American Decline

Why the Radical Left Should Consider Secession

Kirkpatrick Sale of the Middlebury Institute recently observed that there is presently “more attention being paid to secession than any time since 1865” and predicts that “one of the American states will vote for its independence in the next 10 years.” Neo-secessionist sentiments are frequently stereotyped as a characteristic exhibited primarily by “right-wing extremists.” Yet there are serious reasons why genuine progressives should consider secession. Among the most compelling reasons why the Left should consider dissolving the U.S. into multiple nations, regions, or city-states are:

-Break-up of the U.S.A. means an end to the American empire that has killed millions of people throughout the world over the last sixty-five years, including perhaps two million Iraqis, three million Southeast Asians, hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, half a million Timorese, thousands of Afghanis, and many, many more.

-Without the support of the U.S., international capitalist organizations such as the IMF, World Bank, WTO, etc. would be much less powerful and influential.

-The demise of the federal regime would mean an end to U.S. aid to Israel, and a fighting chance for the Palestinians.

-The collapse of the U.S. federal system would mean an end to federal corporate-welfare, bank-welfare, and, above all, the death of the military-industrial complex.

-No more federal regime means no more DHS, FBI, CIA, DEA, BATF, Bureau of Prisons, Bureau of Indian Affairs, federal drug war, federal mandatory minimums, or the national police state built up around the war on terrorism. What could be more successful at overturning the “terror war” legislation of the last eight years than complete disintegration of the federal government itself?

-An end to federal corporate welfare means a severe weakening of Big Pharma, agribusiness, or local developers utilizing federal money in efforts at gentrification.

-The disintegration of the U.S. means not only the end of federal drug prohibition but an end to U.S. support for the international drug war and the America-centric structure of international drug prohibition, thereby allowing other nations to develop more progressive policies on this matter.

Some may object that progressives have at times appealed to federal power against local reactionaries (for instance, in cases of civil rights, abortion rights, and church/state separation issues) and that dissolution of the federal regime may also weaken gains in this area. However, it should be considered that the majority of the U.S. population resides in the 75 to 100 largest urban, metropolitian areas. If these areas-New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Miami-were all independent city-states or micronations along the lines of Monaco, Luxemborg, or Singapore, genuine progressives would be in a much superior political position than at present. The major U.S. urban areas tend to be the most diverse culturally, racially, ethnically, and religiously. It is also in these areas where the majority of racial minorities, LGBT people, persons with countercultural values, and those with left-leaning political views tend to be concentrated. The majority of the underclass persons fed into the prison-industrial complex also originate from the large cities. It is in the major cities where most abortion services are located and where most abortions take place.

If these larger urban areas were separated from the states in which they are presently located and from the federal system, urban progressives would no longer need to share space politically with rural, small-town, or suburban reactionaries, conservatives, or religious fundamentalists. Therefore, it would be immensely easier for independent city-states of this kind to enact, for instance, single-payer health care, same-sex marriage, stem cell research or a living wage. It would also be easier to protect abortion rights from the influence of current state legislatures or the federal government. Likewise, it would be much more possible to decriminalize drugs, prostitution, gambling and other “consensual crimes” along the lines of New Zealand, Portugal, or the Netherlands at present. Such changes would severely weaken and undermine the police state and prison-industrial complex. The likely weakening of corporate power following the demise of federal and state corporate welfare would also provide a more level playing field for activists to take on landlords, developers, bankers, and other plutocratic interests on a municipal and regional level, and perhaps initiate economic alternatives like cooperatives, collectives, communes, LETS, mutuals, land trusts, and so forth. Meanwhile, social conservatives and other non-progressives who dissented from this prevailing liberal-libertarian-left paradigm could likewise achieve sovereignty for themselves in their exclusionary suburban enclaves, homogenous rural counties and towns, or sparsely populated red zones. Surely, this would be a better state of political affairs than the present system. If indeed secessionist sentiments are likely to grow in the years and decades ahead, why should progressives be left out?

26 replies »

    Even if one does not ask or pretends not to see the rope and the flashing red flag draped around the philosophical question standing solemnly at attention in the middle of the room, it remains apparent that the mere presence of a private “for profit” driven prison business in our country undermines the U.S Constitution and subsequently the credibility of the American criminal justice system. In fact, until all private prisons in America have been abolished and outlawed, “the promise” of fairness and justice at every level of this country’s judicial system will remain unattainable. We must restore the principles and the vacant promise of our judicial system. Our government cannot continue to “job-out” its obligation and neglect its duty to the individuals confined in the correctional and rehabilitation facilities throughout this nation, nor can it ignore the will of the people that it was designed to serve and protect. There is urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of indifference, apathy, cynicism, fear, and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope.
    My hope is that you will support the National Public Service Council to Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) with a show of solidarity by signing “The Single Voice Petition”

    Please visit our website for further information:

    –Ahma Daeus
    “Practicing Humanity Without A License”…

  2. The left will never advocate secession because they are parasites. The cosmopolitan intelligentsia likes to believe that they have some symbiotic relationship with the midwest farmer who provides the milk that is frothed on their lattes but really they are just parasites. All they can offer in return for the foodstuffs and necessities provided by the actual labor of those they despise is usury and conceptual art. If not for the system of coerced exchange they would starve to death in weeks and their corpses will be eaten by their adopted third-world accessory children.

  3. I’ve talked to libertarians on both the Left and Right who support Vermont’s secession movement. Loosely confederated pan-secessionism may just be the best way to build a revolutionary coalition.

  4. When dealing with the Left, it’s important to distinguish between two separate and distinct strands of the Left. The first is the PC Left, which really only cares about race/gender/gay rights/welfare statist/eco-fascist authoritarianism. This is the more mainstream Democratic Party-oriented Left. They’ll sell out any other issue to advance their “social agenda.” Hence, the complete collapse of the antiwar movement with the election of Obama.

    The other strand is the seriously anti-imperialist or anti-totalitarian Left that sees the empire, the ruling class, and the state as the real enemy rather than “straight white Christian males” or whatever. For instance, Alex Cockburn endorsed Bob Barr in the ’08 election. This group is more likely to stand up to the Zionists as well (see James Petras’ book “The Power of Israel Over the United States”). Another group of this type is the Boston-based Antiwar League. It’s also this latter kind of Left that seems to dominate the SVR. Someone like Ralph Nader might also fall into this category.

  5. This brings us to the issue of the so-called “left-libertarians.” I would slot this faction neatly into the former group you mentioned, and for obvious reasons. They claim to adhere to a synthesis of radical left and libertarian thought, but in reality they’re merely peddling a shopworn agenda of brain-dead cultural marxism. It’s obvious from their writings that Johnson, Aster, and their ilk are more interested in “fighting” vaguely defined isms and phobias than they are formenting any serious insurrection. And they’re more than willing to sell out libertarian principles when it comes to promoting these causes, as examplified by Aster’s support for so-called “hate crime” (thought crime) legislation.

  6. Keith, I think a lot of so-called left-libertarians have revealed their inherent authoritarianism in their criticism of National Anarchism.

    I’ve seen several leftoids strongly assert that post-state communities would not have the right to exclude people based on collective preferences. For example, a community of Buddhists would not have the right to bar non-Buddhists from entering.

    This is a complete rejection of property, an essential libertarian value, especially since it would require some powerful quasi-authority to enforce this PC “non-discrimination”.

  7. Exactly Ian. For all their suppoed opposition to “heierarchy” and “authority” they have no problem co-opting the very same coercive force they claim to oppose when it suits their cultural agenda. This is becuase, as Keith has wisely noted, most anarcho-leftoids are really nothing more than Green Party-style “progressives”, albeit less intelligient and more youth oriented. “Left-libertarianism” is a weakly veiled front for cultural marxists to infiltrate the genuine libertarian movement and recast it in their own image.

  8. I think that over time the Cultural Marxists will bend further towards the foreign policy hawks and vice versa. There are two reasons for this.

    One, most of the Cultural Marxists care only about the various “isms, archies, and phobias” and will gladly sell out to the forces of State, Capital, and Empire in order to wage the holy war against cultural conservatism.

    Second, the jingoist, pro-war, “patriotic” right-wing cares only about war, war, and more war. This is made clear by the fact that the Republicans would not even let a genuine economic and social conservative like Ron Paul into their convention without an escort in ’08, but they let socially liberal but pro-war Rudy Giuliani and liberal Democrat Joe Lieberman have prime time speaking opportunities. Most of the idiot wing of the Right will buy anything if it’s wrapped up in a flag and a Bible. And their intellectual leadership, the Neocons, are really just left-wing, pro-Zionists anyway. They are “pro-American” only because America is pro-Israel. If American suddenly abandoned its alliance with Israel, the Neocons would automatically become as anti-American as Fidel Castro.

  9. But that distinction is entirely lost on the average right-wing voter. The people you see waving flags and tea-partying and agitating at townhall meetings probably have never even heard the term “neoconservative”, nor do they even understand how the present day agenda of the Republican Party differs so crucially from genuine conservatism. The only section of the right worth listening to these days are the paleocons, and they’re as antagonistic to the Republicans as the left is. (They also seem to overlap with the decentralist left on many issues.)

  10. Just as I see a coming convergence of the Cultural Marxists and the Neocons/Jingos, I also see a convergence of the decentralist Left and the anti-Republican forces on the Right.

    The GOP of today is no more “conservative” than the LBJ Democrats were in the 60s, probably less so. As Cultural Marxism becomes more deeply entrenched, the population groups that make up the grassroots right-wing will continue to become more and more under attack by the State. When that happens, they will become increasingly alienated from mainstream politics, and perhaps less receptive to jingoist propaganda and more sympathetic to a revolutionary Right (e.g. Paleos, Secessionists, Rothbardians, NR, NA, 3P, CR, etc.) that also overlaps with the genuinely anti-imperialist and decentralist Left.

  11. I agree. The only difference is I don’t see the de Benoist-style New Right ever gaining any cultural curency in the United States, given that it’s core values seem to be in diametric opposition to the ideas this country was founded upon. I just don’t see an ideology that rejects liberal democracy, individualism, and market society as ever having much weight in a country where those things are long-ingrained staples of the political culture. Also, while having my morning nicontine fix it occured to me that the term “right-wing” should stop being applied to American conservatism, as that ideology is based on the classical liberalism that sought to overthrow what the original “right” (in the french parliament sense) stood for.

  12. Yes, I agree with all of that. The New Right is a metapolitical, cultural movement oriented primarily towards intellectual elites. I don’t think it’s something that would be easily digested by the masses even in Europe. The right-wing in Europe on the ground level includes much of the same flavors as the populist right in the U.S. (compare Le Pen and Buchanan, for instance).

    I’d say the same thing about the New Right that I would say about classical European anarchism on the Left. Neither of these are ever going to be mass movements in America for the reasons you mention. Yet, that does not mean there are not relevant ideas and lessons than can be drawn from these. In some of my own writings, I’ve tried to draw an intellectual axis that extends from Thomas Jefferson to Proudhon and Tucker to Bakunin and Kropotkin all the way through Huxley, Orwell, Mencken, Nock, Rothbard, Goodman, Bookchin, Szasz, Chomsky, Colin Ward and so forth from the Left end, and Burke, Junger, Schmitt, Michels, Sorel, Pareto, Hayek, Kirk, Nisbet, Francis, De Benoist, Gottfried, Buchanan from the Right end.

    I think writers of this kind from the Left get it right on the question of the state, authoritarianism, state-capitalism, militarism, imperialism, theocracy, and so forth, while the thinkers of the Right get it right on mass democracy, the therapeutic state, Cultural Marxism, egalitarianism, universalism, the inevitability of Otherness, the tragic nature of life, the iron law of oligarchy, “th worst getting to the top,” managerialism, etc.

    The questions are how do we balance individualism, libertarianism, anarchism with the inevitability of elites and otherness? How do we balance survival of the fittest and the war of each against all with the need for cooperation, the social side of human nature and common survival? How do we safeguard against both statism and plutocracy? Of course, efforts to address these questions have to also consider the relevant traditions, cultures, and histories of the society or nation in question.

  13. I’ve been grappling with these same issues in my head quite a lot recently, and I think I’ve arrived at something of a compromise. In his essay the State, Rothbard notes that “the individualist is not an egalitarian” and illustrates how, in any given institution, the cream will rise to the top to lead the rest. I consider this natural heierarchy and similarly predict it will happen within the voluntary institutions of the post-state, post-capitol world. However, I think this would be far more benevolent than the unnatural heirarchies found in the current workings of statist and corporatist institutions. As far as survival of the fittest goes, I feel that the interrelatedness of human action within a market society provides a natural restriction on unrestrained individualism. I believe statism can be avoided through radical decentralization, which (given that plutocracy is impossible without the state) would in turn create a natural bulwark against plutocracy.

  14. Quagmire, the grassroots of the American Right has grown extremely distrustful of the Republican Party. A Rasumussen survey found that, if the Tea Party movement were organized as a political party, it would eclipse the Republicans in popularity 23 to 18 percent. As someone who’s very involved with grassroots activism, I think you’d be surprised how many Tea Party protesters are not only paleoconservative in their ideology, but vehemently oppose neocons and recognize them as big-government liberals.

    Again, I speak from experience when I say that I can make the same point to a New Right innovator and an old school Pat Buchanan fan, and be equally well-received. I think the differences between America’s Old Right and Europe’s New Right are largely superficial ones. Check out “National-Anarchism and the American Idea”.

  15. The reports I’ve heard on the tea partiers are mixed, and probably dependent on the particular locality where they are organized. The main question I’d have about the tea partiers is where do they stand on foreign policy. There are some “conservatives” who dislike Bush because of the bailout of Wall Street, or his prescription drug entitlement plan, or his fiscal extravagance. But many of these still take the straight Neocon line on foreign policy: “We’re all Israelis now!”; “We have to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here!” and other such idiocy. A lot of these people also think electing handpicked Neocon tool Sarah Palin to the presidency is also some kind of solution.

  16. If that’s been your experience with the Tea Party, I’d definitely say it’s an issue of locality. I’ve never had the misfortune of encountering a pro-Israel Tea Partier. At worst, I’ve encountered people who had no opinion on the issue, but were receptive to my stance after they’d read about the USS Liberty and Operation Susannah.

  17. It’s important to keep in mind that the culture of right-wing populism is at least as diverse as the Left. The populist Right includes Limbaugh/Beck/Fox News fans on the more maintream level, the religious right, Buchananites, paleos, the white right, Second Amendment activists, pro-lifers, libertarians, anti-tax groups, the hard money crowd, constitutionalists, militia/survivalist types, other flavors too numerous to mention. So I’m sure there would be a lot of diversity among tea partiers at the local level. Have you had any experience with the townhallers?

  18. Personally, I haven’t, at least not on a direct level. But I encounter a great deal of people that we can call would-be townhallers. These are the middle-class folks who take their marching orders from Hannity, Beck, etc. I appreciate their discontent with the Obama administration, but I find their anaylsis to be a bit confused: they view Obama as a crypto-marxist attempting to convert America into a new U.S.S.R., but remain ignorant of the actual corporatist/state-capitalist nature of his agenda. They accuse him of weakening America’s foreign policy and catering to terrorists, even though he’s really just picking up where Bush left off on foreign policy,etc. My political life has always been on the right (I began as a paleolibertarian in the vein of 90’s era Rothbard) but I’ve never identified with this particular branch of the right. When I attempt to make overtures to these people, they’re initially receptive, due to my pro-gun, anti-IRS, anti-Fed stances; but as soon as they get the jist of my underlying philosophy they shun me. Could it be my Szazzian view of Christianity? My Foucauldian moral skepticism?

  19. That’s been my experience as well. Many of the present day anti-Obama right-wing seem to me to be the modern equivalent of the old style anti-communists who denounced Eisenhower as a commie, thought fluoridization was a commie plot, etc. rather than people with serious, intelligent criticisms of Obama’s actions and policies.

    It’s also been my experience that many of these talk radio fan types are completely unaware that there are any other kinds of right-wing politics beyond the GOP loyalists and dittoheads. And lot of them don’t really seem to have the level of curiosity or intelligence needed for them to actually take a look at some of the alternative forms of conservatism that are out there.

  20. Actually, I think the reason for their ignorance of alternative forms of conservatism may be that those forms bear little to no resemblance to the brand of mainstream republicanism they’re used to. (I assume you’re referring to national anarchism, third position, enr, etc.) Oddly enough, I find the tinfoil hat wing of the right (the UFO/Bigfoot/Loch Ness Monster/conspiracy theory crowd, the kind of folks who listen to Alex Jones and Coast To Coast AM with Art Bell) to be some of the brightest they have.

  21. No, I don’t mean right-wingers who are unaware of something like the N-A or 3-P. I’m thinking more of ordinary Glenn Beck fans who have hardly heard of the paleos, or who, for instance, know practically nothing about the antiwar Right, other than maybe having seen a column or two from Buchanan.

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