Would a Romney win prompt Cascadian secession?

The Northwest has a bit of a history of threatening secession. Would a win by Romney push us over the edge?

By Knute Berger


Lake Washington

Seth Stoll, Lake Washington

“If you want to leave a nation you think is corrupt, inefficient, militaristic, oppressive, repressive, but you don’t want to move to Canada or France, what do you do? Well, the way is through secession, where you could stay home and be where you want to be.”

— Kirkpatrick Sale, secessionist scholar and activist, New York Times, 2007

With a Romney bounce in the polls, now might be a good time to ask whether a Mitt win would give impetus to the Cascadia secession movement, for those Northwest Americans who don’t take up JetBlue’s offer of a free ticket out of the country.

While secession is usually the province of neo-Confederates, disgruntled Tea Partiers and those reviving nullification of Obamacare, it is not wholly a rumble on the far right.

In recent years, grassroots activists, bloggers, academics, and regional advocates have been giving voice to secession from the left. The desire is often expressed as wanting to re-divide the continent — or at least the U.S. and Canada — by bioregions. This is expressed in terms of creating an independent state that is more sustainable, sensitive to indigenous peoples, less corporate, more democratic, perhaps anti-globalist. A place where corporations aren’t persons. Cascadian ideas and ideals have also been touted in terms of economic and trade cooperation.

Wisconsin, Vermont, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia all have their secession discussion groups, the latter three entities under the Cascadian umbrella. It certainly draws inspiration from Ernest Callenbach, author of the seminal eco-secessionist novel Ecoptopia (1975), who painted a picture of a region from Northern California to the BC border that had broken off the from the United States and sheltered itself behind a green wall while it re-made itself as an environmental utopia.

Bad elections often bring out a kind of secessionist urge, even if not expressed in Ecotopian terms. There’s the Red-Blue political map, or concepts like “The Urban Archipelago,” a classic rant in Seattle’s The Stranger after the defeat of John Kerry by George W. Bush in 2004, that declared a culture war between Red (rural) and Blue (urban) America: “It’s time to state something that we’ve felt for a long time but have been too polite to say out loud: Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America.”

That sense of alienation could amplify if Obama loses. As The Stranger wrote in ’04, the Republicans have no urban agenda to speak of. Today’s more extreme Republican party generally rejects many of the federal subsidies, earmarks and initiatives that have made our region boom: investment in infrastructure, public power, land reclamation, even defense initiatives. And, as a party, one wonders whether the GOP grassroots even believe in science anymore. The party is captive of too many climate deniers and Creationists.

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3 replies »

  1. So these Etops are saying they want their perfect land, democratic society and all the benefits of global corps just as long as the CEOs live in Cascadia and all the actual dirty work is done somewhere else? What are they smoking? Also if the lefties want to secede from the U.S. they have to take all the blacks and illegals they have been giving handouts to for the last 50 years!

  2. That’s the good thing about lefty secession movements, Sara. They are located in areas teeming with the black undertow and the chicano invading army. Getting rid of those areas might actually prove to be a surplus gain for the US.

  3. Thanks for your reply. Please expand on what you mean by getting rid of theses areas. I am trying to find my tribe. I identify with the theory of anarchy. I am just trying to continue the daily living but also prepare for the future. I have the option now to live wherever I would like. I love the Cascadia area.

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