California secessionists think their path to independence is easier than Catalonia’s Reply

 By Kate Irby
Sacramento Bee

The world has been watching the play-by-play of Catalonia’s bid for independence from Spain, but one group is tuning in more closely than most: California secessionists.

The California Freedom Coalition, the campaign that has taken the lead in the effort to break California off from the United States, sees similarities with Catalonia’s secessionist movement. But there’s an important caveat: they believe California has more legal tools at its disposal, creating an easier path to secession – if that’s what Californians decide they want.

“There are definitely similarities in the fiscal situation – we both give more than we get back,” said Dave Marin, director of research and policy for the California Freedom Coalition. “But there’s more flexibility in the U.S. Constitution for secession than there is in the Spanish one. California has more tools available to it.”

The Catalan Parliament, together with President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont, approved in September a binding referendum to make Catalonia an “independent and sovereign state.” Spain’s constitutional court suspended the process, but Catalan authorities continued with the vote on Oct. 1, prompting violence between voters and Spanish security forces tasked with shutting it down.
After a majority who voted in the referendum cast ballots for independence, Puigdemont issued a symbolic declaration of independence from Spain on Tuesday, but immediately suspended it to ease negotiations with the Madrid government. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Wednesday that the Catalan government had eight days to drop the bid or he would suspend Catalonia’s political autonomy and rule the region directly.

Catalonia has approached secession in the best way it could, Marin said. If secession is what Californians want, he says their path to independence will be easier thanks to the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says any powers not explicitly given to the federal government are retained by the states. The states cannot unilaterally declare independence, but Marin argues that the Constitution provides the federal government and the states a sanctioned path toward that negotiation.

The California Freedom Coalition is collecting signatures to get its ballot initiative in front of voters in 2018. It does not definitively say California will declare independence from the United States; it would repeal a provision in the state constitution that says California is “an inseparable part of the United States.” It also directs the governor to negotiate for greater autonomy from the federal government and establishes an advisory commission on California autonomy and independence.

The real roots of early city states may rip up the textbooks Reply

By Ben Collyer

New Scientist

ruined city

The 11,000-year-old Göbekli Tepe was an amazingly complex find

Vincent J Musi/National Geographic Creative

THE emergence of state authority was a logical consequence of the move to settled agriculture, or so we thought. Until recently, we also assumed that ancient peoples welcomed the advantages of this way of life as well as the growth of state leadership, since it was key to the development of culture, crafts and civil order.

Grain

Over the past 50 years, though, more and more cracks have appeared in this picture. We now know settled agriculture existed for several thousand years before the emergence of the city states of the Near East and Asia. In the past few years, archaeologists have been stunned to find 11,000-year-old structures such as those at Göbekli Tepe, in what is now southern Turkey. These were built by peoples who foraged, and who also developed specialised skills, both artistic and artisanal.

This is a surprise, and leaves researchers busily trying to get the story straight – something that really matters for a number of reasons. Traditional definitions of the state and its authority hinged on the right to raise taxes, and on its legal monopoly on coercing its people, from punishing and imprisoning them to waging formal war.

But as James Scott points out, roughly between 8000 BC and 4000 BC we find settled agricultural communities with developing craft skills – yet no evidence of anything much by way of state authority.

This also poses a key question, one which resonates in the 21st century, about whether there is a necessary link between state power and community life.

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Laci Green interviewed by Dave Rubin: Red Pilling, Sex, and Constructive Dialogue Reply

Laci Green (YouTube Creator) joins Dave Rubin live in studio to discuss social justice warriors, politics and her recent awakening, gender, sex, and more. Subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…

Does Universal Basic Income Require a State? 4

By Lexi Linnell

Center for a Stateless Society

Recently, Vishal Wilde advocated for a universal basic income (UBI) on the grounds that it promotes economic freedom and social justice. Indeed, UBI has long been attractive to libertarians of various stripes. However, this idea suffers from the problem that, to date, UBI proposals have generally relied on the state for a taxation and distribution mechanism. From the libertarian point of view, a voluntary UBI would be highly preferable. As Wilde notes:

Although it’s worth noting that all contemporary, publicly-funded services have coercive origins, a voluntarily-funded UBI would obviously be ideal. Ensuring that a voluntary UBI utilized suitable mechanisms for delivering and enhancing trust is an unenviable but profoundly important challenge. Even if this can be accomplished, the difficult task of convincing people to adopt these mechanisms remains.

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Panarchy: Political Theories of Non-Territorial States Reply

An interesting book review.

By Vlad Tarko

The Independent Review

One of the most important and difficult problems in political economy is how to overcome the social and political costs of heterogeneity and enjoy the cultural and economic benefits of diversity. People’s preferences differ on numerous margins, and, ideally, everyone should be able to enjoy as many of the goods and services that they prefer, and be allowed the right to refuse what they don’t like. This includes the choice of their preferred communities with rules and norms closest to their desires and sense of identity. The problem, of course, is that a choice of community involves a preference over other people’s behaviors, and conflicts are bound to happen. “Mind your own business,” says Amanda, but Bill feels Amanda’s actions affect him and wants a say. He feels entitled to have a say, while Amanda feels oppressed or even assaulted. What is the best institutional arrangement for curtailing such conflicts or preventing them in the first place? Before trying to answer this question, it is important to acknowledge that such differences of opinion often cannot be answered by objective means. They often involve genuine diverging preferences. And even when they could be solved in principle, when they come down to opinions about facts, in practice, we often lack sufficient knowledge of the entangled processes underlining modern complex societies for consensus to be achievable.

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Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Libertarianism and the “Alt-Right” 5

Apparently, Hoppe is still taking the paleo line as far as advancing libertarianism is concerned. I am increasingly skeptical of this idea given that most rightists seem to be tribal-nationalists first and/or cultural traditionalists first, and libertarians at best a distant second (or third, fourth, or not at all). The more popular the alt-right/alt-lite has become the more it has moved away from libertarianism. Of course, I am also increasingly skeptical of the ability of any kind of serious anarchism to emerge from the Left as well given that most left anarchists are leftists first and anarchists second (or third, fourth, or not at all).

Secession Is Sweeping the World, and We Should Let It 1

By Jennifer Maffesanti

Foundation for Economic Education

We’re seeing a huge uptick in provinces and territories seeking independence from their parent countries all over the globe. I already wrote about Catalonia — a dramatic situation that is still ongoing — but they are by no means the only ones. And with these attempts to make new sovereign nations, lovers of liberty are faced with some hard truths about other people’s choices.

Around the World

Iraqi Kurdistan is similar to Catalonia in that it enjoys a measure of relative autonomy within the Iraqi state. It has also spent a long time chafing under the rule of one country or another, including the Ottoman empire, the British empire, and Iraq. Unlike Catalonia, the Kurds have actually mounted armed revolts a few times, and each one was put down savagely.

Earlier this week, though, they tried a different tactic: voting. In a regional referendum, Iraqi Kurds and non-Kurds alike overwhelmingly voted for secession. Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister, is apparently unhappy with the outcome as he’s called for the result to be canceled. Baghdad has also canceled international flights into the region.

Again, I can understand why Iraq wouldn’t want to let go of the Kurdistan region as it’s very rich in oil. In fact, the Iraqi parliament has asked the prime minister to deploy troops to the region to bring the residents under control. The Kurds themselves have taken up arms in preparation. And with the outside influences of the international community, both for and against independence, it’s all becoming quite a mess.

The Flanders region of Belgium has been agitating for independence for some time. Like the Catalans, the Flemish have their own language and their own national identity separate from Belgium. Unlike Catalonia, which enjoys widespread support for its secession by the European community, Flanders has been labeled as being divisive and “threatening instability.”

Belgium is also not thrilled with the Flemish independence movement. But, then again, the Flemish independence movement has roots that go back as far as 1788, and Flanders has yet to gain its independence. Also like Catalonia, Flanders is one of the wealthiest parts of Belgium. Of course they don’t want to let that go.

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What is the Ruling Class? Reply

An excellent general introduction to class theory from an anti-statist perspective.

By Sean Gabb

In delivering this speech, I make no pretence to originality of thought. Everything I am saying today has been said already – usually better, and always in greater detail – by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, by Roderick Long, by Kevin Carson, by Christian Michel, and by many others. If I can contribute anything to the libertarian analysis of class, it is brevity alone. 

Libertarians often define a ruling class as that group of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, businessmen, therapists, educators and media people who derive income and position from the State. By definition, so far as such people operate as members of a ruling class, they are parasitic on the efforts of ordinary people. Their position comes from forcing others to act as they would not freely choose, or by excluding them from activities they might freely choose. Their income is based on forced transfers of wealth.

The size and activities of a ruling class will be determined by the physical resources it can extract from the people, by the amount of force it can use against them, and by the nature and acceptance of the ideology that legitimises its existence. None of these determinants by itself will be decisive, but each is a necessary factor. Change any one, and the working of the other two will be limited or wholly checked.

Of these determinants, the ideological are the most open to control and change. In the short term, resources are fixed in quantity. At any time, the amount of force available will be limited. What will always interest ruling classes, therefore, is the nature and acceptance of its legitimising ideology. This will vary according to circumstances that are not fully within the control of any ruling class. It may involve averting the Divine Wrath, or promoting acceptance of the True Faith, or protecting the nation from external or external enemies, or raising the condition of the poor, or making us healthier, or saving the planet from us. The claims of the ideology may, in other times and places, seem unfounded or insane. What they generally have in common is the need for an active state directed by the right sort of people.

Since the function of these ideologies is to justify theft or murder or both, they need to be promoted by endless repetition – which is a valid form of argument if truth is less important than winning – and by at least the discouragement of dissent. Efficient promotion will produce a discourse – this being the acceptance of a language and of habits of thought in which dissent cannot be expressed without also conceding its immorality. Efficient promotion will also produce a state of almost universal false consciousness – in which ordinary people are brought to accept ideological claims as true that are opposed to their own interests as these might be reasonably considered.

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Why there is no way back for religion in the West: David Voas 6

I suspect this fellow is probably right in the sense that the West will eventually resemble China or Japan, where religion plays only a very marginal social or cultural role. I don’t think that’s good or bad,  just a probability.

Religion is in decline across the Western world. Whether measured by belonging, believing, participation in services, or how important it is felt to be, religion is losing ground. Society is being transformed, and the momentum appears to be unstoppable. You might be asking yourself two questions. Is it actually true? And even if religion is currently losing ground, could things change in the future? David is a quantitative social scientist with a background in demography. He serves on the executive committee of the European Values Study and is co-director of British Religion in Numbers (www.brin.ac.uk), an online centre for British data on religion that has received recognition as a British Academy Research Project. He serves on the editorial boards of the British Journal of Sociology and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. With Mike Brewer, David directs the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC). He is also Deputy Director of ISER.

The Accidental Anarchist: Carne Ross Reply

Wouldn’t it be awesome to see this guy participating in the presidential debates?

A former British diplomat in the lead up to the Iraq war, Carne experienced first-hand the lies and self-serving discourse of political power. After a profound crisis, he began a quest for a more just way of living together. In this moving and deeply personal talk, Carne explains what he discovered when he studied philosophies and visited communities from varied corners of the planet, and why he thinks anarchism is the best way forward. Carne Ross is a radical writer and thinker about world affairs who leads Independent Diplomat (ID), an innovative non-profit service that helps democratic governments and political groups use diplomacy to achieve justice. Their clients include the democratic Syrian opposition and the Marshall Islands which, with ID’s help, led a large coalition of countries to achieve a stronger UN climate agreement in Paris. Carne is a former senior British diplomat who resigned over the 2003 Iraq war. Having worked on Iraq/WMD for the UK for many years at the UN, the publication of his hitherto-secret testimony about the government’s lies helped create pressure for a full public inquiry into the war. Today, he writes and speaks about diplomacy and new forms of political action and democracy, in particular anarchism. He is the subject of a new feature documentary film Accidental Anarchist about his conversion from believer in government to anarchist, which will shortly be released globally.

Who Gets Counted as a “True” Anarchist? 1

Incessant debate rages among self-proclaimed anarchists concerning who should be counted as a “true” anarchist, with proponents of each of the many kinds of anarchism claiming the right to special recognition of their particular sect. But this would seem to miss the point. The purpose of anarchism is to reject the state, and institutional authority generally, and to expand the realm of the cooperative and the voluntary.

Hence, it could be claimed that everyone who is engaged in rebellion against a particular system of heavy handed authority is practicing anarchism even if they have never heard of the philosophy itself. It could be said, for example, that a 12 year old that is giving the middle finger to his asshole middle school teacher is practicing anarchism. A 15 year old that is sneaking a beer illegally is practicing anarchism. A 19 year old that beats up a cop that tries to arrest him or her for smoking weed is practicing anarchism. It could be said that anyone that is acting in defiance of the state, whether through tax evasion or participating in illegal enterprises, or engaging in money laundering is practicing anarchism. This does not mean that everything the state prohibits is justifiable or a good idea, or that every kind of act of defiance is wise or sensible. But it does mean that anarchism begins first and foremost with the sentiments of Diogenes of Sinope who said, “Stand a little out of my sunshine.”

Image result for anarchist

However, anarchism certainly does not need to be identified solely with illegalism. Any time that people are doing what they want to do voluntarily, without engaging in coercion against others, and without interference by the state or external institutions, the practice of anarchism its taking place. For example, someone who goes to church every Sunday and lives a conventional nuclear family oriented life is practicing anarchism just as much as someone that is engaged in illegal activity if that is what they wish to do. An anarchist can voluntarily choose to join a monastery or a hippie commune or a survivalist compound.

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Secession is a Means, but Not the Ends 3

The recent events involving the efforts of Catalonia to separate itself from Spain, and the resulting repression at the hands of the Spanish state, along with the growing prominence of the Kurdish independence movement, have been accompanied by a range of criticisms being levied against both movements.

The Catalan independence movement has been criticized for not being radical enough, for essentially being a conservative movement within an affluent region that does not wish to pay taxes to the Spanish state, for advocating for a state of its own, and for not rejecting the global capitalist system per se. A similar movement exists in the form of the Lombard League in Northern Italy. The Kurdish independence movement has been criticized for being tacitly allied with the USA and Israel against the Eastern axis within global capitalism, whereas the Socialist hard left and revolutionary nationalists alike tend to have more favorable view of the Eastern axis as opposed to the Western axisImage result for catalonia

These criticisms are certainly legitimate. However, the issue of the legitimization of secession as an end unto itself is a separate issue from the actual reasons for a particular secession or the objectives of particular groups of secessionists. Having looked at the ideas of hundreds, if not thousands, of secessionist tendencies around the world, I tend to disagree, often strongly, with the specific ideological orientations of these groups. For instance, we have a California secessionist tendency in America that more or less wants California to be a one-party state ruled by the Democratic Party. We have what amounts to a Republican version of the same thing in Texas and Alaska. Some of the Native American reservations here have a semi-independent status even if they function as de facto Bantustans for the US federal regime.
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Not Quite What Uncle Joe Had in Mind Reply

Someone should do rewrites of these old Communist speeches using modern leftist rhetoric with all kinds of references to transphobia and microagressions. That would be hilarious.

“Party comrades, in our peoples’ struggle against the hegemony of heteronormativity we endured the challenges of infinite microagressions that have been foisted upon us by the forces of reactionary, bourgeoisie patriarchal homophobes. In the struggle of the oppressed gender fluid masses the heavy handedness of masculinity has sought to stand in the way of the path to liberation. The tyrannical slavery that was imposed by the fat phobic ruling class was matched only by the fascist aggression imposed by cultural appropriation…”

Keith Preston: US mass shooters predominantly white males Reply

Press TV. Listen here.

Terror attacks in the US are not confined to certain demographics or religions, but mass shootings are usually carried out by white males, according to an American analyst.

“It’s certainly true that white males have committed plenty of terrorism in the United States, particularly terrorism motivated by racism and to a lesser degree by religion,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.

“The overwhelming majority of terrorists are [white] males,” Preston told Press TV on Wednesday.

The mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday night that left at least 59 people dead and over 500 wounded was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history and once again highlighted America’s extreme rate of gun violence.

The perpetrator, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, rained down a barrage of bullets from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel towards an open-air concert Sunday night, police said.

In a televised address on Monday, President Donald Trump offered his “warmest condolences” for the victims of the mass shooting, but did not address the scourge of gun violence that has become a common occurrence in the country.

Paddock, like the majority of mass shooters in the US, was a white American male. Critics say whiteness, somehow, protects men from being labeled terrorists.

 

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Dissecting the American Police State 1

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In recent years, there has been growing concern in some camps about matters involving police brutality, police militarization, mass incarceration, overcriminalization, electronic surveillance and related matters.

The bulk of the concerns of these kinds have come from the left end of spectrum, and raised by those who are concerned with racial disparities that can be observed within the framework of the police state. Yet there have also been some on the right end who have become concerned about the fiscal costs of mass incarceration, the social costs to families and communities, and the fact that the police state is now attacking population groups outside of traditional outgroups. When the police state primarily targeted blacks, Puerto Ricans, hookers, and the drug culture, the right-wing was all for it. However, it is now not uncommon to find middle class persons, older people, churchgoers, business people, and others outside of the traditional underclass or marginal sectors who have had run ins with the cops or the carceral state.

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Independence for Catalonia: Yes, but… Reply

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Many of these regionalist movements in Europe seem similar to tendencies we have in the US, i.e. either more affluent regions that don’t want to pay taxes to the central government which they view as “too leftist” but have no interest in critiquing state-capitalism per se, or PC liberals and leftists who think the central government is “too conservative” but who totally support the UN and other international governmental institutions.

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