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Archive for September, 2008

We recently had a visitor from Sibuyan Island, located near the Philippine province of Romblon.

Pitcher plant (nepenthes sibuyanensis). Picture from wikimedia commons

Pitcher plant, endemic to Sibuyan. Picture from wikimedia commons

The small island has not one but two mountains, both covered in lush forests. A river so clear that you could see pebbles ten feet below the surface. Hundreds of species of trees and plants. Bats, mammals, fish, birds. It’s hard to keep accurate counts, since biologists keep stumbling on new species.

Unfortunately, the island is also rich in minerals like iron and nickel. And since the passage of the Mining Act of 1995, foreign-owned mining corporations have been hard at work turning the “Galapagos of Asia” to a wasteland.

But Sibuyan has two things going for it. First, said our visitor, residents love their island. They are challenging the mining corporations, seeking legal blocks to the extraction, protesting the environmental damage. And they do so at great risk to themselves. Armin Marin, an engineer and lifelong Sibuyan resident, was killed because of this fight.

And second,as everyone in Romblon knows, Sibuyan Island is enchanted.

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One more thing in this series of posts that irritate me about pro-capitalist arguments. It’s the claim that capitalism is the only economic system compatible with human nature.

Since when did the me-me-me, looking-out-for-number-one worldview become the default for human nature?

There’s a lot of suppositions buried in that claim. First, the claim ignores how humanity actually existed prior to capitalism.

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I hear this said a lot even among people who describe themselves as liberal and progressive. Even among people who identify as feminists. That capitalism as an economic system may be flawed, but it’s certainly the best system that we have.

The best for whom?

It’s certainly not the best system for the workers at the Phils Jeon Garment factory at the Cavite Export Processing Zone in the Philippines. For demanding living wages,

the women strikers were hog-tied, blindfolded, and loaded into a waiting truck. The men dismantled their makeshift tents and loaded them into the truck along with the strikers’ other belongings. The workers were dropped outside the gate of the Cavite EPZ.

They were arrested because the strike was holding up production, and subcontractors needed to meet pricepoints and delivery deadlines.

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Sama na!

Many of you know about this already, but especially for readers in the Philippines:

Read more at Blog Action Day 2008.

Anyone else interested in a discussion of how marginalized populations in the Philippines disproportionately shoulder the burdens of globalization?

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