Page 15


T IEN TEXAS server SEPTEMBER 29, 1995 VOLUME 87, No. 19 FEATURES El Paso’s Desert Shield By Louis Dubose 5 You Can’t Go Homeless Again By Lars Eighner 7 Jane Roe’s Revenge By Debbie Nathan 9 Toxic Gardens By Carol S. Stall 12 DEPARTMENTS Dialogue 2 Editorial A Professor’s Resignation 3 Molly Ivins A Global Waning 14 Jim Hightower ABC Gets Smoked & more Chemical World Contamination and Lawyers BOOKS AND THE CULTURE “Points of Departure” Poetry by Lisa Suhair Majaj Dead Man’s Curve Book review by Don Graham Crossover and Community Film review by Brad Tyer The Eye of the Storm Dance Umbrella in a Tempest by Ann Daly AFTERWORD While China Cracks By Steven G. Kellman 23 Political Intelligence 24 14 15 16 17 19 21 Cover photos by Alan Pogue Chancellor William H. Cunningham The University of Texas System Dear Chancellor Cunningham, IWRITE TO RESIGN my appointments, effective December 31,1995, as Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Center for Intercultural Studies in Folklore and Ethnomusicology at The University of Texas at Austin. Although UT has been supportive of my research and teaching, I no longer find it a morally acceptable place of employment. This is because my work, for almost twenty years, has been committed to the causes of ecological and cultural integrity on the Melanesian island of New Guinea. By contrast, you have steered the University toward collaboration in environmental destruction and criminal abuses of human rights in West Papua, the part of New Guinea now known as the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya. I am referring, of course, to your role on the Board of Directors of Freeport-McMoRan, a transnational mining company long active in Irian Jaya. Freeport’s Irian Jaya operation is well-known as the biggest taxpayer and business operator in Indonesia, ranked last month by seven separate business surveys as the most corrupt counthe Indonesian state realize billions in gold and copper mining profits and reserves. But the environmental and blood price of Freeport and Indonesia’s wealth is twentyfive years of dumping over one hundred thousand tons per day of poisons and wastes, and the forced dispossession, impoverishment and depopulation of indigenous New Guinean landowners. You have aided this attempt at ecocide and ethnocide in a special way, by cultivating a revolving door relationship between yourself, the University, Freeport-McMoRan and its CEO, UT alumnus Jim Bob Moffett. For example, by ratifying a prospecting and research contract between Freeport’s Irian Jaya operation and the UT Geology Department, you made it possible for Freeport to cheaply rent staff, students, and facilities of the University for their profit and yours. Likewise, for a donation of less than one-seventh the project cost, you engineered erecting a monument on the UT campus to your friend and business partner, Jim Bob Moffett. Once again your bottom line is not ethics but business: the cost of cultivating Moffett’s donations is allowing Freeport to openly exploit the University as a research annex. The building in question is a molecular biology facility. Yet the man for whom it will be named is a molecular biology criminal. At least according to the Toxic Release Inventory published this past April by the Environmental Protection Agency; there Freeport-McMoRan is cited as the biggest corporate polluter of land, air, amplify the honor, Jim Bob Moffett is dis EDITORIAL A Professor’s Resignation Social Conscience vs. Corporate Predation Most readers of the Observer are aware of the persistent and ongoing environmental activism in Austin, particularly the campaign to preserve Barton Springs, a struggle which has persisted in various forms over several generations. Fewer may know of the faraway fight against the colonialism of the Indonesian empire, especially under the Suharto regime, which has brutally suppressed independence movements in its colonial domains, including East Timor, New Guinea and other countries seized by forcewith both the direct and indirect support of the United States government, under several administrations. As it happens, the latest phase of the battle to save Barton Springs is intimately connected to the war against the Indonesian empire through the central role played in both places by Freeport-McMoRan, the multi-national corporation which is as determined to exploit the Barton Creek watershed as it has been to exploit the natural resources of New Guinea whatever the cost to the health, life and liberty of the citizens of Texas and Indonesia. As the following correspondence confirms, these two threads of state and corporate tyranny come together at the University of Texas, where the university chancellor, William Cunningham, has maintained and nourished a mutually beneficial relationship with Freeport-McMoRan, for which he serves on the Board of Directors. UT Professor Steven Feld, a renowned authority on the culture and peoples of Melanesia, has for several years protested that corrupt and corrupting relationship, thus far without success. The following brutal nature of the Indonesian empire, and the direct complicity of Freeport McMoRanand thus the University of Texas, its corporate partnerin that brutality. We invite all Observer readersespecially members of the university communityto consider appropriate responses to the continuing involvement of the University in crimes against humanity and nature. Silence is acquiescence. The Editors THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3