Want to hear what readers are saying about the issues we’re raising in this project? Go to our Fault Lines Chat Room.

A COFA-type treaty for Hawaii?

Feb. 7 — I think there’s a spectrum of independence. The Pearl Harbor concession has been made, Hawaiians understood in Kingdom days that would mean a foreign military presence. Hawaii is also more than just Hawaiians now and that’s important to keep in mind. Kanaka maoli have a claim to the land, but not the only one. It’s all dreaming, but what is more practical is probably something like a COFA agreement which would give back important controls to Hawaii and kanaka maoli, place in a position where autonomy is recognized, but also keep us grounded in the reality that we aren’t capable of a full economic, cultural, and political severance. A return to the kingdom is not the only vehicle through which independence can be sought and probably not the one that should be pursued.

Bridging our differences

Feb. 6 — In this very complicated set of issues, my great hope is that pragmatism will prevail over idealism. I suppose idealism is the first thing in a movement, but I don’t see much pragmatism yet. If it doesn’t come soon, the divisions are going to get worse and favorable solutions ever more remote.

We’re in a vulnerable position out here in the Pacific. I don’t think full sovereignty is ever going to be viable in a world with global superpowers vying for dominance. But some form of semi-autonomy seems essential to addressing historical injustices, extreme inequality, unsustainable development, and biosecurity.

But this has to be carried out without isolationism, xenophobia, and ethnic balkanization.

I worry that with Hawai’i’s highly disaffected electorate, extreme wealth inequality, volatility of social media and the vacuum of nuance it creates, the odds of creating broad social solidarity in the islands now are low. But hope is a muscle and I’m going to keep trying to believe.

Tell us what you think!

It’s not just the telescope

Feb. 5 — Until we can agree on some form of political governance with duly elected representatives, no lasting progress will be made. The last few decades have taught us that it’s easy to galvanize around a common enemy or cause, but once the TMT issue is resolved – for or against – the fundamental problems facing Native Hawaiians will still be here.

Feb. 6 — Can we finally all admit the Maunakea protests aren’t really about a telescope? It’s more about the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement (HSM) and all those historical grievances. There’s never been much unity within the HSM. The perceived unity right now is thanks to having a common enemy or in this case a “bogeyman” to fight … you know … like that big, bad mountain eating telescope. A monster telescope “desecrating the sacred mauna” is an easier bogeyman to sell to the broader public and social justice activist allies than the United States of America, alleged to be a “foreign power” imposing an illegal military occupation on the Kingdom of Hawaii. Make no mistake: having a bogeyman is absolutely essential for any political movement. That way the leaders never need to actually solve problems, which is hard. They’ll say they tried but the bogeyman just won’t go away or stop oppressing the people.

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