The Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) will take place from June 29 to August 4, 2022 off Hawaiʻi and the U.S. West Coast. According to the military, this war exercise “aims to facilitate interoperability and intercultural collaboration across national militaries, to increase the efficiency of war around the world,” BUT we know it causes ecological devastation, colonial violence, and gun worship. To counter this, Hawaiʻiʻs peace and justice advocates invite the public to support demilitarization through cross-issue education and cross-cultural organizing.
RIMPAC exercises will bring to Hawaiian waters tens of thousands of military personnel, ships, submarines, and aircraft from participating countries to test their war plans on an “enemy.” The countries that will participate in RIMPAC 2022 are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Republic of Korea, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
RIMPAC’s ship sinking, missile testing, and torpedo blasting have destroyed island ecosystems and disturbed sea creatures' wellbeing.
This convening of military personnel promotes toxic masculinity; sex trafficking and violence against local populations.
RIMPAC must be canceled in order to de-escalate rising tensions between the U.S., China, Russia, and North Korea. Rather than “readiness” for war, we need “readiness” to confront global climate crisis, Covid-19 global pandemic, and the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. The failed foreign policy of endless war is bankrupting future generations, fueling the refugee crisis, and making the U.S. a laughing stock.
RIMPAC is made possible by ongoing military occupation of Hawaiian lands, a violation of indigenous people’s right to self-determination. It is also outrageous to proceed with RIMPAC given the abuse and lies we have been subjected to with regard to the crisis at Red Hill/Kapūkakī.
Since November 2021, people in Hawaiʻi have been outraged by the leaking of 80-year-old Navy underground jet fuel tanks only 100 feet above Honolulu’s aquifer that have contaminated the drinking water of military families and civilians. Due to strong community pressure, the state of Hawai‘i finally ordered the U.S. Navy to shut down the tanks and clean up the fuel contamination which the Secretary of Defense agreed to on March 7, 2022. As of today, water contamination continues to persist, military families refuse to return to their homes, and the fuel plume continues to expand across the aquifer endangering the entire water supply for the island.
Red Hill is not the only location affected by U.S. military’s reckless disregard for land and water. For only $1, the U.S. Army currently holds 65 year leases of State of Hawaiʻi land: Pōhakuloa Training Area, Poamoho Training Area, Mākua Military Reservation and Kahuku Training Area. The leases will expire in 2029, but the Army aims to renew these leases. Unexploded ordnance, artillery shells and chemicals contaminate these training areas and have not been cleaned up. The State of Hawaiʻi has been sued for its lack of protection of Pohakuloa. Citizens successfully sued the U.S. Army for community access to Makua Valley training area for cultural purposes. These leases should not be renewed in order to stop the present and future damage to the land.
RIMPAC thrives while gun violence plagues the U.S. Government investment in the research and development of military weapons means that older and surplus weapons are sold online, in gun stores, or passed down to local police precincts and to other countries' national militaries. The National Rifle Association lobbyists, who continue to block progressive federal gun reform, partner with RIMPAC as a supplier of weapons and promoter of world-wide warfare.
It is important to note that RIMPAC is a process that requires the buy-in of many nations to participate. RIMPAC is an exercise, meaning that nations are being groomed to work across cultures and international borders toward arms trading and war making. Rather than funding programs of genuine security (education, health care, and climate preparedness), nations will be spending precious resources on weapons of mass destruction.
Since Native Hawaiians stood up to stop the U.S. Navy’s bombing of Kahoʻolawe, a demilitarization movement was created to galvanize the public to protect Hawaiian lands from militarization. Kanaka Maoli women have been at the forefront of this movement, drawing the connection between deoccupation and demilitarization.
Hawaiʻiʻs peace and justice organizations invite the public to exercise our capacity to counter RIMPAC’s systemic violence.
This summer, there will be opportunities to gather communities, of all ages and cultures, online and in-person, to de-normalize militarization as security, and to promote genuine security.
We recognize that the military is a major economic industry in the U.S. occupied Hawaiʻi and the American economy. We can draw from our histories to take back our labor from the military-industrial complex that causes so much harm. This can be done through freedom school-style public education, arts campaigns, general strikes, environmental protection lawsuits, literature publication, satire, and electing progressive politicians who will champion the transition to a green economy.
Our goal is to reach all people, including soldiers who are participating in RIMPAC. Many members of the military are recruited from working-class communities through predatory and coercive practices. Soldiers experience abuse within their ranks, including multiple epidemics of domestic violence, rape, and suicide. We invite all people to attend these events to understand how the military is harming our lands, oceans, and selves. There is a need to organize in coalitions and recognize intersections, rather than accepting the false silos that empire creates. Please join us!
The Pacific Peace Network, of which Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice, Veterans For Peace, Women’s Voices, Women Speak are a part, will have a series of events to educate communities around the region and around the world about RIMPAC and how to get involved.
The first action you can take is to sign the international petition to CANCEL RIMPAC
Meet us on Sunday June 12 3-5pm for a CANCEL RIMPAC sign-waving in Kailua on at Aikahi Shopping Center, 25 Kaneohe Bay Dr, Kailua, HI 96734
Join the Saturday June 25 from 1-3pm HST for the World Wide Peace Wave featuring programming from Hawai'i, Guåhan and Alaska. Register here for the 24 hour around the world peace wave sponsored by the International Peace Bureau and World Beyond War and locally by Hawaii Peace and Justice.
Thursday-Friday August 4-5, 2022 9am - Hawai’i Peace and Justice, Koʻa Futures and Veterans For Peace will lead an action in front of the Hawai’i Convention Center at the Indo-Pacific Maritime Exchange conference, a conference of weapons makers and military strategy and policy organizations, including Honolulu’s East-West Center and the Pacific Forum, for more war mongering in the Pacific region. Please stay posted at https://www.facebook.com/hawaiipeaceandjustice/
Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi will be hosting a series of zoom conversations
Fri June 17, 2022 at 12 pm-1:30 pm / 3 PM-4:30 PM (PT) / 5 PM-6:30 PM (CT) / 6 PM-7:30 PM (ET) / 1 PM-2:30 PM (AKDT) Water protectors from Camp Lejeune, Alaska, and Flint will share the grassroots-driven approach their communities have taken to protect their water. Sign up to register here.
Fri July 1, 2022 at time TBD - Organizers cross the Pacific and beyond to discuss the social and racial inequalities that fuel water injustice. Stay posted here.
Women’s Voices Women Speak will be hosting 2 community events
Sunday, July 3, 2022, 3pm (location TBD) - Honoring the legacy of Kumu and Hawaiian sovereignty activist Haunani-Kay Trask, on this one year anniversary of her passing. We will discuss her feminist vision of international solidarity, demilitarization, and denuclearization. For more info, contact Kim at Kcompoc@gmail.com.
Sunday July 31, 2022 from 11-5pm, Thomas Square Park - Women’s Voices Women Speak will have our tent at the annual Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, national holiday of the Hawaiian kingdom. Come by and see the new “genuine security blanket” and the collective fabric art to honor wai through our collaboration with Wisdom Circles. Our tent is open to all ages, genders, and cultures to engage in art-making that reflects on and celebrates Hawaiian Independence and genuine security. No registration needed.
Stay tuned also for Nā Hua Ea, the annual celebration of poetry/art for Ea held at Papahana Kuaola in Kane‘ohe. Date TBD!