12 November 2015

US Virgin Islands celebrates David Hamilton Jackson Month

    Judge, Editor, the Herald,  Labor leader, "Black Moses" (1884-1946) 

David Hamilton Jackson was born on Estate East Hill, Christiansted, St. Croix, on September 28, 1884. He was educated in the East Hill School of which his father was principal. He represented the people in Denmark to put their pleas before King Christian X and the Danish parliament. He fought his case with such skill and vigor that he succeeded in convincing the King and Parliament to abolish governmental control of the press. Jackson returned home with the right to a free press and published "The Herald," a newspaper, shortly thereafter. "D. Hamilton Jackson Day" (formerly known as Liberty Day) is celebrated in the Virgin Islands on November 1st, in observation of freedom of the press. The month of November has been designated as "David Hamilton Jackson Month" to highlight Mr. Jackson's achievements and his contributions to the people of the Virgin Islands. 

This newspaper (The Herald) was the voice of the people. Jackson used it not only to inform, but to educate the laboring class. In 1915, Jackson, together with Ralph Bough, organized a labor union on St. Croix.At that time, men, women, and children labored in the cane fields from dawn to dusk for wages of 10 and 20 cents a day. The labor union agitated for higher wages and better working conditions which they won after general strike. 

Jackson's crusade for human rights extended beyond the labor movement in alter years. He studied law at Howard University in the United States around 1910, and he returned to St. Croix and engaged in private practice. 

He served in the Colonial Council from 1/23/26 and in the Municipal Council from 1941-46. The major difference between these two legislative bodes centered around governing powers. The Colonial Council existed during Danish occupation and was so named because of Danish Royalty involvement in the colonies, whereas the Municipal Council existed during American occupation when the territories were divided into municipalities of St. Thomas and St. John, and the Municipality of St. Croix. 

In recognition of his contributions to education on the island, he was appointed to the St. Croix School Board where he served as its first chairman, and was reelected to that office for a term of fifteen years. In 1931 he was appointed Judge of the police court of Christiansted until his resignation in 1941. 

Judge D. Hamilton Jackson was truly one of the most distinguished citizens of St. Croix, Virgin Islands. He served his people with distinction as an educator, editor, labor leader, lawyer, judge, and politician, until his death on May 30, 1946. 

Commentary: The problem with Puerto Rico is its colonial status

"An admirable plea to eliminate the political inequality through U.S. statehood. But the U.S. has been never been willing unwilling to give serious consideration to political integration of the island where the people would exercise full political equality.   Are they any more willing to do so in 2015 amid the economic crisis on the island, and the U.S. analyses indicating an exponential increase in  costs to the U.S. budget of Puerto Rico statehood?"  - a Latin American economist

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz 

You should know that my beautiful Island of Puerto Rico, where I was born and grew up, is going through a very difficult financial crisis with a historic deficit of $72 billion dollars. 

Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz is a US politician and an ordained minister. A member of the Democratic Party, Díaz represents the 32nd District in the New York State Senate

You should also know that...on Thursday, November 5, there was a huge march in Puerto Rico demanding the United States of America’s government headed by President Barack Obama and the US Congress to help solve Puerto Rico’s problem. 

Almost every elected official from New York, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz, Jr., State Assemblymen Marcos Crespo and Luis Sepulveda, and many, many others – black, Hispanic and white legislators – traveled to Puerto Rico to join Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla in this march. 

It is important for you to know that there are some who say that, because Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States, the problems of Puerto Rico will only be solved by one of two ways: (1) The federal government issues financial help – which they have refused to do; or (2) Puerto Rico declares itself bankrupt. 

The problem with the second point is that, because Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States, it is not allowed to declare bankruptcy and receive bankruptcy protection as 50 states and their municipalities are all allowed to do. 

As you can see, this puts Puerto Rico in a huge predicament: the federal government refuses to help financially, and the federal government refuses to allow Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy. What else is there for Puerto Rico to do? 

You should already know that, as a colony, the federal government can dictate and impose all United States federal laws on the island and the people who live in Puerto Rico, and all are obliged to comply with those laws. 

The United States federal government can take the Puerto Rican youth – men and women – and send them to fight in wars and shed their blood for the United States of America. The United States federal government can take the best piece of land in Puerto Rico. The biggest US defense satellite – to protect the United States of America, is located in the town of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. And Puerto Rico is a very strategic place for the defense of the United States. 

I, for one, believe that the problems of Puerto Rico will not be solved by the November 5 march, regardless of the well intentions and good will of the organizers and the participants, which we Puerto Ricans will be forever indebted. But the march will only put a bandage, if anything, on this big problem facing Puerto Rico. 

I appreciate and feel in debt to all of the elected officials who traveled to Puerto Rico and defend my beloved island. As a veteran who loves this United States of America to death, I believe that the only way to solve the fiscal problems of Puerto Rico, and many others, will be for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state of the United States. This way, the problem will be solved forever. 

If Puerto Rico becomes a state, it will have the opportunity to elect seven members to the US House of Representatives and two United States senators, who will have the opportunity to represent them and fight for the State of Puerto Rico, as every other member of Congress does for their state. 

You should know that the NY elected officials traveled to Puerto Rico joined Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla and more than 50,000 people on that day, but I am afraid that they will have to keep traveling back and forth to Puerto Rico and to keep marching as long as Puerto Rico continues to be a colony of the United States of America. This is because as long as Puerto Rico remains a colony, Puerto Ricans will continue to be denied all of the benefits and opportunities that everyone in the other states has. 

While those 50 other states of the nation have their representatives to fight for them, Puerto Rico is at their mercy because it doesn't have anyone with a vote on the Floor of Congress. 

So, ladies and gentlemen, therefore the problem of Puerto Rico will not be solved with this youth march because the problem with Puerto Rico is its status of colony.

Customary international law supports Kingdom of Hawai'i

Committee of Hawaiian Nationals/FREE HAWAII

Recap of Ho’okuikahi Part 2

MAHALO NUI to those who attended the 2nd Part of Ho’okukahi, the Pacific Peace Forum four-part series from the Coalition of Hawaiian Nationals, held on October 2nd. 

Brief Recap of Ho’okuikahi Part 1 – We honored Queen Lili’uokalani then covered the question of the identity and characteristics of Hawaiian Nationality. A Hawaiian National (a.k.a. Hawaiian Subject) is a person who professes allegiance to the Hawaiian Kingdom, the nation in continuity. Hawaiian nationality is not confined by ethnicity (native Hawaiian, indigenous, aboriginal, kanaka maoli). We emphasized that by professing our Hawaiian nationality we assert and become self-evident proof that the Hawaiian Kingdom still exists. The more those who consider themselves Hawaiian nationals present themselves, the more our nation becomes visible, viable and substantial…to ourselves and to the world. 
Recap of Ho’okuikahi Part 2 – 
Princess Ka’iulani - We honored Princess Ka’iulani and the role that she played during the crisis of the US-backed coup of her country, the Hawaiian Kingdom. Naomi Wong read a couple of short speeches given by Ka’iulani upon landing in New York on her way to Washington, D.C. Those speeches quickly dispelled the “barbarian princess” label spread by annexationists to damage Ka’iulani's credibility. Her words, her demeanor and her beauty immediately won over the American press and public. By the time she reached Washington, President Grover Cleveland had already withdrawn from the U.S. Senate the treaty of annexation (signed a few weeks earlier by his predecessor, President Harrison). That 'Treaty of Annexation’ or any other was never ratified by the US Congress. Princess Ka’iulani’s mission to stop the annexation was accomplished. 

Doctrine of Discovery - Then we spoke about the various edicts issued by Catholic popes that formed the “Doctrine of Discovery” giving license to European explorers to conquer, colonize and exploit lands inhabited by non-Christians; and the devastating effect it had and continues to have in the world today. 

We mentioned how the Episcopal church, where many of our ali’i were members, played a key role in service to the Kingdom. We also commended the Episcopal Church of America for repudiating and revoking the Doctrine of Discovery in 2011.

More specifically, we discussed how Hawaii's monarchs utilized international law to successfully position the Hawaiian Kingdom — as an enlightened, law-abiding, sovereign, Christian, neutral nation — to be safe from the imposition of the "Doctrine of Discovery” for 80 years. 

But by 1893 forces of greed and colonialism combined to ignore the rule of law, treaties and standards of international relations, and blatantly violated the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom. These violations continue to affect Hawaii today through the illegal imposition of United States rule and continuing abuses like GMO, the Rail, TNT/Mauna Kea, Ho’opili, and other actions that deny the people of the land from determining the use of their lands and resources. 

• That set the stage for the topic for discussion: “What Is Our Vision?” 

• Based strictly on customary international law, the reinstatement of the sovereign nation of the Hawaiian Islands and the lawful governing entity called the Hawaiian Kingdom is highly feasible. 

• The primary challenge to achieving reinstatement is overcoming the political and psychological resistance both internally and externally. 

• Steven Biko, martyr from the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa said: "The greatest weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the minds of the oppressed.” 

• If we are to stand up as a nation, we have to overcome the oppressive unbelief and defeatism that had been seared into the minds of our people for a hundred years. 

• If we can overcome that, the external resistance will be overcome as well.  

• We need to reset our thinking as we work toward the reinstatement of our nation. 

How would we do things differently?

In an interactive dialog,  
• We contrasted the characteristics of Hawaiian society…people first (people driven) which led to the establishment of an enlightened governing system; land distribution system; and a peaceful social order…

• As opposed to Western society with money (trade) being the primary driver, which leads to laws and institutions legalizing land theft, exploitation, conflicts and an oppressive social order.

• Hawaii under the Hawaiian Kingdom would be different because the priorities (values) would be different. Hawaiian laws and our style of governance embody and reflect Hawaiian values. 

• Good examples are the legacies left by our Ali'i: Kamehameha Schools, Queen Lili’uokalani Children’s Center, Queen’s Medical Center, Kapiolani Medical Center, Lunalilo Home, etc….all focused on serving the needs of their people.

• Good examples over the years are the actions taken by Hawaiian patriots: the 1897 Ku’e Petition; the Protect Kaho’olawe ‘Ohana, many protests over land issues, the many actions to reinstate the Hawaiian Kingdom following the US Apology in 1993, ku’e actions to protect our aina, iwi and sacred sites, most recent example, the protection of Mauna Kea from the TMT… 

• A nation with the good of the people as its highest priority would obviously operate very differently from the current US/State of Hawaii system.

What are our goals?
Full restoration of the Hawaiian Islands as an independent country
Restoration of the lands to the proper title holders
Restoration of the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom
Dedication of the lands to growing food
Elimination of systemic poverty
Government policies prioritized to what benefits the people instead of the dollar
Aloha Aina; aloha i ke kahi, I ke kahi; kapu aloha …as the fundamental guiding principles of the nation
A people, healthy, productive, thriving and happy
Lands fruitful and productive
Engaged in trade and peaceful interaction with nations 

The discussion was very lively and helpful in setting the vision for the nation. Everyone was very encouraged and eager to continue and spread the discussion to involve more participants. 

The session was recorded on video and we are working on getting it posted online soon. We also hope to set up a live-streaming capability before our next Ho’okuikahi, as well as ways in which people can be interactive in this vision-casting stage for the envisioning of our nation. 

Aloha Aina, 
Leon Siu 
Pilipo Souza
Coalition of Hawaiian Nationals