bioregional politics: the antidote to empire?
would local independent nations be more vulnerable to transnational corporate plunder?
the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
In Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States of America
WHEN, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great-Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and formidable to tyranny only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies, without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free system of english Laws in a neighbouring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is, at this time, transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens, taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction, of all ages, sexes, and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connexions and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connexion between them and the state of Great-Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
Signers Of The Declaration of Independence, according to the authenticated list printed by order of Congress of Jan. 18, 1777.
Signed by order and in behalf of the Congress,
John Hancock. President
Attest: Charles Thomson, Secretary
Robert Treat Paine
Rhode Island and Providence, etc
Charles Carroll, of Carollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Thomas Heyward Jr.
Thomas Lynch Jr.
|the Smith Act prohibits advocacy of secession|
“Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or
“Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or
“Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof
“Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
“If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
“As used in this section, the terms “organizes” and “organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.”
[Smith Act upheld by Supreme Court in Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951).]
This is one of many reasons why a short term remedy for our political collapse is a truth and reconciliation commission for the US empire, since that is one of the few (if only) things that could have the power for the needed peaceful political transformation for us to be able to redirect resources dedicated for World War IV toward permaculture for nine billion people.
How do you think that those in power will respond to attempts for communities to become more industrially independent, and so, more autonomous and detached from the goals and propagation of the power complex? It's fairly clear that shifting to a more sustainable economic system means bleeding power away from those in power, and having a less centralized system. Historically, those in power have used force and violence to suppress the development of alternatives like that. What can communities do about this?
After a certain point, it will become almost impossible for central powers to offer much in the way of services for local communities; if the latter are able to fend for themselves, they may have a relatively free hand to do so. Look to the Great Depression for precedents: some communities developed their own currencies as a strategy to keep their economies alive. I don't think it would be advisable for communities to aggressively provoke central authorities, but the latter will be overwhelmed with other matters.
-- Richard Heinberg
Could America Fall Apart?
Commentary, Franz Schurmann,
New America Media, Feb 03, 2006
Editor's Note: When "democracy" becomes a threatened, class-based lifestyle and freedom is denied to poor people and migrants, society can unravel, writes PNS editor Franz Schurmann, who looks at contemporary events through the historian's lens. Schurmann is emeritus professor of history and sociology at U.C. Berkeley and the author of numerous books.
SAN FRANCISCO--Could America fall apart?
It would never occur to anyone listening to the president's State of the Union message to ask such a question. Yet the scenario is not far-fetched. ....
The year 2008 could become a turning point in world politics. With so many countries consuming oil and LNG there are good chances that many of the 50 states will suffer severe shortages of energy. Both Russia and America are going to have new presidents, but both also will expand their militaries. In the face of growing civil strife, the state of the union itself could be in danger.
"Declaration of Nutopia"
By John Lennon and Yoko Ono
We announce the birth of a conceptual country, NUTOPIA. Citizenship of the country can be obtained by declaration of your awareness of NUTOPIA. NUTOPIA has no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people. NUTOPIA has no laws other than cosmic. All people of NUTOPIA are ambassadors of the country. As two ambassadors of NUTOPIA, we ask for diplomatic immunity and recognition in the United Nations of our country and our people.
One White Street
New York, New York 10012
April 1, 1973
profile of secessionist movements around the world
|Cascadia - Ecotopia|
"Secede" sign at Portland, OR peace rally
Cascadia National Party
The Republic of Cascadia
The State of Jefferson (northern California / southern Oregon)
Ecotopia: Looking Back (and Forward)
By Ernest Callenbach (author of Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging)
TURF: THE GREEN DREAM
The Man Who Invented Ecotopia
Author Ernest Callenbach talks about localism, the future, and the state of Ecotopian ideals.
It's three hours south in Oregon, but is now a dream at risk.
by Randy Gragg
A Populist Paradise?
Hanging together or hanging separately: secession and politics in the struggle for Ecotopia.
by Knute Berger
Letters to the editor - Washington Times - November 17, 2004
Blue and proud of it
In response to the letter from Jay Brinkman ("Blue-state taxpayers," Monday) concerning blue-state secession, as a Republican (registered 26 years) and a fifth-generation Californian, I can say that many in my state do not particularly support President Bush's agenda and are as ready as the next Pacific blue-stater to secede.
Our Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has said he "could care less" about whether or not the state allows same-sex "marriage" and has appointed a Democratic labor leader to the labor post in his Cabinet and an environmental radical to the California Environmental Protection Agency. California had the strongest air pollution standards in the country -- until the Bush administration sued us and told us we couldn't have cleaner air than the rest of you. The state sought help in fending off Enron after a spike in energy prices and Vice President Dick Cheney told us nothing was wrong and that the market would correct itself, which it did when it came out that Texas-based Enron had set out to gleefully fleece California. We pride ourselves on diversity and open-mindedness; conservatives here believe in conservation — of natural resources, of financial resources (read balanced budget) and more.
The same state that voted overwhelmingly and bipartisanly for Mr. Schwarzenegger voted bipartisanly for Democrat John Kerry.
Sorry, Mr. Brinkman -- even we Republicans feel out of step with the rest of you, and welcome the talk of the blue states forming a new nation.
And yes, individuals pay taxes, but as a state we give the welfare states 20 percent more of our paychecks than we can spend on ourselves. If we were our own nation, that's a 20 percent tax cut we could give ourselves the very next day -- at no loss of state income. California alone (even without Washington and Oregon) would be one of the 10 largest countries in the world, economically speaking.
We are ready. Pacifica, Cascadia, Ecotopia -- whatever you call it -- we Pacific blue states are different, and we have begun, sadly, to believe we must be different and separate.
Time to Revive Cascadia
By <http://www.thetyee.ca/Bios/Christopher_Key> Christopher Key
That red/blue map of American politics invites new borders. Remember 'Ecotopia?'
During my recent interview with CTV talk show host Vicki Gabereau, I mentioned the concept of Cascadia. Gabereau asked me to explain even though the interview was about my desire to move to Canada, a country I see as more compatible with my own political and social philosophy.
I'm not sure who originated the concept of Cascadia, although I suspect it has its basis in the Ecotopia books by Ernest Callenbach. If you haven't read these seminal works by the American visionary, it's worth tracking them down. Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging (Banyan Tree, Berkeley, CA) are not only full of revolutionary ideas, but cracking good reads, as well.
Cascadia is the name given to the region stretching from Northern California to British Columbia. It is a region that is united by geography, economy, social and political attitudes that transcend the artificial borders that were drawn without regard to such things a couple of centuries ago.
As one who has lived in both America and Canada, I find the borders as drawn to be both anachronistic and irrational. Consider the 49th parallel that divides our nations. Despite protestations of minor officials, the politicians of the day insisted on the arbitrary boundary. Thus, we are saddled with the geographical anomaly of Point Roberts that wreaks immense economic hardships on residents of both sides of the border. It has, of course, made Point Roberts unique and there are some arguments in favor of that.
The point I made to Ms. Gabereau is that residents of Cascadia have far more in common with each other than we have with our fellow countrymen living on the East Coast, be they in New York or Toronto. I feel much more at home in British Columbia than I do anywhere on the East Coast of America or Canada.
Child of Cascadia
I was born in San Francisco and, as fate would have it, ended up on the East Coast thanks to having been born into a military family. I grew up in Florida and hated every minute of it. I went to college in North Carolina and liked that even less. I spent eight interminable years working there before I realized that I just didn't fit in. I was a child of Cascadia, even though I didn't know it then. I just knew I yearned for the cool, rainy climate, the soaring mountains and the forest solitudes that no longer exist on the East Coast. Not to mention the less frantic approach to life.
In the early 1970s, I moved back here and have never regretted it. Since then, I have lived in Northern California, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia. I have come to know and love this region as perhaps only a native son can. Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can go home again and it is the only place that you will be comfortable.
I suspect there are others like me who left Cascadia for one reason or another and who were either inexorably drawn back or who have spent many years feeling like they were out of place, out of time.
Dorothy, heroine of The Wizard of Oz, felt the same thing. Despite the wonders of Oz, she never felt comfortable until she was back in Kansas again. I have been in Kansas and can no more imagine living there than I can living on Mars. But that was home for Dorothy just as Cascadia is home for me.
The borders drawn a couple of hundred years ago make no sense today. They do not reflect the economic, political and social realities of the 21st century. If we were a rational people, we would redraw them. But that would require change and change is a fearful thing.
Adapt to survive
My fellow Americans exemplify this fear. Faced with incontrovertible evidence that their way of life is not only endangering the planet, but threatening their own well being, they hide their heads in the sand. They oppose the eminently sensible Kyoto Accords, support wars of aggression against paper tigers, and invest in corporate juggernauts that trample the rights of third world nations. This is not rational behavior. This is, indeed, self destructive.
Charles Darwin, that Victorian theologian, put it this way: ³"It is not the strongest, nor the most intelligent who will survive. It is those who are most adaptable to change." I would suggest that it is time to change the boundaries that divide us and seek boundaries that unite us. Idealistic? Yes. Unrealistic? Only if we lack the will and the courage to do what needs to be done. The world as we know it is obviously broken. So let's fix it.
Not to suggest for a moment that this idealist has the answers about how to attack those monumental windmills. But I do have some ideas about where to start. Let's begin with redrawing our borders to reflect reality. It is obvious that giant federations such as the United States, Canada, and Russia cannot possibly govern their diverse populations efficiently. There are too many conflicting ideals and interests. Any government that seeks to address them all will inevitably fail.
Perhaps a commonwealth of nation states along the lines of the ancient Grecian city states is more likely to succeed. The nation state of Cascadia is a starting place. Take Northern California, excluding the residence of The Governator. Add Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and the panhandle of Southeast Alaska. Here is a nation state with common interests. Cascadia has a resource based economy that is having to transition to a more sustainable model. Our national governments, based as they are in the East, are focused on maximizing the bottom line. Smaller national entities lend themselves more easily to Callenbach's ideal of a stable state economy. Our present carcinogenic paradigm of unlimited growth is so blatantly irrational that it beggars the imagination how so many people can accept it. There is more to life than the stock exchange and nowhere is that belief more evident than in Cascadia.
We are united in a love of the land that transcends short term economic interests. British Columbia's motto is Super Natural. If you want to keep it that way, don't expect Ottawa to cooperate. No more than I expect Washington, DC, to keep Washington The Evergreen State.
Governments were established where settlement began in the New World. At the time, no one could have imagined that the West Coasts would become the thriving populations that they are today. So do we accept the realities of the 18th century or do we accept the realities of the 21st century?
Throw in Siberia?
Imagine, if you will, a nation state comprised of those northern people who find themselves so marginalized in our current society. The natives of northern Alaska, Yukon, Nunavut, Greenland, Northern Scandinavia and Siberia. They are united in their common ancestry, their reliance upon the environment and their rejection of the values we Southerners espouse. I've already described Cascadia, but what about New England? Those fiercely independent Yankees have almost nothing in common with the Americans of the South, so enamored of the glories of their slaveholding past. Utah is the stronghold of the Mormons, originally committed to the nation of Deseret. Why not let them have their nation? It seems to me that it would decrease friction, in the long run.
Let people of common interest join together. They will then have to work out their differences with the world as a whole in order to insure their own survival. Just like the existing nations do today, but without the fiction that they represent often conflicting internal interests.
It is interesting to note that many of the people in America who decry my desire to move to Canada are also espousing the move to split Washington into two states. One, to the west of the Cascades, and one to the east. One wants to represent the liberal, urban west. One wants to represent the rural, agricultural east. They want to have a choice, but brand me a traitor, or worse, for the choice that I have made.
Cascadia is a nation of common interests whose boundaries supersede the artificial lines that a bunch of 18th century politicians drew. I know that the readers of The Tyee are good at thinking, pardon the cliche, outside the box. My purpose in this essay is not to proselytize my own ideas, but to engender a discussion of concepts like Cascadia and beyond. Have at it, Tyee readers.
Christopher Key is a writer in Bellingham who occasionally contributes to The Tyee while planning his move to British Columbia.
Welcome to Cascadia
Sunday, November 14, 2004
Nearly three decades before the 2004 elections, author Ernest Callenbach asked a prescient question: If we Oregonians, Washingtonians and Northern Californians were in charge, what would we do?
His answer: We'd leave the United States to its own self-created woes and build Ecotopia, our independent utopian society.
The idea was a fringe notion in 1975, when Callenbach's classic novel "Ecotopia" first captured a young generation's imagination.
But in the wake of recent national elections, a sovereign Ecotopia -- or Cascadia, as it is now widely referred to -- is re-emerging as a subject of interest for some. Long bandied about as little more than an engaging thought experiment, the secession of Oregon, Washington, northern California and possibly British Columbia from the United States and Canada suddenly is intriguing everyone from whimsical Web masters to earnest political activists.
That's right: Cascadia, our Cascadia, a new peaceful, sustainable, neighborly, environmentally friendly strip of fir green and fog gray that stretches anywhere from southern Alaska to northern California.
That is, except for the proposed state of Jefferson, an island of conservative red in a liberal blue sea at the Oregon-California border. But more about that later.
"Ecotopia," set 20 years after the secession of Oregon, Washington and Northern California, describes a land of electric mass transit, outdoor recreation, video-conferencing and a 20-hour workweek. Freed from the political controls and traditions of the United States, Ecotopia develops an ecosystem that is a perfect balance between humans and the environment.
"It focuses the mind to think about separatist sentiment," Callenbach says now, "regardless of whether it ever gets serious."
As he prepares a 30th anniversary edition of "Ecotopia," Callenbach says the book has become popular again among young people, who don't see its original environmental messages as impractical fringe theories.
Callenbach also sees a long-term trend toward smaller, localized governments.
"The U.S. is too damn big," he says. "Small countries are best. They don't have armies careening around on the other side of world."
Callenbach points to collaborative governments, such as Oregon's watershed councils, which bring ranchers, environmentalists, recreationists and Native Americans together to attempt consensus on contentious issues.
"That kind of thing will grow a lot, no matter who is in office," he says. Cascadians organize
In Portland, people interested in Cascadian independence have already begun organizing.
"There's a huge buzz in the activist community about Cascadia rising," says Bryan W., an 18-year-old Portland State University freshman who asked that his last name not be used for fear of reprisals from the federal government.
"There's a large section of Cascadia that I've been in contact with," he says, "but with Bush being elected, it has gotten even moderates involved."
The Cascadia Confederacy message group on Yahoo has seen a minor explosion in e-mail traffic, from eight in January to 69 in October and 42 so far in November, according to Yahoo statistics. The confederacy is seeking full sovereignty and self-determination for its citizens, according to its self-description. Cascadia, it says, would move away from capitalism and a nation-state form of government to "a social organizational form that allows for autonomous direct democracies and the flourishing of indigenous culture."
The Cascadian National Party, a tiny, near-dormant political party launched the day before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, also has seen a recent surge of interest, says Brandon Rhodes, a 20-year-old college student who is the party's Eugene representative.
It's not exactly a groundswell: Rhodes' in-box has gotten about half a dozen e-mails on the subject in the past week. Nevertheless, that's up from the usual pace of one a month.
The party's ultimate goal is for Oregon and Washington to secede peacefully from the United States and form the sovereign nation of Cascadia. The party's priorities would be decentralized government, greater civil liberties, less control by corporate interests and more environmental safeguards.
"Right now, it's still a matter of kind of saturating the market with the idea instead of running to Canada," says Rhodes, a third-year student in political science and environmental studies at the University of Oregon. "The Democratic party disappointed a lot of people. A lot of people didn't like (Kerry) at all. I didn't vote for him." Auto sticker sales increase
One of the most whimsical efforts is being waged by Lyle Zapato, who suggests that the sovereign nation of Cascadia already exists in spirit, if not yet in the world atlas.
His Web site, Republic of Cascadia (http://zapatopi.net/cascadia.html), defines the country as Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
"The Republic of Cascadia," the Web site acknowledges, "is not yet officially recognized by Canada, the United States of America or the United Nations. Not that it is any of their business."
Zapato, who reveals his geographic location as central Cascadia "near the surface," created the site in 1998, he writes in an e-mail. The purpose is "to help bring about the revolution to liberate the people of Cascadia from remote Federalist control" -- a sentiment also expressed by other, more serious separatists.
Zapato says orders for his Republic of Cascadia auto sticker hit 63 between Nov. 2 and Nov. 5, up from a handful prior to that. Orders are coming from all over Washington and Oregon, with one person ordering 12.
Not exactly huge sales, Zapato writes, "but considering I didn't do any special advertising of them other than the link on the Cascadia page (that's been there for well over a year) or try to tie them into current events, it's kind of amusingly unexpected."
Linking Cascadia by rail
A much more serious effort to link Cascadia together is under way at the Cascadia Center of Seattle's Discovery Institute. The center doesn't advocate secession, but rather cooperation among Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.
"The reality is that opportunities lie not in political union, but in strategic alliances," says Bruce Agnew, the center's director.
The center's overarching goal is to promote the notion of a land without borders. Specifically, the think tank is targeting the development of a better transportation system, such as high-speed rail, for people and goods throughout Cascadia.
The 12-year-old center also keeps its eye on the Northwest's tourism, economics, technology and alternative energy.
Not to mention health care.
"Hordes of people are going to Canada for flu shots and prescription drugs," Agnew says. "The Bush administration will have to deal with the drug issue."
Reviving Jefferson state
Toward the opposite end of Cascadia, in Northern California, some folks embrace the idea of secession, but not with the rest of Cascadia.
Brian Petersen, a 38-year-old landscaper, tractor mechanic, promoter and part-owner of a car wash in Yreka, Calif., would rather see Northern California merge with Southern Oregon to form the new state of Jefferson.
Petersen lays out his vision on his Web site, www.jeffersonstate.com, which has existed since 1998.
Fed up with what they see as liberal control from far-flung state capitals, the citizens of Jefferson would constitute a conservative new red state. The driving issues are property rights and local government control.
"Jefferson went for Bush," Petersen says.
The Jefferson secession effort is hardly new. On Nov. 27, 1941, four Northern California counties, plus Oregon's Curry County, declared themselves the 49th state of the union. (Alaska and Hawaii had not yet been admitted to the union.)
"Patriotic Jeffersonians intend to secede each Thursday until further notice," read the declaration, which was handed out to motorists stopped at highway blockades outside of Yreka, the state's interim capital. Ten days later, the United States was plunged into World War II, and the Jefferson movement evaporated.
Today, Petersen suggests that Jefferson could incorporate the 12 northernmost California counties, along with Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake counties in Oregon.
"All the pieces are there," Petersen says. "It's just a matter of sounding the horn."
In the San Francisco Bay Area, at the far southern end of Cascadia, "Ecotopia" author Callenbach says he's now writing a piece about where the United States is in the evolution of empires. Titled "Going Down With the Empire," the piece notes that, as always, old institutions crumble and new ones rise up.
"There's a reasonable chance of an ecotopian empire rising up," he says.
"We have to keep our spirits up," he adds. "This country has been crazy for a long, long time."
Steve Woodward: 503-294-5134; email@example.com
Sunday, November 14, 2004
"Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston" by Ernest Callenbach. The original environmental fiction classic.
"Ecotopia Emerging" by Ernest Callenbach. The prequel to the original book.
"The Nine Nations of North America" by Joel Garreau. The chapter on "Ecotopia" discusses why the Pacific Northwest values quality of life in fundamentally different ways than the rest of the nation. Web sites and message boards
Cascadian National Party: www.angelfire.com/wa3/cascadia/index2.html. The site contains the party's manifesto, which calls for greater freedom, autonomy and possibly independence for the Pacific Northwest.
Republic of Cascadia: zapatopi.net/cascadia.html. A satirical site with lots of Cascadia facts, memorabilia and links to other Cascadia sites.
Cascadia Center, Discovery Institute: www.cascadiaproject.org. The site contains overviews on transportation issues west of the Cascade Mountains. State of Jefferson: www.jeffersonstate.com. History about the mythical, conservative state of Jefferson.
|The Second Civil War?|
"It does not seem to trouble either Rove or Bush that they are moving us toward a Twenty-first Century civil war -- and that, once again, Southern conservatism is at its core"
The Coming Post-Election Chaos:
A Storm Warning of Things to Come If the Vote Is as Close as Expected
By JOHN W. DEAN
Friday, Oct. 22, 2004
official election results, November 2, 2004
West coast, upper Midwest, Northeast, African Americans in South, South Florida, Hispanic southwest vs. white South, Great Plains, mountainous West
|Secession Novels - fictional imaging|
"Ecotopia" and "Ecotopia Emerging" by Ernest Callenbach (classic novels envisioning a steady-state future)
"The Fifth Sacred Thing" by Starhawk (a different flavor of a post-breakdown California split between the San Francisco Bay area and the neo-feudal wastelands of Los Angeles)
Secessionists meeting in Tennessee
By BILL POOVEY, Associated Press Writer
Wed Oct 3, 3:15 AM ET
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - In an unlikely marriage of desire to secede from the United States, two advocacy groups from opposite political traditions — New England and the South — are sitting down to talk.
Tired of foreign wars and what they consider right-wing courts, the Middlebury Institute wants liberal states like Vermont to be able to secede peacefully.
That sounds just fine to the League of the South, a conservative group that refuses to give up on Southern independence.
"We believe that an independent South, or Hawaii, Alaska, or Vermont would be better able to serve the interest of everybody, regardless of race or ethnicity," said Michael Hill of Killen, Ala., president of the League of the South.
Separated by hundreds of miles and divergent political philosophies, the Middlebury Institute and the League of the South are hosting a two-day Secessionist Convention starting Wednesday in Chattanooga.
They expect to attract supporters from California, Alaska and Hawaii, inviting anyone who wants to dissolve the Union so states can save themselves from an overbearing federal government.
If allowed to go their own way, New Englanders "probably would allow abortion and have gun control," Hill said, while Southerners "would probably crack down on illegal immigration harder than it is being now."
The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly prohibit secession, but few people think it is politically viable.
Vermont, one of the nation's most liberal states, has become a hotbed for liberal secessionists, a fringe movement that gained new traction because of the Iraq war, rising oil prices and the formation of several pro-secession groups.
Thomas Naylor, the founder of one of those groups, the Second Vermont Republic, said the friendly relationship with the League of the South doesn't mean everyone shares all the same beliefs.
But Naylor, a retired Duke University professor, said the League of the South shares his group's opposition to the federal government and the need to pursue secession.
"It doesn't matter if our next president is Condoleeza (Rice) or Hillary (Clinton), it is going to be grim," said Naylor, adding that there are secessionist movements in more than 25 states, including Hawaii, Alaska, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Texas.
The Middlebury Institute, based in Cold Spring, N.Y., was started in 2005. Its followers, disillusioned by the Iraq war and federal imperialism, share the idea of states becoming independent republics. They contend their movement is growing.
The first North American Separatist Convention was held last fall in Vermont, which, unlike most Southern states, supports civil unions. Voters there elected a socialist to the U.S. Senate.
Middlebury director Kirpatrick Sale said Hill offered to sponsor the second secessionist convention, but the co-sponsor arrangement was intended to show that "the folks up north regard you as legitimate colleagues."
"It bothers me that people have wrongly declared them to be racists," Sale said.
The League of the South says it is not racist, but proudly displays a Confederate Battle Flag on its banner.
Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, which monitors hate groups, said the League of the South "has been on our list close to a decade."
"What is remarkable and really astounding about this situation is we see people and institutions who are supposedly on the progressive left rubbing shoulders with bona fide white supremacists," Potok said.
Sale said the League of the South "has not done or said anything racist in its 14 years of existence," and that the Southern Poverty Law Center is not credible.
"They call everybody racists," Sale said. "There are, no doubt, racists in the League of the South, and there are, no doubt, racists everywhere."
Harry Watson, director of the Center For the Study of the American South and a history professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said it was a surprise to see The Middlebury Institute conferring with the League of the South, "an organization that's associated with a cause that many of us associate with the preservation of slavery."
He said the unlikely partnering "represents the far left and far right of American politics coming together."
On the Net:
Middlebury Institute: http://middleburyinstitute.org
League of the South: www.leagueofthesouth.net
Second Vermont Republic: www.vermontrepublic.org
Do Citizens Have a Right to Control Their Own Lives? -- The Vermont Manifesto
Vermont has little in common with Boston, New York, Houston, Los Angeles, or Chicago. It has much more in common with Maine, New Hampshire, and the four Atlantic provinces of Canada. Why should Vermonters be taxed to pay for the military protection of New York City, the epicenter of global capitalism and corporate greed, or Washington, D.C., the vapid capital of the Empire? ....
As Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government." An empire by secession can surely die that way.
We believe the time has come for all citizens of Vermont peacefully to rebel against the Empire by (1) regaining control of their lives from big government, big business, big cities, big schools, and big computer networks; (2) relearning how to take care of themselves by decentralizing, downsizing, localizing, demilitarizing, and humanizing their lives; and (3) learning how to help others take care of themselves so that we all become less dependent on big business, big government, and big technology.
We the citizens of Vermont peacefully and respectfully call for a statewide convention of democratically elected representatives to consider one and only one issue -- the withdrawal of Vermont from the United States of America and a return to its status as an independent republic as was the case in 1791. Once the declaration of secession has been approved by a two-thirds majority, Vermont's governor will be empowered to negotiate a separation agreement with the U.S. Secretary of State.
Secession enthusiasts meet in Middlebury
November 7, 2004
By ANDREW BARKER Correspondent
MIDDLEBURY — When political movements entertain ideas as radical as secession, its members are bound to be labeled by outsiders as cranks. At a "Radical Consultation" conference in Middlebury Inn this weekend, though, where participants discussed the fall of the American empire and Vermont's possible secession from the United States, no one seemed to be ashamed of the label.
As author Kirkpatrick Sale, Friday night's keynote speaker, reminded an audience of 35 conference participants, "A crank is a small, safe instrument of appropriate technology that is good for starting revolutions."
The conference is a collaboration between the Charlotte-based Second Vermont Republic, and a group based in Swindon, England, called The Fourth World that promotes a 'human scale' in government and industry. Both organizations support the idea of Vermont seceding from the United States and reclaiming its status as an independent republic.
Sale set the tone for the conference with a lively speech based on the idea that the United States is faced with economic, environmental, and military crises. "There is an American empire, that like all empires before it, is inherently fragile," he said. "Sumerian, Roman, Timurid, Inca, Ottoman, Soviet – all these empires fell. That's what empires do, and America will be no exception."
"What confronts us today," Sale told the audience, "is much bigger than what governments do. It is what they are: giant, uncontrollable, unresponsive political and economic behemoths destroying people and places as they
lumber across the world stage."
Later, in an open discussion, conference attendees shared their ideas about alternative political options for the state of Vermont in the face of a doomed American empire. Participants in the conference came from diverse backgrounds and from across the political spectrum, making for a lively conversation that would rival even the best Vermont town meeting.
Thomas Naylor, founder of the Second Vermont Republic, said he believes the current political system in the United States is "corrupt to the core" and that Vermont must break its ties with the United States to begin the process of reform. Naylor is a retired entrepreneur and professor of economics at Duke University.
Donald Livingston, professor of philosophy at Emory University, said traditions of local democracy have withered in the United States in the 20th century as the federal government has strengthened. "As Aristotle said, 'We have to learn civic virtue by practicing civic virtue,' " he said. "But we don't have anything to do anymore."
Three of the youngest participants in the conference brought an anarchist perspective to the proceedings, but ended up mostly listening. Cha-cha, a student from Worcester, Mass., said she had come because she wanted to find out more about the crowd. "I'm surprised everybody's so far to the left," she said.
Ethan Mitchell, a twenty-something from New Haven said, "I'm surprised everybody is so old."
Another participant was a New Hampshire man who described himself as a geoliberal or a left-libertarian. He said he is a member of the Free State Party, whose mission is to bring 20,000 activists to New Hampshire to transform the state government along libertarian lines. Criticizing the current American economy, he said, "We allow people to privatize common benefits such as land, and then socialize all the costs. It should be the other way around. We need to socialize common benefits and privatize the costs."
Other participants pushed for the creation of a new local currency, resistance to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and the repeal of corporate "personhood."
Perhaps the most optimistic of the conference participants was Gus Jaccaci, an author, corporate consultant, and futurist from Thetford. As a founder of the World Future Society, he said he finds much cause for optimism. "This group is really precious," he said, "because we're asking the question, 'What can America be?' This room full of people can transform the American experiment. We can consciously evolve the country to bring about the next civilizational renaissance."
One participant, a computer programmer who came from Virginia for the conference, said he is not a crank at all, but had become convinced that secession is a positive and realistic option for a state like Vermont and had come to lend his support. "I looked at this stuff with a jaundiced eye," he said, "but then, the more I read, I started to say, 'This stuff makes sense.'"
|New York City|
LONG LIVE THE FREE REPUBLIC OF GOTHAM
Don't say it can't be done. But first, we need to get over our Abe Lincoln obsession and revisit the Constitution.
By Christopher Ketcham
|Washington, D.C. Statehood (and Statehood for New York City)|
from the "Progressive Review" January 24, 2005
BILL TO MAKE NYC 51ST STATE INTRODUCED
NY POST - A bill that would create a commission to study whether the city should secede from New York state will get another hearing soon after sitting in the City Council for nearly two years. . . "Ten years of long political speeches and empty promising while New York City residents pay for his mistakes, Gov. Pataki is slapping us on the back with one hand while lifting our wallets with the other," [bill sponsor Peter Vallone] said. "We cannot raise taxes any more, nor can we make any further cuts. This may be our only viable option."
[For more than 30 years your editor has been an advocate of urban statehood and was one of the founders of the DC Statehood Party in 1970]
THE CASE FOR URBAN STATEHOOD
DC STATEHOOD ARTICLES
Arizona Prepares For Secession From US
By Julie Foster
An Arizona state legislative committee has approved a resolution calling for the dissolution of the federal government in the event that it abolishes the U.S. Constitution, declares martial law or confiscates firearms -- scenarios some say are not unrealistic. Critics of the resolution, however, call the measure a "total waste of time."
Rep. Karen Johnson, a Mesa Republican and chair of the House Committee on Federal Mandates and States' Rights, authored the resolution which the committee approved 3-2. Only the committee's vice-chair, Republican Rep. Gail Griffin, abstained from voting.
Specifically, House Concurrent Resolution 2034 outlines the origin of the United States, emphasizing the sovereignty of the states and their constitutional right to "establish a new federal government for themselves by following the precedent established by Article VII, Constitution of the United States, in which nine of the existing thirteen states dissolved the existing Union under the Articles of Confederation and automatically superceded the Articles."
It also articulates constitutional violations committed by the federal government as justification for the measure, saying "... the fifty current principals, or signatories, to the [Constitution] have done well in honoring and obeying it, yet the federal agent has, for decades, violated it in both word and spirit. The many violations of the Constitution of the United States by the federal government include disposing of federal property without the approval of Congress, usurping jurisdiction from the states in such matters as abortion and firearms rights and seeking control of public lands within state borders," says the resolution.
By adopting HRC 2034, Arizona states its intention to dissolve the current federal government with the approval of 34 other states and, in essence, start over. Participating states would re-ratify and re-establish the present Constitution "as the charter for the formation of a new federal government, to be followed by the election of a new Congress and President and the reorganization of a new judiciary," in keeping with the original intent of the "founding fathers." Individual members of the military will return to their respective states and report to the governor until a new president is elected.
In addition, each state will assume a prorated portion of the national debt and will own all land within its borders. After the new government is formed, the remaining 15 states will be permitted to join the revised union upon application, as was the case with the original union.
A three-year veteran to the Arizona Legislature, Johnson told the Sierra Times the resolution is "insurance policy." "If the federal government declares martial law or attempts to confiscate guns, the states shouldn't have to put up with that," she said.
Joseph Stumph, well-known author and historian, testified in favor of the resolution at the hearing.
"We're proposing that if things get as bad as they could get, that these states won't allow the federal government to put us into a one-world government," said Stumph, who is publishing a similar proposal in his home state of Utah. "I don't expect we'll get 35 states to sign on. The American people are not educated enough on this yet," he added.
The resolution was introduced Jan. 26, and now needs to be approved by the Arizona House. Should HRC 2034 successfully complete the legislative process, it will appear on the November ballot for voter approval. But one legislator does not think the measure will be taken seriously.
Rep. Bill Brotherton, a Democrat member of Johnson's committee, called efforts to promote the bill a "total waste of time."
"Obviously ... one of the more important issues we have is mental health in this state," Brotherton said mockingly. "I wonder if we are going to have a bill on the grassy knoll next to decide who shot Kennedy."
Johnson said she was asked by several Maricopa County residents to look into preventing the federal government from asserting power not authorized by the federal and state Constitutions. To Johnson, the resolution is a watered down, limited version of the "Ultimatum Resolution," written and promoted by Stump.
Johnson said HRC 2034 was introduced in response to recent actions by the Clinton administration regarding the Grand Canyon. On a recent trip to the landmark, President Clinton declared three new national monuments, threatening the property and livelihood of ranchers in the region.
Fears of martial law and firearm confiscation are mere "conspiracy theories" to some, but in light of the elaborate preparations government made for potential Y2K problems -- including a ready-to-sign executive order giving Clinton the equivalent of dictatorial powers -- "these fears have become real possibilities," according to Johnson.
Johnson also made it clear that the action of possible secession should only take place if the federal government suspends or violates the Constitution without approval from the state.
"There may be times when the nation may be at war, and such steps may need to be taken. But the states should have a backup plan if necessary," she said.
Arizona is not alone in its fears. Johnson noted other legislators in other states are considering taking similar steps.
Despite her current success with HRC 2034, Johnson is not relying solely on non-binding resolutions to ensure state sovereignty. She has been joined by a coalition of six other Arizona state representatives, private ranchers and other states' legislators in a lawsuit filed against the federal government.
The lawsuit is an attempt to reverse creation of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, which covers more than 1 million acres of land, roughly the same amount as Grand Canyon National Park. The group says national monument status will affect use and access to its private property, which will be surrounded by the federal property.
It also asks the court to find the 1906 Antiquities Act, used to create the Parashant monument, unconstitutional.. The coalition's lawyer claims the president "has taken the act to the point of actually abusing the rights of people in the West."
The act gives presidents emergency authority to protect threatened federal lands or "objects of historic and scientific interest," but lawyer Lana Marcussen said that in using the act for a non-emergency case, the president has gone too far.
Julie Foster is a staff reporter for WorldNetDaily.
Hawai'i - Free and Sovereign
Alaska Independence Party
supported the "Constitution Party" in the US 2004 Presidential Election (a theocratic political movement)
Southwest shall secede
from U.S., prof predicts
By Frank Zoretich
Charles Truxillo, a professor of Chicano studies at the University of New Mexico, suggests "Republica del Norte" would be a good name for a new, sovereign Hispanic nation he foresees straddling the current border between the United States and Mexico.
The Republic of the North -- he predicts its creation as "an inevitability" -- would include all of the present U.S. states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, plus southern Colorado."
Stretching from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico, it would also include the northern tier of current Mexican states: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas.
Its capital would probably be Los Angeles.