The summary…

My post: … my research doesn’t suggest that the post-war international labor struggles predetermines Hawaii statehood. Rather, the labor struggle was a response to the trinity of post-war US economic doctrine, the 1946 Employment Act, the 1948 Economic Cooperation Act and the 1951 Mutual Security Act. Collectively, these were US policies enacted to assert US economic dominance internationally, which in essence does two things: subvert sovereign currencies which I won’t address here, and perpetuates the colonial system after the signing of the U.N. Charter, particularly the advancements afforded to non-self-governing territories through Chapter XI.

During this time, the Soviet-led international transport unions–WFTU (which the ILWU belonged to)- confronted these policies (ECA & MSA) as a means to maintain the rights afforded territories through the U.N. Charter. In response to international WFTU protests, the US State Dept, US Dept. of Labor (with support of the AFL), and the conservative British and Dutch transport unions started a new international trading union, the ICFTU, which then led to the many ensuing liberation struggles in the territories, many taking place–where else– but on the waterfront. Regarding the ILWU, leadership advocated for the rights of territories but did not specifically push for Hawaiian independence. Generally, they supported the right of the rank-and-file to assert self-determination through either statehood, commonwealth or in Jack Hall’s term, “Kamehamehaism.” … See More Since the ILWU supported the rights of territories struggling for independence and because of their association with the WFTU, they were labeled “communists.” And since the acts mentioned above justified a US-led, blatant attempt to prevent NSGT from being able to develop or sustain trade with the Soviets (thus the land-mine phrase, “co-operation”), the international transport unions became the front line of defense of protecting the rights of the international worker. I should mention as a side note, that economic co-operation meant that foreign currencies adopt the dollar as the international trading currency and that the planners in the State Dept. knew that the Soviet-led countries would never do that. Hawaii, from this perspective, became a state as a result of the national security concerns over economic struggles between the two dominant economic systems. There are other perspectives as well– all or mostly related– and this ILWU narrative is but one of several. The part of this story that I don’t think I touched on because it’s a bit of of an eyebrow raiser, is the relinquishment of the sovereign currency, meaning that “co-operating” countries would peg their currencies through a process called counterpart funds, into a reserve— a precursor to, or a reserve akin to the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights. Here’s a document of a treaty. It’s easy to see why the Soviets would refuse, and how in an economic sense, the U.S. provoked the Cold War, and although it’s a bit of a leap, this narrative lays out conditions under which Hawaii may have been but a strategic pawn of this incredulous post-war policy. Thanks for allowing me to summarize this work here–it’s a very general narrative to disciplines that are very complicated and detailed, and I hope to engage with colleagues who may be able to add to or tweak this story.]]>

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