In fact, blame for most of these crises lies with the U.S. and other imperialist powers’ intervention in the country. From the Haitian Revolution right down to today, these powers have waged an unrelenting attack on the Haitian people’s struggle for liberation, democracy, and equality.When the enslaved Africans overthrew their French oppressors in 1791 and declared Haiti’s independence in 1804, the great slave-holding powers of the time—France, Spain, England, and the newly independent U.S.—did everything in their powers to destroy the new Black republic. France, Spain, and England all deployed armies in a vain attempt to prevent the revolution’s victory.After their defeat, they moved to isolate Haiti and stop it from becoming a precedent and inspiration for revolutionary risings of the enslaved in the region. France only recognized the country’s independence in 1825 on the condition that Haiti repays their former masters in reparations for the loss of their “property,” that is, their land and enslaved human beings.To pay this “debt,” Haiti had to take out loans at usurious interest rates from French and U.S. banks, stunting its economic development. In today’s money, they shelled out $21 billion for recognition by the great powers. Even then, the U.S. did not acknowledge Haiti’s independence until the middle of the Civil War in 1862.The imperialist powers of the 19th century shackled Haiti with debt until its last payment in 1947, isolated it from the world system, and blocked its independent development. They made the country pay an enormous price for its liberation—poverty and structural adjustment from its birth.
It would be nice if the US government acknowledged that its imperialist meddling in Central America drove millions to flee to the United States. Instead, Kamala Harris went to Guatemala this week and had the gall to tell would-be migrants, “Do not come.”
Amid renewed fear mongering about an “invasion” at the U.S.-Mexico border, this week’s 175th anniversary of the 1846–1848 war the U.S. government instigated with Mexico is a reminder that throughout U.S. history, invasions have gone almost exclusively from north to south, not vice versa. A near-continuous series of invasions—military, political, and economic—moving from north to south has helped produce the poverty, violence, and insecurity driving people to migrate from south to north.
August besieged California with a heat unseen in generations. A surge in air conditioning broke the state’s electrical grid, leaving a population already ravaged by the coronavirus to work remotely by the dim light of their cellphones. By midmonth, the state had recorded possibly the hottest temperature ever measured on earth — 130 degrees in Death Valley — and an otherworldly storm of lightning had cracked open the sky.
A new study uses machine learning to project migration patterns resulting from sea-level rise. Researchers found the impact of rising oceans will ripple across the country, beyond coastal areas at risk of flooding, as affected people move inland. Popular relocation choices will include land-locked cities such as Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas. The model also predicts suburban and rural areas in the Midwest will experience disproportionately large influx of people relative to their smaller local populations.
This is a useful but equivocal discussion of migration. I tend to agree on the issue of open borders, but are confronted with a future in which whole sectors of planetary geography will no longer sustain their own populations. That means that billions will enter the migration/desperation zone. And the refuge zones, e.g. France may themselves start to desertify.
We may be reaching an insoluble endgame’ for armed elites, with arctic refugee crocodiles for company.
I generally believe that Sanders is the best we can presently hope for within the rigid, narrow confines of the American electoral system. But on this question, he must be pressured to change. If climate change is the defining issue of our time, as I firmly believe it to be, then its closest human corollary is the free movement of people in the world. Continue reading ” Refugee crocodiles in the arctic?”