Who’s working to decolonize the island? Nobody
The so-called Commission on Decolonization is not striving to decolonize Guam.
The commission’s statutory name under 1 GCA Ch. 21 is “Commission on Decolonization for the Implementation and Exercise of Chamorro Self Determination.”
As you can see, decolonization isn’t for everyone—only a select racial identity—notwithstanding the fact that the majority of the people living on Guam do not belong in that group.
Our legislature used a more inclusive approach to decolonization. 1GCA Ch. 17 established “a Commission on Self Determination for the People of Guam empowered to represent them in manifesting the desires of the people of Guam as expressed in the plebiscite of Nov. 2, 1982, in which the status of commonwealth was the choice of the people to the Congress and to the government of the United States.”
The egalitarian approach of Ch. 17 has been abandoned by GovGuam in favor of what ought to be referred to as the Commission for Chamorro Independence and Gaslighting.
Here’s an example of the latter from Ch. 21: “The United States, as the succeeding colonial power over the lands and the people of Guam, acceded to and recognized in the 1898 Treaty of Paris that the political rights of the native inhabitants of Guam shall be protected and that their collective right to political self-determination is inalienable.”
Here’s Article IX of the Treaty of Paris of 1898: “The civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the territories hereby ceded to the United States shall be determined by the Congress.”
And of course, that is exactly what Congress did in 1950 when the native inhabitants became American citizens with civil rights set out in the Organic Act. So much for historical accuracy and inalienable rights.
Take note: Chamorro self-determination and decolonization are not synonymous.
Realistically, the decolonization of Guam can take only three forms: acquiescence in our unincorporated territorial status; incorporated territorial status; and independence.
The Chamorro self-determination gaslighting holds that Chamorros (only!) can opt for statehood, free association or independence.
Article IV § 3 ¶ 2 of the Constitution empowers Congress to grant independence to our island. (The United States did dispose of the territory on July 4, 1946, when the Philippines became independent.)
“The Congress shall have the power to dispose of…the territory belonging to the United States…”
I’ll explain in another column why statehood is a practical impossibility, why “free association” is a legal impossibility and why incorporation is like a conical fish trap where the only exit is the impossibility of statehood.
By bracketing independence between two impossibilities, the pro-independence operatives or separatists engage in a political game of three-card Monte where independence is the only real choice. Separatists hold out independence as the ultimate destination in the complete absence of what independence would mean for us.
Would an independent Guam be a Chamocracy, i.e. a government of Chamorros, by Chamorros for Chamorros? Would the fate of the majority of the people wind up like the pied noirs upon Algerian independence? There’s little room for optimism. The separatist regime embraced denial of the sine qua nom of democratic government with a proposed self-determination “plebiscite” which would have limited the franchise to only the preferred race; ditto 99-year leases of government land.
Rather than embracing the separatist regime’s gaslighting us toward independence, responsible government officials could pose the root question in what ought to be public discussion: "Who wants to abandon our favorable membership in the American political family for the 'utopia' of independence?"
Would the separatists embrace a plebiscite where most of the people, be they Chamorro or everybody else, choose America overa separatist utopia?
Until that question is dealt with, we need to answer this one: Is the Commission on Decolonization for the implementation and exercise of Chamorro self-determination really necessary?
Stay tuned, I’ll take a crack at that question next month.
Bob Klitzkie is a former senator and Superior Court of Guam judge pro tem. He hosts a talk show called “Tall Tales,” on KUSG-FM (93.3 FM) weekday afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m.