Yasukatsu Matsushima

Author:Yasukatsu Matsushima


Yasukatsu Matsushima








-天気予報コム- -FC2-









Defining colonialism is not about whether or not people like their situation or
whether or not it is the worst or the best situation, it is instead a simple matter
of stating what level of self-determination or sovereignty self-government a
community has.

It is a category which indicates that a community, a polity exists in
a fundamentally unequal relationship with another. Where one community holds a gross
amount of power over another and there is an absence of any formal and uncoerced
acceptance of that situation that is colonialism.

It doesn't have to be brutal or
nasty, it can be banal and naturalized, and in fact that it is precisely what every
colonizer wants, to hold excessive power over a place from which their restrictions
or limitations pale in comparison.

To have a place where your control which does not
make any rational or moral sense over the land or the people there is justified.

One of the main ways in which you can perceive Guam's colonial status today is
through the Insular Cases and much Federal-Territorial case law which has developed
over the years.

The initial decisions of the Insular Cases which argued that the
territories of the United States have no inherent rights other than that which the
US Congress gives them continue to be the law of the land for the US as of today.

The Insular Cases has an interesting way of expressing the most basic way of
perceiving colonialism. The Insular Cases do not argue that the people of the
territories should be treated well, and neither do they argue that the people in the
territories should be treated like crap.

What they fundamentally argue is that it is
not up to the people of the territories what happens to them, but the Federal
Government of the United States.

It is the choice of the Federales what they want to
do. If they want to treat the people of the territories like they are regular
garden-variety Americans, they can do that.

If they want to segregate them or treat
them differently they can.

One of the things which makes this muddier now is the
fact that people who are from the territories with the exception of American Samoa
are US citizens, and so there remains an unresolved issue of whether or not this
absolute authority extends to both the land and the people or only the land.

What we do know is that in terms of fixing Guam's colonial status, meaning the
island finally undergoing a process of decolonization, Presidents and Cabinets and
Congresses for decades have been very clear in how they would "allow" this to

That although territories are not fully within the circle of American
political belonging, this exceptionalism is not supposed to afford them any extra
rights, not even in terms of their decolonizing.

This is where we can see
colonialism in the way it usually appears in Guam's case, as a stupid joke. Guam is
allowed to decolonize so long as it always remains within the authority over the
colonizer, it is not allowed to decolonize in anyway which extends beyond what the
colonizer wants or is willing to allow.

This is of course hypocritical, immoral,
wrong and all of those things and in the case of Guam all of the nice things or
great feelings of Americaness that people feel do nothing to affect this simple

Guam is a colony and it will remain so until this is changed, and making
excuses that colonialism doesn't exist or is somehow the best thing for Guam doesn't
do much except implicitly articulate that Guam is one of those unique places in the
world which should not have any control over its future.


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