Write Brain TV

Bananas: Fruit Empire Of Wall Street

(Written by Luis Montes, 1933)



It may come as a surprise to a lot of people that ‘Banana Republic’ isn’t just that trendy, fast-fashion brand at the mall; the term ‘banana republic’ actually refers to the brutal colonialist projects undertaken in Latin America and the Caribbean by American fruit producers and agricultural expropriators in the first half of the twentieth century. In this informative pamphlet produced by the John Reed Club in 1933, writer Luis Montes and illustrator William Siegel depict the ways in which The United Fruit Co. (now Chiquita) and the Standard Fruit Company (now Dole) co-opted the coercive might of the US Military and Wall Street finance to seize huge swathes of agricultural lands all along the Caribbean. Montes astutely recounts how these institutions employed the historical lessons learned from slave-owners, industrialists, and coal mine owners to establish near-totalitarian corporate controls in the region and condemn both native and migrant workers to perpetual poverty and servitude. At a compact 26-pages, this Marxist mini-lesson is a stark and honest examination of US hegemony and so-called gunboat diplomacy, a couple topics that are usually left out of History textbooks. And for that reason, Write Brain TV is proud to feature Bananas as part of our ever-growing radical library!