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Millions Killed by Imperialism Last Year

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Death Toll from Exploitation
Death Toll from War
Death Toll at Home

Death toll from exploitation

Imperialism as a system serves to exploit the masses of people in most of the world for the benefit of the imperialist powers and their allies. This exploitation in and of itself is the primary source of death caused by the imperialist system. In the process of draining the fruits of Third World labor in the form of capital, imperialist bankers and bussinessmen leave the exploited masses with less and less until the community has reached rock bottom and can barely reproduce a sufficient workforce to meet the needs of the corporations they serve.

The end result of this system is the death of millions of people each year due to a combination of malnutrition and lack of health care. These two factors interact closely, creating health problems throughout the Third World. The drain of resources from exploited nations can cost lives in other ways as well, including the inability to deal with natural disasters. The death toll from natural disasters in the Third World are always higher due to the lack of infrastructure to deal with emergencies.

Estimated death toll from malnutrition and lack of health care:

UNICEF statistics for child under 5:
7 million deaths/year -- linked to malnutrition
8 million deahts/year -- from preventable disease
*There is overlap in these numbers, but all of these deaths can be labeled as deaths from poverty. Therefore it is imperative that we create a system does not have poverty built into it. Similar data follows.

Each day in the Third World, 30,500 children die from preventable diseases such as diarrhea, acute respiratory infections or malaria. Malnutrition is associated with over half of those deaths. (UNICEF, World Health Organization) That means over 11 million children died this past year from preventable disease and malnutrition.

In the last 50 years, almost 400 million people worldwide have died from hunger and poor sanitation. That's three times the number of people killed in all wars fought in the entire 20th century. Bread for the World Institute (BFWI)

Death toll from war

Clearly, people will not continue to accept their exploitation peacefully. That is why war and repression are also inherent components of imperialism. In order to keep the exploited from fighting for what is theirs, the imperialists must create atmospheres of fear and hopelessness. This has been manifested in a combination of low-intensity warfare and all-out bombings and invasions of people who step out of line and threaten imperialist profits. Below are some of the best data on some of the hottest areas of U$ military involvement since 2001. Also check out our map of U$ invasions since WWII.

U$ troops around the globe


A new survey of central and southern Iraq by the United Nations agency UNICEF shows that half a million children under five years old died as a result of the U.$. war and sanctions from 1991 to 1998. (1) The UNICEF survey covered the parts of the country that are not under direct foreign control. These regions are home to 85% of the population. It showed that "under-5 mortality more than doubled from 56 deaths per 1000 live births (1984-1989) to 131 deaths per 1000 live births (1994-1999). Likewise infant mortality -- defined as the death of children in their first year -- increased from 47 per 1000 live births to 108 per 1000 live births within the same time frame."

To this day more people die in Iraq as a result of sanctions each month than died in the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.


Operation Iraqi Freedom has only worsened the conditions in Iraq, compounding the effects of the sanctions. It has claimed the lives of an estimated 21,700 to 55,000 people, including thousands of civilians(see below), thousands of Iraqi soldiers and hundreds of invading soldiers. Deaths have been significantly less for the invading troops, who reportedly stepped up their attacks on civilians in the spring. The Guardian reported on March 31 that 3 British soldiers had been sent home for questioning military operations that targetted civilians. (3) On the same day 7 to 10 (reports vary) out of 15 people riding in a taxi were shot dead at a checkpoint by invading troops. (4) By the end of April, the u$ prepared to declare victory as violence continued to repress Iraqi opposition to the occupation. u$ soldiers open fired on protesters repeatedly resulting in 13 deaths on April 28 and 2 deaths on April 30. (4)

March 2003 Invasion Death Toll tallied for Iraqi civilians(confirmed) to be between 8000 and 10,000:

Civilian casualties update Civilian casualties update

The death toll continues to rise during occupation as amerikan troops face attacks almost daily. Iraqis trained by the amerikans have also been targetted, killing seven and injuring about 70 men on July 5, 2003.(5) Prior to the u$ victory it had been reported by the watchdog group Reporters Sans Frontieres that the war was more dangerous for journalists than soldiers (presumably referring to the invading soldiers). Over a dozen journalists had died as of May 2, some of which occurred on April 8th when the u$ had bombed al-Jazeera and Hotel Palestine where international journalists had been based. (6)

21 October 2003: Human Rights Watch released a report confirming 20 civilian deaths in Baghdad alone between May 1 and September 30, 2003, with credible reports of at least 94 civilian deaths. In this investigation they also found that "excessive force" was used in instances where the military claims it was not. (7)

12 April 2004:

August 12, 1999, UNICEF press release.
(2) Associated Press 12 August 1999.
see MIM Notes report on how things have worsened since sanctions
imperialism kills millions (3) Guardian, 31 March 2003.
(4) Pacifica News report (radio broadcast)
(5) NY Times, 6 July 2003.
(6) Guardian, 2 May 2003.
(7) Hearts and Minds: Post-war Civilian Deaths in Baghdad Caused by U.S. Forces. Human Rights Watch, 21 October 2003.
(8) 10 November 2003.
(9) Democracy Now! 12 April 2004.


22 March 2004 Sheik Ahmed Yassin and 2 body guards were assassinated by the Israeli military.
NY Times. 22 March 2004.

Palestinian Red Crescent Society keeps an updated death toll
Total number of Palestinian deaths in West Bank & Gaza since Sept 29th, 2000 is:
19,232 injuries
1,552 deaths

Sub Total since Mar 29, 2002 invasion is:
679 injuries
295 deaths

(Figures inclusive to May 19, 2002)

Maoist Internationlist Movement on U$/israel

U$/Mexico border
Over 2000 people have died crossing the border -- most of exposure -- since Operation Gatekeeper started in 1994. (
New York Times. 6 August 2002.)

2003 DATA: From June 28 to July 1, 2003, eight migrants were found to have died in southern Arizona after crossing the border from Mexico, bringing to 63 the known death toll in the Border Patrol's deadly Tucson sector since the federal government's fiscal year began last Oct.

Zita Islas Uribe, 29, of Hidalgo, Mexico, died of heat exposure on June 28 near Naco; an unidentified woman died the same day after falling from a railroad bridge near Naco; two more migrants died near Gila Bend in a June 29 pickup truck crash that left three others injured; and the body of a man was found June 29 on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. The body of another unidentified man was found June 30 near the border, east of the San Pedro River, in Cochise County; he appeared to have been dead for about a week. On June 1, near Ajo, Border Patrol agents found a Mexican man who apparently died from the heat. Another unidentified man was found dead near Naco on June 1; he appeared to have been dead for 2-3 days. (Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) 6/30/03, 7/2/03, 7/3/03)

On May 14, 19 immigrants from Mexico and Central America died of suffocation in a tractor trailer left in the Texas desert. See MIM Notes 285, Aug 2003 for the full story.

2002 DATA: It is estimated that about 1 Mexican dies every day trying to cross the border. From October 2001 to October 2002 there have been 323 confirmed deaths. The environmental threats are being exacerbated by both increased police control of the border and a reported rise in vigilante groups that are suspected in at least 2 deaths in Arizona this year. (Washington Post. 30 Oct 2002.)

In the first half of the year, 117 Mexicans died trying to cross the border, down from 210 in the first half of last year and 283 in 2000. This decrease follows increased border restrictions and a slower economy. Mexico's foreign ministry said in a statement that 50 migrants from other parts of Latin America also died. Hundreds of thousands of people try each year to cross the 1,987 mile border. (New York Times. 5 July 2002.)

Despite a decrease in illegal immigration across the border of 29%, deaths have increased in less inhabitable areas as increased militarization forces migrants to cross at the most deadly/uninhabited points. According to the NY Times, "June was the deadliest month ever for the southwest border, with 67 migrants dying, mostly in the unrelenting heat of the United States Border Patrol's Tucson sector, a barely habitable land that covers most of southern Arizona." (New York Times. 6 August 2002.)

1999-2000: From October 1999 to September 2000, 106 people died in Arizona alone.(Associated Press, 24 May 2001.)

Meanwhile researchers at the university of Houston have established the link between border policies and deaths in a detailed study.

SOLUTION? OPEN THE BORDERS! For more analysis check out the Maoist Internationalist Movement on Mexican border deaths, May 2001

May 6, 2002 110 villagers killed in conflict
roughly 3500 people killed each year in U$ funded civil war
Washington Post, 6 May 2002.

The war in Afghanistan is typical of U$ invasions, which are justified by the need to crush a dangerous enemy, but in the end result in more civilian deaths than combatant deaths, serving to repress and pacify the whole population. Professor Marc W. Herold of the University of New Hampshire has kept a
running toll of civilian deaths in Afghanistan. He estimates: JULY 2002 The war on Afghanistan has continued since March 2002. On July 1, the U$ bombed several villages, including one where a wedding party was taking place. They reported 117 injuries and 48 people dead.( New York Times. 7 July 2002.)

DECEMBER 2003 In early December, the U$ launched Operation Avalanche, involving 11,000 troops and bringing renewed intensity to the war in Afghanistan. So far there have been reports of 15 children and 3 adults being killed in the bombing raids and subsequent destruction. (CNN, 10 December 2003)

After Afghanistan, the Philippines became the second front in the U$ war on terrorism. Since 9/11 over 10,000 U$ troops have been deployed to the Philippines, and in March 2003 plans to send 3000 combat troops was barely stopped (at least temporarily) at the last minute since it would violate the Filipino Constitution. These troops serve to train and assist the fascist forces of the puppet government including both military and paramilitary forces that terrorize and murder members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New Peoples' Army and various National Democratic Front organizations.

During the U$/Arroyo regime an estimated 182 [This number updated to 190 in June 2003] people have been killed in summary executions, political assassinations and massacres (1/22/02-1/31/03). (1) Others have been disappeared or abducted and their deaths have not yet been confirmed. Examples include:
In addition to the violence faced at home, the Philippines number one export is people with 2000 people (mostly wimmin) leaving each day for work. These people often face abuse and sometimes death in foreign countries where they are second class citizens with no means of support or defense. An estimated 4 to 6 people return to the Philippines dead each day from this trade. (2)

(1)Statistics compiled by Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace/Alliance for Advancement of People's Rights
(2)According to Migrante- an organization supporting migrant workers from the Philippines

Another front in the "war on terrorism." On November 3, 2002, six people were blown up driving down a highway in Yemen by a CIA operated Predator aircraft for being suspected Al Qaeda members. (
Washington Post. 5 Nov 2002; page A01.)


22 March 2004 The New York Times has reported a death toll perhaps surpassing 500 in a recent battle between the Maoists and the Royal army. 28 Royal troops, 4 civilians and 100 Maoists have been confirmed dead by the Royal army. This brings the death toll of the war over 9000.
NY Times. 22 March 2004.

The Maoist Communist Party of Nepal has been waging people's war against a crumbling feudal state since 1996. Imperialist intervention has prevented the people from taking control of their country and their lives and brought unnecessary deaths to the Nepalese. The following excerpts are from an article posted on an email list.

"More than 8,000 Nepalese have died since a civil war broke out in 1996, and the death rate has sharply increased with the arrival of almost 8,400 American M-16 submachine guns, accompanied by U.S. advisors, high tech night fighting equipment, and British helicopters."

The author calls "assault rifles, the real "Weapons of Mass Destruction." Since 1990, more than five million people have died in wars around the globe, upwards of 90 percent of them from AK-47s, M-16s, FALs, German G3s, and Israeli Uzis.

"At $13.3 billion a year, the U.S. is the number one arms dealer in the world, far ahead of the Russians ($5 billion) and the French ($1 billion). The bulk of that--$8.6 billion-goes to developing countries like Nepal.

"According to the New York Times, the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) is exploring ways to add another $14 million in "insurgency relevant" aid to the $17 million in current U.S. military aid."

NOTES: Nepal & the Bush Administration: Into Thin Air By Conn Hallinan


Leading up to the February 2004 coup the u$ -funded FRAPH death squad had killed over 70 people in three weeks. (2) Following the ouster of Aristide on Feb 29, an uncounted number of attacks took place against officials and activists in the poorest regions of Haiti. (3)

Leaders of the coup were behind over 5000 deaths between 1991 and 1994, following the first coup removing Aristide from power.

12 April 2004: Martial Law is effectively in place in Haiti where the rogue military put in power by the u$ has taken over police stations and is arresting activists and opposition party members. Since prisons are not functioning the arrestees are being presumed executed.

Normally the morgue buries 100 people a week. On March 7, 2004, one week after the coup there were 800 bodies and the following week 200. Many had their hands tied behind their back, plastic bags on their heads and were shot.

In addition, 60 bodies were found in a field in Port au Prince. They were later moved and burned using mis-printed Haitian currency as fueld.(4)

Notes: (1)
Haiti devestated by Amerikan Imperialism, MIM Notes 297, p.1
(2), 27 Feb 2004
(3)Democracy Now!, 1 March 2004
Democracy Now!, 12 April 2004.

Death toll at home

While imperialism focuses its wrath on other nations, it also takes a toll within its own borders. Historically, First Nations, Blacks, Chinese and many others have suffered at the hands of white amerika. Today imperialism continues to repress other nations within the illegitimate U$ borders, mainly through the criminal injustice system. Millions of people are impacted by this system each year. Below we list statistics for those who have payed the ultimate price of their lives.


55 people were executed by the state between January and October of 2002.
About half of these executions were carried out in Texas.
66 people were executed throughout 2001.(
Death Penalty Information Center)

MIM on the Death Penalty (MIM Notes 214, 15 July 2001)

Police Attacks

Lack of Data: We have yet to find complete data on police murders (see a Washington Post op-ed from July 8, 2001 for more on the availability of such data). Below is a comparison of data from Washington DC (1992-1997) with some other major cities which at least gives an idea of the breadth of this problem.

In the last five years, D.C. officers shot and killed 57 people - three more than police reported in Chicago, which has three times the police force and five times the population. During that period, D.C. officers were involved in 640 shooting incidents - 40 more than the Los Angeles Police Department, which has more than double the officers and serves six times the population. Since 1990, Washington police have shot and killed 85 people.

Undercounting: The op-ed cited above discusses the lack of completeness of this data. Below is the discrepancy between police accounts and research done by the Washington Post in DC.

In the internal records used to track shooting trends, D.C. police undercounted by nearly one-third the number of people they killed from 1994 to 1997, tallying only 29 fatal police shootings. The Post investigation confirmed 43 fatal police shootings in that period. Seven fatal shootings were missing from police shooting trend records, and seven other fatal shootings were mislabeled as nonfatal.

Washington Post. Sunday, November 15, 1998; Page A1.

Amerika's beloved NYPD celebrates the new year killing 2 people a day. New York Times. 3 January 2003.
2 murdered in one week by NYPD (May2003). Alberta Spruill was one of many innocents caught in No-Knock raids since 9/11. Democracy Now! Ousmane Zango was killed for no known reason. NYC Indymedia (Both victims were Black)

7 December 2003 Nathaniel Jones killed by Cincinnati Police

Deaths in Prison

3,191 prisoners died in custody in 1999, for a rate of 236 per 100,000 people
Of these, 258 (or 10.6%) were AIDS-related deaths.

For a breakdown of other causes of death, the most recent statistics are 1997. In that year, 3,110 prisoners died in custody. The number one cause of death was "Illness or natural cause," accounting for 1,859 deaths. That year, 538 died from AIDS, 159 from Suicide, 37 from "Accidental self-injury," 74 males were executed, 75 males were killed by another inmate and 368 remain "Unspecified cause." A large (unknown) proportion of these deaths can be attributed to the criminal injustice system itself. For first-hand accounts on conditions in U$ prisons refer to the Under Lock and Key section of any issue of
MIM Notes. Lack of medical care is a huge problem for prisoners in this country, resulting in people dying from causes that most people in the U$ would not have to worry about. AIDS patients would also receive better care on the outside and live longer lives, not to mention that this deadly disease is spread more rapidly in the prison population due to lack of protection and education. Meanwhile, prisoners labeled as trouble makers for their resistance to repressive conditions are often attacked by guards, sometimes resulting in death. No doubt such incidents would be found under the Suicide, "Accidental self-injury" and "Unspecified cause" categories. (Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 2000)

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