PART is presenting the following symposium on the juststruggle for Hawaiian sovereignty, the decolonization of theKanaka Maoli, the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands. January of this year  marked the 100th anniversary ofthe illegal overthrow of the independent government ofHawai'i by a group of U.S. missionaries and plantationowners, with the backing and military involvement of theU.S. government. This included the deployment of aninvading force of U.S. Marines who, under the pretext of"protecting American lives," trained their guns on thepalace of Queen Lili'uokalani, who was forced to surrenderto the illegal "Provisional Government."
This led to annexation by the U.S., and the eventualimposition of statehood, which was the culmination of aprocess of settler colonialism begun in the 1780's,motivated by profit, cultural imperialism, and militarystrategic considerations. The U.S. used statehood to getthe Kanaka Maoli dropped from the U.N. list of non-self-governing people, just as it tried with the Puerto Ricansafter imposing U.S. citizenship on them.
When Euro-Americans arrived in Hawai'i, they found apeaceful, self-sufficient and thriving nation of a millionpeople; less than 50 years later, a missionary census showeda population of less than 150,000. The indigenouspopulation today, 150 years later, is no larger, as theKanaka Maoli people continue to be decimated by poverty,imprisonment and other evils resulting from their colonizedstatus. The U.S. system includes the definition ofHawaiians on a "blood quantum" basis, akin to the racist andarchaic system of defining Black people -- as mullatos,quadroons and octaroons -- that held sway in the U.S. southunder the American apartheid system of Jim Crow, or theSouth Africans' division of the population into Blacks,"coloreds," and whites. It is an offense to humanity, andan exposure of the racism still at the roots of Americansociety as a whole.
This is not a question of sympathy for poor, exploitednatives. The Kanaka Maoli are waging a struggle to exercisethe sovereignty the U.S. has illegally stripped from them,to recover the land and water rights that have beencriminally expropriated from them. In the face ofoppression, they have reclaimed and revived their language,their religion, their cultural practices, the education oftheir youth and transmission of their way of life to futuregenerations. They have lessons to share with the rest ofhumanity.
But the Hawaiian struggle is especially important for peoplein the U.S. as a whole, because it gives the lie to thewhole system that governs us. Hawai'i is not now and neverwas "America," and so of course the Kanaka Maoli are not"Native Americans." Hawa'i is a Pacific Island nation. Theextension of the U.S.A. into the Pacific makes clear thenature of the U.S.A. on the mainland as well -- the so-called "federal system" is in fact an empire. Decolonizationis essential not only in Hawai'i and for the Kanaka Maoli,it is essential within the continental borders as well. Theprocess by which the government of THE U.S.A. swallowedHawai'i is not after all so different from the way in whichthe lands and people of the continent were conquered aswell.
Here in California, forces associated with the "StateSovereignty" movement have attempted to gain legitimacy forthemselves by associating themselves with the sovereigntystruggle of the Kanaka Maoli. This is a false association. In the U.S., the states' sovereignty and state citizenshipmovement is and always has been a racist, white supremacistmovement, going back to the days prior to the U.S. CivilWar, when "nullification" was a technique to defend slavery;through the Confederate secession, and into the "state'srights" and White Citizens Council movements to resist thecivil rights struggle.
Today in the U.S., the State Sovereignty movement proclaimsthe "natural" citizenship of white people, which precedesthe Constitution or the "14th Amendment Citizenship" ofBlacks. Rather than defining the federal state as aEuropean-dominated empire, they see it as the "zionistoccupation government" that restricts the powers of "Aryan"white people. They uphold the "citizenship" of settlercolonists, of the slave-owners and slave sympathizers whodeclared the Texas and California Republics on Mexicanterritory before annexing them to the U.S. The "statesovereignty" forces in the U.S. have the same ideology asthe plantation owners and missionaries who established the"Republic of Hawaii" in order to incorporate it into theU.S.A. as the "State of Hawaii."
PART urges everyone to learn more about the legitimatesovereignty struggle of the Kanaka Maoli, the indigenousHawaiian people who are moving for decolonization. In thatspirit, we present two documents from, and severalviewpoints on that struggle in this issue. We invite inputand responses from all our readers about the variety ofviewpoints that these pieces represent.
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