Moana Nui 2013: Obama’s “Pacific Pivot” Destroys Environment, Democracy, Cultures

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Press Release


June 1-2, 2013
Martin Luther King Auditorium, Berkeley

(“Moana Nui” is Polynesian for “Vast Ocean”)

The peoples of the Pacific need help. It is no longer sufficient to speak merely of working to “protect local cultures” and “traditional economic practices.”  Local peoples are being rapidly overrun by the larger hegemonic battles of the United States vs. China. As the saying goes, “when elephants battle, the ants are crushed.”

 In May, 2013, the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), in collaboration with a broad range of indigenous and small island peoples of the Pacific, and joined by activists from countries throughout the Pacific Basin, will sponsor and produce a three-day series of public events in San Francisco. These events will be a continuation of the first Moana Nui gathering in Honolulu, November 2011, at the University of Hawaii—which IFG created in partnership with several dozen Pacific Island activist groups.

Moana Nui #1 gathered 500 Pacific activists from 17 countries for three days of spirited public meetings, collaborative organizing, protest marches, and long term campaign planning. The events received enormous attention and praise in the Pacific region, and formed a unique bond among peoples who may live thousands of miles apart, across the sea, and had rarely attempted to join forces before. They are eager to continue.

The direct purpose of Moana Nui is to respond to some of the greatest threats ever to face Pacific peoples. Recent shifts in United States economic and military strategies are having broad negative effects on the peoples, resources, economies and geo-politics of the Asia-Pacific region.  These policy shifts, mostly under the Obama Administration program, “The Pacific Pivot,” particularly affect the future viability and sovereignty of indigenous peoples and small nations of the Pacific, and they greatly accelerate dangerous power struggles underway between the United States and China, and potentially Russia, over trade, ocean and island resources, and economic and military domination of an 8,000 mile region.

Moana Nui is created in direct response to this dire situation. Its primary goals are:  1) to stimulate new collaborations among Pacific Island peoples and nations, toward common purposes in behalf of their resources, cultures and sovereignty, and 2) to wake-up U.S. mainland policy-makers, activists and media —mostly still oblivious to the details– about what is underway in the Pacific right now, and to initiate contacts and support for the indigenous and small nation peoples as they resist domination, try to protect their environments, and to retain control of their experience.  The event will feature three days of speakers, workshops, rallies and celebration.

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