I first started developing the ideas that I would later come to call “pan-secessionism in the mid-1990s after notice the emergence of the “right-wing” antigovernment movement associated with the militias, sovereign citizens, tax protestors, and other similar groups. Of course, much of the left and certainly liberal opinion dismissed these as racist reworkings of the KKK. But what I found in my interaction with these people is that most of them were motivated by gun rights, economics, and general antigovernmentism, with a minority being motivated by religion, and an even smaller minority being motivated by race.
Some of the more radical ones were interested in forming alliances with black nationalists, American Indian tribes, or foreign revolutionaries like the Zapatistas, Shining Path, or Middle Eastern groups. The Rodney King riots, as well as the killings at Waco and Ruby Ridge, had happened a short time earlier, and the “Battle of Seattle” happened a few years later. I started to realize the potential for a tripartite alliance between the urban lumpenproletariat (mostly minority department store looters), rural lumpenproletariat (mostly white gun nuts), and what I called the suburban lumpenproletariat (middle-class kids who adopt a lumpen lifestyle by choice). Then, as now, that seems to be a pretty good plan. Here it is.
Previously, I was a Noam Chomsky-like left-anarchist, heavily influenced by the Spanish Revolution, who favored overthrowing the state through the use of anarcho-syndicalist unions, worker militias, guerrilla armies. I had never given much consideration to the idea of territorial or other forms of secessionism, although I knew (mostly from Proudhon) that secession was a historic anarchist principle, along with things like dual power (which I largely learned from Murray Bookchin). I was already an “anarchist without adjectives” as well (influenced by Voltairine de Cleyre and Errico Malatesta).
I never abandoned any of that as much as I expanded it to include the concepts of pan-anarchism and pan-secessionism as an umbrella framework for attacking the state, recognizing that it would be a means of bringing sectors of the far-right and radical-center as well as leftists and minorities into a wider anti-state front. At the time, a lot of these militia/sovereign people were pushing the idea of “county supremacy,” “mini-republics,” or micronations that struck me as basically a right-wing version of Murray Bookchin’s “libertarian municipalist” idea or a gun-toting version of Gandhi’s satyagraha philosophy. Then, as now, this seems to be a fairly on-target idea as well.
What puts me at odds with the mainstream anarchist movement is that most of them are Blue Tribe fundamentalists first and anarchists second, which means that hating on social conservatives is more important to them than overthrowing the ruling class. Regrettably, the Blue Tribe Khomeinists have replaced the Marxist-Leninists as the most immediately visible enemy of anarchism on the far-left, and many anarchists have fallen for it just as they were taken in by Marxism in the past.