Four Essays on Mississippi: America's Only Police State, 1964
In 1964 when I spent a summer in Holly Springs as a COFO safety/communications officer, there was no sovereignty/independence movement in Hawai'i.
Today in the archipelago of the Hawaiian Islands there is a burgeoning movement for self-determination among native Hawaiians and those of all races who identify as being Hawaiian so much so that this movement for Hawaiian national liberation is approaching that critical point (kairos) that occurred in Mississippi in 1964.
Historical racism and its attendant historial trauma tie together the 400-year old struggle of Blacks in America with the century-long struggle of Hawaiians in Hawai'i. The pain from this "post-traumatic stress 'disorder'", this historic trauma of slavery and colonialism, has brought about a deep anger and hostility that today threatens gains of the past. However, as we come to grips with what our genuine 'deep culture' is and as we retrace and rediscover our roots, the foundation is laid for real change, revolutionary change.
The ancient and traditional culture of the Polynesians and Hawaiians is diametrically opposite to that of the dominant, calvinistic deep culture of those europeans who have been in power in America since John Winthrop brought its seeds in 1630 when he established a 'city upon a hill' in Boston and built the new Jerusalem in the 'howling wilderness inhabited only by wild and savage beasts.' This racist western deep culture closed its eyes to the terror of the slave trade, as their god had chosen the white race to civilize the non- whites. These New Englanders moved westward to the mother of all rivers, the Mississippi, and built up towns and colleges along its tributaries (I went to a small college in Minnesota, Carleton, which was founded by these Congregationalist calvinists.) Eventually the capital accumulated from the highly profitable trading nexus of Hawai'i-Canton dealing in furs, sandalwood, and opium led to a huge rail network linking eastern port cities with the midwest and the Mississippi delta.
The Illinois Central Railroad, built largely by Boston/New York money, goes down through Canton, Mississippi to the gulf. A white Alabama politician from Selma, U.S. Senator John T. Morgan, a distant relative of John Pierpont Morgan, was an ardent annexationist who believed that the Pacific needed to be conquered and that Mississippi was a key stepping stone to the Pacific and Asia. Morgan not only engineered the secret cession of Pearl Harbor in Hawai'i to the U.S. in 1887, but he came to Hawai'i in 1893-94 to head an investigation of the illegal and immoral overthrow of our Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893 when U.S. Marines and Navy Bluejackets from the USS Boston landed in Hawai'i. This military invasion led to a predominantly white 'missionary'/calvinist sugar plantation owner takeover of our 2,000-year old culture and history.
Most if not all tribal and/or indigenous cultures value cooperation over competition, community over individualism, etc. With the domination of the western deep culture, anything Hawaiian like the language and hula, was degraded and practicing it became punishable by law. A century of this post- traumatic stress syndrome has resulted in arguably the worst statistics in the US in terms of prison population, mortality, morbidity, poor education, etc.
However, in 1993 there was a centennial observance of the 1893 overthrow and by the tens of thousands native Hawaiians and Hawaiians by nationality and allegiance came out to march and mark the occasion. Last weekend, September 6, saw a repeat of 1993 when 10,000 took to the streets to stage a protest march against state and federal encroachment on Hawaiian civil rights. If Mississippi in 1964 was a turning point, this year or the next could be the point of no return for those espousing a return to the fully independent Hawaiian Nation and the nullification of statehood by international public opinion and courts.
'Black is beautiful' as applied to the Hawai'i situation is proving the truism that people want to be governed by their own kind. This could mean that the Hawaiian struggle is basically different from the Black struggle in America due to historical differences. 'Freedom' differs perhaps with the context. It is also true, however, that some Hawaiians have become whites (or haoles), but the Hawaiian deep culture has survived despite a century of attempts to erase it. And many whites and other ethnic groups in Hawai'i are dancing hula, learning to speak Hawaiian, and are adopting Hawaiian names.