The Struggle for Freedom

CHAPTER 14
PARALLEL WITH HAWAII

In many ways Barbados is not unlike Hawaii.  Both are geographically, tiny tropical territories beset by chronic land and population problems, ¬the family estate system in the one, the old royal estates in the other. In both cases commercial life, has been dominated by closely-knit business leader groups descended from the “old” families. In both cases, a rigid economy has been successfully changed over the last twenty-five years by militant union movements, the Barbados Workers’ Union and the Hawaiian branch of Harry Bridges’ powerful West Coast union empire. Indeed, there is a marked similarity in personality between Frank Walcott and the Hawaiian union “Boss” Jack Hall. The general history of the two societies, since 1940, has been that of an emancipatory movement against white supremacy, for the Oriental groups in Hawaii, for the Negro majority in Barbados. The causes celebres of that struggle, in both cases, have concerned the once exclusive aristocratic clubs, the Savannah in Barbados, the Outrigger Canoe Club in Hawaii. The political aspect of the struggle was fed, in the Barbadian case, by the return of young leaders like Errol Barrow from a well-known World War Two career in the Royal Air Force. Similarly, the Democratic Party in the Hawaiian case received new blood from the much-decorated young Japanese of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, including the Senator-to-be Dan Inouye.