– Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark (2006)
The Turning Light
From Hawaii Peace and Justice to all of our ‘ohana, we send aloha and warm greetings during this season of change. Mahalo for your support! Your commitment to peace and justice is a shining light of hope in the dark.
Aloha Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice ʻOhana
This was a year of tectonic shifts.
The terrible earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan killed thousands and spread radiation around the world, but this disaster also shattered the myth of safe nuclear power and unleashed new anti-nuclear organizing in Japan.
Other shifts began with small fissures. U.S. diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks unmasked America’s secret and corrupt dealings with many governments around the world and helped ignite the “Arab Spring” uprisings that toppled repressive governments across the Arab world. Inspired by the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement spread quickly to hundreds of cities, focusing outrage against the brutal inequalities of the present economic system while creating new networked and democratic models of organizing. And as I write this, Private Bradley Manning stands trial for allegedly releasing the classified documents that catalyzed the uprisings.
U.S. combat troops officially ended their occupation of Iraq. However, as President Obama proclaimed at the recent APEC summit in Honolulu, the U.S. is pivoting its military and economic policies to Asia and the Pacific. This move to contain the rise of China and offset the relative decline of U.S. power in the world increases the danger of war in the region and will wreak havoc on communities targeted for military expansion.
Another tremor from the south, the powerful Okinawans movement against U.S. bases is shaking the very foundations of U.S. hegemony in East Asia – the U.S.-Japan military alliance. With Congress and Japan both cutting funding for moving the Futenma base to Henoko and Guam, the base realignment plan is all but dead. And on Guam, U.S. budget woes and a growing youthful resistance are causing delays and setbacks to the military buildup slated for that island.
On October 1st, Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice (HPJ) completed a major shift of our own from a program of the American Friends Service Committee to an independent organization. We thank all of you, our ʻohana, for supporting us in this challenging transition.
In anticipation that the U.S. pivot to the Pacific will increase military expansion pressures in Hawaiʻi, HPJ continues to support the DMZ-Hawaiʻi / Aloha ʻĀina network to resist military expansion and promote peaceful and sustainable alternatives. After decades of protest, Native Hawaiian cultural restoration activities and legal challenges, the Army announced that it may discontinue live fire training in Makua. This could be an opportunity transform the valley into a model of environmental and cultural restoration and peaceful land use alternatives. As the Army shifts its training activities to Līhuʻe (Schofield) and Pōhakuloa, community opposition grows, led by allies such as Malu ʻĀina. While the cleanup of military munitions is moving forward in Waikāne valley, the expansion of Marine Corps construction and aircraft activity at Mōkapu is stirring up discontent. And on Kauaʻi, new efforts are emerging to counter the expansion of missile defense and high tech weapons programs.
Our work to grow youth activists and leaders also continues. This year we brought the Rise Up! Roots of Liberation program to Kalihi and continued to work with Wai’anae youth through the Ka Makani Kaiāulu o Waiʻanae environmental justice project. One of the Rise Up! participants was honored at a recent INTERscholastic Poetry Slam and is a member of the national “Out in the Silence” award-winning Farrington High School Gay Straight Alliance.
This past year HPJ helped to organize the Moana Nui conference as a grassroots peoples’ alternative to the corporate globalization agenda of APEC. HPJ was invited to speak at the Peace in Asia and the Pacific: Alternatives to Asia-Pacific Militarization conference, the International Forum “For a Nuclear Weapon-Free Peaceful Asia-Pacific without Military Bases – Solidarity among Okinawa, Guam and Asia-Pacific” and the Japan Peace Conference. We have also hosted visits and talks by numerous international speakers from Korea, Okinawa, and Guam. We will continue to work dilligently to weave together the strands of our movements into a net of solidarity that can restrain the powerful and destructive forces that threaten us all.
As we celebrate the turning of the light in this holy season, we give thanks for our many blessings. Mahalo for being the strands of love and solidarity that bind our community and our world together. We send our aloha, our best wishes and our hopes for the new year.
With love and respect
Please join Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice in our journey of hope and action!
Your sustaining monthly gift or one-time donation will allow us to focus more of our efforts on our activism. You can make a tax deductible contribution on our website. Mahalo nunui for your support!