From Bob Corbett
Today's mail brought an odd item for my library -- a political pamphlet from about 1929 or 1930 (no date given). It is entitled: WHAT RIGHT HAVE WE TO CONTROL HAITI AND NICARAGUA? HOW DO WE END CONTROL? It was published by "The People's Lobby" whose president was the well know Professor John Dewey!!! The People's Lobby was centered in Washington, DC.
There is a long list of others who signed on to this document, but none were names I recognized. In most ways this is a document much like one would see from any current activist group. The most noted distinction is who the people who signed were. They are heads of various unions and from the academic community, but there are no "celebrities" in the group -- a dramatic cultural change from today.
There is an account of the two occupations and a list of charges of how the U.S. has violated the two nations and its own agreements with these countries. It ends with a section entitled:
A CONTRUCTIVE PROGRAM FOR LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES TO ENSUE STABILITY BASED UPON JUSTICE TO THEIR PEOPLES IS ESSENTIAL TO PREVENT CONFLICTS AND ENSURE FRIENDLY RELATINS BETWEEN US AND THEM.
About the only item in the list that has come to be at all is the call for much more pubic information on just what the U.S. is doing in its foreign policy. There is a further call for a world government and world court which goes far beyond what the weak UN of our time has achieved.
The document closed with the recommendation of "Important books on Haiti." It lists three, one of which is Emily Balch's OCCUPIED HAITI, which I have always found to be one of the worst hatchet jobs on the occupation and virtually empty of any solid information. The other two are not books at all, but journal articles which attack the occupation.
I don't want to sound too harsh in criticism. It is not meant to be a pamphlet which discussion complexities, it is a political pamphlet aiming at moving people to act. The nature of such documents, no matter what their politics, is to not worry about the complexity of the issues, but to reduce things to nice clear black and white terms so that the recommended political action will move people to action.
In any case, it is a curious and welcomed period piece to my collection of materials on the 1915 -1934 U.S. occupation of Haiti.
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