Friday, June 20, 2008

Musings: Aloha Power

A few stars were still sparkling in a sky that was turning rapidly blue when Koko and I got up to see the big, bright moon that had been illuminating the house all night. Our visit was short, as the interior clouds soon swallowed her whole, and then the sun rose, golden, in the narrow band of clearing along the horizon.

Yesterday evening, before we watched another show-stopping moon rise amid puffy clouds over the Giant as a soft, straight rain fell upon us, setting the stage for a moonbow that didn’t materialize, I was listening to a very interesting program on KKCR.

Hosted by Jimmy Trujillo and Katy Rose, it featured Naliko Markell, interior minister of the Reinstated Hawaiian Nation, and John Gates, a legal scholar and expert in international law who is helping the Nation with its groundbreaking legal case over land jurisdiction.

At one point, Kauai attorney Dan Hempey, who is lead attorney in the case, called in and was asked by Katy about the likelihood of Hawaiians prevailing against the United States without bloodshed.

Dan, after explaining that “the right for Hawaiians to organize as a nation is protected by law in Hawaii,” and that those engaged in such activities are not revolutionaries “doing anything illegal or treasonous, they’re exercising a right that guaranteed to them by law,” said: “It’s kind of a trend, colonized countries being let go by their colonizers.”

Katy, while saying that she hated to sound cynical, then remarked that often these colonies were freed only after “an intense struggle.”

This prompted Dan to note that the Reinstated Hawaiian Nation is “totally non-violent,” adding that he hoped the creation of a Hawaiian nation could be achieved without any bloodshed.

“They don’t shoot you for going to court,” he said.

Observed Katy: “I think they shoot you when you start to win.”

I hate to sound cynical, too, but Katy’s right. America’s history is littered with the bodies of both internal and external dissenters who were assassinated or otherwise eliminated when their words and/or deeds got just a little too threatening to the status quo that supports the continuation of the corporate-military-industrial complex.

Hawaii, of course, has its own large and key role in that complex. To borrow some lyrics from Sudden Rush:

“And another thing that might be quite scary, would they even give a damn if Hawaii wasn’t so important to the military?”

And while we all like to trust in the rule of law, the Hawaii Superferry case is one very visible recent example of how the integrity of the courts can be undermined and overruled by a special interest group that has the money and access to power to rewrite the law to suit its fancy.

Surely Hawaii’s landowners, who have long held political sway in the Islands, would be similarly averse to any legal ruling that might shift the balance of power into the hands of the indigenous people. We’re already seeing the State of Hawaii appeal the state Supreme Court’s ruling that prevents it from selling or transferring the so-called “ceded lands” — lands that it knows it doesn’t own, but is supposed to be holding in trust.

Yet despite the intense obstacles, I’ve consistently observed that those involved in the Hawaiian independence movement are strongly motivated by the perception that ultimately, justice has to prevail. Often, I’ve heard them express such terms as “Akua willing,” or “with the support of Akua.”

There’s a spiritual component there that keeps them from giving up while working through Western power structures that are heavily stacked against them. And it struck me that a belief in the righteousness and inherent power of fairness and justice has been the driving force behind many struggles for independence.

So once again, after yesterday’s show, when I was thinking of the struggle inherent in the independence movement, I found myself wondering, is aloha enough?

And then I has to ask myself, is there really anything else?

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

all you need is love....

Ed Coll said...

Joan wrote; "I found myself wondering, is aloha enough?

And then I has to ask myself, is there really anything else?"

Nope that's it. Love is the only engine of survival to quote Leonard Cohen.

Anonymous said...

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
-- George Bernard Shaw

Andy Parx said...

Just like Henry and Dan and Joan I’m not one to pick up a gun. But I do recognize that these “good cops” are nowhere without the threat that “if you don’t deal with us the ‘natives might be getting restless’”.

Gandhi’s non-violence wouldn't have worked if it were not for those who opposed non-violence and were ready to take up arms against the Brits. Just as all those passive “oh please, massah, don’t hurt us” Superferry opponents who now take credit for the successful opposition couldn’t have done anything if they didn’t have people in the water and yelling FU to the governor.

All to say we all have our roles to play. While I don’t favor or advocate kanaka and their allies fighting in the streets for independence, I’m not about to condemn people for feeling frustrated enough to do so.

Anonymous said...

Andy Parx: when you yelled FU to the Governor, it was not movement empowering. Sorry, but it was just gross and self-absorbed.

Katy Rose said...

And what is "love"? Didn't Che say, "At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that a true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love."

I think people's struggles are never engaged in the long run out of hatred for an enemy, but out of a love for the people.

And those struggles have taken all kinds of forms.

What ultimately defines their efficacy is the historical, geographic and social context in which the struggles take place.

Katy Rose said...

Oh, I do look forward to the day when we can get past this hand-wringing over who yelled what at the governor.

That meeting turned out to be a victory in the sense that the crowd did not allow Lingle and co. to set the agenda. It became THEM attending OUR meeting, not the other way around. We can thank everyone who participated in all the different, unscripted and spontaneous ways - the "diversity of tactics" - for making that meeting an important success in our ongoing campaign.

I'll even admit that those who wish to control the movement and impose their standards of behavior on everyone else - "unified command"-style - have a positive role to play.

Anonymous said...

Where online can I look at John Gates' credentials? I Googled him and all I could find was that it appears he was named after the famed American Communist top official and chief editor of The Daily Worker who died in 1992. That and a small reference to his being one of a number of native American advisors at the Univ. of New Mexico.

Katy Rose said...

If you can access the transcript to the court hearing in which his credentials were presented in order to establish him as an expert witness, that has a lot of information. I read it yesterday, but not online, so I don't know...

Anonymous said...

Ed Coll: Call Katy Rose asap, please.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that if we use the term "Indian" that it seems to be insulting to "Native Americans". Yet the derivation of the word "America" is from the European Amerigo Vespucci who first determined that the "Americas" were not part of Asia, but rather a separate 4th continent. (Pondering)

Katy Rose said...

In my experience, it's not unusual for Native Americans to call themselves "Indians" - think of AIM (American Indian Movement.) But your point that the word "America" is a reflection of colonialism is correct, and is approached differently by various people on an individual basis.

The other thing is that those of us who are unfortunately limited to speaking English and are ignorant of Native languages are really only hearing the English terms, and not the names that various peoples have for themselves and their lands in their own languages. So "America" and "Indian" are just innacurate English translations of the indigenous names for places and peoples.

Another issue about the word "America": I try to remember not to refer to the U.S. as "America" because there are more countries in the Americas than just the U.S.

Andy Parx said...

I just want to know how many K's to use, Fraz

Katy Rose said...

Oh you know how many, brother.

Anonymous said...

Hard to fathom how 10% of the population believes they can change the overall government structure. The toothpaste isn't going back into this tube unless the USA decides Hawaii is too big a money drain and just walks away.

Is there any real belief that 90% of the population here will just meekly hand over control to a rag tag collection of activists that have to fund themselves by selling BBQ on the side of the road?

Andy Parx said...

You're right K-K-K-Katy. I was just K-K-K-Kidding.

Katy Rose said...

Anon 10:34

Perhaps the Kanaka Maoli population does not have critical mass, but that just points to the role of allies as a necessary component.

Allies can do more than the obvious stuff like show up at important events. We can also organize within the settler community, and hopefully garner more settler-allies in the process.

Right now there are aggressive anti-sovereignty forces within the settler population: Conkiln and his Grassroot organization come first to mind.

We have a role as settler-allies to do effective counter-recruitment to the Conklinesque perspective.

Larry said...

I too have wondered how sovereignty could be restored in Hawaii. I needn't recount the obstacles here or calculate the odds. But I think it will happen, if not in my lifetime.

I was daydreaming one day (I do my best work that way) and wondered if it would be like the abandonment of the US military bases in the Philippines. A volcano exploded and suddenly the bases weren't so useful anymore. So I thought that as the water rises in Hawaii ...

Waikiki is supposed to be under water in a couple of decades. The tourism industry won't be sustainable, perhaps, if everyone has to get about in solar powered gondolas.

Water will flow inland on Oahu and fill, for example, Manoa Valley, converting it to a lake and submerging the expensive homes. Military bases will be washed over and useless to the military. Perhaps they'll leave then. The transit system, if there is one, will rust and crumble as the rails are lapped by salt water.

So maybe when the place becomes useless to Mainland corporations, they'll also leave, and toss the keys back to the original inhabitants as they look for higher ground elsewhere on which to build.

The racist attorneys will have long expired, as will I, and I don't expect to meet them where they are going to be.

Anonymous said...

Gee Larry I guess everyone will just sit and watch the water rise; like the Dutch.

Anonymous said...

So there is a bright side to global warming.

Anonymous said...

Katy:We have a role as settler-allies to do effective counter-recruitment to the Conklinesque perspective

You got a mouse in your pocket?

I cant imagine any of the current crop of Hawaiian Independence activists running anything bigger than the BBQ stand.

I'd bet a poll of the population would have 75% voting to stay in the USA especially if they had a look at what other Pacific Island nations are like.

Anonymous said...

Add to that, that they would look at the people who are now trying to set up these reinstated governments and say, "Ahhhh...Good job guys, but no thanks. We'll pick someone else." The Hawaiians have been working on this for decades and still seem no closer to finding and agreeing on a credible candidate to lead them.

Katy Rose said...

It's a matter of self-determination.

gadfly said...

And it's my opinion, as well as that of many others more informed than myself, that the majority of Hawaiians are determined to remain in the good ole' USA.

The loud and proud minority make themselves appear to reflect a majority opinion, but I don't think so.

Katy Rose said...

It's not a question of "majority" opinion, either. It's a matter, well-reflected in international law, of self-determination for indigenous peoples.

Anonymous said...

Well, dog gone, Elmer! Whereʻn the tarnation were all these fine debaters of world policies and "THE SETTLER ALLIES of the COUNTER CONKLINESQUE" on june 14 when they had one of them there big ol conventions for the Hawaiians. I was there, reckon I dint see hide nor hair of any of you.

Mr. Parx, that was the only response that couldda git the attention of a governor thatʻs crookeder than a dogʻs hind leg. And thatʻs why they aint been back.

gadfly said...

But if it can be evenautlly proven that the majority of Hawaiians do not want self-determination, do you support an effort to force it upon them?

Possibly their first use of self-determination would be to cling to the USA.

gadfly said...

And, as you know, international law usually doesn't apply to the USA if we don't want it to.

And no one can make us, either.

Anonymous said...

The gadfly said:
But if it can be evenautlly proven that the majority of Hawaiians do not want self-determination, do you support an effort to force it upon them?

Possibly their first use of self-determination would be to cling to the USA.

Did you think before you typed, gadfly? Isnʻt ʻself-determinationʻ and the concept of forcing this on one an oxymoron? And isnʻt your last statement also an oxymoron? My, my what a bunch of little pecker brains. SELF DETERMINATION means the Kanakas do it themselves without U.S. interference for a change...meddle here, meddle there, meddle everywhere - in other nations affairs. Whatʻs a gadfly?

gadfly said...

Katy said the issue isn't one of the majority but one of self-determination of an indiginous people. This implied, to me anyway, that she would support creating an independent Kingdom of Hawaii even though the majority may not want it and could be supportive of either the status quo or the Akaka bill.

I don't see the sense in that. If the majority of the indiginous people didn't want a Kingdom, and this could be proven beyond doubt, then that should end the issue.

Beyond that, I don't think any "international law" victory will mean a hill of beans to what actually happens. A moral victory, but nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

"I cant imagine any of the current crop of Hawaiian Independence activists running anything bigger than the BBQ stand."

When these kinds of wise cracks are made then we know we're getting ahead so actually you've said something good for Kanaka Maoli. Mahalo!

All of this conversation is good but not necessary. We are already Sovereign. And we choose to do it peacefully, just like 100+ years ago. We know full well that the private corporation, the U.S. Military, will not want to let go of Hawaii. They need our money in the Hawaii Treasury, they need the land as a military strategic point, and they need the lawlessness so they can help people like Monsanto achieve their "dreams."

gadfly said...

"We are already Sovereign"

Well, enjoy what you feel you already have because it isn't likely to get bigger in the next 100 years.

I do like the BBQ's though. I'll chant "hail to the king" for some of that grind. Means nothing to me but a free meal.

Anonymous said...

A "free meal" is what these kanak's are looking for.

gadfly said...

Bumper sticker recently seen in Bresca's car:

GOT BONES?

Anonymous said...

“SELF DETERMINATION means the Kanakas do it themselves”

And they’re doing it so well aren’t they? It’s been a long time and still all we have is a bunch of Prime Minister wannabes arguing with each other without a clear vision or consensus of what they want. You can't have any semblance of sovereignty until you have unity and that isn’t going to happen anytime soon no matter how many t-shirts you sell.

“They need our money in the Hawaii Treasury, they need the land as a military strategic point, and they need the lawlessness….”

That's your creative definition of “lawlessness”. And what money is that? Any money you have has been doled out to you by the State. You continue to suck on the teat of your enemies. How ignoble is that? Get a job and make something of yourself, and quit whining about a past that happened long before you were born.

“We are already Sovereign. And we choose to do it peacefully….”

If your thinking was right, then THE LAW would require us give back these lands to the Marquesans and to try all of you Tahitians for genocide. Looks like some sort of karma to me.

So, how come you activists never acknowledge the FACT that the Marquesans had an established culture here long before your Tahitian ancestors arrived and that they took the land from them? A convenient omission? Doesn’t fit in with your concept of right & wrong does it? Or are you saying that you’re sovereignty was gained at the expense of the Marquesans here before you and that’s OK? Well, what’s good for the goose….!!! Hawaii’s Inconvenient Truth!

OK, I have the solution! The kanakas forget about their historical sovereignty and we'll forget about the genocide that was used to achieve it. Fair is fair! BTW - We wouldn't kill all you guys; you can live in peace as you have since we arrived. It would just mean that anything your ancestors gained by breaking Natural or International Law (whatever), as in GENOCIDE, renders it an illegal taking. Therefore, you have no historical right to these islands! Your ancestors stole them from the original and rightful settlers. If I'm wrong, please give me your logic so that I may be enlightened.

kane said...

This is Kane Pa who is the Kanaka Bone Protector. I say bring it on - give me a call. Prove to me youʻre not the criminal because we are the evidence not the crime. So you talked the talk now walk the walk. My number is 645-1838. I have nothing to hide do you?

Anonymous said...

Now why would I ever want to talk with an idiot like you, Kekane Pa, when you can't seem to but together and argument here to dispute what I said....to dispute the facts.

Pa is typical of many of these activists who have no basis of logic, but would rather posture and huff & puff when they're out-classed. All he can do is attempt to intimidate and repeat uncomprehended rhetoric he's heard, and is unable to put together even a kindergarten-level argument. Should have stayed in school, bro! You might have made something of yourself if you had. Your enemy is within. Look in a mirror, bud!