Other Worlds

A HARD DAY’S LABOR FOR $4.76: THE OFFSHORE ASSEMBLY INDUSTRY IN HAITI

April 25, 2013

By Beverly Bell and Alexis Erkert
April 25, 2013

“Haiti offers a marvelous opportunity for American investment. The run-of-the-mill Haitian is handy, easily directed, and gives a hard day’s labor for 20 cents, while in Panama the same day’s work costs $3,” wrote Financial America in 1926.[i] That may be the most honest portrayal of the offshore industry in Haiti to date. Today, the US, the UN, multilateral lending institutions, corporate investors, and others are more creative in their characterizations. They spin Haiti’s high-profit labor as being in the interest of the laborer, and as a major vehicle for what they call “development.”

 

SEEDS OF CHANGE: SHIFTING NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL POLICIES

April 21, 2013

By Tory Field and Beverly Bell

“The only way we’re going to… change the most basic attitude of policy-makers… is for you and me to become the policy-makers, taking charge of every aspect of our food system – from farm to fork,”said Jim Hightower, the former agriculture commissioner of Texas.[i]

The need for us to become the policy-makers to create a just and sustainable food supply chain is urgent, because in the hands of the US government it has become increasingly unjust and unsustainable. Over the past 50 years, agricultural policies that once supported small- and mid-sized farmers have been whittled away. As a result, more than 100 family farms go out of business every week.[ii] The government has instead turned food production over to agribusiness and allowed large firms to buy up small producers and traders. Currently, in the pork, poultry, beef, and grain markets, the biggest four firms control more than half the market share. Three companies control 90% of the massive global grain trade.

Announcing "Fault Lines: Views Across Haiti's New Divide" - Order here!

April 17, 2013

Announcing Fault Lines: Views Across Haiti's Divide
By Beverly Bell
Forward by Edwidge DanticatCornell University Press

Beverly Bell, an activist and award-winning writer, has dedicated her life to working for democracy, women's rights, and economic justice in Haiti and elsewhere. Since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake of January 12, 2010, that struck the island nation, killing more than a quarter-million people and leaving another two million Haitians homeless, Bell has spent much of her time in Haiti. Her new book, Fault Lines, is a searing account of the first year after the earthquake.

 

SMALL FARMS FIGHT BACK: FOOD AND COMMUNITY SELF-GOVERNANCE

April 14, 2013

By Tory Field and Beverly Bell

Heather Retberg stood on the steps of the Blue Hill, Maine town hall surrounded by 200 people. “We are farmers,” she told the crowd, “who are supported by our friends and our neighbors who know us and trust us, and want to ensure that they maintain access to their chosen food supply.”

Blue Hill is one of a handful of small Maine towns that have been taking bold steps to protect their local food system. In 2011, they passed an ordinance exempting their local farmers and food producers from federal and state licensure requirements when these farmers sell directly to customers.

Harvesting Justice: Transforming Food, Land, and Agricultural Systems in the Americas

April 12, 2013

We know you care about what you eat, how it was produced, and who was harmed or who benefited in the process. Everywhere, people like you are reclaiming the food system from multinational agribusiness and putting it back in the hands of small farmers, low-income families, farmworkers, guardians of Native culture, and health-conscious communities. Read about these efforts in Other Worlds’ new 140-page book, Harvesting Justice: Transforming Food, Land, and Agricultural Alternatives in the Americas. The result of five years of research and interviews from throughout the hemisphere, the book describes strategies to win food justice and food sovereignty. An appendix and popular education curriculum offer hundreds of concrete ways to learn more and get involved.

 

“LOSING HAITI, THAT IS SOMETHING ELSE”: HAITIAN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS ORGANIZE

April 11, 2013


By Beverly Bell

“Why is Haiti so poor?” That’s what deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez asked, over and over, in a video shown at a recent memorial at the State University of Haiti. In the courtyard of the School of Social Sciences, a repository of radical intelligentsia and organizers, professors and students took the stage to sing, drum, and recite poetry, and to make impassioned speeches about Chávez’s opposition to privatization and the US empire.

FARMERS AND CONSUMERS V. MONSANTO: DAVID MEETS GOLIATH

April 7, 2013

By Tory Field and Beverly Bell

Bordering an interstate highway in Arkansas, a giant billboard with a photo of a stoic-looking farmer watches over the speeding traffic. He’s staring into the distance against the backdrop of a glowing wheat field, with the caption “America’s Farmers Grow America.” It’s an image to melt all our pastoral hearts.

Until we read the small print in the corner: “Monsanto.”

ANOTHER POOR BLACK BOY DEAD IN HAITI

April 4, 2013

By Beverly Bell
April 4, 2013

Inside the USAID-headquarters-turned-courthouse in Port-au-Prince, the case against former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier was being heard, in a trial unlikely to bring justice to the hundreds of thousands killed and tortured by him and his father François.

Vexed by the circus show of judges and defense lawyers, I fled the building and hailed a collective taxicab. The driver asked my nationality. When I told him, he said, “If you don’t mind, I want to ask you something. Are there all these children sleeping in the streets and under bridges in your country?”

FROM GROWING PROFIT TO GROWING FOOD: CHALLENGING CORPORATE RULE

April 1, 2013

Just outside of the small town of Maumelle, Arkansas sits your run-of-the-mill American strip mall. And as in so many other box store hubs, a Walmart dominates the landscape.

But something is a shade different about this one; its big, looming letters are not the standard blue. These letters, in a new, green hue, spell out “Walmart Neighborhood Market.” These “neighborhood markets” are a tactic in Walmart’s conquest of the grocery industry. The nation’s world’s biggest retail store now captures more than a fourth of the domestic grocery market.

Chávez’ Legacy: A New Model of Popular Power

March 29, 2013

 


An Interview with Camille Chalmers
By Beverly Bell
March 29, 2013

 

 

Economist Camille Chalmers is a leader in Latin American social movements and executive secretary of the Platform for Alternative Development in Haiti (PAPDA).

 

Hugo Chávez’ battle, with all the strength of determination the man had, is a huge legacy for every person everywhere who wants liberation for all.

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