Hidden History: The 1893 US Invasion of Hawaii

The Betrayal of Liliuokalani: Last Queen of Hawaii 1838-1917

By Helena G Allen

Mutual Publishing (1982)

Book Review

This comprehensive biography of the last Queen of Hawaii, deposed during an 1893 US invasion, is based mainly on her diary and other writings. It reveals that the sovereignty of Hawaii had largely been usurped by foreign missionaries, adventurers and sugar entrepreneurs well before Liliuokalani’s birth in 1838.

Hawaii became a constitutional monarchy in 1852, with voting for the national legislature was limited to male property owners. Although native Hawaiians retained the throne until Liliuokalani was formally deposed in 1893, Hawaiian monarchs had no standing military nor ability to limit haole* immigration, ongoing seizure of their lands nor tax the enormously lucrative haole sugar plantations.

When Queen Liliuokalani ascended the thrown in 1891, haole members of the legislature had been plotting the overthrow of the monarchy for two years.

In 1893, haole of US origin residing in Honolulu organized a coup against the Queen. To assist them, they prevailed on US appointed minister to Hawaii John L Stevens to call in 162 marines from the USS Boston.

When he learned of the coup and the marine intrusion, outgoing president Benjamin Harrison requested Hawaii’s new Provisional Government hold a plebiscite. Aware that 90% of the country’s population supported the Queen’s restoration, the latter refused.

On March 1, 1893 incoming president Grover Cleveland ordered the marines to withdraw and replaced Stevens with James Henderson Blount, whom he ordered to restore Liliuokalani to her throne.

When Blount failed to do, so a group of native Hawaiians launched an armed uprising. The Provisional Government responded by declaring martial law. Although Liliuokalani denied any knowledge of the rebellion, she was arrested and convicted of “misprision.”**

Following her 20-month imprisonment, she made repeated trips to the US to advocate for the human rights of native Hawaiians.

The US would formally annex Hawaii in 1898 where they declared war on Spain and invaded the Philippines. In 1900, Hawaii officially became a US territory.


*A term used to refer to “white” residents of Hawaii who are not descendants of native Hawaiians.

**A term in English law referring to neglect in preventing or reporting a felony or treason by a non-accessory.

 

 

 

The 9/11 Omission Report

The 9/11 Omission Report – What the Commission Didn’t Report

John Judge (2005)

Film Review

This 2005 presentation by late assassination John Judge focuses on numerous deliberate errors and omissions in the 2004 9/11 Commission Report.

Judge is best known for his investigation into the Jonestown massacre – see Jonestown: The Strange Connection to the Murder of Martin Luther King. He was also a protege of late assassination researcher Mae Brussell (see Mae Brussell: Forgotten Superhero).

As a grassroots organizer, he co-founded The Coalition on Political Assassinations. The latter was pivotal in forcing the Clinton administration to release classified JFK assassination documents during the 1990s. After 9/11, he helped found the 9/11 Citizens’ Commission, forced the Bush administration to remove Henry Kissinger from the 9/11 Commission and helped bring its blatant cover-up role to public attention.

In 2005, he had particular concerns about the failure of the Air Force to scramble fighter jets to intercept the hijacked planes (ie follow standard protocol), as well as the absence of any Arab names on any of the flight manifests. It also bothered him that 7 of the 19 alleged suicide hijackers were still alive.

As with most of Judge’s presentations, his experience growing up with a mother who worked in the Pentagon, amidst CIA families in Washington DC, adds significant depth to his perspective. Like his mentor, Mae Brussell, he likes to point out the involvement of presumed 9-11 co-conspirators in prior covert operations, such as Watergate and Irangate.

I found the last segment of this presentation, in which Judge discusses the racist and genocidal nature of the War on Terror, the most interesting. Already in 2005, Judge was talking about fascism and genocide being an inevitable result of post-industrial capitalism. He ends his talk by predicting that genocide will be inevitable as automation reduces the capitalists’ need for workers. He also predicts the global elite will employ racial identification to determine which populations to eliminate first.

 

 

 

Hidden History: The US Wars Against Japan, Korea and Vietnam

The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia

By James Bradley

Back Bay Books (2015)

Book Review

This book details numerous myths about the origin of the US wars against Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Bradley begins by revealing how the Roosevelt administration was hoodwinked by the overt fascist Chiang Kai-Shek and Christian missionaries into believing China was ripe for wholesale conversion to Christianity and US-style capitalism. Deceived by Chiang’s promises to wage war against Japan,  Roosevelt poured billions into the civil war Chiang was waging with Mao Se Tung. FDR also created an illegal covert mercenary Air Force for Chiang, a major motivator in the Japanese decision to attack Pearl Harbor.

Had FDR listened to advisors who understood the strong support Mao enjoyed from China’s rural peasants, he never would have supported Chiang – or been forced to open a second front (against Japan) the US was totally unprepared for.

In addition to his greater popularity and military strength, Mao was also genuinely interested in establishing a trade relationship with the US.

According to Bradley, the civil war Mao won in 1949 was actually a war of liberation from European colonial powers, just like Kim Sung Il’s war of liberation in Korea and Ho Chi Minh’s war of liberation in Vietnam. Owing to the total ignorance of Asian society and culture, advisors in the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy administration mistakenly viewed these wars of independence as part of a global communist conspiracy and military aggression the only possible response.

The China Mirage traces the  history of each of these conflicts (Japan, China, Korea and Vietnam) in a clear and compelling way, starting with the massive fortune Roosevelt’s grandfather amassed via the opium smuggling the US and UK forced on China via two opium wars.

For me the most interesting part of the book concerns the US oil/steel embargo that supposedly triggered the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. According to Bradley, Roosevelt opposed the embargo. It was surreptitiously enacted by members of his administration while he was at a secret meeting in Canada with Winston Churchill.

Joe Hill: True Working Class Hero

IWW: Joe Hill’s Story

Directed by Ken Verdoia (1998)

Film Review

This documentary is about the alleged framing of International Workers of the World songwriter Joe Hill for a 1914  murder he didn’t commit. There were major protests around the world to win Hill a new trial and stop his execution.

The beginning of the film describes the massive waves of immigration the US experienced in the early 1900s (roughly a million immigrants a year), in part due to open recruiting by corporate bosses in poverty stricken Eastern Europe. Employers deliberately sought out illiterate Eastern European immigrants as strike breakers and for the most dangerous  and degrading work.

Founded in 1905, the International Workers of the World (IWW) were the first to offer union membership to immigrant, black and women workers. Unlike the fledgling American Federation of Labor (AFL), the IWW sought to form a single union representing all trades – with an ultimate goal of dismantling capitalism.

At the time, the US government viewed all union agitation for better pay and working conditions as treasonous. Thus it was common to deploy federal troops and National Guard to violently suppress strikes.

Joe Hill, who was 21 when he immigrated from Sweden, had to continuously travel to remain in paid work. To avoid being blacklisted for his union activity he changed his birth name from Joel Haagland to Joe Linstrom and finally, after becoming widely known for his protest songs, to Joe Hill.

He was arrested in Utah in 1914 for killing a grocer and his son during an attempted robbery. The prosecution case was based entirely on circumstantial evidence – a gunshot wound Hill allegedly received in a fight over a woman. Although ballistic evidence suggested otherwise, the prosecution claimed the grocer shot him before being fatally wounded.*

Most historians believe he was convicted because of his membership in IWW.

Hill was memorialized in the protest song “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” recorded by Paul Robeson.

The film itself can’t be embedded but can be seen free at the following link: IWW: Joe Hill’s Story


*Although Hill steadfastly refused to identify the the woman at trial, William M Adler would validate the alibi in his 2011 biography The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon.

 

 

The Decline of Anarchism in the 20th Century

No Gods, No Masters – Part 3

Directed by Tancrede Ramonet (2017)

Film Review

Part 3 covers 1917-1939 and uses the terms anarchist and libertarian interchangeably.

For fifty years prior to World War I (see Why Social Studies Never Made Sense in School: The History of Anarchism and The Vital Role of Anarchists in the Russian Revolution) anarchism was the backbone of social change, not only in Europe, the US, China and Japan, but throughout Latin America.

The decline of the anarchist movement would start with World War I, which killed one-third of working men in the countries that participated. Brutal crackdowns against anarchists (mainly in the Soviet Union and the US) in the final years of the war would further decimate their numbers. The US wars against the trade union movement (carried out by the Department of Justice with the help of the Italian Mafia) were unprecedented in global history.

The birth of Bolshevism during the Russian Revolution would also serve to displace anarchism. Not only did Lenin brutally suppress Soviet anarchists, but he would appropriate the anarchist anthem (the Internationale) and many anarchist slogans and teachings. In the US and Western Europe, growing numbers of trade union organizers turned to communism for inspiration, rather than anarchism.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Mussolini and other European fascists also appropriated anarchist symbol – as they simultaneously gunned down and imprisoned members of the anarchist resistance.*

With the crackdown against anarchism in their own countries, many US and Soviet anarchists emigrated to France, where they formed a new international collective under the leadership of Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno. This collective focused most of its energy on Spain, where more than a million** anarchists had been organizing for revolution for 70-80 years.

In addition to covering the tragedy of the US government frame-up and execution of Italian-born anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti, most of Part 3 covers the Spanish Revolution (aka the Spanish Civil War).

This documentary provides a comprehensive outline of the role of Stalin, Spanish communists and Spain’s so-called republican government in launching the counterrevolution that would hand the last remnants of the Spanish republic over to fascist dictator Ferdinand Franco.

A worker-run film company filmed much of the actual Spanish Revolution, offering rare insight into what a true worker-run revolution looks like.


*In the US, the right wing also appropriated the term libertarian.

**See Anarchism and the Spanish Civil War

 

 

 

The Vital Role of Anarchists in the Russian Revolution

No Gods No Masters Part 2

Icarus Films (2017)

Film Review

Part 2 covers 1907-21.

Link to Part 1: Why Social Studies Never Made Sense in School: The History of Anarchism

The early 20th century saw the flourishing of “individualist” anarchism. Unable to wait for the eventual overthrow of capitalism, the individualists simply chose to opt out of capitalist society, as many hippies would do in the 1960s. Rejecting work, country, religion, money and bourgeois morality (including marriage and clothes), they started libertarian* communes all over the world. Many Europeans emigrated to Latin America to start libertarian colonies, and a Jewish anarchist started the first kibbutz in Israel.

Under the influence of Spanish educator Francisco Ferrer, anarchists everywhere began experimenting with new forms of education to better prepare children to participate in a new society based on true equality and liberty. The shock caused by Spain’s brutal arrest and execution of Ferrer caused a new explosion of violence around the world. This time it focused mainly on the property of the ruling elite, particularly banks. Anarchists robbed banks (Stalin was a prime example) to help fund the coming revolution.

In 1912, the world saw the first successful revolution in Mexico. Although revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata never declared himself an anarchist, he had many anarchist supporters. Italian and American anarchists, as well as Black radicals, traveled to Mexico to support the Zapatistas.

Russia’s 1905 and February 1917 revolutions were both organized and led by anarchists.

The final part of the film describes the vital role played by Russian anarchists in helping the Bolsheviks come to power in October 1917, Ukraine’s anarchist army especial was pivotal in opening second front against European and US invaders who invaded Russia in 1918.**.

Once Lenin successfully consolidated power in 1921, he brutally quashed the Soviet anarchist movement by assassinating anarchists o4 sending them to Siberian labor camps. This move would prove catastrophic for global anarchism, which was already facing brutal repression from capitalists in many other countries (including Italy, China, Colombia, Japan, Bavaria and the US).


*Like Part 1, this video uses the terms “libertarian” and “anarchist” interchangeably.

**Called The American Expeditionary Force, the goal of the 1918 US invasion was to crush the Revolution.

Why Social Studies Never Made Sense in School: The History of Anarchism

No Gods No Masters: The History of Anarchism – Part 1

Icarus Films (2017)

Film Review

This three-part documentary series provides an eye opening look into the history of anarchism and its pivotal role in the development in the development of Marxism, communism and the trade union movement. The powers that be would have you believe that Karl Marx simply dreamed communism up sitting on his lonesome in the British Library.

Part 1 covers the period 1840, when Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (the father of anarchism) published What is Property, to 1906. Like socialism, anarchism grew directly out of the abject misery (eg starvation, malnutrition, epidemics, workplace injuries, alcoholism, etc) of early industrial capitalism. When French scholar and activist Jean-Pierre Proudhon first declared himself an “anarchist” in 1840, the life expectancy of an industrial worker was 30 years.

I was previously unaware that the global anarchist movement organized the First International (aka The First International Workingmen’s Association) in 1964. In fact, anarchists comprised the vast majority of the First International before Karl Marx and his Russian follower Mikhail Bakunin conspired to expel  them. The anarchists, who disagreed with the call by Marx and Bakunin for a centrally run revolutionary political party, subsequently formed the Anarchist International Workingmen’s Association.

Prior to watching this film, I was also unaware that the anarchist movement initially came up with the strategy of the general strike, nor that it was first tried in the US. On May 1 1886, 340,00 workers came out on strike to demand an 80 hour day. The violent police reaction (and extreme government corruption it exposed) led to extreme disillusionment with the notion of worker organizing as a route to reform. The result was a brief period  “propaganda of the deed”* activism in which a handful of anarchists tried to trigger mass insurrections though a series of bombings and assassinations of world political leaders (including US President William McKinley and Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand**).

With the turn of the century, international anarchist groups abandoned violence (which Proudhon had expressly opposed) to return to trade union organizing. This would give birth to “anarchosyndicalism”***, which promotes the general strike as the principal means of accomplishing revolutionary change nonviolently.

Their efforts would bear fruit in 1905-06, with political revolutions in Russia and Persia, and mass insurrections in France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Chile, India, Japan, Mongolia.

1905 would see the formation of the International Workers of the World (IWW), the first anarchosyndicalist movement in the US.


*”Propaganda of the deed,” refers to violent direct action meant to serve as an example for other oppressed peoples and a catalyst for revolution.

**This assassination of the heir to the Austrian Hungarian throne would be used as a pretext for the launch of World War I, when Serbia rejected an ultimatum by the Austro-Hungarian government to extradite one of the Serbian assassins.

***Anarcho-syndicalism is a theory of anarchism that views revolutionary industrial unionism or syndicalism as a method for workers in capitalist society to gain control of the economy and, with that control, influence broader society.