Sunday, November 20, 2011
What was accomplished by APEC in Hawaii? Nothing good for Hawaii
A good rant on the folly of hosting APEC 2011 posted on The Hawaii Independent by Eric Gill, the Financial Secretary-Treasurer of Unite Here Local 5. It’s well written and to the point. A snip:
Please click the link just above and read the whole article.
It’s all a big secret, but the facts are beginning to emerge despite the secrecy, and the distraction of self-promoting politicians making speeches. APEC was really about working on a dirty deal to benefit global banks and corporations at the expense of the rest of us. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal they continue to cook up represents a massive corporate/bank end-run around our laws, protections, rights, and self-determination.Calling this kind of international agreement a “free trade” agreement is a cruel deception. Only a small portion of these agreements even talk about trade issues. Most of the provisions provide ways for global banks and corporations to get around the laws and regulations that we have set up to protect the public interest.
[The Hawaii Independent, Oahu pays high price for bad APEC deal, 11/16/2011]
(Thanks to Kat Brady for pointing to this in one of her emails)
Eric's critique of APEC was also, surprisingly, carried by the Star-Advertiser. It's unfortunate the paper did not publish enough peices critical of APEC prior to the event. It would have helped prepare public opinion and drummed up more attendance at the many excellent community events like the Moana Nui talks.
The political leaders I talked to in advance of APEC were uniformly uninformed about the possible downsides of the event, except perhaps concerns over clashes at demonstrations and suppression of free speech. Now that the event has passed, we should continue pressure, demanding there be an honest post-event cost-benefit analysis. You know, the kind of things a business might do after a major campaign they had been involved in?
Brian Schatz, Neil Abercrombie, Mayor Carlisle and councilmembers Tulsi Gabbard, Stanley Change, in particular, have come across as slavish lapdogs for the Asia-Pacific corporate elite. Today's paper informs us the hotels made good profits from the event, but was that ever in doubt? What is left unanswered is whether the the rest of us, as small business owners, consumers, residents, etc., essentially paid for those profits out of our pockets. To what extent did APEC represent a transfer of money from other small businesses, the city and state into the pockets of the hotel owners?
Abercrombie, Schatz, Gabbard ,etc., refuse to discuss this angle, preferring to gloss over such complaints with "pie in the sky when you die" promises of future, longterm benefits. A claim which is difficult to ever prove or disprove. At least they were able to feel super-important while in the company of the Asian corporate bigwigs. (OK, I confess. I would lose my critical judgment if I were allowed to party wqith some of today's most attractive, intelligent actresses. I guess that is kinda what it is like for those who suck up to power rather than beauty.)