Occupying Hawaii: Paradise Lost and Found
by Michelle Fawcett, Truthout (excerpts)
…If paradise offers up an enticing vision of a perfect world prior to a fall from grace, some in Hawaii think a new fall will return them to the lost ideal.
Members of Occupy Kapaa on Kauai, Toni Liljengren, 54, and Andy Fitts, 57, are transplants to the northernmost island they now call home. Toni, a lomi lomi massage therapist, relocated over 20 years ago, while Andy, director of a local Tibetan peace park and a real estate developer, and his wife are more recent arrivals. Speaking over lunch in a sun-washed café, both warned of an imminent global "systems shift."
Andy said a speculative and debt-driven monetary regime has accumulated excessive wealth and power in the top 1 percent. "The amount of debt that has been created is unsustainable. They can try to create these austerities, but the people aren't going to take it." He believes complete financial breakdown may happen in weeks and will cause "chaos, supply interruptions and a real interim period of difficulty until things stabilize."
One would think that in Hawaii - which imports more than 85 percent of its food and ships in every drop of oil that accounts for 85 percent of all energy used - imminent collapse would invoke terrifying visions of the last days of humanity akin to "On the Beach" or "The Road." But not for Toni: "I feel really safe on Kauai. There's fish. There's fruit. This is a very sustainable place. It's probably one of the best places to be at the time of the collapse."
Toni is confident she can survive a crisis because she already barters for food, shelter and chelation therapy. (LOL!) While Andy is more wary, he concludes that a systems shift will "bring out the best in everyone because all the intelligence will be called upon. It will be survival time. Everyone will be scrambling for a new paradigm. (No, that’s not what they would be looking for, idiot.) But it will be a wonderful time because people will actually stop sleepwalking." (They have contempt for the 'sleepwalking' 99%.)
Echoing other occupations, occupiers on Kauai propose a back-to-basics lifestyle - a return to the untroubled paradise of the past. "Sustainability is our main platform," says Toni.
(More contempt for the 99%) "People have become too dependent on shipments, on pop-tarts and food that we weren't going to be making here in the first place," says Brian Herrick, 34, an Occupy Movement Kauai member. "If we become more self-sustainable, we won't be giving our money to corporations." The movement thus supports local organic farming and renewable energy, which has grown rapidly in recent years, but accounts for less than .3 percent of electricity generation.
Whether Hawaii can sustain itself today is questionable. Centuries before Captain James Cook "discovered" Hawaii in 1778, up to 200,000 people thrived on seafood, native plants and the staple porridge called poi, made from the taro plant introduced by the Polynesians. Brian praises taro as a nutritional powerhouse that islanders should be eating. But to feed the 1.4 million people who call Hawaii home today would mean boosting taro production 100-fold from current levels, using tens of thousands of acres of farmland for one crop….
Toni and Andy see Kauai as a safe harbor. Occupy Movement Kauai, which drew about 120 people to its first protest on October 15, and Occupy Kapaa, an offshoot Occupy group, do not yet have encampments. Andy says that's because there is no need to confront a public that already supports them. "We're our own little world. We're all brothers and sisters here, so we're not really in opposition to each other. We're all in love with this place and we all share the good fortune of being here. Most of the haole [white people] are alternative types with like minds ... so we have a totally different scene here."
At this point, Occupy Movement Kauai sees its primary role as educational. At a recent general assembly meeting on the steps of the Kauai Historic Country Building, Cathy Easter, 57, a social worker and activist, said the group is planning an educational encampment on the large front lawn of the building beginning in 2012 and continuing through the fall elections. Jeff Fishman, 53, a (proletarian) multimedia producer who works on big-budget film shoots on Kauai, envisions tents representing, among other causes, the genetically modified organism-free Kauai movement and Power to the People, an organization devoted to regaining control over the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative….
Their encampment won't be the first on the island, however. For long before the camps of the Occupy Movement modeled an idealized future society, tents have housed the forgotten human detritus of present-day Hawaii…. (as opposed to the enlightened, conscious, and progressive elite who are smarter than you and are therefore possess divine right to rule over you.)
…Occupy Honolulu's encampment started on November 5 with eight arrests. On a bright Saturday in December, a dozen tents hugged the sidewalk at the edge of Thomas Square Park, which has a 10 PM curfew. Some occupiers were a mile away, engaging in a flash meditation mob at the Ala Moana mall, bursting with holiday shoppers and ringed by densely packed traffic.
A few occupiers held down the fort, each armed with their own causes. Michael Tada, 44, spoke about discrimination against the disabled such as himself. Scott Winfrey, 28, a shaggy, bespectacled transplant and self-described ascetic, focused on income inequality and war. Stephanie, a middle-aged "iPhone artist" and anarchist, said she was homeless. "I have never been homeless on the mainland, it's the third time here. The food is expensive, the rent is expensive, the space is limited, so you see the effects even more."
According to Sam, there are probably hundreds of active supporters of Occupy Honolulu, but only a few camp out. According to posts on their web site, threats of violence by disruptive individuals are driving some away, while others are burning out….
When asked about Hawaiian "sovereignty," Lonnie Sykos, 57, a sharp-featured ex-merchant marine and a member of Occupy Movement Kauai, blurted out, "I am an American and I don't bow down to any king. Period." He views secession as treason. Andy echoes this position, saying a return to Hawaiian monarchy doesn't seem like a solution because it is "an even older paradigm than the one that's falling apart now." ….
read … Occupying Hawaii: Paradise Lost and Found
Here’s Someone Else Who Thinks The End is Near: Ebay's Omidyar: Obama-backing Hamas-talking billionaire in Hawaii, expecting disaster