A Shotgun Republic- Res. 593

July 28, 2009
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There are a few other whereases that should be added to Congressman Abercrombie’s H. Res 593, the Hawai’i Statehood Resolution, passed yesterday on July 27, 2009.

Whereas it is certainly true that:

“…August 21, 2009, marks the 50th Anniversary of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s signing of Proclamation 3309, which admitted Hawaii into the Union in compliance with the Hawai’i Admission Act, enacted by the United States Congress on March 18, 1959;”

it should be noted that there is much controversy surrounding Hawai’i's statehood process.

The first controversy– which to Congressman Abercrombie’s credit is not mentioned in HR.593– is his claim that Hawai’i was a territory. This statement is published in the adjoining Congressional Record where he celebrates the transition from “pre-feudal kingdom” to “territory” as a “shotgun republic.”

Congressman Abercrombie knows the controversy surrounding Hawai’i's statehood. In his bid for Hawai’i's governorship he needs to appeal to the general antipathy towards the current Lingle administration, which for many, has driven home the failures of statehood while promoting the benefits of independence. Even Kippen de Alba Chu, the co-chair of the 50th Anniversary of Hawai’i Statehood Commission is quoted as saying that they have chosen to officially not “celebrate” statehood, but rather, “commemorate” it, as we have maintained as early as 2006.

It is an ongoing myth that Hawai’i was annexed. U.S. Constitutional law establishes that for annexation to occur, there must be a treaty ratified by a 2/3rds majority of the Senate. (U.S. Consitution Article 2, sec.2) The treaty that was ratified between the United States and the Republic of Hawaii (the handful or people that overthrew the queen) was nothing more than a Joint Resolution, and Joint Resolutions cannot mandate treaties of annexation.

This scenario is the equivalent to some rogue Americans instigating a coup in Canada and then having a simple 51% majority of both the House and the Senate vote in favor of annexing Canada and making a treaty with the rogue government. Certainly, an impossible scenario now, but how was it possible then? Oh yes, the Spanish-American War allowed us to claim territories from the loser. Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico– they were “won” in the war, but Hawaii was never a part of Spain. This may be new information to many outside of Hawai’i, but Hawai’i really was an internationally recognized sovereign kingdom, a member of the Family of Nations recognized internationally through treaties with most European countries, as well as the U.S. and Japan.

The second ongoing myth is statehood. On the one hand, you could argue that if Hawai’i was never annexed, then Hawai’i could not have become a state. On the other hand you could also argue that Hawai’i was never given the option for independence as was called for by the United Nations at that time, through UN Resolution 742 (1953). More information on this theme can be found here.

Since Abercrombie’s name is attached to H.R. 2499, the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2009 (also known as the Puerto Rico Independence Act), he should be intimately familiar with this process.

In a nutshell, if we apply Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution to the United Nations Charter:

Article Six: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

of which more than 2/3 of the Senate majority voted in favor of ratifying, and we respect the authority by which Hawai’i was placed on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, it becomes clear that Hawaii’s removal from this list was not in accordance with UN Resolution 742 and did not receive the option for self-determination as was established in 1953. This violation is evident in the 1959 plebiscite which asked only “Shall Hawaii be immediately admitted into the Union as a State?”

At least the Puerto Rican plebiscite offered the right options, then and now: independence, commonwealth or statehood.

“and Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961;”

For those anti-birthers who are hell-bent on derailing the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate, what they should really focus their attention on, is the illegitimacy of Hawai’i's statehood. If Hawai’i's territorial status was based on fraud, and statehood had occurred through an equally fraudulent process, then perhaps the question should focus on not whether Obama was born in Hawai’i, but whether Obama was born in the United States or in the U.S. occupied Hawaiian Kingdom.

One advantage of Hawai’i's “statehood” however, is that it has given international credibility to the Hawaiian independence movement. Over the last 50 years– really the last 25– a generation of scholars have matured. What is now unravelling is the fabric of lies and fraudulence that was spun under President McKinley’s administration and his handful of policy thugs, an 1898 equivalent of Bush-era, neo-cons.

Two works on the subject of de-occupation and decolonization which I have had permission to disseminate here are: Keanu Sai’s dissertation, “A Slippery Path to Hawaiian Indigeneity,” and Jon Osorio’s Ku’e and Ku’oko’a (Resistance and Independence): History, Law, and Other Faiths.

“Whereas the Hawaii Statehood Commission has held a Joint Session of the Hawaii State Legislature in honor of statehood and will be celebrating this milestone with a public discussion and with the arrival of the USS Hawaii ; and

Whereas for all of these reasons Hawaii is a truly unique State: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved,

That the House of Representatives recognizes and celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the entry of Hawaii into the Union as the 50th State.

In addition to Congressman Abercrombie’s whereas clauses, might we also see:

Whereas the controversy around Hawai’i Statehood has created an international recall for re-examining the status of Hawai’i as a state; and

Whereas an independent Hawai’i seeks to be restored onto the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories and be given its rightful options for self-determination as mandated by UN Resolution 1514; and…

???

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2 Responses to A Shotgun Republic- Res. 593

  1. KenConklin on July 29, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    I was very pleased to see that both the Senate and the House resolutions used the word “celebrate” in regard to the 50th anniversary of Statehood. And both chambers passed their resolutions unanimously. They got it right, unlike Kippen de Alba Chu, who will allow the people of Hawaii to have only a “commemoration” but not a celebration. Thank you Congress! So get out your party hats and noisemakers. Hip, hip, hooray for Statehood!

    Inouye’s Senate resolution refers to the TREATY of annexation. The Senate resolution says:

    “The territory of Hawaii was annexed to the United States in 1898 by a joint resolution of Congress based on a treaty signed with the Hawaiian government.”

    Yes, there was a treaty of annexation. I know this will come as a shock to the annexation deniers, but here are the facts.

    The Treaty of Annexation of Hawaii was offered by the Republic of Hawaii. It was approved by the Legislature of the Republic. It was signed June 16, 1897 in Washington D.C. on behalf of the President of the United States by John Sherman, Secretary of State of the United States; and on behalf of the President of the Republic of Hawaii by Francis March Hatch, Lorrin A. Thurston and William A. Kinney. (By the way, William Kinney was an ancestor of today’s secessionist Richard Kinney). The U.S. accepted the Treaty of Annexation by the Joint Resolution of Congress signed by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate President and approved by President William McKinley July 7, 1898. The vote in the Senate was 42-21 (exactly 2/3) and House 209-91 (well above 2/3).

    The commentary to which I am replying says there’s something illegal about the U.S. choosing to ratify a treaty by means of a joint resolution. But that’s nonsense. And it certainly has nothing to do with international law. Each nation decides for itself by what method it will accept or reject a treaty. That’s what sovereignty means. Nobody except the U.S. can tell the U.S. whether or not it can accept a treaty by means of a joint resolution. Those Senators who voted against the joint resolution could have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court to nullify the resolution if they thought they could win; but they never filed any such complaint. No nation in the world filed any protest with either the U.S. or the Republic of Hawaii to protest annexation for any reason, including the issue of joint resolution.

    We can also look at annexation from the perspective of a lawyer or judge assessing the validity of a binding contract. There must be an offer (Hawaii offered a treaty of annexation), an acceptance (the U.S. accepted the offer by means of a joint resolution passed by 2/3 or more of each chamber and signed by the President), and there must be an exchange of something of value (Hawaii gave the ceded lands to the U.S., and the U.S. assumed [i.e., agreed to pay off] the entire national debt of Hawaii [which was larger than the value of the ceded lands at that time] and also agreed not to keep the ceded lands permanently but only to hold them in trust for the people of Hawaii with all revenues to be given to the Territorial government “for education and other public purposes”. Thus the process of annexation meets the requirements for a binding contract.

  2. Jere Krischel on August 5, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    “It is an ongoing myth that Hawai’i was annexed. ”

    Sigh. The Republic of Hawaii was an independent and sovereign nation that survived not only an unfriendly US administration, but also a rebellion possibly supplied by said administration. It was universally recognized by all nations at the time, and had every right to sue for annexation with the United States.

    Regardless of any constitutional defect you may hypothesize, the terms of annexation were fulfilled by the people of Hawaii, and the people of the United States, and as pointed out by the president of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, are legal under international law regardless of any possible internal constitutional defect on the part of one of the parties. Every nation in the world has accepted annexation as lawful, and we stand today, citizens of Hawaii in the eyes of the entire world, based not on myth but on incontrovertible truth.

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