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.
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 axis
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.
The money quote, and the main reason why most US political factions are worthless:
“Unfortunately, most Americans do not bat an eye at the worst offenses committed by the presidency, namely the killing of millions in undeclared wars of choice with nations who have never attacked the United States.”
By Tom Mullen
Foundation for Economic Education
Trump Derangement Syndrome rages on, the latest symptoms flaring equally based on causes both legitimate and ridiculous. A key characteristic of the syndrome is its ability to evoke the same outrage over the president retweeting a harmless (and let’s admit it, funny) meme as threatening to destroy an entire nation. The breathless apoplexy over absolutely everything Trump-related, down to the shoes his wife wears while traveling, has desensitized Trump’s supporters to behavior even they should be concerned about.
It is true Trump has inspired new levels of hostility — even for politics — but Americans have been hating the president for this entire century, which is no longer in its infancy. Bush may not have been “literally Hitler,” but he was Hitler nonetheless to the Democrats, just as Obama was “literally Mao” to conservatives. But the proud American tradition of hurling invectives at the president isn’t nearly as ominous as the trend towards violence. Both the right and the left have mobilized armed groups, not just carrying signs but ready for violence. In fact, violent resistance is the far-left Antifa’s stated raison d’etre.
Liberal democratic capitalism shows what it really thinks of self-determination and political dissent.
Thomas S. Harrington
I just got of the phone with Josep Maria Sole Sabaté, my friend and a leading Catalan historian and public intellectual. He was nothing short of breathless as he described the helicopters flying overhead stated flatly that he was in the the midst of a coup being carried out by the Spanish State.
He wanted to get in touch with me and others “out there” because he was not sure how much longer free communication would be available to him and other out in the street protesting against he Spanish central government’s arrest of members of the Catalan Autonomous government.
As of this writing at least six agencies of the Catalan Government have been the object of forced police searches and thirteen, mostly mid-level members of the Catalan government have been arrested.
The homes of two the leading architects of the incipient Catalan state, Carles Viver Pi i Sunyer and ex Spanish judge Santi Vidal, have been searched by police. The headquarters of the far-left CUP, part of the pro-vote coalition in the Catalan Parliament, has been surrounded by police.
The leader of the Catalan National Congress Jordi Sanchez and the head of Omnium, a major Catalan cultural organization, Jordi Cuixart, has called Catalans to come into the streets and they have responded with a massive presence.
By Kirkpatrick Sale
While division between both political parties has been accepted as a norm for decades, we have witnessed a level of intensity in 2017 that has dwarfed anything remotely similar in recent American history. While it appears to be boiling over, perhaps many are ready to set aside their differences in a way reminiscent of the Declaration of Independence.
Over Labor Day Weekend, a nationwide poll of 800 likely voters, conducted by John Zogby Strategies asked, among other questions, which view is closer to their own on the topic of secession; Statement A: If a majority of residents within a given state prefer to have the final say over their destiny without the control of Washington D.C. then let them have it – it is their right.Statement B: If residents within a given state were to take such a drastic measure and secede from the United States, the federal government would be justified in sending in the military to prevent secession from taking place.
While nearly 1/3 of the public (32%) agree that the federal government should intervene to stop any state movement for secession, nearly four in ten (39%) agree that each state has the ultimate say over their destiny and that secession is a right. Just shy of three in ten were not sure (29%).
By Keith Preston
The State exists for the purpose of maintaining a monopoly over the legitimate use of violence within a particular geographical territory in order to more effectively control resources, exploit subjects, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, and expand its own power both internally and externally. The State does this while maintaining a self-legitimating ideological superstructure, and buying the loyalty of the middle class by suppressing the lower/underclass. The State is what you would get if the Mafia managed to eliminate all of its competitors, including the State itself, and consequently become a state of its own.
At times, the State will seek to maintain total control over every aspect of social life (e.g. the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, present day North Korea or Islamist regimes like ISIS, the Taliban, and Saudi Arabia, or Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories). However, most modern states allow for a fairly robust civil society to exist that may actually have the effect of affording the average person a fair amount of comfort. States of these kinds, so-called “liberal democracies,” may even encourage intense political debate within certain narrow parameters (or even fairly broad parameters). Some states will allow or even encourage a fair amount crime and disorder in order to legitimize the expansion of state power to an even greater degree (what the late paleconservative writer Samuel Francis called “anarcho-tyranny’‘). For example, isn’t it interesting that in spite of the massive police and prison systems that now exist in the United States, one third of all murders go unsolved?
However, no state can allow disorder to spiral too far out of control, or it will lose its legitimacy in the process. A state of this kind is a protection racket that continues to engage in extortion and exploitation, but can no longer offer actual protection. Hence, states tend to be very sensitive to perceived threats to their own legitimacy. At present, the violence that is taking place between the Antifa, Alt-Right, and their various allies certainly poses no threat to the state. America in 2017 is light years away from Weimar Germany in 1932. But the important question involves the issue of to what degree the State will continue allow such violence to persist, if indeed it does persist, which it may not. That remains to be seen.
By Keith Preston
Special thanks to Peter Topfer, Adam Ormes, Thom Forester, and Sean Jobst for their assistance in the writing of this summary.
On June 17 and 18, the first ever conference of the National-Anarchist Movement (N-AM) took place in Madrid. The process of arranging this conference was certainly not without its difficulties, and the organizers deserve much praise for their diligence in this regard. Originally, the conference was supposed to be hosted by the Madrid section of N-AM, who dropped out of the project shortly (and out of N-AM altogether) before the conference took place. This led to the irony of a conference being held in Spain where no actual Spanish people were among the attendees. Because National-Anarchists are widely despised by leftists who mistakenly regard N-A as a “fascist” tendency, security was a paramount concern.
Great new graphic from Adam Ormes!
My long range vision for ARV-ATS has always been to develop an anarchist-led revolutionary Left that works with the radical Right for the purpose of dismantling the American empire (Rome on the Potomac). Now that Donald Trump has taken the throne as the latest clown-emperor, it would appear that substantial sectors of the Left are starting to realize the merits of the ARV-ATS position. This latest article in The New Republic is one of multiple articles of this kind that has appeared in era of Trump, not to mention the emergence of Calexit. See here, here, here, and here. And influential figures on the radical Right appear to be prepared to embrace the ATS position in at least a moderate form. I was hoping Trump would have this effect on the Left.
By Kevin Baker
The New Republic
Dear Red-State Trump Voter,
Let’s face it, guys: We’re done.
For more than 80 years now, we—the residents of what some people like to call Blue America, but which I prefer to think of as the United States of We Pay Our Own Damn Way—have shelled out far more in federal tax monies than we took in. We have funded massive infrastructure projects in your rural counties, subsidized your schools and your power plants and your nursing homes, sent you entire industries, and simultaneously absorbed the most destitute, unskilled, and oppressed portions of your populations, white and black alike.
All of which, it turns out, only left you more bitter, white, and alt-right than ever.
Some folks here in self-supporting America like to believe that there must be a way to bring you back to your senses and to restore rational government, if not liberal ideals, sometime in the foreseeable future. Everyone seems to have an answer for how to do this. Every day another earnest little homily finds its way to me over my internet transom: “Think locally, act globally,” or “Make art and fight the power,” or the old Joe Hill standby—“Don’t mourn. Organize.”
To which I say: Don’t organize. Pack.
Bill Lind has a proposal that is very similar to certain ATS positions.
By William S. Lind
Low-level Fourth Generation war has been underway in the U.S. for some time, largely in the form of gang activities. That is likely to continue, as will occasional terrorist incidents. This low-level warfare is a problem, but it does not threaten the state.
However, the Left’s reaction to the election of Donald Trump as president points to a far more dangerous kind of 4GW on our own soil. Trump’s election signified, among other things, a direct rejection of the Left’s ideology of cultural Marxism, which condemns Whites, men, family-oriented women, conservative blacks, straights, etc. as inherently evil. Not surprisingly, those people finally rebelled against political correctness and elected someone who represents them.
By Will Rahn
Something people will increasingly ask down the road: In a wildly diverse nation of over 300 million people, would it not make more sense to have, say, three countries with a 100 million people each? Or how about 300 countries with a million people?
On the far-right, there are already those who pine for a breakup of the United States akin to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On the far-left, we’re hearing some secession talk too, particularly when it comes to the possibility of CalExit or a Second Vermont Republic.
And it’s not just the far-left, mind you: the Trump-supporting billionaire Peter Thiel, one of the country’s more powerful if eccentric business leaders, recently said he thought the secession of California would be a good thing.
By Keith Preston
American political culture has come to be defined by enormous divisions. Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt notes that present day political polarization is wider than at any time since the Civil War. Social science research finds that more Americans would oppose their son or daughter marrying someone of the other political party than would oppose marriage outside of their race, religion, or social class.
The Right and Left are coming to regard one another not merely as competitors, but as threats to the nation or even as personal enemies. Polarization has been sharpened by the election of Donald Trump. Indeed, the reaction of the Left has often been one of panic, hysteria, or terror. One leftist blogger professed to be as terrified on the night of Mr. Trump’s election as he had been when he was once arrested and put in jail. Intense polarization of this kind inevitably leads to talk of secession.
I have a fair amount of personal experience with this question. For nearly 20 years, I have advocated dissolving the US federal system through regional and local secession movements from across the political spectrum. Although I am a left-wing anarchist, I have also tried to build bridges between those opposed to, or under attack by, the US power elite from across the political and cultural spectrum–including racial nationalists.
The Trump victory has been a particular stimulus in California, where progressives have suggested that much of the rest of the nation is so out of touch with the values of their state that California should consider seceding. A group called “Yes California” has formed for the purpose of placing an initiative on the state ballot in 2019 approving California’s exit from the United States. This project has come to be known as “Calexit” as a nod to the “Brexit” referendum.
By Kirkpatrick Sale
Of all the phenomena the 2016 election year has demonstrated, none is greater than the proof that this nation is deeply and probably irretrievably split into two political camps with very, very little in common. It is more than blue states and red states, it goes deeper: it is truth, jobs, security, and intelligence on one side and lies, coddling rich, porous borders, and stupidity on the other. And vice versa.
Perhaps the greatest evidence of this rift at this moment is to be found in Texas. A Public Policy Polling survey on August 16 found that 61 per cent of the people who support Trump there have vowed that if Hillary Clinton is elected president they will push for Texas to secede from the union. Nothing less: secession.
And the interesting thing is that Texans have been thinking about secession for a number of years recently, and a Reuters poll in 2014 found that 36 per cent of the population would be for secession and another 18 percent were not sure, making the anti-secession crowd a minority of 46 per cent. And if anti-Clinton sentiment is real, her victory in November would likely solidify the secession movement further.
By Clare Foran
Secessionists across the United States are taking heart. The United Kingdom’s historic vote to leave the European Union last month has sparked interest in the far-fetched idea that U.S. states might win independence from Washington, D.C. Separatist groups are especially optimistic that Americans will be open to the idea of secession amid a presidential election that has witnessed a groundswell of populist discontent.
“Momentum is on our side,” Daniel Miller, the president of the Texas Nationalist Movement, an organization that describes its mission as the political, cultural, and economic independence of Texas, said in an interview. “The Brexit vote has shown not only that the people of Texas should become an independent nation, but that it is 100 percent possible.” Following the U.K. referendum, the group put out a call for Texas Governor Greg Abbott to support a “Texit vote.”
The improbable dream of secession is alive and well across the country and across the political spectrum. In the wake of the Brexit referendum, calls for secession everywhere from Alaska to New Hampshire have cropped up on social media. On top of that, U.S. secessionists report a flood of inquiries from people interested in supporting a separatist cause.
Louis Marinelli, the president of Yes California Independence Campaign, says his group, which wants to establish an independent Republic of California, saw a three-fold increase in supporters and volunteers since the Brexit referendum. Marinelli, who founded the group after he got fed up with Congress’s failure to pass immigration reform, doesn’t love the fact that people always seem to bring up the Civil War when he starts advocating secession. He believes the U.K. referendum makes for a promising counter-example. “It will be a good thing for the cause of self-determination in America to be able to point to a peaceful and legal secession,” Marinelli said.
There are limits to any comparison between the U.S. and the U.K. Still, the decision U.K. voters made to split from the E.U. is unprecedented, and certainly stands as a challenge to the political status quo. That alone is enough to encourage U.S. secessionists, however unlikely their aspirations. American secessionists cheered the prospect that Scotland might break away from the U.K. when it held an independence referendum in 2014, but that didn’t succeed—Brexit did.
Is the realignment happening already?
By Keir Martland
(26th June 2016)
At about midnight, the globalists in the Parliamentary Labour Party began their coup. Blairite Hilary Benn told socialist anti-interventionist Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn that he had no confidence in his leadership and the latter had no option but to give him the sack. Today we have seen a string of resignations, with half the Shadow Cabinet allegedly ready to resign to remove Corbyn. At the moment, Corbyn seems ready to put his own name forward to fight off the leadership challenge, but this may change if it becomes apparent that he doesn’t have the confidence of his Parliamentary Party. You do need the support of your MPs if you are to lead your Party.
The challenge to Corbyn is very interesting. What may be happening is a long overdue realignment in British politics. Of course, all of this is taking place following a vote from the British people to leave the European Union, and following Jeremy Corbyn’s own insistence that this vote should be respected. Since roughly 90 per cent of the Parliamentary Labour Party are determined to keep Britain in the European Union, this cannot have been taken well by people like Hilary Benn. More…
By Tom Slater
“Brexit is a fake revolt’, writes Paul Mason in the Guardian this week: ‘Working-class culture is being hijacked to help the elite.’ A withering article in Vice agrees. ‘Brexit is the upper classes in revolt’, writes Sam Kriss. ‘They see an undemocratic and unaccountable EU elite ruling by diktat and an unfounded sense of their own superiority, and they think: hey, that’s our job.’ Among nominally metropolitan, left-wing Remainers – or, in Mason’s case, Abstainers – this has become the overriding narrative: that Brexit is the establishment.
It’s also utter balls. Let’s run through the list of those who back Remain: there’s the prime minister; all the major political parties; every major world leader; the IMF; the Bank of England… Oh and, after this morning, we can add to that the entire British capitalist class. In a letter in The Times, 1,700 of the UK’s leading business leaders back Remain, and prominent among them are the CEOs of JP Morgan, HSBC and Goldman Sachs. You know, those fatcat bankers we hear so much about.
It looks like ATS ideas are becoming increasingly closer to the mainstream. I am seeing more and more writing like this all the time.
By Tim Bryant
The Last American Vagabond
Anyone paying even the slightest attention to the 2016 Presidential Election can see that this election cycle has been marred and corrupted up on a variety of fronts. On one hand, you have Hillary Clinton, a notorious insider and lifelong crook that is currently under criminal investigation by the FBI, and on the other hand you have Donald Trump, a reality TV character that says whatever’s on his mind, making it hard to pinpoint any real fundamentals to his policies, as well as creating polarizing political theatre for the public to eat up. These are the choices we’re given; you really can’t make this stuff up.
For those who have been awake for years, the ridiculousness of this year’s election is not all that shocking, as it has been on display for decades for those who cared to look behind the scenes. However, for a large majority of the population, this year’s election seems to be a major catalyst in waking them up to the obvious illusion that the United States of America is still a free and democratic society, the two supposed cornerstones of the “greatest country in the world.”
By Chris Shaw
I’ve made it clear that I don’t see the EU referendum as particularly important. The major economic questions surrounding the modern world, from banking fragility and capital creation, to huge levels of private and sovereign debt and politico-economic centralisation are not remotely addressed within this debate, except maybe on the peripheries. If we leave, economic and political power will simply be moved from unaccountable elites in Brussels to those in Westminster and its parasitical institutions. Democracy is not important in this debate as some have emphasised, as realistically the kind of representative democracy we have has led to many of the ridiculous problems the UK faces today, from failing social systems to a debt-led economy. Representative democracy relies on mass ignorance and the ability to debate non-issues among non-representative parties.
The only important area this debate touches on is the concept of secession. By voting to leave, we are hopefully seceding from the EU. This is more hopeful when the powers that be (Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, etc.) have proposed leaving the Single Market, thus actually decreasing our involvement in the EU instead of simply renegotiating it through EFTA or the EEA. Such proposals are potentially important and even radical, particularly when put in the frame of a “people’s choice” which is currently defining this referendum. This reinterprets what were meant to be the realities of the referendum (that of a debate about how good or bad the EU has supposedly been), and has instead reoriented it toward questions of what constitutes nationality and the character and ownership of a nation.
By doing this, questions of power and where it is held are raised. With this comes the potential for a wider debate over the whole concept of how we shape our polities and economies. Fundamentally, a discussion of this sort allows for a move away from the corporatised economies and centralised governance structures which cast the current paradigm.
Paul Joseph Watson joins Stefan Molyneux to discuss the upcoming United Kingdom EU Referendum.