive
from the border to Port Au Prince. Another person from a rural medical
program in Haiti said that their clinics are open and that they turned their
school campus into a hospital to accept patients from the city. Other
Haitian doctors are operating out of their homes because the hospitals are

But the interesting thing is that while the airport in Haiti is barely
functioning and the harbor has problems, there is another access point in
the Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. If the doctors and nurses from
Miami are afraid of the natives in Haiti then why not let the people who are
not afraid distribute the supplies and set up the triage centers. If this
were a war zone there would be centers set up. Trucks would be coming in by
the hundreds from across the border. Instead we have the President claiming
we are sending the Marines and the media reports that nothing is happening
on the ground. The president of Haiti, Rene Preval appeared today at the
airport looking well rested and well coiffed. He did not have the look of
someone who had been up for two days straight doing what he could to help
the people.

I think Naomi Klein had it right yesterday when she spoke about disaster
capitalism. She noted how on the Heritage Foundation's site just after the
earthquake they were virtually crowing about the opportunity to bring about
market reforms to the Haitian economy. This posting was removed after a few
hours when people complained but Democracy Now was able to capture that
information and broadcast it. It has been Naomi's contention that the
situation is being exacerbated by the media and the US government to ram
through the reforms they want.

Haiti has almost no infrastructure as it is. As was pointed out today on
Warren Olney's program most of it has been privatized in the hands of the
NGOs. One reporter noted how there are always NGO members riding along with
the UN forces in their armored vehicles and that right now they are more
concerned with their own people than with the people of Haiti. This evening
on the BBC it was noted that over 36 UN personal were killed when their
headquarters was crushed and they are dealing with their loss and trying to
organize relief for the natives. I got a strong impression of priviledged
poverty tourists looking out for their own asses and not paying a whole lot
of attention to the needs of the people they are supposed to be there to

My own belief is that many if not most so called social workers are more
interested in perpetuating the social welfare/social service industry that
has been created by private NGOs as governments have relinquished the
function of serving the people as they concentrate on naked power grabs and
posturing for control of the sectors that they truly are interested in, the
military and control of access to resources.

Haiti has been squeezed for centuries. The native people were killed off by
the Spanish in the 16th century because they refused to work as slaves in
the silver mines and plantations. Black slaves captured from Africa,
terrorized and crushed in the transport process from their homes, were given
the choice, die or work and not even having the chance to escape home,
because home was 5000 miles away, they worked and bided their time. France
took over the western part of the island of Hispaniola and grew sugarcane
among other crops like cotton and tobacco. It became a great source of
wealth until durring the French Revolution the slaves got the idea that they
too were human beings as the Rights of Man declared. They rebelled in 1791
and independence was declared January 1st 1804 when they were finally free
from Napoleon who facing a British Embargo and needing quick cash and coming
up with the scheme of getting sugar from beets, decided to let the American
land be bought by the USA and let the Haitians go. But they demanded
reparations to pay for the lost income from all those slaves in exchange for
recognition. The United States would not recognise Haiti until 1862 because
of the Slave states blocking recognition.

The USA occupied Haiti in 1917 and stayed there until 1934 because of
bankers concern that the unstable governments there might default on loans
and the fact that the German community in Haiti were in control of much of
the infrastructure by marrying locals and bypassing laws against whites
owning property.

CNN is doing its big presentation of how the US military will be there
tomorrow in force. It looks like an invasion force. CNN is emphasising all
the nations who are sending in teams to help but all this help won't be of
much use, the people trapped in buildings will be dead by tomorrow when the
the real efforts will begin. So far they have been milling around the
airport while teams of reporters went into the city to whip up international
aid. I understand that there is a certain amount of preparation that is
needed but after all the hurricanes of 2008 when there were 3 in a row you
would expect some infrastructure to be in place. There has been years of
United Nations occupation starting when in 1994 troops landed and aided
Aristide the popular leader of the resistance to the dictatorship and stayed
until the United States forced President Aristide to leave in 2004, the last
time there was a truly democratic leader in the nation and ongoing there are
still UN troops there.

When I look at Cuba an neighboring nation with all the same climatic
conditions and challenges, and how Cuba has one of the best medical
infrastructures in the world, with as little wealth, and everyone is fed and
lives a poor but decent life, it makes me wonder if that sort of system
would work in Haiti? Socialism in Haiti certainly could not do any worse
than what they have now, a land that is the refuse bin of surplus grains
from american agriculture dumping so that local farmers cannot compete, a
land with no infrastructure because it has been stripped away by the free
market capitalism methods that have been so popular over the past few
decades. It is a land that has been crushed by the exploitation of the
people by the powers of the world that see the land as a source of cheap
labor when needed and a dumping ground of surplus wealth, second hand goods
and excess liberal guilt. It deserves better. I could go on and I should but
I have to go to work in the morning and it is getting late.

The people of Haiti are dying, but they are also struggling to put their
lives back together and there is not enough coverage of what the people are
doing to self organize and take things into their own hands. The media image
is one of helplessness and we all know that that is not the total picture..

People do what they have to do in times of crisis and I expect the people of
Haiti are doing the best they can with what they have. They need an honest
helping hand not a usurers loan and an exploiters bloody hand.

Lets do our best to see they get a fair shake.

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