Posted by: kuhiovogeler | January 4, 2010

Two Questions that Lead to Action

Having presented in my dissertation the five phases for ending the US occupation of Hawai‘i, two questions arise: “How long will all these phases take to complete?” and “What needs to be done now?” The first question, regarding duration, is closely tied with the political dynamics of demographics, in this case, the registration and participation of Hawaiian nationals. The second question links the five phases with specific actions to progress toward the election of an independent Hawaiian legislature.

In assessing the duration and dynamics necessary to end Hawai‘i’s occupation, Ray Cline’s writings on international relations are useful. In his book, World Power Trends and U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1980s, Cline stresses the need for “strategic purpose” and the “will to pursue” that strategic purpose. According to Cline, without strategic purpose and national will, other factors, such as population, territory, economics and military might, lose their potency.

Drawing from the examples of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Baltic States utilized strategy and national will as their primary means for increasing their political might, domestically and internationally. The national strategies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania drew strength from the legal fact that their countries remained occupied by the Soviet Union for nearly fifty years. The strategy fit the legal circumstances and inspired these countries to action. Once Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania formed independent legislatures, international recognition of the Baltic governments was imminent.

These elections required the force of national will: nationals of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania voted because of their desire for independence. However, since national will is linked to demographics, in Latvia, where the native Latvian population comprised only 52% of the population when the occupation ended, the transition leading to these elections often progressed slower than in Estonia, where ethnic Estonians were close to 60%, and Lithuania, where Lithuanians were nearly 90%.

In Estonia, when 600,000 pre-occupation, Republic of Estonia citizens, and their descendents, chose delegates for the Estonian Citizens’ Congress, less than half of Estonia’s 1.5 million population participated. The number of participants is significant because it shows that a minority of the total population—but a majority of the population of the occupied State—possessed the will to decided Estonia’s future.

Similarly, Hawai‘i’s future rests in the hands of Hawaiian nationals, those who can trace their ancestry to before the occupation began on 16 January 1893. The worldwide total of Hawaiian nationals is approximately 500,000-600,000. This group could decide the future government of the Hawaiian Islands—if there is a will to participate.

However, as with Latvia, the process in Hawai‘i may be slow. The transition in the Baltics States took approximately four years for Lithuania, where ethnic Lithuanians comprise almost 90% of the population, and five years for Estonia and Latvia. Since Latvia’s progress was often sluggish due to the high Russian population in the country, and since Hawaiian nationals are severely outnumbered, comprising perhaps 25% of Hawai‘i’s population, Hawai‘i’s transition will very likely require at least five years. In the meantime, education of Hawai‘i’s population on the laws of occupation and governmental restoration would be needed before a vote for an independent legislature could occur.

Two opposing forces may also affect the speed of the de-occupation process. On the one hand, American patriotism and reliance on economic stability may impede the process. On the other hand, as information regarding the US occupation of Hawai‘i becomes more prevalent, and as organizations, such as the acting Council of Regency, expose the legal instability of contracts and land titles in the Hawaiian Islands, the de-occupation process may intensify, when Hawaiian nationals realize that they must create and maintain an independent Hawaiian legislature to address these legal issues. The key to the process is that Hawaiian nationals must be inspired to participate, actively ending the occupation. This is not a passive political transformation.

Thus, regarding the duration for ending Hawai‘i’s occupation, the control of public discourse could dramatically affect the outcome, to the extent that the media can influence the will of the Hawaiian nationals. If public discourse is directed toward ending the occupation, the duration of the transition may take as little as five years. If opposition forces control the discourse and the media, this transition may take as much as ten years, or more.

The second question above addresses process: “What do we do now?” While the five phases for ending the US occupation of Hawai‘i provide measurements of change, these transition points do not speak to the underlying fears and concerns of Hawaiian nationals. The five steps address the strategic purpose, not national will. The transitions from one phase to another must also inspire the will of Hawaiian nationals.

In the Baltic States, a single event, more than any other, demonstrated the transition from phase one to phase two, from the “Consolidation of Issues” to the “Creation of Mass Political Groups.” This moment was in June 1988, at the Extended Plenum of Latvian Writers’ Union, when Mavriks Vulfsons acknowledged that there had been no treaty and no popular movement for Soviet rule. A Communist Party veteran, Mavriks Vulfsons was a respected journalist and initially a supporter of communism. His admission at the Plenum of the Writers’ Union broadened acceptance of the political reality of occupation.

In Hawai‘i, a similar event could occur if Nainoa Thompson, or Haunani Apoliona, or Senator Brickwood Galuteria, or another respected public figure, would openly announce that Hawai‘i is occupied. Similarly, an editorial piece in a prominent newspaper could have the same effect. The editorial would need to be signed by prominent community members, affirming that Hawai‘i is occupied, detailing how this occupation has affected the Hawaiian people, and describing a united method for ending the occupation. Like the famous “Broken Trust” article in the Honolulu Advertiser, criticizing the Bishop Estate Trustees of the late-1990s, such an article would be a watershed moment for Hawai‘i. Open acceptance of occupation by at least one prominent public figure is needed to push this movement forward.

Once the idea of occupation has entered public discourse, the transformation of political groups, and greater participation in demonstrations and rallies will follow. However, these demonstrations must be carefully planned for solidarity and symbolic effect. During US President Obama’s visit to Hawai‘i, a small anti-occupation protest occurred on Christmas Eve, and another small anti-Akaka Bill demonstration happened on New Years Day. If there is not a singularity of purpose and inspiration of Hawaiian nationals, then mass anti-occupation demonstrations will not happen. Political groups will remain tied to the current system, and there will be little movement toward ending the occupation.

Political events that unite Hawaiians against symbols of propaganda and subjugation are ideal. For example, efforts to change the McKinley Statue, with its fake “Treaty of Annexation,” are a means of educating the public and uniting the Hawaiian community. The Hawaiian Civic Clubs have already passed a resolution in support of correcting the wording on this statue. Public efforts to correct history can unite Hawaiian nationals behind a common cause, multiplying public participation.

Yet solidarity will not come only from the open acknowledgement of occupation and corrections of history. Solidarity will ultimately derive from confidence that the future of an independent Hawaiian State is something that will benefit Hawaiian nationals. To understand this benefit, we need to know Hawaiian Kingdom law. Holding model legislative sessions, utilizing Hawaiian Kingdom law, will help to instill an assuredness of knowing how to run a country, separate from the US system. These model legislatures could be performed at universities, in high schools and in Hawaiian organizations. By becoming familiar with Hawaiian Kingdom law, we will gain confidence about our collective future.

The creation of mass political groups, or the transformation of the current political groups, is a manifestation of confidence in purpose and a willingness to find solutions collectively for ending the US occupation of Hawai‘i. In this sense, these political and cultural groups (such as Hawaiian Civic Clubs) serve as a means for discussing concerns and for working through challenges as we prepare for the next step: “Infiltration of the Political System.”

For the political system to be infiltrated, Hawaiians must believe that independence is preferable and needed. Legally and politically, Hawai‘i is occupied. But what advantage is there to being independent from the US? Ending the occupation is based on trust. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. stressed the need to link the means with the ultimate goal. If the ultimate goal is running an independent Hawaiian State, then Hawaiians need to be assured that they can trust the government of this restored State. More importantly, Hawaiians nationals must trust that we can make a few mistakes and still create a better future for our people. For this reason, Points of Agreement become vital. Commonality brings focus and inspiration. These Points of Agreement offer the basis for our common vision of our future, a vision that could be pursued through legislation based on ending the occupation. We need to trust that, together, we will create a compelling future for Hawai‘i.

Once this trust is established, the “Registration of the Electorate,” phase four, will occur due to the impetus of national will. People will be inspired to discover where the many Hawaiian nationals exist throughout the world. In Latvia and Estonia, this registration of the electorate took one year, as people traveled door-to-door signing-up participants (due to demographics, Lithuania followed a different process). With Hawaiian nationals distributed throughout the world, the process may take longer for Hawai‘i, perhaps two years. Yet, if the overall transition is five years, or more, this gives us time to prepare for the registration process. We need legal scholars working on this issue now in anticipation of that time to come.

The last phase, the “Election of a ‘New’ Parliament,” will only occur when Hawaiian Kingdom nationals are willing to commit fully to Hawai‘i’s future, independent from the United States. This phase is dependent on the trust established in phase three. This final phase is a leap of faith—or, more accurately, confidence in action. If Hawaiians trust the process this far, they will take the next logical step. To exert ones own power may be frightening, looking into the unknown, relying on one’s own skill and strength of will. This is a deep moment of trust. This last phase harkens back to the legislative process explored in phase two and builds upon the points of agreement in phase three. We need to feel secure as participants of an independent Hawaiian State. Once we establish an independent government, we need to fully run our own country.

Many aspects of these phases should be pursued at the same time. For example, the model Hawaiian legislature will help establish confidence while working toward the creation of an independent Hawaiian government. The Points of Agreement will maintain common vision of Hawai‘i’s future that can be implemented through law. Moreover, planning for the registration of the electorate can begin today. These are some of the methods and tactics that could bring us closer to ending the occupation. Trust is the key to this whole process. To restore independence, we must restore trust in our own people, trust in ourselves.

In summary, these are some actions that we can work on now:

1.     Guide public discourse and media attention toward ending the US occupation of Hawai‘i!

2.     Convince prominent public leaders to acknowledge the US occupation of Hawai‘i!

3.     Mobilize Hawaiian nationals by holding events that unite Hawaiians against propaganda and subjugation!

4.     Promote solidarity and confidence by discussing the concerns of Hawaiian nationals in political and cultural groups.

5.     Utilize Hawaiian Kingdom law by implementing model legislative sessions!

6.     Establish trust by drawing upon our Points of Agreement, to create new legislation, guiding us toward independence!

7.     Demonstrate, in specific, legal terms, how an independent Hawaiian State would better the future of Hawaiian nationals!

8.     Inspire people to learn where and how many Hawaiian nationals exist in the world today!

9.     Commit fully to Hawai‘i’s future as a restored state by learning the necessary legal steps to form an independent Hawaiian legislature!

Now, let’s get going on these, together.





  1. “According to Cline, without strategic purpose and national will, other factors, such as population, territory, economics and military might, lose their potency.”

    This phrase suggests that what signifies “Will” are the determining factors like the registration of the electorate, cultural determinacy, and economics. I would add that they are the programs and initiatives created by both individuals and organizations that signify Will. As we look at the history of political activism and cultural determinacy for this generation, Kaho’olawe and Hokule’a, for example, substantially marks Hawai’i ‘s cultural and spiritual growth– and that too conveys Will.

    One might argue that despite what appears to be lack of unity, there is rather a healthy dissensus that is engaging many communities beyond the native Hawaiian community. If debate is a marker of where we are as a society, Hawaii must certainly take the lead!

    Throughout the last generation, a variety of people and organizations have been focusing on issues and routes of engagement that for all considerable purposes, further the larger agenda of collective togetherness and national identity.

    One thing that strikes me however,– and part of this is inspired by Prof. Osorio’s recent announcement of his defense against the administration cutting funds for OHA and DHHL– and that is economic funding.

    People and organizations rely on federal and state funding for their programs. How do we navigate around the money issue?

    I do not know, but it seems that MANA and the Hawaiian Independent have a platform that addresses this economic issue in an organic and homegrown way– but I do not know if in its present condition, it is self-sufficient in a way that is financially viable. It seems that for viability to be attained, everyone’s cooperation is necessary.

    There is a larger point, and it is that we really have to consider the entire fiscal package: resources, equity, currency, trade, labor, etc.

    If we consider approaches or models as to how we can establish sustainable economic independence so that organizations like NH Legal Corp, Alu Like, and other native Hawaiian programs can sustain itself, then it stands to reason that this national Will that you reference, will manifest itself towards an active and more involved, independent nation-building process.

  2. […] is my response to Kuhio Vogeler’s recent posting “Two Questions that Lead to Action,” in which he lays out a frame into which we can begin to build a strategy to end occupation […]

  3. Aloha, Kuhio. Mahalo plenty for sharing with all of us the path that has been pre – chosen for you to walk on and experience. I am in total agreement with you when it comes to finding prominent public leaders to acknowledge the US occupation of Hawai‘i and to keep them accountable for knowing the “Truth,” and to have them make a “public statement” so that the local media will start covering what is really going on in here, so we can replace Hawaii’s “tainted” history with revealing and uncovering Hawaii’s “True” and “Proud History!!!

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