Archive for February, 2010

26/2/10 Haiti - a disaster of imperialism

Friday, February 26th, 2010

The mainstream right wing press have approached the Haiti earthquake in their usual manner when reporting any natural disaster. Scenes of the resulting destruction are interlinked with the rescue attempts and the hope, despair and confusion that these bring. Personal tragedies are focused upon, pulling at the heartstrings of the public in order to promote the inevitable disaster appeal. The BBC reports that the Port-au-Prince airport has been “secured” by the US military, flying in 13,000 troops, few of who are disaster relief trained. Scenes of looting help to enforce the belief of the need for “security”. This has taken the form of the private security company Blackwater, a firm whose brief is to protect the property of the rich using all means necessary, in other words shoot to kill.

Leaders of the relief effort explained the logistical difficulties of delivering aid where needed. Yet there has been no mention of the fact that planeloads of medical aid from Cuba and Venezuela were turned away by the US military. Once again the ideology of American imperialism takes precedence over the need of the poor and injured. 230,000 dead, nearly a million homeless but this is of little concern, the important thing is enforcing US foreign policy towards those it deems the enemy of “democracy”.

We are told that Obama has liaised with Sarkozy so that two nations can lead the way in humanitarian relief and reconstruction. Will this be the same reconstruction that took place after the environmental disaster in New Orleans? ; i.e. very little. It is fitting that Sarkozy will be involved. Haiti was under French rule until 1823. Before then it produced sugar, using 1 million African slaves to feed the economy of the French Empire. For its independence, the colony of Haiti had to give France $35 billion of today’s money in reparations for loss of earnings from the sugar plantations. It did not finish paying off this immoral debt until 1947! This and other imperialist interventions in its affairs, is the reason Haiti is one of the poorest countries on the planet, not because of natural disasters.

Of course in the background, the Clinton dynasty is involved. Relief flights to Port-au-Prince were suspended for three hours so that Hillary could land.

Bill, her estranged husband, has been given the job of special envoy to Haiti. This entails working with the corrupt government to create export processing zones. This euphemistic title hides the blatant exploitation taking place within high fenced labour camps, workers toiling an eleven hour shift to earn $2 a day. Companies such as Disney & Wrangler send parts of their products to Haiti to be stitched together by some of the poorest people on the planet. These are then shipped back to Florida to feed the hungry American market.

Haiti, a victim of volcanoes, imperialism and the neo-liberal agenda.

source ; Socialist Review February 2010

Rant 20/02/10

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

As the months pass, more and more evidence of the bankruptcy of British political life piles up. If as suggested in the press, we are complicit in U.S torture of Binyam Mohamed, where does this leave the ‘special relationship’? Either acting or siding with the bully has always been the British way, but the myths that are used to sell colonial adventuring these days are lying shredded amongst the carnage of Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyone still hypnotised by the mantra of freedom, democracy and the sanctity of human life must surely be awakened by the total collapse of this house of lies.

Our assumptions of ethical motives in Foreign policy, our trust in our own essential benevolence as a nation, our belief in the principles that underpin our very thinking have all been overturned and hollowed out by the genocidal rampaging of the last 7 years. But look further back and it’s always been the same: the information is out there and the more you search the fewer illusions cloud your thinking.

The fact is that in the West we float in a weightless culture that persists in promoting a spurious individualism premised on the exploitation of a pliant multitude. Daily public debate picks away at the details whilst failing to grasp the root of the problem. Statistics that demonstrate again and again the structural injustices of capitalism, the life shortening blight of poverty and the desperate need for redistribution of wealth are puzzled over and obfuscated, whilst occasional direct indictment is quickly sidelined. Money as the medium of exchange has become the generating force and the measure of all activity, evacuating any critical dimension from the arts and educational system as it goes. The possibility of serious critique followed by radical change is inconceivable within a society that runs on greed and shores up privilege.

But first things first. We must be honest with ourselves about what remains of our belief system. We can’t go on turning up for work and then hitting the bars without pausing to examine our consciences. We’re sitting in the cockpit of a slaughtering, torturing machine that only we can scupper. Time to grab the wheel. Time for socialism.


Monday, February 15th, 2010