Forms of Pan-Secessionism That Are Actually Happening

Historically, anarchist movements have used a range of tactics as a means of attacking states and ruling classes. Examples include terrorism (the “propaganda by the deed period”), labor unions and general strikes (the anarcho-syndicalism era), mutual aid societies, communes, mass protests and civil disobedience (the 1960s model that is still more or less in use), forming civilian militias (Spanish civil war), forming conflict resolution models functioning independently of the state, and creation of autonomous zones (Catalonia, Chiapas, Rojava). Over 20 years ago, I developed the idea of “pan-secessionism” as a means of synthesizing all of these tactical models into a modern anarchist strategy that would allow anarchists to reach beyond conventional anarchist subcultures and transcend conflict between different political, cultural, economic, and ideological tendencies (the modern equivalent of religious sects and ethnocultural/linguistic tribes).

Interestingly, many people have experienced difficulty comprehending the idea of “pan-secessionism” on a conceptual level. I generally attribute this to many people’s lack of experience with multi-dimensional or paradoxical thinking, and the hegemony of monistic, universalist worldviews (from liberalism to Christianity to Marxism). Nonetheless, it has been interesting to observe the proliferation of movements and activities that actually practice the pan-secessionist model in various ways, even if most of the participants have obviously never heard of the concept. Some examples:

-The creation of sanctuary cities as havens for undocumented migrants in defiance of federal immigration laws

-The creation of Second Amendment sanctuary counties for firearms enthusiasts in defiance of state gun control laws

-State and local nullification of drug prohibition laws through popular referendums (which is merely a reflection of pre-existing popular organizing and civil disobedience)

-The creation of autonomous zones like CHAZ/CHOP within the context of larger protest movements

-Civil disobedience to public health orders by businesses who simply refuse to comply

-Sheriffs, police officers, and other officials refusing to enforce lockdown orders

-The proliferation of anti-lockdown protestors both in the USA and in other nations

-The proliferation of anti-police protestors in nations ranging from the USA to Belgium to Japan to Nigeria

-The establishment of pro-life sanctuary counties in Red Tribe territories

-Proposals for pro-choice sanctuary cities in Blue Tribe territories

-Proposed sanctuaries for sex workers

-The creation of “safe spaces” for subcultures of left-wing activists

-The growth of wildcat labor strikes by “essential workers” excessively burdened by pandemic conditions

-The development of tenant strikes in opposition to economic conditions imposed by the state’s lockdown policies

-Civil disobedience against the expropriation of indigenous lands or environmental destruction (for example, the Standing Rock protests)

-Efforts by localities to receive Confederate monuments unwanted or subjected to vandalism in other communities

-The growth of intentional communities reflecting value systems ranging from far-left to far-right to religious fundamentalism to religious mysticism to the apolitical

-The increased number of people living off the grid

-The creation of civilian militias ranging from the Boogaloos and Oathkeepers to the Proud Boys and Three Percenters to Black Lives Matter and  Antifa to the Pink Pistols to Redneck Revolt

-The increased number of mutual aid projects

-The proliferation of alternative dispute resolution systems

-Efforts creation of startup societies such as seasteads and eco-villages

-New country proposals such as Liberland

-Mock political parties such as the Pirate Party

-Anarchist infiltration of larger political organizations such as the Libertarian Party, Green Party, or Democratic Socialists of America

-Proposals or instances of actual territorial secession such Brexit, the creation of new states or localities in the USA, outright territorial secession from the USA like California or Vermont independence

-Instances of direct action involving the destruction of enemy military outposts (“police stations”) and modern star chambers (“courthouses”), and the direct expropriation of ruling class resources (“looting”).

The efforts above have involved leftists, rightists, centrists, libertarians, anarchists, druggies, gun nuts, illegal immigrants, African-Americans, police officers, rednecks, business people, workers, tenants, pro-lifers, pro-choicers, environmentalists, and every conceivable personality type from do-gooders and bleeding hearts to self-seekers and sociopaths, including many people who are diametrical opposites from each other and hate each others’ guts. And 99+% of the people participating in such efforts are not anarchists. Most have never heard of anarchism, and others are vehemently anti-anarchist, and yet they are still directly or indirectly practicing situational anarchism in a way that contributes to the sum total effect of weakening the state and forcing the ruling class into a defensive position.

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  1. 1/3 OFF GRID INVITATION: We are putting out the call for like minded people and allies in the coming dystopia. As it becomes increasingly apparent that our society is at a tipping point, we have decided to extend this invitation to interested parties at this time. You can count this project, alongside those listed by Mr. Preston, under the heading of “things that are actually happening.” While  talk abounds of what could be done and what should be done, what is best and what is right, we have chosen to do SOMETHING. Whether it is the correct tactic remains to be seen. But we are forging ahead – in action not speculation – obstacles be damned. In the past, Mr. Preston has featured the Startup Societies Foundation on Attack the System as an example of practical efforts and decentralized organization. Our project is in many ways similar. However, we have neither any pretensions of generating monetary prosperity nor any intention of focusing on modern technology. Nor do we attempt to achieve our goals by seeking massive capital investment into the project. Our strategy is based on brow sweat, elbow grease, grit and determination. Triumph of the Will. But it is most certainly a startup society nonetheless. This project was started some years ago and has progressed at a modest rate. However, at this critical point in history, we now find it necessary to intensify the project’s development. As the disintegration of the current system has rapidly accelerated, we now require more hands. While my personal ideals are not anarchist in principle, we have become tactically  anarchist by necessity. Like many of those listed in this post, this project could be described as situational anarchism. I am comfortable with designating this a  “secession” project. And thus I believe this may be an appropriate place to enlist participants.

    • 2/3 What it is now: We have an off grid parcel of land located in a remote area of the contiguous US. For now I’ll just say that it’s in the mountain west. Our property is, of course, privately owned, but we are surrounded by massive swathes of vacant and public, federally owned land. People are living here now. The surrounding population is extremely sparse. Goods and services are often difficult and sometimes impossible to obtain locally. The landscape is inhospitable. The weather is harsh. The only amenities available on site are those we have constructed ourselves. What it will be: The intent is to build an off-grid, self-sufficient, autonomous community that will be capable of surviving the inevitable collapse of modern society. We seek to avoid reliance on any urban amenities or centralized services. And further to build a viable and thriving community that will be able to avoid the pitfalls of the failing society around us. We require diverse skills from soap making, bread baking, and laundry to cellar digging, equipment repair, and wood chopping. Therefore our preference is for families, but single men will be considered. Ultimately this will be a multi generational endeavor. Those with a family mindset are encouraged to contact us. What we will share: Mutual defense, mutual aid, labor, building materials, transportation, territory, esprit de corps.

  2. 3/3 What we will not share: Wives or girlfriends, living quarters, personal expenses, family resources. What you should bring: tools and equipment, hunting/fishing/camping gear, 4×4 vehicles, some form of portable dwelling (rv camper or command tent) or resources to construct a dwelling. What you should not bring: 60″ flat screen TV, overstuffed couch, saltwater aquarium, xbox. Who this is for: the self-reliant, the industrious, problem solvers, minimalists, DIYers, builders, do-ers. Who this not for: collectivists, squatters, the easily defeated, tourists, softies, idle talkers, daydreamers. What we get from you: muscle, brains, hard work, capable hands, a contribution of sweat equity, dedication to the essentially endless task of building the project. What you get from us: a place to pre-emptively bug out, a redoubt to escape the hell scape of the urbanized regions, an opportunity to become one of the founding families in a post-apocalyptic trial band, a place plant a seed that will sprout among the ruins. This not a commune. This is a compound. This is a confederation of family groups united in the struggle to survive a crumbling society and to escape the global control matrix. Thank you to Keith Preston for allowing these comments. Interested parties should contact us via email at

  3. Almost every bullet point in your list are actually conflicts between the red and blue tribes, both which slavishly love the state as long as their tribe controls it.

  4. Pretending that your side in a viscous culture war is actually “anarchism” leaves you trapped in a permanent set of contradictions which will always sabotage any radical project.

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