Time for Secession?
Principles - Goals - Strategies
At least 5,000 ethnic, linguistic and racial groups are lumped
together into only 189 nation states. Most of the world's violent conflicts
are related to struggles for dominance within or independence from some large,
multi-national nation state. A large portion of the world's people would
choose to secede from their respective nation states if given the opportunity.
Millions of activists worldwide are committed to national, ethnic,
religious and regional secessionist movements described variously as:
self-determination, independence, autonomy, sub-national, micro-national,
separatist, sovereignty, indigenous, homeland, Fourth World. Ideological
movements explicitly or implicitly promoting individual, community or regional
rights to secession include: libertarian, anarchist, decentralist,
devolutionist, cantonal, green, bioregional, "small is beautiful," communal,
survivalist, pacifist and futurist. While these latter movements may promote
differing social and economic goals, their visions of individual liberty are
As we enter the twenty-first century the desire for individual liberty
is at an all time high. We are developing the computer and other technology
which can secure it--even as large nation states begin a new nuclear arms race
that is hurtling us towards almost inevitable accidental or intentional
nuclear war. The time has come to recognize that the great nation state
"experiment" of the last five hundred years has failed. The time has come for
humans to launch new experiments, ones based on past experience as well as new
ideas and technology. The time has come to identify principles and strategies,
and initiate educational and action campaigns, to support the world's people
as they seek true freedom, true peace and true justice.
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PRINCIPLES OF SECESSION.NET
PRIMACY OF THE RIGHT TO SECEDE
Whatever you believe the source of "rights" may be, how ever wide or
limited you may believe these rights are, there is no doubt that in the real
world that: a) organized political power decides what is or is not a "right"
and b) those who firmly, persistently, and nonviolently organize to challenge
political power eventually will win out. We will argue that no matter how you
arrive at your definition of rights, the primary political right of the
individual and of political communities is to secede from any political large
entity, whether they were born into it, were forced to join it, or immigrated
into it. If one denies or relinquishes that right, one is little more than a
INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNITY LIBERTY
In the name of nationalism, religion, ideology, tradition or "the
common good," the governments of the world suppress individual liberty.
Special interest-corporate-state-military elites worldwide tax, regulate,
bully, beat, prosecute, jail and execute citizens into submission. They
discriminate against, rob, ethnically cleanse and genocide members of
oppressed racial/ethnic/religious/regional groups. Without government
control, these elites would have little real power over individuals.
The concept of individual liberty is simple: individuals should be
free to do whatever they please as long as they don't harm others by using
force or fraud. This is the basic ethical tenet or "golden rule" of all
religions, one corrupted by layers of theology and ritual and centuries of
kowtowing to political authority. Individual consent-not some nationalist,
racial, religious, tribal or, ideological construct or "social contract"-is
the only legitimate basis of any social, economic and political organization.
However, supporting the idea and value of individual liberty is not enough to
obtain liberty. We must support institutional structures that make it
impossible for states, communities or private corporate, religious or other
entities to crush individual liberty.
Throughout history most individuals have chosen to live in community
with others. Large, multi-national nation states were created by military
conquest of smaller independent communities, tribes and nations. Individuals
today have little control over their local communities, most of which have
become mere administrative units of large, distant, oppressive nation states.
In the last half-century the largest and most powerful nation states have been
building big super-national organizations like the United Nations, NATO, the
International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization
to ensure that special interest-corporate-state-military elites further
concentrate their control. What some call "corporate globalization" is really
government globalization in service of (mostly "First World") corporate and
The "community" (including small cities, neighborhoods, cantons or
counties, depending on geography) must become the basic political unit.
Communities must be free to join or secede from any larger regional,
continental or even worldwide networks and confederations they join to deal
with a variety of issues. While communities may choose to confederate along
traditional linguistic, ethnic or racial national lines, these confederations
must recognize the rights of sub-communities among them to maintain their
autonomy. And communities themselves must recognize the right of members and
geographical sections of the community to secede and become autonomous or
attach to other communities. Only the right to secession guarantees true
Many worry that corporations would run roughshod over such
communities. But without central government limited liabilities, privileges
and welfare, most existing huge multinational corporations would disappear or
break up into much smaller entities that would have little real power to
DECENTRALIZED DEMOCRACY AND LAW
Democracy and law must be decentralized down to the level of the
individual. "Democracy" means "rule of the people"--a phrase which can be
interpreted in ways both authoritarian and libertarian. Even in "liberal
democracies" majority rule election of representatives (who pass laws by
majority rule) is just a cloak for defacto minority rule by special
interest-corporate-state-military elites. "Fiat" government law made by and
for these elites supplants widely supported traditional or common law and
continually gnaws away at individual liberty. It is defacto authoritarian
Decentralizing democracy allows individuals to reject special interest
laws that unjustly restrict their freedom. There are two methods of doing
this, which are best used together. Direct democracy means only individual
votes through initiatives and referendums can approve or reject laws. (The
growth of the Internet makes it easy for people to vote from home, office,
library, etc.) Consensus-oriented or supermajority democracy means a law only
may be imposed when 75 to 95 or more percent of all eligible voters agree that
it is necessary.
Decentralizing law (also known as policentric law) means individuals
freely choose the legal system they will abide by. They may choose different
systems to deal with personal, business, or other matters. They will be free
to choose how much of their lives will be ruled by contractual obligations and
how much by community decision-making, simply by deciding what legal system
and what community or communities they will join. Similarly, communities in
their dealings with others will utilize as much as possible principles of
direct, consensus-oriented democracy and policentric law.
NONVIOLENT SECESSION AND INSTITUTIONS
The world's large nation states are maintained through threatened and
actual military violence against even perceived secessionists. Democratic
welfare states bribe their citizens with unsustainable social welfare programs
while they build up powerful and increasingly nuclear-armed militaries.
Dictatorships dispense with social welfare bribes, sacrificing their people as
they focus on military buildups. Only abolition of large multi-national
nation states and their militaries will prevent eventual and inevitable,
accidental or intentional, nuclear war.
Nonviolence is the belief that no racial, ethnic, religious,
ideological, social, or economic belief or goal excuses the use of individual
or state violence to force the compliance of others. Nonviolent philosophy and
practices extend to interpersonal, group and community conflict resolution,
nonviolent legal sanctions and nonviolent policing and defense. A commitment
to nonviolent conflict resolution helps create tolerance among people, despite
their ethnic, racial, religious, ideological and other differences.
The purpose of non-violent action is to withdraw consent from
government or other authorities, rather than wrest power from them--defacto
secession. Non-violence heightens the moral superiority of the actionists in
the eyes of the general public--especially if the authorities respond to their
sincere and open protest with violence. Even members of the ruling classes
can be swayed to sympathy by such non-violent actions. Police and soldiers
wooed with sound political arguments and non-violent demonstrations are more
likely to come over to the side of the activists than ones afraid of being
harmed by protesters. Political violence destroys public sympathy and unites
the people with the elites and the police against the protesters--that's why
governments infiltrate with agents provocateurs. Violent action usually is
practiced predominantly by angry young men, often with military training, who
often become as ruthless towards other dissidents as they do towards the
oppressor. When violent revolutionaries take power, their regimes usually are
as ruthless as their revolutions.
GOALS OF SECESSION.NET
Legitimatize secession of smaller political entities: the United Nations and
human rights organizations give lip service support to autonomy and
self-determination movements; we promote factual and moral arguments for the
right of individuals, communities large and small, and national sub-groups to
Promote a nonviolent, radical decentralist vision: one that will replace
centralized, authoritarian economic-political institutions and offer concrete
nonviolent strategies for achieving radical political decentralization and the
true peace, freedom and justice it offers.
Influence existing secessionist movements: too many movements want to replace
one big, centralized authoritarian state with two or more smaller ones;
however, only a worldwide movement promoting the radical goals of freedom for
individuals and communities, can legitimatize the aspirations of hundreds of
suppressed national and regional groups for freedom.
Promote new secession movements: billions of people are ready for radical
decentralist alternatives and secessionist strategy, they just need a little
encouragement to begin organizing their own movements.
Prepare a post-nuclear war political alternative: as long as nuclear weapons
exist, they surely will be used, perhaps in a world war that will kill off
billions of people. Should large nation states visit this catastrophe upon
humanity, survivors must know that they do not have to reconstitute or support
the nation state system which destroyed their lives.
STRATEGIES OF SECESSION.NET
We must emphasize secession and not be co-opted by "reformist"
promises to decentralize power. Movements advocating anything short of the
right to peaceful secession-i.e., advocating any form of "top down"
decentralization or devolution"--will be either ignored or co-opted.
We must use a variety of educational and communications strategies, as
well as work within existing political processes through electoral politics
and lobbying, to educate the peoples of the world to our superior alternative.
Maintaining cordial relationships with those in power, and their supporters,
divides elites, wins over converts and helps minimize harm to future
secessionist action. However, the goals of most secessionist movements cannot
be achieved through the electoral process. Racial, ethnic, religious or
regional elites, special interest-corporate-state-military elites, as well as
individuals who receive government paychecks and social welfare payments,
usually possess sufficient power to block legal dissolution of nation states.
Therefore, we must pursue actively and aggressively the full range of
nonviolent strategies--nonviolent protest and persuasion, economic, political
and social noncooperation, and nonviolent intervention. The latter includes
putting substantial effort into creating parallel secessionist institutions,
in order to withdraw consent from government. We must identify natural
communities and plan alternative communities. We must reassure the public
that communities and new confederations will be created by voluntary
alliances, not by driving off unwanted people. And we should remind them, if
with a wink, that those who want to retain citizenship in the nation state,
obey its laws and pay its taxes may do so, even if most of one's neighbors
"Whenever government becomes destructive of these ends
(life, liberty, pursuit of happiness), it is the right
of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute
a new government."
Declaration of Independence of the American Colonies, 1776
ELECT YOURSELF! ACT LOCALLY - ACT GLOBALLY.
Citizens Executive Administration
of the United States of America
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