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Supreme Court Agrees to Hear New York’s Case Opposing New Jersey Leaving Waterfront Commission

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The Supreme Court agreed on June 21 to hear New York’s lawsuit seeking to prevent New Jersey from unilaterally withdrawing from the interstate compact that created the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor to combat corruption.

The storied Port of New York and New Jersey’s reckoning with organized crime was immortalized in director Elia Kazan’s 1954 film, “On the Waterfront,” a winner of eight Academy Awards that starred Marlon Brando.

But organized crime was driven out years ago and critics have long accused the commission of over-regulating businesses involved in the port and causing labor shortages.

New Jersey also claims it no longer benefits from the existence of the commission because when the compact was created in 1953 most of the economic activity in the port was on the New York side, but nowadays more than 90 percent of the activity is on the New Jersey side.

The state also argues it should be able to police its own ports.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, previously said that allowing New Jersey to leave the compact would cause “immediate and irreparable harm to New York” and result in more crime, higher prices on goods, and racial inequities in port hiring.

The decision to proceed with the case came after the Supreme Court decided on Nov. 22, 2021, in Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor v. Murphy (court file 20-772) to leave in place a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit that allowed New Jersey to pull out of the commission, as The Epoch Times previously reported.

Phil Murphy, the Democratic governor of New Jersey, was the respondent in the action.

New York decided to take the dispute to the Supreme Court, invoking its original jurisdiction.

Because individual states lack jurisdiction over each other, state courts cannot hear cases dealing with another state, so the U.S. Constitution allows the Supreme Court to hear disputes between states.

But instead of filing a petition for certiorari asking the high court to take up the case, states have to file a motion for leave, or permission, to file a bill of complaint.

New York filed its motion (pdf) on March 14 in New York v. New Jersey (court file 22O156). The justices did not explain in their unsigned order why they agreed to hear the case, as is their usual practice when deciding whether to hear cases.

The case goes back to 2018 when New Jersey resolved to get out of the compact.

Then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, signed legislation known as Chapter 324 withdrawing the state from the compact. Christie was succeeded in the post by Murphy.

The commission took the unusual step of suing to block Murphy from enforcing the law that purports to end the commission and redirects revenues that would otherwise fund the body to the New Jersey State Police, who would assume the commission’s regulatory responsibilities over the New Jersey side of the port.

A federal district court ruled for the commission, but the 3rd Circuit reversed it finding New Jersey’s sovereign immunity precluded the commission’s lawsuit.

The Supreme Court then decided not to get involved in the case at that time.

But in the case at hand, the court decided March 24 to enjoin New Jersey from enforcing Chapter 324.

In its March 14 filing with the high court, New York argued that New Jersey “lacks the power to withdraw unilaterally from the compact or abolish the commission without New York’s consent.”

The compact is a binding contract “and its terms provide that it may be amended only by concurring legislation enacted by both states … and that the Compact Act may be repealed only by Congress.”

Morgan Rubin, a spokeswoman for James, told Gothamist after the Supreme Court acted that her office was “pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this case, and we look forward to presenting our arguments to the court in the coming months.”

Bailey Lawrence, a spokesman for Murphy, told NorthJersey.com that he was upbeat about the state’s chances in the case.

Murphy “remains confident that when the case is fully considered and decided, New Jersey’s right to withdraw from the commission will be vindicated, and New Jersey will be able to reclaim authority over its ports with a regulatory structure more suited for the 21st century,” Lawrence said.

The Supreme Court gave New Jersey until Aug. 22 to file an answer to New York’s bill of complaint, and New York until Oct. 21 to file its opposition brief. New Jersey then has until Nov. 7 to file a reply brief and New York’s reply to that brief is due Nov. 22.

After the last brief is filed, the Supreme Court would presumably decide how to proceed. It could then decide to schedule oral argument in the case.

Matthew Vadum

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Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative journalist and a recognized expert in left-wing activism.


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The ransom is still being paid

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Garment-workers-protest-021722-in-Port-au-Prince-Haiti-win-54-wage-increase-1400x781, Haiti: The ransom is still being paid, Featured News & Views World News & Views
The mass protest by garment workers on Feb. 17, 2022, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, won a 54% wage increase.

by Robert Roth, Haiti Action Committee

On May 20th, The New York Times published a meticulously documented series entitled, “The Ransom,” detailing the devastating impact of the so-called “Independence Tax” enforced by France in 1825 on the world’s first Black republic. As The Times reported, Haiti became the only place where the descendants of enslaved people were forced to pay compensation to the descendants of slave owners. With the first payment to France, Haiti had to shut down its nascent public school system. As the billions of dollars paid to France and then to U.S banks like Citicorp multiplied, Haiti’s economy disintegrated.

The Times series comes nearly 20 years after the administration of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide formally demanded $21.7 billion from France as restitution for the funds extorted from Haiti. Aristide’s initiative was a key factor in France’s cooperation and support for the U.S.-orchestrated coup that overthrew his democratically elected government. Mainstream media at the time, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, treated the demand as “quixotic” and a publicity stunt, as their reporters wrote one article after another demonizing the democratically elected Aristide administration, thus helping to lay the ideological justifications for the 2004 coup d’etat.

We do not anticipate self-criticism from The Times for its past reporting. Hardly. But as Times readers study the new series, they will hopefully demand to know more about the ways in which the U.S. and France continue to exploit Haiti’s resources, dominate its political life and prop up the tiny, violent and corrupt Haitian elite that now rules the country. And they will hopefully call for an accurate accounting of the powerful Haitian grassroots movement that continues to fight for democracy and true sovereignty.

Take for example the recent uprising of Haiti’s factory workers. On Feb. 17, 2022, thousands of Haitian garment workers, their families and supporters, filled the streets of Port-au-Prince to demand an end to starvation wages and horrific working conditions. The workers demanded a wage increase from 500 gourdes per 9-hour work day (approximately $4.80) to 1,500 gourdes per day (approximately $14.40). As the demonstrations continued throughout the next week, Haitian police fired on the crowds with tear gas canisters and live ammunition, killing a journalist and wounding many other protesters. 

Haitian-factory-workers-strike-demand-salary-increase-0222-by-Odelyn-Joseph-AP-1400x935, Haiti: The ransom is still being paid, Featured News & Views World News & Views
Factory workers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, chant anti-government slogans during a protest demanding a salary increase. – Photo: Odelyn Joseph, AP

The garment strike came in the midst of double-digit inflation in Haiti, with the prices of food, fuel and other commodities soaring. To make matters worse, the government of de facto prime minister Ariel Henry recently announced that it would end fuel subsidies, leading to even higher prices. Workers chanted, “You raised the gas but didn’t raise our salaries.” 

The strategy of the Henry government was classic counterinsurgency: Denounce the militancy of the protests, unleash police repression to terrorize the demonstrators, and offer a modest wage increase (to 770 gourdes a day) to quell the uprising. In numerous interviews, workers expressed their outrage over the government response, pointing out that the cost of traveling to and from their factory jobs alone took up 40% of their daily wage. Add to that the cost of food and housing and you have a daily fight to survive.  

Who benefits from this sweatshop labor? Garment factories in Haiti supply T-shirts and other apparel to corporate giants like Target, the Gap, H&H Textiles, Under Armour and Walmart. Check out the label on your T-shirt. It may very well read, “Made in Haiti.” 

None of this is new. During the dictatorial reign of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier in the 1970s and 1980s, garment factories supplying U.S. companies set up shop throughout Port-au-Prince, while the government unleashed terror campaigns against labor organizers and any grassroots opposition. 

In 1991, during Aristide’s first term as president, he was set to raise the minimum wage, when a U.S.-organized coup toppled his government only seven months into his presidency. In February of 2003, during his second administration, Aristide doubled the minimum wage, impacting the more than 20,000 people who worked in the Port-au-Prince assembly sector. The Aristide government provided school buses to take these workers’ children to school as well as subsidies for their school books and uniforms. In addition, his government launched a campaign to collect unpaid taxes and utility bills from Haiti’s wealthy elite. None of this sat well with Haiti’s factory owners, who played a key role in the U.S.-orchestrated 2004 coup d’etat.

The coup fast-tracked the implementation of the U.S.-imposed structural adjustment program, known in Haiti as the “Death Plan.”

Haiti is still living with the grim effects of that coup and the subsequent foreign occupation that enforced it. The coup fast-tracked the implementation of the U.S.-imposed structural adjustment program, known in Haiti as the “Death Plan.” Nowhere was this more apparent than during the aftermath of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, which killed over 300,000 Haitians and left millions more under tarps and tents. 

Shortly after the earthquake, then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to northern Haiti, declaring that “Haiti is now open for business,” as she hailed the inauguration of the Caracol Northern Industrial Park, now a key center of the garment industry and a target of the current labor protests and strikes. State Department cables obtained by Wikileaks revealed that Clinton and the State Department, along with USAID, were pressuring Haiti’s government to block any hike in the minimum wage, arguing that this would be detrimental to the development of the export sector. A series of compliant and corrupt Haitian regimes, selected and propped up by the U.S., have facilitated this plan, taking their cut along the way.

The ongoing battle of Haiti’s garment workers for survival and dignity is part of the broader popular movement in Haiti. The workers who are in the streets of Port-au-Prince return home at night to communities like Belair, Cite Soleil and Lasalin that have been targeted by Haitian police and paramilitary death squads, who have besieged them with massacres, kidnappings and gang rapes aimed at silencing their opposition to the current government. 

The garment strike came just days after the term of de facto prime minister Ariel Henry officially ended on Feb. 7. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians demonstrated for months their opposition to the continuation of this regime, which they rightly classify as illegitimate, a creation of the so-called Core Group (the United States, France, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Canada, the EU, the UN and the OAS) that controls Haiti’s politics. 

Numerous grassroots organizations, including Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization – the people’s party of Haiti – have called for a transitional government to end corruption, stop the repression, respect the rights of workers, stabilize the economy, and set the stage for free and fair elections. Yet the State Department has doubled down on its support for the Henry regime and has insisted that it supervise new elections. This would simply lead to one more stolen election designed to keep the ultra-right-wing PHTK (Skinhead) party in power. 

Border-Patrol-agents-whipping-Haitian-migrants-with-horse-reins-092021-by-Paul-Ratje-AFP-1400x867, Haiti: The ransom is still being paid, Featured News & Views World News & Views
These images from last September of US Border Patrol agents whipping Haitians have been memorialized in racist “challenge coins” being passed around by the agents, proudly depicting those same attacks. – Photo: Paul Ratje, AFP

In the midst of the disaster that the U.S. has helped to foster in Haiti, the Biden administration continues its unconscionable mass deportation of Haitians, with the numbers now exceeding 25,000 since Biden’s inauguration. Remember those horrifying images of border patrol agents whipping Haitian migrants last September? Now comes the news that those images have been memorialized in racist “challenge coins” being passed around by border patrol agents, proudly depicting those same attacks

In the month of May alone, the Biden administration loaded up 36 planes to deport 4,000 Haitians. They return to the worst spate of kidnappings in Haiti’s history, where paramilitary groups have targeted with impunity everyone from market vendors to medical workers and teachers.

Only a fundamental change in Haiti of the kind envisioned, articulated and fought for by Haiti’s powerful grassroots movement, can reverse any of this. And the U.S. government, as it has been so often, is the biggest obstacle that stands in the way.

The ransom is still being paid. And reparations are long overdue. 

Robert Roth is an educator and was co-founder of the Haiti Action Committee. He can be reached at rhroth3633@gmail.com


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COVID cases up almost 18% worldwide as omicron variants run rampant | Ap

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While vaccinations have greatly cut down on hospitalizations and deaths, COVID-19 cases are on the rise again around the world.

More than 4.1 million cases were reported globally last week, up 18%, according to the World Health Organization.


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The ransom is still being paid

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Garment-workers-protest-021722-in-Port-au-Prince-Haiti-win-54-wage-increase-1400x781, Haiti: The ransom is still being paid, Featured News & Views World News & Views
The mass protest by garment workers on Feb. 17, 2022, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, won a 54% wage increase.

by Robert Roth, Haiti Action Committee

On May 20th, The New York Times published a meticulously documented series entitled, “The Ransom,” detailing the devastating impact of the so-called “Independence Tax” enforced by France in 1825 on the world’s first Black republic. As The Times reported, Haiti became the only place where the descendants of enslaved people were forced to pay compensation to the descendants of slave owners. With the first payment to France, Haiti had to shut down its nascent public school system. As the billions of dollars paid to France and then to U.S banks like Citicorp multiplied, Haiti’s economy disintegrated.

The Times series comes nearly 20 years after the administration of then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide formally demanded $21.7 billion from France as restitution for the funds extorted from Haiti. Aristide’s initiative was a key factor in France’s cooperation and support for the U.S.-orchestrated coup that overthrew his democratically elected government. Mainstream media at the time, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, treated the demand as “quixotic” and a publicity stunt, as their reporters wrote one article after another demonizing the democratically elected Aristide administration, thus helping to lay the ideological justifications for the 2004 coup d’etat.

We do not anticipate self-criticism from The Times for its past reporting. Hardly. But as Times readers study the new series, they will hopefully demand to know more about the ways in which the U.S. and France continue to exploit Haiti’s resources, dominate its political life and prop up the tiny, violent and corrupt Haitian elite that now rules the country. And they will hopefully call for an accurate accounting of the powerful Haitian grassroots movement that continues to fight for democracy and true sovereignty.

Take for example the recent uprising of Haiti’s factory workers. On Feb. 17, 2022, thousands of Haitian garment workers, their families and supporters, filled the streets of Port-au-Prince to demand an end to starvation wages and horrific working conditions. The workers demanded a wage increase from 500 gourdes per 9-hour work day (approximately $4.80) to 1,500 gourdes per day (approximately $14.40). As the demonstrations continued throughout the next week, Haitian police fired on the crowds with tear gas canisters and live ammunition, killing a journalist and wounding many other protesters. 

Haitian-factory-workers-strike-demand-salary-increase-0222-by-Odelyn-Joseph-AP-1400x935, Haiti: The ransom is still being paid, Featured News & Views World News & Views
Factory workers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, chant anti-government slogans during a protest demanding a salary increase. – Photo: Odelyn Joseph, AP

The garment strike came in the midst of double-digit inflation in Haiti, with the prices of food, fuel and other commodities soaring. To make matters worse, the government of de facto prime minister Ariel Henry recently announced that it would end fuel subsidies, leading to even higher prices. Workers chanted, “You raised the gas but didn’t raise our salaries.” 

The strategy of the Henry government was classic counterinsurgency: Denounce the militancy of the protests, unleash police repression to terrorize the demonstrators, and offer a modest wage increase (to 770 gourdes a day) to quell the uprising. In numerous interviews, workers expressed their outrage over the government response, pointing out that the cost of traveling to and from their factory jobs alone took up 40% of their daily wage. Add to that the cost of food and housing and you have a daily fight to survive.  

Who benefits from this sweatshop labor? Garment factories in Haiti supply T-shirts and other apparel to corporate giants like Target, the Gap, H&H Textiles, Under Armour and Walmart. Check out the label on your T-shirt. It may very well read, “Made in Haiti.” 

None of this is new. During the dictatorial reign of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier in the 1970s and 1980s, garment factories supplying U.S. companies set up shop throughout Port-au-Prince, while the government unleashed terror campaigns against labor organizers and any grassroots opposition. 

In 1991, during Aristide’s first term as president, he was set to raise the minimum wage, when a U.S.-organized coup toppled his government only seven months into his presidency. In February of 2003, during his second administration, Aristide doubled the minimum wage, impacting the more than 20,000 people who worked in the Port-au-Prince assembly sector. The Aristide government provided school buses to take these workers’ children to school as well as subsidies for their school books and uniforms. In addition, his government launched a campaign to collect unpaid taxes and utility bills from Haiti’s wealthy elite. None of this sat well with Haiti’s factory owners, who played a key role in the U.S.-orchestrated 2004 coup d’etat.

The coup fast-tracked the implementation of the U.S.-imposed structural adjustment program, known in Haiti as the “Death Plan.”

Haiti is still living with the grim effects of that coup and the subsequent foreign occupation that enforced it. The coup fast-tracked the implementation of the U.S.-imposed structural adjustment program, known in Haiti as the “Death Plan.” Nowhere was this more apparent than during the aftermath of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, which killed over 300,000 Haitians and left millions more under tarps and tents. 

Shortly after the earthquake, then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to northern Haiti, declaring that “Haiti is now open for business,” as she hailed the inauguration of the Caracol Northern Industrial Park, now a key center of the garment industry and a target of the current labor protests and strikes. State Department cables obtained by Wikileaks revealed that Clinton and the State Department, along with USAID, were pressuring Haiti’s government to block any hike in the minimum wage, arguing that this would be detrimental to the development of the export sector. A series of compliant and corrupt Haitian regimes, selected and propped up by the U.S., have facilitated this plan, taking their cut along the way.

The ongoing battle of Haiti’s garment workers for survival and dignity is part of the broader popular movement in Haiti. The workers who are in the streets of Port-au-Prince return home at night to communities like Belair, Cite Soleil and Lasalin that have been targeted by Haitian police and paramilitary death squads, who have besieged them with massacres, kidnappings and gang rapes aimed at silencing their opposition to the current government. 

The garment strike came just days after the term of de facto prime minister Ariel Henry officially ended on Feb. 7. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians demonstrated for months their opposition to the continuation of this regime, which they rightly classify as illegitimate, a creation of the so-called Core Group (the United States, France, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Canada, the EU, the UN and the OAS) that controls Haiti’s politics. 

Numerous grassroots organizations, including Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization – the people’s party of Haiti – have called for a transitional government to end corruption, stop the repression, respect the rights of workers, stabilize the economy, and set the stage for free and fair elections. Yet the State Department has doubled down on its support for the Henry regime and has insisted that it supervise new elections. This would simply lead to one more stolen election designed to keep the ultra-right-wing PHTK (Skinhead) party in power. 

Border-Patrol-agents-whipping-Haitian-migrants-with-horse-reins-092021-by-Paul-Ratje-AFP-1400x867, Haiti: The ransom is still being paid, Featured News & Views World News & Views
These images from last September of US Border Patrol agents whipping Haitians have been memorialized in racist “challenge coins” being passed around by the agents, proudly depicting those same attacks. – Photo: Paul Ratje, AFP

In the midst of the disaster that the U.S. has helped to foster in Haiti, the Biden administration continues its unconscionable mass deportation of Haitians, with the numbers now exceeding 25,000 since Biden’s inauguration. Remember those horrifying images of border patrol agents whipping Haitian migrants last September? Now comes the news that those images have been memorialized in racist “challenge coins” being passed around by border patrol agents, proudly depicting those same attacks

In the month of May alone, the Biden administration loaded up 36 planes to deport 4,000 Haitians. They return to the worst spate of kidnappings in Haiti’s history, where paramilitary groups have targeted with impunity everyone from market vendors to medical workers and teachers.

Only a fundamental change in Haiti of the kind envisioned, articulated and fought for by Haiti’s powerful grassroots movement, can reverse any of this. And the U.S. government, as it has been so often, is the biggest obstacle that stands in the way.

The ransom is still being paid. And reparations are long overdue. 

Robert Roth is an educator and was co-founder of the Haiti Action Committee. He can be reached at rhroth3633@gmail.com


Source link

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