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A New Afrikan Prisoner's View of Hawaiian Sovereignty

By Sanyika Shakur

As i began to emerge from a self-induced trance-like state of study, a necessity for concentration amid the frequent distractions here (inside prison), i ran across an interesting article in the Utne Reader, titled: "Hawaii O-O?: an independence movement stirs in the 50th state". The title alone drew me into the article, which was excerpted from the Honolulu Weekly. The writer described the organized march of over 10,000 Native Hawaiians in protest of the centennial anniversary of the colonial conquest of their nation by the imperialist US. Queen Lili'uokalani was forced to abdicate by U.S. diplomats backed by US marines & a gunboat. This was January 7, 1893. Since that time, "...nearly 140,000 Native Hawaiians, who make up 12% of Hawaii's population, die younger, earn less, go to jail more frequently, and are more likely to be homeless than any other ethnic group in the islands."

For conscious folks, this repercussion of colonialism is symptomatic of the illness. But what We want to sum up is the striking parallels between our national oppression (as New Afrikans) here in North amerika, and that of the Hawaiian people. National oppression is national oppression, though often, smoke- screens are so elaborately constructed that one needs to sift through the cosmetics to get at the truth. We have often been blown off course in our search for such truth by thinking that each case of national oppression will look exactiy like the old models as such. In our case as New Afrikans, We had to study and struggle hard to get to the truth and actuality of our national oppression ...

No one claims a sovereign Hawaiian nation can coalesce overnight, but as sovereignty discussions continue, two key models for a self-determining Hawaiian nation have emerged: the nation within a nation, and complete independence.

The language of imperialism is very prominent here: nation within a nation or complete independence. First and foremost, amerika itseif is not a nation. Rather a corporate conglomerate, a business fostering nationalistic trappings for ostensible purposes only. Once the colonies that keep amerika economically afloat recognize their position, amerika will dissolve. Secondly, this nation within a nation language is but a dress rehearsal for neo-colonialism, reminiscent of the "self-governing" bantustans in occupied Azania, or reservations here in North amerika. There can be no parity between oppressed and oppressor. This 'nation within a nation' is the problem now. Each nation subjugated by US imperialism must conform to the mores of the oppressor ... at the expense of their future. To understand this We must understand the "most completely bourgeois nation in world history". ... The author of the article in review himself points up the fallacy in the "nation within a nation" concept by saying:

"Under the nation-within-a-nation mode, Hawaiians would be recognized by the federal government as a self-governing entity much as Native Americans and Eskimos have been. The Hawaiian nation would have authority over the public lands taken from the kingdom in 1893 and the power to make laws, collect tax, dispense justice, enter into treaties with other nations and perform a variety of other functions carried out by most sovereign states."

Now i am sure the author of the above had no intention of proving our case for us, but in effect that is what he did. "As a nation-within-a-nation," the author writes, "Hawaiians wouId be recognized by the federal government". The oppressor government has "recognized" the nation of Hawaii for over 100 years which is why "nearly 140,000 native Hawaiians. ... die younger, earn less, go to jail more frequently and are more likely to be homeless..." There has never been a problem in "recognizing" Hawaii as a nation. Which is to say that it is perhaps this recognition that has egged the beast on. The arrogance of Western man would lead folks to believe that if they are not "recognized by the federal government," then they are not a 'nation within a nation'. This flies in the face of the historical/social development of nations across this planet.

... If the Native Nations and the Eskimos' "self-governing entity" is indicative of the sovereignty model they want to impose on the nation of Hawaii (and believe me, it is) then the Hawaiian nationalists better brush up on their studies regarding the sordid neo-colonial relationship of these nations to the imperialist West. The point is there is no true "self-governing entity" in existence concerning "Native Americans and Eskimos."

The oppressor government as represented by legions of political pigs and oil corporations control the productive forces of Alaska where the Eskimos have been reduced to an almost mascot type of existence in their own nation. The colonization of Alaska has proven to be disastrous for the Natives, not to mention the eco-system. This "recognition" as a "self-governing entity" does not allow for Alaska or the Native Nations to build a Liberation Army or trade freely with socialist nations. ...

The Hawaiian nation, much like the New Afrikan nation or the Puerto Rican nation, already have the authority over their own land... not through murder or robbery ... but theirs because they were born there and inherited it from their foreparents. The problem lies in not being able at this time to exercise their authority over their land. But sureiy this will not come as a result of being "recognized by the federal government". This will only lead to another neo-coionial pig force funded by the US to maintain "control" over the "sovereign nation" like the ... Bureau of Indian Affairs. The author of the Utne piece brings our point a bit more to its apex by stating:

"For Hawaiians to create an independent nation within a nation under existing federai policy, the federal government must recognize that Hawaiians are a Native American population."

This is the language and underlying intent of arrogant imperialism: the author is saying that if you are not "Amerikan indian," "African-American," or "Hawaiian-American" or some other hyphenated half hue-man/half-oppressor then you cannot be recognized as an "independent nation within a nation." Just forget your respective cultures, philosophies, languages, national territories and colonial circumstances and hyphenate yourselves to join in the rape and plunder of Mother Earth and other already oppressed nations -- it's the amerikan way! ... Now this writer who penned the "Hawaii-O-O" article is himself an amerikan settler in Hawaii working as a journatist. He likes his job and his standing in occupied Hawaii. ... So by swaying the readers to believe it's best to accept token independence and side with the oppressor -- the "This land is your land, this land is my land" trip -- he can perhaps maintain his standing, as opposed to being removed by the owners ... To ensure that he is seen as an "objective writer," ... he gives a small paragraph to the nationalists:

"Those who back complete independence see America as an aggressor who invaded the islands, thereby committing an act of war, and they declare the state and federal governments in Hawaii to be temporary and illegal colonial administrations. In essence, they believe that since the Hawaiian people never voluntarily gave up their sovereignty, they never truly lost it. They encourage Hawaiians not to await an act of the occupying government, but to assert their inherent sovereignty now."

The nationalists understand who is who, there is no mistaking this. And so do We. ...

All Power to the People who don't fear freedom! Power to the Revolutionary Nationalist Movements across this planet!

Sanyika Shakur
(excerpted from "Crossroads: A New Afrikan Captured Combatant Newsletter; Summer 1993.

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