Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 22nd, 2010

Equitable business practices: Max Havelaar?

The organizations and institutions for monitoring, supervising, and investigating the claims of industries and businesses “on equitable business practices” for paying workers right and allowing syndicates are taking wings.

For example, the US Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) was founded in 2000 by universities, students, and specialists in work rights. The WRC verifies on location that engagement of businesses in matters of work conditions, liberty of establishing work syndicates, and proper remuneration for work done is authentic.

In De Villa Alta Gracia (Rep. of Dominican), Knights Apparel refurbished a factory vacated by South Korean BJ&B that manufactured baseball hats for Nike and Reebok.  Knights Apparel is paying 3-fold what workers used to get from the Korean (sweat shop factory) and a work syndicate is functioning.

Barnes & Nobles and Follet are merchandising university’s products of shirts and other paraphernalia manufactured by companies respecting the WRC engagements. Nike and Adidas are watching closely the performance of the promotional efforts for selling equitable products at the same prices as theirs.

For the same quality, would students buy equitable products instead of world trade marks?

Before WRC, ONG Solidaridad, directed by Nico Roozen, established the movement of equitable standards in doing business.

A Mexican coffee grower sent Nico a response to a monetary gift stating: “Thank you for the gift.  We would have preferred that you aid us in buying our coffee products at equitable prices.”

Nico is associated with a Netherland Anglican priest (Frans Van der Hoff) who was implicated in Mexican coffee cooperatives and founded the first coffee label Max Havelaar.  The coffee label Max Havelaar is officially born in 1988 at Amsterdam and became a house name.

Three years later, in 1991, Nico instituted the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO) that dispatches inspectors to verify marks claiming “equitable trades” for sugar, honey, tea, and chocolate.  Nico instituted AgroFair with the label Oke for all kinds of fruits.  “Fairtrade towns” in the Netherland were the rage; the Capital Rotterdam is one of the agglomerations.

Who is Max Havelaar?  He is the hero of the book “Max Havelaar” published in 1860 by Eduard Douwes Dekker under the pen name of Multatuli. Dekker worked in 1856 with the United Netherlands Company of Oriental India.  He witnessed the ravages and calamities that colonial power policies did in Indonesia.

The inhabitants of Indonesia (about 12.5 millions in 1860 were governed by 43,000 Europeans) grew rice and were self-sufficient.  The colonial power wanted to grow coffee, sugar, and indigo to satisfy the European markets with luxury items.

In 1840, half the rice fields in Java were transformed into fields that could not feed the Indonesians and famine stroke down; mother sold their kids and even ate them.  Around 1859, coffee harvest was considered insufficient by the Netherlands colonial power and thus, 850,000 Indonesian peasants were forced to work for free in building infrastructures of roads, canals, railroads, and ports to cater to the transport of merchandise to Europe.

Indonesia was occupied by the Netherlands in 1596.  In 1621, the founder of this empire, Jan Pieterszoon Coen wrote on the genocide committed to the indigenous in the island of Banda, a region rich in coconut, muscat, and black cashew.

Dekker exposed to the king his grief stating: “More than 30 millions of your subjects are maltreated and exploited in your name.”

Elie Barnavi wrote: “Yes, there are two Israel. There is the idolaters, centered on a divine earth, prisoner of archaic beliefs, and fabricating a strange modern ideology, strange to classical Zionism, and strange to rabbinical Judaism.  There is another Israel, mine, directed to the world community, secular, and rational.”  Barnavi went on: “From this confrontation depends the future of the State of Israel.  Will it continue to be an armed ghetto, isolated from its neighborhood, or a respected member of world communities?  In the long-term, my Israel will win.  I am not sure if we all be dead by then.  The right-wing politics are counting on the diaspora and their ancestral fears of any emerging anti-Semitic feeling and they are willing to die to the last Israeli citizen to keeping occupied land.  The right-wing politics are  counts also on the American Evangelical new-conservatives who claim that the second coming of Christ-King is soon after the Jews have been converted properly.   The right-wing politics in Israel know that it will be the end of their power when peace is achieved; and they mean not to let peace have a chance.”

Bernavi is simplifying the partition into two groups because explaining the subdivisions between the main two politics is infinite in Israel and in the Jewish diaspora.  You have the class divisions among the Sefarad, the Ashkenazi, the indigenous Jews in Palestine and surrounding Arab States and their subsequent caste system into minority religious sects and origins.  You have economic classes such as the rich military industrialists, the growing power in the military hierarchy, the sex trade mafia, the human parts mafia, the hard drug mafia, the new immigrants from Ethiopia and the Slavic new Independent States, the colon problems, the apartheid policies against the invisible Palestinians, the untenable “democratic” system that gives advantages to the hard-line religious parties…

Unlike most intellectuals, Barnavi has no illusions as to the indefinite total support of the US.  Demographic of the US is changing and its focus on its interest in Asia and Africa is encouraging the US to resolving the Palestinian cause, the sooner the better.  The US is convening the Palestinians and Israeli to negotiate directly in Washington this September; the negotiation might take a year but a resolution must be the fruit of this gigantic effort to bring peace in the Near East region.  The US knows that its dominance is dwindling economically, financially, and politically.  The period of destabilizing the Middle East for its oil reserves is over:  The more the Middle East is destabilized the more advantage China, India, and Brazil reap the fruit at the expense of the US.  The fiasco in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the financial crash have demonstrated to the US the limits of adventurous military mentality.  Diplomacy and good business undertaking are the way out of this catastrophic policy.




August 2010

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