A wonderful peek into the early world of Chinese socialism in Hawaii, as well as the racial politics of the Islands’ colonization, from an anonymous revolutionary U.S. sailor.
‘Flashes from China’ by a Socialist Sailor from International Socialist Review. Vol. 11 No. 9. March, 1911.
DEAR COMRADES: I am sending you copies of a Chinese Socialist daily paper, called The Common People. It is published in Canton, China, and copies are given me by Mr. Lo Sun.
Mr. Lo Sun is the editor of the Liberty News, published in Chinese at Honolulu. He is also author of the volume “Humanity,” which will reach you with this mail. I shall also enclose a copy of The Liberty News.
If you are able to secure the services of a Chinese interpreter, you will be able to judge from these just how much truth there is in this talk about the Orientals being BACKWARD races.
Local Honolulu is translating your Center Shot leaflets into the Chinese language and carrying on propaganda in that manner. Mr. Lo Sun and Comrade Sun Foo of the Socialist party (a reporter for the Liberty News), are translating and printing in Chinese, portions of “The Communist Manifesto,” “Principles of Scientific Socialism,” and standard works.
At present the Liberty News is waging an apparently successful battle with the Chinese consul. Because of “The Revolutionary Party in Hawaii” (Chinese) the consul reported to Pekin that all the Chinese in Hawaii were revolutionists.
This made things very unpleasant for relatives of Hawaiian Chinese in China. According to Chinese law, or what they call law, the relatives, even to the cousins, of the guilty party may be punished, their property confiscated and even capital punishment inflicted.
At present it looks as though the Chinese paper would win, which will mean much for the future of revolutionary ideas here.
Mr. Keefe, the Commissioner General of Immigration and Labor, has just been down here to look around. From his talk. one would expect to see Hawaii “Americanized.” But what that means is hard to tell.
Our masters are having a hard time now. We hear much about it. There are now steel mills in China, you know. So the American’ capitalists want protection. Hawaii must be fortified. It will then be a fist to shake at Japan. Millions and millions of dollars are now being spent to fortify Hawaii -for the benefit of American capitalism. They want to Americanize the island so that capital will have patriotic fools who will shoulder guns and fight for the masters.
In future, the word is passed around, fewer Orientals and Filippinos are to be admitted. Europe is to be scoured for depressed workers who will be ignorant enough to fight when commanded, and hungry enough to work for slave wages. The claim is made that the Orientals prove too aggressive. Capital always chooses the docile slave.
Here the game is complicated, as elsewhere. Big capital is fighting bigger capital, while the army and navy parasites are wriggling between. The greater part of the Hawaiian population is unable to vote, but they are not without the spirit of fight for all that.
We shall soon see whose interests are strongest in Honolulu. The Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association; the Beet Sugar people; the Steel and Shipping interests; the Military circle -all are strong. All have representatives. But find out who is most interested in having a patriotic class of workers, who will fight for capital, and you will know who want to Americanize Hawaii.
You can file this in the waste-paper basket without hurting the feelings of one who won’t shoulder a gun for capitalism.
PDF o full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/isr/v11n09-mar-1911-ISR-gog-Corn-OCR.pdf