One e Respe to all,
Pwoblem Ayiti se pa responsabilite yon grenn Kreyen vivan. Sa se kle.
Pitit Ginen writes and I quote,
“Pandan n' ap kritike dirijan nou-yo, li enpòtan anpil pou nou fè atansyon ak gwo enbesilite, awogans, konpòteman kolonyalis, manipilasyon ak pwopagann sinik ki blayi nan sistèm ekonomik ak politik entènasyonal-la.”
I think you are right and you give me the opportunity to further analize this point Pitit Ginen. For, without a complete understanding of what this mean, we Haitians will continue to destroy ourselves from within, the better to make our tormentors exploit our people. It’s central to analyze this calmly and with the appropriate information in order to move forward with the Haitian situation. Otherwise, the Black population tends to react against itself when face with injustice dilemmas because it is contained together in depressed areas by the exploiters and, as JAF points out, as in t
he Compton, LA riots, the Black population protested but it was their very own neighborhoods they destroyed. JAF says “…..popilasyon nwa a leve kanpe epi se pwop katye pa yo ke yo detui paske yo derefize rete enpuisan devan malsite yo konstate devan je yo.”
How do Haitians, the wealthy few, the wannabees, the diaspora, the simple peasant, how do we Haitians, of all hues and classes, move forward while simultaneously, publically exploring, and addressing our national divisions, weaknesses, pathologies (i.e. corruption, in Haiti, and our lack of a political history with civic duty) without continuing to make it easier for the powers-that-be to take advantage and exploit our situation? I think by starting to do a better job at looking outwards together. That’s my opinion.
I’ll explain why, using some parts of Pitit Ginen’s post at ONE and by going into some history and “globalization” particulars at TWO below.
Pitit Ginen wrote and I quote:
“Ann Ayiti gen yon veritab absans de sa-
n ta rele "jounalis repòtè". Tout tan w ap li nan jounal oubyen tande nan radyo ke gen pwoblèm adwat agoch, men w pa janm wè chif ak analiz chif sa-yo ki pou ta montre aklè kisa pwoblèm-nan ye vre. Pifò jounalis nou-yo jis konkante-yo voye monte bri lari-ya. Ki pwojè ki genyen nan tèl ministè? Ki bidjè tèl ministè? Konbyen kòb yon minis touche? Konbyen anplwaye ki genyen nan tèl ministè? Ki pousantaj kòb anplwaye sa-yo touche nan bidjè ministè sa-a? Ki kantite èd oubyen kredi ke peyi-a resevwa? Kouman lajan sa-yo pataje ant ministè-yo? Eske minis-yo ak senatè elt touche twòp nan peyi-a? Si tan kòb ta retire sou nèg sa-yo, konbyen pwojè-k te ka reyalize ak li. Jan nou ka wè-a kesyon-yo anpil e enpòtan ki pou ta ede-n konprann sa k ap pase nan jestyon yon gouvènman. Poutan nan jounal nou-yo, w pa janm jwenn repons detaye sou kesyon sa-yo. Kidonk, jijman nou kòm obsèvatè vin limite anpil. Gen yon gwo vid-la ki pou konble. E nou menm ki deyò oubyen anndan k ap panse fòk nou lonje dwèt sou vid sa-a ki merite konbl
e oubyen kontribye nan konble vid sa-a. “
I was most intrigued by this because though I’ve said the Haitian government lacks transparence, until this writing I had not thought much about the role of the Haitian media in Haiti. The above gave me pause to further consider the specifics about transparency and participation in Haiti.
But, as I indicate below, after evaluating the issue, unless we understand the all encompassing, far reaching significance of globalization, I think that although access to such information would open doors and one knows not where that opening might lead, even if the Haitian journalists and press could provide the population with all the information needed for making informed decisions and with access to budgets, projects and other such public information for debate, even if they were able to do so, in the final analyses, it would not help us with pushing forward democracy in Haiti. Because the status quo powers do not want the population to be politicized. Period. Th
ey would screw up the information in some way to misinform the public, keep them de-politicized, at each other’s throats and at impasse.
To address why this has come to my mind as I thought more carefully about the paragraph noted above, first, I’d like to refer to a book written by someone who knows much, much more about this financial colonialism subject than anyone else I know.
Below, I use Noam Chomsky’s book “Profit over People” and look at the following two propositions/statements of his as a foundation for my analyzes of the Haitian situation - that is, our problem with creating a participatory democracy, with transparence, and, with institutionalizing organized political activism.
Would those of you interested, kindly consider and give some thought to these two statements:
1. “Neoliberalism works best when there is formal electoral democracy, but when the population is DIVERTED from the information, access, and public forums necessary for meaningful participation in the
decision making.” (Emphasis added.)
2. The classical neoliberalist say that:
“Profit-making is the essence of democracy, any government that pursues anti-market policies is being antidemocratic, no matter how much informed popular support they might enjoy.” (See, the introduction by Robert W. McChesney to Noam Chomsky’s book Profit Over People, at pg. 9)
I cannot thoroughly address all I think this means to the Haitian situation, but I can say, unequivocally, that it means no matter whether the Haitian government is democratically elected by the majority or put in by force, the powers-that-be will do the same thing - exploit the majority of our people and keep us underdeveloped.
That’s the nature of financial colonialism. So, whether Aristide’s party is at the Haitian helm, or, a Coup d’Etat/civil war someday puts a military dictator at the helm in Haiti, for the majority of the Haitian people there will be no transparence and no participatory democracy, no true mobility of all so
rts; their rights will be circumscribed because of the very nature of the power system that vies for the life and resources of our nation.
For, as long as we contained-in-poverty, and/or also contained, because of poverty, solely within the Island, having no means for venturing back and forth, then, only the degree of oppression will change. It’s only a matter of degrees for the masses and classes in Haiti the level of the oppression. But the oppression is there whether or not all Haitians say No More Coup d' Etats and the opposition and Aristide reached a consensus. For, the white man isn’t going to suddenly go away and say, "oh, oh you beautifully, united, Haitian people, now that you’ve found a consensus, we white privileged men will stop trying to divide and conquer you the better to take you to the cleaners." Yeah right.
If Haitians keep at each other’s throats, it could just get worst for the Haitian people under a military dictatorship than how it’s been since the 1994-2003 return of f
ormal electoral democracy.
But the lash of US financial strangulation would nonetheless still be killing, in some manner or form, our Haitian men, women, and children. That’s clear and that’s why it is politically intelligent for the Haitian masses and classes, for all of us, to identify the central enemy to Haitian sovereignty and development and start looking outwards together.
For under their system, their wealth is used to divert the people’s attention from the true state of thing so the peoples grass roots organizations would be stymied, so the citizenry will not organize to exercise their democratic rights.
For instance, right here in the US, we too are only called-up to practice our democratic duties at election time. Then it’s ok for us to go away, for the transnational business community uses everything to maintain its control, even, for instance, the deaths of the 9-11 World Trade Center Americans. For, today for the US corporate media to mention that event has turn into a code fo
r the protection of the priceless rights of privileged white men to forge ahead their goals, of, as Bush puts it, of not allowing any global rival to US superpower dominance. We know the transnational corporations’ global leadership is protected by the “might,” the unparalleled strengths of the United States armed forces - their bases all over the globe and their nucleic media and political weapons. All this is used to squash any adversaries, including their own dissenting US citizens.
So, when I read Pitit Ginen’s observation about the lack of investigative Haitian journalists in Haiti, I thought of the US corporate “in-bedded” media in the Iraq war, the daily brainwash, all the diversions.
For, before Pitit Ginen brought it to my attention, if I thought about the particulars of the lack of participation and transparency in Haiti, I would think peripherally of the experiences many in the Diaspora have had with the Lavalas government in terms of participation, the dismal outreach, the tendency
to put more faith in white professionals to represent Haiti, the fact that the Haitian citizenry is not, at all, provided with consistent, non-adversarial ways and forums to meet, communicate and interact with their fellow citizens, except when there’s a crisis and the government needs public backing.
I primarily thought perhaps of the lack of resources for participation, like constructive public forums, neighborhood organizations, public meeting places, public schools, libraries, lack of special interest groups for a particular Haitian issue beyond Coup d’Etat or the prevention thereof. How we need more voluntary associations, truly organized trade unions, women rights groups and human rights groups with voices in the government. Those are real needs in order to institutionalize Haiti’s democracy. But now I’m understanding more clearly and sharply the deeper roots of imperialism’s reach when I evaluate the lack, in Haiti, of “journalis repote” within the context of the fundamental role (s) of the gl
obalization structure as expressed in the two statements in Chomsky’s book.
Now, that is not to say we in the Haitian society share no blame, we do.
Pitit Ginen points to this when he says: “Se vre ke m' ap toujou kondane dirijan lokal-yo… “
For there are always windows, cracks and fissures within the imperialist system to be pushed at, but Haitian society has yet to even begin developing a broad based independent or representative press and media, just as, in other sectors, there are no real functioning institutions providing the people with access, forums and information that they might reasonably make decisions and formulate opinions.
But leaving aside the general issue that we’ve yet to mobilize any real resources to carry out such a pro-democracy, community base PR apparatus in Haiti, or even the Haitian will and vision to do so, it seems reasonable to me that, in Haiti, as in the US, those businesses which could afford to advertise in a newspaper would not do so unless s
aid newspaper was espousing views or writing articles, the effect of which would be to support their vested interests. Perhaps that’s one reason why we only read about “bri lari-ya” in Haiti.
For, as we in North America know, it’s not only in Haiti that we are inundated with reporters who “voye monte bri lari-ya.”
Take the current US “bri lari” - the Martha Stewart indictment, the Lacey Peterson case, the current “reality” TV shows, the current Homeland Security terrorist alert levels, etc., that the mainstream investigative reporters are, incessantly, flooding into the public’s mind. For what purpose when people are losing their civil rights left and right under the Patriot Act (s); when people are dying because the pharmaceutical companies refuse to allow health reforms? Or, are these diversions to keep the population from concentrating on the bad economy, the lay-offs, recession. Or, is it to keep our minds off the various Enron-like corporate corruptions, felonies and their scandals.
Could it be that it’s not only in the US the corporate community works incessantly to see that important issues of an egalitarian participatory democracy are never publicly debated?
If the main purpose of the media/press has become to support pro-business viewpoints, is it feasible to develop a formal representative or independent press in Haiti? How?
Pitit Ginen wrote, in reference to globalization that the Haitian Government has a duty to explain to the people the situation it’s facing under IMF, IDB, WTO, World Bank mandates, etc. He says “….yo gen pou devwa eksplike aklè bay tout nasyon-an kijan bagay-yo ye. E yo pa fè sa. “
No doubt. It is a responsibility which clearly they have been derelict and need to address.
I mean, you’re definitely right. I don’t believe the Haitian populace fully understands “globalization” beyond the concept of “privatization.” Beyond, that is, the demands for the Haitian government to sell off their assets - their State owned industries to (f
oreign) so-called “investors.” Beyond this, I doubt that a significant number of Haitians really understand that the IMF, WTO and World Bank, etc, in Haiti also want no state intervention in the economic growth of Haiti. Or, that their policies and loan conditions and trade mandates require the Haitian government to cut government subsidies (that is no reform or development whatsoever in Haiti), quell the democratic inclinations of the people, and establish an economic system to suit the needs of the few, not the many, by restricting organized political activism, and restricting unions and workers rights to better open up Haitian borders to unregulated free trade by the major Anglo-US/Euro powers.
But, which is more productive, showing the Haitian majority how globalization works and mobilizing towards defeating this system in Haiti overall; moving forwards together with suggestions about what we can do now with what we have in our hands; or simply just criticizing. That’s a rhetorical question. The a
nswer is obvious.
So, I’m wondering, could the Haitian citizenry be encourage, I mean be systematically encouraged by the Haitian government and the opposition, to tell of their common oppressors while working out their differences? Could both put out a call for help in telling this common ground side of the Haitian storyline, or, are we all so into our various power trips and vested personal interests, that the good of the people and nation is a side issue?
Could those various Haitian students, both in the Diaspora and especially those, san job, but with university degrees in Haiti be encouraged to use their education and do some public service reporting or organizing? One never knows where such independent initiatives might lead to, perhaps even to making a living someday from it. Wouldn’t this help the Government and our people with both participation and transparence? Wouldn’t this be a productive use of our enormous human capital? Is it possible? Just some ideas.
SYSTEM WAS FIRST CREATED TO EXPLOIT HAITIANS.
We know here in the Diaspora, that it’s difficult, well nigh impossible, even for the majority white population in the US, to step up to corporate dominance of everything. Imagine how much more difficult for Haitians in Haiti to do so with no resources, especially since the system was created to first oppress us - the first captives (slaves) to set foot, in chains and manacles, in their New World.
For, from a historical perspective, Haitians, like no one else, in this “New-World,” know well this rule by the wealthy few is not new.
Globalization is, as renowed investigative reporter, Greg Palast says in his book, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," at p. 74, just “financial colonialism.” I say, it’s just the current mechanism the former slave owners and colonists are using to exploit the resources of the world’s peoples. It’s just the current way for the wealthy white men and their few colored overseers, to limit the political rights and civ
ic powers of the many.
This battle to oppress the many by the few has been going on for over 500 years, and, perhaps since history began.
But, in it’s current form as neoliberalism, it was started, as Greg Palast (at. p.75) points out, in the early 1970s by a Professor named Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.
Said professor who was known to be driven about in a black limousine by a Black chauffeur “once opined from his high chair: Why are people attacking Rhodesia, the only democracy in Africa?”
That statement, Palast reports, (at pg. 75) was made at a time when the nation of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, was controlled by Whites who then where 5% of the population, who, as Greg Palast points out, “kept the 95 per cent Black population in virtual slavery, without hope and certainly without the right to vote.”
This little history is just to point out the nature of the mindsets promoting neo-liberalism and its predisposition to target and prey on people of color the
world over for exploitation.
Back in the early 1970s, Professor Friedman and his like-minded cohorts trained budding bankers and, specifically, a group of mostly Latin American students, in the principles of neoliberalism (globalization) at the University of Chicago, in a workshop entitled the “Latin American Finance Workshop.” And, as Greg Palast says, these “budding bankers and dictators-in training …would later on, turn Chile into an experiment in torture and free markets.” (p. 74) Still, the apostles of globalizations, often point to Chile as an example of the glories of globalization.
Add all this together and today, financial colonialism/globalization, is imperialism in modern form. Forget the high fluting economic mumbo jumbo, for it’s nothing more than where the governments of the former slave holders/colonists, especially the United States, push trade deals and other accords, like those espoused by the World Trade Organization, down the throats of the world’s people’s to
make it easier for corporations and the wealthy to dominate the economies of nations around the world without having obligations to the peoples of those nations. Call it any name, Reagan/Thatcher's “trickle down economy,” “supply-side economics,” or, “neoliberalism” – whatever. Its purpose is to maintain the status quo.
In fact, its proponents equate this form of capitalism with democracy, just as, back-in-the-day, they once thought the slavery-generated wealth of the industrialized countries was sane, progressive and egalitarian.
Of course we know it’s not.
Frankly the crux of the matter is: what their theories say it does, and what, in reality, it does, are diametrically opposed. Simply stated, “globalization” as applied by the Breton Woods organizations and their derivatives, is a duplicitous means of maintaining the same old same old.
Its apostles say the natural laissez faire, free market is democratic because everything is to be subject to said “free market system.”
EXCEPT, in reality, the effect of the application of their theories is that the free market system only applies to the poor, not to the wealthy few. Except, there’s nothing remotely democratic in a corporate hierarchy (no open access to information and decision-making.) For while these mostly right-wing proponents of the status quo are against social spending, government subsidies for education, health care, infrastructure development, protection of local industry on behalf of their citizenry, they want and expect, as their ENTITLEMENT AND PRIVILIGE, that, for instance, the Haitian government should funnel tax dollars to them, (i.e. to pay old dictatorship debts they’ve called in) rather than subsidize gas prices, literacy, programs to help with lavi che, grangou, etc. They want, for instance, for us to protect their markets for them from competition from, let say the poor Haitian farmer and miserable Madame Sarah vendor/merchant, or from any economic balancing or Haitian financial market regulations that
would take into account the Haitian people’s welfare.
In essence, governments around the world, like the Haitian government no, matter if it's a Lavalas or becomes a government from one of the Convergence opposition, all governments are required to work supportively on behalf of business but NOT supportively on behalf of the non-business sectors, which they have convince us all are “special interests.”
“Special interest” is everything except business of course. “Special interests” are consumers, Blacks, women, children, workers, people who want health care, better education, schools, public access, human rights or environmental protection. Turns out, if you look closely at “special interests,” it’s the majority of the US, and in fact it describes, the world’s population and citizenry.
Yet and still, most US investigative reporters, never mind, Haitian journalists or Haitian proponents of business interests, have bought into this system and rarely analyze the status quo’s claims. Not
many point out the free market doesn’t exist, except as I say, for the poor. For most of the State assets these companies want, for instance, for the Haitian government to sell off to foreign “investors,” are infrastructure businesses, which, by their very nature would give the new owners a monopoly. In fact, overall, markets are almost never competitive because massive corporations who own huge controls or monopolies over their markets shares DOMINATE most of the global economy. Companies like, to name a few, Warner, Sony, Wal-Mart, Citibank, Chevron Oil, Bristol-Myers Bechel or Halliburton (Haitians my recognize Halliburton in Haiti, as Brown & Root, its subsidiary.)
Turns out, if you look closely, the policies of NAFTA, GAT and the WTO with, among others, its Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), are not about trade, free market or democracy at all, but, as Palast says, are “a sly means to wipe away restrictions on business and industry, foreign and local.”
For, as Palast furt
her notes, “Once countries protected their workers and local industry behind taxes at national borders. In the new world trade order, global corporations may demand levies against nations which sell or buy products outside the zones they have marked out by brand names and market segments. The WTO’s penal system for prohibited importing and exporting goes under the psychedelic title TRIPS.” (at pg. 63)
According to the apostles of worldwide neo-liberalism (globalization) the role of government is simply to protect private property and enforce contracts. Political debate is limited to minor issues. That’s it. They are against any sort of social spending because everything is about profit, profit, profit and more profit.
This is the system the US media never loses a moment touting as the absolute best in the world, the epitome of human development.
So, that's why, it’s my opinion, that under this system in Haiti, any Haitian government which comes to power will be forced, not to work sup
portively on behalf of the poor and the working class, but only to protect the profit-making class. There isn’t any choice. This is what the globalization apostles see as “democracy.” A perverse understanding of democracy which results in a de-politicized citizenry marked by passivity or apathy and cynicism. Under this system, citizens who have no financial or other monetary value; citizens who are not within the profit-making loop are, in effect, worthless surplus, invalidated, useless, undeserving and surely incompetent.
So, if we Haitians clearly understood that these are the principles, the profit-culture, which we all are living under, then we could begin to see why we act, feel and react the way we do. We may easier be able to see there is a system out there, an invisible chain and manacle, now called “globalization” with its influence on, not only the economy and politics, but on our mainstream culture(s), education and media sytems, etc. That elsewhere, as in the US, the public relation indust
ry, the business community, the academic ideologues, the intellectual, the reporters, journalists - the entire mainstream, support this status quo, whether they identify themselves as right wing or left wing – Republicans or Democrats. The common ground they espouse is that the US system, which is to be spread across the planet, may be flawed, but, it is the BEST SYSTEM IN THE WORLD!
The best the progressive world could espoused to. The end.
For, we know how in the US, the business community and its corporate news media, spends fortunes bankrolling a public relations machinery to convince the US citizenry of that this-is-the-best-of-all-possible-worlds’ propaganda and that another more progressive system is unthinkable; that we Americans can’t do better than this.
As Chomsky says, the US business community and their PR apparatus make an “unpalatable situation appear rational, benevolent, and necessary if not necessarily desirable.”
Of course that could be because, US intellectu
als along with the populace, were trained, in US schools, to see the status quo as the best of all possible worlds; trained by our corporate media to become consumers not form communities having nothing to do with buying; trained that getting the good life means these compromises MUST be made; trained that under this profit-making-is-the-only-thing-of-value-system, that it’s pretty unprofitable to challenge those who benefit from the status quo. For, according to the always tantalizing, ever mesmerizing rags-to-riches capitalistic storyline, illusion rather, that next millionaire could be you!
Obviously these self-serving ideas bring us back to the age of the divine kings’ spiel, except now it’s the rule of the godlike corporations and their wealthy owners.
Frankly, no organized civic group has ever realistically shown to the public the rags-to-riches story applies to only one in millions while the one, two, three percent privileged white men in this world, owning most of the worlds assets, ar
e the ones entitled to all protections, all bounties, in fact, as the Bush administration is proving, their frontier extends throughout the world and anyone who questions this US corporate gluttony is a terrorist, anti-democratic - a wretched subversive who needs squashing!
Under this system’s basic principles, the majority of Haitians, like all the world's peoples, must always be ruled indirectly by the Washington’s corporate elite and directly by their wealthy local Haitian agents of imperial power. A role, the Convergence wannabees badly want to slip on.