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The Legal Right of the People of Massachusetts to Secede from the United States of America

As an anarchist, I do not believe the legal issues surrounding secession are of any importance. From an ethical standpoint, individuals have the right to self determination and the right to disassociate themselves from any association, including that of the state. However, since not all of us are anarchists, I delved a bit into any legal foundation for secession and this is what I found.

The Legal Right of the People of Massachusetts to Secede from the United States of America

Author: Stephen DeVoy

As an anarchist, I do not believe the legal issues surrounding secession are of any importance. From an ethical standpoint, individuals have the right to self determination and the right to disassociate themselves from any association, including that of the state. However, since not all of us are anarchists, I delved a bit into any legal foundation for secession and this is what I found.

The Right of the People of Massachusetts to Overthrow Their Government (Including the Government of the United States of America)

The Massachusetts Constitution is one of the most affirmative state constitutions in terms of its bill of rights which form the very first part of the constitution. The preamble itself contains an explicit declaration that the people of Massachusetts have the right to overthrow their government:

"Preamble: The end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it with the power of enjoying in safety and tranquillity their natural rights, and the blessings of life: and whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, prosperity and happiness..."

Moreover, the test for whether the conditions for overthrow are justified are much broader than I expected. For example, Article VII states that when the government acts not for the common good but for the good of any class, the people have an incontestable, inalienable and indefeasible right to overthrow it and institute a new government. The new government, according to this article, need not resemble in any way the former government:

"Article VII. Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it."

Now, one may argue, as Lincoln did (and Lincoln is considered to have been completely incorrect by many on this issue), that once admitted no state may leave the union (which reminds me of the mafia). One may argue that U.S. law takes precedence in this matter over the Massachusetts Constitution, but I do not see how this is possible, for the Massachusetts Constitution was ratified by the U.S. Government and it states that this right to overthrow the government is "incontestable" (cannot be argued against), "unalienable" (can never be removed), and "indefeasible" (not capable of being annulled or voided or undone). If the U.S. Government seeks to annul this article, then it seems that Massachusetts is no longer part of U.S. anyway, since its government would cease to be legal (no constitution - no government).

Right to Defend Themselves While Seceding

It seems, as well, that the people of Massachusetts have the right to bear arms against the U.S. Government should the U.S. Government wage war on the people of Massachusetts, which could happen if the state were to secede:

"Article XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it."

Conclusion

Go for it.

if you want another civil war 19.Nov.2004 07:43

slim

The only problem with this, is that bush has already set a precedent for invading sovereign nations/states...and he would have cluster bombs, napalm, and bradley's at his disposal. Oh, and most of the national guard from any given state, is in Iraq. He's smart huh?

Since MA, is filled with the ungodly gays, he would have no problem dropping bombs untill you give up. Bloodshed for nothing. Your either with us or against us, even hillary said that.

A. Lincoln:

1858
"I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people. There is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality."

1860
"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

1862
"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union"

So, although he had his "flip-flopping" beliefs, he was still an American. Southern states had the legal right to secede, but they could not take hostages.

You would need the agreement of everyone in MA, you can't hold third parties hostage, no matter how little they are...they are americans. So bush, would use the same precedent. MA is holding americans hostage, we must free them. Even though you may believe in gay rights, the shoe is on the other foot now. Americans(the feds) don't believe in gay rights and they will not let you hold people(americans) against their will, if they agree with the federal gov't.

I'm no expert in this, but this seems like a logical step the feds would take and they would most likely do it from far away, just dropping bombs untill you give up. I think it would be hard to send marines into MA to start executing "seperatists". Not many would do it. Dropping bombs makes it easier to sleep at night.

I bring up the gay issue, only because it's similar. The feds can say anthing about the people who are being held against their will in MA, to give them the right to invade. The gay civil rights issue, seems like a likely candidate.

Bush:

"i don't believe or disbelieve in gay rights, I believe in America, and I invade MA, to save America from activists judges imposing their will against americans"

I could be wrong, it's an interesting subject, I don't doubt your passion, or your research...just throwing in some alternative thoughts.

selective Lincoln quotes won't cut it 19.Nov.2004 12:58

more

selective Lincoln quotes won't cut it here. I suggest this book.

Lincoln began the U.S. imperialistic drive, the South was attacked out of northern economic interests that felt that an independent South would destroy their wealth, since the majority of the U.S. Treasury was coming from the South.


The Real Lincoln : A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War by THOMAS DILORENZO (Paperback)

 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761526463/qid=1100897862/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/102-2617314-8848149?v=glance&s=books&n=507846