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IMF to Haiti: Freeze Public Wages (The Shock Doctrine Begins) [View All]

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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 03:55 PM
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IMF to Haiti: Freeze Public Wages (The Shock Doctrine Begins)
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Source: The Nation

Since a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti on Tuesday--killing tens of thousands of people--there's been a lot of well-intentioned chatter and twitter about how to help Haiti. Folks have been donating millions of dollars to Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti (by texting "YELE" to 501501) or to the Red Cross (by texting "HAITI" to 90999) or to Paul Farmer's extraordinary Partners in Health, among other organizations. I hope these donations continue to pour in, along with more money, food, water, medicine, equipment and doctors and nurses from nations around the world. The Obama administration has pledged at least $100 million in aid and has already sent thousands of soldiers and relief workers. That's a decent start.

But it's also time to stop having a conversation about charity and start having a conversation about justice--about recovery, responsibility and fairness. What the world should be pondering instead is: What is Haiti owed?

Haiti's vulnerability to natural disasters, its food shortages, poverty, deforestation and lack of infrastructure, are not accidental. To say that it is the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere is to miss the point; Haiti was made poor--by France, the United States, Great Britain, other Western powers and by the IMF and the World Bank.

Now, in its attempts to help Haiti, the IMF is pursuing the same kinds of policies that made Haiti a geography of precariousness even before the quake. To great fanfare, the IMF announced a new $100 million loan to Haiti on Thursday. In one crucial way, the loan is a good thing; Haiti is in dire straits and needs a massive cash infusion. But the new loan was made through the IMF's extended credit facility, to which Haiti already has $165 million in debt. Debt relief activists tell me that these loans came with conditions, including raising prices for electricity, refusing pay increases to all public employees except those making minimum wage and keeping inflation low. They say that the new loans would impose these same conditions. In other words, in the face of this latest tragedy, the IMF is still using crisis and debt as leverage to compel neoliberal reforms.

For Haiti, this is history repeated. As historians have documented, the impoverishment of Haiti began in the earliest decades of its independence, when Haiti's slaves and free gens de couleur rallied to liberate the country from the French in 1804. But by 1825, Haiti was living under a new kind of bondage--external debt. In order to keep the French and other Western powers from enforcing an embargo, it agreed to pay 150 million francs in reparations to French slave owners (yes, that's right, freed slaves were forced to compensate their former masters for their liberty). In order to do that, they borrowed millions from French banks and then from the US and Germany. As Alex von Tunzelmann pointed out, "by 1900, it was spending 80 percent of its national budget on repayments."

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  -IMF to Haiti: Freeze Public Wages (The Shock Doctrine Begins) tekisui  Jan-17-10 03:55 PM   #0 
  - Oh fuck me Klein was right.  anonymous171   Jan-17-10 03:56 PM   #1 
  - Of course, she was, and she is.  inna   Jan-17-10 04:37 PM   #13 
     - So how does last year's debt forgiveness fit into this?  anigbrowl   Jan-17-10 04:50 PM   #15 
     - Yes, but at the time I thought that she was just being overly paranoid  anonymous171   Jan-17-10 05:14 PM   #16 
        - Nope. And sending Junior, and forgive me, Clinton out there  EFerrari   Jan-17-10 07:12 PM   #20 
        - Naomi Kleins SHOCK DOCTRINE  dotymed   Jan-18-10 04:07 AM   #34 
  - WTF?  Odin2005   Jan-17-10 03:57 PM   #2 
  - Already, rumors have Wyclef Jean in 'scandal'.  louis-t   Jan-17-10 04:04 PM   #3 
  - Actually it's more like his 'charity' had its financial documents come out.  Spider Jerusalem   Jan-17-10 08:00 PM   #24 
  - It's not a rumor, but based on a reading of IRS filings for his charity  anigbrowl   Jan-17-10 09:39 PM   #28 
  - Yikes.  louis-t   Jan-18-10 10:29 AM   #48 
  - Let's face it, folks...this is STILL about punishing the home  Ken Burch   Jan-18-10 04:00 PM   #57 
  - K&R  happy_liberal   Jan-17-10 04:05 PM   #4 
  - "Haiti was made poor--by France, the United States, Great Britain, other Western powers"  tblue   Jan-17-10 04:12 PM   #5 
  - AMNESIA  dotymed   Jan-18-10 05:00 AM   #37 
  - The information presented here is all good information  truedelphi   Jan-17-10 04:13 PM   #6 
  - I fear you are too too correct.  dixiegrrrrl   Jan-18-10 08:31 AM   #44 
  - In Haiti The Shock Doctrine has been underway for a long while.  Mika   Jan-17-10 04:14 PM   #7 
  - You are right, I should have said it continues.  tekisui   Jan-17-10 04:16 PM   #8 
  - 100% correct  malaise   Jan-17-10 04:19 PM   #11 
  - By the way Naomi and Spitzer are on  malaise   Jan-17-10 04:24 PM   #12 
  - What is Zakaria? is it an internet radio show  truedelphi   Jan-17-10 09:22 PM   #27 
     - He has a show on CNN on Sunday mornings.  EFerrari   Jan-17-10 10:20 PM   #30 
  - You bet. n/t  EFerrari   Jan-17-10 07:10 PM   #19 
  - Meanwhile the French are in the process of canceling Haiti's debt  malaise   Jan-17-10 04:17 PM   #9 
  - Actually, the IMF and World Bank already cancelled $1.2 billion (>60%) of their debt last year  anigbrowl   Jan-17-10 04:45 PM   #14 
     - Have you actually read the book? nt  glitch   Jan-17-10 06:53 PM   #17 
     - Yes. What's your point? /nt  anigbrowl   Jan-17-10 07:08 PM   #18 
        - It's an excellent read and you could learn a lot about how the process works.  glitch   Jan-17-10 07:18 PM   #21 
           - Maybe I already know about that and just don't share your opinion.  anigbrowl   Jan-17-10 07:46 PM   #23 
              - Read Klein's book - No bullshit! Or get it on CD's so it can be read to you!!  GreenTea   Jan-18-10 04:06 PM   #58 
     - not exactly. in "stages". & after delaying the process since 1996.  Hannah Bell   Jan-18-10 05:00 AM   #38 
     - One would almost think that was the purpose of the debt cancellation.  Overseas   Jan-18-10 10:09 AM   #47 
  - WATCH the UN Security Council Emergency Meeting tomorrow  nadinbrzezinski   Jan-17-10 04:17 PM   #10 
  - Shameful and typical  jonathon   Jan-17-10 07:32 PM   #22 
  - Lest we forget, Haiti's indigenous leaders have a sordid history of piling up fortunes in  bertman   Jan-17-10 08:24 PM   #25 
  - You mean those bribes from foreign multinationals  malaise   Jan-18-10 04:47 AM   #36 
  - You can only be a puppet if you are willing to accept the bribes. If we are ready to assail  bertman   Jan-18-10 07:32 AM   #40 
  - Haiti's "leaders" have a history of being hand-picked by the US & toppled at will by the US.  Hannah Bell   Jan-18-10 05:01 AM   #39 
     - You are correct. My point is that Haiti's past leaders have been all too willing to go along  bertman   Jan-18-10 07:34 AM   #41 
  - Recommend  TexasObserver   Jan-17-10 08:53 PM   #26 
  - Call it Democracy  maryf   Jan-17-10 10:17 PM   #29 
  - After reading all the comments  cartach   Jan-17-10 10:30 PM   #31 
  - Slanted one way?  saorsa   Jan-18-10 03:43 AM   #33 
  - please do a little DU Archive search during 2004 and see what was being discussed here at DU when  flyarm   Jan-18-10 08:10 AM   #42 
  - k/r  Solly Mack   Jan-17-10 10:32 PM   #32 
  - "by 1900, it was spending 80 percent of its national budget on repayments."  Hannah Bell   Jan-18-10 04:43 AM   #35 
  - I knew this crap is going to happen.  Jkid   Jan-18-10 08:18 AM   #43 
  - I don't think the IMF should be defined as sort of a UN. It is the front for the barons.  peacetalksforall   Jan-18-10 08:43 AM   #45 
  - kick, nt.  maryf   Jan-18-10 09:20 AM   #46 
  - AND.......... the "speculation" begins, as well. That cruise ship  Fire1   Jan-18-10 11:32 AM   #49 
  - Oh hysterics and delusions!! Why is this not moved to the  Fire1   Jan-18-10 11:38 AM   #50 
  - +1  Fire1sKid   Jan-18-10 11:43 AM   #51 
  - If Obama were more like LBJ this wouldnt happen  Fire1sKid   Jan-18-10 11:46 AM   #52 
  - ROFL:  Fire1   Jan-18-10 11:56 AM   #53 
  - Servitude to the global financial system created by and serving the original slavers.  Greyhound   Jan-18-10 01:09 PM   #54 
  - I'm Thinking It's Happening Here In California As Well...  WillyT   Jan-18-10 03:07 PM   #55 
  - This kind of thing was NEVER supposed to happen once Obama was elected  Ken Burch   Jan-18-10 03:57 PM   #56 

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