Shedding Light in the Darkness

Trans Pacific Partnership – The New Colonialism Lands on Maui


It’s kind of sickening that the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations have just landed on Maui. While tourists are frolicking in the warmth of the Pacific Ocean at Ka’anapali, a group of representatives from 12 nations haggle at the plush Westin Maui Resort & Spa basically over how multi-national mega corporations can best reap the biggest profits.

According to a post by Andrea Brower of the University of Auckland’s Department of Sociology, in Honolulu Civil Beat – “Investor rights provisions in the TPP empower corporations to bypass domestic courts and sue governments in international tribunals for imagined losses of “expected profits” — for example, over gold still in the ground. Currently these “investor-state” systems are being used by corporations to sue over denial of mining permits, pollution cleanup requirements, minimum wage law, climate regulations, cigarette health labels, and a long list of other public interest policies.

As far as Hawaii – “Corporate profit protections would be privileged over Hawaii’s unique protections for conservation lands and publicly managed resources. Development companies would acquire strengthened legal rights to maximize their private investments using public resources. These legal rights can create a “chilling effect,” whereby governments hesitate to pass regulations that might interrupt or irritate private investors.

“Indigenous communities globally are calling the TPP a new wave of colonization—treaties being made without their participation or consent, but with extensive impacts on their lands and the appropriation and privatization of their cultures and knowledge. It should not be ignored that TPP negotiations are being “hosted” by the U.S. in Hawaii, amidst de-colonial and de-occupation struggles.”

Organizers and movements on Maui, in solidarity with people around the world, have called for a “convergence by land and sea to stop the TPP” on Wednesday, July 29, in Ka’anaplai, where negotiations are taking place.

Organizer Trinette Furtado says that all are invited that afternoon to a collective blowing of the conch shell: “The conch shell was included because it calls for a cessation of time; of people. Because it demands attention and asks all to bear witness. We are sounding a call to attention; a call to stand and join together.”

As part of the demonstration, the group will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for beach conch sell blowing, as they attempt to bring attention to the TPP negotiations that are taking place on Maui.

“The TPP is a threat to our sovereignty as Native Hawaiians, and as human beings,” said Kaleikoa Kaʻeo, professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College.


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