On July 27, several dozen people gathered at Mission Bay in San Diego to show solidarity with the struggle taking place in Hawaii to defend Mauna Kea, a place considered sacred by the Hawaiian people. San Diego Kia’i organized the event following previous organizing efforts. It already has planned its next event, a sharing and talking circle on Aug. 1 to strategize and share knowledge with the community .
The crowd was lively, as thousands of people drove by on this busy summer weekend on their way to the beach. Many drivers honked their horns in support of the people standing with signs and chanting in their native language. The event was extremely well organized, and the group plans to do more actions in response to the efforts to build another telescope on top of Mauna Kea.
This struggle dates back to 1964 when the University of Hawaii identified the land atop the mountain as an “exceptional site for astronomical observation.” UH then leased the land for 65 years and a permit was granted to build an observatory. Over the next 20 years, numerous telescopes were built. Today is the latest violation of the sovereignty of the Hawaiian people and the natural environment.
Organizers and many community members who attended the action urged other attendees to think about this struggle in the context of colonialism, which we see happening in many places across the world but especially in Puerto Rico, which has seen an amazing uprising of the people to fight against corruption and the colonial relationship with the United States.
As with Puerto Rico, Hawaii was first colonized by Europeans and then the United States. In 1778, a British sailor made contact with the island and began the history of colonialism on the islands. In 1898, the United States took control over the island through a political coup claiming it as a territory. This was the same year that the United States defeated the Spanish, claiming Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Philippines and Guam.
Hawai’i was eventually granted statehood but is still very much under the economic and political domination of the United States. As this movement illustrates, the struggle to end colonialism and imperialism is an international one. The Party for Socialism and Liberation extends our full solidarity with Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, and all who fight for an end to U.S. imperialism and exploitation by foreign investors. Defend Mauna Kea! End U.S. imperialism and colonialism!