Hawaii: class militancy or cultural patriotism?

ILWU Hawaii mural
ILWU Hawaii mural

An examination of the reactionary aspects of some of the cultural politics in Hawaii.

Submitted by Comrade Motopu on June 28, 2015


The recent protests resisting the construction of a Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea may be placed in a long line of struggles against the ongoing legacy of colonialism in Hawaii. This legacy has hit the Native Hawaiians (Kanaka Maoli) the hardest in terms of economic and social life. The battle against the TMT has been fought largely along cultural lines, working to prevent "the desecration of sacred places."i

This article considers the rhetoric, ideology, and goals of some of the leadership of the cultural politics of the Left in Hawaii, and contrasts them to more class-centered resistance.


From the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy by haole (foreigners of European descent) plantation owners and capitalists to the annexation of Hawaii and through the establishment of the island chain as the 50th state, each step has been carried out illegally, paving the way for more direct control by the United States government. That Hawaii is an illegally occupied nation cannot be contested on legal or historical grounds.

The initial dispossession of Native Hawaiians from their traditional communal land systems was carried out by pressure from missionary families who were becoming wealthy capitalists and were moving to consolidate control over land to profit from sugar plantations, and the other businesses they had formed. This can be seen as a kind of Enclosure Movement in a Hawaiian setting, with a similar formation of a proletariat and corresponding exploiting, ruling, and owning class. It is not that class exploitation was non-existent previously in Hawaii, but that it had not taken the modern capitalist form of waged-labor and private property relations.

The key maneuver in changing social relations from traditional to capitalist was a land redistribution known as the "Great Māhele." The Hawaiian King and chiefly classes were thinking in terms of protecting native control over Hawaii in what looked to be an inevitable shift to European modernity regarding land and labor. The Māhele divided land among royalty, with one third going to the Monarchy, one third to chiefs (Aliʻi), and the remainder to be distributed to the "Maka‘āinana" or commoners. For many reasons, the Maka‘āinana were unable to claim land, and they only got about 1% of what was available. Some may have thought that by not claiming the land, it would remain as a commons, in a system called the "ahupuaʻa." In other cases they were not aware of the changes, or they could not afford to file claims to land due them under the Kuleana Act of 1850.

Class-Struggle Resistance in the 20th Century

Historically there have been many forms of resistance to the control of the business class, who consolidated power into a handful of companies known as the "Big Five." These companies controlled Hawaii's economy, from banking to shipping to agriculture and land development. "Their interlocking directorates and close cooperation allowed them to act as one great combine that dominated the Territorial government and every aspect of the Islands' political, economic, and cultural life." The Big Five were aligned with the Republican Party. "When the Big Five took over the bulk of the arable land of the islands in the early 1800s, they destroyed the traditional economy and set up a plantation system that forced most workers to live in company housing and work the plantations for miserable wages, under brutal working conditions."ii

Historian Gerald Horne has described Hawaii under the Big Five as an Apartheid state.iii A wealthy haole elite emerged while the work force was made up of Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, and others imported to work on plantations. Labor unions and striking workers created a challenge to bosses on the plantations, where unfortunately, workers were divided into ethnic camps by plantation owners, and usually failed to link up with those outside their enclaves. Because of this, strikes could more easily be isolated and defeated.

By the 1930s labor militancy in the United States was heating up and Hawaii was connected to these developments. Many seamen from Hawaii were in constant contact with workers along the west coast. They developed their own militancy coming out of conditions in Hawaii, but also learned from their fellow workers. On many ships "the older men sometimes sought to instruct by more formal methods than the usual bull sessions. Teaching their history of conflict with both the shipowners and official union leaders came easily; they had lived it. But most of all, the instructors sought to teach by involvement with their younger shipmates in job actions."iv

The 1934 General Strike on the US West Coast, in which a contingent of Hawaiian seamen participated led to the rise of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the ILWU. On the West Coast of the US, they won the right to abolish the "shape up" and replace it with a union hall to hire and provide workers with fairer access to jobs.

Harry Kamoku, a Hawaiian Chinese seaman first joined the Sailors Union of the Pacific, and soon became a labor leader. By 1935, Kamoku "organized Hilo longshoremen into the first multi-ethnic, democratic union in Hawaii."v William Puette writes that "Harry Kamoku and about 30 young longshoremen of almost every ethnic and racial origin common to the territory agreed to join forces and organize all the waterfront workers regardless of race or national origin." In the spirit of solidarity, Kamoku "emphasized the Maritime Federation slogan that 'An injury to one is an injury to all.' ...On the docks, as Harry said, they were all the same. Regardless of the color of their skin, everyone had the same red blood in their veins, so they were all 'brothers under the skin.'"vi He became a key organizer for the ILWU. Despite his importance as an organizer, many activists in Hawaii today are unfamiliar with him. Culture often trumps class in determining what history is deemed important.

It was the ILWU who organized dock and plantation strikes with a multi-ethnic union, and won major victories in the 1930s and 40s. The union organized across all major industries, including sugar, pineapple, and dock workers. In 1946, sugar workers won a major victory. The follow up 1947 Pineapple strike, was actually an employer lock-out, and it ended in failure. The union faced a wave of red-baiting in Hawaii, and many of the leaders were organizers with the Communist Party. The union also faced problems with racial divisions, with Asian and other leaders feeling excluded in favor of haoles in top posts.vii

The 1949 dock strike ended in victory for the ILWU and was a major event in labor relations in Hawaii. "The 171 day strike challenged the colonial wage pattern whereby Hawai‘i longshore workers received significantly lower pay than their West Coast counterparts, even though they worked for the same company and did the same work." Not only did the strike win major wage gains and raise the quality of life for many in Hawaii, it marked the final failure of the Big Five to break the back of the union.viii

With the victory of unionism in Hawaii came major improvements. The ILWU's longshoremen had overcome colonial wage theory, now earning pay equal to mainland longshoremen. They also secured the right to deny handling "hot cargo" or cargo from a plant in the US where there was a strike. They shortened the work week for ILWU members in all industries, and in general, the union's strength allowed for effective industry-wide bargaining. ix

Eventually the Republican lock on power was replaced with a Democratic one, complete with a new set of power brokers. A largely Asian political class, with roots as the descendants of plantation workers rose to powerful positions as lawyers, business people, and politicians, overturning a racist stranglehold on power previously held by haoles, and now sharing it with them. The Democratic Party was also a party of land speculators, pushing the overdevelopment of the island and a major shift toward the infrastructure of a tourist based economy. The Democratic take over of the Senate in 1955 promised to usher in radical land reforms and a fair shake for the average worker, a “New Hawaii,” but instead brought a new era of “consensus” between government and big business, including big capital investors from off island.x

The old ILWU lost most of its militancy over time, being incorporated into a state of labor peace with this power structure. Still, very real victories were won, an Apartheid system was toppled, wages and benefits raised for most, and to this day Hawaii enjoys among the highest union density in the US, coming in third after New York and Alaska with 21.8%. xi

Recent and Current Activism

Although there has been resistance to foreign domination since initial contact with haoles, it has increased dramatically since the 1970s. In tandem with anti-colonial resistance world wide, Kanaka Maoli scholars, cultural practitioners, workers, and activists have pushed back against the legacy of colonialism that has pushed Hawaiians to the bottom of the social and economic hierarchy.

There has been a revival of Hawaiian language, education, and culture. 1970 marked the formation of the Ethnic Studies department at the University of Hawaii. By 1976, UH offered BA's in Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies.xii

Struggles over land rights were carried out by working class Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians in Kalama Valley, Sand Island fishing village, Kahoolawe (which was used by the military for bombing practice), and many other sites. Native and non-native alike began to question the over-development, of Oahu especially. By this time, agriculture had given way to two main sources of economic domination: the military and tourism. Both involve land use on a large scale. "The military controls some 236,000 acres throughout the state, including 25 percent of the land mass of Oahu, and thousands of square miles of surrounding airspace and sea."xiii And land consolidation is prevalent in Hawaii, “By the eve of World War II, it is estimated that more than half of Hawai‘i lands were held by about 80 people—and the remainder was held by one branch of government or another.”xiv Predictably, under capitalism, land is used for the profit of the owning class even as many have no land on which to live.

The Kalama Valley struggle is considered by many to be “The Birth of the Modern Hawaiian Movement.”xv Native Hawaiian and other tenants resisted evictions being carried out by the Bishop Estate, which owned the land. The Estate owns roughly ten percent of Hawaiian lands, which they use to fund the Kamehameha private schools for children of Hawaiian ancestry. The irony that an institution allegedly designed to promote native Hawaiian well being was engaging in high end capitalist land development to the detriment of many native Hawaiians and working class people was not lost. The Kalama Valley struggle is notable for the exemplary courage and righteousness of the cause, but many say it was marred when native Hawaiians representing a group known as “Kokua Hawaii” requested that haole protesters leave the site to give Hawaiians control over the struggle. So the birth of the movement was also the point at which culture trumped class solidarity in Hawaiian activism and resistance. Kokua Hawaii, as a group was heavily invested in Third Worldist politics, met with the Black Panthers and even restructured their own organization to match that of the Panthers.

These politics continue to be a major influence on the Left in Hawaii, as visible in the high levels of ethnic essentialism and nationalism, class-collaboration, and often carrying the notions of an undivided Hawaiian community, with little or no acknowledgment of class divisions in the past or the present. When class divisions among Hawaiians are examined through a cultural political lens, they are often portrayed as haole culture using Hawaiians against themselves. Subsuming the critique of capitalism into culture based critiques leaves class as a misunderstood category indicating instead separation by racial criteria. In other words, class becomes meaningless, and is hence discarded in favor of race and culture. This creates obstacles to solidarity across ethnic and along class lines, to resist and confront capital.

Essentialism and Nationalism

A student asked how Trask reconciled her view with archeological evidence that humans all originated in Africa...Trask said the archeological evidence of a shared human beginning was a "Haole view of the world," using the word that in Hawaiian means "foreigner." Her culture shares with other indigenous cultures a different "creation story" that links one's family to the cosmos through an obligation to care for the land and waters that nurtured one's ancestors, she said.xvi

The above excerpt is from a question and answer session at a lecture given at Stanford by Hawaiian Studies Professor and Hawaiian Nationalist Haunani Kay Trask. It is emblematic of the way in which politics of “difference” can be mobilized politically to assert not only the uniqueness, but also separateness of a culture. It is interesting, but entirely common, for the way it uses a creation story to dismiss science. On the one hand then, science and creation myths are interchangeable forms of knowledge, describing phenomena and events differently, but with implied equal accuracy regardless of the situation. On the other hand, because they are categorically different, the one cannot be used to assess the validity of the other.

By making it impossible to assert the validity of the shared origins of all humanity, since that is merely a “Haole view,” once again the doors to racialist politics have been opened. Since class politics relies on a “subject” that can act from a universal experience, that of working in the global capitalist system as either an exploiter of others' labor or as exploited labor, cultural politics tend to make the possibility of a shared identity across ethnic, cultural, national, or racial lines, collateral damage to their own sense of group cohesion in opposition to other group identities. In fact, the suggestion of a universal human species is seen here as foreign oppression, or “colonial mind” a charge some cultural warriors like to throw, similar to the use of “Uncle Tom.”

Trask's statement is a perfect example of Walter Benn Michaels' observations on the construction of racial difference. In his essay “Race Into Culture,” he describes in the twentieth century shift from racism based on the alleged inferiorityof some races to one of “pluralism” in which there is no common measureof humanity, leaving a new racism of racial difference, with “incommensurability” as the new justification: “It was only, in other words, the pluralist denial of hierarchy that made possible the escape from the common scale and the emergence of an unmeasurable and hence incomparable racial essence.” xvii

Professor Jonathan Osorio was an early PhD in the Hawaiian Studies program, under Haunani Kay Trask at the University of Hawaii. Like Trask, he is a leading academic voice in the sovereignty movement. At a recent 2014 panel on Hawaiian Sovereignty at UH, he made clear that he takes the inherent differences between Native Hawaiians and others right down to the genetic level:

"...the longer that I labor in this field --teaching, speaking, reading, writing, singing-- the more different I feel from Americans. The more alien and unsatisfactory their culture and behavior appear to me. Some of those differences I believe are written in our genetic codesand are the result of memories and behaviors that could very well be programmed into us at conception."xviii

Attaching cultural essence to genetics is clearly a move to equate culture and race, put simply, racial politics. The notion that the difference is "programmed...at inception" is the very definition of "ontological" politics, or a politics of being.xix

Timothy Brennan explains the difference between "cultures of belief" (a consciously chosen political world-view) on the one hand, and "cultures of being" (non-chosen essentialist identities based on biology, ethnicity, nationality, or some mix thereof) on the other. Since the late 1970s, the effect of the victory of "cultures of being" in the Left has been a blunting of radicalism, a shift toward mainstream liberalism (ahistorical critiques, often moralistic, and mostly bereft of class-analysis) and a move to the center. Since "American politics does not permit any dissent that challenges the pieties of the center ... and because in dissent there are no protections for marginalized political beliefs, only for races, genders, and ethnicities (as forms of being)" it became preferable "to cast oneself as holding a positionless position beyond belief [politics], in solidarity with outlawed races and ethnicities (popularly dubbed “cultures” in the usual journalistic euphemism)." This "obviates one of the principle obstacles to entering the mainstream on behalf of progressive causes."xx

In other words, stripping out the class content from the "radical" critique, has been the ticket into the mainstream for many claiming to oppose "the system" while simultaneously jettisoning the major tool for comprehending how it functions: class analysis. This is very relevant to the rhetoric of sovereignty activists and cultural warriors in Hawaii.

As the focus moves from class-based to cultural resistance, there appears to be a common maneuver to disassociate "race" from various cultural arguments, given the understanding that racial arguments were used to justify colonialism and slavery. Since "race" cannot be the key to organizing Hawaiian politics, "ancestry" steps in as a proxy term. Ancestry is often used interchangeably with "genealogy" which has both a traditional and post-modern academic ring to it.

Osorio sees the differences between bad European racism and good Kanaka Maoli views of ancestry, and his “difference, not hierarchy” model fits Benn Michaels description of the shift racial rhetoric in the twentieth century:

Ancestry connects you to the myriad human beings who have walked this planet before you and allows you to connect with the unseen billions who may follow you.

Racism is the belief that human beings are really the product of different races and that there are powerful differences in intelligence, alertness, creativity, even honesty and trustworthiness that only a kind of blood-rinsing can erase.xxi

He cites the work of self-described anarchist, Kanaka Maoli scholar J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, whose book Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Narrating Native Histories) exposes the cynical ways in which the US government defined "blood quantum" laws to disqualify Hawaiians with less than 50% native blood from access to Hawaiian land and other benefits. Osorio also points out that this racist logic sees anyone below that blood quantum as not Hawaiian enough to need assistance. In other words, it is the Hawaiian blood that establishes inferiority in a racial hierarchy with whites at the top. Aside from this, is the obvious justification for the US having stolen Hawaiian resources, now conveniently legitimated through law.

Kauanui similarly points to the real test of Hawaiian identity. It is not race but ancestry.

The very category of 'Hawaiian' seems to eventually have been anticipated to develop as an all-inclusive term marked by geographical designation rather than any specific racial category akin to
'Puerto Rican.'

Blood constructions also emerged in that case, where the Justices focused on the logics of dilution—because they relied on blood constructions of racial quantification—to undermine the extremely inclusive indigenous conceptualizations of Hawaiianness and belonging, which rely on genealogical connections that privilege kinship and lineal descent by including all those who possess Hawaiian ancestry.

In any case, Hawaiians assert the sovereign right to define who counts as Hawaiian on grounds of self-determination.xxii [Italics are mine]

First, she notes the weird method of defining an alleged race in terms of geography. As we know, race is not a scientific category, but a social construct, and no attempts to define it via geographical placement or origin, phenotypical traits, language or culture, etc. hold up under scrutiny. Kauanui sneers at "Puerto Ricans," as a category because it does not include an ethnic unity which is important for her brand of nationalism. For her, ancestry, not geography is the key.

Kauanui abhors the racist trickery of using blood quantum to cheat indigenous people out of land and freedom, but implies that a quantum of 0% would be unacceptable to her, since one must possess "Hawaiian ancestry" to qualify as Hawaiian. "Kinship and lineal descent," are both terms for blood relatedness, and so the means of claiming entitlements designated for Hawaiians will be fought in part by Hawaiians having the right to control the definition of who qualifies as Hawaiian. Kauanui the anarchist is arguing for ethnic nationalism as a defense against colonialism.

Her last statement above indicates that the need to define Hawaiianness racially, goes to the question of "self-determination," a carefully chosen term, that Wilsonian and Bolshevik right of all peoples that Rosa Luxemburg critiqued so well. This is very relevant for the fact that many aspects of modern Hawaiian Studies and sovereignty ideology, as they are mobilized politically, trace their roots back to positions in the Left that are related to authoritarian, statist, nationalist, and often Third Worldist notions.xxiii This has to do with the development of such positions within the halls of academia by a bourgeois intelligentsia, as a response to the obvious and glaring legacy of colonialism, Eurocentrism, and haole racism against non-whites in Hawaii, but also reflecting ideology suited to their own class position.

Self Determination and "the National Question"

In her debate with Lenin, Luxemburg warned that supporting struggles for self-determination was not inherently revolutionary, given that it in no way dealt with the class divisions within the nation that was throwing off the yoke of colonialism. In the context of the Russian Revolution, she was proven correct. Paul Mattick has outlined the debatexxiv: "As Lenin saw it 'in the spirit of bourgeois nationalism of each oppressed nation,' he asserts, 'there is contained a democratic protest against oppression, and we support this protest unreservedly.'" Luxemburg responded:

The calculation turned out, alas, to be quite unjustified. Contrary to what the Bolsheviks expected, one after another the (liberated) ‘nations’ took advantage of the freshly granted freedom to take a position of deadly enmity to the Russian Revolution, combining against it with German Imperialism, under whose protection they carried the banner of counter-revolution to Russia itself... of course it is not the ‘nations’ by whom that reactionary policy is carried on, but only the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois classes ... who have converted the national right of self-determination into an instrument of their counterrevolutionary class policy. But ... it is precisely here that we have the utopian and petty-bourgeois character of this nationalistic phrase, that in the raw reality of class society ... it simply becomes converted into a means of bourgeois class rule.xxv

The important issue here is not to attack or defend the Bolshevik revolution, but to point out the inherent flaw with nationalism as a foundation for revolutionary or even emancipatory politics. It should be pointed out that Kauanui's statement above, that "Hawaiians assert the sovereign right to define who counts as Hawaiian on grounds of self-determination." is a populist appeal to Hawaiians as a people, to the will of that people, as undifferentiated by class division. The assumption that "Hawaiians" as a monolithic group share the same goals, regardless of class position, is a form of bourgeois nationalism.

In a recent interview addressing black nationalism and identity politics, Adolph Reed stated bluntly that "nationalism is always a class ideology (and it’s always the ideology of the same class),"xxvi meaning the bourgeoisie. Nationalism is a core aspect of the ideology of much of the academic, cultural, and activist movements around anti-imperialist and sovereignty politics in Hawaii.

Reed also discusses connections between nationalism and essentialism. He notes that "black nationalism is not even an ideology, really; it’s an ontology."xxvii What he's getting at is the way in which a politics of being, a politics based on an ascriptive identity, is not radical, does not address the class divisions, and therefore misses different and opposing interests within a group, community, or nation. And he puts it even more strongly here: "...as is ever clearer and ever more important to note, race politics is not an alternative to class politics; it is a class politics, the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism."xxviii

Reed has elsewhere outlined the way in which leaders emerge that claim to speak for entire groups, but really tend to speak to their own class position. While he talks about the black community here, this analysis holds true for any "spokesperson" for a group where the assumption is an undifferentiated monolithic community:

It is this notion of "black community" that has blocked development of a radical critique in the Civil Rights movement by contraposing an undifferentiated mass to a leadership stratum representing it. This understanding ruled out any analysis of cleavages or particularities within the black population: "community control" and "black control" became synonymous. [...] Notwithstanding all its bombast, Black Power construed racial politics within the ideological universe through which the containment of the black population was mediated.xxix

The logical endpoint of the "spokesperson" phenomenon for Reed is when whites must ask a representative of group x, y, or z to "translate" meaning, which would otherwise be incomprehensible to a person outside the group. He likens it to the old movies in which a colonial adventurer must ask a native "what are the drums saying?" xxx

In some cases, a cultural practitioner must remind members of the group in question of the "authentic" political position demanded by one's cultural identity. Recently in Hawaii, there was a major push by forces largely funded by the Mormon Church, against gay marriage. Many native Hawaiians participated in marches on the state capitol, flying Hawaiian flags, and blowing conch shells, demanding that the government "let the people decide" whether gays should have basic civil rights or not. Bravely, a transgender, or "Mahu," cultural practitioner called "Kumu Hina" (Kumu means teacher or holder of knowledge) stepped up to call out those invoking Hawaiian identity to attack gay people. She noted the hypocrisy evident "over the past weeks as many of my fellow Kanaka Maoli wave signs on the streets or speak on TV to insist on 'traditional marriage' as a way to protect 'ohana values [family values]' She countered that "In truth, pre-contact Hawaiians would have scoffed at the simplistic view of marriage as 'the union of one man and one woman,' and their family arrangements often included and even depended upon relatives in same-sex relationships." Kumu Hina was one of the many locally based leaders that rallied a lot of support for gay rights in Hawaii, and the bill legalizing marriage rights was passed.

Unfortunately, Kumu Hina's argument was based on essentializing haoles and native Hawaiians. The cultural justification for defending gay rights was seen as inherently Hawaiian, while attacks on gays were not only classified as Christian, but as European, foreign, and haole. One might not know that the gay rights movement has had a lot of participation from "white" activists over the years reading Kumu Hina's statement to anti-gay marriage Hawaiian activists that, by opposing gay marriage "You have joined the ranks of the ones without a culture, without a language and without a soul, those our ancestors called haole."xxxi

This is rooted in very different ground than Harry Kamoku's notion that all workers are "brothers under the skin." That racism is used by a member of an ethnic group that was itself almost completely destroyed by contact with haoles (90% of Hawaiians died from disease and the impact of cultural disruption), does not make dehumanizing haoles "radical." This is the politics you get when class analysis is jettisoned. There should have been some type of objection from the Left. If there was I did not see it. Her article was widely shared and praised on social media as being exemplary of resistance to colonialism, homophobia, and bigotry.

Kenan Malik, describing the shift from class to cultural politics he saw in the Black and Asian communities of London, explains that "Political struggles unite across ethnic or cultural divisions; cultural struggles inevitably fragment." Rather than uniting activists across cultural lines to fight our common oppression "the shift from the political to the cultural arena helped entrench old divisions and to create new ones." xxxii


It is important to note the ways in which the racial-cultural connection is inherent in most sovereignty ideology. In the question of determining Hawaiian citizenship and connected rights, Osorio has outlined the views of two of the main sovereignty groups, Ka Lahui Hawai`i (KLH), and the Council of
Regency, on the subject.xxxiii "While Ka Lahui has struggles to secure recognition as a Native nation within the larger American nation, the Council of Regency has pursued the reestablishment of the independent Hawaiian Kingdom."

Osorio explains that citizenship in Ka Lahui Hawai'i (of which he is a member) uses a rubric in which "identity based on ancestry rather than on the nation-based citizenship created by the Kingdom of Hawai`i during the reign of Kamehameha III. As such, KLH follows a logical, historical pattern of Native Hawaiians’ identifying as an ethnic group or race." [Italics are mine.] Amanda Mae Kāhealani Pacheco explains:

While everyone, both native and non-native, is encouraged to be a part of and are welcome in the nation, only those with native Hawaiian blood are allowed to become full citizens. Those who are residents of Hawaii but are not of native Hawaiian blood are allowed to become honorary citizens of the Hawaiian nation…. although they are not allowed to vote or to hold elective office….xxxiv

Citizenship, for the Council of Regency of the Kingdom of Hawai`i is not based explicitly on ethnicity or race. Rather, "The Council of Regency defines its citizens or subjects as descendants of actual Hawaiian subjects in 1886." Osorio notes that "As such, it is doubtful that such a model of nationhood could have much appeal to those Hawaiians who believe that “being Native” needs to be defended from an overwhelming “mainstream” culture (and from its laws)."xxxv

David Keanu Sai, the Chairman of the Council of Regency finds that "it can be stated as a matter of law and based on contemporary examples, that the Hawaiian citizenry of today is comprised of descendants of Hawaiian subjects and those foreigners who were born in the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1898."xxxvi

To sum up, the first model of citizenship is explicitly based on race, while the second model of citizenship is based on ancestry tracing back to Hawaiian national status in 1886 and before. Either way, citizen status would be granted to a minority on either race or nationalist lines, leaving the others to whatever processes would emerge to determine whether or not they were full citizens, guests, foreigners, US citizens, etc.

It is easy to see why Sovereignty is a tough sell to a multi-ethnic population, most of whom cannot trace their ancestry or roots back in a way that qualifies them automatically for citizenship and full rights. The idea of any two-tiered, or horizontally differentiated system of rights (separate but equal), is hard to frame in terms of social progress, given that equality is a basic value of our current zeitgeist, even though it is often not lived up to.

Rallying behind one national flag in opposition to another is a questionable practice for those with a class analysis, given that nationalism is by definition built on class oppression. To believe that the working class and ruling class of a given nation share the same goals is a mistake.

Romanticizing Pre-Contact Class Society in Hawaii

There is simply no question that pre-contact Hawaiians had developed technologies that maximized production of food and used resources extremely efficiently. Their nuanced knowledge of the land, soil, oceans and tides, etc. created technologies that still inform production today, and probably should inform it to a far greater degree. The danger for the modern political movements is that a romanticized version of pre-contact society replaces the need to confront capital, with a longing for the past as a way out of the exploitation and degradation of the present.

For many activists in Hawaii, looking back to pre-contact times, they see a benevolent ali'i class, a sustainable agriculture, and technologies that were efficient and clean. There is a utopian tinge to some of the descriptions of pre-contact life. It should not surprise anyone that after experiencing a population decline of 90% after contact with foreigners, having a sovereign government overthrown, and being intentionally relegated to the lowest social and economic status, some Hawaiians would want to revive ways of life that predated those atrocities and crimes against them. Attempting to achieve actual liberation for all from exploitation and despoliation as they exist now, requires a critical view not only of Western culture, but also of class hierarchy in pre-contact Hawaii.

Historian Marion Kelly examines technological advances leading to increased productive capacity in pre-contact Hawaii. These include walled fishponds and both wet and dry land taro growing techniques. She looks at the late pre-contact period and how

...by this time a class of very powerful chiefs had developed in Hawaiian society. They managed the use of the land and other resources in their districts, or, in some cases, on entire islands. The co-ordination of labour by the chiefs enabled the walled fishponds to be constructed. this, in turn, supported the power of those chiefs and their claims to a substantial portion of the surpluses generated.xxxvii [Italics are mine.]

Kelly describes how one ruler, Umi-a-Liloa, was important in carrying out the process of dividing the various bodies of the society into distinct classes, priests, chiefs, warriors, cultivators, fishermen, canoe hewers, etc. The political hierarchy was also "set in order."

"Division of labour, a device often used to increase production, necessitates centralization of authority. It is probable that 'Umi's efforts no only enhanced food resources for the rapidly increasing population during his reign, but also elevated the status of the chief in the process."xxxviii

Anthropologist Patrick Kirch has written about the ways in which Hawaii had become an "archaic state" before contact with Westerners. He defines archaic states, unsentimentally, in the following terms, noting that Hawaii at the moment of contact met all of the criteria:

"(1) they exhibit well-developed class endogamy; (2) they were ruled by kings who typically traced their origins directly to the gods, and who were often regarded as instantiations of deities on Earth; (3) their political economies were to a large degree centrally controlled by the king’s bureaucracy; (4) the king’s status and power were legitimated by state cults involving a formalized temple system, overseen by full-time priests; (5) the king’s power was maintained by a monopoly of force, involving a full-time warrior cadre or standing army; and (6) the king and his court occupied special residential quarters (palaces), and enjoyed various privileges and material luxuries supplied by a cadre of full-time specialists and craftspersons."xxxix

As Marion Kelly described, the class system in pre-contact Hawaii had become more rigid and power more centralized with the ali'i. Kirch states "Thus, instead of sitting at the apex of a 'conical clan,' which ramified downward to incorporate the entire society, the hereditary ali‘i (elites) of Hawai‘i had become a separate, endogamous class."xl

The concept of genealogy that many Hawaiian scholars today refer to was, in the late pre-contact period, similarly stratified as "the ruling elites claimed kinship with the gods, and forbade those they ruled over from even keeping genealogies." The strengthening of a rigid class hierarchy shaped the entire Hawaiian society. "Hawaiian society retained a cognate form of the generalized Polynesian word for ascent groups – (maka‘ ainana), but had radically transformed its meaning to “commoner,” someone whose right to work the land was contingent on the regular payment of tribute (ho‘okupu) to the hierarchy of overlords."

This was a division of labor that a Westerner who has studied surplus accumulations in other societies will find familiar in many ways. "And, the classes were sharply differentiated economically: Elites held title to the land but did not work it; commoners worked the land and supported the elites through obligatory payments of tribute and labor. Thus, contact-era Hawai‘i was a true class society...."xli

The hierarchy was harshly enforced:

The kapu [roughly: taboo] enveloping the most sacred Hawaiian chiefs and kings were elaborated and intensified to a greater degree than elsewhere in Polynesia (except, perhaps, Tonga). Their premises, their clothing, their food, and their bodies were all subject to and regulated by a complex set of prescriptions and prohibitions, designed to protect their mana and keep them from contact with polluting influences (noa). Thus, for example, Malo tells us that “when a tabu chief ate, the people in his presence must kneel, and if anyone raised his knee from the ground, he was put to death." xlii

In contrast to Kirch, Historian Haunani Kay Trask describes Hawaiian pre-contact class structure in a far more favorable light. Her view of cooperation and efficiency built into the kapu system, and a benevolent character to the ali'i, is characteristic of the current retreat from class analysis in much of the sovereignty movement.

The makaainana (people of the land) made up the great bulk of the population and, although subordinate to their ali'i caretakers, were independent in many ways. Unlike feudal European economic and political arrangements--to which the ancient Hawaiian system has often been erroneously compared--the makainana neither owed military service to the ali'i nor were they bound to the land.xliii

Whether or not the pre-contact Hawaiians lived in a feudal system in the same way Europeans did, there was a rigid division of distinct classes, with ali'i in control of the land and maka ainana as the workers, paying tribute to the ali'i. As Kelly noted the ali'i laid claim to "a substantial portion of the surpluses generated."

Trask continues:

The genius of the mutually beneficial political system of pre-haole Hawai'i was simply that an interdependence was created whereby the makaainana were free to move with their 'ohana to live under the ali'i of their choosing while the ali'i increased their status and material prosperity by having more people living within their moku or "domain." The result was an incentive for the society's leaders to provide for all their constituents' wellbeing and contentment. To fail to do so meant the loss of status and thus of mana for the ali'i. xliv

The general tone here seems very uncritical. One could give a similar description of "American Democracy," explaining how "checks and balances" prevented abuses of power, and how the people were represented by officials they voted for, who were revokable by elections, thereby keeping them loyal to the needs of the population. This would not be a meaningful description of the social or political reality in the US. For Trask, the description of class division in pre-contact Hawaii is designed to justify rather than critique.

As in most indigenous societies, there was no money, no idea or practice of surplus appropriation, value storing, or payment deferral because there was no idea of financial profit from exchange. In other words, there was no basis for economic exploitation in pre-haole Hawaii."xlv

The claim here, that because there was no capitalist production, there was no "surplus appropriation" or "economic exploitation," does not square with the maka'ainana paying tribute to ali'i, to the strengthening of the class divisions, and the centralizing of power. This also introduces us to a common theme in the sovereignty movement, that capitalism is corrupt not because it is a system in which one class expropriates the wealth of another, but because it is foreign. Indigenous expropriation can be described as benevolent. Trask describes capitalism in racial, rather than class terms, for example stating that "...it is white people who brought capitalism to Hawaii'i. In other words, it is white people who, for their own benefit, have exploited and oppressed Hawaiians."xlvi The actions of native rulers are in a much softer focus:

If the kinship formed the economic base of Hawaiian society, it also established the complex network of ali'i (chiefs), who competed in terms of rank (established by mana, or spiritual power derived from chiefly genealogies or from conquest in war) and ability to create order and prosperity on the land.xlvii

The need for war in this system of production is glossed over. The ali'i are simultaneously warlike and benevolent, described as bringing prosperity to the land. The softball approach to the pre-contact ruling class correlates to the element of class collaboration, the bourgeois nature of modern cultural politics in Hawaii. The implication is that what is missing now is a benevolent leadership more so than a working class resistance.

Trask does pay attention to the debates about class and culture, but is most impressed by Third Worldist, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, and Stalinist anti-imperialist movements. For example she talks about a contingent of Hawaii activists who were radicalized by a visit to Castro's Cuba. She supports a nebulous “self-determination” for “the Vietnamese people” with no description of the repressive nature of Ho Chi Minh's Stalinist regime. She frequently frames struggles in terms of white power, with no distinction as to class positions within ethnic groups, explaining that, for many local people in the early 1970s, “the class line was too abstract. It didn't account for oppression along color lines. And it didn't address the strongly felt need to be self-reliant and self-determined.”xlviii

From Romanticizing to Racializing

In an incident that garnered national attention at the time, Trask was dragged into a conflict with a student at the University of Hawaii who was associated with David Horowitz's reactionary Right-wing "Front Page" magazine. Long story short, Trask lashed out in a letter to the editor of the school paper in a way that ruffled feathers and brought charges of racism. In her book, she writes a justification for her actions:

I never justified violence against Carter, only our rights as Native and oppressed people to feel hostility toward the haole. Just as Palestinians are justified in their hostility toward Israelis, just as Jews are justified in their hostility toward Germans, just as the Northern Irish are justified in their hostility toward the British, just as all exploited peoples are justified in feeling hostile and resentful toward those who exploit them, so we Hawaiians are justified in such feelings toward the haole. This is the legacy of racism, of colonialism.xlix

By now, the pattern of racial essentializing should be crystal clear. "The haole" stands for all white people, apparently an undifferentiated monolithic category, undivided by class. This fits with the concept of Third Worldist dismissal of the white working class as a potential revolutionary subject, instead, here described as absolutely deserving of hostility. Trask expands her argument into a very broad, and extremely shallow form of anti-imperialist critique, one in which Palestinians are justified in hating Jews, Jews in hating Germans, Northern Irish hating English, and Hawaiians hating haoles. One has to wonder where this politics ends. Where would one locate the causes of war and occupation if the only categories to analyze are racial? When class is left behind, so is the possibility of finding the terrain for resistance to capital.

Defining Culture

There can be an ontological aspect to cultural studies, where a person does not merely study a culture but connects with it, or reconnects with it. In this model, culture is not created by what we do in our every day lives. Rather, culture as it exists should define you whether you live it or not, but only in a very specific circumstance. This is a phenomenon that Walter Benn Michaels explores in "Race into Culture."l In an effort to “rediscover” a culture one was separated from, there needs to be a justifying circumstance to cultural identity. That circumstance is race. The fact that there must be a genetic component to connect to a culture exposes the rhetoric of cultural authenticity as a politics of race. Examining evolving theories of race and culture in the 1920s, Benn Michaels notes that:

It is only if we think that our culture is not whatever beliefs and practices we actually happen to have but is instead the beliefs and practices that should properly go with the sort of people we happen to be that the fact of something belonging to our culture can count as a reason for doing it. But to think this is to appeal to something that must be beyond culture and that cannot be derived from culture precisely because our sense of which culture is properly ours must be derived from it. This has been the function of race.li

Academic Malapropisms

A recent example of the utter bankruptcy of certain tendencies within academic cultural politics in Hawaii arrived with a video that went viral, generating a lot of discussion. A response by two scholars (one who is from Hawaii) went viral in a more limited community of activists and Leftists in Hawaii.

The video begins after a verbal exchange between haole picnickers and a local, it is implied Hawaiian, man has already started. We are not sure, but we can gather that the haoles told the man to stop hitting his dog. Here is the transcription of the man's outburst in response to the haole intervention into his alleged actions:

Mind your own fucking business! What you're gonna hit me bro?
I'll put my hand in my fucking pocket! [Menacingly approaches man as if to fight] Mind your own fucking business dawgs! Eat your fucking food dawgs! Sit down! Eat your fucking food! Who cares bra? This is Hawaii we do whatever the fuck we want out here: abuse dogs, hit women, that's all we do! What? You got something against that dawg? Go back to the fucking mainl...Eat! Eat! Put your fucking phone down before I break your fucking phone! Yeah. Yeah. Mind your own FUCKING business!
You know what I don't like? Dumb white people like you guys.Fuck you guys! Because you guys fucking took this land from us! FUCK WHITE PEOPLE! FUCK WHITE PEOPLE! Fuck him. Don't let him talk to you like that he's a fucking tourist! Fuck that, we fucking local! Power to the people mother fuckers! Fuck white people!FUCK! WHITE! PEOPLE!!!Fuck haoles! You all like take our fucking land? [inaudible] You like tell this guy what to do, uh? Fucking white boy! Uh? Fuck white people they took our land! I dare you try be a hero again. I dare you! I fucking dare you be a hero. I daare you be a fucking hero.Ho...Bra you don't even know how much shit Hawaiians...ho. Fuck haole people, fuck white people! Fuuck white people.lii

It is dubious to "read" such an incident as a teachable moment providing deep historical insight into racism against Hawaiians, the inherent privilege of white people, or the feminization of Hawaii as an exotic woman that foreigners plunder with the expectation of passive compliance. None of the people involved acted in ways that inherently carried the logic of imperialism or resistance to it. The point is not that such things are not real or important, but whether anything in the rant provides an analysis or a challenge to that historical and ongoing injustice. But it was an opportunity for the two scholars to bring some attention to their favorite post-colonial theories.

In an unintentionally comical "deconstruction" of the incident, Noelani Arista and Judy Kertész take the players out of the immediate context and make them stand in for centuries of power relations between two peoples: white and Hawaiian. Every phrase uttered cannot mean simply what it says, but must carry hidden coded language that, if read closely enough, will reveal the ideological lineage behind it.liii

This is not an angry person over-reacting to a perceived slight, but a passionate anti-colonialist hero who has taken the last insult and refused play the passive role expected by colonial settlers. These are not tourist picnickers trying to enjoy their day, but haughty whites, expecting their colonial subjects to follow orders, and they were deeply shocked when their assumed authority over the non-white other was thrown in their smug faces. Justice!

When the tourists say to the media that they “never had any problems with locals and have always been treated with aloha,”liv one might think they're just pointing out this incident was an anomaly, not to be used to judge local or Hawaiian people. The authors see a much deeper, sinister, colonial, intent in the words, noting "I would like to suggest that it is this conditioned expectation to a generous helping of aloha, as well as John Doe’s [referring to the white tourist man in the video] confidence in the perspicacity of his opinion as a white male—in this case on the ethical treatment of dogs—that precipitated the confrontation."

They up the victim-blaming anti by comparing the haoles' request to stop hitting a dog to the white Florida man who shot up a car with young black men for playing their music too loud. Drawing what they seem to think is an airtight comparison in motivations between the white shooter and the picnickers' actions, they call out the disrespect inherent in both: "The two cases do have one thing in common—the assumption by both white males that their speech and lives matter, while the lives and speech of people of color do not."

It should not be necessary to point out that this is a stretch of cosmic proportions. Asking a person not to hit their dog implies that their life does not matter? It further implies that this is because of their described non-whiteness? There is simply no comparison between the tourists' actions, even if they are all secret Klan members, to the shooter.

The authors go on to make some clever points about how this is all a well deserved turn about, comparing the local man to George Zimmerman standing his ground, but "with words" not violence, again showing the moral superiority of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, which the local man is made to be a spokesperson for, over a bunch of gun-toting white killers (like the picnickers?).

The authors use this inversion tactic to bring out the alleged inherent violence and presumption of superiority by the settlers and foreigners. This fits perfectly with assumptions about culture determining behavior and action, rather than the other way round. So, when a white person says "we were treated well before," by reading their culture, we can translate the surface meaning to see the deeper meaning, that non-white others owe them passive obedience. Benn Michaels' statement that "It is only if we think that our culture is not whatever beliefs and practices we actually happen to have but is instead the beliefs and practices that should properly go with the sort of people we happen to be" ring true here in the expectations of the two authors.

Meanwhile, back in the class struggle…

Hawaii today faces the same austerity budgets and attacks on social infrastructure as the rest of the US and the world. Still, there have been recent organizing successes that took the fight directly to the bosses, in the public and private sectors.

Hawaii teachers carried out a “work to rule” action, with the union bureaucracy tailing behind rank and file leaders in support. These actions were nearly unanimously supported by the communities surrounding the schools, with many joining teachers and students in roadside sign waving. As a direct result, a real grass roots reform slate captured the leadership of the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), despite efforts by the sitting union leadership to overturn the results of the election. A second election was held and the reform slate won by an even larger majority. Their agenda includes raising wages to match the incredibly high cost of living in Hawaii, overturning deeply flawed teacher assessments, dismissing Race To The Top mandates that define school “success” on the business model, providing air conditioners for the swelteringly hot classrooms of Hawaii, and more support and training for teachers.lv

Another example of class-centered action involves Unite Here Local 5. The union negotiates using a national strategy, which leverages a threat of a nationwide strike against hotel chains to increase negotiating power for the union. This has proven successful.lvi Hotel workers still face dangerous developments with the shift from hotels to time share and condo conversions, but the national strategy has proven strengths. “A key provision of the national agreement between UNITE HERE International Union and Hyatt Hotels is a 'solidarity clause,' which would allow union workers to take action at their own hotels if non-union Hyatt hotels in other cities have not recognized the union or agreed to a fair process for employees to decide whether to have union representation by October 2015.” lvii

Joe Burns notes that “the passage of the first comprehensive state law legally permitting public employee strikes occurred in Hawaii in 1970.” In 1968, the Hawaii constitution had been amended to allow public sector employees to organize for the purposes of collective bargaining. The legislature was dragging their feet, and in 1970 several public sector strikes made up of blue and white collar workers pushed them to act. There was even a strike on the day the legislators were voting on the law and many of the striking workers won wage increases. It was “an excellent example of the power of illegal strikes forcing slow-moving legislators to act.”lviii


Ultimately the issues dealt with in this paper boil down to whether class or culture is central to the battle against inequality, exploitation, and oppression in Hawaii and elsewhere. The ideology of cultural political spokespeople indicates that class can be put to one side in favor of cultural unity. As has been noted, this nationalist approach makes no demands to abolish indigenous bourgeois control. In fact, the constant romanticizing of non-Western class hierarchy and non-Western surplus expropriation, the benevolent ali'i, indicates that resistance is designed specifically to usher in a new indigenous ruling class.

Culture, as defined by this politics, again and again comes back to a racial foundation, described with other key words like genealogy or ancestry. “Culture” as a euphemism for race accompanies “capitalism” as a euphemism for haole. In this model, capitalism is more like an invasive species, inseparable from “the haole,” that unified corrupting and genetically distinct presence. Rid the body of foreign capitalism and health will be restored to the body politic. But “Self-determination” has not proven to be a panacea against class exploitation. An indigenous ruling class is still an exploiting class.

The centrality of class is what gets us to a fight against capital. The people with the most to gain from taking our lives back from capitalists are those most crushed by the legacy of colonialism.

i There are many arguments against building the Telescope, but you can get a basic introduction here: “Everything You Need To Know About The Viral Protests Against A Hawaii Telescope”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/13/hawaii-telescope-protests-tmt-mauna-kea_n_7044164.html For an example of
rebuttals see: "Inaccurate Claims" http://tmt.org/news-center/thirty-meter-telescope-update-and-background.

ii"The ILWU Story." International Longshore and Warehouse Union. ILWU. http://www.ilwu19.com/history/the_ilwu_story/organization_in_hawaii.htm

iii Horne, Gerald. Fighting in paradise : labor unions, racism, and communists in the making of modern Hawaiʻi / Gerald Horne University of Hawaiʻi Press Honolulu 2011

iv Weir, Stan. Class War Lessons: From Direct Action on the Job to the '46 Oakland General Strike, Insane Dialectical Posse 2012

v"Harry Kamoku." Key Wiki: http://keywiki.org/Harry_Kamoku Sourced 6/11/2015

viPuette, William J. (1988), The Hilo Massacre: Hawaii's Bloody Monday, August 1st, 1938, Honolulu: University of Hawaii, Center for Labor Education & Research

vii Horne, Gerald. Fighting in paradise : labor unions, racism, and communists in the making of modern Hawaiʻi / 103-111.

viii "The Great Hawaii Dock Strike." Center for Labor Education and Research website: http://www.hawaii.edu/uhwo/clear/home/1949.html sourced 6/11/2015.

ix"The ILWU Story." International Longshore and Warehouse Union. ILWU. http://www.ilwu19.com/history/the_ilwu_story/organization_in_hawaii.htm

x Kent, Noel J. Hawaii, Islands under the Influence. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1983. 122-132.

xi "Union Members Summary." Bureau of Labor Statistics website: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm

xii"A Timeline of Revitalization." http://www.ahapunanaleo.org/index.php?/about/a_timeline_of_revitalization/

xiii "Military Controls 25 Percent of Oahu Land Mass," Joan Conrow. http://www.hawaiipoliticalinfo.org/node/5442

xiv “Who Owns O‘ahu?” Don Wallace. Honolulu Magazine. http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/May-2015/Who-Owns-Oahu/index.php?cparticle=2&siarticle=1#artanc

xv “The Birth of the Modern Hawaiian Movement: Kalama Valley, O'ahu,” Haunani Kay Trask. Hawaiian Journal of History, volume 21, 1987.

xvi “Hawaiian nationalist discusses rights Constitution doesn't recognize.” Kathleen O'Toole. Stanford News.

xvii "Race into Culture: A Critical Genealogy of Cultural Identity." Walter Benn Michaels
Critical Inquiry, Vol. 18, No. 4, Identities (Summer, 1992)

xviii "NonHawaiians in Hawaiian deOccupation" Video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyTFy6olljo

xixElsewhere Osorio makes arguments against racial stereotyping and racial science, but his 2014 comment seems to directly contradict this 2009 article:"Jon Osorio "On Race, Blood Quantum and Ancestry" http://maoliworld.ning.com/forum/topics/jon-osorio-on-race-blood

xxBrennan, Timothy. Wars of Position the Cultural Politics of Left and Right. New York: Columbia UP, 2006. XI.

xxi"On Race, Blood Quantum and Ancestry," Jon Osorio. http://maoliworld.ning.com/forum/topics/jon-osorio-on-race-blood

xxii " 'A blood mixture which experience has shown furnishes the very highest grade of citizen-material': Selective Assimilation in a Polynesian Case of Naturalization to U.S. Citzenship," J. Kehaulani Kauanui. American Studies, 45:3 (Fall 2004): 33-48

xxiii The legacy of "Third Worldist" politics includes the notion that the white, European, modern, developed, world has no capacity to fight against capitalism, that citizens and workers in those "core" countries are bought off by rulers and therefore it falls to the anti-colonial movements of the so called "Third World" to be the only true revolutionary force.
This has been expanded to include indigenous resistance to US and other imperialism. This ideological tendency informs much of the activism in Hawaii. It is a tendency that moved away from class centered solidarity as a basis for action, and focused on a politics of "difference," of non-white vanguards, and a focus on cultures.

xxiv "Luxemburg versus Lenin," Paul Mattick. https://www.marxists.org/archive/mattick-paul/1935/luxemburg-lenin.htm

xxv Ibid.

xxvi “To unite the many”: An interview with Adolph L. Reed, Jr. [by] Gregor Baszak and Spencer A. Leonard

xxvii ibid.

xxviii "From Jenner to Dolezal: One Trans Good, the Other Not So Much," Adolph Reed. http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/06/15/jenner-dolezal-one-trans-good-other-not-so-much

xxix"Black particularity reconsidered," Adolph L. Reed Jr. https://libcom.org/library/black-particularity-reconsidered-adolph-l-reed-jr

xxx"What are the drums saying Booker?" Adolph Reed, Jr. https://libcom.org/library/what-are-drums-saying-booker

xxxi "Hawaiian Values Differ From Western Traditions," Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu.

xxxii "The failures of multiculturalism," Kenan Malik. http://www.kenanmalik.com/papers/engelsberg_mc.html

xxxiii "Ku`e and Ku`Oko`a (Resistance And Independence): History, Law, And Other Faiths," Jonathan Kamakawiwo`ole Osorio, Ph.D. "http://www2.hawaii.edu/~hslp/journal/vol1/Osorio_Article_(HJLP).pdf

xxxiv “Past, Present, and Politics: A Look at the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement,” Amanda Mae Kāhealani Pacheco. intersections 10, no. 1 (2009): 341-387.

xxxv ibid.

xxxvi "Hawaiian Nationality: Who Comprises the Hawaiian citizenry?" David Keanu Sai. http://www.hawaiiankingdom.org/pdf/Hawaiian_Nationality.pdf

xxxvii "Dynamics of Production Intensification in Precontact Hawaii," Marion Kelly. http://www.geo.cornell.edu/hawaii/AIS3400/Kelly.M.Dynamics.Prod.pdf

xxxviii ibid.

xxxix Kirch, Patrick Vinton. How Chiefs Became Kings : Divine Kingship and the Rise of Archaic States in Ancient Hawai'i. Berkeley, CA, USA: University of California Press, 2010. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 13 June 2015.

xl Ibid.

xli ibid.

xlii ibid.

xliiiTrask, Haunani-Kay. From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaiʻi. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 1999. (5)

xliv ibid.

xlv ibid. (95)

xlvi Ibid (174)

xlvii ibid.

xlviii “The Birth of the Modern Hawaiian Movement: Kalama Valley, O'ahu,” Haunani Kay Trask. Hawaiian Journal of History, volume 21, 1987.

xlix ibid.

l "Race into Culture: A Critical Genealogy of Cultural Identity," Walter Benn Michaels
Critical Inquiry, Vol. 18, No. 4, Identities (Summer, 1992)

li ibid, 683.

lii "Kalama Beach, Maui, Hawaii - Man Threatens Women, Anti-Haoles" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG0YEI8aIm8

liii "Aloha Denied," Noelani Arista and Judy Kertész.. http://hawaiiindependent.net/story/aloha-denied


lv“Hawaii Teachers Unleash Work-to-Rule Campaign,” Samantha Winslow. Labor Notes. November 30, 2012. http://labornotes.org/2012/11/hawaii-teachers-unleash-work-rule-campaign

lvi“Hotel union contract is sign of prosperous future.” http://archives.starbulletin.com/2006/10/11/editorial/editorial01.html
lvii “Hotel workers union ratifies contract with Hyatt Regency Waikiki”

lviii Burns, Joe. Strike Back: Using the Militant Tactics of Labor's past to Reignite Public Sector Unionism Today. Brooklyn: Ig, 2014. 124-126.


Gregory A. Butler

9 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Gregory A. Butler on July 4, 2015

There's a small problem with Hawaiian self determination - ethnic Hawaiians are a tiny minority of the state's population


There are 1.3 million Hawaiians - only 130,000 are Native Hawaiian

Hawaii Racial Breakdown of Population
[hide]Racial composition 1970[89] 1990[89] 2000[90] 2010[91]
White 38.8% 33.4% 24.3% 24.7%
Asian 57.7%[92] 61.8%[92] 41.6% 38.6%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander – – 9.4% 10.0%
Black 1.0% 2.5% 1.8% 1.6%
Native 0.1% 0.5% 0.3% 0.3%
Other race 2.4% 1.9% 1.2% 1.2%
Two or more races – – 21.4% 23.6%

Hawaii has the highest percentage of Asian Americans and Multi-racial Americans, and the lowest percentage of White Americans of any state. In 2011, 14.5% of births were to white, non-Hispanic parents.[93] Hawaii's Asian population consists mainly of 198,000 (14.6%) Filipino Americans, 185,000 (13.6%) Japanese Americans, roughly 55,000 (4.0%) Chinese Americans and 24,000 (1.8%) Korean Americans.[citation needed] There are over 80,000 Indigenous Hawaiians—5.9% of the population.[94] Including those with partial ancestry, Samoan Americans comprise 2.8% of Hawaii's population and Tongan Americans comprise 0.6% of the state population.[95]

Over 120,000 (8.8%) of Hispanic and Latino Americans live in Hawaii. Mexican Americans number over 35,000 (2.6%); Puerto Ricans exceed 44,000 (3.2%). Multiracial Americans comprise almost 25% of Hawaii's population, exceeding 320,000 people. Eurasian Americans are a prominent, mixed-race group, numbering about 66,000 (4.9%). The Non-Hispanic White population numbers around 310,000—just over 20% of the population. The multi-racial population outnumbers the non-Hispanic white population by about 10,000 people.[94] In 1970, the Census Bureau reported Hawaii's population was 38.8% white and 57.7% Asian and Pacific Islander.[96]

The five largest European ancestries in Hawaii are German (7.4%), Irish (5.2%), English (4.6%), Portuguese (4.3%) and Italian (2.7%). About 82.2% of the state's residents were born in the United States. Roughly 75% of foreign-born residents originate in Asia. Hawaii is a majority-minority state and is expected to be one of three states that will not have a non-Hispanic white plurality in 2014; the other two are California and New Mexico.[97]

How would Hawaii's 90% non Hawaiian majority feel about Hawaiian independence?

Hawaii is also home to a large American military garrison - a huge portion of the state's population are military personnel or their dependents. 50,578 active duty military personnel, and 18,814 husbands, wives and children of military personnel.


That doesn't include retired military personnel, military retiree families and civilian employees of the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force, Department of Veterans Affairs and defense service contractors

Oahu - the most populous Hawaiian island - is full of military personnel, their families, retired troops and civilians who work for the military.

A good chunk of unionized workers on Hawaii work for the military as well

How would they feel about independence?