THE SUPERFERRY CHRONICLES is the first book to describe an historically unique, spontaneous, leaderless uprising in the Hawaiian islands. In 2001, an entrepreneur got the idea to start a high-speed, interisland ferry to connect Honolulu with the neighbor islands. Within a couple of years, his idea was taken over by a corporate entity with vast military ties, and the Superferry became prototype for an important piece of America's sea-based military strategy for the 21st century.
As the story unfolds, we see this project riding on a wave of deception and corruption-from the governor's office, to the federal government, to the military, to the Hawaii Superferry corporation. The Superferry deal was never approved by the people of Hawai'i, and this lack of democratic process and its profound environmental impacts enraged many. On Kauai, citizens took to surfboards and effectively blocked the vessel from entering the harbor. Governor Lingle traveled there to admonish the people and let them know that if the boat is blocked again, stiff penalties would ensue. Instead, she found an auditorium overflowing with people whose moving, eloquent, spontaneous testimonies told her that the boat would not be permitted to return.
THE SUPERFERRY CHRONICLES is a story of personal and political empowerment- thousands of Hawaii's people from all parts of the community taking part in an unprecedented showdown against the latest expression of a centuries-old corporate-tourist-military intrusion into the Hawaiian way of life, landscape, and local sovereignty. This is a grim tale worthy of any colonized banana republic, with just as much double-dealing and intrigue. It is also a story of hope, and love for the land, the sea, and righteousness.
Koohan Paik is a media-literacy educator on Kauai, an activist, and an award-winning filmmaker. San Francisco-based Jerry Mander is founder of the International Forum on Globalization and author of the bestselling Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television and In the Absence of the Sacred.
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About the Author
Founder and Director of International Forum on Globalization, an international think-tank. Founder and former director of Public Media Center, country's first nonprofit advertising company, working only for nonprofits (Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Planned Parenthood, etc.) Before that had successful career in commercial advertising, president of Freeman, Mander & Gossage (until 1971). Author of several best-sellers, including Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (500,000 copies), and In the Absence of the Sacred (90,000 copies.)
Read an Excerpt
So when the huge catamaran, sized specifically to be able to transport military vehicles, raced toward us in the sunset - in flagrant disregard of all our efforts -- we were outraged. About 1,500 of us spontaneously gathered at the dock to again make clear what our state officials had refused to hear: that we would not allow the luxury monstrosity to touch our shores until an EIS had been conducted. We chanted, sang, and beat drums. We brandished banners and waved ti leaves, the sacred plant that wards off evil while calling in good.
In that moment, all the sugar-era manipulations to pit race against race, class against class, vanished. Shoulder-to-shoulder stood Native Hawaiians, Japanese-, Filipino-, Portuguese- and Chinese-American descendents of plantation workers, descendents of American missionaries, and transplants from North America who have been calling Kauai "home" for as long as 40 years and as recently as six months. Lawyers, musicians, students, doctors, college professors, politicians, writers, woodworkers, social workers, nurses, mechanics, architects - every walk of Kauai's community - were represented.
But the coup de grace came from the surfers who leapt from the jetty's rocky edge to paddle out to the mouth of Nawiliwili Harbor. Most of them were kids. There they sat, straddling their boards, seeming as small as mice, in comparison to the skyscraper-high ship, but blocking it from moving forward -- a sort of Tiananmen Square right there in the waters of Nawiliwili Harbor!