Wouldn’t hurt a spider
That had nested
Between her bicycle handles
For two weeks
Until it left of its own accord
If you tear down the web I said
It will simply know
This isn’t a place to call home
And you’d get to go biking
She said that’s how others
Become refugees, isn’t it?”
– Fady Joudah
This week’s newsletter focuses on refugees, on a world shaped by the violence of big capital. There is no refugee crisis. There is only the crisis of humanity, a crisis of war and hunger that drives refugees. In this world, there are no refugees. There are only people who have been forced from their homes. In this world, we can look to places like Brazil for hope, where the struggles led by people’s movements could potentially shift political needle in South America and send ripples beyond. You can read our newsletter here.
In July 2018, protests developed in Haiti and then escalated against the government. The immediate spur for the protests came when the government of Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant raised fuel prices by 38% (gasoline) and 51% (diesel and kerosene). Thousands of people took to the streets in protest. The government hastily cancelled the price rise, but the protests did not end. More was at stake. The people then made much bolder demands. This dossier takes stock of the events that transpired this summer in Haiti and in their long-term meaning.
One cannot look at Trump and his policies in isolation from the crisis of ‘trade wars’. Trump promised to ‘make America great again’. He wants to resolve the crisis for America caused by neo-liberalism without violating its core characteristic, which is free global mobility of finance. At Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, we have wondered about the essential nature of these ‘trade wars’ that have broken out between key allies. We turned to Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi (India), for assistance.
The women beedi (thin cigarette) workers of Solapur, a city in the Indian State of Maharashtra, used to live in tiny shanties on rent in slums. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) organised them and led a prolonged struggle to construct houses for them. The result: the government was forced to allocate funds for the purpose and 15,000 houses have been constructed for the workers. Another 30,000 houses are being built for informal sector workers from various industries. With their united struggle and sustained movement, the workers of Solapur are building a city of their own.