Categories Archives: Culture of Resistance » Building Alternatives

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Pesticides in paradise: how do we fight back?

The problem of pesticides

The islands of Hawai’i, especially Kauai, are frequently described as “ground zero” for GMOs. As an unwilling host to parasitic chemical agriculture, the land is bombarded with pesticides and chemicals at concentrations unseen in most other places; the test and seed crops grown by agribusiness can be dosed at much higher levels than crops meant to be eaten. The effects on the aina and its people are predictable: sterilization of the soil, massive pollution of the waters, and widespread negative impacts on human health. Though much of this harm is inherent to agriculture, even organic agriculture, the severity is drastically worse in these modern operations.

Indirect action

Legal response

Residents on Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island responded by passing laws reducing the harm the chemical companies are allowed to inflict on us, but this has two big drawbacks:

  1. It operates from a framework of limiting, but still permitting, the companies to poison and destroy life, rather than establishing a normative expectation of healthy landbases and sustainable operations, with all actions evaluated against that.
  2. It doesn’t proactively address the constitutional structure in place in the US, deliberately set up to facilitate corporate extraction of resources. Under the hierarchy of preemption, local municipalities are explicitly denied the power to enforce protections stricter than those allowed by the state and federal governments. Unsurprisingly, agribusiness immediately used the court system to strike down most of the restrictions fought for and won by the people.

Symbolic response

Photo: Pasha Yushin | OrganicHawaii.org

Photo: Pasha Yushin | OrganicHawaii.org

The response by the people in early August was the “Aloha Aina Unity March” through the streets of Honolulu to protest the diverse manifestations of civilization in the islands, including pesticides, the TMT construction project, lack of home rule, and militarization. Though it roused an impressive turnout of 10,000, this sort of symbolic protest is unlikely to be effective without organization into a credible threat to those in power. Simply asking them nicely to do the right thing won’t get us anywhere.

Direct confrontation

CELDF

A more strategic approach via the legal system is offered by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). They help localities draft bills declaring and enforcing the rights of communities and of nature against corporations. Their tactics expect and leverage legal challenges to the passage of such bills, using any pushback to highlight the undemocratic nature of our system, galvanizing and radicalizing further opposition. A CELDF representative visited multiple islands in 2013, presenting their strategy and offering assistance if a group on the ground wanted to put forward a bill or initiative. That remains as a promising possibility if anyone wants to organize towards it.

Deep Green Resistance

transmission-sabotage
Another approach is that advocated by Deep Green Resistance: trace all these problems back to the root problem of civilization, especially industrial civilization. While strengthening local communities and rebuilding sustainable practices, work to end the ability of the rich to steal from the poor, and of the powerful to destroy the planet.

Given the small number of people willing to question civilization, let alone confront it, and given the desperately short timeline we face before the planet is pushed to irreversible and catastrophic collapse of its life support systems, DGR believes it necessary for some people to carry out direct attacks on critical infrastructure. By disrupting the underpinnings of systems of control, including communications, energy transportation, and electrical distribution, hypothetical underground groups would directly erode the power of those working against life, and make them more likely to concede to demands by the more “reasonable” of us in aboveground groups.

It’s uncomfortable, and even scary to contemplate life without the conveniences of civilization to which we’ve grown accustomed, but we should keep in mind:

  • These conveniences come with costs usually unseen until we actively investigate: exploitation and murder of life here and abroad, human and non-human, in the present and in generations to come. Nothing civilization can give us is worth the death of the planet.
  • Hawaiians lived good lives here for centuries before European contact. Depending on what you most value ― family, intimate connection to community & aina, a clean environment, and meaningful work; or short-lived labor-saving devices, fleeting visits to places far and wide, and flashy gadgets ― one could argue Hawaiians lived much better lives than we do now.

Resources

For more on the issues in Hawai’i around industrial agriculture, chemical company influence, and GMOs, see:

For more on potential big-picture solutions, see:

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Fundraiser to support indigenous Hawaiian media

indigenous-hawaiian-media

Several times on this blog we’ve featured the work of Native Hawaiian journalist and filmmaker Anne Keala Kelly, including interviews for Resistance Radio (audio) and for the DGR News Service. Kelly is a strong voice for a radical approach to Hawaiian reclamation of their culture, bringing forth core issues of occupation, cultural appropriation, and sovereignty. The future of Hawai’i is closely linked to the ability of the US to maintain its imperial power across the planet, so what may seem a small and remote fight is actually of great importance to global problems of ecocide and oppression.

Kelly is presently working on a documentary, “Why the Mountain”, examining the Mauna Kea TMT resistance and its part in revitalizing a broader Hawaiian struggle for justice and independence. Her indigenous and radical perspectives, in conjunction with her experience making Noho Hewa, should result in a valuable film for furthering discussion and action at home and abroad.

But Kelly needs financial support to complete her work, so DGR is holding a fundraiser. All proceeds will go towards purchasing a new camera so Kelly can most effectively produce this film.

Update: This fundraiser has concluded. Thanks for your support!

“Noho Hewa” on Vimeo as fundraiser to protect Mauna Kea

why-the-mountain-fundraiser

We’ve reported in the past on efforts to block construction of the massive Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, due to environmental and cultural concerns. Unfortunately, construction has begun, but with it, so have protests on Mauna Kea and around the world in solidarity.

Anne Keala Kelly, Hawaiian filmmaker, journalist, and activist, has worked for years to expose and resist American imperialist occupation of Hawai’i. Kelly has made her first film, Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i available for free for a short time on Vimeo, as part of an educational campaign to inform the world why people are so vigorously protesting the desecration of Mauna Kea, and as a fundraiser for a new documentary in progress right now. (Read a review of Noho Hewa at the Deep Green Resistance News Service.)

The film is no longer available on Vimeo, but if know someone who has it, please take some time to watch Noho Hewa, then donate to make the new documentary possible: Why the Mountain. With your support, the film will help build resistance around the world to the continued illegal occupation of Hawai’i and the desecration of places sacred to Hawaiians.

Documentary to protect Mauna Kea: “Why the Mountain”

why-the-mountainMauna Kea is under threat by planned construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Though Hawaiians and non-Hawaiian allies successfully disrupted the TMT groundbreaking ceremony, the fight isn’t over yet.

The award-winning Hawaiian filmmakers Anne Keala Kelly and Mary Alice Kaʻiulani Milham are teaming up to create a documentary in protection of Mauna Kea. They are holding a fundraiser to allow production and mass distribution of a film to galvanize opposition to the destructive and desecrating TMT project. Time is short to stop this industrial expansion, and your contribution is crucial – whether a direct monetary donation or helping by spreading the word.

Our goal is to produce a beautiful, powerful and evocative film to help people everywhere understand why Mauna Kea is sacred to Hawaiians, a fragile ecosystem that needs protection, and portrayed as indispensable to the astronomy industry.

“Why The Mountain” will be a 30-minute documentary film that explores why Hawaiians and environmentalists oppose the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT), and why the astronomy industry is determined to construct this 18 ½ – story building on Mauna Kea.

[…]

Environmentalists argue that because the largest fresh water aquifer for Hawaiʻi Island is on Mauna Kea, the potential for irreversible harm is too high a price to pay.

They say erecting a football-stadium-sized structure, and its accompanying 5,000-gallon container for hazardous chemical waste, is an unnecessary risk. Given the toxic chemicals in use by the existing 13 telescopes on the summit, the TMT only increases the threat to the watershed and endangered and threatened species’ habitats.

Follow the progress of the film project at the Why the Mountain? Facebook page.

Investigative journalist on Hawai’i’s GMO war

Jon Rappoport, a free-lance investigative journalist, has written numerous posts recently about GMOs, labeling vs banning, and the recent passing and subsequent overturning of laws in Hawai’i to ban GMOs and their attendant poisons. He provides some good insights into the corruption in the political and judicial systems, and even with big NGOs supposedly looking out for the health of humans and our landbases. The main angle he’s missing is CELDF style laws, which not only block unwanted industry or pollution from a locale, but explicitly state that the local protections supersede the rights of corporations or the State or Federal laws written by those corporate interests.

You can see all of Rappoport’s posts on GMOs or read some specific posts: