Hawaii Mobilizes Against the ADB

Hawaii mobilized this week for its first mass
demonstrations against the institutions of corporate globalization, as the Asian Development Bank held its annual meeting in Honolulu. The week of resistance included speakers from all over the world, panels, debates, films, an indigenous peoples’ forum, puppet-making workshops, a critical mass bike ride, and a march and rally of about a thousand people in front of the convention center on Wednesday.

Hawaii mobilized this week for its first mass
demonstrations against the institutions of corporate globalization, as the Asian Development Bank held its annual meeting in Honolulu. The week of resistance included speakers from all over the world, panels, debates, films, an indigenous peoples’ forum, puppet-making workshops, a critical mass bike ride, and a march and rally of about a thousand people in front of the convention center on Wednesday.

For weeks before the meetings, the Honolulu police worked with mainstream media to create an
aura of fear around the demonstrations. The city tried to deny a permit for the march, but the
ADBWatch legal team challenged them and secured a permit. Almost daily, local newspapers and TV predicted "unruly", "crazy" and "raucous"
"trouble-makers.

But demonstrators wouldn’t be marginalized and citizens didn’t stay home. Auditoriums and
churches were filled as speakers from all over the
world explained how the ADB mandates the
dismantling of local economies, destruction of
ecosystems and indigenous lifestyles, and elimination of social services. People from all over Asia who have been directly affected by ADB programs told of the privatization of state enterprises, minimum wage caps, reductions of agricultural subsidies, user fees for water, and other injustices that have been imposed by this for-profit bank’s "restructuring" of their communities.

On Wednesday over a thousand people gathered in downtown Honolulu armed with brightly
colored puppets, artwork, drums, chants, dances and music. Kanaka maoli, indigenous Hawaiians,
led a festive and peaceful march to the convention center that gave the police no opportunities to provoke violence. Once there, under pressure from demonstrators and the Bank, ADB president Tadeo Chino came out of the fortress to face the demonstrators as they presented each of their demands for change. After about an hour demonstrators continued the march through the Waikiki beach area and ended it in Kapiolani park with an afternoon of music, speakers, and exceptionally good food compliments of Food Not Bombs.

Before this month, not many people in Hawaii had ever heard of the ADB. Now few in Honolulu
haven’t heard about their controversial projects. The meetings spurred a flurry of community
networking and organizing, the formation of indymedia, medical, and legal teams, a series of
nonviolence trainings, and the radicalizing of a lot of folks who had never been part of a mass action
before.

The police state was brought to view for all to see, with its pervasive presence, chemical weapons,
helicopters, crowd listening devices, and bill for the taxpayers that sparked public outcry. The bias
of mainstream media was brought to public scrutiny, through a deluge of letters to the editors and detailed flyers that circulated around town dissecting the Advertiser’s biased articles.

"We can look at this week and see what worked well and what could be improved upon. We will learn from every action. We were not organizing for a one-time event. This is an ongoing struggle, and just one part of a strong, worldwide movement."

Author: Aasha Ohana

News Service: Infoshop News

URL: http://hawaii.indymedia.org