RP Barefoot, without a hat –

  Q.  “Ted, why do you like to say that “all politicians should go barefoot and not wear hats?”

  A.  “The public needs to know whether politicians have horns and cloven hoofs.”

” Now, I do believe in a tad bit of mystery…I don’t expect them to take off their pants to prove they don’t have a barbed tails! ”  31 May 2011

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OLD Expert Testimony to the Asian Development Bank Board

 Ted Downing with Thayer Scudder

As the Asian Development Bank Board of Directors proposed advising their involuntary resettlement project,  forced displacement experts Thayer Scudder and Ted Downing prepared an DowningScudder letter to Board for INDR ADBSPU. Ted attended the ABD Board meeting in Madrid in 2008 and stated their opposition. Their intervention was partially successful.

 

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RP Ted’s Experiment to Change Civil Culture: Comments in the Arizona Republic

The Commentary sections of our major newspapers give citizens an opportunity to instantly react to the news.  Unlike the Letters to the Editor or OpEds, these on-line commentary sections have become rowdy (and entertaining) as people use avitars and false names.

Breaking with this uncivil tradition, Ted comments using his own name. He encourages others to change the culture by joining him.

The results show a 78% positive ratings  on Ted’s comments in the Arizona Republic – when we focus on civil discourse and education rather than name calling.  Breaking with this uncivil tradition, Ted comments using his own name. He encourages others to change the culture by joining him.  Join him and change America.

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RP US Attacks on Iran are not the Answer

Only Diplomacy can yield Lasting Solutions.

John Adams and Ted Downing

In the Arizona Republic

Published Sat. 12 April 2008

With the departure of Admiral Fox Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command and reputed voice of reason in policy discussions on Iran, the danger of another pre-emptive U.S. attack looms urgently.

American attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities could risk all-out war throughout the Mideast.

This is the greatest fear of most of our allies worldwide. It should be ours as well. We must insist on thorough, decisive and immediate diplomatic solutions.

Until a few months ago, some in the U.S. policy community considered military action against Iran reasonable.

A previously unpublished National Intelligence Estimate, released Dec. 3, reported no credible evidence to support the idea that Iran might be developing a nuclear bomb.

Tehran halted its nuclear enrichment program in 2003 and, as of the middle of 2006, had not restarted it.

Unquestionably, some of Iran’s behavior is contrary to U.S. and international interests.

Most of the world has grave concern about potential Iranian development of a nuclear weapon.

Nevertheless, war with Iran would be a senseless way to resolve our differences.

It is time to be honest with the American people and share the potential consequences.

An Iranian conflict would place all of America’s interests in the region at great risk.

With nearly three times the population of Iraq – 70 million people – Iran presents infinitely more problems for our military operations than does Iraq.

Our overstretched armed forces would be at increased risk if we were at war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

Iran will not allow itself to be bombed without retaliation, and it has had years to prepare its defensive strategy.

Retaliation could include more aggression in the Middle East or kidnapping of our citizens – some may remember 1979.

Consider the regional consequences of a so-called “surgical strike” on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

It would require thousands of air sorties just to strike Iran’s far-flung air and naval facilities, not to mention a massive effort to secure the Straits of Hormuz and Gulf oil facilities. And any nuclear program could resume as soon as the smoke cleared.

In Iraq, our troops would have to prepare for retaliation.

Hamas and Hezbollah actions would be unleashed in Israel and Lebanon, and enraged Muslim populations would attack anyone seen as allied with America in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

All of these risks must be fully disclosed, discussed and assessed openly and, most important, our congressional representatives must maintain their right to make any decision to attack Iran.

Our diplomatic relationship with Iran is central to improving the security structure in the Middle East and is critical to our global influence as well.

Iran can provide the security arrangements that can help the U.S. coordinate a safe and honorable withdrawal from Iraq.

Continuing to view Iran as an adversary that must be contained or pressured will only delay this process.

Conversely, America can provide the one thing that the Iran regime desires most, i.e. legitimacy and reintegration into the world community. Only effective and informed diplomacy can yield a peaceful and permanent solution to these problems.

John Adams is a retired U.S. Army brigadier general and doctoral student of political science at the University of Arizona. Ted Downing, former state legislator, is a University of Arizona professor and consultant.Also contributing to this essay: Lawyer Harrison Dickey, history professor Richard Eaton of the University of Arizona; Republican businesswoman Cele Peterson; retired doctor and UA College of Medicine professor Barbara H. Warren; and Donna Branch-Gilby, former head of the Pima County Democratic Party and a candidate for the county Board of Supervisors.

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RP Rekindling the American Spirit – TV Op Ed

Months before it was clear who would prevail in the primary, Ted Downing, a former state legislator and Obama supporter and Sheila Tobias, a local active feminist and Hillary Clinton supporter, agreed to work toward unity, no matter which of our candidates won.

Rekindling American Spirit – Sheila Tobias and Ted Downing

A TV Editorial

 watch?v=Egt6YZhSmL4

Both of them being writers, they agreed to write an op ed together. They are hoping that their article and their appearance on Tucson Access will move Obama and Clinton supporters toward greater understanding of our respective passions for our candidates and for one another.

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RP Downing: Deferred Compensation Preferable to Furloughs

Guest Opinion

Deferred compensation preferable to furloughs By Ted Downing

Special to the Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.10.2009

The state has a revenue shortfall and it is time for innovative solutions that do not permanently cripple our state. Unlike the federal government, the Arizona Constitution requires a balanced budget every year. This forces the Legislature to cut spending somewhere.

As a former ranking Democrat in the state House’s Education Committee, I strongly agree that the Legislature’s majority has mistakenly singled out education for budget cuts. But protesting and beating on our chests does not balance the budget. Nor do threats by universities to cut popular public programs.

Administrators, not legislators, set priorities and the lawmakers know that. Something (read “someone”) must lose.

Both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona have mandated employee furloughs. Furloughs cut employee paychecks, but not their salaries. State agencies are considering the same.

You don’t get paid for the days you don’t work. The employee loses pay for good. However, the state institution or agency suffers a disruption in work or services as employees are not there.

As an alternative, I suggest deferred compensation. The employee gets an IOU, a promise to pay in the future after the economy recovers or upon termination. The employees save their income and defer paying taxes.

The highly paid executives, including the overpaid bankers who got us into this mess, use this method all the time. In the aggregate, the institution operates with a lower budget and the employees wait to be paid rather than lose their pay.

A deferred compensation plan keeps all hands on deck. It avoids unintended economic consequences. It is not good for an economic recovery if some of our lower-paid employees fall behind on their mortgage payments and put another house of a bloated market.

Either plan, of course, is better than layoffs and salary cuts (permanent reductions), which decapitalize our economy.

While ASU has not yet adopted a deferred-compensation plan, they are scaling their furloughs so that those who make more take more unpaid days off. ASU administrators are being furloughed for 15 days, faculty and academic professionals up to 12 days, and other employees up to 10 days. This may save $24 million.

The UA is planning across-the-board five-day furloughs during fiscal 2009-2010, regardless of rank or current salary.

A better option would be to forget the furloughs altogether and use deferred compensation on a sliding scale. Depending on their salaries, employees defer (save) different amounts.

The legislators, who make $24,000 a year, are aware that some of our university administrators make more than President Barack Obama. With Congress contemplating capping executive pay on Wall Street, how long before six-figure public-employee incomes come under scrutiny.

The public remembers the moral leadership of Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler who gained national acclaim when he agreed to work for $1 a year during a previous crisis.

Of course, it would be nice to go without furloughs, layoffs or deferred compensation, but this is not an alternative.

Write to Ted Downing at downing@cox.net

 

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Milestones

Some of Ted’s actions that benefit many areas of Arizona

  • Rio Nuevo Accountability
  • Wildlife management
  • Protecting Victims of Hit and Run Drivers
  • Energy and costs savings in schools
  • Animal Rights
  • Election Integrity

 Rio Nuevo – Accountability for misuse of public funds

Tucson voters approved a 10-year tax-increment financing plan for Rio Nuevo in 1999.  In 2006, the entire Southern Arizona legislative delegation, Republicans and Democrats,  proudly sponsored legislation to extend the funding of the Rio Nuevo project – save Downing.  He did not sponsor the bill.  Downing wanted to see voter approval and without an audit as a condition for extending a project which, by then, had done nothing.  His amendments to give the public a right to audit Rio Nuevo by placing its expenditures on the web and vote on a project plan were defeated in a roll call vote.  That vote includes all Southern Arizona legislators – both Rs and Ds.

He opposed the Rio Nuevo extension until it became clear that he couldn’t compel a vote of the people and an audit.

In both instances, Downing followed his conscience and represented his district, despite pressure from fellow local legislators.

In 2006,  Democrat Senator Paula Aboud mailed out a political hit piece mailer accusing Ted of not supporting Rio Nuevo – citing this action.  And Republican Jonathan Paton voted against Downing’s amendment for transparency of RN expenditures but later an measures of his own – taking credit after the horses were out of the barn. By 2012, it is clear that Ted was right to demand accountability and transparency on Rio Nuevo spending.

$230+ million has gone down a rathole – the precise details should soon appear in an expensive audit. The dollars may have been kept in Tucson, not Phoenix, but what happened to this money?

When tempers flared over what to do withmountain lions encroaching into urban areas. Environmentalists wished to protect the lions. Others wanted the lions killed.  State Representative Ted Downing brought all sides together in a hearing and called for a public education program, leading to a prize winning statewide development of the  urban-wildlife interface program by Arizona Game and Fish.

“Illegal” mountain lions – the origins of the Arizona Urban-Wildlife Interface Program

 

 Do the Right Thing Law – Protecting Victims of Hit and Run Accidents

When hit-and-run drivers were killing our children, Ted

wrote and then passed into law the “Do the Right Thing Law”to encourage drivers not to abandon victims. The Republican majority liked his idea so much that they allowed him to substitute his law for one of theirs.

 

 

 Energy cost savings through non-partisan cooperation

 

When  Republican House member Randy Graf and Ted drafted and passed an energy-cost savings law for education - saving school districts and other public agencies tens of millions of dollars. It is now considered a model energy law by the EPA.

 

 Protecting our Democracy – when we vote.

 

 

 

When voters didn’t trust having their votes counted only by machines, Ted combined forces with Republican Senator Karen Johnson and,  overcame opposition from the Diebold voting machine company, Ted passed a new lawgiving all Arizona voters – no matter what their party -  the right to a paper ballot and a right to a hand count audit of the voting machines.

 

 

 

Ted amended a Republican bill to put the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights into every Arizona classroom.  The incumbent call this a “gimmick” in 2006.

 

When Pima County domestic pets were being stolen for dog fighting.  Pima County Sheriff Dupnik brought a problem to Ted’s attention. Dog napping was not a serious crime, since a domestic dog, as property, is worth only a few dollars (yes, but they are very valuable to those of us who love them).  He worked both sides of the aisle, writing, rewriting and negotiating to get passed in law an increased the protection of domestic pets from being stolen for dog fighting. At one point, he attached dog biscuits to his personal letter to each Senator, requesting their support.  For this work, Ted earned the “Voice for the Voiceless” Award from the Pima County Humane Society.

 

 Protecting Due Process and Property Rights

Projects designed for public benefits often inflict economic to residents, tenants and property owners that are in their path.   Ted acted even when not in office. Remember, he has an international reputation as a consultant working on displaced peoples (www.displacement.net).

The RTA Grant Road and 22nd Street expansions are examples of public projects that may, if improperly designed and underfinanced may  inflict damages on businesses, homes, and property owners. In Arizona, properties being taken and tenants being moved by a federally funded project had, until Ted and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray (R-Mesa) noticed it, greater rights than those being taken by projects that were not federally funded. This was wrong.

Ted then worked with Senator Gray and with neighborhood coalitions, businesses, and homeowners associations to protect property rights. The new 2010 eminent domain law gives those in the way of nonfederally funded projects the same Constitutional 5th Amendment rights as if they were being harmed by a federal project.

With 1/3 of the state independent and most Republicans and Democrats feeling alienated from their party core, Isn’t it about time for this to happen? Isn’t Ted your choice?

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Will Primaries Shake Up Politics in Arizona?

Pamela Powers Hannley interviews Ted Downing …

Will Primaries Shake Up Politics in Arizona?

The Huffington Post.

January 30, 2012 | 1/30/12 04:17 PM ET

When Americans are unhappy in an election year, they often adopt a ‘throw-the-bums-out’ attitude toward incumbent politicians. In 2008, the Democrats seized control of all three branches of government. In 2010, Americans threw dozens of Democratic ‘bums’ out, and many Tea Party-leaning Republicans went to Congress for the first time. In 2012, Congress’ nearly complete gridlock and 9 percent approval rating hint at another throw-the-bums-out year.

But does this cycle of alternatively sweeping Democrats or Republicans out of office really accomplish anything? Are voters getting what they want from government or just crossing their fingers and venting their anger at the ballot box?

Under our current electoral system, political parties have a greater voice in government than voters, and that has contributed to “partisan sniping and gridlock,” according to Open Elections/Open Government (OE/OG), a bipartisan group of Arizonans who are working to place an open primaries initiative on the November 2012 ballot.

Disaffected voters believe elected officials are beholden not to them but to political party bosses and lobbyists, and this belief leads voters to lose faith in government, the OE/OG website claims.

Open primaries — where all candidates regardless of party affiliation are listed on one ballot — would give voters, rather than political parties, a greater voice in government, says Ted Downing, Ph.D., research professor of social development in the Arizona Research Laboratories at the University of Arizona and one of the initiative’s architects.

“Taxpayers pay for elections [party primaries] that limit their choices,” says Downing. Independents — a rapidly growing group of registered voters in Arizona — are “grossly discriminated against” under our current system, which favors the two major parties.

Voter registration in Arizona is roughly split in thirds between Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, with Republicans holding a slight edge over Independents and Democrats trailing in third place. In 2012, registered Independents are expected to overtake Republicans as the largest group of registered voters, according to Downing. The continued growth of the Independent vote and declining registrations for both major parties should be a big wake-up call that voters are unhappy with the current two-part-dominated system, Downing says.

Even though there are tens of thousands of registered Independents in Arizona, no Independent candidate has ever won a legislative or statewide office in Arizona. The electoral deck is stacked against them, according to Downing, who ran for the state legislature as an Independent in 2010. Arizona election laws require Independent candidates to collect five or six times as many signatures as Republicans or Democrats to have their names placed on the ballot, Downing adds.

Tucson, with its all-mailed primary and general election ballots, puts an additional burden on Independent voters. All ballots for registered Democrats and Republicans are mailed to them automatically, but Independents are required to contact the Pima County Recorder’s Office and request either a Democratic or Republican primary ballot. If you are a true Independent and would like to vote for people of different parties, you can’t do so in the local primaries. (Some states don’t allow Independents to vote in primaries at all.)

This is hardly a level playing field.

“The rules were put in place by parties to protect their own interests,” says Downing, who expects both the Democratic and the Republican Parties to fight against this initiative, as they did in other states that have adopted open primaries.

In addition to putting all names on the same primary ballot, the open primaries initiative eliminates all laws that favor a particular political party over other parties; requires all candidates for the same office to obtain the same number of signatures (regardless of party); allows any registered Arizona voter to sign nominating petitions, as long as they live in the designated geographic area; allows candidates to add “registered as…[Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green, Libertarian, whatever, or nothing]” after their names on the ballot; and calls for rotating candidates’ names on the ballot.

Following an open primary, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, would face each other in the general election. Yes, any combination of candidates could make up the top two — even two candidates from the same party.

Open primaries and top-two general elections have interesting implications for incumbents. Under our current two-party-controlled system, political parties rarely run anyone against an incumbent because their focus is keeping that office as a D or an R.

Sometimes parties overtly discourage challenges to sitting incumbents; a classic case in point is the 2011 Tucson City Council race in which the Pima County Democratic Party endorsed all of the incumbent council members six months before the primary and bankrolled a publicity campaign and billboards attacking a Democrat who challenged the Democratic Party incumbent. Under the open primary/top-two system, a particularly unpopular incumbent could get bumped out of the race in the primary or could face someone from his or her own party in the general election.

The implications are monumental; “deep level reform” is how Downing characterizes the proposed system. Voters in two western states — Washington and California — have approved the open primary/top-two system.

“If Arizona joins them, we [the Western states] have a chance to change the national dialogue,” says Downing.

He offers the Tea Party takeover of Congress as a case in point. In 2010, approximately a hundred Tea-Party-leaning Republicans were elected to the US House of Representatives. Even though they are not a voting majority, they have been able to drive the debate in Congress since they were elected.

In the 2016 elections, if California, Washington and Arizona all use the open primary/top-two system to elect their Congressional representatives, a hundred representatives will be forced to represent all voters in their district — not just those in their party. Downing’s eyes sparkled as he spoke of a Western Alliance of non-partisan representatives and the potential for less partisan bickering and increased cooperation in Congress.

Downing, former Phoenix Mayor ” Paul Johnson, and others have been collaborating on the Open Elections/Open Government initiative for months. If passed, it would amend the Arizona Constitution and create an open primary system, which would apply to all elections in Arizona except the US Presidential election.

The Open Elections/Open Government initiative needs 259,213 signatures by July 5, 2012 to get on the November 2012 ballot. More information is at their website, http://azopengov.org/.

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Cockburn: The Nation Magazine on Ted

Wolfensohn, Indian Killer

Every age contributes its own dollop of cant to the business of wiping out Indians. Today the humdrum business of ethnocide is spray-painted with uplifting language about “sustainable development,” with more menacing words like “resettlement” inconspicuously lurking.

Back in 1992 the huge Chilean utility Endesa embarked on the first of a series of hydroelectric dams on the Bío-Bío River some 300 miles south of Santiago. Endesa duly applied to the International Finance Corporation for funding.
The I.F.C. is part of the World Bank, now presided over by James Wolfensohn, a fellow often touted in the press as a veritable Renaissance man: patron of the arts and philanthropies tempering bankerly skills with steely resolve to discipline the proconsuls in the World Bank Group, who have made that institution a byword for arrogance and double-dealing. As we shall see, the Bío-Bío saga displays Wolfensohn in none of these guises, but as a chicken-heart.
In the late eighties, battered by justified charges that it had financed scores of projects that doomed indigenous groups, the World Bank drew up some protocols designed to stop this happening again. The new policy laid heavy stress on the informed participation of such groups in the devising of projects and policies affecting their way of life.
The I.F.C. staffers, who signed a secret dam agreement with Endesa, concealed from the I.F.C. board of directors the facts as they well knew them. There was not going to be one dam but several. Out of the 5,000 members of the Pehuenche tribe, almost a thousand were scheduled for resettlement across the construction of six dams. The Indians weren’t told that. Instead the I.F.C. colluded with Endesa in trumping up a “model agreement,” inaugurating a whole new era of harmony between Indian and white man. A newly established Pehuen Foundation would take a tiny slice of net corporate income from an Endesa subsidiary — around $130,000 a year — to launch “sustainable development” of three Indian reservations around the new reservoir.
The bulldozers rolled, and by 1996 the Pangue dam was virtually completed, watched with increasing disquiet by Chilean groups certain from the start that an environmental catastrophe would go hand in hand with disaster for the Pehuenche. In 1995 these Chileans took their concerns to Wolfensohn, and not long thereafter the I.F.C. retained the anthropologist Theodore Downing, former president of the International Anthropological Association, to go to Chile and undertake an independent review.
Off went Downing, and the Pehuenche for the first time encountered an interlocutor who listened to them. Downing filed his report on May 7, 1996. It was devastating. The Pehuen Foundation was a self-serving fraud. There was no “sustainable development” but merely the establishment of a corrupt system of stinted welfare handouts. The ancestral Pehuenche forests — more than 100 million acres vital for their survival — were being relentlessly logged, at the incredible rate of 8 percent a year, with what Downing and the Indians computed to be anywhere from $6 million to $18 million worth of timber already hauled off. In other words, the Indians were involuntarily subsidizing the dam that was finishing them off.
Downing’s report was sent to Endesa, which promptly threatened to sue the I.F.C., whose natural instinct was to keep Downing’s report from all inconvenient eyes, starting with those of the Pehuenche. The I.F.C. made the report available only to non-Indian members of the Pehuen Foundation board. By now the Chilean government and private Chilean groups were asking for the Downing report. The I.F.C. claimed that it favored “disclosure” and would hold confidential only “what is considered in the legitimate business interests of the company.” To which Downing tartly inquired, “Since when did controlling the internal affairs of an indigenous group become a legitimate business interest of a power company?”
In December 1996 Downing filed the first human rights complaint ever lodged by a consultant against the World Bank or the staff of the I.F.C., charging them with racism in treatment of the Pehuenche. Ludicrous cover-ups have followed. The I.F.C. launched its own “review,” which, inevitably, said Downing’s human rights complaint lacked merit. Meanwhile, in April of this year, the I.F.C. was hatching yet another agreement with Endesa, probably to deport the Pehuenche to the uplands. The agreement is secret, as ethnocidal schemes mostly are.
What of Wolfensohn? After an initial reproof of Endesa and agreement to retain Downing and also Jay Hair, formerly president of the National Wildlife Federation, to conduct yet another review, Wolfensohn has presided over interminable deception and cover-up, starting with the suppression of both Downing’s and Hair’s reports. Hair was most recently shunted into the presence of Wolfensohn’s friend Lloyd Cutler, big-time Democratic lawyer-fixer, who reportedly insulted Hair’s report and insisted its publication would be legally perilous. One supposition here might be that the Clinton Administration is eager to have fast-track approval of Chile’s entry into NAFTA and doesn’t want any ugly talk about ethnocide darkening the mood of uplift. Meanwhile, it looks as though the World Bank Group is backtracking on those brave commitments on resettlement and overall policy toward Indians.
As he strolls through the splendid new I.F.C. headquarters in Washington, D.C., Wolfensohn might spare a moment to reflect upon the nasty little fact that even as the I.F.C. was moving into this palace it was signing arrangements that would displace a small, indigent tribe from its ancestral home. He and his subordinates have partaken in a conspiracy that will see the Indians either “resettled” at higher elevations, which could see them die of cold or scattered in shiftless alcoholism on the outskirts of tourist or corporate enclaves. This is what is meant by “ethnocide.” Since Wolfensohn is Australian by origin he can perhaps concentrate his mind by studying the current furor in his native land over the carefully meditated plans, only a few decades old, to wipe out the

Aborigine.
URL: http://www.thenation.com/issue/970630/0630cock.htm
Join a discussion in the Digital Edition Forums.
Or send your letter to the editor to letters@thenation.com.

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RP McKenna from CounterPunch: Ted Downing and Troublemaker Anthropology

How “Yes, Sir” Necessarily Becomes “No, Sir”

Ted Downing and Troublemaker Anthropology

By BRIAN McKENNA

Censorship and suppression of one’s work are among the worst things that can happen to a writer, bureaucrat or cultural worker. Ted Downing, former Society for Applied Anthropology President (1985-87), experienced this and more. In 1995, Downing wrote an evaluation report describing the s evere social and environmental impacts likely to be suffered by Chile’s Pehuenche Indians from a proposed dam project underwritten by the World Bank. After his report was censored Downing demanded that the World Bank publicly disclose his findings. The Bank responded by threatening “a lawsuit garnering Downing’s assets, income and future salary if he disclosed the contents, findings and recommendations of his independent evaluation.” (Johnson and Garcia Downing). As a result of his whistleblowing, Downing was blacklisted from the World Bank after 13 years of consulting service.

“Personally, I was blackballed for 10 years for filing, what turned out to be 3 human rights violations charges against the IFC (private sector arm of The World Bank),” said Downing in an interview. “The experience left me only the devil’s alternative, to get involved in politics.” Literally.

Downing went on to serve two terms in the Arizona legislature from 2003-2006. He rejected corporate contributions and collected hundreds of $5 contributions to qualify for public campaign financing. Downing introduced bills to protect the integrity of the election system, co-authoring a bill requiring hand count audits of electronic voting machines. He increased financial support for university and community college students, protected animal rights, improved energy efficiency and more. Eighty-six of Ted’s co-sponsored bills became law, a spectacular achievment for a Democrat in a Republican controlled legislature.

“Yes sir,” or “Yes, but,” or. . . .just “No!”

Many Ph.D.s never find solid employment in the academic world in this age of university downsizing and so offer their wares as evaluators, consultants or “applied anthropologists” to non-profits or the corporate world. A good many aim to foster social change but are unprepared for how best to do it. This is especially true for my field, anthropology which at this point in time has more Ph.D.s working in applied fields than the university.
Some years back Harvard anthropologist Kris Heggenhougen argued that the strength of anthropology in collaborating with other disciplines lies in saying, “yes, but. . .and to critically examine the decisive factors affecting peoples’ health including power, dominance and exploitation.” (Heggenhougen 1993)
Yes, but. . . . while that sounds good, more needs to be said.

First of all, we spend much more time saying “yes, sir” than “yes, but” in paid employment. This is necessary if we wish to stay employed. The workplace is a not a democracy but a hierarchy in which academic freedom does not apply. As Downing evinces, there are penalties for speaking one’s mind. Workers have to gauge the cultural politics in any given context so as to not unnecessarily risk censure, reprimand or worse.
Sometimes, like Downing, they must be prepared to simply say no sir and go with the consequences. Sometimes getting fired leads to new paths that can result in greater accomplishments. Much of it has to do with the right attitude.
Dr. Downing has the right attitude. He retains that probing, cantankerous spirit today. “I have no idea what ‘yes, but’ means having not read Heggenhougen,” he said. “The reference to ‘collaboration to other disciplines’ makes no sense to me – as I work on problems and am Undisciplined. I don’t think anyone would consider me a “yes man – which has helped and cursed me . . . . .But, I insist, fighting within a bureaucracy is part of being a good applied anything.”

In Downing’s anthropological journey, when “yes, but” didn’t work, he progressed, reluctantly, to “no, sir.” In fact this happens to many applied anthropologists but most do not have the resources, support or disciplinary guidance to assist them in their struggles. They might become whistleblowers but their careers suffer. And their stories are untold. We do not have a good accounting of how often this happens to anthropologists, but we need to learn more about this. In any case, resisting censorship is, as Downing says, “good applied” anthropology.

Like a Skilled Surgeon

“Good applied” anthropology harkens back to one of the masters of social science, Robert Lynd. In 1939, Lynd, author of the groun dbreaking Middletown studies (the first full bore ethnography of a U.S. city), wrote a book that is less well known, but just as important. Knowledge for What? The Place of Social Science in American Culture, is as relevant today as the moment he penned it.

In it he wrote that “[T]he role of the social sciences to be troublesome, to disconcert the habitual arrangements by which we manage to live along, and to demonstrate the possibility of change in more adequate directions . . . like that of a skilled surgeon, [social scientists need to] get us into immediate trouble in order to prevent our present troubles from becoming even more dangerous. In a culture in which power is normally held by the few and used offensively and defensively to bolster their instant adv antage within the status quo, the role of such a constructive troublemaker is scarcely inviting.”

“Troublemaker” is of course the pejorative term emanating from within t he dominant culture, targeting those who refuse to keep quiet in the face of injustice. “Yes but” is an ample part of their vocabulary. Anthropologist Barbara Johnston has wr itten about the work of being an anthropological troublemaker, especially in relation to doing environmental justice work. But she warns about associated risks. Environmental justice work “requires confronting, challenging and changing power structures.” When someone is involved in this work, says Johnston, “backlash is inevitable.”

“When environmental justice work involves advocacy and action – confrontational politics – a number of professional bridges are burned. . . .’Cause-oriented’ anthropology suggests people who make trouble. Troublemakers are celebrated in this discipline when t heir cause succeeds and justice prevails. But often ‘justice’ is elusive, success is hard to gauge, and action results in unforeseen adverse consequences. (Johnston: 2001, 8).

Because most anthropologists usually enter organizations as change agent s of some kind they need to be aware that they are especially at risk of being labeled a “troublemaker” at any time. If the label sticks it can lead not only to getting fired; it also can lead to a vicious form of bullying that can make one’s life unbearable.

Beware of the Mobbers

Anthropologist Noa Davenport knows this very well. In 1999 she coauthored a book with two other professionals called, “Mobbing, Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, (1999). In the book’s forward Davenport and her colleagues noted, “This book came about because all three of us, in different organizations, experienced a workplace phenomenon that had profound effects on our well-being. Through humiliation, harassment, and unjustified accusations, we experienced emotional abuse that forced us out of the workplace.” Often the mobbing begins soon after the professional challenged a superior in some area. In other words, it’s often a “yes , but” interrogative. Today Davenport conducts workshops on mobbing and counsels people who have experienced such abuse. She turned her private suffering into a public issue and has advanced the culture.

In my research, “mobbing” has a great deal of unconscious group behavior associated with it. To understand it one must research the realms of psychoanalysis and group dynamics (Bion 1961, Armstrong et al 2005, Grotstein 2007). Often the abuse had the tacit approval of upper management who themselves are often behind it.

All terrains of employment in capitalist culture operate in a sea of conflict. For a critical applied anthropologist then, one is in dangerous waters from the first day on the job. As Kincheloe and McLaren underscore, critical ethnographers need to critically analyze how larger domains of power, including global and local capital, define one’s job and inhibit the possibilities of social science practice.

In the applied field, anthropologists are always trying to discern the location of what I call “the line of unfreedom,” the place where speaking up may cause reaction. Here’s a story from a veteran medical anthropologist that illustrates the pressures to conform to the “yes sir.”
“I’ve recently been eased off of a multi-million dollar grant that I co-wrote and am (supposed to be) the co-investigator on. My 5 year participation was cut off at year 1 by the Primary Investigator who was getting really nervous about w hat affiliating with me would do to his career. In a nutshell, I wrote a paper that he thought would offend his superiors and so didn’t want to have any links to me anymore. So he revised the budget and cut me out – without actually telling me until about 9 months into year 1 – and only finally because I directly inquired as to where my subcontract for years 2-5 had gotten to. Ultimately he’s the PI. He was the MD, I was the PhD. He was the insider at the ‘very large integrated healthcare system’ where the research is sited, I am not. So yes, he has decision making power – yes he could do that. Of course, that doesn’t make it ‘right’, but that’s how it is. Ironically, the higher ups liked the paper, which was really quite non-threatening.”
What would happen if this applied anthropologist made a work issue over this? He won’t. From experience he knows that it might not turn out well.

On the Job Which are You First: Employee, Professional, or Citizen?

Indeed, as I tell students in my “Doing Anthropology” course, there is an inevitable and permanent tension between three key aspects of “applied” work as: 1) an employee, 2) a professional and 3) a citizen. As an employee you sell your labor power to an employer. As a professional anthropologist you seek to abide by the goals, rules and20ethics of your discipline. As a citizen you are most interested in advancing democracy and public education. These subject positions conflict and overlap in numerous ways. But one can be sure that an employer is more interested in your value as an employee than a citizen.

I teach the Ted Downing story as an instructive for students own applied work. Like Downing, applied anthropologists have to be prepared to travel the road from “yes, but,” to “no, sir” in order to better serve the public interest. Unions are a vital part of this work, as is a keen awareness of how workers are proletarianized. Harry Braverman’s “Labor and Monopoly Capital” is a core text.

David Price continues to catalogue the perils of activist applied anthropologists, demonstrating how, in the 1930s through 1970s, they were subject to surveillance, marginalization and worse for their work. Anthropologist Mich ael Blim, in summarizing the Price book concludes, “Emerson’s adage that all it takes for evil to triumph is th at good people do nothing is here confirmed. Based on Price’s book, one might also add: ‘if you try to change your society, trust not your state, your university, or your profession.’”

“I am not sure the issue is simply that anthropologists are ‘not sufficiently educated about how to protect themselves when challenging authority’ – as that assumes that historically our anthropological teachers have the means and experience to educate their students,” said Barbara Johnston. Johnston said that anthropology faculty, in general, do not have the “seasoned understanding of power and backlash,” as it occurs in the non-academic world. This is so, she said, because they are still immersed in the “generic disciplinary reality of the ivory tower cocoon.” She argues that “ political naïveté is built into the dependency relationship between the discipline and the university structures that sustain the discipline.”
It’s an uphill battle. As Henry Giroux discusses in his writings, universities are turning into military-academic-industrial complexes where hierarchy is more entrenched and emboldened. Academics need to model “good applied” anthropology in their own workplaces (the knowledge factories of higher education) to be more convincing to their students. So how do we better protect ourselves in a harsh work environment?

Downing says, “Telling the truth is the most important thing – scientific credibility is critical. I document my reports with hundreds of references pointing directly to documents and footnotes. No embellishment – extra adverbs or adjectives – use the words of the documents. Facts, numbers, uncertainties, etc. Good science is your best defense as an activist. If your methodology is approved ahead of20time…and leads to an unexpected result – you are on good grounds. Good science gains respect, which becomes a shield….but not impermeable. Keep close to the overall organizational objectives of your clien t or organization – in the case of the World Bank, poverty alleviation.”

Downing, who is today a research professor of Social Development at the University of Arizona, said, “Whistleblowing is a last resort – since once it is done, your effectiveness as an internal change agent – moving the organization in the direction that it needs to go – is finished. I always feel a sense of personal failure when I had to take that last step. It was quite painful. There are other ways t o release information to the outside without blowing the whistle. For example, a freedom of information request or demand for an open meeting may crack opens an issue without the need for self-destruction.”

“I learned this during my two terms as a State lawmaker. And, above all, maintain a sense of humor on your self-importance. Aw ards are not given and statutes are not erected to whistleblowers!”

“I have been booted out of several count ries and organizations,” said Downing. “And be assured, the minute a whistle is blown, any weakness in your scientific and professional abilities will be questioned. It is a last resort after you have tried your best to change the organization. I have 3 feet of internal correspondence on the Pangue case going on for over a year before I field my first human rights violation charges against the World Bank (IFC) – trying to set things right so the Pehuenche Indians would not be harmed.”

Still, Barbara Johnston is not optimistic about academic culture’s abilities to prepare students for the perils of non-academic applied work. In an interview she said that the “ever-expanding continuum of engagement,” that is currently underway in anthropology will likely result in more censorship and backlash against applied anthropologists.

Academic Culture Trivializes Activist Work

Johnston points out that academic culture “trivializes the importance of this work,” while, at the same time, the engaged anthropologist struggles to find disciplinary support in dealing with backlash, which can range from papers that cannot be=2 0published (and thus cannot advance careers) to disinformation campaigns, character assaults, threats, even murder. She cites the execution of Colombian anthropologist in 1999 after studying displaced persons from a proposed energy development. He was shot by three masked gunmen at a faculty meeting. But the more common forms of retribution and retaliation come in the form of lost jobs, lost careers and lost health.

“While anthropology is a powerful social persona (in Hollywood, public consciousness, legally mandated reviews, etc.) in terms of numbers, it is a very minor discipline. The AAA has only about 11,000 member s compared to the American Economic Association with 21,000, or the American Psychological Association with over 150,000. This means that when it comes to power (who gets the most research grants, who gets to serve as the dominant social science voice in the corridors of power, etc), anthropology is a very minor afterthought.”

And yet there is much room for resistance, she adds.

“We have an unusual power because as a social personality anthropology/ists have captured the public imagination. There is a cachet to the title, to the opinions emanating from An Anthropologist.’ So backlash is not only a matter of an unprepared, unforeseen, poorly played hand, but also a matter of threat, and how be st to silence that threat. Anthropology is a very loud mosquito buzzing around the head at night. There is a lot of power there.”

Indeed, as Rylko-Bauer and Singer (2006) argue, the historical successes of “pragmatic engagement” must be reclaimed for the 21st century. “For applied anthropologists, the commitment to action is a given; the challenge lies in continuing to find ways of acting more effectively and ethically while linking the specificity of local problem solving to larger sociopolitical contexts.”

“Yes, but,” is only one way to act. It’s often not effective. In response to Heggenhougen’s challenge, we need to become better prepared to support colleagues who find themselves in circ umstances where, “no, but,” is where they must go.
A version of this article was originally published in the Society for Applied Anthropology Newsletter, Vol. 19:3, Tim Wallace, editor, August 2008
Brian McKenna lives in Michigan. He can be reached at: mckenna193@aol.com

References

Armstrong D., Lawrence W., Young R.
2005 Group Relations: An Introduction. London:Tavistock. Onlinebook:

http://human-nature.com/rmyoung/papers/paper99.html

Bion, W. R.
1961 Experiences in Groups. London:Tavistock.

Blim Michael
2007 Review of “Threatening Anthropology: McCarthyism and the FBI’s Surveillance of Activist Anthropologists,” Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture 6:3.
See: http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_6.3/blim_printable.htm

Davenport, NZ, Schwartz RD, Elliot GP .
2005 Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace. Collins, IA: Civil Society Publishin g.

Downing, Theodore,
2008 See website for professional profile and writings at www.ted-downing.com

Giroux, Henry
2007 The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex. Boulder:Paradigm

Heggenhougen H. K.
1984 Will Primary Health Care be Allowed to Succeed? Social Science and Medicine 19 (3):217-224.
1993 PHC and Anthropology: Challenges and Opportuni ties.
Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 1993, 17:281-289.

Johnston, Barbara
2004 “The Pehuenche: Human Rights, the Environment, and Hydrodevelopment on the Biobio River, Chile” by Barbara Rose Johnston and Carmen Garcia-Downing in Indigenous Peoples, Development and Environment edited by Harvey Feit and Mario Blaser (Zed Books). 2004:211-231.

Grotstein, James S.
2007 A Beam of Intense Darkness, Wilfred Bion’s Legacy to Psychoanalysis. London:Karnac.

Johnston, Barbara
2001 “Anthropology and Environmental Justice: Analysts, Advocates, Activists and Troublemakers” by Barbara Rose Johnston, in Anthropology and the Environment, Carole Crumley, ed. (Walnut Creek: Alta Mira) 2001:132-149.

Kincheloe, Joe and Peter McLaren
1994 Rethinking Critical Theory and Qualitative Research. In Handbook of Qualitative Research. Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln, eds. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

McKenna, Brian
2008 “Melanoma Whitewash: Millions at Risk of Injury or Death because of Sunscreen Deceptions,” in “Killer Commodities: Public Health and the Corporate Production of Harm,” Merrill Singer and Hans Baer, eds., AltaMira Press

Price, David
2004 Threatening Anthropology McCarthyism and the FBI’s Surveillance of Activist Anthropologists. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Rylko-Bauer, Barbara, Singer, Merrill and Willigen, john van
2006 Reclaiming Applied Anthropology: Its Past, Present, and Future. American Anthropologist; Mar 2006; 108, 1; Research Library

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

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RP Barefoot, without a hat –

  Q.  “Ted, why do you like to say that “all politicians should go barefoot and not wear hats?”

  A.  “The public needs to know whether politicians have horns and cloven hoofs.”

” Now, I do believe in a tad bit of mystery…I don’t expect them to take off their pants to prove they don’t have a barbed tails! ”  31 May 2011

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OLD Expert Testimony to the Asian Development Bank Board

 Ted Downing with Thayer Scudder

As the Asian Development Bank Board of Directors proposed advising their involuntary resettlement project,  forced displacement experts Thayer Scudder and Ted Downing prepared an DowningScudder letter to Board for INDR ADBSPU. Ted attended the ABD Board meeting in Madrid in 2008 and stated their opposition. Their intervention was partially successful.

 

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RP Ted’s Experiment to Change Civil Culture: Comments in the Arizona Republic

The Commentary sections of our major newspapers give citizens an opportunity to instantly react to the news.  Unlike the Letters to the Editor or OpEds, these on-line commentary sections have become rowdy (and entertaining) as people use avitars and false names.

Breaking with this uncivil tradition, Ted comments using his own name. He encourages others to change the culture by joining him.

The results show a 78% positive ratings  on Ted’s comments in the Arizona Republic – when we focus on civil discourse and education rather than name calling.  Breaking with this uncivil tradition, Ted comments using his own name. He encourages others to change the culture by joining him.  Join him and change America.

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RP US Attacks on Iran are not the Answer

Only Diplomacy can yield Lasting Solutions.

John Adams and Ted Downing

In the Arizona Republic

Published Sat. 12 April 2008

With the departure of Admiral Fox Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command and reputed voice of reason in policy discussions on Iran, the danger of another pre-emptive U.S. attack looms urgently.

American attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities could risk all-out war throughout the Mideast.

This is the greatest fear of most of our allies worldwide. It should be ours as well. We must insist on thorough, decisive and immediate diplomatic solutions.

Until a few months ago, some in the U.S. policy community considered military action against Iran reasonable.

A previously unpublished National Intelligence Estimate, released Dec. 3, reported no credible evidence to support the idea that Iran might be developing a nuclear bomb.

Tehran halted its nuclear enrichment program in 2003 and, as of the middle of 2006, had not restarted it.

Unquestionably, some of Iran’s behavior is contrary to U.S. and international interests.

Most of the world has grave concern about potential Iranian development of a nuclear weapon.

Nevertheless, war with Iran would be a senseless way to resolve our differences.

It is time to be honest with the American people and share the potential consequences.

An Iranian conflict would place all of America’s interests in the region at great risk.

With nearly three times the population of Iraq – 70 million people – Iran presents infinitely more problems for our military operations than does Iraq.

Our overstretched armed forces would be at increased risk if we were at war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

Iran will not allow itself to be bombed without retaliation, and it has had years to prepare its defensive strategy.

Retaliation could include more aggression in the Middle East or kidnapping of our citizens – some may remember 1979.

Consider the regional consequences of a so-called “surgical strike” on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

It would require thousands of air sorties just to strike Iran’s far-flung air and naval facilities, not to mention a massive effort to secure the Straits of Hormuz and Gulf oil facilities. And any nuclear program could resume as soon as the smoke cleared.

In Iraq, our troops would have to prepare for retaliation.

Hamas and Hezbollah actions would be unleashed in Israel and Lebanon, and enraged Muslim populations would attack anyone seen as allied with America in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

All of these risks must be fully disclosed, discussed and assessed openly and, most important, our congressional representatives must maintain their right to make any decision to attack Iran.

Our diplomatic relationship with Iran is central to improving the security structure in the Middle East and is critical to our global influence as well.

Iran can provide the security arrangements that can help the U.S. coordinate a safe and honorable withdrawal from Iraq.

Continuing to view Iran as an adversary that must be contained or pressured will only delay this process.

Conversely, America can provide the one thing that the Iran regime desires most, i.e. legitimacy and reintegration into the world community. Only effective and informed diplomacy can yield a peaceful and permanent solution to these problems.

John Adams is a retired U.S. Army brigadier general and doctoral student of political science at the University of Arizona. Ted Downing, former state legislator, is a University of Arizona professor and consultant.Also contributing to this essay: Lawyer Harrison Dickey, history professor Richard Eaton of the University of Arizona; Republican businesswoman Cele Peterson; retired doctor and UA College of Medicine professor Barbara H. Warren; and Donna Branch-Gilby, former head of the Pima County Democratic Party and a candidate for the county Board of Supervisors.

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RP Rekindling the American Spirit – TV Op Ed

Months before it was clear who would prevail in the primary, Ted Downing, a former state legislator and Obama supporter and Sheila Tobias, a local active feminist and Hillary Clinton supporter, agreed to work toward unity, no matter which of our candidates won.

Rekindling American Spirit – Sheila Tobias and Ted Downing

A TV Editorial

 watch?v=Egt6YZhSmL4

Both of them being writers, they agreed to write an op ed together. They are hoping that their article and their appearance on Tucson Access will move Obama and Clinton supporters toward greater understanding of our respective passions for our candidates and for one another.

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RP Downing: Deferred Compensation Preferable to Furloughs

Guest Opinion

Deferred compensation preferable to furloughs By Ted Downing

Special to the Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.10.2009

The state has a revenue shortfall and it is time for innovative solutions that do not permanently cripple our state. Unlike the federal government, the Arizona Constitution requires a balanced budget every year. This forces the Legislature to cut spending somewhere.

As a former ranking Democrat in the state House’s Education Committee, I strongly agree that the Legislature’s majority has mistakenly singled out education for budget cuts. But protesting and beating on our chests does not balance the budget. Nor do threats by universities to cut popular public programs.

Administrators, not legislators, set priorities and the lawmakers know that. Something (read “someone”) must lose.

Both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona have mandated employee furloughs. Furloughs cut employee paychecks, but not their salaries. State agencies are considering the same.

You don’t get paid for the days you don’t work. The employee loses pay for good. However, the state institution or agency suffers a disruption in work or services as employees are not there.

As an alternative, I suggest deferred compensation. The employee gets an IOU, a promise to pay in the future after the economy recovers or upon termination. The employees save their income and defer paying taxes.

The highly paid executives, including the overpaid bankers who got us into this mess, use this method all the time. In the aggregate, the institution operates with a lower budget and the employees wait to be paid rather than lose their pay.

A deferred compensation plan keeps all hands on deck. It avoids unintended economic consequences. It is not good for an economic recovery if some of our lower-paid employees fall behind on their mortgage payments and put another house of a bloated market.

Either plan, of course, is better than layoffs and salary cuts (permanent reductions), which decapitalize our economy.

While ASU has not yet adopted a deferred-compensation plan, they are scaling their furloughs so that those who make more take more unpaid days off. ASU administrators are being furloughed for 15 days, faculty and academic professionals up to 12 days, and other employees up to 10 days. This may save $24 million.

The UA is planning across-the-board five-day furloughs during fiscal 2009-2010, regardless of rank or current salary.

A better option would be to forget the furloughs altogether and use deferred compensation on a sliding scale. Depending on their salaries, employees defer (save) different amounts.

The legislators, who make $24,000 a year, are aware that some of our university administrators make more than President Barack Obama. With Congress contemplating capping executive pay on Wall Street, how long before six-figure public-employee incomes come under scrutiny.

The public remembers the moral leadership of Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler who gained national acclaim when he agreed to work for $1 a year during a previous crisis.

Of course, it would be nice to go without furloughs, layoffs or deferred compensation, but this is not an alternative.

Write to Ted Downing at downing@cox.net

 

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Milestones

Some of Ted’s actions that benefit many areas of Arizona

  • Rio Nuevo Accountability
  • Wildlife management
  • Protecting Victims of Hit and Run Drivers
  • Energy and costs savings in schools
  • Animal Rights
  • Election Integrity

 Rio Nuevo – Accountability for misuse of public funds

Tucson voters approved a 10-year tax-increment financing plan for Rio Nuevo in 1999.  In 2006, the entire Southern Arizona legislative delegation, Republicans and Democrats,  proudly sponsored legislation to extend the funding of the Rio Nuevo project – save Downing.  He did not sponsor the bill.  Downing wanted to see voter approval and without an audit as a condition for extending a project which, by then, had done nothing.  His amendments to give the public a right to audit Rio Nuevo by placing its expenditures on the web and vote on a project plan were defeated in a roll call vote.  That vote includes all Southern Arizona legislators – both Rs and Ds.

He opposed the Rio Nuevo extension until it became clear that he couldn’t compel a vote of the people and an audit.

In both instances, Downing followed his conscience and represented his district, despite pressure from fellow local legislators.

In 2006,  Democrat Senator Paula Aboud mailed out a political hit piece mailer accusing Ted of not supporting Rio Nuevo – citing this action.  And Republican Jonathan Paton voted against Downing’s amendment for transparency of RN expenditures but later an measures of his own – taking credit after the horses were out of the barn. By 2012, it is clear that Ted was right to demand accountability and transparency on Rio Nuevo spending.

$230+ million has gone down a rathole – the precise details should soon appear in an expensive audit. The dollars may have been kept in Tucson, not Phoenix, but what happened to this money?

When tempers flared over what to do withmountain lions encroaching into urban areas. Environmentalists wished to protect the lions. Others wanted the lions killed.  State Representative Ted Downing brought all sides together in a hearing and called for a public education program, leading to a prize winning statewide development of the  urban-wildlife interface program by Arizona Game and Fish.

“Illegal” mountain lions – the origins of the Arizona Urban-Wildlife Interface Program

 

 Do the Right Thing Law – Protecting Victims of Hit and Run Accidents

When hit-and-run drivers were killing our children, Ted

wrote and then passed into law the “Do the Right Thing Law”to encourage drivers not to abandon victims. The Republican majority liked his idea so much that they allowed him to substitute his law for one of theirs.

 

 

 Energy cost savings through non-partisan cooperation

 

When  Republican House member Randy Graf and Ted drafted and passed an energy-cost savings law for education - saving school districts and other public agencies tens of millions of dollars. It is now considered a model energy law by the EPA.

 

 Protecting our Democracy – when we vote.

 

 

 

When voters didn’t trust having their votes counted only by machines, Ted combined forces with Republican Senator Karen Johnson and,  overcame opposition from the Diebold voting machine company, Ted passed a new lawgiving all Arizona voters – no matter what their party -  the right to a paper ballot and a right to a hand count audit of the voting machines.

 

 

 

Ted amended a Republican bill to put the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights into every Arizona classroom.  The incumbent call this a “gimmick” in 2006.

 

When Pima County domestic pets were being stolen for dog fighting.  Pima County Sheriff Dupnik brought a problem to Ted’s attention. Dog napping was not a serious crime, since a domestic dog, as property, is worth only a few dollars (yes, but they are very valuable to those of us who love them).  He worked both sides of the aisle, writing, rewriting and negotiating to get passed in law an increased the protection of domestic pets from being stolen for dog fighting. At one point, he attached dog biscuits to his personal letter to each Senator, requesting their support.  For this work, Ted earned the “Voice for the Voiceless” Award from the Pima County Humane Society.

 

 Protecting Due Process and Property Rights

Projects designed for public benefits often inflict economic to residents, tenants and property owners that are in their path.   Ted acted even when not in office. Remember, he has an international reputation as a consultant working on displaced peoples (www.displacement.net).

The RTA Grant Road and 22nd Street expansions are examples of public projects that may, if improperly designed and underfinanced may  inflict damages on businesses, homes, and property owners. In Arizona, properties being taken and tenants being moved by a federally funded project had, until Ted and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray (R-Mesa) noticed it, greater rights than those being taken by projects that were not federally funded. This was wrong.

Ted then worked with Senator Gray and with neighborhood coalitions, businesses, and homeowners associations to protect property rights. The new 2010 eminent domain law gives those in the way of nonfederally funded projects the same Constitutional 5th Amendment rights as if they were being harmed by a federal project.

With 1/3 of the state independent and most Republicans and Democrats feeling alienated from their party core, Isn’t it about time for this to happen? Isn’t Ted your choice?

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Will Primaries Shake Up Politics in Arizona?

Pamela Powers Hannley interviews Ted Downing …

Will Primaries Shake Up Politics in Arizona?

The Huffington Post.

January 30, 2012 | 1/30/12 04:17 PM ET

When Americans are unhappy in an election year, they often adopt a ‘throw-the-bums-out’ attitude toward incumbent politicians. In 2008, the Democrats seized control of all three branches of government. In 2010, Americans threw dozens of Democratic ‘bums’ out, and many Tea Party-leaning Republicans went to Congress for the first time. In 2012, Congress’ nearly complete gridlock and 9 percent approval rating hint at another throw-the-bums-out year.

But does this cycle of alternatively sweeping Democrats or Republicans out of office really accomplish anything? Are voters getting what they want from government or just crossing their fingers and venting their anger at the ballot box?

Under our current electoral system, political parties have a greater voice in government than voters, and that has contributed to “partisan sniping and gridlock,” according to Open Elections/Open Government (OE/OG), a bipartisan group of Arizonans who are working to place an open primaries initiative on the November 2012 ballot.

Disaffected voters believe elected officials are beholden not to them but to political party bosses and lobbyists, and this belief leads voters to lose faith in government, the OE/OG website claims.

Open primaries — where all candidates regardless of party affiliation are listed on one ballot — would give voters, rather than political parties, a greater voice in government, says Ted Downing, Ph.D., research professor of social development in the Arizona Research Laboratories at the University of Arizona and one of the initiative’s architects.

“Taxpayers pay for elections [party primaries] that limit their choices,” says Downing. Independents — a rapidly growing group of registered voters in Arizona — are “grossly discriminated against” under our current system, which favors the two major parties.

Voter registration in Arizona is roughly split in thirds between Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, with Republicans holding a slight edge over Independents and Democrats trailing in third place. In 2012, registered Independents are expected to overtake Republicans as the largest group of registered voters, according to Downing. The continued growth of the Independent vote and declining registrations for both major parties should be a big wake-up call that voters are unhappy with the current two-part-dominated system, Downing says.

Even though there are tens of thousands of registered Independents in Arizona, no Independent candidate has ever won a legislative or statewide office in Arizona. The electoral deck is stacked against them, according to Downing, who ran for the state legislature as an Independent in 2010. Arizona election laws require Independent candidates to collect five or six times as many signatures as Republicans or Democrats to have their names placed on the ballot, Downing adds.

Tucson, with its all-mailed primary and general election ballots, puts an additional burden on Independent voters. All ballots for registered Democrats and Republicans are mailed to them automatically, but Independents are required to contact the Pima County Recorder’s Office and request either a Democratic or Republican primary ballot. If you are a true Independent and would like to vote for people of different parties, you can’t do so in the local primaries. (Some states don’t allow Independents to vote in primaries at all.)

This is hardly a level playing field.

“The rules were put in place by parties to protect their own interests,” says Downing, who expects both the Democratic and the Republican Parties to fight against this initiative, as they did in other states that have adopted open primaries.

In addition to putting all names on the same primary ballot, the open primaries initiative eliminates all laws that favor a particular political party over other parties; requires all candidates for the same office to obtain the same number of signatures (regardless of party); allows any registered Arizona voter to sign nominating petitions, as long as they live in the designated geographic area; allows candidates to add “registered as…[Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green, Libertarian, whatever, or nothing]” after their names on the ballot; and calls for rotating candidates’ names on the ballot.

Following an open primary, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, would face each other in the general election. Yes, any combination of candidates could make up the top two — even two candidates from the same party.

Open primaries and top-two general elections have interesting implications for incumbents. Under our current two-party-controlled system, political parties rarely run anyone against an incumbent because their focus is keeping that office as a D or an R.

Sometimes parties overtly discourage challenges to sitting incumbents; a classic case in point is the 2011 Tucson City Council race in which the Pima County Democratic Party endorsed all of the incumbent council members six months before the primary and bankrolled a publicity campaign and billboards attacking a Democrat who challenged the Democratic Party incumbent. Under the open primary/top-two system, a particularly unpopular incumbent could get bumped out of the race in the primary or could face someone from his or her own party in the general election.

The implications are monumental; “deep level reform” is how Downing characterizes the proposed system. Voters in two western states — Washington and California — have approved the open primary/top-two system.

“If Arizona joins them, we [the Western states] have a chance to change the national dialogue,” says Downing.

He offers the Tea Party takeover of Congress as a case in point. In 2010, approximately a hundred Tea-Party-leaning Republicans were elected to the US House of Representatives. Even though they are not a voting majority, they have been able to drive the debate in Congress since they were elected.

In the 2016 elections, if California, Washington and Arizona all use the open primary/top-two system to elect their Congressional representatives, a hundred representatives will be forced to represent all voters in their district — not just those in their party. Downing’s eyes sparkled as he spoke of a Western Alliance of non-partisan representatives and the potential for less partisan bickering and increased cooperation in Congress.

Downing, former Phoenix Mayor ” Paul Johnson, and others have been collaborating on the Open Elections/Open Government initiative for months. If passed, it would amend the Arizona Constitution and create an open primary system, which would apply to all elections in Arizona except the US Presidential election.

The Open Elections/Open Government initiative needs 259,213 signatures by July 5, 2012 to get on the November 2012 ballot. More information is at their website, http://azopengov.org/.

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Cockburn: The Nation Magazine on Ted

Wolfensohn, Indian Killer

Every age contributes its own dollop of cant to the business of wiping out Indians. Today the humdrum business of ethnocide is spray-painted with uplifting language about “sustainable development,” with more menacing words like “resettlement” inconspicuously lurking.

Back in 1992 the huge Chilean utility Endesa embarked on the first of a series of hydroelectric dams on the Bío-Bío River some 300 miles south of Santiago. Endesa duly applied to the International Finance Corporation for funding.
The I.F.C. is part of the World Bank, now presided over by James Wolfensohn, a fellow often touted in the press as a veritable Renaissance man: patron of the arts and philanthropies tempering bankerly skills with steely resolve to discipline the proconsuls in the World Bank Group, who have made that institution a byword for arrogance and double-dealing. As we shall see, the Bío-Bío saga displays Wolfensohn in none of these guises, but as a chicken-heart.
In the late eighties, battered by justified charges that it had financed scores of projects that doomed indigenous groups, the World Bank drew up some protocols designed to stop this happening again. The new policy laid heavy stress on the informed participation of such groups in the devising of projects and policies affecting their way of life.
The I.F.C. staffers, who signed a secret dam agreement with Endesa, concealed from the I.F.C. board of directors the facts as they well knew them. There was not going to be one dam but several. Out of the 5,000 members of the Pehuenche tribe, almost a thousand were scheduled for resettlement across the construction of six dams. The Indians weren’t told that. Instead the I.F.C. colluded with Endesa in trumping up a “model agreement,” inaugurating a whole new era of harmony between Indian and white man. A newly established Pehuen Foundation would take a tiny slice of net corporate income from an Endesa subsidiary — around $130,000 a year — to launch “sustainable development” of three Indian reservations around the new reservoir.
The bulldozers rolled, and by 1996 the Pangue dam was virtually completed, watched with increasing disquiet by Chilean groups certain from the start that an environmental catastrophe would go hand in hand with disaster for the Pehuenche. In 1995 these Chileans took their concerns to Wolfensohn, and not long thereafter the I.F.C. retained the anthropologist Theodore Downing, former president of the International Anthropological Association, to go to Chile and undertake an independent review.
Off went Downing, and the Pehuenche for the first time encountered an interlocutor who listened to them. Downing filed his report on May 7, 1996. It was devastating. The Pehuen Foundation was a self-serving fraud. There was no “sustainable development” but merely the establishment of a corrupt system of stinted welfare handouts. The ancestral Pehuenche forests — more than 100 million acres vital for their survival — were being relentlessly logged, at the incredible rate of 8 percent a year, with what Downing and the Indians computed to be anywhere from $6 million to $18 million worth of timber already hauled off. In other words, the Indians were involuntarily subsidizing the dam that was finishing them off.
Downing’s report was sent to Endesa, which promptly threatened to sue the I.F.C., whose natural instinct was to keep Downing’s report from all inconvenient eyes, starting with those of the Pehuenche. The I.F.C. made the report available only to non-Indian members of the Pehuen Foundation board. By now the Chilean government and private Chilean groups were asking for the Downing report. The I.F.C. claimed that it favored “disclosure” and would hold confidential only “what is considered in the legitimate business interests of the company.” To which Downing tartly inquired, “Since when did controlling the internal affairs of an indigenous group become a legitimate business interest of a power company?”
In December 1996 Downing filed the first human rights complaint ever lodged by a consultant against the World Bank or the staff of the I.F.C., charging them with racism in treatment of the Pehuenche. Ludicrous cover-ups have followed. The I.F.C. launched its own “review,” which, inevitably, said Downing’s human rights complaint lacked merit. Meanwhile, in April of this year, the I.F.C. was hatching yet another agreement with Endesa, probably to deport the Pehuenche to the uplands. The agreement is secret, as ethnocidal schemes mostly are.
What of Wolfensohn? After an initial reproof of Endesa and agreement to retain Downing and also Jay Hair, formerly president of the National Wildlife Federation, to conduct yet another review, Wolfensohn has presided over interminable deception and cover-up, starting with the suppression of both Downing’s and Hair’s reports. Hair was most recently shunted into the presence of Wolfensohn’s friend Lloyd Cutler, big-time Democratic lawyer-fixer, who reportedly insulted Hair’s report and insisted its publication would be legally perilous. One supposition here might be that the Clinton Administration is eager to have fast-track approval of Chile’s entry into NAFTA and doesn’t want any ugly talk about ethnocide darkening the mood of uplift. Meanwhile, it looks as though the World Bank Group is backtracking on those brave commitments on resettlement and overall policy toward Indians.
As he strolls through the splendid new I.F.C. headquarters in Washington, D.C., Wolfensohn might spare a moment to reflect upon the nasty little fact that even as the I.F.C. was moving into this palace it was signing arrangements that would displace a small, indigent tribe from its ancestral home. He and his subordinates have partaken in a conspiracy that will see the Indians either “resettled” at higher elevations, which could see them die of cold or scattered in shiftless alcoholism on the outskirts of tourist or corporate enclaves. This is what is meant by “ethnocide.” Since Wolfensohn is Australian by origin he can perhaps concentrate his mind by studying the current furor in his native land over the carefully meditated plans, only a few decades old, to wipe out the

Aborigine.
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RP McKenna from CounterPunch: Ted Downing and Troublemaker Anthropology

How “Yes, Sir” Necessarily Becomes “No, Sir”

Ted Downing and Troublemaker Anthropology

By BRIAN McKENNA

Censorship and suppression of one’s work are among the worst things that can happen to a writer, bureaucrat or cultural worker. Ted Downing, former Society for Applied Anthropology President (1985-87), experienced this and more. In 1995, Downing wrote an evaluation report describing the s evere social and environmental impacts likely to be suffered by Chile’s Pehuenche Indians from a proposed dam project underwritten by the World Bank. After his report was censored Downing demanded that the World Bank publicly disclose his findings. The Bank responded by threatening “a lawsuit garnering Downing’s assets, income and future salary if he disclosed the contents, findings and recommendations of his independent evaluation.” (Johnson and Garcia Downing). As a result of his whistleblowing, Downing was blacklisted from the World Bank after 13 years of consulting service.

“Personally, I was blackballed for 10 years for filing, what turned out to be 3 human rights violations charges against the IFC (private sector arm of The World Bank),” said Downing in an interview. “The experience left me only the devil’s alternative, to get involved in politics.” Literally.

Downing went on to serve two terms in the Arizona legislature from 2003-2006. He rejected corporate contributions and collected hundreds of $5 contributions to qualify for public campaign financing. Downing introduced bills to protect the integrity of the election system, co-authoring a bill requiring hand count audits of electronic voting machines. He increased financial support for university and community college students, protected animal rights, improved energy efficiency and more. Eighty-six of Ted’s co-sponsored bills became law, a spectacular achievment for a Democrat in a Republican controlled legislature.

“Yes sir,” or “Yes, but,” or. . . .just “No!”

Many Ph.D.s never find solid employment in the academic world in this age of university downsizing and so offer their wares as evaluators, consultants or “applied anthropologists” to non-profits or the corporate world. A good many aim to foster social change but are unprepared for how best to do it. This is especially true for my field, anthropology which at this point in time has more Ph.D.s working in applied fields than the university.
Some years back Harvard anthropologist Kris Heggenhougen argued that the strength of anthropology in collaborating with other disciplines lies in saying, “yes, but. . .and to critically examine the decisive factors affecting peoples’ health including power, dominance and exploitation.” (Heggenhougen 1993)
Yes, but. . . . while that sounds good, more needs to be said.

First of all, we spend much more time saying “yes, sir” than “yes, but” in paid employment. This is necessary if we wish to stay employed. The workplace is a not a democracy but a hierarchy in which academic freedom does not apply. As Downing evinces, there are penalties for speaking one’s mind. Workers have to gauge the cultural politics in any given context so as to not unnecessarily risk censure, reprimand or worse.
Sometimes, like Downing, they must be prepared to simply say no sir and go with the consequences. Sometimes getting fired leads to new paths that can result in greater accomplishments. Much of it has to do with the right attitude.
Dr. Downing has the right attitude. He retains that probing, cantankerous spirit today. “I have no idea what ‘yes, but’ means having not read Heggenhougen,” he said. “The reference to ‘collaboration to other disciplines’ makes no sense to me – as I work on problems and am Undisciplined. I don’t think anyone would consider me a “yes man – which has helped and cursed me . . . . .But, I insist, fighting within a bureaucracy is part of being a good applied anything.”

In Downing’s anthropological journey, when “yes, but” didn’t work, he progressed, reluctantly, to “no, sir.” In fact this happens to many applied anthropologists but most do not have the resources, support or disciplinary guidance to assist them in their struggles. They might become whistleblowers but their careers suffer. And their stories are untold. We do not have a good accounting of how often this happens to anthropologists, but we need to learn more about this. In any case, resisting censorship is, as Downing says, “good applied” anthropology.

Like a Skilled Surgeon

“Good applied” anthropology harkens back to one of the masters of social science, Robert Lynd. In 1939, Lynd, author of the groun dbreaking Middletown studies (the first full bore ethnography of a U.S. city), wrote a book that is less well known, but just as important. Knowledge for What? The Place of Social Science in American Culture, is as relevant today as the moment he penned it.

In it he wrote that “[T]he role of the social sciences to be troublesome, to disconcert the habitual arrangements by which we manage to live along, and to demonstrate the possibility of change in more adequate directions . . . like that of a skilled surgeon, [social scientists need to] get us into immediate trouble in order to prevent our present troubles from becoming even more dangerous. In a culture in which power is normally held by the few and used offensively and defensively to bolster their instant adv antage within the status quo, the role of such a constructive troublemaker is scarcely inviting.”

“Troublemaker” is of course the pejorative term emanating from within t he dominant culture, targeting those who refuse to keep quiet in the face of injustice. “Yes but” is an ample part of their vocabulary. Anthropologist Barbara Johnston has wr itten about the work of being an anthropological troublemaker, especially in relation to doing environmental justice work. But she warns about associated risks. Environmental justice work “requires confronting, challenging and changing power structures.” When someone is involved in this work, says Johnston, “backlash is inevitable.”

“When environmental justice work involves advocacy and action – confrontational politics – a number of professional bridges are burned. . . .’Cause-oriented’ anthropology suggests people who make trouble. Troublemakers are celebrated in this discipline when t heir cause succeeds and justice prevails. But often ‘justice’ is elusive, success is hard to gauge, and action results in unforeseen adverse consequences. (Johnston: 2001, 8).

Because most anthropologists usually enter organizations as change agent s of some kind they need to be aware that they are especially at risk of being labeled a “troublemaker” at any time. If the label sticks it can lead not only to getting fired; it also can lead to a vicious form of bullying that can make one’s life unbearable.

Beware of the Mobbers

Anthropologist Noa Davenport knows this very well. In 1999 she coauthored a book with two other professionals called, “Mobbing, Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, (1999). In the book’s forward Davenport and her colleagues noted, “This book came about because all three of us, in different organizations, experienced a workplace phenomenon that had profound effects on our well-being. Through humiliation, harassment, and unjustified accusations, we experienced emotional abuse that forced us out of the workplace.” Often the mobbing begins soon after the professional challenged a superior in some area. In other words, it’s often a “yes , but” interrogative. Today Davenport conducts workshops on mobbing and counsels people who have experienced such abuse. She turned her private suffering into a public issue and has advanced the culture.

In my research, “mobbing” has a great deal of unconscious group behavior associated with it. To understand it one must research the realms of psychoanalysis and group dynamics (Bion 1961, Armstrong et al 2005, Grotstein 2007). Often the abuse had the tacit approval of upper management who themselves are often behind it.

All terrains of employment in capitalist culture operate in a sea of conflict. For a critical applied anthropologist then, one is in dangerous waters from the first day on the job. As Kincheloe and McLaren underscore, critical ethnographers need to critically analyze how larger domains of power, including global and local capital, define one’s job and inhibit the possibilities of social science practice.

In the applied field, anthropologists are always trying to discern the location of what I call “the line of unfreedom,” the place where speaking up may cause reaction. Here’s a story from a veteran medical anthropologist that illustrates the pressures to conform to the “yes sir.”
“I’ve recently been eased off of a multi-million dollar grant that I co-wrote and am (supposed to be) the co-investigator on. My 5 year participation was cut off at year 1 by the Primary Investigator who was getting really nervous about w hat affiliating with me would do to his career. In a nutshell, I wrote a paper that he thought would offend his superiors and so didn’t want to have any links to me anymore. So he revised the budget and cut me out – without actually telling me until about 9 months into year 1 – and only finally because I directly inquired as to where my subcontract for years 2-5 had gotten to. Ultimately he’s the PI. He was the MD, I was the PhD. He was the insider at the ‘very large integrated healthcare system’ where the research is sited, I am not. So yes, he has decision making power – yes he could do that. Of course, that doesn’t make it ‘right’, but that’s how it is. Ironically, the higher ups liked the paper, which was really quite non-threatening.”
What would happen if this applied anthropologist made a work issue over this? He won’t. From experience he knows that it might not turn out well.

On the Job Which are You First: Employee, Professional, or Citizen?

Indeed, as I tell students in my “Doing Anthropology” course, there is an inevitable and permanent tension between three key aspects of “applied” work as: 1) an employee, 2) a professional and 3) a citizen. As an employee you sell your labor power to an employer. As a professional anthropologist you seek to abide by the goals, rules and20ethics of your discipline. As a citizen you are most interested in advancing democracy and public education. These subject positions conflict and overlap in numerous ways. But one can be sure that an employer is more interested in your value as an employee than a citizen.

I teach the Ted Downing story as an instructive for students own applied work. Like Downing, applied anthropologists have to be prepared to travel the road from “yes, but,” to “no, sir” in order to better serve the public interest. Unions are a vital part of this work, as is a keen awareness of how workers are proletarianized. Harry Braverman’s “Labor and Monopoly Capital” is a core text.

David Price continues to catalogue the perils of activist applied anthropologists, demonstrating how, in the 1930s through 1970s, they were subject to surveillance, marginalization and worse for their work. Anthropologist Mich ael Blim, in summarizing the Price book concludes, “Emerson’s adage that all it takes for evil to triumph is th at good people do nothing is here confirmed. Based on Price’s book, one might also add: ‘if you try to change your society, trust not your state, your university, or your profession.’”

“I am not sure the issue is simply that anthropologists are ‘not sufficiently educated about how to protect themselves when challenging authority’ – as that assumes that historically our anthropological teachers have the means and experience to educate their students,” said Barbara Johnston. Johnston said that anthropology faculty, in general, do not have the “seasoned understanding of power and backlash,” as it occurs in the non-academic world. This is so, she said, because they are still immersed in the “generic disciplinary reality of the ivory tower cocoon.” She argues that “ political naïveté is built into the dependency relationship between the discipline and the university structures that sustain the discipline.”
It’s an uphill battle. As Henry Giroux discusses in his writings, universities are turning into military-academic-industrial complexes where hierarchy is more entrenched and emboldened. Academics need to model “good applied” anthropology in their own workplaces (the knowledge factories of higher education) to be more convincing to their students. So how do we better protect ourselves in a harsh work environment?

Downing says, “Telling the truth is the most important thing – scientific credibility is critical. I document my reports with hundreds of references pointing directly to documents and footnotes. No embellishment – extra adverbs or adjectives – use the words of the documents. Facts, numbers, uncertainties, etc. Good science is your best defense as an activist. If your methodology is approved ahead of20time…and leads to an unexpected result – you are on good grounds. Good science gains respect, which becomes a shield….but not impermeable. Keep close to the overall organizational objectives of your clien t or organization – in the case of the World Bank, poverty alleviation.”

Downing, who is today a research professor of Social Development at the University of Arizona, said, “Whistleblowing is a last resort – since once it is done, your effectiveness as an internal change agent – moving the organization in the direction that it needs to go – is finished. I always feel a sense of personal failure when I had to take that last step. It was quite painful. There are other ways t o release information to the outside without blowing the whistle. For example, a freedom of information request or demand for an open meeting may crack opens an issue without the need for self-destruction.”

“I learned this during my two terms as a State lawmaker. And, above all, maintain a sense of humor on your self-importance. Aw ards are not given and statutes are not erected to whistleblowers!”

“I have been booted out of several count ries and organizations,” said Downing. “And be assured, the minute a whistle is blown, any weakness in your scientific and professional abilities will be questioned. It is a last resort after you have tried your best to change the organization. I have 3 feet of internal correspondence on the Pangue case going on for over a year before I field my first human rights violation charges against the World Bank (IFC) – trying to set things right so the Pehuenche Indians would not be harmed.”

Still, Barbara Johnston is not optimistic about academic culture’s abilities to prepare students for the perils of non-academic applied work. In an interview she said that the “ever-expanding continuum of engagement,” that is currently underway in anthropology will likely result in more censorship and backlash against applied anthropologists.

Academic Culture Trivializes Activist Work

Johnston points out that academic culture “trivializes the importance of this work,” while, at the same time, the engaged anthropologist struggles to find disciplinary support in dealing with backlash, which can range from papers that cannot be=2 0published (and thus cannot advance careers) to disinformation campaigns, character assaults, threats, even murder. She cites the execution of Colombian anthropologist in 1999 after studying displaced persons from a proposed energy development. He was shot by three masked gunmen at a faculty meeting. But the more common forms of retribution and retaliation come in the form of lost jobs, lost careers and lost health.

“While anthropology is a powerful social persona (in Hollywood, public consciousness, legally mandated reviews, etc.) in terms of numbers, it is a very minor discipline. The AAA has only about 11,000 member s compared to the American Economic Association with 21,000, or the American Psychological Association with over 150,000. This means that when it comes to power (who gets the most research grants, who gets to serve as the dominant social science voice in the corridors of power, etc), anthropology is a very minor afterthought.”

And yet there is much room for resistance, she adds.

“We have an unusual power because as a social personality anthropology/ists have captured the public imagination. There is a cachet to the title, to the opinions emanating from An Anthropologist.’ So backlash is not only a matter of an unprepared, unforeseen, poorly played hand, but also a matter of threat, and how be st to silence that threat. Anthropology is a very loud mosquito buzzing around the head at night. There is a lot of power there.”

Indeed, as Rylko-Bauer and Singer (2006) argue, the historical successes of “pragmatic engagement” must be reclaimed for the 21st century. “For applied anthropologists, the commitment to action is a given; the challenge lies in continuing to find ways of acting more effectively and ethically while linking the specificity of local problem solving to larger sociopolitical contexts.”

“Yes, but,” is only one way to act. It’s often not effective. In response to Heggenhougen’s challenge, we need to become better prepared to support colleagues who find themselves in circ umstances where, “no, but,” is where they must go.
A version of this article was originally published in the Society for Applied Anthropology Newsletter, Vol. 19:3, Tim Wallace, editor, August 2008
Brian McKenna lives in Michigan. He can be reached at: mckenna193@aol.com

References

Armstrong D., Lawrence W., Young R.
2005 Group Relations: An Introduction. London:Tavistock. Onlinebook:

http://human-nature.com/rmyoung/papers/paper99.html

Bion, W. R.
1961 Experiences in Groups. London:Tavistock.

Blim Michael
2007 Review of “Threatening Anthropology: McCarthyism and the FBI’s Surveillance of Activist Anthropologists,” Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture 6:3.
See: http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_6.3/blim_printable.htm

Davenport, NZ, Schwartz RD, Elliot GP .
2005 Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace. Collins, IA: Civil Society Publishin g.

Downing, Theodore,
2008 See website for professional profile and writings at www.ted-downing.com

Giroux, Henry
2007 The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex. Boulder:Paradigm

Heggenhougen H. K.
1984 Will Primary Health Care be Allowed to Succeed? Social Science and Medicine 19 (3):217-224.
1993 PHC and Anthropology: Challenges and Opportuni ties.
Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 1993, 17:281-289.

Johnston, Barbara
2004 “The Pehuenche: Human Rights, the Environment, and Hydrodevelopment on the Biobio River, Chile” by Barbara Rose Johnston and Carmen Garcia-Downing in Indigenous Peoples, Development and Environment edited by Harvey Feit and Mario Blaser (Zed Books). 2004:211-231.

Grotstein, James S.
2007 A Beam of Intense Darkness, Wilfred Bion’s Legacy to Psychoanalysis. London:Karnac.

Johnston, Barbara
2001 “Anthropology and Environmental Justice: Analysts, Advocates, Activists and Troublemakers” by Barbara Rose Johnston, in Anthropology and the Environment, Carole Crumley, ed. (Walnut Creek: Alta Mira) 2001:132-149.

Kincheloe, Joe and Peter McLaren
1994 Rethinking Critical Theory and Qualitative Research. In Handbook of Qualitative Research. Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln, eds. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage

McKenna, Brian
2008 “Melanoma Whitewash: Millions at Risk of Injury or Death because of Sunscreen Deceptions,” in “Killer Commodities: Public Health and the Corporate Production of Harm,” Merrill Singer and Hans Baer, eds., AltaMira Press

Price, David
2004 Threatening Anthropology McCarthyism and the FBI’s Surveillance of Activist Anthropologists. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Rylko-Bauer, Barbara, Singer, Merrill and Willigen, john van
2006 Reclaiming Applied Anthropology: Its Past, Present, and Future. American Anthropologist; Mar 2006; 108, 1; Research Library

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

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RP Barefoot, without a hat –

  Q.  “Ted, why do you like to say that “all politicians should go barefoot and not wear hats?”

  A.  “The public needs to know whether politicians have horns and cloven hoofs.”

” Now, I do believe in a tad bit of mystery…I don’t expect them to take off their pants to prove they don’t have a barbed tails! ”  31 May 2011

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OLD Expert Testimony to the Asian Development Bank Board

 Ted Downing with Thayer Scudder

As the Asian Development Bank Board of Directors proposed advising their involuntary resettlement project,  forced displacement experts Thayer Scudder and Ted Downing prepared an DowningScudder letter to Board for INDR ADBSPU. Ted attended the ABD Board meeting in Madrid in 2008 and stated their opposition. Their intervention was partially successful.

 

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RP Ted’s Experiment to Change Civil Culture: Comments in the Arizona Republic

The Commentary sections of our major newspapers give citizens an opportunity to instantly react to the news.  Unlike the Letters to the Editor or OpEds, these on-line commentary sections have become rowdy (and entertaining) as people use avitars and false names.

Breaking with this uncivil tradition, Ted comments using his own name. He encourages others to change the culture by joining him.

The results show a 78% positive ratings  on Ted’s comments in the Arizona Republic – when we focus on civil discourse and education rather than name calling.  Breaking with this uncivil tradition, Ted comments using his own name. He encourages others to change the culture by joining him.  Join him and change America.

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RP US Attacks on Iran are not the Answer

Only Diplomacy can yield Lasting Solutions.

John Adams and Ted Downing

In the Arizona Republic

Published Sat. 12 April 2008

With the departure of Admiral Fox Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command and reputed voice of reason in policy discussions on Iran, the danger of another pre-emptive U.S. attack looms urgently.

American attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities could risk all-out war throughout the Mideast.

This is the greatest fear of most of our allies worldwide. It should be ours as well. We must insist on thorough, decisive and immediate diplomatic solutions.

Until a few months ago, some in the U.S. policy community considered military action against Iran reasonable.

A previously unpublished National Intelligence Estimate, released Dec. 3, reported no credible evidence to support the idea that Iran might be developing a nuclear bomb.

Tehran halted its nuclear enrichment program in 2003 and, as of the middle of 2006, had not restarted it.

Unquestionably, some of Iran’s behavior is contrary to U.S. and international interests.

Most of the world has grave concern about potential Iranian development of a nuclear weapon.

Nevertheless, war with Iran would be a senseless way to resolve our differences.

It is time to be honest with the American people and share the potential consequences.

An Iranian conflict would place all of America’s interests in the region at great risk.

With nearly three times the population of Iraq – 70 million people – Iran presents infinitely more problems for our military operations than does Iraq.

Our overstretched armed forces would be at increased risk if we were at war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

Iran will not allow itself to be bombed without retaliation, and it has had years to prepare its defensive strategy.

Retaliation could include more aggression in the Middle East or kidnapping of our citizens – some may remember 1979.

Consider the regional consequences of a so-called “surgical strike” on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

It would require thousands of air sorties just to strike Iran’s far-flung air and naval facilities, not to mention a massive effort to secure the Straits of Hormuz and Gulf oil facilities. And any nuclear program could resume as soon as the smoke cleared.

In Iraq, our troops would have to prepare for retaliation.

Hamas and Hezbollah actions would be unleashed in Israel and Lebanon, and enraged Muslim populations would attack anyone seen as allied with America in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

All of these risks must be fully disclosed, discussed and assessed openly and, most important, our congressional representatives must maintain their right to make any decision to attack Iran.

Our diplomatic relationship with Iran is central to improving the security structure in the Middle East and is critical to our global influence as well.

Iran can provide the security arrangements that can help the U.S. coordinate a safe and honorable withdrawal from Iraq.

Continuing to view Iran as an adversary that must be contained or pressured will only delay this process.

Conversely, America can provide the one thing that the Iran regime desires most, i.e. legitimacy and reintegration into the world community. Only effective and informed diplomacy can yield a peaceful and permanent solution to these problems.

John Adams is a retired U.S. Army brigadier general and doctoral student of political science at the University of Arizona. Ted Downing, former state legislator, is a University of Arizona professor and consultant.Also contributing to this essay: Lawyer Harrison Dickey, history professor Richard Eaton of the University of Arizona; Republican businesswoman Cele Peterson; retired doctor and UA College of Medicine professor Barbara H. Warren; and Donna Branch-Gilby, former head of the Pima County Democratic Party and a candidate for the county Board of Supervisors.

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RP Rekindling the American Spirit – TV Op Ed

Months before it was clear who would prevail in the primary, Ted Downing, a former state legislator and Obama supporter and Sheila Tobias, a local active feminist and Hillary Clinton supporter, agreed to work toward unity, no matter which of our candidates won.

Rekindling American Spirit – Sheila Tobias and Ted Downing

A TV Editorial

 watch?v=Egt6YZhSmL4

Both of them being writers, they agreed to write an op ed together. They are hoping that their article and their appearance on Tucson Access will move Obama and Clinton supporters toward greater understanding of our respective passions for our candidates and for one another.

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RP Downing: Deferred Compensation Preferable to Furloughs

Guest Opinion

Deferred compensation preferable to furloughs By Ted Downing

Special to the Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.10.2009

The state has a revenue shortfall and it is time for innovative solutions that do not permanently cripple our state. Unlike the federal government, the Arizona Constitution requires a balanced budget every year. This forces the Legislature to cut spending somewhere.

As a former ranking Democrat in the state House’s Education Committee, I strongly agree that the Legislature’s majority has mistakenly singled out education for budget cuts. But protesting and beating on our chests does not balance the budget. Nor do threats by universities to cut popular public programs.

Administrators, not legislators, set priorities and the lawmakers know that. Something (read “someone”) must lose.

Both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona have mandated employee furloughs. Furloughs cut employee paychecks, but not their salaries. State agencies are considering the same.

You don’t get paid for the days you don’t work. The employee loses pay for good. However, the state institution or agency suffers a disruption in work or services as employees are not there.

As an alternative, I suggest deferred compensation. The employee gets an IOU, a promise to pay in the future after the economy recovers or upon termination. The employees save their income and defer paying taxes.

The highly paid executives, including the overpaid bankers who got us into this mess, use this method all the time. In the aggregate, the institution operates with a lower budget and the employees wait to be paid rather than lose their pay.

A deferred compensation plan keeps all hands on deck. It avoids unintended economic consequences. It is not good for an economic recovery if some of our lower-paid employees fall behind on their mortgage payments and put another house of a bloated market.

Either plan, of course, is better than layoffs and salary cuts (permanent reductions), which decapitalize our economy.

While ASU has not yet adopted a deferred-compensation plan, they are scaling their furloughs so that those who make more take more unpaid days off. ASU administrators are being furloughed for 15 days, faculty and academic professionals up to 12 days, and other employees up to 10 days. This may save $24 million.

The UA is planning across-the-board five-day furloughs during fiscal 2009-2010, regardless of rank or current salary.

A better option would be to forget the furloughs altogether and use deferred compensation on a sliding scale. Depending on their salaries, employees defer (save) different amounts.

The legislators, who make $24,000 a year, are aware that some of our university administrators make more than President Barack Obama. With Congress contemplating capping executive pay on Wall Street, how long before six-figure public-employee incomes come under scrutiny.

The public remembers the moral leadership of Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler who gained national acclaim when he agreed to work for $1 a year during a previous crisis.

Of course, it would be nice to go without furloughs, layoffs or deferred compensation, but this is not an alternative.

Write to Ted Downing at downing@cox.net

 

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Milestones

Some of Ted’s actions that benefit many areas of Arizona

  • Rio Nuevo Accountability
  • Wildlife management
  • Protecting Victims of Hit and Run Drivers
  • Energy and costs savings in schools
  • Animal Rights
  • Election Integrity

 Rio Nuevo – Accountability for misuse of public funds

Tucson voters approved a 10-year tax-increment financing plan for Rio Nuevo in 1999.  In 2006, the entire Southern Arizona legislative delegation, Republicans and Democrats,  proudly sponsored legislation to extend the funding of the Rio Nuevo project – save Downing.  He did not sponsor the bill.  Downing wanted to see voter approval and without an audit as a condition for extending a project which, by then, had done nothing.  His amendments to give the public a right to audit Rio Nuevo by placing its expenditures on the web and vote on a project plan were defeated in a roll call vote.  That vote includes all Southern Arizona legislators – both Rs and Ds.

He opposed the Rio Nuevo extension until it became clear that he couldn’t compel a vote of the people and an audit.

In both instances, Downing followed his conscience and represented his district, despite pressure from fellow local legislators.

In 2006,  Democrat Senator Paula Aboud mailed out a political hit piece mailer accusing Ted of not supporting Rio Nuevo – citing this action.  And Republican Jonathan Paton voted against Downing’s amendment for transparency of RN expenditures but later an measures of his own – taking credit after the horses were out of the barn. By 2012, it is clear that Ted was right to demand accountability and transparency on Rio Nuevo spending.

$230+ million has gone down a rathole – the precise details should soon appear in an expensive audit. The dollars may have been kept in Tucson, not Phoenix, but what happened to this money?

When tempers flared over what to do withmountain lions encroaching into urban areas. Environmentalists wished to protect the lions. Others wanted the lions killed.  State Representative Ted Downing brought all sides together in a hearing and called for a public education program, leading to a prize winning statewide development of the  urban-wildlife interface program by Arizona Game and Fish.

“Illegal” mountain lions – the origins of the Arizona Urban-Wildlife Interface Program

 

 Do the Right Thing Law – Protecting Victims of Hit and Run Accidents

When hit-and-run drivers were killing our children, Ted

wrote and then passed into law the “Do the Right Thing Law”to encourage drivers not to abandon victims. The Republican majority liked his idea so much that they allowed him to substitute his law for one of theirs.

 

 

 Energy cost savings through non-partisan cooperation

 

When  Republican House member Randy Graf and Ted drafted and passed an energy-cost savings law for education - saving school districts and other public agencies tens of millions of dollars. It is now considered a model energy law by the EPA.

 

 Protecting our Democracy – when we vote.

 

 

 

When voters didn’t trust having their votes counted only by machines, Ted combined forces with Republican Senator Karen Johnson and,  overcame opposition from the Diebold voting machine company, Ted passed a new lawgiving all Arizona voters – no matter what their party -  the right to a paper ballot and a right to a hand count audit of the voting machines.

 

 

 

Ted amended a Republican bill to put the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights into every Arizona classroom.  The incumbent call this a “gimmick” in 2006.

 

When Pima County domestic pets were being stolen for dog fighting.  Pima County Sheriff Dupnik brought a problem to Ted’s attention. Dog napping was not a serious crime, since a domestic dog, as property, is worth only a few dollars (yes, but they are very valuable to those of us who love them).  He worked both sides of the aisle, writing, rewriting and negotiating to get passed in law an increased the protection of domestic pets from being stolen for dog fighting. At one point, he attached dog biscuits to his personal letter to each Senator, requesting their support.  For this work, Ted earned the “Voice for the Voiceless” Award from the Pima County Humane Society.

 

 Protecting Due Process and Property Rights

Projects designed for public benefits often inflict economic to residents, tenants and property owners that are in their path.   Ted acted even when not in office. Remember, he has an international reputation as a consultant working on displaced peoples (www.displacement.net).

The RTA Grant Road and 22nd Street expansions are examples of public projects that may, if improperly designed and underfinanced may  inflict damages on businesses, homes, and property owners. In Arizona, properties being taken and tenants being moved by a federally funded project had, until Ted and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray (R-Mesa) noticed it, greater rights than those being taken by projects that were not federally funded. This was wrong.

Ted then worked with Senator Gray and with neighborhood coalitions, businesses, and homeowners associations to protect property rights. The new 2010 eminent domain law gives those in the way of nonfederally funded projects the same Constitutional 5th Amendment rights as if they were being harmed by a federal project.

With 1/3 of the state independent and most Republicans and Democrats feeling alienated from their party core, Isn’t it about time for this to happen? Isn’t Ted your choice?

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Will Primaries Shake Up Politics in Arizona?

Pamela Powers Hannley interviews Ted Downing …

Will Primaries Shake Up Politics in Arizona?

The Huffington Post.

January 30, 2012 | 1/30/12 04:17 PM ET

When Americans are unhappy in an election year, they often adopt a ‘throw-the-bums-out’ attitude toward incumbent politicians. In 2008, the Democrats seized control of all three branches of government. In 2010, Americans threw dozens of Democratic ‘bums’ out, and many Tea Party-leaning Republicans went to Congress for the first time. In 2012, Congress’ nearly complete gridlock and 9 percent approval rating hint at another throw-the-bums-out year.

But does this cycle of alternatively sweeping Democrats or Republicans out of office really accomplish anything? Are voters getting what they want from government or just crossing their fingers and venting their anger at the ballot box?

Under our current electoral system, political parties have a greater voice in government than voters, and that has contributed to “partisan sniping and gridlock,” according to Open Elections/Open Government (OE/OG), a bipartisan group of Arizonans who are working to place an open primaries initiative on the November 2012 ballot.

Disaffected voters believe elected officials are beholden not to them but to political party bosses and lobbyists, and this belief leads voters to lose faith in government, the OE/OG website claims.

Open primaries — where all candidates regardless of party affiliation are listed on one ballot — would give voters, rather than political parties, a greater voice in government, says Ted Downing, Ph.D., research professor of social development in the Arizona Research Laboratories at the University of Arizona and one of the initiative’s architects.

“Taxpayers pay for elections [party primaries] that limit their choices,” says Downing. Independents — a rapidly growing group of registered voters in Arizona — are “grossly discriminated against” under our current system, which favors the two major parties.

Voter registration in Arizona is roughly split in thirds between Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, with Republicans holding a slight edge over Independents and Democrats trailing in third place. In 2012, registered Independents are expected to overtake Republicans as the largest group of registered voters, according to Downing. The continued growth of the Independent vote and declining registrations for both major parties should be a big wake-up call that voters are unhappy with the current two-part-dominated system, Downing says.

Even though there are tens of thousands of registered Independents in Arizona, no Independent candidate has ever won a legislative or statewide office in Arizona. The electoral deck is stacked against them, according to Downing, who ran for the state legislature as an Independent in 2010. Arizona election laws require Independent candidates to collect five or six times as many signatures as Republicans or Democrats to have their names placed on the ballot, Downing adds.

Tucson, with its all-mailed primary and general election ballots, puts an additional burden on Independent voters. All ballots for registered Democrats and Republicans are mailed to them automatically, but Independents are required to contact the Pima County Recorder’s Office and request either a Democratic or Republican primary ballot. If you are a true Independent and would like to vote for people of different parties, you can’t do so in the local primaries. (Some states don’t allow Independents to vote in primaries at all.)

This is hardly a level playing field.

“The rules were put in place by parties to protect their own interests,” says Downing, who expects both the Democratic and the Republican Parties to fight against this initiative, as they did in other states that have adopted open primaries.

In addition to putting all names on the same primary ballot, the open primaries initiative eliminates all laws that favor a particular political party over other parties; requires all candidates for the same office to obtain the same number of signatures (regardless of party); allows any registered Arizona voter to sign nominating petitions, as long as they live in the designated geographic area; allows candidates to add “registered as…[Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green, Libertarian, whatever, or nothing]” after their names on the ballot; and calls for rotating candidates’ names on the ballot.

Following an open primary, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, would face each other in the general election. Yes, any combination of candidates could make up the top two — even two candidates from the same party.

Open primaries and top-two general elections have interesting implications for incumbents. Under our current two-party-controlled system, political parties rarely run anyone against an incumbent because their focus is keeping that office as a D or an R.

Sometimes parties overtly discourage challenges to sitting incumbents; a classic case in point is the 2011 Tucson City Council race in which the Pima County Democratic Party endorsed all of the incumbent council members six months before the primary and bankrolled a publicity campaign and billboards attacking a Democrat who challenged the Democratic Party incumbent. Under the open primary/top-two system, a particularly unpopular incumbent could get bumped out of the race in the primary or could face someone from his or her own party in the general election.

The implications are monumental; “deep level reform” is how Downing characterizes the proposed system. Voters in two western states — Washington and California — have approved the open primary/top-two system.

“If Arizona joins them, we [the Western states] have a chance to change the national dialogue,” says Downing.

He offers the Tea Party takeover of Congress as a case in point. In 2010, approximately a hundred Tea-Party-leaning Republicans were elected to the US House of Representatives. Even though they are not a voting majority, they have been able to drive the debate in Congress since they were elected.

In the 2016 elections, if California, Washington and Arizona all use the open primary/top-two system to elect their Congressional representatives, a hundred representatives will be forced to represent all voters in their district — not just those in their party. Downing’s eyes sparkled as he spoke of a Western Alliance of non-partisan representatives and the potential for less partisan bickering and increased cooperation in Congress.

Downing, former Phoenix Mayor ” Paul Johnson, and others have been collaborating on the Open Elections/Open Government initiative for months. If passed, it would amend the Arizona Constitution and create an open primary system, which would apply to all elections in Arizona except the US Presidential election.

The Open Elections/Open Government initiative needs 259,213 signatures by July 5, 2012 to get on the November 2012 ballot. More information is at their website, http://azopengov.org/.

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Cockburn: The Nation Magazine on Ted

Wolfensohn, Indian Killer

Every age contributes its own dollop of cant to the business of wiping out Indians. Today the humdrum business of ethnocide is spray-painted with uplifting language about “sustainable development,” with more menacing words like “resettlement” inconspicuously lurking.

Back in 1992 the huge Chilean utility Endesa embarked on the first of a series of hydroelectric dams on the Bío-Bío River some 300 miles south of Santiago. Endesa duly applied to the International Finance Corporation for funding.
The I.F.C. is part of the World Bank, now presided over by James Wolfensohn, a fellow often touted in the press as a veritable Renaissance man: patron of the arts and philanthropies tempering bankerly skills with steely resolve to discipline the proconsuls in the World Bank Group, who have made that institution a byword for arrogance and double-dealing. As we shall see, the Bío-Bío saga displays Wolfensohn in none of these guises, but as a chicken-heart.
In the late eighties, battered by justified charges that it had financed scores of projects that doomed indigenous groups, the World Bank drew up some protocols designed to stop this happening again. The new policy laid heavy stress on the informed participation of such groups in the devising of projects and policies affecting their way of life.
The I.F.C. staffers, who signed a secret dam agreement with Endesa, concealed from the I.F.C. board of directors the facts as they well knew them. There was not going to be one dam but several. Out of the 5,000 members of the Pehuenche tribe, almost a thousand were scheduled for resettlement across the construction of six dams. The Indians weren’t told that. Instead the I.F.C. colluded with Endesa in trumping up a “model agreement,” inaugurating a whole new era of harmony between Indian and white man. A newly established Pehuen Foundation would take a tiny slice of net corporate income from an Endesa subsidiary — around $130,000 a year — to launch “sustainable development” of three Indian reservations around the new reservoir.
The bulldozers rolled, and by 1996 the Pangue dam was virtually completed, watched with increasing disquiet by Chilean groups certain from the start that an environmental catastrophe would go hand in hand with disaster for the Pehuenche. In 1995 these Chileans took their concerns to Wolfensohn, and not long thereafter the I.F.C. retained the anthropologist Theodore Downing, former president of the International Anthropological Association, to go to Chile and undertake an independent review.
Off went Downing, and the Pehuenche for the first time encountered an interlocutor who listened to them. Downing filed his report on May 7, 1996. It was devastating. The Pehuen Foundation was a self-serving fraud. There was no “sustainable development” but merely the establishment of a corrupt system of stinted welfare handouts. The ancestral Pehuenche forests — more than 100 million acres vital for their survival — were being relentlessly logged, at the incredible rate of 8 percent a year, with what Downing and the Indians computed to be anywhere from $6 million to $18 million worth of timber already hauled off. In other words, the Indians were involuntarily subsidizing the dam that was finishing them off.
Downing’s report was sent to Endesa, which promptly threatened to sue the I.F.C., whose natural instinct was to keep Downing’s report from all inconvenient eyes, starting with those of the Pehuenche. The I.F.C. made the report available only to non-Indian members of the Pehuen Foundation board. By now the Chilean government and private Chilean groups were asking for the Downing report. The I.F.C. claimed that it favored “disclosure” and would hold confidential only “what is considered in the legitimate business interests of the company.” To which Downing tartly inquired, “Since when did controlling the internal affairs of an indigenous group become a legitimate business interest of a power company?”
In December 1996 Downing filed the first human rights complaint ever lodged by a consultant against the World Bank or the staff of the I.F.C., charging them with racism in treatment of the Pehuenche. Ludicrous cover-ups have followed. The I.F.C. launched its own “review,” which, inevitably, said Downing’s human rights complaint lacked merit. Meanwhile, in April of this year, the I.F.C. was hatching yet another agreement with Endesa, probably to deport the Pehuenche to the uplands. The agreement is secret, as ethnocidal schemes mostly are.
What of Wolfensohn? After an initial reproof of Endesa and agreement to retain Downing and also Jay Hair, formerly president of the National Wildlife Federation, to conduct yet another review, Wolfensohn has presided over interminable deception and cover-up, starting with the suppression of both Downing’s and Hair’s reports. Hair was most recently shunted into the presence of Wolfensohn’s friend Lloyd Cutler, big-time Democratic lawyer-fixer, who reportedly insulted Hair’s report and insisted its publication would be legally perilous. One supposition here might be that the Clinton Administration is eager to have fast-track approval of Chile’s entry into NAFTA and doesn’t want any ugly talk about ethnocide darkening the mood of uplift. Meanwhile, it looks as though the World Bank Group is backtracking on those brave commitments on resettlement and overall policy toward Indians.
As he strolls through the splendid new I.F.C. headquarters in Washington, D.C., Wolfensohn might spare a moment to reflect upon the nasty little fact that even as the I.F.C. was moving into this palace it was signing arrangements that would displace a small, indigent tribe from its ancestral home. He and his subordinates have partaken in a conspiracy that will see the Indians either “resettled” at higher elevations, which could see them die of cold or scattered in shiftless alcoholism on the outskirts of tourist or corporate enclaves. This is what is meant by “ethnocide.” Since Wolfensohn is Australian by origin he can perhaps concentrate his mind by studying the current furor in his native land over the carefully meditated plans, only a few decades old, to wipe out the

Aborigine.
URL: http://www.thenation.com/issue/970630/0630cock.htm
Join a discussion in the Digital Edition Forums.
Or send your letter to the editor to letters@thenation.com.

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RP McKenna from CounterPunch: Ted Downing and Troublemaker Anthropology

How “Yes, Sir” Necessarily Becomes “No, Sir”

Ted Downing and Troublemaker Anthropology

By BRIAN McKENNA

Censorship and suppression of one’s work are among the worst things that can happen to a writer, bureaucrat or cultural worker. Ted Downing, former Society for Applied Anthropology President (1985-87), experienced this and more. In 1995, Downing wrote an evaluation report describing the s evere social and environmental impacts likely to be suffered by Chile’s Pehuenche Indians from a proposed dam project underwritten by the World Bank. After his report was censored Downing demanded that the World Bank publicly disclose his findings. The Bank responded by threatening “a lawsuit garnering Downing’s assets, income and future salary if he disclosed the contents, findings and recommendations of his independent evaluation.” (Johnson and Garcia Downing). As a result of his whistleblowing, Downing was blacklisted from the World Bank after 13 years of consulting service.

“Personally, I was blackballed for 10 years for filing, what turned out to be 3 human rights violations charges against the IFC (private sector arm of The World Bank),” said Downing in an interview. “The experience left me only the devil’s alternative, to get involved in politics.” Literally.

Downing went on to serve two terms in the Arizona legislature from 2003-2006. He rejected corporate contributions and collected hundreds of $5 contributions to qualify for public campaign financing. Downing introduced bills to protect the integrity of the election system, co-authoring a bill requiring hand count audits of electronic voting machines. He increased financial support for university and community college students, protected animal rights, improved energy efficiency and more. Eighty-six of Ted’s co-sponsored bills became law, a spectacular achievment for a Democrat in a Republican controlled legislature.

“Yes sir,” or “Yes, but,” or. . . .just “No!”

Many Ph.D.s never find solid employment in the academic world in this age of university downsizing and so offer their wares as evaluators, consultants or “applied anthropologists” to non-profits or the corporate world. A good many aim to foster social change but are unprepared for how best to do it. This is especially true for my field, anthropology which at this point in time has more Ph.D.s working in applied fields than the university.
Some years back Harvard anthropologist Kris Heggenhougen argued that the strength of anthropology in collaborating with other disciplines lies in saying, “yes, but. . .and to critically examine the decisive factors affecting peoples’ health including power, dominance and exploitation.” (Heggenhougen 1993)
Yes, but. . . . while that sounds good, more needs to be said.

First of all, we spend much more time saying “yes, sir” than “yes, but” in paid employment. This is necessary if we wish to stay employed. The workplace is a not a democracy but a hierarchy in which academic freedom does not apply. As Downing evinces, there are penalties for speaking one’s mind. Workers have to gauge the cultural politics in any given context so as to not unnecessarily risk censure, reprimand or worse.
Sometimes, like Downing, they must be prepared to simply say no sir and go with the consequences. Sometimes getting fired leads to new paths that can result in greater accomplishments. Much of it has to do with the right attitude.
Dr. Downing has the right attitude. He retains that probing, cantankerous spirit today. “I have no idea what ‘yes, but’ means having not read Heggenhougen,” he said. “The reference to ‘collaboration to other disciplines’ makes no sense to me – as I work on problems and am Undisciplined. I don’t think anyone would consider me a “yes man – which has helped and cursed me . . . . .But, I insist, fighting within a bureaucracy is part of being a good applied anything.”

In Downing’s anthropological journey, when “yes, but” didn’t work, he progressed, reluctantly, to “no, sir.” In fact this happens to many applied anthropologists but most do not have the resources, support or disciplinary guidance to assist them in their struggles. They might become whistleblowers but their careers suffer. And their stories are untold. We do not have a good accounting of how often this happens to anthropologists, but we need to learn more about this. In any case, resisting censorship is, as Downing says, “good applied” anthropology.

Like a Skilled Surgeon

“Good applied” anthropology harkens back to one of the masters of social science, Robert Lynd. In 1939, Lynd, author of the groun dbreaking Middletown studies (the first full bore ethnography of a U.S. city), wrote a book that is less well known, but just as important. Knowledge for What? The Place of Social Science in American Culture, is as relevant today as the moment he penned it.

In it he wrote that “[T]he role of the social sciences to be troublesome, to disconcert the habitual arrangements by which we manage to live along, and to demonstrate the possibility of change in more adequate directions . . . like that of a skilled surgeon, [social scientists need to] get us into immediate trouble in order to prevent our present troubles from becoming even more dangerous. In a culture in which power is normally held by the few and used offensively and defensively to bolster their instant adv antage within the status quo, the role of such a constructive troublemaker is scarcely inviting.”

“Troublemaker” is of course the pejorative term emanating from within t he dominant culture, targeting those who refuse to keep quiet in the face of injustice. “Yes but” is an ample part of their vocabulary. Anthropologist Barbara Johnston has wr itten about the work of being an anthropological troublemaker, especially in relation to doing environmental justice work. But she warns about associated risks. Environmental justice work “requires confronting, challenging and changing power structures.” When someone is involved in this work, says Johnston, “backlash is inevitable.”

“When environmental justice work involves advocacy and action – confrontational politics – a number of professional bridges are burned. . . .’Cause-oriented’ anthropology suggests people who make trouble. Troublemakers are celebrated in this discipline when t heir cause succeeds and justice prevails. But often ‘justice’ is elusive, success is hard to gauge, and action results in unforeseen adverse consequences. (Johnston: 2001, 8).

Because most anthropologists usually enter organizations as change agent s of some kind they need to be aware that they are especially at risk of being labeled a “troublemaker” at any time. If the label sticks it can lead not only to getting fired; it also can lead to a vicious form of bullying that can make one’s life unbearable.

Beware of the Mobbers

Anthropologist Noa Davenport knows this very well. In 1999 she coauthored a book with two other professionals called, “Mobbing, Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, (1999). In the book’s forward Davenport and her colleagues noted, “This book came about because all three of us, in different organizations, experienced a workplace phenomenon that had profound effects on our well-being. Through humiliation, harassment, and unjustified accusations, we experienced emotional abuse that forced us out of the workplace.” Often the mobbing begins soon after the professional challenged a superior in some area. In other words, it’s often a “yes , but” interrogative. Today Davenport conducts workshops on mobbing and counsels people who have experienced such abuse. She turned her private suffering into a public issue and has advanced the culture.

In my research, “mobbing” has a great deal of unconscious group behavior associated with it. To understand it one must research the realms of psychoanalysis and group dynamics (Bion 1961, Armstrong et al 2005, Grotstein 2007). Often the abuse had the tacit approval of upper management who themselves are often behind it.

All terrains of employment in capitalist culture operate in a sea of conflict. For a critical applied anthropologist then, one is in dangerous waters from the first day on the job. As Kincheloe and McLaren underscore, critical ethnographers need to critically analyze how larger domains of power, including global and local capital, define one’s job and inhibit the possibilities of social science practice.

In the applied field, anthropologists are always trying to discern the location of what I call “the line of unfreedom,” the place where speaking up may cause reaction. Here’s a story from a veteran medical anthropologist that illustrates the pressures to conform to the “yes sir.”
“I’ve recently been eased off of a multi-million dollar grant that I co-wrote and am (supposed to be) the co-investigator on. My 5 year participation was cut off at year 1 by the Primary Investigator who was getting really nervous about w hat affiliating with me would do to his career. In a nutshell, I wrote a paper that he thought would offend his superiors and so didn’t want to have any links to me anymore. So he revised the budget and cut me out – without actually telling me until about 9 months into year 1 – and only finally because I directly inquired as to where my subcontract for years 2-5 had gotten to. Ultimately he’s the PI. He was the MD, I was the PhD. He was the insider at the ‘very large integrated healthcare system’ where the research is sited, I am not. So yes, he has decision making power – yes he could do that. Of course, that doesn’t make it ‘right’, but that’s how it is. Ironically, the higher ups liked the paper, which was really quite non-threatening.”
What would happen if this applied anthropologist made a work issue over this? He won’t. From experience he knows that it might not turn out well.

On the Job Which are You First: Employee, Professional, or Citizen?

Indeed, as I tell students in my “Doing Anthropology” course, there is an inevitable and permanent tension between three key aspects of “applied” work as: 1) an employee, 2) a professional and 3) a citizen. As an employee you sell your labor power to an employer. As a professional anthropologist you seek to abide by the goals, rules and20ethics of your discipline. As a citizen you are most interested in advancing democracy and public education. These subject positions conflict and overlap in numerous ways. But one can be sure that an employer is more interested in your value as an employee than a citizen.

I teach the Ted Downing story as an instructive for students own applied work. Like Downing, applied anthropologists have to be prepared to travel the road from “yes, but,” to “no, sir” in order to better serve the public interest. Unions are a vital part of this work, as is a keen awareness of how workers are proletarianized. Harry Braverman’s “Labor and Monopoly Capital” is a core text.

David Price continues to catalogue the perils of activist applied anthropologists, demonstrating how, in the 1930s through 1970s, they were subject to surveillance, marginalization and worse for their work. Anthropologist Mich ael Blim, in summarizing the Price book concludes, “Emerson’s adage that all it takes for evil to triumph is th at good people do nothing is here confirmed. Based on Price’s book, one might also add: ‘if you try to change your society, trust not your state, your university, or your profession.’”

“I am not sure the issue is simply that anthropologists are ‘not sufficiently educated about how to protect themselves when challenging authority’ – as that assumes that historically our anthropological teachers have the means and experience to educate their students,” said Barbara Johnston. Johnston said that anthropology faculty, in general, do not have the “seasoned understanding of power and backlash,” as it occurs in the non-academic world. This is so, she said, because they are still immersed in the “generic disciplinary reality of the ivory tower cocoon.” She argues that “ political naïveté is built into the dependency relationship between the discipline and the university structures that sustain the discipline.”
It’s an uphill battle. As Henry Giroux discusses in his writings, universities are turning into military-academic-industrial complexes where hierarchy is more entrenched and emboldened. Academics need to model “good applied” anthropology in their own workplaces (the knowledge factories of higher education) to be more convincing to their students. So how do we better protect ourselves in a harsh work environment?

Downing says, “Telling the truth is the most important thing – scientific credibility is critical. I document my reports with hundreds of references pointing directly to documents and footnotes. No embellishment – extra adverbs or adjectives – use the words of the documents. Facts, numbers, uncertainties, etc. Good science is your best defense as an activist. If your methodology is approved ahead of20time…and leads to an unexpected result – you are on good grounds. Good science gains respect, which becomes a shield….but not impermeable. Keep close to the overall organizational objectives of your clien t or organization – in the case of the World Bank, poverty alleviation.”

Downing, who is today a research professor of Social Development at the University of Arizona, said, “Whistleblowing is a last resort – since once it is done, your effectiveness as an internal change agent – moving the organization in the direction that it needs to go – is finished. I always feel a sense of personal failure when I had to take that last step. It was quite painful. There are other ways t o release information to the outside without blowing the whistle. For example, a freedom of information request or demand for an open meeting may crack opens an issue without the need for self-destruction.”

“I learned this during my two terms as a State lawmaker. And, above all, maintain a sense of humor on your self-importance. Aw ards are not given and statutes are not erected to whistleblowers!”

“I have been booted out of several count ries and organizations,” said Downing. “And be assured, the minute a whistle is blown, any weakness in your scientific and professional abilities will be questioned. It is a last resort after you have tried your best to change the organization. I have 3 feet of internal correspondence on the Pangue case going on for over a year before I field my first human rights violation charges against the World Bank (IFC) – trying to set things right so the Pehuenche Indians would not be harmed.”

Still, Barbara Johnston is not optimistic about academic culture’s abilities to prepare students for the perils of non-academic applied work. In an interview she said that the “ever-expanding continuum of engagement,” that is currently underway in anthropology will likely result in more censorship and backlash against applied anthropologists.

Academic Culture Trivializes Activist Work

Johnston points out that academic culture “trivializes the importance of this work,” while, at the same time, the engaged anthropologist struggles to find disciplinary support in dealing with backlash, which can range from papers that cannot be=2 0published (and thus cannot advance careers) to disinformation campaigns, character assaults, threats, even murder. She cites the execution of Colombian anthropologist in 1999 after studying displaced persons from a proposed energy development. He was shot by three masked gunmen at a faculty meeting. But the more common forms of retribution and retaliation come in the form of lost jobs, lost careers and lost health.

“While anthropology is a powerful social persona (in Hollywood, public consciousness, legally mandated reviews, etc.) in terms of numbers, it is a very minor discipline. The AAA has only about 11,000 member s compared to the American Economic Association with 21,000, or the American Psychological Association with over 150,000. This means that when it comes to power (who gets the most research grants, who gets to serve as the dominant social science voice in the corridors of power, etc), anthropology is a very minor afterthought.”

And yet there is much room for resistance, she adds.

“We have an unusual power because as a social personality anthropology/ists have captured the public imagination. There is a cachet to the title, to the opinions emanating from An Anthropologist.’ So backlash is not only a matter of an unprepared, unforeseen, poorly played hand, but also a matter of threat, and how be st to silence that threat. Anthropology is a very loud mosquito buzzing around the head at night. There is a lot of power there.”

Indeed, as Rylko-Bauer and Singer (2006) argue, the historical successes of “pragmatic engagement” must be reclaimed for the 21st century. “For applied anthropologists, the commitment to action is a given; the challenge lies in continuing to find ways of acting more effectively and ethically while linking the specificity of local problem solving to larger sociopolitical contexts.”

“Yes, but,” is only one way to act. It’s often not effective. In response to Heggenhougen’s challenge, we need to become better prepared to support colleagues who find themselves in circ umstances where, “no, but,” is where they must go.
A version of this article was originally published in the Society for Applied Anthropology Newsletter, Vol. 19:3, Tim Wallace, editor, August 2008
Brian McKenna lives in Michigan. He can be reached at: mckenna193@aol.com

References

Armstrong D., Lawrence W., Young R.
2005 Group Relations: An Introduction. London:Tavistock. Onlinebook:

http://human-nature.com/rmyoung/papers/paper99.html

Bion, W. R.
1961 Experiences in Groups. London:Tavistock.

Blim Michael
2007 Review of “Threatening Anthropology: McCarthyism and the FBI’s Surveillance of Activist Anthropologists,” Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture 6:3.
See: http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_6.3/blim_printable.htm

Davenport, NZ, Schwartz RD, Elliot GP .
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