Corporate Colonization of Wisconsin, Part IV — The Dutch East India Company and the Koch Wisconsin Company

  • Colonization of Wisconsin

This is the fourth in a series of articles by Dr. Keith Roberts discussing the corporate colonization of the state of Wisconsin. In this segment Dr. Roberts compares the actions taken by the Dutch East India Company in the1600’s to the tactics currently being used by Governor Scott Walker and the various Koch Corporations in Wisconsin. Previous articles in this series can be found archived under the author’s name.

Over the past several years I have had the privilege of visiting Indonesia for extended periods on five different occasions. As a professional, I made it a point to understand the unique history of Indonesia (formerly the Dutch East Indies) before traveling and working there. The comparisons between the colonial history of the islands of Indonesia and the current experiences of Wisconsin are worth noting. Historically Indonesia was colonized not by a nation but by a corporation. That corporation was the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, VOC, “United East India Company”).

The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602. At that time the Netherlands granted the VOC a monopoly to carry out trade activities in Asia. Many historians consider the VOC to have been the first multinational corporation in the world, and it was the first company to issue stock. Although it is hard to imagine now, the VOC was a very powerful company. It actually possessed quasi-governmental powers which included the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiate treaties, strike its own coins, and establish colonies. Other corporations that followed historically were the British East India Company, Hudson Bay Company, and the Massachusetts Bay Company. These were all companies chartered in order to make money while colonizing the Americas and Asia.

An interesting side note is that the actual Boston Tea Party was more of a rebellion against the British East India Company than the British Crown. In 1773, the Tea Act was passed and granted the British East India Company a monopoly on tea sales in the American colonies. This was done to stop the import of tea from the Dutch East India Company. Current day “Tea Party Patriots” should be protesting big corporations, not big government.

Consider Wisconsin as a location, similar to Indonesia, with resources to be developed and profit to be made by the modern day equivalent to the Dutch East India Company and the British East India Company. In Wisconsin’s case the exploiters are multiple corporations carefully coordinated through various “dark money” groups. The majority of these groups are connected in one way or another to the Koch brothers. Koch Companies Public Sector LLC occupies a seventh-floor suite at 10 E. Doty St. in Madison, Wisconsin. They moved to Wisconsin two weeks before their selected Colonial Governor, Scott Kevin Walker, was elected Governor-General of their new Colony, Wisconsin, on November 2, 2010.

According to their official publications, Koch Industries currently has the following companies in Wisconsin:

Flint Hills Resources, LLC;

Does refining, chemicals and grain processing. Its subsidiaries produce and market gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, asphalt, ethanol, biodiesel, liquefied natural gas, olefins, polymers, intermediate chemicals, as well as base oils, corn oil and dried distillers grain. A subsidiary distributes refined fuel through its strategically located pipelines and terminals in Junction City, Waupun, Madison and Milwaukee. Another subsidiary manufactures asphalt that is distributed to terminals in Green Bay and Stevens Point.

Koch Pipeline Company, L.P.

Operates a pipeline system that crosses Wisconsin. Part of more than 4,000 miles of pipelines owned or operated by the company.

The C. Reiss Coal Company

Supplies coal to customers throughout the Great Lakes region. The company has locations in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan. C. Reiss also provides handling and storage for coal, petroleum coke, stone, salt and other bulk materials through a network of terminals and docks in Chicago and on Lake Erie.

Georgia-Pacific LLC

Has facilities in Wisconsin that manufacture consumer tissue, towel and wiper products, corrugated packaging and hardboard. The company also has offices and a research center in the state. Locations include Green Bay, Neenah and Sheboygan.

Looking at the Koch Industries investment in fossil fuels and asphalt, it is clear that the first thing that Governor-General Scott Keven Walker was directed to do was to cancel the rail project from Milwaukee to Madison. The two centers of opposition to the Koch’s Governor-General have been public employees and the university. The two areas that the Governor-General has defunded were public employees and the university. The Koch Industries investment in asphalt and fossil fuels clearly demands that, in addition to stopping the building of a railroad, Governor-General Walker must continue to build asphalt highways for fossil fuel burning vehicles to travel on. These Koch Industries initiatives are in evidence in the Governor-General’s current budget. All of the “free market” initiatives in the Governor-General’s budget are taken from the Koch playbook.

What does a Governor-General of a Corporate Colony look like?

The first, and most famous Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies was Jan Pieterszoon Coen ,
(8 January 1587 – 21 September 1629). Coen was the founder of Batavia (Jakarta) and was an officer of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the early seventeenth century, holding two terms as Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Coen was responsible for putting the VOC on the path to dominance in the Dutch East Indies. Because of this, he was long considered a national hero in the Netherlands. A famed quote of his from 1618; “Despair not, spare your enemies not, for God is with us“.

Historians note that Coen’s belief that he was involved in a divinely-sanctioned project resulted in a single-minded ruthlessness. This was not uncommon for the time, but utilization of such self-professed divine sanction in the use of violence pursuant to his ultimate goal was seen by many to be excessive, even for such a relatively violent age. Because of this Coen has been looked at in a more critical light since the independence of Indonesia. Coen was raised by his family in accordance with strict Calvinist (Reformed) principles. His famed quote about God being with us is the result of his interpretation of the Calvinist principle of salvation by grace through faith alone. Therefore, as long as he had faith he had no need to perform good works. This is critical to understanding the ruthlessness with which he, as a colonizer, dealt with the colonized while simultaneously believing “God is with us.”

It is worth noting that the VOC was the first speculative stock company with shareholders getting returns from the success of the corporation. However, the Europeans that worked the ships usually did so under horrible conditions with high likelihood of death, and no real chance at bettering their own lives (Hence the frequent appeals by VOC leaders to nebulous moral obligations to keep the underlings in line.)

The first Governor-General of the Koch Wisconsin Company (KWC) is Scott Kevin Walker (2 November 1967 – ). Under the guidance of the Koch Brothers, Walker has been able to keep the voters of KWC divided and has villainized public employees and poor citizens. Like Jan Pieterszoon Coen, Scott Kevin Walker was raised in a Baptist (Reformed) family and, in fact, his father was a Baptist Preacher. This explains a post on his Facebook page that is a quote from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Walker furthers this religious sentiment by requesting and thanking followers for praying for him. A more revealing insight into Walker is his recent quote regarding running for the office of Viceroy of the United States (we used to call it President before the Koch brothers began purchasing it):

“I think with what I’ve had to go through in the last four years, both politically, but also in terms of the policies, certainly I feel that there’s a reason God put me in a spot to do the things that we’ve done and take on the kind of challenges we’ve done,”

The large number of Wisconsin citizens who have been hurt by Governor-General Walker’s policies may feel dismayed to know that this is what God wanted for them. Walker, like Coen, has interpreted the principle of salvation by grace through faith alone. This has allowed him to be ruthless in his career and in his administration. Understanding that the Governor-Generals, both Coen and Walker, see themselves as being able to do no wrong because God is behind them, enables us to understand how they can institute and implement policies that on the surface appear to be not Christian at all.

Disclaimer: this article is not intended to be critical of Reformed Protestantism, but rather to show how an ambitious person can interpret religious doctrine to achieve self-serving goals.

Salvation by Grace through Faith Alone

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

Casual conversations, movies, television shows, comic cartoons all indicate that the popular concept of salvation seems to be this: When a person dies, God weighs the good deeds and the bad. If the good outweighs the bad, the person gets into heaven. If the bad outweighs the good, the person goes to hell. (Sometimes hell is not even in the picture.) In other words, human effort and work pave the road to either heaven or hell.

The Bible’s portrayal of salvation is entirely different. The Bible clearly teaches that all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and that the penalty for sin is eternal death. However, God by his grace has provided a way for sin to be forgiven, hell avoided and heaven gained. That way is faith in his Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23).

Salvation, according to the Bible, is solely by grace and faith, not by human effort or works (Ephesians 2:8-9). While not denying the value of good works, throughout our history Baptists have proclaimed the truth that salvation is only by grace through faith.

(Source: Baptist Distinctives )

Keith J. Roberts, PhD lives in Greendale, Wisconsin and is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for International Studies in Education, University of Pittsburgh, and a Senior Ambassador for the Globalization for the Common Good Initiative, Oxford, UK. In addition to his work in the USA, Dr. Roberts has been a planning and development consultant in diverse locations around the globe including China, Mongolia, Tibet, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, the Marshall Islands and elsewhere. Upon returning to Wisconsin from China in January of 2011 he was stunned by the actions of the Walker Administration and could see that while Third World countries were implementing policies that were moving their countries to First World Status, Walker was implementing policies that were moving Wisconsin to Third World Status. Since that time he has applied his research and analytical skills to document the “Cycles of Greed” in America with a special emphasis on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its role in undoing the Progressive Traditions of Wisconsin. Since February 2011 he has made numerous presentations to unions, educators, retirees, political organizations and grass-roots organizations.