2013 marks the second annual LaborFest Hawaii. We’re holding the event at Mark’s Garage in Chinatown again this year, on September 20th and 21st. In 2012 we screened the film “The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman,” a scathing critique of the school privatization “reform” movement. This year we bring together scholars, organizers, and activists to offer multiple perspectives of working class culture. This year’s event takes place over two days, so be sure to scroll down to see day 2.
Friday, September 20th at 6:00 pm
Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz will discuss issues relating to her book The Great Sioux Nation: Sitting in Judgment on America. Dunbar-Ortiz testified at the “Sioux Treaty Hearing” in federal court in 1974 in which 65 defendants faced criminal charges stemming from the confrontation at the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation during the Wounded Knee siege of 1973. In the introduction to the book, Vine Deloria Jr. describes the inherent solidarity of those facing down US capitalism: “If the Sioux people have been the first victims of the American oligarchy of wealth and privilege, the average citizens will be the last and most oppressed victims of this group. Thus if reading this book produces only sentimentality and sympathy the presentation will not have done its job for in a real sense everyone is a member to the Sioux Nation, a victim rather than an oppressor.”
Noel Kent will speak on the 30th anniversary of his Hawaii: Islands Under the Influence. Kent delineates a timeline of the shift from indigenous social relations and land use to a capitalist extractive system that placed Hawaii into a relationship of dependency with the United States, devastating life and land in the process. Both the development of an oligarchical ruling class and resistance to it are examined, and thoughts on strategies for resistance offered.
Saturday September 21st at 3pm
Joe Burns‘ Reviving the Strike: How Working People Can Regain Power And Transform America has become one of the most talked about labor books among working class activists. In straightforward language he outlines the trajectory of the labor movement, from the development of effective production-halting strikes of the “traditional” sort, to the far less effective tactics that were formulated as a reaction to the backlash against labor by government, owners, and conservative courts who side with the ruling class. Burns explains that although the terrain of capitalism has changed in many ways since the era of powerful strikes, a return to the solidarity, industry-wide, production-halting strike is the only viable future for labor.
Ray Catania combines a radical class-struggle based unionism with a local passion for preserving Kanaka Maoli culture and a concern for protecting farmlands from big agriculture corporate predation. Catania is a rich source for local labor history and a long time social justice activist. He was a speaker at the Moana Nui Conference and is a frequent speaker for labor groups on the islands. Ray has the ability to make people laugh even as he riles them up to join in the class struggle.