Tag Archives: U.S. Imperialism

Racist Imperialists Looted Haiti for 500 Years: Capitalism+Earthquake = Mass Murder

Profit-hungry — mainly U.S. — racist capitalists, having looted Haiti for 100 years, have condemned more than 200,000 of its working class to die in the recent earthquake. Just as disgustingly, these same bosses, led by liberal phony Obama, seek military and political payoffs from the slaughter through media-hyped “relief” efforts that benefit their own class far more than they do workers.

(A New York Times’ op-ed article (1/14) reported: “Money that private aid organizations rely on comes from the United States government, which has insisted that a great deal of the aid return to American pockets — a larger percentage than that of any other industrialized country….Many projects…serve not impoverished Haitians but the interests of the people administering the projects.”)

The first wave of killings came on January 12, when shack-like homes in overcrowded shantytowns collapsed on desperately poor and mostly jobless workers and their families. Public buildings cheaply constructed with no concern for workers’ safety also fell. Tens of thousands of lingering deaths follow, due to “bottlenecks” hindering Obama’s “humanitarian” aid effort, which, in fact, fronts for yet another U.S. invasion of Haiti.

Haiti’s Working Class: A Super-exploited ‘Reserve Army of Labor’

The horrific destruction of Haiti’s slums results directly from U.S. rulers’ and their allies’ exploitation of the country’s almost entirely black population as what Marx called a “reserve army of labor.” Keeping one group of workers jobless and/or grossly underemployed and, when working, grossly underpaid, helps imperialist capitalists hold down wages throughout their sphere of influence. U.S. rulers’ racism super-exploits black, Latino and Asian workers in Africa, Asia and Latin-America. But their racism reaches new heights in Haiti, a more effective wage suppressor for U.S. and allied bosses than even Africa is for their European and now Chinese rivals.

The Progressive Policy Institute reports (5/1/08): “Haiti’s per capita income is $450 per year. This is barely a tenth of the $4,045 figure for Latin America and the Caribbean, and well below the $746 average for sub-Saharan Africa….Between 200,000 and 350,000 of Haiti’s nearly nine million people have permanent paid work.”

U.S. policies deliberately enforce Haitian workers’ perpetual impoverishment and largely jobless urbanization, which both boost U.S. rulers’ profits and vastly magnified the earthquake death toll. U.S. Coast Guard and federal immigration cops brutally deter immigrants from Haiti, towing their rickety boats back out to sea and jailing those who do make it to U.S. shores.

U.S. garment bosses, with Bill Clinton, the UN’s “Special Envoy to Haiti,” shilling for them, and backed by an Act of Congress, lured workers to Port-au-Prince with promises of sweatshop jobs at less than $2 a day. All but one of Haiti’s textile plants — which accounted for 90 per cent of its exports — were in Port-au-Prince. And U.S. interests destroyed what there was of Haiti’s farm economy (see page 3), increasing migration from the countryside to the capital.

“In the 1980s and 1990s, under pressure from international financial institutions and the United States, Haiti lifted tariffs that protected the livelihoods of its rice farmers, leaving local producers unable to compete with heavily subsidized U.S. agribusiness.” (Boston Globe, 5/5/08)

Clinton Aids U.S. Rulers’ ‘HOPE’ for a Permanently Poor Haiti

Last April, Haiti’s U.S. puppet prime minister Michele Pierre-Louis told NY garment manufacturers they could count on “250,000” ultra-low-wage factory workers in Haiti “before 2011.” She was touting the Haitian Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act, or HOPE, passed by Congress in 2006 and strengthened in 2008. It guarantees U.S. bosses investing in Haiti “duty-free status and lower labor costs [our emphasis, Ed.]…for the next 10 years.” (Women’s Wear Daily, 4/14/09)

In September 2009, Bill Clinton, pushing HOPE in Port-au-Prince, spoke of 100,000 garment jobs while betraying his true class loyalty: “All of our efforts will have to be judged by…whether we perform for the investors and make them a profit.” (CBS-TV, 10/1/09) Blatantly imperialistic, HOPE forbids Haitian subcontractors to “engage in activities that undermine United States national security or foreign policy interests.”

U.S. Military Invasion, Cloaked in ‘Humanitarianism’; Half-baked ‘Relief’ Pales Beside U.S. War Efforts

When the quake hit, geopolitics suddenly replaced economics as Obama & Co.’s chief concern in Haiti. Warmaker-in-Chief Obama immediately grabbed the chance to assert U.S. military dominance over the Caribbean Basin, dispatching 10,000 Marines and soldiers under humanitarian cover, to quell any potential rebellion by angry, starving, jobless workers.

As a warning to Venezuela and Cuba, and their Chinese and Russian pals, U.S. forces immediately summarily seized the capital’s airport and sent warships steaming to Haiti’s shores. While the Navy flotilla includes a hospital ship, it also boasts two guided missile cruisers, which, bristling with weapons, deal only in death.

The day after the quake, Douglas Fraser, the U.S. general in charge of the Haiti operation, made it clear that wielding power, not providing relief, was Job One: “We’re focused on getting command and control and communications.”

Delays in relief have caused thousands of needless deaths. Pentagon brass blame Port-au-Prince’s battered one-runway airport and the “logistical nightmare” of distributing food and water. What nonsense! During World War II, U.S. construction battalions would build mile-long airstrips in days while under enemy fire. And today, the remotest U.S. Afghan outposts get regular supplies of food —and ammo — by the ton. Saving Haiti’s workers is simply not a priority for the U.S. war machine.

One positive thing coming from the Haiti horror is the outpouring of working-class solidarity for the victims. But it will all go for nothing without a class outlook. Applauding Obama’s militarizing “relief” or giving to Doctors Without Borders (really, Capitalists Without Scruples) can only bolster U.S. imperialism.

The class solidarity and militancy of Haiti’s workers amid the catastrophe shows the way. We must unite with them in solidarity by raising the above ideas in unions, shops, on campuses, in barracks, churches and community organizations. And we must expose the real looters — U.S. bosses — while collecting aid to send directly to Haiti’s workers on the streets, by-passing the phony relief groups serving U.S. imperialism.

These workers are battling the U.S.-led “security” apparatus to get food and water to share with their communities. What’s needed even more is an internationalist party that embraces such struggle with the outlook of eventually eradicating the life-sucking billionaire class in a communist revolution. That’s what the Progressive Labor Party is building. Join us.

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From El Salvador’s Horrors PLP Politics Shaped a Young PL’er

EL SALVADOR — In 1980 I was among a group of people from El Salvador who went into exile in Honduras. I traveled in my grandmother’s arms, while my father and a sister stayed in El Salvador.

The “orejas” (snitches that spy for the police and army) murdered my mother and one of my brothers. When I was in Colomoncagua, Honduras, I remember Honduran soldiers massacring people in the camp where we lived. When the soldiers came, the people went out to yell at them. Once all of us children were locked in a house for safety, while the adults confronted the soldiers with machetes, sticks and rocks.

In 1990, when we returned to El Salvador, I was 11. The war was still on; before that I had never heard the sound and terror of bullets and mortars in full battle. One day around 4 A.M., I awoke to the sounds of shooting; during the night the soldiers had broken into our encampment in Morazán. For two days we heard the sounds of guns and mortars. Someone said that all the people had to go to the mountains.

By that time, the fascist army had murdered three brothers and my mother. My father was still alive along with myself and another brother; he joined the ranks of the guerillas with many of the youth from the encampment. Many who I knew died.
One night we saw a helicopter shooting and launching lights with flares. My father said, “I wonder if my son is there.” Until then, I still didn’t know the reason for the war.

After the 1992 peace accords, I always talked to veteran guerillas, asking them the reason for the war. After those 12 years of armed conflict, I was still only 13. These veterans taught me the history and I came to identify myself with the left.
I firmly believed that revolutionary politics meant power was won through elections. Given what I had been taught, I became a reformer in the FMLN, which capitalism turned into an electoral party. Many veterans and commanders have become capitalists or small bosses. Nevertheless, I thought that was moving the revolution forward.

Then a long-time friend began reading CHALLENGE to me. He spoke about the PLP, gave me the paper and invited me to a meeting in his house. Others there talked to me about the international situation.

When the question of ideology arose, I described my electoral party (the FMLN) thinking that was the course to follow. After several meetings, I was thrilled with the PLP, and was invited to meet with international comrades to discuss the Party’s work. Most important to me was how we analyzed reality. Meeting PLP has meant learning about a true revolution.

While the FMLN held sway in my infancy, now in the PLP I consider myself the fruit of those who spilled their blood defending me during my childhood and made it possible for me to fight for communist revolution through the international Progressive Labor Party.
A Young PLP member

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