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Divide and conquer strategy builds support across ethnic lines

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by Stephen O'Harrow (Advertiser, Sunday 8/15/99)

If the people who in fact run Hawai'i today, the oligarchy, want to maintain a hold on power, if they want to make sure that their power is not in danger from the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement, and if they want to insure that those people of Hawaiian ancestry who have historically been exploited by society remain unable to obtain any true redress, redress that might threaten the power and wealth of the current elite, there are four things they must do:
  • -Keep them talking
  • -Keep them litigating
  • -Buy off the leadership
  • -Divide and Conquer
"Keep them talking" means encourage a continuous series of ballots, consultations, and meetings (the more complex, frequent, drawn out and inconclusive, the better..), and any other event which can give public emphasis to factionalism in the name of ending factionalism - and be sure to woo the participation of as many competing leaders as possible.

"Keep them litigating" means keep the Hawaiians fighting on familiar turf, where the elite already owns most of the weapons. Lawsuits are costly, slow and opaque. The powers that be have more money and lawyers than the opposition. They write the laws and they name the judges. So discourage political action and encourage recourse to the courts, preferably to the state courts, which can tie things up for very long periods of time, even before embarking on the endless delays of federal appeal.

"Buy off the leadership" doesn't simply mean give them money, which could be seen as crude. Obviously it means hold out to various individuals or to the leaders of contending constituencies the vague promise of future power and position inside some sovereign entity that is eventually supposed to come about. Another way of saying it is "Don't worry, if you can manage to stir up your supporters to keep on vying for leadership you will be rewarded some day with real power and money."