Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Class, race and a natural disaster have all come together in the little country of Haiti. Thousands are dead and it doesn't have to be like this. As the author of the article linked below puts it, "Why does one countries have bulldozers and another only have the calloused hands of the utterly poor?"

The following is from Kasama.

Shattering Haiti: An Unnatural Disaster

by Mike Ely

With deep sorrow and horror we have heard that a massive earthquake has erupted, further shattering the lives of Haiti’s people.

One of the most impoverished countries on earth, a land of remarkable people, soaring history, and unspeakable poverty – Haiti now lies in ruins.

At this early hour we do not have reports to post. Nor does Kasama have some quick analysis to offer. But we do know very well how imperialism has left this people without resources or buffering to uncover the trapped, to heal the wounded, to find the dead.

Shabby construction has produced human tombs. Clinics have reportedly crumbled. The bulk of the people — scattered through the impoverished countryside — are beyond reporting or cameras.

There is one basic truth that roars to the front: The profound injustices of class society mean that natural disasters become man-made disasters.

The shrugs of our dynamic earth, the constant trembling of its skin…. these are natural and inevitable. They are known and expected.

But huge swaths of humanity are unprepared. Billions of human beings live on the edge of starvation — without savings, resources, equipment or the access to the ear of the powerful.

I was once caught in a flood in West Virginia, where houses were flattened and people were washed away by sudden uncontrollable torrents of water. I was myself washed away, and afterward I pulled out of the water, teams of us rescued others from the flodo. This disaster was directly caused by the recklessness of coal capitalists.But then, within days, the coalfields of the USA revealed the massive earthmoving equipment of a wealthy society: bulldozers, road scraper, back-hoes, and digging equipment of all kinds were suddenly in motion, clearing roads, dredging creeks, returning life to normal — and (above all) returning capitalist mining production to normal. Inevitably, capitalism was represented in HOW that equipment was deployed — first opening the mines, then opening the businesses of the corrupt local elites, and only later (after interminable waits) clearing roads to the coal camps where the people lived.

But in Haiti, there are no bulldozers waiting to be deployed. No backup health care. There are no emergency systems. There are no warehouses of supplies. There are no helicopters waiting to fly the injured to hospitals.

There are simply human hands digging at the rubble, and suffering human hearts. There is poverty, and amidst that poverty, there is this new and undeserved horror.

We owe it to the people of Haiti to help in every way we can.

I know someone who was on her way to Haiti when this happened. There are (I’m sure) others who will be traveling there to personally lay their hands on the injured and dying. But we also owe it to the people to expose this criminal system — to expose why the people of Haiti are so poor (after centuries of endless labor in sugar cane fields and baseball factories).

Why does one countries have bulldozers and another only have the calloused hands of the utterly poor?

Why is the U.S. “rushing to help” (like a vampire arriving with an offer of blood)?

Why is Haiti, after U.S. occupations, after the rule of vicious dictators, after a rebel nation was treated as a pariah…. why is Haiti so poor? And how will she ever, ever, find her footing without revolution, liberation, power and destiny truly, finally, in the hands of her people?

Help Kasama expose the crimes revealed by this catastrophe.

Help us seek out the evidence, the events, the underlying dynamics that turned this earthquake into an unnecessary and inhumane catastrophe.

The mainstream media promotes pictures of buildings, not people

Post links and reports here.

Share this post with others.

Let us act, as brothers and sisters of Haiti’s people, in the face of this great injustice and suffering.

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About Haiti:

  • The Caribbean nation of 9 million is a former French colony and the world’s oldest black republic, founded by freed slaves following a revolt that led to independence in 1804.
  • Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas with an annual per-capita income of $560. It ranks 146th out of 177 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index.
  • More than half the population lives on less than $1 a day and 78 percent on less than $2. There is a high infant mortality rate (60 for every 1,000 births) and the prevalence of HIV among those between ages 15 and 49 is 2.2 percent.
  • Haiti’s infrastructure is close to total collapse and severe deforestation has left only 2 percent of forest cover.

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