Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Peter Hallward on “Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment”

Watch interview here. Haitian President René Préval said Sunday that the death toll from the earthquake could reach 300,000 once all the bodies are recovered from the rubble. We speak to Peter Hallward, professor of Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University. “Unless prevented by renewed popular mobilisation in both Haiti and beyond, the perverse international emphasis on security will continue to distort the reconstruction effort, and with it the configuration of Haitian politics for some time to come,” wrote Hallward recently. “What is already certain is that if further militarisation proceeds unchecked, the victims of the January earthquake won’t be the only avoidable casualties of 2010.” [includes rush transcript] Peter Hallward, author of Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment and a professor of Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University. Kim Ives, journalist with the newspaper Haiti […]

The Land that Wouldn’t Lie

By Peter Hallward New Statesman The Haitian people overthrew slavery, uprooted dictators and foreign military rule, and elected a liberation theologian as president. The west has made them pay for their audacity After weeks of intense media attention, some of the causes of Haiti’s glaring poverty are obvious: years of chronic underinvestment, disadvantageous terms of trade, deforestation, soil erosion. What is less well understood is that – natural disasters aside – the fundamental reasons for Haiti’s current destitution originate as responses to Haitian strength, rather than as the result of Haitian weakness, corruption or incompetence.Haiti is the only place in the world where colonial slavery was abolished by the slaves themselves, in the face of implacable violence. As historians of the revolution that began there in 1791 have often pointed out, there is good reason to consider it the most […]

Securing Disaster in Haiti

By Peter Hallward Nine days after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, it’s now clear that the initial phase of the US-led relief operation has conformed to the three fundamental tendencies that have shaped the more general course of the island’s recent history.[1] It has adopted military priorities and strategies. It has sidelined Haiti’s own leaders and government, and ignored the needs of the majority of its people. And it has proceeded in ways that reinforce the already harrowing gap between rich and poor. All three tendencies aren’t just connected, they are mutually reinforcing. These same tendencies will continue to govern the imminent reconstruction effort as well, unless determined political action is taken to counteract them. I Haiti is not only one of the poorest countries in the world, it is also one of the most […]

Profiting From Haiti’s Crisis

By Benjamin Dangl US corporations, private mercenaries, Washington and the International Monetary Fund are using the crisis in Haiti to make a profit, promote unpopular neoliberal policies, and extend military and economic control over the Haitian people.In the aftermath of the earthquake, with much of the infrastructure and government services destroyed, Haitians have relied on each other for the relief efforts, working together to pull their neighbors, friends and loved ones from the rubble. One report from IPS News in Haiti explained, “In the day following the quake, there was no widespread violence. Guns, knives and theft weren’t seen on the streets, lined only with family after family carrying their belongings. They voiced their anger and frustration with sad songs that echoed throughout the night, not their fists.”Bob Moliere, an organizer within the popular political party Fanmi Lavalas was killed […]

Bursting the Dam of Containment

by Justin Podur A review of Peter Hallward�s Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment (Verso, 2007). Haiti has never had a period without interference in its sovereignty. Indeed Haiti�s history could be seen as one long, heroic struggle against such interference: first to overthrow the slavers and colonizers of France (and the rest of Europe), and then to fight for sovereignty against the US, which viewed Haiti as part of its domain, to dispose of according to its own whims. Those whims included a brutal invasion and occupation by the US Marines from 1919-34, during which Haiti�s government, military, and financial sector were re-organized in the US interest. US policy included support for the Duvalier dictatorships for decades after the occupation, and support for military governments since the end of the Duvalier era in 1986. In […]

Haiti and the Politics of Containment

Review of Peter Hallward’s book: Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment by Roger Annis Global Research, May 26, 2008 Socialist Voice In April, mass protests against hunger and rising food prices erupted in Haiti and led to the fall of the government. On April 18, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis resigned following a vote of non-confidence in Haiti’s senate. The vote was orchestrated by some of Haiti’s wealthy elite, seeking to bring the government of President Ren� Pr�val more directly under their control. The story of hunger in Haiti goes far beyond recent hikes in world food prices. The country’s crushing poverty � it is the poorest country in the Americas � is the result of decades of exploitation and interference by the world’s big powers, principally the United States, with Canada and France increasingly joining […]

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