Some Thoughts on Haiti:
I wish, I wish, I wish that more people in North America were aware of the ongoing legacy of US/Canadian/French economic devastation of the Haitian people and their country.
Here are some tidbits that I really want people to know (and I’m going to preface this by saying that I’m no expert and this is just what little I’ve gleaned over the years from reading and attending Haitian activist events, etc.):
-Following the Haitian revolution (the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world, as far as I’m aware) from 1791-1804, the French government demanded that in order for them to recognize the independence of Haiti, the newly formed Haitian government would have to essentially pay reparations for the amount of money France lost from “losing their slaves.” The amount? $150 MILLION francs (which now has an estimated value of $21 BILLION). This number was reduced to $90 MILLION in 1838, and by 1947 the Haitian government had finally paid it off.
-Over the ensuing centuries, the US government decided that Haiti, whose debts to France made them the poorest nation in the Western world, was an easy target for colonization. The US occupied Haiti twice in the early 20th Century. Both were ostensibly to protect Haitian citizens from themselves, however the US had ulterior motives of making Haiti a US state. The Haitians were not thrilled about the idea of returning to white European rule, and gave the US troops the boot in 1934. However, the American government remained in control of Haitian finances until 1941.
-In 1957, Dr. François Duvalier, who came to be known and feared under the name Papa Doc (due to his purposeful linking of his image to Vodou lwa Bawon Samedi, a Gede lwa of the cemetery), established himself as dictator. Duvalier relied on the Tonton Macoutes, essentially mercenaries above the law, to terrorize the Haitian public through torture, murder, and the very unfortunate use of Vodou to frighten people. He was succeeded by his son Jean-Claude Duvalier, also known as Baby Doc, until he was ousted in 1986.
-During the Duvalier years, the Duvaliers racked up considerable debts with other countries and, in particular the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Haiti is still in debt bondage to these establishments (except World Bank, which canceled their debts following the 2010 Haitian Earthquake).
-The debt bondage meant that other countries (US, Canada, and France) along with their international thugs (IMF, World Bank) were able to impose trade tariffs and sanctions against Haiti. One of the most economically devastating of these is what happened with the number one staple of Haitian food, rice. Haitian farmers were producing and exporting Haitian-grown rice throughout the rural countryside. Then, the US, whose own rice farmers were suffering significant economic losses, stepped in and imposed trade ‘agreements’ (and farming subsidies to their own farmers) that made imported US rice cheaper than Haitian grown rice. The market was instantly flooded with cheap US rice. And that put Haitian rice farmers out of business, destroying not only the Haitian economy for whom rice was their backbone, but also the Haitian environment. Haitian is a mountainous country, and many farms are on hills and mountains. When you clear land to make a farm, you have to keep farming there or else you destroy the soil. With no farming going on, and thus no plants to hold the topsoil, Haitian experienced a series of disastrous mud slides, killing and displacing many. As well, because the soil was not cared for, many of those farms couldn’t be easily farmed again even if people tried (without having to invest a great deal of money that no one had).
-After a coupe, the first democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected in 1990. Aristide did many great things for the Haitian people, including dramatically increasing the literacy rate in Haiti (which had been the lowest in the Western world). And so, of course, the US backed a military coupe the following year to depose him. The Haitian people freaked the fuck out because they loved him. So, the US then painted themselves as rescuers by launching Operation Uphold Democracy, in which the US gained control of the Haitian country, forced the exile of the Haitian military leaders they had themselves put into power, and ‘restored’ Aristide to power. He was forced to leave office in 1996 due to pressure from the US.
-Starting in 2004 and continuing to today, the United Nations (itself essentially an arm of US/Canadian/French imperialism) stationed ‘peacekeepers’ in Haiti following civil unrest. These ‘peacekeepers,’ took to shooting wildly from helicopters into Sité Soleil (the poorest geographic location in the world), among many other misdeeds. One of their many misdeeds is letting their latrines run off into local water sources, causing a massive and deadly outbreak of Cholera. White US Evangelical Christian missionaries blamed both the Cholera outbreak and the 2010 Haitian Earthquake on Haitian Vodouwizan (practitioners of Haitian traditional religion, Vodou), which caused some Christian Haitians to mass murder Vodouwizan with machetes. The UN forces are called MINUSTAH, in case you are looking for more information. They have not taken any responsibility for their actions, and despite video footage existing showing the opposite, they deny shooting into Sité Soleil.
I could go on. There are so many more terrible things that have happened to the Haitian people as a direct result of US, Canadian, and French interference. I didn’t even get to the Canadian stuff yet.
The thing here is that Haiti is being punished by France, the US, and Canada for being the only successful slave revolt in history. These three countries who were deeply invested in the trans-Atlantic slave trade have a vested interest in crippling the Haitian government and economy in order to prove that they cannot rule themselves and ‘need’ to return to the control of white European rule. When people talk about colonialism as an ‘in the past’ thing, they clearly do not know about Haiti. The colonization of Haiti never stopped, and we as North Americans and French continue to reap the economic benefits of its destruction.
(Edited to add: And this doesn’t even begin to cover what happened to the Taíno people before the establishment of the Haitian republic, or the events leading up to its establishment.)
so much truth.just one correction .. the cholera epidemic happened because. the Nepalese Battalion had it…and a private company who does desludging for the UN. dumped the human waste into the Artibonite river.
Actually, you’re wrong about everything.
They’re called minimum wage jobs because it was conceived of as being the *minimum* a person could make and still support themselves… the bare minimum a person needs to live, hence the term minimum. If it was just “the minimum of what you can go out and make”, we wouldn’t need a law to set it… whatever the lowest paying job paid would be the minimum wage. Think about if for even thirty seconds and you’ll realize this is true.
We passed a minimum wage law because… and this is something so staggeringly obvious it should go without saying… jobs that require full-time work but don’t pay enough for a person to survive mean people who take them must have another means of support (like another full-time job) or else they will die. Either way, when people are trapped in minimum wage jobs that are not paying a living wage for a long period of time, they are literally working themselves to death, through some combination of overworking and skimping on the necessities of survival.
"Use your brain," you say. Well, here’s an exercise for your brain. A person works all their free time at every job they can get and doesn’t have enough to live. What more can they do?
"People living at home, people like teenagers or retirees who still want to work" are the sort of people who *could* live on sub-living wages, yes, but that’s not who minimum wage laws were made to protect and that’s not who works the majority of minimum wage jobs today. The idea that this is the case is a myth that exists to allow some of the most profitable corporations in the world to pay people who are working to support families a wage that can’t sustain them.
And who picks up the slack for these corporations? You. Me. Everybody else. The food stamps and other aid that the people who work sub-living wages at Wal-Mart and McDonalds make is subsidized by every employer who does pay reasonable wages. The profit margins of those companies are propped up by companies that do pay their employees enough to afford “luxuries” like prepared food and new clothing.
You clearly don’t understand how raising the minimum wage DAMAGES the economy, and every single time it’s raised it cracks the debt ceiling a little further.
You should really read this forbes article, because in all honesty, I don’t think you have a clue what you’re talking about.
If you keep raising the minimum wage you’re going to have to continue to raise it forever because big and small corporations alike will never be able to make up for it in profit.
Here’s the forbes article that you should read, ignorant swine:
Get educated beyond highschool level please. I see you’re at home right now. Why is that? Because you don’t have a job? Oh who’s fault is that? Definitely not mine, it’s yours.
If you want a higher paying job, learn a trade or skill that’s useful. Do you realize how much money garbage collectors make a year? Far more than the average McDonalds worker.
If you don’t like the way the minimum wage is, that’s fine, but don’t raise it just because you’re too stupid to make it into college/too ignorant to go out and learn a trade.
Unfortunately for your fairy tale view of the world, the following things are true:
- The places in the country that have raised the minimum wage on their own have also lowered their unemployment because raising the minimum wage stimulates the economy for reasons outlined in the post that inspired your fantasy-based response. Correlation isn’t causation, but there isn’t even correlation between higher unemployment and higher minimum wage.
- The minimum wage has actually *shrunk* compared to the prices customers pay, the profits corporations take in, and the value of the U.S. dollar. Doubling it wouldn’t be raising it in objective terms, it wouldn’t even be quite keeping pace with where it *should* be.
- Again, the idea that minimum wage jobs are held by teenagers who will grow out of them or retirees who don’t need anything more is a myth. Most of the people working minimum wage jobs (I’m not one of them, by the way, I’m self-employed and won’t be affected even if the minimum wage goes up to infinity dollars an hour) DO have degrees, trade skill certifications, and even in many cases job experience.
This is the reality (you know, reality? That big thing that exists just outside your ideology?) that you are not acknowledging.
Life isn’t a video game where if you level up, you get the reward. There are a finite number of jobs available in any field at any level, and corporations have no incentive to hire more people than they can get away with or pay them more than they have to. In any economy run the way that ours is currently ran, a huge amount of people are going to be stuck working minimum wage, no matter what.
You read Forbes? I’m sure you’ve heard the good news that employee productivity is at record levels and has been going up for years. You know what that means in real-world terms? It means that companies are expecting one person to do three jobs. Every time a company downsizes, that’s not just x people out of work. That’s x people out of work and the same number of jobs GONE. Not existing. Each time a company eliminates a position, there’s one more person competing for one fewer jobs, which creates negative pressure on wages and results in more people having to take “unskilled” positions, regardless of their qualifications.
Use your brain, again. If everybody goes to college and everybody tries hard, can we all get better jobs? No. The number of “good jobs” will remain the same. So all that does is increase the competition for non-minimum-wage jobs.The number of people stuck in minimum wage jobs remains the same, and all of those people HAVE to have their basic survival needs met… if not by their wages, then it will come in the form of public assistance. Since right now we’re swallowing the brother of your logic when it comes to public assistance and cutting social safety nets in the name of austerity, this creates an extremely inefficient and punitive state of affairs for people who are, again, necessary to our economy.
That is what causes our economy to enter the slow debt spiral that we’re in now. It decreases tax revenue for the government (because people who can barely make enough money to stay alive aren’t spending extra money) while making public spending less efficient (the number one thing that cures poverty is adequate public assistance, contrary to the fantasy that it just encourages people to “stay poor”)
On the other hand, raising minimum wage to keep pace with the cost of living and inflation stimulates the economy, which creates customers for companies, which creates jobs and tax revenue, which shrinks the deficit, which slows the increase of the debt ceiling.
History has proven this again and again. The thing that your fantasy-based economic positions say should happen never do, and the opposite always does. Reality itself says you’re wrong. Use your brain? Use your eyes!
CeCe McDonald, a trans woman of color is in the midst of a 41 month prison sentence for defending herself against a violent, racist and transphobic attack in Minnesota which resulted in the death of one of her attackers. Actress Laverne Cox is portraying an incarcerated trans woman in Orange is the New Black. Through a powerful in prison interview, and investigative filmmaking. This film confronts the issue of transphobia and the culture of violence surrounding trans women of color.
women who had period cramps before pain killers were invented were metal as fuck let’s give them a standing ovation
A round of menopause.
It was a difficult period of history for everyone
Mac now supports Windows
I’m the youngest person in the waiting room by, probably, 5 years. Stupid kidneys, you shouldn’t be doing this now.
my boy Leonidas
Imagine being a kid in school. Your teacher comes up with an idea for class picture. Every student will draw pictures of their friends.
Everyone starts drawing enthusiasticly, and can’t wait to see what they look like in the drawings. When pictures are ready you notice that popular students have more pictures than rest, but nobody has done a drawing of you. The teacher notices that too, and asks if someone would do your picture. To your horror the class clown takes the job, and comes up with a caricature of you. Others are laughing, but you’re not. You feel awful. The teacher notices that. and asks again someone to do a drawing of you. One of the ‘good students’ starts drawing, but the result is forced. It’s just a drawing of a generic child wearing a shirt of same color as you a wearing. There’s no spirit, no soul in it. You start sensing that the class is geting frustrated with you. They want to be done with this. You ask quietly the teacher if you could do a drawing yourself.
After school your classmates confront you. Why did you have to make such a big deal out of it? The first picture was funny. The second picture was just fine! The drawing you did yourself wasn’t right, do you think you are that good-looking? There were other kids who got only one or two pictures of themselves. Who are you to demand special treatment? Maybe there would have been a picture of you if you weren’t such annoying baby, nobody likes you anyway, and nobody’s going to if you keep on being like that, you don’t deserve a drawing!
This could be story of bullying, but it’s also about how I see portraying LGBTQ+-people and PoC in mainstream entertainment.
Thanks to Fandoms and Feminism for inspiration!