Honolulu , May 2001
The Man and his Pigs in Hawaii
"Are you for or against the Asian Development Bank?" the young lady at the Waikiki coffee shop asked.
"I am in favor of some of their work, but against the ADB in general," I responded. "Why, are you going to protest?"
"I would, but I saw the news and I am afraid to go anywhere near the Convention Center," she said.
"I don't blame you. I will never forget the nice young woman like you, the one from California who went to Seattle to peacefully protest against the WTO's policies, thinking she lived in a democracy, and was beaten up by the police thugs. She said her life was changed forever."
"That's why I'm not going to protest," my acquaintance said. "I don't want any trouble."
Indeed. Hawaii's newspapers, radio and television stations have been using the Carrot-and-Stick approach to getting people in line for the ADB's annual meeting next week. The Stick reminds me of the Man and his so-called "pigs" of the last cultural revolution, a revolution that obviously failed. I recall how the pigs ironed their uniforms and massaged their sticks for the Man in Chicago.
The Hawaii media has focused on the preparations of the private mercenaries, the city and state police forces, the FBI, CIA and Secret Service. Frequent mention has also been made of the readying of the hospitals to treat the injured, as well as the staffing of courts to handle mass arrests. Small businesses around the Convention Center are being boarded up including, ironically, a temporary employment agency. But big business is itching to do business with the 3,000 bankers, finance ministers, and propagandists. In any event, KGMB has advised residents to stay far away from their brand new Convention Center, and viewers were painstakingly informed that the surrounding public parks shall be closed for several days. Of course, a few respectable members of the community will have limited access to public ADB seminars at the Center; those opposed must have their meetings at a safe distance away.
Indeed, what we have here is the Stick of fear and intimidation. Visions of Seattle are referred to. I remember Seattle well: here is an excerpt from my notes:
"...shamans tried to grab people's favorite totems and give them a big sky-god. The shamans failed...people hang on to their animals and other natural objects for dear life. Today, the environmentalists still refuse to allow Mother Earth to be ravaged in Father Heaven's name. They have congregated in Seattle to protest against the arrogant behavior of the World Trade Organization.
"What a motley conglomeration of protesting groups! Each group is decked out with its favorite totem. The unions carry the emblems of their threatened species, the workingman. But the real anarchists get out of hand and give the Seattle police their golden opportunity to behave like a fascist organization of well-trained thugs. Besides dealing with the anarchists, the police finally enjoy some longed for indiscriminate assaults on ‘civilians’, kicking them in their groins, shooting gas into their faces point blank, whacking them with clubs, grinding their faces into the cement with their boots, and other cathartic methods of conflict resolution.
"What a marvelous example of organized violence supporting organized greed, of how laissez-faire liberalism dovetails with totalitarianism to free the police state to protect accumulated capital. Why, this calls to mind how a liberal philosopher praised Mussolini for being more liberal than liberals are!
"Under the ideal classical liberal regime, there is no right to assemble and speak against the exploitive accumulation of capital and private destruction of natural resources. Forty square blocks of downtown Seattle are declared off limits to demonstrators. The authority heading the WTO referred to all those demonstrators opposed to its agenda and excluded from its meetings-hence kept in the dark-as the ‘forces of darkness’. Commentators on the all-pervasive CEO News cited ‘tribalism’ as the cause of disorder. All this is certainly enough to drive destabilized persons to define the practice anarchy with deeds..." (Walters, 'The Real Anarchist')
I have just received a message from an informed source regarding a more recent demonstration of piggery in Quebec, and incident that occurred at the ten-foot fence erected to protect the democracy going on inside:
"Quebec City has made me question a great many things. The violence against protestors is escalating, and no one seems to question why. A good friend of mine was knocked unconscious when, as she was hanging a banner on the fence around QC, a member of the security forces put the barrel of a tear gas gun through the mesh. The "guard" then fired off the round point blank into her shoulder, knocking her onto the pavement and into darkness. Who could forgive this reaction or fail to see its significance?
"While the multinationals continue to accumulate power and influence, the state justifies and protects that same power and influence. In so doing, the state declares war on the mostly peaceful opposition, suspending rights and otherwise undermining the voice of millions. The blue print for war on Socialists, labor and the Black Bloc became a bit more refined in Quebec City. New weapons and ammo (such as the plastic rib-cracker bullets) were put in use for the first time against non-military people. The security forces in Quebec City were not protecting a fence; they were protecting the neo-liberal, go-go corporate ideology and doing it very well. In the face of point blank shots of tear gas canisters, gas laced water cannons, and preemptive arrests, does (or can) the opposition remain peaceful? This peaceful protestor is certainly asking that question." (name withheld)
The reason why violence is increasing is quite clear: images of that violence are now being used to discourage citizens from demonstrating in Hawaii even at permitted times and places: a march shall be permitted, and an hour is allotted for a demonstration in front of the Center.
In the other hand, there is the good old Carrot, and an especially large variety of carrot for the Suidae family. Hawaii has high hopes of becoming the preferred meeting place for the neo-liberal globalists; therefore the red carpet is being laid down, and there shall be commercial Aloha and leis all around. One obvious advantage of Hawaii for the globalist conventiclers is its conservative populace and its remote location, which makes it difficult for poor demonstrators to reach. But there are other advantages. I shall file a full report on the Carrot as soon as possible. In the meantime, let us consider the Stick and ask ourselves:
The Carrots were for the Hogs
The annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank is about to proceed in Hawaii's new Convention Center. To stifle peaceful protest against ADB policies to which the benevolent city and state fathers are exceedingly sympathetic, the paternalistic media of Hawaii has diligently waved the Stick in front of everyone's face, reminding us of the potential of the Man and his (once so-called) "pigs" for counter-revolutionary violence. The warnings of violence will not deter the anarchists who thrive on violence, but they will and they have discouraged peaceful protest. While the uniforms are being ironed and the weapons massaged in a manner verisimilar to that of the traditional forces of Eastern despotism, a Carrot is being presented by the potentates' local mouthpieces in Hawaii. Therefore I shall briefly review small portions of the Carrot dished out by the most prominent local media.
Island Business is published by Honolulu Publishing Company. I was astonished by the May 2001. The legend on the front page is "Hawaii discovers a wealth of opportunity in the Asian Development Bank." No, that did not surprise me; what did was a well-balanced article within written by its assistant editor Scott Whitney.
I did not expect both pros and cons to be presented in Island Business, certainly not by one of its editors. 'Island Business' has been a virtual reflection of corporate mentality in Hawaii, the management of which is a closed shop: do not bother to submit your own views; you will not get even the courtesy of a rejection slip. Mr. Whitney's article is recommended reading; I will not dwell on it here because my immediate concern is not with journalistic balance but with the fantastic Carrot available to those who do not assemble against the Stick.
The May 2001 issue leads off with 'President's Message' by Tado Chino, the president of the Asian Development Bank. He lays claim on behalf of the ADB to the "best known" goal of the International Development Goals adopted by the nations of the world; of course, every patriotic American is intimate with those goals, especially this one: to reduce poverty by fifty percent. Mr. Chino says that is entirely possible since the ADB is devoted to addressing poverty in a holistic way with a "three-pillar" strategy: "sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance."
The Three Pillar Strategy is the traditional top-down approach of authorities such as, first of all, God, who is somehow the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost at the same time; the mystery of the validity of the logical fallacy of self-contradiction is explained by the priesthood by means of dogmatic propaganda laid down by the priesthood. In the case of the ADB, the priesthood comprises the finance ministers of 59 countries whose power over the ADB's affairs is exercised by 12 disciples or directors answerable to the board of governors. The voting power of the directors depends on the amount of capital contributed by their respective nations. The largest contributors are the United States and Japan; the bank has always had a Japanese president.
The mode of social development referred to by Mr. Chino is the neo-liberal one, the most recent version of the traditional conservative model of classical liberalism which eschews all morality and devotes itself to the neo-Darwinian increase of the bottom line for the corporate gods, the shareholders, for whom all lives must be regularly sacrificed. Its theology is, If the fat cats are well fed, there shall be more crumbs left over for skinny people. Therefore, if the poor central governments are good little boys, resign their control over their states, engage in privatization, deregulation, and other state-withering rules, they will get a place at the fat-pig's table. To compensate for their handouts, the fattest hogs get to do things in poor countries that would not be permitted at home: ravage the environment; build sweat shops; herd people off the land into urban shanty-town ghettoes; and so on. And, of course, the poor benefit greatly when the wage is raised from a dollar a day to a dollar-fifty; moreover, the smart and cooperative ones can be cultivated into technicians who will be delighted to work for much less than their first-world counterparts. In fine, the primary goal of the ADB socialism is the socialization of expropriated resources and labor surplus into a few hands.
Mr. Chino's discloses his definition of the "stakeholders" in Island Business: "There is a growing consensus on the validity of such a three-pronged strategy. In order to effectively translate it into practice, governments and other stakeholders--civil groups, businesses, academia and international organizations...." No mention is made of the millions of people to whom the benefits are to be trickled down, not as "stakeholders."
The ADB's agenda as reiterated in 'Island Business' is obviously that of neo-liberal globalism. Its dream-state is a police state under the Stick, with all legislation designed to protect the power elite. A state nobility is set up to preach the withering of the state and the substitution of consumers for citizens. The public good is made into a private good politically unaccountable to the public. The nobility derives its conviction of legitimacy as governors by divine right from scientific and academic qualifications, and from the absurd neo-liberal theology.
Phil Hayworth contributed an article to Island Business entitled 'Getting into the Game, For Hawaii' companies, Asian Development Bank contracts are plums waiting to be picked.' He states that over 200 projects "need experts in agriculture, energy, transportation, communications, social services, finance and many other areas."
Indeed, sometimes it seems that the only kind of person really needed by the globe is an expert in something or the other and, of course, someone to shine his shoes. In fact, the only writers who are permitted to say anything about anything controversial in the CEO News publications are usually expert journalists and credentialed propagandists for various organizations. Even the opposition has gone from grass roots to top-down dictation of pseudo-scientific, "objective" propaganda. And, if the opposition leaders are nice boys and girls, they are allowed to have a tiny say in the journals, and perhaps they may have a seat on the local globalist council which is dedicated to thinking globally and acting global locally.
As for 'Getting into the Game,' Mr. Hayworth resorts to the usual recommendation for small businessmen: latch onto someone who has access to the gravy train. You see, between 1995 and 1999, U.S. companies such as AT&T and Westinghouse received the greatest portion of ADB loans ($1.7 billion), and Japanese companies came in second with $1.6 billion. Hence Mr. Hayworth advises small businesses to vie with each other to suck off the hind teat of Big Business. He gives good how-to advice. No, he does not lie: he is true to the nasty reality of business, the reality that flies in the face of all the rosy "free market" rhetoric. No, business does not really like competition: without market restraints, business tends to consolidate in a few hands and to run rampant over the globe. Terms such as "free market", "free competition," along with "democracy" and "equal opportunity" are for those easily deluded by hogwash.
Furthermore, "Globalization" is not multi-cultural homogenization: it is the choke-hold of a few nations controlled by big businesses and international corporations, over a whole set of financial markets, involving a self-serving redistribution of capital to subservient low-wage nations, with the object of reducing the autonomy of the national capital markets so the global capitalists, for their own aggrandizement, can run roughshod over weaker nations and their respective cultures. Ironically, the most successful Asian nations--Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea--succeeded because of state controls.
Now, then, I have devoted perhaps too much space already to Island Business; but I did so because I was surprised at the breadth of its coverage in view of its past servile stance towards its audience; perhaps the editors recognize that small businessmen are often ordinary people who are not to happy being pushed around by the whales. Be that as it may, its Carrot offering was mouth-watering.
To be fair, I must mention that old stalwart propaganda organ of the patrician class of Hawaii, The Honolulu Advertiser. I can be brief, for nothing much has changed at the Advertiser, which presently operates under the auspices of Gannet. The commercial rag is now a virtual subsidiary of CEO News; it is devoted to bourgeois consumption, glorifying in special sections the ideal virtues of homes, furnishings, and products only CEO families can afford, or their emulators who are willing to sell their souls to the devil and go in debt for the rest of their lives: all that is wrapped with a thin layer of rehashed, old national and worlds news, and, thankfully, some quite excellent features about life in Hawaii along with down an dirty classifieds.
The Honolulu Advertiser welcomes the ADB with commercial aloha. The local people, even those who despise the institution, welcome its members and their entourage with genuine Aloha.
After all its recent coverage of the Stick, the Advertiser, on Sunday, May 6, put the Carrot on its front page in an article written by Michele Kayal, 'ADB meeting puts spotlight on Honolulu.'
Of course, Ms. Kayal, in her second paragraph, mentioned the "specter of potentially violent protests." But she quickly presents the Carrot for Hawaii: "Its self-appointed destiny as the Geneva of the Pacific." She points out that Hawaii publicists want the ADB on Hawaii's resume, that Hawaii will be considered as the ideal destination of high-level ministerial meetings. She does her job well throughout the article, catering to the interest of Hawaii's major industry: tourism. Hawaii must cultivate its image as a dual destination for leisure and business meetings.
That is why the new convention center was built. And it was built according to the patrician way of governing in Hawaii, over the objections of many reasonable people without academic credentials who were not on the expert planning staff. Hail to the Carrot: architects profited from their optical illusions; property owners and developers raked in gains; construction companies reaped rewards. And now residents are anxiously awaiting for the benefits to trickle down to them; the project is considered by many to be another paternalistic folly: the bookings projected have not materialized; the center is too small for really big conventions, and its ceilings were built too low for some major types of exhibitions; doubt is cast on whether the debt will ever paid.
But never mind that. Let us take a look at the editorial and commentary pages of the Advertiser on Sunday, May 6. What sort of person knows the truth about the ADB? Here is the editor's decision:
'Hawaii represents what the ADB is fighting for' is collaboratively written by the managing director of Pacific Cap Group; a technology advisor to the Governor's Office; the CEO of Kaneohe Ranch; the CEO of Unity House; a banking leader; and someone who works for SPIRENT Communications' ad-tech division. The gist of the article is that Hawaii is a great place for the ADB because it is the ideal state of multi-racial integration, multi-cultural harmony, socio-economic and politico-economic diversity, and so on.
The aforementioned CEO of Unity House is Tony Rutledge; he is a prominent union official who is at this very moment a contract negotiator for 5,000 hotel and restaurant employees who did not show up this morning for work; the potential strike is a fly in the ADB ointment, one that could really fly in the face of the propagandists if the contract is not settled immediately. I recall here a feature article in the Advertiser a couple of years ago congratulating hotel workers such as maids for their commercial aloha spirit. I had quite a few belly laughs with maids and clerks at the Hilton about that feature and about aloha-training classes in general, just as I chuckle now at the typical hyperbole in Sunday's Advertiser.
Mind you, Hawaii is in fact a fabulous destination. We really do love tourists here. What's not to love? Tourists leave their money with us and leave. I walk around Waikiki on Sundays because the tourists think Aloha exists and are therefore in a better mood than most locals. But let's get real instead of handing out a lot of malarkey that makes liars of us all and keeps up the status quo; which is for many locals one of poverty, quiet racism, cultural and environmental degradation, traditionally aided and abetted by The Honolulu Advertiser on behalf of the power clique downtown.
Another large space for commentary was allotted to Besudev Dahal, director of the Pacific operations of the ADB: his message is summarized in his title: 'ADB making difference in Pacific." He speaks much of helping the poor, and he should, but he should also listen more carefully to those who say more harm than good is being done to the poor because of ADB policies.
The very last op-ed Commentary piece in this Sunday issue was written by Grainne Ryder, policy director for Probe International of Toronto. She states the ADB will have a negative impact on Hawaii "including changes to our legal system, the criminalization of various aspects of Hawaiian culture, an assault on our homeless population, the creation of a heavily armed security force which may be used against the people of Hawaii for years to come," and so on.
As for the editorial page, Advertiser columnist Thomas Plate, dragging a string of academic credentials behind his name, says the ADB does not get enough credit. At least I believe he is saying that; like many professors who cannot support their own slight weight without relying on footnotes and citations, he stands on what some other authority is saying. In this case, he cites James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank. The gist is this: globalism is good; protestors should welcome it; protestors are lunatics.
And on the front page of the magazine section, Focus, we have David Polhemus' opinion in his capacity as Advertiser Editorial Writer. He waves the Stick of violence in our face in his first paragraph, then educates us from the advantage of his perch in his cool office, adjuring us to be good little boys and girls, to have "cool heads", to refrain from pushing and shoving and to rely on civil discourse because, not only is globalization inevitable, it has "already happened." So we must accept it because it is. And there is a Carrot for us! And what is that? This:
"Corporations have taken the money saved from moving factories to less developed countries and invested in more modern industries. Instead of wasting time trying to stop the movement of low-tech jobs, the unions should be retraining their people for the new high-tech jobs."
Yes, technology is everything nowadays, so let us hurry up and become technological slaves to the Man and his pigs - please excuse p-word, as it is no longer politically correct! I must use the n-word here because I am reminded what a black man, a slightly inebriated insurance broker, said to me in the saloon across the street from Lincoln Center: I was extolling the virtues of technological training when he interrupted me with, "Dave, you stupid honky, get real, don't you see what's happening? They're turning people into technological niggers. Technical wages are bound to fall in the long run. And the slaves will not get a free or liberal education, they'll know nothing of liberty and freedom."
Now then, despite my antipathy to the corporate hogwash written by Mr. Polhemus, I must say I agree with the main thrust of his article, the economic moral of his story, in the sense that morals are relative to what people generally do--is not the economic motive the sole one now, its sanctity justified by the neo-liberal theology? His point is simply this: there is a big pile of money there so we should use it to our mutual advantage.
But there the problem begins, for how are we to get our share? By sending a letter in to the editor saying, "Please, sir, will you pretty please print this letter of protest?" And then, to the hogs, "Please, sir, may I have a bowl of gruel? I'm being nice and rational today, my head is cool." I think not.
I would like to further address Mr. Polhemus' hackneyed phrase from neo-liberal economics, and would be glad to do so with a cool head from his office at half his pay, but I must bring this exposition of the Carrot to a sudden close because I am getting hungry for a real lunch.
Copyright 2001 David Arthur Walters