Reflections & Demands from the IWNAM 2017 Okinawa Meeting

Check out this Summit magazine article on the reflections of  Hawaiʻi delegates when they attended the Okinawa gathering of the 9th International Women's Network Against Militarism, June 22-26, 2017.  Read also the political demands of women from the countries of South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines, Guahan, Hawaiʻi, U.S. and Puerto Rico. No Base!

Women's Movement Speaks Out on Militarized Tensions between North Korea & Guam

Women Cross DMZ, the International Women's Network Against Militarism and Women's Voices Women Speak members dialogue on how our militarized nations are being used against one another.

They instead critically see through the military-masculinist propaganda by listening to and remembering our histories of decolonial struggles under imperial powers. They write suggestions on what communities on the ground can do to liberate ourselves from militarism's hegemonic messages.


Report Back on Okinawa IWNAM Gathering at Lā Hoʻi Hoʻi Ea 2017

by El-Rae C

This June 22-26, 2017, seven women from Hawaiʻi went to Okinawa for the International Women’s Network Against Militarism gathering. There, we reported on the militarization of Pōhakuloa, the Depleted Uranium in the bullets and bombs littered in the soil, being kicked up by the blasts and winds, affecting the surrounding communities.  We talked about the danger that the Navy fuel tanks in Red Hill poses to Oahu’s drinking water along the south shore.  We talked about the Hawaiian movement that stopped the bombing of Kaho’olawe, and are restoring the land and people’s relationships to it.  
We reported the U.S. has outright stolen Hawaiian Kingdom lands and then built military infrastructure on top of it. We corrected how the U.S. mis-educates people about U.S. annexation and Statehood, and interrupt how Hawai’i is seen as America. We had to because so many people from around the world, settle here looking for work, thinking they can just assimilate into American ideas of success and forget where they came from and where they are at.
Our delegation to Okinawa wanted to show how Hawai’i’s movement for demilitarization needs to bridge indigenous people and settlers, it needs to be an inter-ethnic movement, to heal the way that empire and militarization destroys our ancestral lands and tries to pit us against each other.

The Indo-Asia-Pacific Rebalance Policy
aka the Pacific Pivot
grows in name because it is expanding U.S. military presence in the Pacific region by 2025, to include South Asia and the Indian Ocean.  
Each Nation-state should be more equipped to protect its “mutual security” with the U.S.  
this means: continue to “fear” Others labeled as “terrorists.”
China and North Korea are propped up as “threats”

Korean activists on the ground teach
the North Korean threat is propaganda
to keep the Status of Forces Agreement and US Military presence in South Korea
to tell the lie that North Korea is enemy.
remember the armistice between North and South
Reunify the peninsula.

Japanese peace activist fight their own Status of Forces Agreement that allows U.S. bases there
after World War II, they could not have a military, because of its imperial past.
But now, Japan concentrates those U.S. bases in Okinawa, where the Battle took place
where environment and lives of the Okinawans are still sacrificed.  
Sympathy Budget and Self-Defense Force, conservative Japan wants to support
the US military agenda

Filipina activists fight the Visiting Forces Agreement, that allows the U.S. to conduct jungle warfare training with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Muslim, Indigenous and displaced farmers resist the theft of their lands for corporate extraction and military aggression
they are labeled “terrorists” and “New People’s Army,”
The VFA has evolved into the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to expand U.S.-Philippine military exercises and infrastructures
Strong man Duterte stands by U.S. military presence to “discipline” Marawi and Martial Law in Mindanao.
The U.S. keeps neocolonial Philippines as lil Brown Brother to watch China and pimp the South China Sea.

Turtle Island folks speak against collaboration between the domestic police and the U.S. military
Operation Urban Shield.
excessive use of force
lead to deaths of unarmed Black and Brown people.
Black Lives Matter!
The militarization of the Dakota Access Pipeline Project is aggressive against water protectors.
Water is life!

Chamorros fight the Mariana Islands Range Complex
Imprisoning their Islands and Seas as war training zones
Liteksan, home of ancient Chamorros and mother species of endangered tree
slated for destruction by Live Fire Training.  
The MIRC serves as a Western Pacific corridor
to connect with Hawaii’s military sites of the North/Central Pacific.   

Puerto Ricans fight to self-determine their political status.  
A plebiscite asked these questions:
Do you want to be 1) Independent/Free Association, 2) Keep Current Territorial Status or 3) Join U.S.?
70% boycotted the colonial election.  
27% of registered voters went to the polls and voted for Statehood.

These movements root their problems in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Rebalance Policy
connecting these places to weaponize our oceans and lands.
It's being strategized and implemented here in Hawai’i at Camp Smith, Pacific Command and Security Research Institutes in Waikiki and the University of Hawaiʻi.
We need to flip the “mutual militarized security” script to “mutual genuine security”.

  • We can make connections between indigenous Hawaiian and working people from militarized countries to stand together against militarism, corporate extraction and destruction of the natural environment
  • We can create decolonization and demilitarization education for all because we each need ancestral help to do long haul work of building societies that don’t depend on bases and war.

Crafting a Pattern for Peace

May 23, 2017

Dear Friends,

Continuous war and investment in war will never bring peace. Instead, we can invest in genuine security by supporting efforts that are building peace by working for the health of our environment, cultures, and peoples. Women’s Voices Women Speak is asking for your help to fund a delegation of eight women to represent Hawaiʻi at the 9th International Women’s Network Against Militarism gathering in Naha, Okinawa “Challenge Militarism and Create a Sustainable Future.”

At this meeting, WVWS will represent Hawaiʻi’s own desire and vision for peace with other women from Korea, Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines, Guam, the U.S. and Puerto Rico. At our meeting we will share strategy and analysis about policy, economics, environment, education, the health and safety of women and children, and international grassroots solidarity. Through these ongoing talks and relationship building, we can create the channels for other sources of knowledge to help us see beyond the propaganda that wants to keep us divided and fighting against each other.

Donations will also help support activism after the eight delegates return to Hawaiʻi, including a community report to share our findings from the meeting and also a campaign for education and organizing in response to Rim of the Pacific war games (RIMPAC) in 2018, a transnational maritime exercise that takes place in Hawaiʻi every other year.

Please donate to WVWS effort to organize locally and internationally at our donation page: and check out the video about why we are going and what we stand for. Another way you can help is to spread this email, the gofundme page, and the video throughout your networks, asking for others to stand with us by investing in peace.

In Solidarity,
Women’s Voices Women Speak

Thank you to those who have already contributed funds:
Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice
Urgent Action Fund
Hawaiʻi People’s Fund
Global Fund for Women
Attendees of Kauaʻi to Korea Event
Hawaiʻi-Okinawa Alliance

"because we have chosen each other"

by Aiko
for Women's Voices Women Speak February retreat
for Ellen, for Christine A, for Caitlin, for Kim, for Grace, for Dori, for Christine L., for Aunty Terri, for Daniella, for Kelsey, for Eloise, for Kasha, for Reyna, for Shelley, and for our ancestors and loves

Because Audre Lorde once wrote:
we have chosen each other
and the edge of each otherʻs battles
the war is the same
if we lose
one day womenʻs blood will congeal
upon a dead planet
if we win
there is no telling
we seek beyond history
for a new and more possible meeting.

Violence in their families
fighting for the rice fields
every grain of rice
sighs, tears, and laughter
stars and wind
because Kāneʻohe taught me how to love
adopting countries
adopting single mothers
keeping families together
the truth-tellers
healing larger stories
healing family stories

Our families have been infiltrated
our families carry violence
our families carry love
our families carry resistance

Tears pass from face to face

to continue what my ancestors started
to keep me sane
here is this shell that love brought
across the ocean
to see how everything's connected
so the women gathered
made commitments to each other
brought it home

Defend the ice cream shops
the sweet memories of our elders
called to be medicine for sugar
medicine for military bases
medicine for privilege.
how sons mirror grandfathers
how we need time to mourn
to document

People pass from face to face
people weʻve never met
revolutionary farmers
inheriting land as a thank-you
how do we care for these stories

How do we bring all the daughters back to us
how do we care for Kahoʻolawe
how do we weave the rope of resistance

We need to go ourselves
so we can believe
our mothers
until we canʻt un-see
our connections
how to fight for
not against.

Let our lives be prayers
because we choose the unclear path
because we choose the work of hope
because we choose our entire selves
because we choose each other


WVWS held a retreat on February 26, 2017, to continue building relationships and connections across our peoples, and our lands. 

The poem above is a record of stories shared, about why we do this work. 

The picture above is the place of Maunalua, where we were. We learned the mo'olelo of Kohelepelepe, that mountain, the vulva of the Goddess who threw her woman part to disorient an aggressor.

There is something about identifying as she/her when doing this work. We see generations past, and generations ahead of us.

We must practice the sacredness of our bodies and our life energies, so that we can continue the long-term work of protecting and restoring our lands and our communities from generations of militarization.

The picture of these words are visions from the group for the communities we live in.