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Fighting in ParadiseLabor Unions, Racism, and Communists in the Making of Modern Hawaii$
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Gerald Horne

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835026

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835026.001.0001

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An Apartheid Archipelago?

An Apartheid Archipelago?

(p.32) Chapter 2 An Apartheid Archipelago?
Fighting in Paradise

Gerald Horne

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses why the Hawaiian Islands were a happy hunting ground for those seeking to recruit Reds. One reason was the nagging persistence of white supremacy in a string of islands where those of European descent were a distinct minority; an apartheid colony had been built with a white elite at the top at a time when the very existence of a rising Japan was signaling the abject peril of such a gross misadventure. Yet those of Japanese descent were the plurality in these sparkling island beads in the Pacific, and white supremacy was sufficiently irrational that mere realities could not alone force a retreat. As of 1936 there was slightly more than sixty Communist Party members among the waterfront and maritime workers. As unions were organized, the more advanced workers began to consider gaining political power—which is where the Communist Party entered the picture.

Keywords:   Hawaii, Communist Party, Communism, white supremacy, Japan, labor unions, labor organizing

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