Friday, November 12, 2004

The Social Scientist, Environmentalist, Activist, and four more years of Bush

Bush’s win may be because of the 3Gs- God, Gays, and Guns. I tend to think it was because Republicans had what Philippine Congressman Ronaldo V. Puno has always emphasized: grass-roots politics, prioritization of organizational structure, good data management systems, and first class strategizing and mobilization. Puno is the campaign strategist par excellence credited with winning the 1992, 1998, and 2004 Philippine presidential elections for candidates of all stripes. A September 2004 Inquirer feature on him noted that aside from working for Marcos apparatchik, ex-local government minister, and former Samar Congressman Jose Rono; Puno spent five years as consultant to big-time Washington lobby and campaign strategy firm Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly. There, he worked with firm partner and Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager, Lee Atwater. Puno revealed how the Republican Party manual provided instructions on every aspect of on the ground coalition building, information management and dissemination, logistics planning, and getting the vote in and counted.

Clearly, the Republican Party raised hundreds of millions of dollars, spoke with one voice, directly engaged the religious-fundamentalist, conservative, big business, and rural vote, and had outside supporters who engaged in character assassination. They were disciplined, committed, and driven to get the vote no matter what it entailed.

Elections are like marketing campaigns. Both have their own internal logic and procedures. Running and winning an election may be both moral and amoral. It takes organizational skill for both legal (grass-roots, information management etc.) and extra-legal efforts (disenfranchising voters, machine counting anomalies, trending etc.). Days after Kerry conceded to Bush, few options remain despite the largest Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to investigate ( the discrepancy of exit polls being accurate for paper ballot-states and inaccurate for touch-screen voting-states including Florida and Ohio, the retroactive alteration of news organizations’ exit polls to coincide with the voting machines, and access to electronic voting machines computer logs and other documents from 3,000 individual counties and townships. The lesson twice running is that one must learn how to guard one’s votes.

If Bush’s 51% win over Kerry’s 48% of the vote is an indicator of the nation’s divide, the next four years will be difficult for nearly half of Americans. Actually, the next four years will be daunting for all Americans and consequently the world. Consider the following (for those still in the dark):

· Economy. Matt Patsky, partner of Winslow Management Co. (minimum investment $3 Million), a pioneer in green investing, billionaire George Soros, and even Stephen More, president of the conservative Club for Growth are worried sick at the breakdown of fiscal discipline in Washington and the literal bankrupting of the country. Running unprecedented deficits, according to Patsky, will ultimately affect the markets in a profoundly negative and significant way, especially if foreign investment in the U.S. moves out because of declining confidence in the U.S. economy (Grist 2004);

· Religion. Conservative Christians have already voiced their call to President Bush to implement the conservative agenda soonest. Richard Viqueire, “the dean of conservative direct mail”, and others such as Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Culture of Life Foundation, Phil Burress and others expect a “revolution” to pass amendments banning embryonic stem-cell research and abortions and, and importantly, to remake the Supreme Court with conservative Antonin Scalia replacing the ailing Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (Kirkpartrick/NYT);

· Safety nets and Big Business. Conservative strategists are pushing for the further dismantling of the country’s welfare and safety nets such as repealing the estate tax, radical tax reform, privatizing Social Security and other government services, expanding health care and investment savings account, restricting medical and other liability lawsuits, weakening unions by imposing new disclosure requirements, etc. (Economist, Kirkpartrick/NYT);

· Science and Environment. Early this year, the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists came out with a 46-page document (http:// entitled “Scientific Integrity in Policymaking An Investigation into the Bush Administration’s Misuse of Science”. The document castigates the Bush Administration for a slew of actions including: a) suppressing, censoring, and/or distorting climate change research, mercury emissions from power plants and multiple air pollutants; b) distorting scientific knowledge on reproductive health issues, HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, and airborne bacteria; c) misrepresenting evidence of Iraq’s aluminum tubes; d) manipulating evidence on the Endangered Species Act, scientific process on Forest Management, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) rulemaking on “Peer Review” processes; e) undue industry influence on the Lead Poisoning Prevention Panel, Work Safety Panel, and unqualified or conflict of interest issues in the Senior Advisory (Science) Role to the President, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reproductive Health Advisory Committee, Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, and National Institute on Drug Abuse; and f) Dismissal of Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Panels, National Nuclear Security Administration Panel, Arms Control Panel, among others.

Renewed efforts to open more of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Tongass National Forest, the Rocky Mountain Front, etc. to oil exploration and drilling and/or logging etc. have already began or are expected.

· Foreign Policy. An exit strategy for Iraq and Afghanistan is not in the offing for the near future. On the contrary, with a new mandate, Bush has vowed to take an even more hardline stance against insurgents in both countries, so expect more casualties on both sides. The prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet, reports of a study estimating 100,000 Iraqi casualties to date. Of course, we know of the over 1,000 U.S. dead military men, but no one seems to know of unintended consequences of war such as the sexual harassment of an estimated 10,000 U.S. military service women serving in Iraq (National Public Radio).

Europe and Asia anxiously await how Bush will address the nuclear plans of Iran (which claims to be surrounded by nuclear-tipped states) and bankrupt North Korea. Paul Weyrich of the conservative Heritage Foundation calls for a national debate on the U.S. foreign policy.

The world also awaits U.S. action (or inaction) on the Kyoto climate change treaty, the International Court of Justice, international human rights commission, Darfur crisis, etc.

Notwithstanding the depressing looks and jokes of migrating to Europe, Canada, or an island in the Pacific, progressives and even compassionate conservatives have much work to do.

For one, as economic anthropologist Jim Greenberg and others have noted, progressives and social scientists will need to resolve their anathema of engaging people and organizations that do not share their views. In fact, Rabbi Michael Lerner encourages progressives to wear their religious/spiritual Left on their sleeves in recognition of millions of Americans who “feel betrayed by a society that seems to place materialism and selfishness above moral values”. Lerner, national co-chair of the interfaith organization Tikkun Community in SF, exhorts Democrats to get over their elitist self-righteousness and contempt for those who voted Bush. Insightfully, he notes that the last time Democrats had real social power was when they linked their legislative agenda with the spiritual politics of the late Martin Luther King.

Thus, progressive and socially-conscious scholars should be able to engage the religious conservative and understand what their concerns are. Republicans seem to be good at listening or appearing to be listening to these groups. Progressives, actually fundamentally good listeners, should be able to do so as well.

Others urge progressives to work with compassionate conservatives to reign in the perceived war mongering, deficit-growing, environment-bashing, labor-exploiting agenda of the neo-conservatives clique in the administration.

Out of power, Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia, and of
1% for the Planet, a program that donates 1 percent of companies' profits to grassroots environmental organizations, suggests that everyone should put their hopes in civil democracy. He urges all to be active in one of the 100,000 NGOs worldwide working on ecological and social sustainability.

Anthropologist Richard Nelson; John Passacantando, executive director of
Greenpeace USA; Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club; Laurie David, trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council and cofounder of The Detroit Project; Julia Butterfly Hill, founder of the Circle of Life and two-year redwood tree sitter-protester; David Orr, Chair of the environmental studies program at Oberlin College and author; Martha Marks, founder and president of REP America, the national grassroots organization of Republicans for Environmental Protection; Alison Deming, author and associate professor in creative writing at the University of Arizona; Christina Wong, recent winner of the 2004 Brower Award for young environmentalists and University of California-Berkeley conservation and resources studies major; Peggy Shepard, cofounder and executive director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice (West Harlem Environmental Action); Paul Hawken, environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and best-selling author, founder and director of the Natural Capital Institute; and, Scott Sanders, the author of numerous books, including The Invisible Company, Writing From the Center, and Staying Put, all urge everyone to organize and speak up, when no forests are left behind, when the air and waterways are choked, when human and labor rights are violated, when power is exercised and responsibility ignored. Speak up not only as individuals, but also as institutions (Grist 2004).

Thus, progressives will need to act. They say that every generation has to suffer from war or economic dislocation and must rebuild from the destruction. However, many will need assistance, even those one disagrees with. Progressive convictions must be put into action. If the deficit and economy further worsen, protected areas cleared for exploitation, disasters occur because of environmental degradation, minority, women, and immigrant labor continue to be exploited, more lose health coverage, more suffer from preventable illnesses, more casualties in Iraq occur, and the problems of the nation become systemic; civil society must be robust enough to not only push for meaningful change, but also support those sectors and persons adversely affected. As a Chilean anthropology graduate student asked, how will Americans respond when society's contradictions demand resolutioin?

Sometimes it is in engaging those that are the weakest, as well as those we differ with that meaningful change can be achieved. I know it is possible when I look into the eyes of a dear friend, a still active 75-year old Filipino Jesuit priest who became a 50-year missionary to Japan right after World War II.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Response to Dr. William O Beeman’s email defending the AAA Board’s decision to move the AAA conference to Atlanta

Prof. Beeman, thank you for your quick response. No offense was intended to anyone, but we have different perspectives on what constitutes the moral thing to do (the word was used appropriately I argue). In fact, in my first email, I wrote; “Does the AAA-Hilton contract state that AAA is committed to uphold the contract despite the negative publicity to AAA and the respective participants personally from crossing the picket line? In other words, in signing the contract with Hilton, did it mean that the legitimacy of AAA as a “moral, ethical organization” should be disregarded? Why should AAA take the flakfor the collapse of Hilton’s labor-management relations?”

It is understandable that being in the AAA Board, your and the Board’s primary concern were the interests of the AAA and the participants to the conference. On this point you and the Board have done well and I have publicly acknowledged that in my first email last week.

However, the lockout of 4,000 minority, women, and immigrant workers living on strike pay with a bleak future (and a freezing one at that) and unaffordable insurance plans is no trivial matter. That the strikes and lockouts are spreading across the country shows that the conflict between hotel industry giants and labor is deep seated.

Principles should be consistent at all levels. The war on labor and collective rights is just as important as an unjust war. Afterall, the union and most of us are also against the war in Iraq.

Shifting the financial burden to participants (despite the planned financial assistance) rather than the organization is also a moral choice, which you and the Board decided on, and which we disagree with.

Before I wrote the previous email, I was wondering if all the emails that were going around were reaching the right people. The environmental and medical anthropology list serves, as well as the graduate listserves were filled with numerous suggestions and strategies for a “win-win” approach to the situation (including comments on the propriety of the survey/vote). My first two emails raised questions and suggestions similar to and pre-dated Rob O’brien’s comments. These were based on Tom Sheridan’s forward of the AAA Board’s request for comments and suggestions.

Why all these emails, including the offers from San Jose and the request of the Union to support their struggle and move to San Jose, did not presumably reach you and the Board should be explored.

Thus, as you and the Board are dismayed by our counter-actions, we who are against the move to Atlanta and the Board’s decisions were also surprised and dismayed to read about the process and timing of the Board’s decisions. As you know, the Board’s decision reflects on all anthropologists, especially those engaged in women, labor, health, human rights, public anthropology etc. studies.

I disagree that we move on and prepare for the next “battle”. Contrary to what the Board thinks, the move to Atlanta seriously compromises the integrity of the conference and the credibility of the organization. The fact that it is a non-unionized hotel during this time of hotel industry-labor conflict makes it even worse.

As I wrote, by force of circumstance and not of it’s making, the organization (and the conference) was placed in this moral dilemma. It should rise to the occasion. The AAA needed to tread carefully by ensuring that the consultative and decision-making processes are transparent and as participatory as possible.

The AAA indeed faced considerable time constraints, but all parties concerned understood that there were extraneous factors at work. The pressure most likely would have come from the Hilton, but the Board should have had more faith in the support that the anthropological community could have given it. Not doing so will only sow internal conflict not only with the organization but also in the wider anthropological community. A boycott and picket movement is being launched and already someone has emailed suggesting a class action suit against the AAA for the planned move to Atlanta.

The anthropological community needs to come together in this instance, but it needs to come together in support of minority, women, and immigrant labor rights. These are our friends, relatives, and countrymen. We should help them in their struggle for their rights.

Lastly, you may want to read the attached email from a MESA-graduate student complaining about the lack of transparency in the MESA Board regarding the same issue. Should you wish to read my previous emails, these have been posted at


Hecky Villanueva

Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 14:23:26 -0700 (PDT)From: Afra Al-Mussawir Subject: [GRADFORUM:2076] RE: mesa conference in nov in sfTo: newhall@u.arizona.eduCc: MESA , aaamessnl ,
mlowder@EMAIL.ARIZONA.EDU,, Gradforum ,,,,, self

Dear Dr. Newhall,

Thanks for your prompt response!I am dismayed that I had not heard anything about this situation fromMESA and would not have been aware of it except for my participation inAAA. Many student members of MESA were apparently equally in the darkabout this, and I’ve even heard from a professor who was not aware thatthe Hyatt Regency in SF is one of the hotels being struck, though hecares very much about this issue.

You mentioned in this email to methat “Members will be informed of the situation” but I do believe thatthis should be done in a timely manner ñ i.e. now! ñ to give peopletime to make their decisions about whether to attend (i.e. cross picketlines), to change their hotel plans (especially if they had intended tostay in one of the hotels being struck), or even “just” to discuss thesituation and the ethical questions involved. The sooner we makecancellations/ changes, the less we are personally liable for.

I fully appreciate the situation MESA finds itself in; as youmentioned, a lawsuit and huge financial penalties could destroy theorganization. I truly do not want that to happen as I think MESA hasplayed and will continue to play an important role ñ especially as wehave seen in recent times ñ in combating prejudice(s) within governmentand within the public (e.g. as regards federal funding and oversightissues) and in taking official positions on certain issues (e.g. therestriction of visas to the US for academics who are not citizens orpermanent residents of the US).

And yet, MESA also has an important role to play in thesecircumstances. I find that our “right to choose” (your own words!) asindividual members of MESA in this case has been compromised by MESAorganizers’ lack of forthrightness about the situation; we cannot”choose” if we do not know there is a “choice” to be made! I wouldheartily appreciate an official and public statement of disclosure fromMESA ís Board of Directors on their position and decisions, as well asthe reasons for those decisions and an explanation of thedecision-making process.

You and other MESA officials should be aware of measures that have beenrecommended to AAA to avoid getting caught in such a dilemma in thefuture, and MESA should consider adopting similar policies, including:

-to favor living wage municipalities and unionized hotels in choosing future meeting venues,-to seek a strike cancellation clause in future contracts with meeting hotels, and;
- to purchase cancellation insurance to cover future meetings.

To this list I would add:
-for MESA to make major decisions and decision-making processes (such as involved here) public to its members,
- to adopt some policy regarding collecting input from MESA members on such issues, and,
- to alter MESA’s no-show policy so as not to penalize those who boycott the annual meeting(s) for matters of principle such as this.I feel this last point is important.

While you state that individualshave the right to choose whether or not to attend this year’s annualmeeting, MESA’s policy states that a no-show on the part of a presenterwill be penalized by not being allowed to present in the followingyear’s meeting; if a proposed presenter at this year’s meeting decidesto boycott this year’s meeting at the Hyatt in San Francisco, wouldhe/she still be penalized as a no-show?

While I am well aware that MESA plans for and contracts for annualmeetings several years in advance (and so enacting these recommendedpolicies may not have real effect until years into the future), Ibelieve that consideration of and adoption of these measures wouldimprove the ethical position of our organization. At the very least,it will clarify MESA’s position to our members and to managers/ ownersof potential meeting sites.I hope to hear from you on these points, and I feel that a generaldiscussion ñ of both the long-term and the short-term issues ñ isdesirable right now.Eagerly awaiting your reply,


Afra Al-Mussawir
Graduate Student in Anthropology and The Americo Paredes Center for Cultural Studies
The University of Texas at Austin

cc: MESA-GSO listserve AAA listserve for students in the Anthropology of the Middle East (AAA MESSNL), Mark J. Lowder, MESA, (mlowder@EMAIL.ARIZONA.EDU)"MESA" ( graduate student listserve for Anthropology students Professor IanManners, Chair of UTís Department of Middle East Studies( Kamran Aghaie, UTís Department of Middle East Studies( Kamran Ali, UTís Department of Anthropology ( Sam Wilson, Chair of UTís Department of Anthropology(


Prof. William O. Beeman's reply

I am writing you as an individual, not representing the board, since no one else seems to be on line right now.

When the board made its decision on Thursday, none of the offers from the SJ convention and visitors bureau were on the table-I only heard of this $450,000 offer today, and I don't even know if it is a legitimate offer. Certainly we have not heard anything about it from AAA headquarters. To whom was the offer presented and under what circumstances? Moreover, the room arrangements for San Jose were due to expire on Monday--and we have heard nothing at all about an extension of that deadline. These last minute deals could possibly have made a difference on Thursday, but they are coming too, too late!

The AAA board was under tremendous time pressure to both satisfy the numerous individuals who refused to cross picket lines, and to be stewards of the AAA finances and of the integrity of the annual meeting. Taking a 1.2 million dollar hit was an option, of course, but such a drastic financial action could not responsibly be taken by the board without approval of the entire membership, and there just wasn't time to poll any more than we did. As it was, we took a very audacious financial step in moving to Atlanta. We moved forward with the Atlanta plans with real trepidation because of the financial burdens it would impose on our least wealthy members. The board has moved to set up a special fund for graduate students, foreign visitors and I believe adjunct faculty to offset the costs of moving. I will be the first to contribute.

Added to this was the logistical dilemmas and the additional costs imposed by the San Jose venue, which would require the meetings to be spread over five properties--meeting rooms revised, the whole program reprinted, etc. The AAA staff was reeling at the prospect. Having organized several large meetings, I can tell you that this is not a trivial affair. Just the need for thousands of rooms alone restricts the venues we can consider. The Atlanta venue relocates the meeting to a single property, just like San Francisco, and is scheduled for the same days of the week, just like San Francisco. If we had an army of volunteers to aid the AAA staff, that might have also made a difference in the Atlanta decision, but again--no time to see if it was possible.

Finally, you should all know that the union in San Francisco was satisfied--even pleased by our action, and that no matter where we went or what we did, we would have to use the facilities of the hotel chains that were locking out the hotel workers. We would have had to use Hilton property in San Jose as well, along with the properties of all the other big chains participating in the lockout. No moral victory there!

I seriously suggest that everyone channel their energy into fighting the next battle. You can bet that we will be discussing these plans most earnestly at the meetings. This struggle will not go away. We will now face it every year. Robert O'Brien made some excellent suggestions for policy changes that will protect our organization and our integrity, including revising our meeting schedule (planned a decade in advance!) to reflect corporate labor policy. This strike could not have been foreseen when the original contract with Hilton was signed.

I am living in San Jose this year. I love the city, ink it is a fabulous place for a convention with lots to do, great restaurants and easy access. It also has some very enlightened civic policies. I suggested it as an alternative venue immediately, but the problems in moving here were just insurmountable.

Finally, please be careful with the word "immoral." Once you use it inappropriately against your colleagues who are doing nothing more than trying desperately to act in the best interests of all, it loses its force for things that are truly immoral, like the war in Iraq.

William O. Beeman
Professor, Anthropology; and Theatre, Speech and Dance
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Tel: (401) 863-3251
(2004-2005 Visiting Professor, Cultural and Social Anthropology,
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305)

Protest actions on the AAA decision ot move the AAA conference to Atlanta

This weekend provides a window of opportunity for those who believe that the AAA conference should be held in San Jose as a sign of support to the struggle of labor to protect their collective rights. Although the AAA Board and its officers have informed us that it has agreed to the Hilton proposal to move the conference to a non-unionized hotel in Atlanta in December 2004; most probably no contract has been signed yet (If ever one was signed, contracts can be broken too). A massive show of displeasure at the AAA Board for hastily deciding to relocate/ postpone the conference needs to be achieved.

Further, and I am risking myself by saying this, the discussion, at this point, needs to be expanded to include constituents of anthropologists and this means labor, health, educational, media, academic etc. sectors. Pressure must be laid to bear now not only on the SF Multi-Employer Group (MEG) but the AAA Board to do the moral thing NOW. As already stated/ emailed to you, please support the protest actions by doing the following:

1. Organize ourselves. Many anthropological sections and e-groups/listserves exist. For those that I am participating in, many have voiced opposition to the relocation/ postponement. However, these messages are not reaching the wider anthropological community and the general public.

· Rob O’brien has set up a blog to consolidate all messages. Please visit the blog at, leave your comments and suggestions and vote on the mini-poll they set up. These will be forwarded to the AAA Board.

· Vanessa deKoninck [mailto:
vdekoninck@UCDAVIS.EDU] has also set up a petition online website. Please visit this site at, vote, and leave your comments.

You need to visit BOTH sites. The blog will also be a future reference for anthropologists who want to review and study the actions of the AAA and anthropologists during this period of moral dilemma.

2. The messages you will leave at both sites should also be sent to the following:

· AAA Executive Board

President:Elizabeth M Brumfiel-
President-elect:Alan Goodman-
Archaeology Seat: Carole Crumley-
Biological Seat: Linda Wolfe-
Cultural Seat:Deborah Heath
Linguistic Seat: William O. Beeman-
Minority Seat:Norma Mendoza-Denton-
Practicing/Professional:Dennis W Wiedman-
Student Seat:Jason González-
Undesignated #1: George Marcus-
Undesignated #2:Judith Temkin Irvine-
Undesignated #3:Linda Bennett-
Undesignated #4:Andrea
Undesignated #5:Geoffrey A Clark
Ex-Officio/Section Assembly Convenor: Dan Segal-

Ryan Adams ( has just emailed saying the offer of financial consideration from the San Jose Visitors Convention Bureau has been increased to $450,000. The AAA must seriously consider their offer!

For ease in pasting, just copy and paste the following:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

· UniteHere labor organization- Statement of Support or provide them a copy of your statement. They are under siege now and need any kind of support.

Chris Chafe,
Amanda Cooper,

3. The labor crisis is becoming systemic. Lockouts and/or strikes / sit-downs have occurred in SF, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Boston among others. LA hotels unions are voting whether to strike. It seems the conflict is classic industry giants vs. labor and vulnerable groups. Hence, the media nationwide should be appraised of what is happening. Please send them a copy of your comments as well. Also write your local newspaper, alternative magazine, and other blogs. The following have written articles about the labor incidents. The others are suggested papers to write to. If you have other email addresses to include please send them to us.

· Boston Globe: Diane E. Lewis can be reached at
· Philly News: Contact staff writer Jennifer Moroz at 856-779-3810 or SF Chronicle.E-mail George Raine at
· LA Times c/o Ronald D. White at . (for other LA Times writers, email them using )
· SF Examiner at
· SF Chronicle: E-mail is best. Send to and put "For Open Forum" in the subject line.
Jenny Strasburg, Chronicle Staff Writer:
· Tucson Weekly: EDITOR:
Jimmy Boegle:
Jim Nintzel:,,,,,,,,

4. Interest groups: If you are a member of a minority, immigrant, or women’s group, inform them of what is happening. Send them a copy of your comments. Below is a brief profile of the UniteHere Local 2 workers.

From the article: Workers at a glance
Local 2 represents 4,000 locked-out hotel employees in San Francisco.
Total membership: 12,000 (9,000 in San Francisco, 3,000 in San Mateo County)
Average age: 41
Average wage: $26,000, for non-tipped workers such as housekeepers, cooks and dishwashers.
Ethnicity: One-third Asian, one-third Latino, one-third other (including African American and white)
Average tenure at current job: 11 years*
Average workweek: 35 hours
* For career hotel workers, excluding temporary and transient workers
Source: Unite Here Local 2, San Francisco

Compare this with the Hilton Hotels Corp. a publicly traded corporation (HLT), which had revenues for the first six months of 2004 rising 9% to $2.06B, with net income rising 78% to$112M. It forecasts continued growth until 2010. Stephen F. Bollenback, Co-Chairman and CEO of Hilton earns $3.1 M a year with stock options of $34Million. Hilton’s President and COO, Mathew J. Hart, earns $1.12 Million a year with millions as well in stock options. They can well afford healthinsurance.

Hilton Contact details:
Corporate Media Inquiries/Community Affairs
Hilton Hotels Corporation - Beverly Hills, California

Kathy Shepard - Vice President - Corporate Communications-
Candace Hollis - Manager - Corporate Communications

The window of opportunity exists for anthropologists to act. By force of circumstance, anthropologists have been placed in this situation. What are our priorities, financial security or social justice? Can a middle ground be reached? As Melina Magsumbol writes, anthropologists need to "walk the walk and talk the talk". We are all accountable for our statements, actions, and silence on this issue. History will judge us severely if we do not act.


Transfer of AAA conference to a non-unionized Hilton hotel in Atlanta and the SF hotel lock out

A stakeholder’s influence on a firm depends on the former’s power toinfluence the latter, the legitimacy of the stakeholder’s relationship, andthe urgency of the stakeholder’s issues vis-à-vis the firm. Further, stakeholders mobilize to emphasize individual or group identify and/or protectvested interests. Overlapping membership across relevant stakeholder groupsaffect degree of mobilization. The presence, absence, and intersection ofthese stakeholder attributes determine the degree of stakeholder salience.

Could the AAA Board and officers, its members, and those attending the AAA 2004conference have leveraged its stakeholder salience vis-à-vis the SF hotelworkers lock-out? The future will hold us, as individuals and anthropologists, accountable for how we acted when minority, migrant, and women workers practically asked for the institutional help of the anthropological community in their struggle to protect their rights to organize, secure living wages, and health benefits.

If the hotels could organize the SF Multi-Employer group and lock out theirhotel workers when one hotel went on strike, then why cannot hotel workersalign their collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) nationally? If hotel chains can organize themselves internationally, why can’t workers organize themselves nationally?

Hilton Hotels Corp. a publicly traded corporation (HLT) had revenues for thefirst six months of 2004 rising 9% to $2.06B, with net income rising 78% to $112M. It forecasts continued growth until 2010. Stephen F. Bollenback,Co-Chairman and CEO of Hilton earns $3.1 M a year with stock options of$34Million. Hilton’s President and COO, Mathew J. Hart, earns $1.12 Million a year with millions as well in stock options. They can well afford health insurance.

As I previously wrote, pressure should have been laid to bear on Hilton. Afterall, with an estimated 5,000 participants to the AAA conference, the AAA and the anthropological community, is a formidable sector. It has national and international scope. It has credibility and some form of influence.Anthropologists have families, friends, and relatives who they can also requestto support just living wages and benefits.

The AAA is an aggrieved party as the lock out compromises the integrity of theconference. Moving to a non-unionized hotel during the thick of a hotel labordispute that is becoming systemic nationwide sends the wrong message thatanthropologists, harbingers of society’s norms and actions, are insensitive to the plight of minority, women, and immigrant workers. A nuanced approach should have been undertaken before reaching a decision. This is not a "win-win" approach.

As Cristine Holmberg noted, anthropologists could have been “subversive” without AAA suffering a financial loss. For example, AAA could have clarifiedwith the Hilton what is the minimal usage allowed for it not to sue. The facilities could have been then turned over to labor organizers, activists, and anthropologists engaged with the labor sector to discuss the issues. Therented facilities could have been provided to activists and researchers to dotheir thing or even for press conferences, or debates and town hall meetingsbetween pro and anti lockout views. Paid for hotel rooms could have beenprovided to locked out workers, families who may be spending money shuttlingto and fro the “war zones”. SF will be chilly in November.

The AAA could have then pressured Hilton to agree to the transfer to San Jose using Hilton facilities. After all, the union agreed to the San Jose relocation proposal.

The AAA Board perceives a tight coupling between AAA and Hilton and otherconference sites. Hence it sees little room for strategizing. This tightcoupling should not have been set in the first place had human and labor rightsbeen in place in selecting conference sites. This tight coupling as represented by contracts should be loosened immediately.

Further, the silence of AAA, the Board and its officers, and the anthropology community (as an institution) on this hotel worker lock out is deafening.

The decision to move the conference to a non-unionized Hilton hotel in Atlanta shows how pervasive capital indeed is and how it can manipulate the temporal-spatial continuum.

MAKI BAKA! HUWAG MATAKOT! (Join the struggle! Do not be scared!).


Kudos to the AAA Ex. Board and others for their actions, thoughts, andsuggestions. While I sympathize with AAA’s looming legal and financial woesshould the conference be cancelled, I think the sober legal assessment ofAAA’s lawyers need to be taken in context. We actually have more options than we think. My comments:

1. Does the AAA-Hilton contract state that AAA is committed to uphold thecontract despite the negative publicity to AAA and the respective participantspersonally from crossing the picket line? In other words, in signing thecontract with Hilton, did it mean that the legitimacy of AAA as a “moral,ethical organization” should be disregarded? Why should AAA take the flak for the collapse of Hilton’s labor-management relations?

2. The burden of upholding the contract lies with the Hilton and not the AAA. When AAA signed the contract with Hilton, it signed on the premise that thelatter would provide first-class service. It did not include negativepublicity, potential for interorganizational conflict (with labor and supportgroups), safety issues, and emotional distress for AAA and conferenceparticipants.

3. I would like to assume that AAA only does business with legitimatebusinesses. Does AAA have a standard or criteria for businesses it deals with? If there are ethical standards for anthropologists, green standards, etc.,then AAA should have one for business partners as well. Did Hilton violateany of these standards? If so, then the contract should be reviewed with thegoal of reneging.

4. Going back to legitimacy, does the strike now compromise the legitimacy of Hilton? If Hilton’s actions on the strike are deemed immoral, unethical,illegal (by whom?), AAA, as a direct impact stakeholder, should immediatelywithdraw its relationship with Hilton.

5. AAA can demand that Hilton provide another suitable location without thestrike, but then this would weaken the moral stand of the AAA vis-à-vis theworkers. At this point, what exactly is the stand of the AAA vis-à-vis thestrike? If AAA is wary of taking a stand, it can express deep concern andanxiety to Hilton on the crisis, in effect, leaning on them to resolve theconflict in a mutually beneficial manner.

6. The point is, AAA, which has a huge contract signed with Hilton, is in aposition to pressure Hilton to deal fairly with the workers. Will AAA seize this opportunity? AAA has the power, legitimacy, and urgency to do so (withholding the payments and counter-suing, asking all AAA members to boycottHilton, preparing a critical statement, and the other actions alreadysuggested) to do so. It can demand that Hilton do the right thing NOW.

7. There is no easy way out, with negotiations and conflict resolution. AAAshould look into appraising Hilton and the workers of these discussions. Hilton will be pressured while the workers encouraged. I’m sure otherconference clients of Hilton are doing the same. They are also direct impactstakeholders and are concerned at Hilton’s actions.

8. Media will play a key role here. AAA’s actions will be scrutinized. Should it concede to Hilton and cross the picket line, it’s credibility andlegitimacy will be compromised. Is it worth the $1.3 M? I think AAA shouldlook at counter-legal actions and try to break the contract.

9. Lastly, most of the hotel workers are, aside from being from the lowereconomic class, mostly minorities, women, and immigrants. The Roman CatholicChurch as a preferential option FOR the poor, what’s AAA’s preferential option???

10. There are now 14 locked out hotels. Another 26 are on the strike watchlist. Is the crisis becoming systemic? posted the SFExaminer’s report that the SF Fashion Week conference has been scrapped. Surely, AAA wouldn’t want to be compared to the fashion industry regardingdoing what is right. Here’s the quote:

”A dose of high fashion injected the ongoing hotel labor dispute Monday asworkers and owners clashed over the cancellation of The City's first-ever SanFrancisco International Fashion Week.Event promoters pulled the plug on the glitzy three-day event late Friday night,stating that the lockout at 14 major city hotels had "seriously affected" thehigh-fashion affair.Founder and producer Jacinta Law said picket lines would "compromise theintegrity of the event" and instead she would focus on a spring season show inMarch. She said the lockout would affect "designer accommodations, eventheadquarters, pre-event publicity, press junket, awards luncheon, andpost-event parties that were planned in these hotels."

The pressure should be laid to bear on Hilton and not the AAA. In the meantime,another venue should be seriously considered. Anthropologists should be able to put up with the hassles. It’s the least they could do. Cancellation or postponement should be the last resort. Professors of anthropology should also have their students study this moralityplay and write about it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Sustainability, From Greed is Good to Green is Good

Sustainability, From Greed is Good to Green is Good

Flagstaff, Arizona (7 August 2004)-

Today, the environmental and conservation movement is once again faced with ideological, political, and ecological challenges that could have serious implications on the sustainability of the environment and that of development. Reflective of the present political situation, there is a fierce and often personal debate on the state and effects of air emissions and climate change, how forests and national parks should be managed, what man’s relationship to biodiversity should be, how energy should be developed and utilized, in essence, how development should be sustained. Sustainable development, commonly defined as, meeting the needs of today’s generation without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their needs, has been adopted by competing ideologies, politicians, development agencies, civil society, and big business to push their own respective agenda. What was touted as the template for development in the 21st century has turned into a sober realization that more openness and understanding, humility, magnanimity, discipline, more partnerships are needed not only of individuals, but also of societies and of countries if sustainable development is to be achieved.

Sustainability is an on-going process, a journey, and a learning curve on how it is to be defined and operationalized. The recent Southwest Sustainability Expo, held last week (6-7 August 2004) at the Northern Arizona University in cool and ponderosa pine- covered Flagstaff, Arizona sought to show that sustainable development is real, achievable, and importantly, heading into the mainstream. It has the potential to transform our communities, homes, schools, energy requirements, and for states like Arizona, how to develop within the knowledge economy framework. The Expo’s 93 exhibitors/ sponsors, over 60 speakers, and 74 seminars/ workshops/ tours clearly showed how different sectors of society, from engineering, power, design and architectural firms, schools, government, civil society, Native American communities, and individuals are all seeking to develop the technology, systems, policies, and framework on sustainable development for the 21st century.

The 2004 Southwest Sustainability Expo coincided with the Southwest Renewable Energy Conference for Policy and Technology. Both programs brought together elected officials, industry representatives, renewable energy specialists and manufacturers, academics and researchers, and the general public to discuss and explore how each sector can work with each other to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and to improve the quality of life and of the environment in Arizona.

Apart from promoting awareness, the Expo’s other objective was showing how technological progress in sustainable energy, building, and transportation systems are already being implemented in the market. The congruence of the rising apprehension on the long-term stability of energy sources and energy prices, the rising costs of environmental impacts caused by pollution and resource degradation on the economy and health of the citizenry, the increasing pressure on Congress and government to institute and enforce environmental laws, rules, and regulations and the developments in environment-friendly and affordable technology, are creating the critical mass for the mainstreaming of sustainable systems.

Oil Supply Situation

In his keynote speech, Randy Udall of the prominent political family of Arizona, author, and Director of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) based in Aspen, Colorado, as well as in Solar Energy International and Colorado Renewable Energy Society, soberly yet wittingly informed us that the U.S. has already consumed 65% of about 260 Billion gallons of oil produced within its borders as of year 2000, with peak production reached in 1970. Texas itself has used up 80% of its reserves as of 1998, so much so that it is now spending $5-6 billion a year to import oil. The American Petroleum Institute, according to Udall, stressed that the 31 states, which produce oil, have all passed their peaks such as Oklahoma in 1927, Colorado in 1956, Wyoming in 1970, and Alaska in 1988. The U.S. currently imports five supertankers, each carrying a volume of two million barrels, daily.

Global oil production is expected to peak between 2010-2020. Udall has written that about 794 billion barrels of oil have been consumed to date, with 991 billions barrels in reserve, and another 487 billion barrels to be found. The optimistic say that technology and man’s creativity (as well as tens of billions of precious dollars) will lead to further oil finds, but these will either be thousands of kilometers outside of the U.S. such as in Russia’s Caspian Sea or thousands of meters (5,000-10,000 ft) deep in the ocean floor such as in the Gulf. Except for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a few deep-water basins, most of the reserves in the U.S. have been used up, in Udall’s words, like Swiss cheese. Why Swiss cheese, because of the 4.6 million oil wells drilled worldwide, 3.4 million have already been drilled in the U.S.

At present consumption rates, 180 billion barrels would have been consumed in the U.S. by the 1950-2020 baby boomers generation raised on the automobile and suburban lifestyle.

The other and more serious complication is that the U.S. is currently using 25% of the world’s oil supplies while the other industrialized nations are using way less at the moment, i.e. Japan (8%), China (5%), Russia (4%), Germany (4%), S. Korea (3%), England (3%), France (3%), and Italy (3%). The major oil producing countries are Saudi Arabia (26%), Iraq (10%), Kuwait (10%), Abu Dhabi (9%), Iran (9%) Mexico (6%), Valenzuela (5%), the former Soviet Union (5%), and the U.S. (3%), most of which are not exactly on friendly terms with the U.S., unless you count the close personal ties of the Saudi ruling family and the Bush family.

China Crisis

Just taking China (pop. 1.226 Billion in 1995) as a specific case, Udall stressed that the country will be hosting the 2008 Olympics. Hence, it will be building at least eight (8) cities, each the size of Boston. Unlike Greece 2004, it is seeking to finish construction two years early. China is also planning to build two power plants every 12 weeks for the next 30 years. At present, it has auto ownership figures of the U.S. in 1913. However, following the American automobile culture, it is registering 30,000 vehicles weekly in Beijing alone. And this is China only. What about India with close 1.1 billion people and rapidly progressing? Japan? South Korea? Once Africa solves it problems and Europe gets over its economic slump, economic activities are expected to increase, thereby increasing oil and energy consumption, as well as prices.

Renewable Energy

The Expo’s theme is that there are alternatives to the looming energy supply crisis, aside from going to war in the Middle East, and that is by increasingly adopting energy efficient and renewable energy systems. Solar and wind energy, it seems, have overcome its stigma of high capital costs and complex maintenance procedures. The price of photovoltaic cells has fallen 50% in the past 10 years and is expected to fall down by as much as 5% annually (Shell Solar’s goal) as the cost of silicon wafers decreases. Solar use is expected to grow 15% annually, after achieving 30% growth so far (Shell 2003). State rebates of up to 55%, income tax credits, net metering can help recover the approximately $12,000 solar electric system that a typical family in Arizona, California, Delaware, Oregon, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island is expected to spend (Altair Energy), in lieu of the absence of action from Congress and the administration on promoting renewable energy systems.

For wind power, updated wind maps, the reduction of equipment costs, more modern, and even home-sized wind electric systems, and an increasingly organized maintenance and operations systems make it a feasible project for homes, schools, Native American utility companies, and local governments. Wind turbines can generate 250-300 kilowatts of power, which is 10x more efficient than the traditional European windmill (APS).

Other forms of renewable energy production (RE) discussed extensively were the successful use of biogas from CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) and landfills (methane), geothermal energy, biomass (from forest thinning operations) in different parts of the state by different entities from Arizona Public Service (APS), Sandia National Laboratories, to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA). Notably, biomass (plant matter) RE systems now account for 7,000 MW of installed capacity, which is the second most utilized renewable power generation source in the U.S. In alternative automobile fuels, the use of hydrogen, compressed natural gas, electric, biodiesel/ bio-oil fuels were presented. Twenty-five (25) hydrogen-fueling stations have been set up the U.S. with another 53 in Europe, Asia, and Australia. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an Executive Order last April 20, 2004 calling for the completion of a hydrogen transportation network throughout the state by the year 2010 (H2Nation, 2004).

Green Building

Apart from RE, the Expo emphasized the need for green buildings not only to use energy more efficiently, but to maintain and improve the health and productivity of building occupants. Buildings account for 40% of the raw materials used annually in the global economy (including 25-35% of wood used), 30-40% of the energy used and emissions generated, 35-45% of municipal solid wastes, and 25% of water used (Chuck Burke-ADEQ). Clearly better use of resources is required. For example, a 5% improper installation of insulation translates into 50% heat/cooling loss.

“Sick” school buildings, those with poor indoor air quality, have caused 10 million school days lost to asthma attacks in U.S. children and poor academic performance. In fact, the sleepy schoolchild syndrome, experienced daily between 2-3 p.m. is partly attributable to poor air quality. The focus on school buildings is evident in studies that show that a high performance school building which has an integrated design, day lit classrooms, good indoor air, green building materials (no off-gassing), sustainable site planning, and ecological solid waste management, has resulted in a 20% and 26% increase in math and reading skills and 30% energy savings, especially in light of the fact that 76% of U.S. schools are in need of repairs. After all, as Chuck Burke of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality states, “schools are the heartbeat of a community”.

The increasing coordination, cooperation, partnering, discussions, and the exchange of information among many sectors of society and the different disciplines are leading to exciting and groundbreaking projects in sustainability and RE systems. With a healthy dose of political will and new policy thrusts, private sector and technological innovation, increasing research and development, and a supportive market, RE systems can have a bright future not only in the U.S., but also in the world. After all, Europe is planning to source 10% of its energy needs from RE. Shell seeks 20%. Honda and Toyota have forged ahead with hybrid fuel vehicle systems.

RE Successes

Successes in RE systems are evident. U.S. EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency,) Energy STAR program (March 2004) has documented the prevention of an estimated 48 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the annual emissions of 30 million automobiles and 175,000 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in 2003. Consumers and businesses have purchased or committed to $14 billion of investments in energy-efficient technologies, which translated into $9 billion in savings for 2003 alone. In 2003, 115 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) and 20,000 megawatts (MW) of peak power (the amount needed to power 20 million homes) were saved. Savings of about $108 Billion are expected over the next 10 years from these energy saving technologies and systems. About 1,400 manufacturers have achieved Energy STAR labeling across 28,000 individual product models in 40 product categories, with one billion Energy STAR products purchased. EPA’s Green Power Partnership has 230 partners committed to purchasing more than one billion kWh of green power (equivalent to the annual output of a 425 MW wind farm).

Further, EPA reports that more than 2,000 builders have constructed 200,000 Energy STAR qualified new homes to date resulting in an estimated homeowner energy savings of $50 million annually. The same performance rating has been used to evaluate almost 19,000 buildings (33% hospitals, 24% supermarkets, 19% office, 18% schools, 5% hotels), with 14,00 buildings earning the Energy STAR rating. Lastly, 53 organizations have joined EPA’s Climate Leaders and committed to aggressive long-term goals of reducing their greenhouse emissions.

Implications for the Philippines

What are the implications for the Philippines considering rising oil prices, power rates, and a looming power shortage crisis? The nation has to leapfrog into a more sustainable energy development program and not copy the pollutive path taken by the developed countries. For one, how long can we afford to compete with the other countries for oil or coal imports as our primary energy sources? Energy efficiency and conservation measures go hand in hand with the development of RE systems. The approach must be holistic, participatory, and multisectoral. Encourage at all levels investments in energy conservation and efficiency systems, i.e. from new to old buildings, use of these equipment and products, and in encouraging communities to adopt these technologies/ systems. Existing buildings can be sources of power. For example, on top of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality building parking structure consists of 900 fixed solar panels on its roof which not only provide 204,120 kWh annually but prevents emissions of 190,648 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2), 414 lbs of sulfur dioxide (SOx), 424 lbs nitrogen oxides (NOx), and 14.29 particulates a year.

Two, government should work with concerned groups in developing the informational database, rating, and labeling system for the most cost-effective and efficient products and systems.

Three, encourage invention and innovation in indigenous power generation technology and systems. The Philippines has been recognized as number five in geothermal energy development and is expected to be number two in a few years time. While environmental impact issues hindered some projects, the hard lessons of the past should pave the way for better-run facilities. Since these facilities are also located in upland areas inhabited by indigenous peoples (IP), a training and educational program to develop IP energy engineers should be initiated in the hope of creating their own utility cooperative similar to the Native American utility companies.

Companies such as the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Shell Solar Phils. and some members of the Lopez family (who are participating in the natural gas program) have pioneered either wind power or solar power generation in Ilocos, Palawan, and in other remote areas. This is commendable and should be further encouraged through a reevaluation of incentives. Further, information on our suitable solar and wind power sites should be disseminated not only to other investors but to local communities and organizations who may be interested in initiating their own programs and even uploaded into the Web. With over 1,000 of the country’s 7,100 islands inhabited, there should be enough investment space for those interested.

Fourth, as the developed countries shift into hybrid or more efficient vehicles, so should the Philippines. Let us avoid the temptation of importing these soon-to-be dumped (at significantly discounted rates) vehicles and leapfrog into clean and highly efficient vehicles. Toyota and Honda Philippines should be encouraged to bring their hybrid vehicles into the country. General Motors, Mercedes Benz, Ford, and Soletria Corp. are all either developing CNG-based, biofuel, hydrogen electric, or fuel-cell cars. I think Philippine engineers, physicists and agricultural engineers, are in a position to develop or build on biofuels, electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell engines technology that is currently being developed in Japan, the U.S. and in Europe. The lead of Subic Bay Metropolitan Administration (SBMA) in using CNG taxis serves as a good example.

Knowledge management (KM) will play a large role in the country’s quest for sustainable and renewable energy systems. The Expo introduced us to companies carrying multiple lines of interrelated RE products and services. This indicates to us that technology and service providers see the need to provide a holistic approach to RE systems to a diverse but growing clientele base. All have uploaded their products, service, and non-proprietary knowledge into the Web.

We have no choice but to develop these and other indigenous energy sources. With rising global population and increasing global economic activities, continuing to import oil and coal will simply be economically and environmentally disastrous. This is a national, multi-sectoral, and multi-generational effort. As Jim Underwood, the Sunrise (documentary on solar energy development) filmmaker told us, solar use will take many forms and involve many different types of groups from government agencies such as NASA, Coast Guard, Navy to farms and households. One thing is certain though; solar (and other RE sources) energy sources are here to stay. Randy Udall said it best that humans have a cultural affinity and desire to produce or make things, and producing renewable energy is one such desire that should be encouraged.

Twelve years since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (1992), 17 years since the publication of “Our Common Future”/Brundtland Report (1987), 22 years since the enactment of the U.N. World Charter for Nature (1982), 32 years since the Stockholm Conference on Development (1972), 34 years since the first Earth Day celebration (1970), and 42 years since Rachel Carson’s The Silent Spring (1962), among others, the dialogue on environment, development, technology, and social justice continues. This dialogue has taken many forms and involved different kinds of individuals, organizations, and communities. During those heady days of the environmental movement, with the backdrop of the Vietnam War, the oil price shocks and energy crisis, the numerous ecological catastrophes, and the deconstruction of everything by the youth, academia, intellectuals, and critics, the environmental movement attracted some of the most committed, passionate, creative, and stubborn people in the planet. Thanks to those people, organizations, and communities and to the resilience of the environment, we all still live in a place that is habitable and can still meet our needs as individuals and as a society.

Randy Udall in a presentation entitled “When Will the Joyride End?” (nd) writes, “By 2050 a world of perhaps nine billion people will be consuming only as much oil as three billion did in 1950. There will be three times less oil per person. Oil will be more expensive. Is this a Doomsday message? Not necessarily. A more sustainable world may actually be a better place in which to live. The difficulty is getting from here to there.”

Sunday, August 01, 2004

'Apo' Bill Longacre: A Friend to Filipinos

published at BusinessWorldOnline

MANILA, PHILIPPINES | Monday, August 2, 2004

'Apo' Bill Longacre: A Friend to Filipinos

Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
University of Arizona

Last 13 December 2003, 40 years after receiving his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Chicago and after being invited by the late eminent Emil J. Haury to teach archaeology at the University of Arizona (U. of A) Department of Anthropology; a roast and scholarship fundraiser was held for Dr. William "Bill" A. Longacre at the historic Manning House in Tucson, Arizona.

The successful launch of the W.A. Longacre Scholarship Fund for anthropology students at the same university honors Bill Longacre, who retired in June 2004 after a very accomplished career in the field of archaeology and anthropological education.

Many of the top archaeologists and anthropologists from all over the United States such as Raymond Thompson, Ezra Zubrow, P. Bion-Griffin, Norman Yoffee, Bill Rathje, John Olsen, Alan Sullivan, Patty Jo Watson, Margaret Nelson, Steven Kuhn, and others paid homage while roasting him that night.

Members of the Filipino-American Students Association (FASA) at the University of Arizona also provided a selection of Philippine ethnic dances to the delight of Bill Longacre and the guests.

Bill Longacre, Uncle Willie to generations of students at the U. of A, Tito Bill or Apo Bill to his students at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, in Kalinga, Sorsogon, Ilocos, and Dumaguete, among other locations in the Philippines, is one of the foremost archaeologists, not only in the United States, but in the world.

His accomplishments are legendary and span the theoretical and philosophical debates in archaeology in the 1950s, New Archaeology in the 1960s and 70s, and ethnoarchaeology in the 1980s, where his pottery research in Kalinga provided much fertile ground for the crystallization of the new theoretical field.

Bill started his academic career the day after getting his doctorate, when the U. of A hired him to teach and direct the long-established and highly regarded Grasshopper Field School in Arizona for the next 13 years. His work as Field School Director resulted in numerous publications including student dissertations and theses.

In one pueblo (town) ruin called the Carter Ranch Site, Longacre and his colleagues conducted one of the first case studies of "New Archaeology," wherein the distribution of painted pottery decoration was studied to learn more about the social organization of the pueblo residents.

Longacre with Paul Martin and his colleagues argued that pottery decoration could infer what gender made the pots, how pottery making skills were passed on through the generations, whether marriage was exogamous or not and so on, in other words, were micro-traditions in pottery decorations reflecting learning frameworks in a society (Longacre 1991)

When other archaeologists began to critique the theoretical foundations of New Archaeology, Bill initiated fieldwork in the Province of Kalinga; northern Philippines in 1973 to further explore the relations between material culture and human behavior. Bill recognized that the archaeological record may not directly reflect where and how pottery was made, used, and discarded.

Studying a present society that had a pottery production and use tradition could provide the desired information. The upland barangays (villages) of Dangtalan and Dalupa, Municipality of Pasil in Kalinga provided the ideal study sites, and the long-term Kalinga Ethnoarchaeological Project (KEP) was borne after a 1973 initial scoping trip.

Research continues to this date with many Filipino, American, and Asian archaeologists and graduate students studying and producing articles, books, theses, and dissertations on how indigenous peoples manufacture, use, and trade pottery in ways that resemble prehistoric societies.

Pottery studies provide many facets of the relationships between "variation in material culture and variation in behavior and organization" (Longacre 1991).

Specific areas studied by Longacre, his colleagues, and students include a strong link between age of potter and degree of complexity of pottery decoration, use-life of different types pf pots (larger pots survive longer than younger pots) as a dating tool, vessel breakage characteristics, refuse disposal behaviors, the phenomena of the switch to metal pots, craft specialization, even basketry production, and the implications of ecological and economic factors on pottery production, use, and distribution.

The 30-year old Kalinga research project (and still ongoing) has been used, referred to, and formed the basis for other research projects of an ethnoarchaeological nature. In fact, the Arizona State Museum has an extensive collection of Philippine materials and has permanently allotted a portion of its exhibition area to the Kalinga project, even though the museum's focus is primarily on the cultures of the Native Americans.

This Sigma Xi scholar's work at Grasshopper and Kalinga has been widely acclaimed. In 1971, while a visiting professor at Yale University, he was named Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Palo Alto, California. Later on, he was an Adjunct Professor for nearly a decade at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where several of his students now teach. He served as the Head of the Department of Anthropology at the U. of A from 1989 to 1998 and raised over a million dollars for scholarships. He was named the Fried A. Riecker Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and held the Chair until June 2004.

In 1994, he and former U. of A graduate student Patricia Crown were awarded the first Excellence in Ceramic Research given by the Society for American Archaeology. He was elected an Honorary Member of the American Ceramic Society in 1997. He was, until his retirement, the Director of Graduate Studies of the department. Tucson's Mayor recently awarded him a plaque of appreciation for scholarly excellence.

He was appointed visiting professor in the University of the Philippines, Diliman in the early 1980s, where he taught archaeology during the 1st semester of every year. In 1994, he also taught at Silliman University, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental (Central Visayas). Many of the anthropologists/ archaeologists, including the author, have benefited from his lectures, comments, and advices.

His research in Kalinga has brought the place worldwide renown. The Kalinga Ethnoarchaeological Project (KEP) is a familiar refrain when ethnoarchaeological issues and studies are discussed. Because of Bill, there is a new generation of archaeologists who have made their names through their work in Kalinga, Sorsogon, and Ilocos Sur, such as James Skibo, Miriam Stark, Marc Neuport, Margaret Beck, Matt Hill, Ramon Silvestre, K. Quimpo, among others.

Not one to brag, but known only to his close friends and students, Bill is someone who has been generous not only with his knowledge, but with his time, and resources. He has financially supported countless American and Asian students, as well as Filipino students, both at the U. of A. and at UP. He is known to lobby and write letters of support for the student visas of Filipino students at the US embassy, to the point of accompanying them to the consul interview (and ask for scholarship donations from the consuls themselves!).

At the U. of A, his office is a virtual hangout of his students, including a handful of Asian and Filipino graduate students who have access to numerous book shelves of anthropological and archaeological books and papers. Every year when he returns to the Philippines, he does not fail to bring and donate boxes of books and resources for the UP Anthropology Department library, while purchasing Filipiniana books for the Arizona State Museum library (which is inside the U. of A. campus).

In the late '90s, after many years of lecturing at UP for free, the then enlightened Department chair insisted that Bill be paid a salary for his lectures no matter that it was a pittance for someone of his stature. Bill promptly used his UP salary to treat the faculty and staff and buy equipment, materials and books for the department. In fact, he donated one anthropology fieldschool's printer and computer.

In Kalinga, Bill used his own funds to help finance the schooling of Kalinga youth, provided research employment, financed the construction of various local infrastructure projects, brought in countless boxes of medicines, and help support the local economy in many ways. His graduate students have emulated his generosity in their own ways. Bill has been generous to a fault and never took offense when his generosity was abused.

Never one to lose his scruples, legend has it that one day in his Kalinga abode, some communist rebels came and demanded money from him. He haggled down the PhP100,000 demand to several thousands and with a cool demeanor, demanded a written receipt prior to "payment" as he had to liquidate the amount to the funding agency.

In retirement, Bill will be spending more time in the Philippines hopefully to continue his 1st semester courses at UP and to supervise some of his U. of A students who will be doing field research in the country.

Word has it though, that Apo Bill is being given the bureaucratic run around at UP. This would be a shame and tragedy if the free and sincere services of this world-class archaeologist and educator will not be availed of by UP. It is about time that UP, and the educational and anthropological communities in the Philippines, recognize his invaluable contribution to the field of archaeology in general and Philippine archaeology in particular.

Mabuhay ka, Apo Bill, at maraming, maraming salamat!

Friday, July 30, 2004

“I am John Kerry and I am reporting for duty”

“I am John Kerry and I am reporting for duty.” With that opening statement and a salute, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry officially accepted the Democratic Party nomination as United States presidential candidate. The 46-minute speech, dubbed Kerry’s speech of his life, was undoubtedly optimistic (expected), inspiring, and can be considered a defining moment of Kerry’s campaign. Taken at face value, this speech laid his campaign platform and as former U.S. President Bill Clinton noted, distinguishes Democrat ideals and values from that of Republicans. Conservative New York Times columnist David Brookes had to admit that the speech and delivery was so good that it sounded Theodore Roosevelt Republicanesque. Indeed, President Bush will be hard pressed to match this nomination acceptance speech given the country’s current economic problems, healthcare crisis, and the Iraq and Afghanistan quagmire.

This last day of the four-day Democratic National Convention at the Fleet Center in historic Boston, Massachusetts provided a very exciting, up-beat, and climatic Kerry speech. Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva nominated Kerry and at the same time was critical of Bush’s economic and war- on-terrorism programs. Defeated rival candidates Senator Joe Lieberman (the first Jewish-American Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee) and retired General Wesley Clark, as well as California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright all gave classy speeches talking about the courage, integrity, and dedication to public service of Kerry. Kerry’s daughters Vanessa and Alexandra portrayed him as a loving and principled father and public servant. Prior to the introductory speech of former Georgia Senator Max Cleland, himself a Vietnam veteran and amputee, Kerry’s Navy Swift boat crew was introduced on stage. Jim Rassmann, the Green Beret pulled out of the Mekong River by Kerry when they were ambushed, also gave a short spiel on Kerry’s bravery and leadership skills. Rassman, by the way, is a disillusioned registered Republican. McClelland’s speech was touching and inspiring, especially when he described what he went through (lost both legs and right arm) and how he turned his life into one of service.

If anyone had doubts that Kerry would be not take a stand on the controversial issues of the present, this speech, using his Vietnam experiences, defined which side of the Mekong River he and the Democrats are on. He noted that his parent’s generation was the greatest generation, winning WWII and the Cold War and keeping the peace for over 50 years. He repeated that Americans are a “can do” people and have dreamt audacious goals and achieved those dreams. Kerry emphasized honesty and values, which must be exercised first by the President. Government, from the President downwards, need to be tell the truth to the American people, from the mistakes in the Iraq war, the rise of resentment against the United States, the true state of the economy, the environmental and the healthcare crises, among others.

While not personally attacking President Bush, he promised though, that his Vice-President would not “secretly meet with polluters” and his Attorney General will “uphold the Constitution”. He would not shirk from asking the hard questions and would demand the answers. He also stressed that he would only lead the nation to war “not because we want to, but because we have to”. Kerry stressed that for the U.S. to win the war on terrorism, the U.S. must be strong both economically and in homeland security. Importantly, according to Kerry, the U.S. needs a new President with the credibility and the skills to restore alliances with other countries. Kerry, like the other speakers, before him, noted that never has the U.S. been so isolated and despised as today because of how the Iraq situation has been handled.

As Kerry put it plainly, the coming elections are very important for the country because the “stakes are very high”. Assuming Kerry follows through with his stated commitments if he is elected, fundamental policy changes will happen on the war on terrorism, as well as a reconsideration of its international commitments on environment, human rights, and trade, among others. Both Kerry and Edwards noted the need for special forces to combat terrorism, which is an implicit admission that the war on terrorism is a low-intensity, localized affair that is heavily dependent on intelligence/counter-intelligence.

Implications for the Philippines

The U.S. presidential election and that of the Australian national elections later this year will hinge on how the situation in Iraq and other arenas of the war on terrorism continue to unfold. At this point, the Bush, Blair, and even the presumptuous Howard administrations are under constant criticism for the failure to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the primary reason for invading Iraq. Further, the continuous revelations of prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo by U.S. soldiers and new revelations on abuses by British soldiers, the perception of favoritism in awarding reconstruction contracts, and other reports of irregularities have severely eroded the moral high the U.S., U.K., and Australia claimed to have in invading Iraq.

Australian PM Howard’s administration, for example, has been accused of denying and then covering up prior knowledge of the Abu Ghraib abuses. Some British soldiers were recently court-martialed on charges of murdering in cold blood Iraqi civilians, while an American decorated soldier was recently charged with theft of a SUV. Add to this an ex-CIA officer’s assessment of rising Islamic hatred of the “invading infidels” because of their presence in “the two holiest places in Islam, the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq,” (American Conservative 2004), more terrorist incidents are expected. Their positions then are very tenuous compared to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has a fresh six-year mandate.

These dynamics provide President GMA with the leverage in dealing with the harsh words of U.S. and Australian officials on the withdrawal of the Filipino military contingent. Should these officials continue to malign the Philippines in brazen violation of diplomatic protocol, then the GMA administration is in a position to publicly call into question the probity of the Iraq invasion and the inherent weakness of the program of “winning the peace in Iraq”. Hers will be one of an increasing number of voices criticizing Bush, Blair, and Howard. There is a sense here, if Michael Moore’s blockbuster film is reflective of this emerging realization, that the Iraq debacle could have been handled more professionally and more forthrightly. In other words, GMA’s officials should take into consideration the scenario of new administrations in the U.S., U.K., and Australia by next year.

Watching and listening to the speeches and various commentaries were spine-tingling and learning experiences to this politically jaded observer. Taken at face value and if good speeches can translate into votes, the speeches given by various Democrats and their charisma, from Hillary Rodham Clinton to Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, to Teresa Heinz Kerry, and others, and to John Edwards, and John Kerry today , the Democrats should be able to regain the White House in November. I’ll write more about their speeches in future pieces as I look forward to the Republican National Convention.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

What is Effective Microorganisms (EM)?

1.0 What is Effective Microorganisms (EM)?

EM is short for Effective Microorganisms. EM are a group of heterogeneous microorganisms composed primarily of Photosynthetic bacteria, Ray fungi, Yeast, and Lactic acid bacteria, that affect the world of nature in a positive manner. These organisms are soil-borne, free-living and of the beneficial type. “By extension, EM is also the term applied to the liquid concentrate comprising very large numbers of such effective microorganisms that have been extracted from the natural world and coexists harmoniously in a liquid state” (Higa, 1994).

EM research and application was started in Japan by Dr. Teruo Higa through his research efforts in reducing the over dependence of Japanese farmers on ultimately destructive harmful chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides and pesticides being currently used. He eventually concluded that microorganisms of different strains determine the quality, whether good or bad, of the receiving environment. Dr. Higa’s EM are comprised of 80 different strains taken from 10 distinct genera belonging to five different families. It can exist in both aerobic and anaerobic states (with and without air) and can easily be produced from household organic wastes and a little dose of EM liquid concentrate. EM in liquid form is formed at high pressure with a pH of 3.5.

The applications of EM are numerous and can raise the quality of life anywhere and with minimal investment. It raises agricultural productivity, provides an alternative to solid wastes and wastewater disposal and management, makes the livestock industry a cleaner and more efficient industry and can basically improve the health and hygiene of communities and of farm animals- all through natural means. The technology is currently being employed in 51 countries worldwide, including Japan, United States, Brazil, Thailand and now in the Philippines.

2.0 Application/ Current Uses

EM was initially developed and used as a microbial inoculant for soil conditioning and agriculture throughout the 1970s and 1980s but at the experimental and research stage. It was found to be an “effective tool for manipulating and managing the overall microbial ecology of complex and diverse systems” (EMTech). EM is a versatile technology and can be used in soil conditioning, crop and livestock production, aquaculture, bioremediation of industrial wastes, and as a de-odorizer in markets, homes, offices, garbage transfer stations and landfills.

A number of farms planted to rice, vegetables, sugarcanes, banana and other crops are currently using EM and there are testimonies that harvests have increased, produce were of high and safe quality and soils became more productive have been gathered. In addition, many livestock raisers (poultry, swine, quail) are using EM as feed and water additive, deodorizer and as an important ingredient in organic fertilizer production. EM is also used by operators in prawn, bangus, tilapia and lapu-lapu production in many areas of the country, whether in cages, fishponds or in brackish culture. Many progressive local government units, including those in Metro Manila, are utilizing EM technology as a deodorizer of solid wastes in transfer stations and in landfills.

3.0 How does EM work?

During the last 50 years, microorganisms have been used extensively to advance medical technology, improve human and animal health, make food processing efficient and safe, advance genetic engineering and agricultural technology, contribute to environmental protection, and more recently, effectively treat and manage agricultural and municipal wastes. These have been well documented. The success is possible because certain microorganisms interact in a positive or beneficial manner in the environment they are in, be it, the soil, flora, fauna, water or air. (Parr,1995). Controlling diseases or pathogens in the receiving environment and decomposing wastes pollutants are significant contributions of beneficial microorganisms.

In developing EM, Dr. Teruo Higa has been able to isolate over 80 different strains of effective microorganisms/ beneficial taken from 10 distinct genera belonging to five different families. It is precisely this heterogeneity among the various microorganisms that give EM its amazing and wide-ranging effects. In fact, no particular limit is placed on the number of microorganisms used in EM. Apart from the advantage of having a heterogeneous group of beneficial microorganisms (EM), it is the regenerative quality of these microorganisms that enable the quality of anything such as the soil, the air or even the human body to be raised to a more positive level.

Another property of EM is that it demonstrates the ability of aerobic (existing with air/oxygen) and anaerobic (without air/oxygen) bacteria to coexist, which, until recently, was thought of to be impossible. Bacteria of opposing types, when together, act in mutually beneficial and complementary manner. Anaerobic bacteria/ microorganisms bring about decay in organic matter; whereas, other types of microorganisms can cause fermentation[1] of the same organic matter, hastening its transformation into useful substances. It is also a very effective anti-oxidant, that is, it has anti-aging and disease-suppressing components by limiting the activities of oxidants (activated oxygen)[2].

Thus, “microorganisms are in abundance everywhere and have a large influence on biological and chemical qualities such as the extent of putrefaction, fermentation, disease and oxidation of any system." (EMTech). EM technology has recognized these properties and is using these properties to raise the overall quality of the environment.

4.0 How effective is EM?

EM is currently being used in 51 countries for a variety of uses delineated above. In livestock production, the use of EM microbial inoculant holds great promise including its effectivity in improving production performance, odor control, waste management, sanitation, and manure fertilizer production. It is also an anti-oxidant. Basically, it:

· eliminates foul odor;
· prevents disease development & epidemic;
· treats waste to pass allowable discharge criteria;
· improves growth rat, increases weaning rate / adult fertility;
· decreases mortality rate;
· improves quality of produce (e.q. taste, texture, smell); and,
· helps convert animal waste into organic fertilizer.

Reports received from a field testing in a hog farm in the Province of Iloilo, Philippines note that the application of EM technology has resulted in a signifcant reduction of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) from an initial level of 4,300 ppm to 165 ppm and then to 90 ppm. Upon recommendation of further aeration of the settling ponds to complement the EM inoculation, the BOD level, after the two-month trial period, was reported at only 3.0 ppm (the DENR standard is 50 ppm). The hog farm did not have a Sequential Batch Reactor (SBR) to treat its wastewater. In the Holiday Hills II and Domino Stock and Breeding Farms in the Province of Laguna, Philippines, there has been a noticeable drop in malodor. Last 09 October 2000, Universal Robina Corporation (URC) of the Gokongwei group issued a certification of the successful use of EM in controlling odor from their hog farms.

A five (5)-month study conducted by the International Training Center on Pig Husbandry (ITCPH) in Lipa City, Province of Batangas, Philippines in 1995-1996 concluded that EM was an effective way of improving the production performance of fatteners and that a higher average daily gain and a lower feed conversion ratio can be attained. This was due to the considerable drop in ammonia levels and pathogenic microbial count, the former a significant factor in respiratory problem management and odor problems, the latter a factor in cases of infection (ITCPH: Buizon, 1996)

The cities of Manila and Lipa have likewise recently issued (23 and 07 August 2000 respectively) certifications as to the use and effectiveness of EM in deodorizing and disinfecting the solid wastes (garbage) being collected daily.

In farming, experiments in other countries have demonstrated the effectiveness of EM in controlling erosion, reducing irrigation, increasing higher water infiltration and water holding capacity, reducing compaction of the soil, suppressing attack by soil pathogens, reducing use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, herbicides etc. Agricultural products such as vegetables, citrus, rice, cut-flowers, wheat, peas, bamboo, banana etc. have been experimented on with the use of EM. Experiments in the use of EM for golf courses have been successful in golf courses both in the U.S. and here in the Philippines.

5.0 Is EM safe?

EM has been thoroughly tested in most countries where it is in use. In the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has categorized all microorganisms in EM as generally recognized as safe (GRAS); while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has categorized most of the microorganisms as food grade microorganisms (EMTech).

In the Philippines, the Clinical Laboratory Report (05 May 1995) of the Toxicity Test issued by the Director of Bureau of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture stated that the Kyusei EM-1 Liquid and EM Bokashi (solid), had “no untoward effect on laboratory animals. All inoculated mice were apparently healthy and alive.” The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of EM produced in the U.S. is enclosed.

Kyusei[3] EM-1 is currently being produced here in the Philippines, utilizing locally available substrates. The original “seed” comes from Japan. The “seed” is composed of live beneficial microorganisms carefully selected from the list of the so called 2000 “beneficial microorganisms”. The National Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (BIOTECH), University of the Philippines at Los Baños, the accountable agency mandated by the Philippine government to handle products of this kind, tested/evaluated Kyusei EM-1 and found out that this microorganisms are the same, types of microorganisms found in the soils, regardless of the country of origin.

EM has successfully passed the standards in the United States of America where the environmental concern is far advanced than any other countries in the world. The Agricultural Research Service of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has conducted laboratory, greenhouse and field tests with Kyusei EM-1 and has found it to be a mixed culture of common microorganisms often found in agricultural soils including mainly Lactobacillus spp., photosynthetic bacteria, yeast and actinomycetes (Parr, J. F., 1995). These microorganisms are not “engineered” nor the exotic types, and are not known to be harmful to plants, animals or humans.

Research conducted by scientists in other countries, including the Asia-Pacific region, has shown that EM is very useful in rehabilitating deteriorated soils brought about by intensive cultivation and application of harmful agricultural chemicals. This has led to the proliferation of the pathogenic types of microbes, as manifested by the occurrence of diseases in plants and animals.

Several scientists in different countries have shown that the application of EM improved the microbial diversity in agricultural soils and even improved the population of inherent beneficial microbes therein. This shows that EM cannot cause the extinction of any inherent microbe in a certain locality. Besides microbial taxonomy is generally not based on locality. A Lactobacillus acidophilus found in Japan or in the United States of America is the same Lactobacillus acidophilus that can be found in the Philippines.


[1] Fermentation is essentially an “anaerobic process by which facultative microorganisms (e.g., yeasts) transform complex organic molecules (e.g. carbohydrates) into simple organic compounds that often can be absorbed directly by plants.” The process yields a relatively small amount of energy compared to aerobic decomposition, which results in complete oxidation that releases large amounts of energy, gas, heat with carbon dioxide and water. Putrefaction is somewhat the reverse of fermentation in which “facultative heterotrophic microorganisms decompose proteins anaerobically, yielding malodorous incompletely oxidized, metabolites (e.g. ammonia, mercaptans and indole) that are often toxic to plants and animals.” (Higa and Parr, 1994)

[2] Activated oxygen attacks the cell by oxidizing the unsaturated fatty acid to lipid peroxide which causes the cell membrane to malfunction. Oxidation is the process by which a molecule gives up electrons and become unstable. Thus, in the cell membrane, oxidation causes the unsaturated fatty acids to give up its electrons, and consequently, its stability.

[3] Japanese for “saving the world”