Hurricane Maria reveals the people’s urgent need —
INDEPENDENCE FOR PUERTO RICO NOW!
by ROSE BROWN with RAY LIGHT
INDEPENDENCE FOR PUERTO RICO NOW!
by ROSE BROWN with RAY LIGHT
(FROM ROL, USA NEWSLETTER #106: JAN-FEB, 2018)
Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, hit Puerto Rico on
September 20, 2017. It was one of the most devastating that Puerto Rico has ever seen. Roads and bridges collapsed due to mudslides and heavy rains. The power grid of the entire island was knocked out. Much of the island was forced to rely on short wave radios and other “old fashion” methods of communication. Homes were destroyed. Residents were stranded without food or drinking water.
In July 2010 we had warned that, “U.S. imperialist domination of Puerto Rico has persisted since U.S. imperialism took over the domination of the island from Spanish rule in the Spanish-American war of 1898. Puerto Rico remains an open colony of the United States to this day.” (“Puerto Rican Student Strike Victory,” Ray O’ Light Newsletter #61, July-August 2010)
The suffering of the oppressed masses of Puerto Rico – victims of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath – is largely the responsibility of the current U.S. imperialist Empire. Specifically, this includes the fascistic Trump Regime and its Republican Party supporters and Democratic Party enablers in the U.S. Congress, virtually all representing the interests of Wall Street imperialism and the U.S. Empire.
Indeed, the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico is reminiscent of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the largely poor and largely Afro-American masses of New Orleans in September 2005. There up to 5,000 people lost their lives (more than in NYC in 9-11!) and hundreds of thousands of others were displaced from their homes. The U.S. monopoly capitalist ruling class (and the Bush Regime) laid the basis for this crisis by slashing the funding for flood control in the Gulf Coast (e.g. repair of the levees in New Orleans) while increasing the funding of U.S. government wars abroad, e.g. Afghanistan and Iraq. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. monopoly capitalists tightened their control of New Orleans. They destroyed public housing, privatized public education and expanded the upper-class areas of the city while permanently displacing thousands of mainly poor and Afro-American former residents who had lived there for generations.
The Puerto Rican national minority population residing in northern cities of the U.S. over the past hundred years were forced from their national territory in search of a livelihood based on U.S. imperialist control of their homeland. Their forced migration is similar to the forced migration of immigrants from Central America, Mexico and other Caribbean countries and Afro-America. In the Northern USA, Puerto Rican workers and their families are discriminated against and oppressed like other immigrants from nations dominated by U.S. imperialism, including the Afro-American people from the Black Belt South USA. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, immigration of Puerto Ricans from the island to the U.S. mainland in search of relief from post-hurricane misery has sharply risen.
In an AP report published in The Final Call, the weekly publication of the Nation of Islam, it was reported on 11/1/17 that “Hurricane Maria didn’t discriminate between rich and poor when it ravaged Puerto Rico, but the recovery has been another story. … “Much of Puerto Rico was still without power October 25, more than a month after the storm, but wealthier residents are sealed up in air-conditioned homes with their generators and bottled water or have fled the island altogether for extended vacations, while the poorest are left swatting mosquitoes in sweltering heat and trying to secure enough water.” (Op. cit., my emphasis)
“Puerto Rico has some of the highest income inequality in the
world, said Jose Caraballo, president of Puerto Rico Economists Association. More than 40 per cent of the island lives below the poverty line, and tens of thousands are now out of work. Life for them is only getting worse.” “The U.S. territory of 3.4 million people was already struggling with a more than decade-long recession before the storm, working to restructure a portion of its $73 billion public debt. The median annual income is $19,500, while in the rest of the U.S. it’s more than $58,000. “... Unemployment was at 10 percent, nearly three times the rate in the mainland.” (Op. cit.)
In July 1981, at the First Ray O. Light Marxist-Leninist Conference, this predecessor organization of the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA concluded its resolution entitled “Independence and Socialism for Puerto Rico!” as follows:
“Give clear and decisive Leninist leadership to the two stage revolution in Puerto Rico–Independence now and then socialism as quickly as conditions permit. With this as the foundation, struggle for the full support of the Puerto Rican national minority workers in the U.S. (North) for Puerto Rican independence while mobilizing them on the basis of their day-to-day needs as specially oppressed proletarians whose destiny is also linked to the class struggle for socialism in the U.S. (North) itself.”
Consequently, We Resolve to fight for:
INDEPENDENCE AND SOCIALISM FOR PUERTO RICO!
PUERTO RICAN NATIONAL MINORITY RIGHTS IN THE U.S.!”
We believe that the experience of the Puerto Rican people in the four months since Hurricane Maria assaulted the Puerto Rican Nation and U.S. President Trump has first expressed his contempt and callous disregard for the Puerto Rican people provides new impetus for the age-old cry for Puerto Rican national liberation.
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