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Proposals for Hawai'i - page 2


Like the sugar plantations before it, the tourist industry exploits Hawai'i and prostitutes Hawaiian culture. Most hotels, restaurants, tour companies, gift shops and golf courses belong to foreign corporations. Through "our" taxes, we pay for the resources that tourists and the tourist industry use-- airports, roads, water, a convention center, the UH School of Travel Industry Management, and other infrastructure throughout the islands. We provide the land for their airports, hotels and golf courses, and indigenous Hawaiians and local people get evicted if they are "in the way." Yet the profits of tourism almost all go out of the state into the pockets of the multinationals. Most large hotels in Hawai'i are Japanese-owned, for example.

The argument that tourism is a necessary evil because of the jobs it provides is a shibai. Tourism produces mostly low-paid, dead-end jobs with few benefits and little security. Many jobs are part-time (so the employer avoids paying benefits), physically hard, monotonous and demanding: carrying bags, cleaning rooms and toilets, working in hot laundries and kitchens, waiting tables, dancing and singing on demand. Local people have to work all hours to make ends meet. With over 60% of families needing two or more wage earners and so many parents having to work at two or even three jobs, we end up with serious child care problems.


Hawai'i has a highly centralized public school system-- one that still reflects its colonial origins and forces schools through the homogenizing and "dumbing down" process that passes for education in the US. Local students do badly on US tests, many schools are in terrible physical condition, and teachers are poorly trained and paid. The rich and the would-be rich put their children in private schools-- some of them the same ones established by the missionaries who overthrew the kingdom of Hawai'i a century ago. The rest go to public schools which mostly get publicized for ethnic violence and football, and which train students for low-wage, dehumanizing jobs in the tourist industry and other service industries. In fact, one of the main reasons for years of underfunding of primary, secondary and tertiary education in Hawai'i is a local economy whose principal need is for poorly educated, obedient employees to fill jobs only requiring minimal training.

So-called "School-Community-Based Management" is not the answer. Education policy-setting and major decision-making power is retained by the state, while responsibility for implementation (and, increasingly, funding) is delegated to the schools themselves. Children should not have to raise money for books or beg corporations for computers.

A strong IWW presence in Hawai'i's educational system would lead to real local control and very high standards. It would lead to local teachers, school staff, parents, and students taking full responsibility, with adequate financial support, for devising cirricula and teaching strategies which respect local culture (and cultural diversity). There would be many alternative schools. Hawaiian immersion education and adult education would be greatly extended and open to all who choose them. "Pigdin" (Hawai'i's Creole English) would be respected for what it is-- a legitimate local variety of English-- and added to, not "abolished" by an out-of-touch school board. (There would be no Board or Department of Education.) Local communities would develop genuinely cooperative decision-making to meet the needs of their schools. And it would lead to students developing their intellectual, physical and sociocultural talents in tune with their and their community's intrests and needs.

Hawaiian Issues

The IWW fully supports the fundamental right of kanaka maoli (native people of Hawai'i) to self-determination. We see the arrival of Captain Cook, the onslaught of the missionaries, the usurpation of land, and the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy for what they are: Attacks on the indigenous people of these islands and on their cultural integrity. For centuries, imperialist powers have taken, either by force or duplicity, land, raw materials, and human resources for their own profit, typically justifying such behavior as "civilizing heathen peoples." The IWW joins the kanaka maoli in demanding justice from the US and the state of Hawai'i for over a century of oppression and virtual genocide.

The IWW respects the right of Hawaiians to determine how they will relate to each other and to non-Hawaiians. Given that Wobblies oppose human relationships based on heirarchy, dominance and coercion, however, we will not support the replacement of two authoritarian states (the US federal and Hawai'i state governments) with three: a state within a state within a state, based on the model imposed on native peoples in the US. One state is already one too many. We will actively support initiatives by Hawaiians to develop worker control of the economy, equal participation in political life, and full freedom of cultural expression.