Connecticut: Reducing Mass Incarceration Rates and Prison Costs

Life After Parole

Frontline (2017)

Film Review

Life After Parole is a Frontline documentary about a Connecticut program seeking to reduce mass incarceration rates and prison costs by granting low risk offenders early parole. The film follows four new parolees over a 1 1/2 year period. In each case, it’s clear their risk of re-offending directly relates to the quality of their relationship with their parole officer.

It’s clear from this documentary the effectiveness of this experiment depends  largely on the ability of parole officers to shift roles. Instead of mainly monitoring parolees for infractions of their parole conditions, they must learn to play a supportive role in helping former inmates build a new life for themselves. At the moment, they are expected to play both roles simultaneously, and criminologists question whether this is even possible.

Of the four offenders, the sole female is the only one to stay out of prison on the first try. I suspect this relates partly to the nature of her offense (the three men, all imprisoned for drug-related crimes, violate their condition of parole by relapsing), partly to strong motivation to be re-united with her son and partly to a strong relationship with a highly skilled parole officer. The woman, who is African American, has been in prison for ten years for slashing another women with a knife. The length of this sentence for an assault and battery charge is ludicrous. It speaks volumes to the blatant racism of the US criminal justice system.

 

The Movement to Abolish Prisons

Moana Jackson: Why Did Maori Never Have Prisons?

(2017)

At present, New Zealand has the second highest rate of mass incarceration in the world (after the US) – with the majority of inmates identifying as Maori. In the following presentation, Maori constitutional lawyer Moana Jackson makes the case for abolishing prisons. He cites the example of Norway, Finland and other Scandinavian countries, which decided decades ago that prisons were unsustainable and ineffective in reducing crime. In Norway, prisons are being replaced by open “habilitation” centers. In Finland, the number of prisons has been reduced from 100 to 20. The latter have mainly been replaced by mental health treatment centers.

Jackson’s main argument is that prisons are a direct result of colonization – that Maori had no prisons before European settlers arrived.* Prior to colonization, the primary Maori concern when people infringed on each other was the disruption in the net of social relationships. Different tribes set aside special facilities where victims and offenders could stay with their families to repair fractured relationships. In modern terminology, the process is referred to as “restorative justice.”** In New Zealand, we have no juvenile lock-up facilities. Instead offenders and their families meet with victims to make reparations.

Jackson also challenges the racist depiction of Maori as violent, naturally aggressive warriors. This stems from a European need to depict indigenous peoples as racially inferior to justify dispossessing. Stripping Maori of their true identity has traumatized generations of  young Maori men by providing them with a distorted image of who they really are. Peeling away this lie will be essential to abolishing prisons in New Zealand.

I was intrigued to learned that both Norway and Finland consulted with indigenous Sami (who also had no prisons prior to colonization) in devising alternatives to prison.


*Europeans also had no need for prisons prior to the Enclosure Acts that drove our ancestors off the commons. Deprived of access to land, they had no means of supporting themselves and the majority ended up in prisons and workhouses or “transported” by the courts to the US or Australia. See https://stuartjeannebramhall.com/2015/08/04/forgotten-history-the-theft-of-the-commons/

**South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is another famous example of restorative justice.

 

 

Black Skin White Masks

Black Skin White Masks

By Frantz Fanon (1952)

Book Review

Free PDF: Black Skin White Masks

Frantz Fanon was born in Martinique in 1925 of mixed heritage. He fought with the French resistance during World War II and received a scholarship to study medicine and psychiatry in France. In 1953, he accepted a hospital position in Algeria, where he joined the Algerian National Liberation Front. He died of leukemia in 1961.

Fanon was the first to systematically document and analyze the tendency of people of color to internalize the racism of the dominant culture. This process can include both self-deprecation based on race and unconscious adoption of European culture in preference to their own.

The book received international acclaim following Fanon’s death (from leukemia) in 1961 and was highly influential in the 1960s black power movement, both in Africa and the US.

Fanon’s analysis is a bit too Freudian for my tastes, though it makes important observations about the systematic destruction of African language and culture during colonization and enslavement. It also includes some fascinating observations about European family life, eg the fact that 30% of children born to typical European families become neurotic.

 

Life in the African American Aristocracy

negroland

Negroland: A Memoir

By Margo Jefferson

Granta Books (2015)

Book Review

Negroland is a memoir by theater and book critic Margo Jefferson about growing up in the American Negro aristocracy in the 1950s. Far more than a memoir, the book carefully chronicles the history of Black America’s elite professionals, academics and business people. For the most part these families are descended from the children of white slaveholders, from ancestors bought and freed by slavery-hating whites, from ancestors descended from free Negroes (non-slaves) or ancestors who bought their own freedom with hard work and cash.

These ancestors, in turn, used their wealth and privilege to ensure their own children pursued higher education and professional or academic careers. Prior to the 1970s they also used their wealth and privilege to found clubs, organizations and charities to improve the conditions of less privileged African Americans.

Jefferson’s father was a pediatrician and prior to marriage, her mother a social worker. As a member of the tiny African American aristocracy, which Jefferson refers to as “Negroland,” Jefferson grew up with very suffocating rules of refinement that were far more strict than those applied to white women. Living daily with ubiquitous mainstream racism, Jefferson came under heavy criticism (mainly from the women in her family) for drawing attention to herself with flamboyant dress, activities or talk, with “ashy” elbows or knees or poorly straightened hair that became “frizzy” in damp weather.

Jefferson writes poignantly about the identity crisis she experienced when her upbringing was challenged by the Black Power movement of the 1970s. It was at this point she realized how the pressure to assimilate to white society had isolated her from fully embracing her African American history and culture. She also suddenly became aware of the unwritten Negroland rule against experiencing or acknowledging feelings of depression. Owing to concern that emotional weakness would reflect unfavorably on the entire race, members of the Negro aristocracy were expected to power their way through depression with duty, obligation and discipline.

In Negroland, Jefferson achieves a good balance between subjective experience and a historical/cultural backdrop that helps us make sense of it. I highly recommend the book for its excellent depiction of a sadly neglected aspect of US history.

Originally published in Dissident Voice

Iranian TV Profiles African American Oppression

The Façade of the American Dream

Press TV (2013)

Film Review

This is a very troubling documentary by Iranian national TV about the present plight of America’s black community. It features a variety of African American voices, ranging from educators, lawyers and doctors to community activists. There are also four Caucasian faces – an economist, two anti-racist activists and the late assassination researcher John Judge.

The documentary is divided into four parts.

Part 1 This is Why We Have the Blues mainly addresses the problem of mental enslavement that results from being forced to adopt the culture of the dominant society. It goes on to address the plight of black youth when schools deliberately conceal their history from them and the campaign of assassination and incarceration of black leaders like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, George Jackson and Medgar Evers when they successfully mobilized black people to stand up against African American oppression.

Part 2 From School House to Jail House looks on serious drawback of public school integration, which has denied black students access to black teachers and a curriculum that endows them with pride in their history and culture. This process has been aggravated by national and state mandate for high stakes testing – which one activist compares to apartheid South Africa’s Bantu education. This was a system dedicated to preparing black South Africans for menial jobs.

Part 3 Lack of Wealth, Lack of Health focuses on the lack of access to healthy food and routine medical care in inner city communities. For many African American men, the only access to a doctor or dentist is in jail or prison. The result is a significant lower African American life expectancy (on average, black men live eight fewer years on average than white men and black women six fewer years than their white counterparts).

Part 4 You Ain’t Free explores the rise of mass black incarceration in the 1970s, which one activist views as a direct response to African Americans rising up in the 1960s to demand their rights. During the mid-sixties, the US prison population was 70% Caucasian – at present that percentage is 30%. Meanwhile the total US prison population has increased from 300,000 to 2.4 million, despite a significant reduction in violent crime. All the commentators link black mass incarceration to the War on Drugs and police policies that deliberate target African American communities with arrest quotas (see The New Jim Crow).

Mickey Mouse Monopoly (Review)

Mickey Mouse Monopoly

Directed by Miguel Picker (2001)

Film Review

Mickey Mouse Monopoly is an examination of the perniciously sexist and racist ideology promoted by Walt Disney Inc, one of the six media conglomerates that control nearly all global communication and culture. In addition to producing blockbuster films and TV programming, Disney owns TV and radio stations, movie theaters, Internet sites and theme parks worldwide, as well as the ABC TV and radio network.

According to Dr Henry Giroux, author of numerous books exploring Disney’s role in propagandizing youth, Disney uses the “spectacle” of innocence to conceal their ruthless exercise of corporate power.

Because Disney is such a dominant player in the development of children’s thinking, the company plays a vital in shaping how members of industrialized society view issues of race, class and gender. For this reason, psychologists, sociologists and media critics are extremely concerned about the blatantly sexist and racist messaging in Disney films.

This documentary skillfully intersperses “expert” commentary with clips from specific Disney films (demonstrating anti-woman, anti-Hispanic, anti-African American, anti-Asian and anti-Arab messaging) and interviews with children about their reactions.

As a woman, I’ve always been most concerned about Disney’s portrayal of female characters (both human and animal) as coy, manipulative, seductresses who are incapable of functioning independently of men. This was the primary reason we did not watch TV in our home while my daughter was growing up.

Kids Fight Back Against Racist Schools

istandwithahmed

Students at Ahmed Mohamed’s Irving, Texas high school have rallied to support the Muslim teenager, after school officials and police had him arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school.

Since his arrest, students tweeted a school-wide plan to bring clocks to school today and tell the teachers it was in solidarity with their classmate.

More students say they will continue to join in, to keep the pressure on the school until the principal apologizes and removes the suspension from Ahmed’s record.

Read more about the #IStandWithAhmed Twitter campaign at Countercurrent News

The New Jim Crow

new jim crow

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

by Michelle Alexander (2010)

Book Review

In The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander argues that the War on Drugs and mass incarceration of African Americans functions as a racialized caste system similar to Jim Crow segregation laws. She defines caste as “as system in which a stigmatized racial group is locked into inferior position by law and custom.” In addition to the mass imprisonment itself, America’s unusually harsh treatment of ex-felons means extraordinarily high numbers of African Americans face legal discrimination for the rest of their life.

It’s both legal and socially acceptable to discriminate against ex-offenders. Federal agencies are legally required to exclude ex-felons from welfare and food stamp programs, public housing and Pell grants and student loans. Job discrimination against ex-felons is legal in nearly all states, and most states prohibit ex-felons from voting or serving on juries. Unable to find jobs or housing (relatives who take them in risk losing their homes under drug forfeiture* laws), many return to prison when they can’t meet the terms of their probation/parole (which usually includes stable housing and employment).

In addition to tracing the political origins of the War on Drugs, The New Jim Crow also provides a detailed analysis of the complex political and sociological dynamics that underlie white racism and the refusal of a post-racial “colorblind” society to acknowledge the immense damage mass incarceration wreaks on African American families and communities. She also explains the perplexing paradox that leads working class whites to vote against their own economic interests by electing Tea Party conservatives.

The War on Drugs: A Republican Scam

As Alexander elegantly demonstrates, the War on Drugs is part of a deliberate strategy by the Republican Party to play on racial animosity among working class whites to win their votes. The American elite has used this divide and conquer strategy to discourage multiracial coalitions all the way back to Bacon’s Rebellion* in 1676. According to Alexander, the original Jim Crow laws were largely a reaction to a brief multiracial coalition that formed as part of the Populist movement in the late 1800s.

Nixon was the first president to deliberately target the racist vote with the intention of transferring previously Democratic southern states to the Republican column. He pioneered the use of racially coded rhetoric such as “law and order,” “tough on crime” and the “undeserving” vs the “deserving” poor.

Here Alexander emphasizes that the affluent white liberals who championed 1960s civil rights legislation were essentially immune to the economic impact of most civil rights legislation. As professionals and academics, they weren’t competing with African Americans for the same jobs. Moreover, as residents of wealthy suburbs, their kids were excluded from mandatory busing laws.

Targeting the Racist Vote

Thanks to a highly sophisticated public relations campaign by Nixon and Republicans, by 1980 low income whites no longer saw poverty as stemming from a faulty economic system. They now blamed civil rights legislation and an overly generous welfare system. As a result, 22% of registered Democrats voted for Reagan in 1980.

Although Nixon coined the term, it would be Reagan who formerly launched the War on Drugs in 1982. The Reagan administration cut the white collar law enforcement in half to focus on street crime. This was during a period when street crime was rapidly declining and sociologists were predicting a phase-out of US prisons as they didn’t deter crime. Reagan also significantly increased DEA and FBI anti-drug enforcement while drastically decreasing funding for drug treatment. He also instituted financial incentives rewarding local policing units for high numbers of drug arrests. Alexander believes these financial rewards were directly responsible for initiating wholesale street sweeps and stop and frisk laws that have led cops to regularly jack up black motorists and inner city youths in the hope of finding illegal drugs.

Finally in 1985, he launched a major media campaign to sensationalize the crack cocaine epidemic. It worked. In 1980, only 2% of the US population viewed illegal drug use as the most important issue facing the US in 1980. By 1989 this number had reached 64%.

Clinton Escalates the War on Drugs

In 1992 Clinton and the New Democrats tried to recapture the Democratic votes they had lost to Regan and Bush by promising to enact even stricter anti-crime and anti-drug laws. Thus it was under Clinton law enforcement budgets and jail populations exploded. It was also Clinton who ended AFDC (Aid For Dependent Children) started under the New Deal – at precisely the same time inner city communities lost all their manufacturing jobs when factories shut down and moved overseas.

Clinton also initiated the federal programs to militarize local police, providing training to set up SWAT teams and surplus Pentagon tanks, body armor, weapons and helicopters. He also enacted the laws denying former drug felons access to federal programs. Sadly Obama, the first African American president, renewed and increased funding for many of these programs.

Discrimination in the Courts

In addition to discriminatory*** drug policing that focuses nearly exclusively on inner cities, African American defendants fare nearly as badly in court. Alexander cites many instances in which poor defendants receive limited or no access to legal representation. Many innocent clients, totally unaware of the future impact of a felony conviction, are intimidated into pleading guilty in return for a reduced sentence.

Ending the War on Drugs

In addition to outlining the ugly racialized history of the War on Drugs, Alexander also summarizes the conservative Supreme Court decisions that have systematically denied due process to people of color facing drug possessions. She concludes by offering a way forward – to end both the War on Drugs and the mass incarceration of people of color.

In addition to legalizing marijuana (and possibly other drugs), she calls for the total structural reform of the criminal justice system. She believes only a multiracial movement with bottom up advocacy for poor blacks and whites alike can bring this about. This is exactly what Martin Luther king was working for when he was assassinated.

In the following video, Alexander talks about her book


*Drug forfeiture or asset forfeiture laws allow federal and state authorities to confiscate any and all assets (mainly homes, cars and cash) of an individual suspected of a drug-related crime. A subsequent finding of innocence doesn’t guarantee return of the assets, which often requires a lengthy and expensive court process. Some police departments deliberately misuse this law to confiscate cash and belongings of black motorists even where no arrest is made.
**Bacon’s Rebellion was an armed rebellion of white settlers and black and white indentured servants that would lead plantation owners to push for formal slavery laws to discourage further collaboration between whites and blacks.
***Although African Americans constitute only 15% of drug users, they represent 75% of the US prison population. Statistically drug dealers are more likely to be white than black, but local law enforcement authorities make no effort to police white suburbs or university campuses for illegal drug use. In fact, 80% of drug arrests are for possession (in 80% of cases for marijuana). Only 20% of arrests are for sales

The Cost of Racism to White America

The Cost of Racism to White America

University of Massachusetts Professor John H Bracey (2011)

Film Review

In his lecture, Professor Bracey blames racism and white privilege for US having the most poorly organized working class in the industrialized world. From the start of Jim Crow after the Civil War to the late sixties, Africa Americans were deliberately excluded from trade unions, a perfect set-up for white bosses to use non-unions black workers to bust strikes and unions. This absence of working class solidarity meant it took American workers until the 1930s to win basic rights and benefits (eg Social Security, unemployment compensation and welfare) that European workers won in the 1880s.

Racism also keeps white people ignorant of their own history. For example they are unaware (I sure was) that the Battle of the Alamo was fought to extend slavery to Texas (slavery was illegal when Mexico owned Texas).

The refusal of northern whites to confront their own racism would ultimately culminate in the Civil War, which would result in more deaths (1 million) than all other US wars combined.

Bracey also blames racist attitudes for the absence of public education in the South until after the Civil War. It would be black Reconstruction governments that established free public education in the South – for all children (black and white). They would also establish the first state universities in Georgia and Mississippi.”

Ironically it was African Americans who founded Ole Miss (University of Mississippi), though they were later excluded when the Ku Klux Kan violently overthrew the southern Reconstruction governments.

It was also black women who organized the southern textile mills and not Norma Ray, as portrayed in the popular film starring Sally Fields.

Continuing racism forces white people to sacrifice education, health, housing and social service programs to cover the phenomenal cost of mass incarceration (of mainly black and Hispanic Americans. At an annual cost of $40,000 per inmate, the cost of incarcerating 2.4 million Americans adds up to $960 billion annually.

The presentation starts at 7 min.

 

End the Left-Right White Solidarity Against Haiti

Guest Post by Ezili Danto

Why is Cuba, Venezuela, the African Union, Latin America and the CARICOM nations turning a blind eye to the US occupation of Haiti, even participating in the pillage and plunder? Is this what Venezuelan president Maduro calls ‘supporting revolution?’… Tourism, an export economy, sweatshops and privatization of pubic assets are not development for Haiti, Africa, or the Caribbean… The Haitian people identify as enemy, to varying levels and degrees, those who directly or indirectly treat them as less than human. Painting Cuba or Venezuela on the wall of Imperialism’s forts so-to-speak, won’t stop Haiti’s masses from attacking the super-leftists, or super-progressives’ racist part in today’s white supremacist occupation in Haiti.

***

Super-leftist Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro cozy up to despotic Right-wing US puppet- president, Michel Martelly

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and Right-wing US puppet:Haiti president, Michel Martelly| Photo credit- AP

A few years ago, in “Haiti: Time to remember Kandyo, the Malfini and Mongoose,” I wrote about the United States- Left/Right, Democrat/Republican racist solidarity against Haiti. But the forces against Haiti are not only a US-Left-Right white solidarity. The former colonized nations and current anti-imperialist nations also collaborate with white supremacy in Haiti. Cuba, Venezuela, Latin America, the African Union and CARICOM turn a blind eye to the US occupation of Haiti, even participating in the pillage and plunder. The US occupiers are privatizing Haiti, including Haiti offshore islands like Île a Vache. Is this United States and united nations’ white supremacist/racist solidarity against Haiti what Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro calls “supporting revolutionary change?”

Black Independence threatens White beliefs of Superiority. This explains current US occupation, plunder and pillage and why US/Euro constantly destroy and defame Haiti
Black Independence threatens White beliefs of Superiority. This explains current US occupation, plunder and pillage and why US/Euro constantly destroy and defame Haiti

 

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

On August 14, 1791 at Bwa Kayiman, the Vodun gathering that began the continuing Haiti revolution, the Haiti revolutionaries, addressed all the forces of white supremacy with this simple call: stop the Black collaborators, stop the white colonist, stop all their evil forces .

To win its freedom, Haiti fought against England, Spain and Napoleon’s colonial army. Napoleon’s army was made up of soldiers from conquered nations and colonial representatives from within the imperial government called – in the white gaze of things – the equivalent of today’s “progressive” forces.  Similarly, the US colonial army in Haiti is a multinational force of conquered nations, some of whom are anti-imperialistic and progressive, in the white gaze of things. These otherwise anti-imperialistic nations see nothing contrary or brutal about their racist participation in the united nations’ colonial forces in Haiti. ALBA countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile willingly participate. For over 10-years now, although “progressive” Brazil has officially commanded the UN troops in Haiti, the foot soldiers for the UN-MINUSTAH troops in Haiti are made up mainly of poor soldiers from Latin America, Asia, Africa with the top commanding officers mostly from the ranks of Europe and North America. This is the 21st century colonial army, exploiting and repressing Haiti’s black masses on behalf of the number one superpower in the world, the United States.

 

IlavachPetition

The three Ile a Vache demands: Rescind the May 10, 2013 decree taking the Island; Release Maltunes from jail and end the BIM military police occupation by recalling this force back to Haiti mainland.

***

The UN-MINUSTAH colonial army in Haiti

Budget $576,619,000 for July 2014 to June 30, 2014

Military personnel

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, United States and Uruguay.

Police personnel

Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Egypt, France, Grenada, Guinea, India, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Senegal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Yemen.

 

Ile a Vache demonstrate against corporate land grab as tourism jobs for locals

Ile a Vache demonstrate against corporate land grab as tourism jobs for locals

***
Matulnes Speaks

Three of their Black overseers, Ghanaian diplomat and  Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan along with the United State’s Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice played pivotal roles for the George W. Bush administration in 2004 to help obfuscate the blatant racism involved in taking down Haiti’s democratically elected government. Later on, after the earthquake, Bill and Hillary Clinton under the Obama administration – the husband at the UN as UN special envoy to Haiti, the wife as head of the Obama State Department – would surpass the three Black overseers along with Lula’s generals in Haiti, in their “progressive” destruction of Haiti to abscond with $9billion in quake funds, while supervising the US/Euro yet-to-be unveiled amendments of the Haiti constitution. Amendments reminiscent of Franklin D. Roosevelt brutal and repressive Haiti actions during the first US occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934. This time to change Haiti laws and mining prohibitions in favor of land grabs such the Ile a Vache with “tax waivers,” – meaning taking from the traumatized and defenseless Haiti poor to give to the super-rich and such other monstrous corporate welfare.

Haiti’s Washington advisors are conveniently “making use of a little-known “investment code” that gives 15-year tax breaks to the owners of new hotels, many of whom are from the country’s powerful and wealthy families. This law also allows hotel owners to ship supplies through customs without paying taxes.”

White solidarity between the anti-imperialist nations against Haiti is evident in the current tourism push by Venezuela in Haiti and the blind eye of the rest of Latin America, CARICOM, African Union nations and the OAS to the brutal repression and dehumanization associated with the Ile a Vache land grab that is underway in Haiti.

The right wing Haiti puppet government employs over 115 Motorized Intervention Brigade (BIM) police officers to forcefully evacuate residents of the Ile a Vache rural community in order to facilitate the Lamothe/ Villedrouin cabinet’s acquisition of large parcels of coastal lands on the island.

Jean Lamy Matulnes, the Vice President of the Gathering of Ile a Vache Farmers (Konbit Peyizan Ilavach, or KOPI) has been put in prison for the political reason of championing Ile a Vache peasant protest against the brutal right wing Haiti government’s unilaterally taking of Haiti offshore island for foreign “tourist” interests.  But part of the land being taken is for permanent housing for the wealthy that can purchase the 1500 seaside luxury condos and 2500 villas that are to be built on lands previously inhabited by relatively poor Haitians. A mere 2,000 “new jobs” for local Haitians is projected for this massive disenfranchisement of the 20,000 Haitians living on the island. This new Haiti earthquake is being financed, in part, by Venezuela.

20,000 Haitians living on the Island have had their entire lives turned upside down. Residents are faced daily with the heavily armed Motorized Intervention Brigade (BIM) that is helping Dominican Republic construction company, Ingenieria Estrella, bulldoze peasant properties. Done on behalf of the Haiti government for their tourism hoax, which, like the Caracol Hoax, masks foreign appropriation of fertile Haiti lands.

 

Vache proposed land grab

 

The reign of terror has forced many community leaders into hiding. Protestors are brutally beaten, intimidated with BIM constant show of force and KOPI members, in particular, are hunted.

The lie about “reconstructing Haiti back better” is no longer centered on raising funds for homeless quake victims, which is then mostly used to take lands away from peasants in the North, make them homeless in order to build a Caracol sweatshop factory for the South Korean friends of the Clintons. No longer about investing in for-profit hotels for tourists in Port au Prince. No. It’s about grabbing all of Haiti’s offshore islands, privatizing Île à Vache, evicting citizens to make room for tourists and calling the outrage, “helping the Haitians.”

The Haiti media, which generally travels with the Haiti officials pushing tourist projects as Haiti development are too busy enjoying room service, other traveling perks and special visa favors for themselves and their families to write about anything but the puppet government and its white supremacist’s spins.  There is mostly no international media reporting about the exploitation and brutalization of the population. And since most folks are trained to see tourism – which in Haiti is generally a reproduction of Dixieland plantations with Black and Brown as maids, sexual objects and servers – as Haiti development, Haitians who condemn and denounce the land grab and evictions are branded as short-sighted.

The fact that tourism at Ile a Vache, Haiti is about favoring mostly wealthy white folks to come live and play on Haiti lands taken unfairly from Blacks, escapes the Western-schooled and assimilated mindset. In fact, the colonial narrative is that white supremacy is development for Haiti. Even progressive Venezuela (which we’ve written “must not fall”) is investing in Haiti tourism at Ile a Vache, instead of pushing to end the US occupation of Haiti, the disenfranchisement of the people, the use of Haiti resources and lands to make foreigners wealthy.

Venezuela has invested invested $27 million directly into the Haiti’s tourism ministry that presides over projects such the Ile a Vache debacle.

Some say the Latin American/CARICOM/African Union nations with troops in the US colonial army in Haiti are just tramps. The UN jobs are just that – jobs for poor countries in the global South and Africa. It’s just about: “take the other Negro master and leave us alone.” Which cowardly position will not work because vulture capitalism/white supremacy has to eat up everything in its path. But what is Cuba and Venezuela’s strategic, unprincipled reason for ignoring the imperialist occupation of Haiti, even participating? Is investing in a Haiti land grab like the Clintons’ investing in sweatshops what Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro calls “supporting equality, justice and participatory democracy for the masses?”

The Ile a Vache tourist project is nothing less than a corporate land grab to increase inequality, apartheid, create slums on the Island for the people and further contain them in poverty. Is this what the “Bolivarian” revolution is about? Investing in Haiti’s brutal repression, dehumanization? Dispossessing the local residents to further plunder the billions in Haiti’s underwater treasures at Ile a Vache? Does this racism only apply to the people of Haiti that these anti-imperialist “progressives” don’t see as humans?

 

Haiti Bwa Kayiman call: Stop the Black collaborators to White supremacy, stop the white colonists and all their evil forces

Haiti Bwa Kayiman call: Stop the Black collaborators to White supremacy, stop the white colonists and all their evil forces | Photo source – Facebook, FreeHaitiMovement

Haiti is at ground zero, the laboratory for the global Left-Right white solidarity going on everywhere: either objectively championing U.S./Euro imperialist aggression or providing, like Venezuela and Cuba, tacit support for that aggression through silence. (Left-Right White Solidarity?-The new face of 21st century neo-fascism.)

But has it ever really been different for Haiti?

There’s been some rare times of brief solidarity over the years. There was the time when JP Patterson of Jamaica refused to be intimidated by Condi Rice’s ultimatum for Jamaica not to give asylum to Jean Bertrand Aristide in 2004.  There was the time when then President Thabo Mbeki eschewed US warnings,  attended the Haiti bicentennial. Then later on sent weapons to the Aristide-Neptune government which would have reached Haiti the day (February 29, 2004) the US hastened through their bicentennial regime change/US occupation.  China also, once upon a time, helped veto UN colonial missions to Haiti.

But these rare moments are the exception to the rule, generally reversed quickly by Empire’s economic hitmen, its jackals or bureaucratic institutions and international financial establishments that are structurally racist. The lessons of history show that, in the long run, so-called progressive credentials are put on show to lull the agitated masses into accepting the lies and deliberate confusions strummed to a crescendo pitch by Empire. The intensity paralyzes you. You don’t want to charge the prestigious super leftists, like Cuba and Venezuela, with colluding with the very empire they’re fighting against that also denies Haiti self-reliance and right to self-determination.

But a humorous Native American’s take on the matter is salient here:

“every time we tried to attack their forts, they hadSoul Brotherpainted on them, and so we never got the job done.” — Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto by Vine Deloria, Jr.

The Haitian people identify as enemy, to varying levels and degrees, those who directly or indirectly treat them as less than human. Painting Cuba or Venezuela on the wall of Imperialism’s forts so-to-speak, won’t stop Haiti’s masses from attacking the super-leftists, or super-progressives’ racist part in today’s white supremacist occupation in Haiti.

It’s no coincidence that Ajamu Baraka recently addressed this topic from a more global perspective, maintaining that the Left-Right White solidarity is the most recent face of 21st century neo-fascism. He explained that racism/white supremacy is the foundation of Euro fascism which is always ready to explode.

Cross-class white solidarity in defense of “Western values,” civilization and the prerogative to determine who has the right to national sovereignty …is at the base of the rationalization of the “responsibility to protect” asserted by the white West.”

Haiti activists at Ezili’s HLLN have been pointing out the solidarity of the white saviors from the US/Euro Left and Right brotherly spectrum since the second US occupation of Haiti began in 2004. The Ile a Vache expropriation of lands, with the racist DR as investor and Venezuela’s involvement requires a critical look.

Venezuela cannot claim to be anti-imperialists while financing a right wing Haiti government selected by the US and its OAS flunkies when Haiti is under direct US occupation behind a UN colonial army for over ten years now. It is the millions of dollars from Venezuela that is partly sponsoring the illegal imprisonment of Jean Lamy Maltunes, the dispossession of peasant lands, the setting loose of police dogs on the people and such other Nazi-like brutal reprisals against Haiti peoples at Ile a Vache.

Is it not time the world stood in solidarity with the people of Haiti against this US occupation and its selected puppet government carrying out Western imperialistic, racist biddings in Haiti?

Kay Kok,_Ile,a Vache, Haiti

Kay Kok,_Ile,a Vache, Haiti

 

For over 10-years, since before the end of the Gerald Latorture’s reign in 2006, Haiti’s people have stood virtually alone, while most of Latin America and the CARICOM nations – still officially rule through their European “motherlands”- along with the OAS, ALBA and the African Union, turns a blind eye to the Western imperialist project, neoliberalism, UN troop massacres and the general colonial whitening in Haiti.

These nations, especially the Latin American nations who mostly hide their large African populations in Favela-type conditions, are unwilling to penetrate through the US propaganda alleging that the UN is a peacekeeping force, a humanitarian force. Mostly, Latin America, CARICOM, and the African Union find it appropriate to have troops involved in the US colonial army in Haiti.

Cuba and Venezuela do not have troops in UN-MINUSTAH, but they simply seem not to want to understand, for their own geopolitical purposes and perhaps for strategic unity with the Latin American and Caribbean participants in Haiti’s occupation.

The US propaganda is swallowed that Haiti needs to be ruled by foreigners. This is justified by focusing on Black fratricide and Black on black crime in Haiti, even though Haiti has less violence (6.9) than most nations in the Western Hemisphere, including the Dominican Republic (25.0), Jamaica (40.9), Bahamas (36.6), Brazil( 21.8), Venezuela (45.1), Mexico (23.7) and El Salvador (69.2).  But these former colonized nations are not willing to accept Haiti violence and corruption is as underdeveloped as its economic potential;  incapable of penetrating through the racist propaganda that is part and parcel of Western imperialism since the founding of Haiti.

Cuba’s medical brigade is reputed to be doing good work in Haiti. But some observant Haitians have serious concerns.

These detractors say that Cuba’s medical brigade, just like the typical Western NGOs, cannot be deemed totally positive when it replaces or substitutes for, as oppose to adding to, a locally grown and sovereign Haiti public infrastructure.

Others point out that when the US multinational forces invaded Haiti in 2004, took over the medical school in Port au Prince to put in their multinational force’s headquarters, the public Cuban protest to the US occupation of Haiti behind UN proxy guns then as now was nil. Accepting the containment in poverty of the people of Haiti with the self-serving idea that humanitarian imperialism and fomenting dependency is a good thing, all while Haiti’s vast riches and lands continue to be plundered and pillaged, is gross.

Promoting dependency is slavery

 

Promoting dependency is slavery| Source-Facebook

 

Haiti activists in battle against the US occupation find all the nations on planet earth have forsaken Haiti to fight European barbarity, as it did in 1791, alone. Haiti, with no European colonial motherland or white Russian force at its back, is deemed easy prey. Right-wing US-selected Haiti president, Michel Martelly, roams the world for photo opportunities with Raoul Castro, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, the Pope and makes photo-op appearances with Barack Obama and the other overseers for white supremacy at the African Union.

Any organization within Haiti that is not openly supporting the end of the colonial occupation of Haiti is complicit with and/or benefiting from its tenure there.

Haiti’s quest to take down white supremacy, its dehumanization policies and raise up its independence – Black beauty and local independence – offends most folks with the other gaze. Even Eva Morales with his Bolivarian revolution has troops within the US colonial army in Haiti.

The radical, anti-imperialists writing today do not ink any of this Haiti reality. These folks mostly laud the great good that Venezuelan  PetroCaribe dollars is doing for the Haiti masses. The fact that the Haiti oligarchy charges over six dollars ($6) per gallon for this subsidize gasoline to the people of Haiti while selling it, in bulk, at cheaper prices to wealthy passing cruise ships does not garner their attention. Nor does the oligarchs’ monopoly on petrol in Haiti, their petrol farms warehousing supply to keep prices high seem noticeable to them whatsoever.

…a June 13, 2008 Nouvelliste article alleges, in sum, that then President Preval confided that “more than 40 to 50% of the imported rice that is subsidized by the Haitian State is CONSUMED in the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC… And that even Haitian clandestinely subsidized petroleum products, cheaper Haiti oil products, are also being consumed by wealthy foreign ships passing through Haitian waters, instead of the impoverished and starving Haitians these food and gas subsidies were intended to benefit…”— HLLN archives

For its part, the international media is too busy giving itself awards and winning corporate foundation grants to do any real reporting on Western imperialism, vulture capitalism, neoliberalism and racism, including Caribbean-Latin American institutionalized racism against Haiti. For instance, CARICOM requires only Haiti as a CARICOM member must have a visa to travel to other CARICOM countries.

The Dominican Republic is the only honest racist amongst the Latin American/Caribbean bunch. It straight out denationalized Dominicans of Haitian descent going back to 1929, to “purify” its country of Black blood, “saved itself from the Haitian hordes,” casually committing civil genocide for Haitians-Dominicans with no great protest from the world’s nations.

Haiti gov raise only Ile a Vache forest to ground to build tourists an airport
Haiti govt raize the only Ile a Vache forest to the ground to build tourists an airport

 

For true revolutionaries in Cuba and Venezuela, this Haiti abandonment should stop. A good beginning would be to lend a helping hand to the voiceless, vulnerable people of Ile a Vache who built and reforested the Island.  The people ask that the May 10, 2013 presidential decree unilaterally making the Ile a Vache offshore island in Haiti a zone of tourism development and public utility be rescinded. They want the unconditional release of Jean Maltunes Lamy and for the withdrawal of the 115 militarized police from the Island.

We suggest, people-to-people, that world citizens write the Venezuelan embassy in Haiti; write to President Nicolas Maduro; contact Venezuelan activists – ask that Venezuela use its diplomatic power to immediately work for the release of Jean Lamy Maltunes. The principled action is for Venezuela to immediately stop financing the neofascist Martelly/Lamothe government in the name of “helping Haitians.”  Tourism, an export economy, sweatshops and privatization of pubic assets are not development for Haiti, Africa, Latin America or the Caribbean.

The racist delirium,  a solid firewall of convenient alliances, evidenced by the Left-Right White solidarity against Haiti, can be cracked if Venezuela and Cuba spoke up for the hunted people of Ile a Vache and used their progressive credentials, their dollars and presence in Haiti to get the release of Jean Lamy Maltunes.  This is a concrete opportunity to stop colluding with Empire; to begin to denounce and condemn the US occupation of Haiti.


Ezili Dantò of HLLN
April 2014

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