Powerful labor movements played a critical role in shaping modern Hawaii, beginning in the 1930s, when International Longshore and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) representatives were dispatched to the islands to organize plantation and dock laborers. They were stunned by the feudal conditions they found in Hawaii, where the majority of workers—Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino in origin—were routinely subjected to repression and racism at the hands of white bosses.
The wartime civil liberties crackdown brought union organizing to a halt; but as the war wound down, Hawaii workers’ frustrations boiled over, leading to an explosive success in the forming of unions. During the 1950s, just as the ILWU began a series of successful strikes and organizing drives, the union came under McCarthyite attacks and persecution. In the midst of these allegations, Hawaii’s bid for statehood was being challenged by powerful voices in Washington who claimed that admitting Hawaii to the union would be tantamount to giving the Kremlin two votes in the U.S. Senate, while Jim Crow advocates worried that Hawaii’s representatives would be enthusiastic supporters of pro–civil rights legislation.
Hawaii’s extensive social welfare system and the continuing power of unions to shape the state politically are a direct result of those troubled times. Based on exhaustive archival research in Hawaii, California, Washington, and elsewhere, Gerald Horne’s gripping story of Hawaii workers’ struggle to unionize reads like a suspense novel as it details for the first time how radicalism and racism helped shape Hawaii in the twentieth century.
“As an avid student of Hawaii history, I found Fighting in Paradise to be a deeply resourceful and refreshingly different version of Hawaii’s social and economic history. . . . [It] ranks with Fuch’s Hawaii Pono as an almost revolutionary perspective and interpretation of Hawaii history and its working class struggle to attain economic fairness, equity and integrity.” —Ted T. Tsukiyama, attorney/arbitrator, military historian, and WWII veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service
“Gerald Horne offers readers an eye-opening account explaining how the labor movement and the left played decisive roles in moving Hawai‘i from feudal colony to the most progressive state in the union. Deeply researched and highly textured, Fighting in Paradise should be required reading for all citizens, Mainlanders especially, who seek to extricate our increasingly multicultural nation from its contemporary difficulties.” —Nelson Lichtenstein, Director, Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy, University of California, Santa Barbara
Author: Horne, Gerald;Gerald Horne
is Moores Professor of History and African-American Studies at the University of Houston.
Read the Introduction
A Prefatory Note
chapter 1 Confronting Colonial Hawai‘i
chapter 2 An Apartheid Archipelago?
chapter 3 The Race of War
chapter 4 The Labor of War
chapter 5 Sugar Strike
chapter 6 Red Scare Rising
chapter 7 Purge
chapter 8 Surge?
chapter 9 State of Anxiety?
chapter 10 Stevedores Strike
chapter 11 Racism—and Reaction
chapter 12 Strife and Strikes
chapter 13 Radicalism on Trial
chapter 14 The Trials of Racism and Radicalism
chapter 15 Upheaval
chapter 16 Radicals Advance—and Retreat
chapter 17 Toward Statehood