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June 23, 2008 4:51 PM   Subscribe

The Hawaiian Kingdom Government is back up and running. This monarchy, deposed in 1898, rules from the Iolani Palace, in which Hawaii's last native queen ruled and was later imprisoned.
posted by baphomet (80 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
LIFO, mebbe
posted by tachikaze at 4:54 PM on June 23, 2008


Previously. I also thought there was an FPP about the beginning of this protest, but I can't seem to find it.

I certainly hope this movement snowballs to the point where the state has to take action, maybe we will finally actually have this discussion. Hawaii deserves it.
posted by mek at 5:04 PM on June 23, 2008


A peaceful overthrow sounds like a blanket folded neatly at the head of the bed, not a change of state.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:08 PM on June 23, 2008


It's sort of like a friend asking you to move out so his girlfriend can move in. "You can keep the couch and I'll put the cable in your name, but getting that sunken battleship out of the harbor is going to be an absolute bitch."
posted by optovox at 5:09 PM on June 23, 2008


I was just recently in Hawaii on my first holiday there and once I left Waikiki I kind of got the feeling I wasn't to welcome
That was just my impression anyways
I guess there looking for treaty rights like natives on the mainland
posted by SatansCabanaboy at 5:10 PM on June 23, 2008


once I left Waikiki I kind of got the feeling I wasn't to welcome
posted by SatansCabanaboy


Well, there's yer problem
posted by mrnutty at 5:12 PM on June 23, 2008


So if we give it back to the Hawaiians (a lot who complained are ancestored from Japan, and I feel they have no right to bitch seeing they're not true Hawaiians) does that mean we have to give Texas back to Mexico and most of the United States back to Native Americans?

Because the last time I checked, we were much shittier to the NA than the Hawaiians; and we still are.
posted by dasheekeejones at 5:24 PM on June 23, 2008


More power to them.
posted by homunculus at 5:31 PM on June 23, 2008


So if we give it back to the Hawaiians (a lot who complained are ancestored from Japan, and I feel they have no right to bitch seeing they're not true Hawaiians) does that mean we have to give Texas back to Mexico and most of the United States back to Native Americans?

In this world, since caveman days to the present-day, you're morally entitled to the land that you can defend (with help if need be) and not one inch more.

The Mexicans and native Americans were waay too thin on the ground to defend their holdings against the encroachments and takeover by the U.S. of A.

The Hawaiians were too politically immature. We have no time machine though to right that wrong so we've got to play it as it lays.

Interestingly, from a friend who's married into a native family, the Lingle (white Maui-based liberal Republican) governorship has got a lot more support from the natives than the traditional Democratic machine, which had its power bases in the asian communities and thus (according to him) fucked over the natives regularly and often.
posted by tachikaze at 5:35 PM on June 23, 2008


In this world, since caveman days to the present-day, you're morally entitled to the land that you can defend (with help if need be) and not one inch more.

Are you sure "morally" is the correct word for that sentence? I can see maybe "politically" or "legally" being used in its place, but, really, "morally"? Well, might makes right, apparently...

We have no time machine though to right that wrong so we've got to play it as it lays.

Hate to drag out a somewhat tired old cliche, but, hey it applies: What you mean we, Kemosabe?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:56 PM on June 23, 2008


if we give it back to the Hawaiians (a lot who complained are ancestored from Japan, and I feel they have no right to bitch seeing they're not true Hawaiians)

I hear that line a lot in New Zealand, mutatis mutandis, because most if not all Maori here have some non-Maori ancestors now.

But the answer is - it's about family inheritance.

If you were the heir of a rich estate, does it dilute your claim that you are related to non-claimants? No, it doesn't.

The Hawaiians were too politically immature

Compared to whom? The US was so politically mature that it was beating the shit out of itself only 20 years earlier.

This also interests me because land occupation has been one of the main tools for New Zealand Maori to assert their sovereignty. I imagine that all the colonised peoples of the Pacific pay close attention to what tactics have been successful.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:04 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Like the article says, there are many sovereignty movements in Hawaii, of which this is only one. The bottom line is that it is never going to happen in the grand scale that they want it to. What will (hopefully) most likely happen, is the other item the article mentioned:

A state agency, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, is pursuing something far short of a restoration of the monarchy. It is pressing for federal legislation that would give Native Hawaiians a degree of self-government similar to what many American Indian tribes have. The hope is that Native Hawaiians will also regain some of their ancestral land.

The legislation has passed the U.S. House and is pending in the Senate.


However, this deal is similar to the Native American one in the sense that the US government gives them some land that no one else really wants anyway (in this case, Kaho'olawe, which was used as a practice bombing target in WWII and now is covered in unexploded warheads rendering the island basically uninhabitable, although a clean-up process is slowly being done).

In other words, the Hawaiians have a legitimate complaint and deserve some sort of reparations, but things aren't ever going back to the way they were before.
posted by rooftop secrets at 6:09 PM on June 23, 2008


Nativist movement are interesting and all, but I'm a staunch republican [1]. Monarchies suck, period, end of statement, no need to go further. Whatever sympathy I might have for a nativist movement ends the moment they start talking about monarchy.

Further, it's worthwhile to note that Hawaii wasn't a unified kingdom until Kamehameha conquered it, with European help and guns.

They want to talk about establishing Hawaii as an independent republic with a strong constitutional government, a guarantee of rights to all citizens (regardless of native Hawaiian status), etc then I'll be sympathetic, possibly even supportive (depending on the constitution and bill of rights they draw up). They want to reestablish the Kingdom of Hawaii, fuck 'em and the monarchist bullshit they rode in on. Kings, whether native Hawaiian, French, Japanese, or otherwise are a blight on the planet second only to pimps.

[1] Note the lower case "r"
posted by sotonohito at 6:10 PM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


What you mean we, Kemosabe?

anyone who's living on stolen land - which by my calculation is a good part of the world's population
posted by pyramid termite at 6:10 PM on June 23, 2008


Wait, back up a parsec.

How can we possibly have a monarchy on American soil? Don't we now have to stop referring to Hawaii as a state and drop to 49 stars on the flag?

I'm all for the 49 stars on the US flag thing, actually. It means we'll need to start burning the 50 star flags and replacing them with new 49 star ones. This'll generate employment and revenue, but unfortunately not for Americans or Hawaiians, since all the new flags will be made in China.

...Why does this feel just like having to stop calling Pluto a planet?
posted by ZachsMind at 6:24 PM on June 23, 2008


Is there a country where the original inhabitants of the land actually rule it? I thought all were conquered from outside.
posted by podwarrior at 6:48 PM on June 23, 2008


and I feel they have no right to bitch seeing they're not true Hawaiians

Who died and made you judge? What, in your inestimable wisdom, is a "true Hawaiian"?
posted by rtha at 6:50 PM on June 23, 2008


Is there a country where the original inhabitants of the land actually rule it? I thought all were conquered from outside.

I imagine that Hawaiians would immediately think of Samoa and Tonga in this respect. Those countries are both ruled by their original inhabitants.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:52 PM on June 23, 2008


Japan?

(note - I honestly don't know, so don't abuse me too much if that idea is laughably incorrect)
posted by yhbc at 6:57 PM on June 23, 2008


history shows us that the island underwent a number of modifications. the US, shortly after the Civll War granted Hawaii duty free rights to ship sugar to the US and in return we got--our first entry into the Pacific: Pearl Harbor...
for a quick history of the early to latest developments in Hawaii
http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?s=history+of+HAwaii&gwp=13
posted by Postroad at 7:03 PM on June 23, 2008


Japan?

An indigenous population existed (and still exists in reduced numbers) before the Japanese started settling the islands some thousands of years ago. There was a post on the Ainu just a few days back.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:04 PM on June 23, 2008


Those countries are both ruled by their original inhabitants.

I could be wrong but I don't think the current Tongans are the original inhabitants.

Of course the whole thing is rather muddy. The Polynesians (Austronesian people) made war and colonized each other - east and west Polynesians - constantly over several thousand years. Hell. They came from New Guinea originally and displaced other peoples.
posted by tkchrist at 7:06 PM on June 23, 2008


Metafilter: a blight on the planet second only to pimps.

The history of the world is written by people conquering other people. This is really no different. It is, however, possible to make the distinction between who has a right to live on the land in a sustainable manner and who is really just fucking over the whole system for the good of the rich. There's a lot of the latter in the state of Hawaii. My family has poor, native and asian friends on Maui and I really don't have a lot of sympathy for the tourist machine there. Most of them work at the airport in Kahului and live in clapboard shacks in Wailuku and hate the tourists for it. I would too. Fuck the golf courses, fuck the luau-going imbeciles driving their Jeeps around and drinking super big gulps and acting like it's Anaheim. There needs to be a balance. There needs to be affordable housing, affordable, healthy food, and a recognition that it's not a state-wide theme park.

It's virtually impossible to make a living wage there without resorting to the humiliating servitude of rich mainlanders. I looked into an urban planning job (my profession) with Maui County a few years ago. Starting wage is $32K and the cost of living is stunningly high. Most places on the mainland you get double, and the cost of living is half. For all the money that goes into that state, very little sees the light of day amongst the locals. It's a crime. Good on these people for fighting, even if it will likely amount to little.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:07 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


In some tide pool some where there are some Amoebae bitching about getting displaced by colonizing phytoplankton and demanding their sovereignty back.
posted by tkchrist at 7:09 PM on June 23, 2008


yhbc: Not Japan. The Ainu were conquered from without.

I'd guess Thailand, Sweden, erm, France perhaps?
posted by pompomtom at 7:12 PM on June 23, 2008


In some tide pool some where there are some Amoebae bitching about getting displaced by colonizing phytoplankton and demanding their sovereignty back.

...and one of them sits on the sidelines with its five bucks and insensitively snarks for the sake of little favourites.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:12 PM on June 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


however, possible to make the distinction between who has a right to live on the land in a sustainable manner and who is really just fucking over the whole system for the good of the rich.

Welcome to America.

Actually. That can easily describe all developed capitalist nations. Yep. It's depressing.
posted by tkchrist at 7:12 PM on June 23, 2008


Nativist movement are interesting and all, but I'm a staunch republican [1]. Monarchies suck, period, end of statement, no need to go further. Whatever sympathy I might have for a nativist movement ends the moment they start talking about monarchy.

Don't look too hard at indigenous peoples' movements the world over, then.

I imagine that Hawaiians would immediately think of Samoa and Tonga in this respect. Those countries are both ruled by their original inhabitants.

Well, yes, and no. If you go back to pre-European contact times, tribes were more important, nations less so. The lands run by one tribe in Samoa will have been stolen from another at some point, in all likelihood, much as with inter-Iwi conflicts in New Zealand; moreover, Tonga, is currently ruled by a royal family established in the 19th century at the expense of the traditional chiefly structures.

(Once you start going into this it becomes more fascinating and complicated. Should Tonga have Nuie and all it's former possessions from the days of it's own empire restored to it? How would the folk of Nuie feel about this?)

The idea of original inhabitants is pretty dubious, anyway, Chinese nationalists would love you to believe China has a continuous, coherent culture that's 6,000 years old, but it doesn't really stand up to much scrutiny if you note that, apart from the really obvious episodes like being conquered and ruled by the Mongols, the changes of dynasties have represented sweeping differences in languages, religious practise, politics, you name it. At what point to you consider internal change to leave a people so different as to be as unrecognisable to their ancestors as foreigners would be?
posted by rodgerd at 7:13 PM on June 23, 2008


...and one of them sits on the sidelines with its five bucks and insensitively snarks for the sake of little favourites.

Where are you sitting? And I bet nobody favorites that.
posted by tkchrist at 7:13 PM on June 23, 2008


I could be wrong but I don't think the current Tongans are the original inhabitants.

Current thinking is they're a descendant of the Lapita people who became the Polynesians. Of course, the fact we draw that distinction only emphasises my point that te whole business of what constitutes and "original people" is pretty fraught.

Sweden

The Nordic countries were my first thought, but the Lapps and the southern Swedes/Finns/Norwegins are quite different cultures.

You could throw Iceland into the mix, I suppose.
posted by rodgerd at 7:17 PM on June 23, 2008


Where are you sitting? And I bet nobody favorites that.

I do believe it was you who compared people to single-celled organisms. If I misunderstood, one thousand apologies.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:18 PM on June 23, 2008


Current thinking is they're a descendant of the Lapita people who became the Polynesians. Of course, the fact we draw that distinction only emphasises my point that te whole business of what constitutes and "original people" is pretty fraught.

True. The idea of immutable and inherent sovereignty over "land" based on ancestry is... well... it's either an illusion, a lucky convenience, or backed up with guns.
posted by tkchrist at 7:19 PM on June 23, 2008


tkchrist: indeed you are wrong. Polynesians don't come from New Guinea, but in a long migration that started somewhere around Taiwan. The first evidence of settlement on Tonga is Polynesian, and as far as I know no one has suggested that the current people are not descended from those first ones. I think you're half-remembering stuff if not making it up.

In any case I feel arguments along the lines of "no one's indigenous" and "it's history, suck it up" are almost always offered by people who are the beneficiaries of conquest when the losers press their claims. Such apologetics are totally self-serving.

Certainly, I don't expect anyone who seriously maintains those views to also require that their own property rights be respected, because their own claims by their own argument can't rest on any foundation better than those of other people.

In fact, I hereby claim "tkchrist" as my username from this day forth, to the glory of my family and for the greater good of all Metafilter. Suck it up kid, it's the way of the world.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:22 PM on June 23, 2008


I do believe it was you who compared people to single-celled organisms. If I misunderstood, one thousand apologies.

You misunderstood.

Or maybe not. Because I suppose the cliche metaphor made popular in the Matrix movies could hold true, IE: that human civilizations ARE comparable to bacteria.

Other than that, I was merely making the observation that this sovereignty thing is complicated. Not that redressing crimes of the past shouldn't be done. But doing so by essentially arguing over who has the current deed to something nobody really owned in the first place will likely get us no where.
posted by tkchrist at 7:25 PM on June 23, 2008


This is the official website of the Hawaii Kingdom Government. This blog does a decent job of documenting information regarding the wide range of Sovereignty Groups.

Most discussions of the Hawaiian Royal Line are fairly convoluted, but this one does a pretty decent job of explaining several people's claim to the throne. The point, however, is moot because in reality, there is a tradition of electing a King or Queen. Note that Ms. Kehau has been selected by a very small group of Hawaiians - hardly the entire Hawaiian population was consulted. For what its worth, Ms. Kehau is not really a legitimate heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Out here, this stopped being a story months ago. There is always some sovereignty or other grabbing some headlines out here, but there are so many different groups of Hawaiians with so many points of view on the issue, that it is entirely inaccurate to imagine that this group spending a few hours a day at Iolani Palace is the same as a prelude to a major change in the government of Hawaii.

Furthermore, the Hawaiian community is fairly split on dozens of issues regarding sovereignty. You can get a good idea of how major this split is if you look at the Wikipedia article on the Akaka Bill.

Anyhow, the Hawaii Kingdom Government hangs out at Iolani Palace during business hours and then they all go home - sometimes pretty early in the day. In the sense that they work short hours and don't actually do a whole hell of a lot other than talk with reporters and issue edicts that people ignore, they are exactly like our current state government.

This is not to say that the Hawaiian people weren't robbed of their nation. They were, and it was by a group of American and British businessmen. Certain descendants of those businessmen continue their persecution of the Hawaiian People to this day (albeit through the courts). How the righteous grievances of the Hawaiian people can best be addressed is something that people of Hawaiian descent don't currently agree on. Forcing one solution is inevitably going to piss off a large portion of the very people that solution is trying to help.

However, the issues at hand are much more complex than "give them some land" or "reestablish the Kingdom" or "tell them to just suck it up." It bothers me when a loud group of two dozen or so people make a loud noise out here and the rest of the world thinks it is a popular call for revolution. Its really not.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:29 PM on June 23, 2008 [7 favorites]


I think this FPP is a bit disingenuous. The monarchy is not "up and running"; it's a few people playing pretend in a tent, at the sufferance of the state government. I'm not actually sure why the government is allowing it - they should be arrested for issuing false license plates, for starters.

Why are people encouraging these delusions that the clock can be turned back? Everything they are protesting happened over 100 years ago; history moves on. I'm not sure what good can come of this; it will just divide the state unnecessarily.
posted by Spacelegoman at 7:30 PM on June 23, 2008


In fact, I hereby claim "tkchrist" as my username from this day forth, to the glory of my family and for the greater good of all Metafilter. Suck it up kid, it's the way of the world.

Three flaws.

One. The Hawaiians are unlikely to win in either any litigation against the US in any meaningful way nor can they, by force of arms, physically take back the land. You could go by TKCHRIST, however I suspect the community here would reject you since that would be a precedent they would rather not have set and would be against the terms you signed up with.

Two: Go ahead. I don't OWN that. I only own the right to be me. If you claim to be me. Well. THEN I question your sanity.

Three: I am a quarter LEGALLY bona-fide Native American. So get the fuck off my land white boy.
posted by tkchrist at 7:33 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is about as meaningful as the Emperor Norton. If this woman wants to call herself "Queen", then that's what the First Amendment is about.

But if she expects that to have any legal significance, she's got a bad surprise coming.

As to Hawaii ceasing to be a state, that would require a constitutional amendment -- and it isn't going to happen.
posted by Class Goat at 7:37 PM on June 23, 2008



In any case I feel arguments along the lines of "no one's indigenous" and "it's history, suck it up" are almost always offered by people who are the beneficiaries of conquest when the losers press their claims. Such apologetics are totally self-serving.


I'm sorry the discussion of the complexity of reality, identity, and history goes not reinforce your politics. This does not mean, however, it is nonsense, or that anyone who is interested in it is a bad person.
posted by rodgerd at 7:37 PM on June 23, 2008


Oh and I I did half remember this but here is what Wikipedia says:

The Polynesian people are by ancestry a subset of the sea-migrating Austronesian people and the tracing of Polynesian languages places their prehistoric origins in the Malay archipelago. The spread of pottery and domesticates in Polynesia is connected with the Lapita-culture that, around 1600–1200 BC, started expanding from New Guinea as far east as Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

But I think the Ausronesian were descended from people that came from Taiwan and/or the Chinese mainland.
posted by tkchrist at 7:37 PM on June 23, 2008


IE: that human civilizations ARE comparable to bacteria.

I don't think that's true. To say that would simply remove the very element which will make all this tolerable - compassionate, reasoned relations. I came down on the wrong side of what you said, but it could be construed as massively offensive to reduce the plight of a people in such a country to that of the most basic, unthinking beings. It may be a trite observation on a macro level, but it's fantastically useless in a diplomatic sense.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:39 PM on June 23, 2008


However, the issues at hand are much more complex than "give them some land" or "reestablish the Kingdom" or "tell them to just suck it up." It bothers me when a loud group of two dozen or so people make a loud noise out here and the rest of the world thinks it is a popular call for revolution. Its really not.

Exactly. Though I wouldn't shed a tear if they successfully leveraged enough public and legal sentiment to seize the assets of some of the larger Ag and real estate concerns who have been raping those islands.
posted by tkchrist at 7:42 PM on June 23, 2008


How can we possibly have a monarchy on American soil? Don't we now have to stop referring to Hawaii as a state and drop to 49 stars on the flag?

Someone with real knowledge of constitutional law might want to weigh in on this one, but Wikipedia says Article 4 Section 4's guarantee of republican government is non-justicable; that is, a republican government is whatever Congress decides to say it is. It seems that this could potentially be a definition of 'republic' which includes constitutional monarchies.
posted by monocyte at 7:44 PM on June 23, 2008


jimmythefish you are over thinking me. You really have to be breaking a sweat to be offended in this case. Which is ironic since your user name is that of the most basic, unthinking creatures, that don't sweat.
posted by tkchrist at 7:45 PM on June 23, 2008


rodgerd: other people may well bring those arguments up too. But it is a staple for people defending colonialism. In a largely US forum, when the US simply annexed Hawaii, there's a certain context to this discussion; it's not just abstract speculation about what sovereignty means.

tkchrist: way to miss the point.

In the particular case in hand, I sit with the anti-monarchists, and I wonder what claims this particular group have to be legitimately representative. But my first thought isn't "oh well, who can really claim sovereignty anyway?"
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:48 PM on June 23, 2008


basic, unthinking unblinking creatures.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:48 PM on June 23, 2008


Three: I am a quarter LEGALLY bona-fide Native American. So get the fuck off my land white boy.

He's in New Zealand. You Americans really think you are the entire world, hey?
posted by jimmythefish at 7:51 PM on June 23, 2008


I think this FPP is a bit disingenuous. The monarchy is not "up and running"...

Tongue, meet cheek.
posted by baphomet at 7:54 PM on June 23, 2008


tkchrist: way to miss the point.

Was your point to be kind of self righteous? 'Cause I got that.

And it's ironic that you're white as a bleached sheet sitting there on frigg'n NZ soil, a colony stolen from native peoples historically more recently, laying some guilt trip on me who has more right (according to your own argument) to be HERE than you do to be there.


Otherwise you rather jumped to a whole set of frigg'n conclusions that nobody was making. Nobody here said how thrilled they were with the unfairness of colonialism or that past grievances can't be redressed. We were pointing out the fallacy of claiming to be "original" peoples as the root of land rights. We were not, however, claiming that people don't have basic human rights and recourse to justice.
posted by tkchrist at 7:57 PM on June 23, 2008


He's in New Zealand. You Americans really think you are the entire world, hey?

It has to do with the pre-Cambrian oceans, and the then the land bridge, and the 13th Tribe of Israel. It complicated. But I have deed here given to me by the Ancient Astronauts.
posted by tkchrist at 7:59 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry I misunderstood, tkchrist: your argument is one I hear a lot around here, in the way that I construed, and it certainly does press my righteousness buttons. So there's an irony on irony for you.

What are the roots of land rights, then? Or are they a broken way of thinking about things?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:01 PM on June 23, 2008


i_am_joe's_spleen: Could you possibly live up to your own moral code? Have you returned the land you are living on and any benefits derived from it to those in direct descent of it's original inhabitants? Yeah, I didn't think so.
posted by vorpal bunny at 8:09 PM on June 23, 2008


A'int gonna happen
posted by Burhanistan at 8:20 PM on June 23, 2008


This is about as meaningful as the Emperor Norton.

Emperor Norton was a great man.
posted by homunculus at 8:21 PM on June 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Actually, vorpal bunny, I actively support a political party that has as policy honouring the treaty between the state and its indigenous inhabitants, and I do from time to time participate in things that advance some forms of their sovereignty (albeit ones that don't result in me getting kicked off the island). Note that the Crown never annexed the country I live in - at least one constitutional analysis bases the Crown's sovereignty on the treat I referred to - and from a low point several decades ago the original inhabitants are incrementally recouping their losses. The situation is not really as parallel with the annexed Hawaii as you might think.

It isn't practical for me to return the house I rent to anyone who would claim title to it, and I don't know how one would calculate compensation in any event, but I do support political processes that effectively try to meet those grievances. I'm not sure what you think my moral code is, but I'm fairly happy with my consistency, thank you.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:23 PM on June 23, 2008



What are the roots of land rights, then? Or are they a broken way of thinking about things?

Are you asking what my opinion is on the root of land rights or what the land rights "should" be, or what are the actual roots of land rights on the ground?

I will tell you only what my opinion is. And then what I think in an ideal world, with no war where dilithium crystals powers giant robots, our land rights "should be."

My opinion is "land rights" are substantially different than "national sovereignty rights." My opinion is the interests of the least powerful in any given community supersede all others individuals claims to lands.

And while we may "give" the Hawaiians back what they feel they are ancestrally entitled too, they will not get much out of it because the interests and tenants of those lands have become too entrenched and complicated over time to ever fairly assess what can go to who.

How do we even decide who the Hawaiians are? Gene tests? Then what? We drive Japanese retirees out of their condos? No. They can't do that they would go broke. All this talk of who owns this or that is just way too complicated.

I think the Nation or State of Hawaii can call it self whatever it wants. It can collect taxes from the people there at what ever rate it thinks is fair. Spend that on it's native populace if it wants. Then to avoid trouble it kicks it's same share of protection payment (like federal taxes) back to the US. Then they can identify the corporate interests that owe them money from colonial times and sue them in court.

My ideal "principle" on land rights is however is awesome. My ideal solution is this: In the Star Trek future where we can start over and there is no poverty and endless energy nobody owns land. Period. No one individual "owns" lands. They essentially rent it from a local collective. And everybody is happy. Always.

Honestly. I got no solutions.
posted by tkchrist at 8:26 PM on June 23, 2008


This sounds largely symbolic. Now, if the state government over there has anything to worry about, it's the goddamned feral chickens on Kauai. They're everywhere.

Watching.

Plotting.

Clucking.

We think they're harmless. But they have us right where they want us.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:28 PM on June 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


they essentially rent it from a local collective. And everybody is happy. Always.

Actually, tkchrist, that is the Single Tax, geolibertarianism, and/or Georgism.

The moral logic is IMO simple and undeniable. People are entitled to the fruits of their labor. (Unimproved) land and natural resources in situ are provided by nature and not by labor and thus absolute, exclusionary private ownership of land and natural resources thereon is morally unsupportable.

As David Lloyd George quipped, "to prove title to land one must first trace it back to the man who stole it".
posted by tachikaze at 8:33 PM on June 23, 2008


that advance some forms of their sovereignty (albeit ones that don't result in me getting kicked off the island)

Then that is hardly a principled endorsement of what the you have thus far described as sovereignty is it? It's hardly "Sovereign" if you can't tell people you don't like to leave anytime you want.

That's like me having a party and my guests saying they really love my house and appreciate my hosting the party. So they help clean and do the dishes and everything. Utterly respecting my rights as the host —except they won't ever leave.

This is why I said the high minded ideas we have of sovereignty is mostly an illusion. The reality is very inconvenient and complicated.
posted by tkchrist at 8:36 PM on June 23, 2008



Actually, tkchrist, that is the Single Tax, geolibertarianism, and/or Georgism.

Well I'm all for it.
posted by tkchrist at 8:36 PM on June 23, 2008


Sure it's complicated. But I think my position is a far cry from the "tough shit" end of the spectrum.

It's hardly "Sovereign" if you can't tell people you don't like to leave anytime you want.

Um, no. Most states have constitutional limits on their powers. People locally have proposed models for indigenous sovereignty that involve partition, or separate legal systems, or new constitutional arrangements that leave current property in place.

You and vorpal bunny are ascribing an extreme position to me that I don't hold - I just think Hawaiians are entitled to pursue whatever claims to sovereignty they want, and objections based on their inability to enforce them through arms or the inadequacy of other people's historical claims are bogus.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:52 PM on June 23, 2008


It isn't practical for me to return the house I rent to anyone who would claim title to it, and I don't know how one would calculate compensation in any event, but I do support political processes that effectively try to meet those grievances.

Exactly - it is completely impractical, if not impossible.

By the way, I am not sure the Maoris are in the best position to complain about the injustice of the loss of their land - they were more or less beaten at their own game. Ask the Moriori.
posted by vorpal bunny at 9:09 PM on June 23, 2008


Ua mau ke'ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono.

No easy solutions, but I've got a niece who's growing up a native speaker of Hawaiian, another niece and a stepfather who speak it as a second language. We're looking at the first generation in I-don't-know-how-long that are learning Hawaiian as a first language. Seems like a good thing to me.

They are all, of course, fluent in everyone's favorite creole, Pidgin.
posted by stet at 9:54 PM on June 23, 2008


This is about as meaningful as the Emperor Norton.

Sometimes performance theatre is all you've got. (Bearing in mind what Joey Michaels said upthread).
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:12 PM on June 23, 2008


So if the monarchy does come back, does this mean I will no longer be subjected to being videotaped via webcam and fingerprinted every time I visit Hawai'i?
posted by bwg at 11:18 PM on June 23, 2008


I don't really take issue with native hawaiians fighting for their rights as displaced people, but I don't understand the logic a lot of the groups are taking to the fight. I mean, these are concerted efforts staged by many people. Adult people. And they storm into the palace and lock it up for a morning, only to run away afterwards? Doesn't someone out of all these people say, "well the symbolism is nice I guess, but I have a job and a family. Isn't there a better way we could be spending our time?" Their methods are ineffective at best, and it is setting a weird example of misdirected time, energy, and disgust to those growing up around these people.

I think the problem is that a majority of the sensible people who understand how to productively channel their time and energy wind up prioritizing themselves and their families for their efforts rather than trying to further the half-baked causes that call for a reversion to 100+ years ago or endless legal battles over where to grow kalo.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 12:00 AM on June 24, 2008


For the gallery: are there any mainland-based media that do a good job of covering Hawaiian sovereignty issues, or is the issue so local and nuanced that one's got to be based in Hawaii to do a good job reporting what's happening?
posted by mdonley at 12:17 AM on June 24, 2008


mdonley: I don't think the local news sources out here do a good job of covering the nuances either. The media out here is, as it is everywhere, on the side of money.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:19 AM on June 24, 2008


oh my.

There is so much wrong with this protest I don't know where to begin.

- They took over Iolani Palace, which was the Royal Residence. It never was the head of state. These guys took over the wrong building.

- If the monarchy were to be restored, the Kawananakoa family has the strongest claim to the title. Other families have made claims. These guys? Bottom of the barrel. They're poor now and they'd be poor under King Kawananakoa.

They have currently set up their kingdom by a picnic table under a tree by the armory. Each morning they gather to do Royal Business. I kid you not.

Sovereignty is a real issue here. These guys aren't even part of the dialogue. They just kind of showed up one day and said, All Hail the Queen. I guess we were all supposed to rise up and follow.
posted by kanewai at 12:28 AM on June 24, 2008


kanewai, sounds like you're up with the play locally - is there an underlying story here that's not coming out? Some motivation other than being complete fruitbats?

I ask because when these kinds of things happen in my country, sometimes everyone local is behind them; sometimes there's some internal intra-tribal dispute that explains it; sometimes there's just one strong-willed person whose family goes along with them out of loyalty.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:47 AM on June 24, 2008


Monarchies suck, period, end of statement, no need to go further.

It's not monarchy they're after. The old monarchy just happens to be the idea, the brand, the flag they can rally around. It gives form to their protests.

If ever successful, it seems likely that they'd end up with some sort of constitutional system with a "royal family", a native family, as figureheads, something like senators.

It's not that they want a king, because they think kings are good... it's that they want their king, because he's, dig, theirs.
posted by rokusan at 6:05 AM on June 24, 2008


These guys took over the wrong building.

Yeah. Morons. Everyone knows you take the oil ministry first.
posted by rokusan at 6:06 AM on June 24, 2008


rokusan that's not what some of them say. Look at the Kingdom of Hawaii Restored website, specifically this part. That's from a different group than the ones who have seized Iolani Palace, but the "hey, monarchies are fantastic" message is quite disturbing.

As for the group referenced by the FPP, who knows if they plan on making the monarchy a figurehead sort of thing. Personally, I don't think even that much monarchy is a good idea.

A king that's theirs is still a king, and that sucks massively. And, given the disputes over who is the "rightful" heir to the throne, its hardly as if any of the claimants can really be a rallying point for a groundswell revolution. Wouldn't it be better if the nativists ran on a platform of "let's get the land back from the mainland thugs who stole it from us" rather than "hey, we've got a monarch!"?
posted by sotonohito at 7:35 AM on June 24, 2008


Actually, sotonohito, there are numerous logical and rational arguments in favour of constitutional monarchy as a viable political system. Not least among them is the idea that the Head of State needs to be a figure that is completely neutral, and not beholden to any particular political party or interests. As soon as you introduce an election into that process, that all goes out the window. Are there problems with monarchy? Yes, of course. But the benefits outweigh them. Checks and balances; something your government needs to re-learn.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:44 AM on June 24, 2008


Wouldn't it be better if the nativists ran on a platform of "let's get the land back from the mainland thugs who stole it from us" rather than "hey, we've got a monarch!"

Maybe, but people need something to rally around, and a deposed king or queen is a nice strong symbol that keeps things simple.

Folks like simple. :)
posted by rokusan at 9:52 AM on June 24, 2008


dirtynumbangleboy I think those arguments really don't hold up well. In the first place it assumes that the figurehead/monarch is politically neutral, which is pretty much impossible. In the second place it assumes that there needs to be a head of state. Honestly I think the US could get along just fine sans the office of the President, add a third house to Congress, and make the various executive departments answerable to various Congressional committees.

My government most definitely needs to relearn checks and balances, no argument at all. And the most important thing it needs to relearn is the fact that executive power is disruptive, dangerous, and has a tendency to grow if not constantly monitored.

Further, "Constitutional Monarchy" != "monarch as figurehead". Until quite recently, historically speaking, a Constitutional Monarchy generally involved an active monarch.

rokusan Yes, folks like simple. Unfortunately simple is often a really bad idea.

For example, I was talking to a conservative friend recently, and the subject of capitol punishment came up. He objected, most strenuously, to the appeals process. He liked simple: when they're convicted just take 'em out back and shoot 'em, no appeals.

So, yeah, simple has an appeal. "let's get a king and he'll fix everything!" is simple, easy to understand, and makes a good jingoistic appeal to the false myth-history people believe in. That doesn't make it a good idea.

And, anyway, blaming mainland landowners is pretty simple, and has the advantage of also being pretty true. While that's not the sole cause of Hawaiian problems its one of the major causes.
posted by sotonohito at 11:47 AM on June 24, 2008


Further, "Constitutional Monarchy" != "monarch as figurehead". Until quite recently, historically speaking, a Constitutional Monarchy generally involved an active monarch.

As it does in e.g. Liechtenstein. Whose citizens recently voted in an open referendum to return more powers to the Prince. Which can, of course, be revoked if necessary.

I think that you don't really understand how monarchy works in the modern world. You're sort of hung up on RAH RAH EQUALITY, when you will find that the vast majority of monarchists (self included) don't actually believe that their Sovereign is any 'better' than they are, but that it's a good thing they're there.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:17 PM on June 24, 2008


Sure!
posted by geekyguy at 11:43 AM on June 25, 2008


In the first place it assumes that the figurehead/monarch is politically neutral, which is pretty much impossible.

I'm pretty sure the Her Majesty the Queen of Australia doesn't give a toss which party is in power, and I like it that way.
posted by pompomtom at 5:15 PM on June 25, 2008


JimmyTheFish: "You Americans really think you are the entire world, hey?"

What do you mean by 'think'?

...

Oh, and Emperor Norton was a saint!
posted by ZachsMind at 9:59 AM on June 29, 2008


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