Recommended Reading

Coffman, Tom, Nation Within: The History of the American Occupation of Hawai’i, Revised Edition, Koa Books, 2009, ISBN: 978-0-9821656-0-7.

America’s long century of imperial adventures began with the illegal occupation of Hawai’i. As the nineteenth century waned, Hawai’i’s missionary descendents and America’s diplomatic representatives incessantly pressured the royal government for ever-increasing control, eventually overthrowing Hawai’i’s monarch.  Nation Within tells the story of Hawai’i’s resistance to annexation, both in Washington and Honolulu, and the role of Theodore Roosevelt and others who fueled America’s drive for global power.

Ferguson, Kathy E. and Phyllis Turnbull, Oh, say, can you see?: the semiotics of the military in Hawaiʻi, U of Minnesota Press, 1998, ISBN 081662979X, 9780816629794.

Everywhere you look in Hawai’i, you might see the military. And yet, in daily life few residents see the military at all — it is hidden in plain sight. This paradox of invisibility and visibility is the subject of Oh, Say, Can You See?, which maps the power relations involving gender, race, and class that define Hawai’i in relation to the national security state.

Authors Kathy E. Ferguson and Phyllis Turnbull locate and “excavate” cemeteries, memorials, monuments, and museums, to show how the military constructs its gendered narrative upon prior colonial discourses. Among the sites considered are Fort DeRussy, Pearl Harbor, and Punchbowl Cemetery.

This semiotic investigation of ways the military marks Hawai’i necessarily explores the intersection of immigration, colonialism, military expansion, and tourism on the islands. Attending to the ways in which the military represents itself and others represent the military, the authors locate the particular representational elements that both conceal and reveal the military’s presence and power.

Fujikane, Candace and Jonathan Okamura (Editors), Asian Settler Colonialism: From Local Governance to the Habits of Everyday Life in Hawai’i, University of Hawai’i Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8248-3300-8.

Asian Settler Colonialism is a groundbreaking collection that examines the roles of Asians as settlers in Hawai’i. Contributors from various fields and disciplines investigate aspects of Asian settler colonialism to illustrate its diverse operations and impact on Native Hawaiians. Essays range from analyses of Japanese, Korean, and Filipino settlement to accounts of Asian settler practices in the legislature, the prison industrial complex, and the U.S. military to critiques of Asian settlers’ claims to Hawai’i in terms of literature and the visual arts.

Gerson, Joseph, Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World, Pluto Press, 2007, ISBN: 978-0745324944.

The United States is the only country to have dropped the atomic bomb. Since the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, every U.S. president has threatened nuclear war. This concise history shows how the U.S. has used nuclear weapons to bolster its imperial ambitions. Leading nuclear specialist and peace campaigner Joseph Gerson explains why atomic weapons were first built and used — and how the U.S. uses them today to preserve its global empire. Gerson reveals how and why the U.S. made more than twenty threats of nuclear attack during the Cold War — against Russia, China, Vietnam, and the Middle East. He shows how such theats continued under Presidents Bush and Clinton, and George W. Bush. The book concludes with an appeal for nuclear weapons abolition and an overview of the history of the anti-nuclear movement. Drawing from a wide range of sources, this fascinating and timely account shows how the U.S. has used nuclear weapons to dominate the world.

Kinzer, Stephen, Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, Times Books, 2006, ISBN: 978-0805078619.

From the Washington Post:

“Do you think George W. Bush and the neoconservatives inducted “regime change” into American foreign policy’s hall of fame? Think again. Long before Iraq, U.S. presidents, spies, corporate types and their acolytes abroad had honed the art of deposing foreign governments.

As Stephen Kinzer tells the story in Overthrow, America’s century of regime changing began not in Iraq but Hawaii. Hawaii? Indeed. Kinzer explains that Hawaii’s white haole minority — in cahoots with the U.S. Navy, the White House and Washington’s local representative — conspired to remove Queen Liliuokalani from her throne in 1893 as a step toward annexing the islands. The haole plantation owners believed that by removing the queen (who planned to expand the rights of Hawaii’s native majority) and making Hawaii part of the United States, they could get in on a lucrative but protected mainland sugar market. Ever wonder why free trade has such a bad name?

Over the decades, a version of this story repeats, and repeats. Kinzer, a New York Times reporter, writes that the United States has thwarted independence movements in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Nicaragua; staged covert actions and coups d’etat in Iran, Guatemala, South Vietnam and Chile; and invaded Grenada, Panama and obviously Afghanistan and Iraq. Over 110 years, Kinzer argues, the United States has deployed its power to gain access to natural resources, stifle dissent and control the nationalism of newly independent states or political movements.”

Lutz, Catherine (Editor), The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle against US Military Posts, Pluto Books / TNI, December 2008,  ISBN 978-0-7453-2832-4.

This book examines US military bases across the globe including those in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. It documents the massive political, economic and environmental impacts that these outposts have and studies the movements and campaigns against them. US Military bases form a huge global system but are poorly understood by those not directly involved in their operation. The Pentagon is currently relocating many bases to fit with the strategies of pre-emption and resource control and this has intensified existing conflicts between the military and local people.The authors of this volume show how these seemingly local disputes are crucial to the success and failure of the American imperial project, and attempt to bring together the geographically scattered opposition movements to form a coherent campaign against the harmful effects of bases. A key title for students of anthropology and politics, this collection will also open the eyes of US citizens to the damage the American empire causes in allied countries as well as in its war zones.

Mander, Jerry and Koohan Paik, The Superferry Chronicles: Hawaii’s Uprising Against Militarism, Commercialism and the Desecration of the Earth, Koa Books, 2009, ISBN978-0-9773338-9-9.

Fifteen hundred protesters line Kaua’i’s pier. Dozens more leap onto surfboards, boogie boards, and canoes, risking their lives to stop the oncoming colossus: the high-speed Hawaii Superferry riding in on a wave of deception and collusion. The protesters block the ship, and force it back to Honolulu. But why such outrage?… Over a ferryboat?

The Superferry Chronicles is a riveting tale of intrigue and corruption—and an inspiring popular uprising against rampant commercialization. Impeccably researched, The Chronicles exposes hidden connections to defense industries preparing for Pacific conflicts, and an ambitious governor pandering to powerful military investors. Her administration gives the mammoth catamaran—bigger than a football field—a free pass to blaze its way at forty miles per hour through protected whale breeding grounds and transport dangerous invasive species to fragile ecosystems—despite stringent environmental laws and a unanimous Supreme Court stop-order! Central to the story, we hear directly from Hawai‘i’s citizens fighting to protect their lands, and saying loud and clear, “Enough is enough.”

Award-winning filmmaker Koohan Paik of Kaua‘i and Jerry Mander, “the patriarch of the antiglobalization movement” (New York Times), are joined by military observers, legal experts, and environmental professionals, to tell this compelling David-and-Goliath saga of local heroism versus global powers, exposing universal crises playing out in a Pacific archipelago.

Osorio, Jonathan Kamakawiwo’ole, Dismembering Lahui: A History of the Hawaiian Nation to 1887, University of Hawaii Press, 2002, ISBN: 978-0824824327.

Jonathan Osorio investigates the effects of Western law on the national identity of Native Hawaiians in this impressive political history of the Kingdom of Hawai’i from the onset of constitutional government in 1840 to the Bayonet Constitution of 1887, which effectively placed political power in the kingdom in the hands of white businessmen. Making extensive use of legislative texts, contemporary newspapers, and important works by Hawaiian historians and others, Osorio plots the course of events that transformed Hawai’i from a traditional subsistence economy to a modern nation, taking into account the many individuals nearly forgotten by history who wrestled with each new political and social change. A final poignant chapter links past events with the struggle for Hawaiian sovereignty today.

Sai, David Keanu, The American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom: Beginning the Transition from Occupied to Restored State, Doctoral Dissertation, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, Political Science, 2008.

Silva, Noenoe, Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism, Duke University Press, 2004, ISBN: 979-0822333493.

In 1897, as a white oligarchy made plans to allow the United States to annex Hawai’i, native Hawaiians organized a massive petition drive to protest. Ninety-five percent of the native population signed the petition, causing the annexation treaty to fail in the U.S. Senate. This event was unknown to many contemporary Hawaiians until Noenoe K. Silva rediscovered the petition in the process of researching this book. With few exceptions, histories of Hawai’i have been based exclusively on English-language sources. They have not taken into account the thousands of pages of newspapers, books, and letters written in the mother tongue of native Hawaiians. By rigorously analyzing many of these documents, Silva fills a crucial gap in the historical record. In so doing, she refutes the long-held idea that native Hawaiians passively accepted the erosion of their culture and loss of their nation, showing that they actively resisted political, economic, linguistic, and cultural domination. Drawing on Hawaiian-language texts, primarily newspapers produced in the nineteenth century and early twentieth, Silva demonstrates that print media was central to social communication, political organizing, and the perpetuation of Hawaiian language and culture. A powerful critique of colonial historiography, Aloha Betrayed provides a much-needed history of native Hawaiian resistance to American imperialism.