Following is a conversation between Anu Muhammad (an organizer with the National Committee in Bangladesh, which works against resource extraction and imperialism), two members of One Struggle (Daniel and Stephanie McMillan), plus Irtishad Ahmad and Swapan Majhi. It took place in Miami, on October 18, 2012.
Anu Muhammad: Tell me about your organization.
Stephanie McMillan: One Struggle actually started 20 years ago against the US occupation of Haiti and the forced return of the people who were leaving the Cedras regime. It first started out only focused on Haiti, and then it became a more internationally focused anti-imperialist group. And it disbanded after a while. But we recently, two years ago, decided to restart it because there was a need— and it seemed like there was a basis— to organize an anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist group.
And then the Occupy movement started a year later. We didn’t want to get sucked into that so much that we lost our identity and our autonomy. So we worked within it, but we didn’t want to become the Occupy movement. We went there and formed an anti-capitalist caucus within Occupy in South Florida. And we also have a New York chapter starting, and people in different places who are interested.
Four of us just traveled to Haiti and met with workers organizations who are mostly garment workers, but also some agricultural workers fighting against the multinational corporations and factories and imperialist domination overall. I know you’re (Anu) focused on the extraction of natural resources, like coal and natural gas, and they have a similar problem where entities like the Clinton & Bush Foundation are buying up a lot of land on the coast of Haiti to build hotels and…
AM: And it’s related to President Clinton?
Daniel: Oh yeah. He’s in Haiti all the time. It’s an outgrowth of the Clinton Global Initiative.
AM: So they are very interested in tourism?
D: Oh yeah. Very interested in tourism and the sweatshops.
AM: Because that “helps people”… (laughter)
D: I usually say after a hundred years of help, if we are in this situation, we don’t need that help. (laughter)
D: We’re still in the same, or worse situation than we were about 100 years ago, based on the occupation, so there is no reason we need that help. And also they just gave a contract to the Prince Charles Foundation to basically rebuild Port-au-Prince, which is the capital of Haiti. And again the Clinton Foundation is involved. So, what they are trying to do is to move all the popular masses outside the capital. So they have the center city Port-au-Prince to for businesses, tourism, and so on. They are trying to displace the masses and put them in the countryside.
AM: This must be being publicized as a huge development effort for the people of Haiti.