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Seceding and the White Left

things to consider
Since I first was exposed to EarthFirst! in 1998, I have encountered people advocating for the idea of Cascadia seceding as a bioregion (WA,OR,N.Cali), from the United States.

Now I am fully aware that no seceding will actually occur from these conversations, and that beneficial side impacts such as increased community building and vision development may occur among members of the predominately white left in Portland.

That said I would highly reccommend that people committed to racial justice, especially white activists, check out "Ecotopia":
This book, while written in 1975 laid the foundation for much of the discourse that happens on the white left for seceding. In a patriarical, environmentally friendly, racist (all characters are white) book the author spells out a vision for a white leftist utopia which still haunts our conversations.

I am sincerely not trying to imply that anyone involved in the Cascadia seceding conversations is mal-intentioned. I just want to make explicit a history in our region which should be carefully considered, since it is so rarely cited.

Oregon gained its statehood during a time in the US when slavery was in great contention. As a territory comprised of mostly white poor and working class southern migrants there was great hostility toward the african slaves among the population of Oregon. As working people they had been forced to compete with the free labor of those held in slavery, and as white people they had been taught to fear and hate Black people, and really all people of color. Oregon became a state that did not have slavery, but *outlawed* the presence of Black people in the state as well. Till this day Oregon has a tiny Black population (something like 80% of all people of African descent in Oregon live in the Portland area). This is a direct result of structural racism, stemming from our nation and region's foundation in a slave economy.

While I always enjoy and value the political visions of commrades and friends, I do sorta wish that the energy put into this seceding debate/planning would instead be put into racial and economic justice work in Portland, there is so much to be done. Planning a secession movement seems more like brain candy than true ally work.
great article, Laura! 21.Nov.2004 18:07

white guy

I agree wholeheartedly and completely.

your points about properly directed energies, and "brain candy" vs. real work, are well taken.

while I have respect for Ernst Callenbach's work, it was and is framed within a 'white leftist utopic' outlook and this needs to be transcended.

Why do you assume that secession cannot be achieved? 21.Nov.2004 18:15


Over the last three decades, we've seen the USSR decompose through secessionist movements. We've seen major changes on the drawing of lines on the world map. Secession need not be a nationalist movement. The "blue state" areas proposing secession are doing so for IDEOLOGICAL reasons, not nationalist reasons. In fact, many of us would consider merging with Canada, once again, for IDEOLOGICAL reasons.

You have far less chance changing the nature of the US than you do in destructing the US through secession. If secession leads to a larger number of people living in progressively governed areas, I'd call that progress.

Activist club rivalry 21.Nov.2004 19:08

I want to show my ideals through work, not a battle of words

I don't know much about "ecotopia". What I do know is this: sovreignity and self-determination are things that we can all relate on- at least those of us who identify within communities. If you think that secession means white supremecy, I don't know who you know. I know for a fact that there are vibrant and effectivley organized groups of First Nations, Black power, Chicano/a power, and many other localized communities and ethnic nationalisms fighting for self determination all over the hemisphere and that to say that they don't exist is to fall into the same trap that self-serving liberals fall into to reinvest "community" power back into the hands of the 501c3 leader white people/ the democratic party.

I think your point brings up a question of whether or not the growing secession movement on the left is connecting with and supporting existing sovreignity struggles. I doubt anything much has happened because this is all so new to indymedia. But WILL it happen? Will we all find ways of supporting self-determination for one another, and creating work that bridges struggles into a movement? Well, that will be up to all of us, won't it? I have every intention of being a part of a relevant and vibrant movement, not a pre-doomed isolated and ignorant one. What about you? are you going to shape it with your work, or are you going to tear it down from the sidelines? That's a question to all the intellegencia on the left, and not a condemnation.

On Ecotopia, Seccession and Brain Candy 21.Nov.2004 20:01


Laura makes some good points. I disagree that seccession is brain candy but I think she/he raises extremely important points about how a white left seccession movement relates to ally work.

First I want to say something about the novel Ecotopia. Laura is right that we need to understand some of the roots of our ideas. Ecotopia has influenced the way people raised in the US think about seccession and environment and place-based activism in the way it has infused US culture - even if we have never read of or heard about the book. Ecotopia is not simply a racist novel because it only includes white people. It is also a racist novel in the ways that it includes people of color. The novel depicts black people who live in segregated ghettos in urban centers. The language used to discuss segregation comes from a moment of black power and confusion on the white left on "why don't African Americans like white liberals?". There is a deep seated fear of African Americans explained away through marginalization and segregation rather than exploring the root of the African American anger in the 1970s. The book depicts no Native Americans because in "Ecotopia" all the native americans have died and all the white people are indians (remember the line from Sherman Alexie?). I am not being sarcastic. This is what the book claims. The white environmental utopia condones genoicide. The language it uses to talk about native americans comes straight from the "Noble Savage" destined to die out when faced with manifest destiny from the 1800s that we all call racist today. (And yet which the white left still continues to use most of the time without realizing it). The book is full of primitivism and white people pretending to be what they think are Indians.

Ecotopia is one of the more racist books I've ever read - and it is not trying to be racist. Like so much of the white left, it thinks it is being progressive. [side note: Want to read a good book on white people playing indian and why the use of native spirituality etc is so popular in the white left? Check out Phil Deloria's Playing Indian.] The sexism in Ecotopia is whole 'nother issue altogher. While I'm sure the author was well intentioned (as are many in the left) the book is full of unintentioned racism and sexism.

My fear is that the secession movement that is arising from fantasies like Ecotopia is also unintentionally filled with much of that same racism and sexism.

I am horrified by the little thought given to native communities on the indy media discussions. "We" can't really secede without addressing the fact that this isn't "our" land. One post I saw suggested we could just ask the Native folks and then we'd have permission. No one should assume native communities would give permission. We need to start a dialogue cause not everyone is going to be on the same page and if this is truly going to be a different place - respecting native land and native sovereignty - including having this be a key early part of the discussion that is with native tribes - is essential.

If folks are serious about seccession, then native communities need to brought into that discussion early on. We can't come up with the great white left plan and expect that it is in anyway receptive to, responsive to, other communities.

Like I said before, I don't think secession is brain candy. I don't think folks are being racist, or bad or misguided even when promoting seccession. I'm excited it is being talked about- I think it is great that folks are exploring options for a more just society and I don't want to diss those efforts. However, it is because I take the intentions behind those efforts so seriously that I am also concerned about the relation of the seccession movements to movements for racial and economic justice as well as native soveireignty.

My goal is not to disuade folks from the seccession movement, but to think about how a seccession movement would find new and creative ways for working for "real" change - including the racism, sexism, and economic oppression that our capitalist empire functions with.

I think writing off dreams of real radical change as brain candy is worrisome. This is because I wouldn't call an anti-capitalist revolution brain candy and I think that is just as "unobtainable". But if we don't make it our goal it will always be "unobtainable."

I do think the difference between brain candy and a laudable goal is how we go about it. That is - the likelihood increases if we take the strategic steps neccesary. I think ally work on racial and economic justice is a key step towards building the communities of resistance that could successfully secede, that could survive without capitalism. We need to build strong local communities that are racially and economically just; to build communties of trust and dialogue; to build local economy and community. We need to work at local community groups, and work on local campaigns, We need do the work of building community, seeking the root problems of injustice, working on dialogue - this is when we are truly working for revolution. And we need to do this work within the larger framework of our larger goals whether it be seccession, communism, anarchism, anti-capitalism, etc.

If all we do is meet and talk about seccesion and we don't confront the larger problems of our communities, our economic dependence, etc that all we're doing is reproducing injustice and oppression. And we're unlikely to succeed regardless of whether our goal is seccession or anti-capitalist revolution.

The left is full of sexism, racism, and economic injustice. Much of the problems within the left are unintentional. Folks do not realize how deep seated racism and sexism have become in their ideologies. We need to work on a multitude of issues locally to build coalitions to get to see the way ideolgoies work in our real lives - build real multi-gendered multi-racial multi-economic levels (and I don't just mean that you have no job but your parents are upper middle class) communities where we work on our shit prior to seceeding and as part of a seccession movement or we're just going to be aiming for the same old capitalist game plan.

I include myself in this critique. I think the issues and concerns raised by Laura are the very ones we need to be taking most seriously if true social and political change is our goal.

We will bury them in their own SHIT! 21.Nov.2004 20:06

V. Putin

Why would you bring up the USSR as an example of successful Secession movement.

You want to make Cascadian the Chechnya of North America?

Putin said of the Chechens in 1998 "We will bury them in their own shit.". Have you taken a look at Grozny the capital lately? It looks like Berlin did in 1945.

There is something about Humans in that they have much more zeal in shooting people they consider to be traitors than those they consider the enemy.

What makes you think that all of those Red states will just let you leave peacefully?

This is something that seems to be totally overlooked by the Secede Cascadian movement.

Actually you need to look at a county by county map and see that the Portland area is about the only area in Oregon that was blue.

There are many Blue people in red states, but there are also many Red people in blue states.

I encourage everyone to go to the library check out Ken Burn's Civil War series. He shows what happed the last time states seceded when a Republican president was elected. 600,000 Americans dead for one.

Um, do you the difference between the U.S.S.R. and Russia? 21.Nov.2004 20:12


Chechnya is the consequence of secession from Russia. Russia, Lithuania, Lativa, Estonia, Belorus, Ukrain, Tajikistan, Armenia, etc are the consequence of secession from the U.S.S.R.

: )

Secession makes more sense to me. 21.Nov.2004 20:35

Kris Mitchell

Why should blue state residents live under the social moores and controls of the red states? There is nothing racist about wanting autonomy. I haven't seen anything mentioned that sounds even the slightest bit racist.

Technically yes. 21.Nov.2004 20:37

V. Putin

Yes Chechnya broke away from Russia, but only after the break up of the Soviet Union. The USSR breakup was mostly voluntary. Chechnya was also part of the USSR at one time and even though they attempted to succeed from Russia, they did so, in their minds as part of the same process.

My point is this:

It seems most people in the Succeed Cascadian movement act as if once they have decided something, that's all there is to it. Nobody is addressing what the rest of the United States opinion is on the subject.

You need to ask yourself these questions.

Is an autonomous Cascadian worth dying for?

Is an autonomous Cascadian worth your family, children's lives?

Is an autonomous Cascadian worth the mass destruction of area that would ensue during a war?

Is an autonomous Cascadian able to withstand the FULL weight of the United States Military? (keep in mind almost all of those Nuclear Missile silos are in Red States)

Is an autonomous Cascadian ready for a Modern day General Sherman to march in an burn everything in his path?

If a war is fought over Cascadian, you can almost bet it won't be fought in a Red State it will be fought in Oregon and Portland.

These are just some things that need to be addressed at some point. I haven't seen anybody talking about.

Much talk about Eco-topia but nothing about Reality-ville.

There will be no war. 21.Nov.2004 20:56


If a secession movement is conducted properly, there will be no war. We are not living in the 1860s.

As for your other questions, I refuse to answer them on the grounds that I believe the FBI is monitoring this website and I question your motivation.

thanks soledad 21.Nov.2004 20:57


Thank you for a thoughtful and well written response. You have a very gracious and humble manner. Thank you also for naming native soverignity as a cornerstone of these conversations about land and self-governance.

You wrote:
"If all we do is meet and talk about seccesion and we don't confront the larger problems of our communities, our economic dependence, etc that all we're doing is reproducing injustice and oppression. And we're unlikely to succeed regardless of whether our goal is seccession or anti-capitalist revolution."

I really agree with this framing of concerns, and I will reiterate that I don't believe a seccession is going to happen, I'm just interested in using this moment to reflect on how insular the white left can get at times when there is so much to be done in terms of poverty, racism, genocide in state of Oregon.

Since this isn't kindergarten, I don't think all ideas are equally valuable. A diversity of ideas is great and necessary, but I think it is brain candy when we get attracted to revolutionary **ideas** and spend a lot of time evaluating them, holding meetings about them, etc. I think if people want to be known by their actions then spending your time in meetings about an event that isnt going to happen isn't particularly inspiring.

So, I dont mean to be harsh, just trying to keep a pulse on the insularity.

Not a snowballs chance in hell 21.Nov.2004 20:59

will seceding be bloodless

Just some advice from the east coast. As long as Oregon possesses anything of value (forests, ports) no one is going to let go of it peacefully. Not that I don't think it should happen. Just beware. Look at history. Read this on how the feds broke up the general strike in San Fran in 1934. They will use the media to paint you as a grave terrorist threat. Never underestimate how influential the media is in shaping public opinion. And public opinion not being on your side will lead to any losses you experience being wrote off as necessary for the greater good of the United States. Sorry to rain on your parade. I know that there are people in both other blue states and in red states that would like to be done with this country too and would like to join you. Geographical distance does play a factor in us organizing. Just don't forget that opposition to facism isn't just a trait found in Cascadia. I just brought this up for thought because I think rather than just resorting to fantasy to cope with corporate control and Bush, we need to brainstorm about ways to be geniunely subversive. We don't stand a chance engaging this country on pure military might. Unless someone knows something I don't. I do think guerilla attacks against the US army could be fun. But we have to be much quicker, smarter, and ofcourse, well armed. For a less confrontational approach, there are many ways to disrupt business as usual. Such as stealing the barracades the police use to block streets and blocking off a city at rush hour. That's merely a suggestion. Just use the fact that people are sheep against them. They expect things to be in order each day. Even some minor thing can cause a traffic jam that stretches for miles. I know these aren't direct hits against Bush, but they are an assault on the corporate power structure. The country is a mess right now. We do need a nationwide front against Bush, and doing more than just protesting. I don't suggest doing anything that could be likened to terrorism, because that could backfire. I also suggest developing pirate radio and TV to an art. You don't realize the creative potential that's out there. Just meditate on that when you are feeling depressed about the state of things. Again, I state that I support secession. I just think that you will need All of the blue state's help in pulling it off, because this is serious. We will work with you if you develop a working plan.

to Kris 21.Nov.2004 20:59


If you think Oregon is a blue state then you must not have driven outside of Portland during the election. The entire I-5 corridor was plastered with Yes On 36 and Bush/Cheney signs. Oregon is only blue because of Portland. This is a pretty "red" state!

Here's where you can read 21.Nov.2004 21:06


the San Francisco general strike:  http://www.brasscheck.com/1934.html

This negativity about secession smells of coordination and ill intent. 21.Nov.2004 21:11


The pace of the "back and forth" posts and the insuations of violence all point to an attempt to get secessionists to "declare their intent" with regard to a willingness to resort to violence. It is also indicative of a psychological operation intended to create the illusion that there is a great deal of negative concern about the concept.

I don't buy that the above conversation is for real.

(Love, an experienced anti-COINTELPRO-er)

The Cause… 21.Nov.2004 21:26

V Putin

Yes, this is 2004, not 1861. That only means that the killing will be much more lopsided.

I said you have to ask yourself those questions. I didn't say I wanted the answer.
Sound slightly familiar?
Sound slightly familiar?

JAN 20 2005 21.Nov.2004 21:26


day off.

constructive policies on how to decentralize? concentrate on that 21.Nov.2004 21:31

more suggestions


"Chechnya is the consequence of secession from Russia."

Well, the whole battle of Chechnya is that the RUSSIAN OIL PIPELINE INTERCHANGE goes through this very sensetive and strategic area, into Russia. Plus, the US CIA (helped by Al-Queda, of course) has been involved in "destabalizing" the area as well.

As long as we avoid oil as the energy choice, that can avoid lots of hairy covert ops I believe. ;-)

And I think that this point is reflected in another comment above : "Just some advice from the east coast. As long as Oregon possesses anything of value (forests, ports) no one is going to let go of it peacefully. Not that I don't think it should happen. Just beware. Look at history."


I think that financial power, media power, consumptive power (oil dependencies, etc.), political power, and educational power (different schools--more local knowledges and sustainability interests instead of turning out oil engineers and demoting centralized nationalized textbook regimes that the U.S. has) is another 'motion on the floor' to chew on.

I think these institutional decentralizations and more local autonomy and input into them is what many people imply when they say "secession", though I have rarely seen it stated in these threads. After all what is secession when you become more centralized in your own backyard after you secede? ;-)

I would concentrate on promoting other institutional frameworks, which is involved in everything you say above. I think that this definitely implies breaking down the national white power patriarchical framework as well and joining with lots of more localized groups.

thank you 21.Nov.2004 23:13


Hello Laura

thank you for bring this up. I have been pushing for Cascadia/Ecotopia for some decades. I have always been very very concerned about the construct we call "race" as well and cultural perceptions of "gender". Remember this is not just about the two "racial" groups you have mentioned nor aout even two genders. There are also Native Americans as well as people of Asian ancestory that have experienced the "white male" justice called racism and genocide. I have repeatedly talked to various friends I have who are not "white males" about Cascadia. But prior to this election fraud their was little interested in any demographic group. Since this idea has now started to germinate this is the time to bring up such comments. As for male dominatant .. well .. at our two meetings and as well as my list of friends I chat with women are present and I hope to see more awakening of this. Lets also look closer at Ernest Callenbach's book Ecotopia which is a product of its time (the 1970s) where gender and sex are still precieved as the same thing. Ecofeminism has inspired many new potentials for this possible paradigm shift. From my point of view this is the time to invite all parts of the communities. I have repeatedly mentioned in my approach to Cascadia the embracing of diversity in all forms of being from the ecological, economic, multicultural, gender, abilities and all other concepts we use to divide ourslves. To me Cascadia could be come the platform to deconstruct our perceptions of "being". I have repeatedly said Cascadia must not be nationalism nor just another secessionist group. It should be something different. This is about re-examining who and what we are. I can only hope that this is a look in the mirror at ourselves with all the blemishes and awe that we are. And then to ask ourselves can we be something "better" and what is "we". To me this is a paradigm that shallshift us from an anthropo-centric worldview to a eco-centric worldview. One where we hopefully will ask what is "race"? What is "gender"? One where we will honor all ancestors (even those who caused great suffering) and remember them either has guides to a new future and as guides to avoid mistakes of the past. I pray that this shall created the paradigm that will lead us someday to "see" that one's being does not end at one's fingertips but are in the actions and reactions in all around us. That we step forth to percieve and be in a world interconnected. A world where we hold up the idea of "Ecology, Equality and Equity" through "Respect, Reverence and Responsiblity" in every act and thought we have. So let this be an invitation to you and all to have this dialogue. I can not force anyone to have this dialogue, but I can invite all. I can seek out, but I can not force.

People Without a Story...a Song...a Dance 21.Nov.2004 23:22


I don't know how the white settler culture--both its left and right expressions--achieve, recover what seems to be longed for but was rejected, or at least abandonded, when its ancestors came to the "new world" at various times and places over the past some 500 years. The history of this misbegotten pseudo tribe of freedom loving individualists is one of elevation of and identity with conquest and continually reinventing and agrandizing itself and oneself--as if trying to make up or compensate for and recapture a lost rootedness and oneness with the spirit of a place. They are the descendents of immigrants who had in common the notion that community and rootedness in a place was worth less than the possiblity of fulfilment of boundless personal material fantasies and liberty to no particular end. The sad road from the genocidal relations with the people of this land and the land of them people, to the big box shopping mall and asphalt world of hard surfaces, straight lines and ninety degree angles on top of the ghosts of trees, grass, soil, animals, fish, water and birds, belies the psychotic disconnectedness and attempts to self medicate. Looking for home.

The american dream seems to be playing itself out over centuries of troubled sleep echoing in the heads of the spawn of self-exiles and refugees who can't go back, when after some several millenia, possibly, notions of 'going to a better place'--seccession, if you will--will have faded, and those remaining will be one in relatedness to all living at and to where they live. They will no longer have to own it to belong there.

reply to Laura 21.Nov.2004 23:39


First of all, let me tell you that I fully share your frustration with all the talk about secession. Your term, "brain candy", is a good one to describe it. It is indeed basically an intellectual excercise, since any sort of open attempt at secession would be viewed as traitorous/rebellious, and be met with brutal force. Also, I don't think there's a common enough Cascadian identity among enough people to even try. And, of course, Oregon is mostly a "red" state. If folks want to start talking about Multnomah County seceding, then they'd be on to something slightly more attainable, but still virtually impossible.

You also said, "Since this isn't kindergarten, I don't think all ideas are equally valuable." Agreed, again. That being said, I think that racism and work with "allies" is only one of several ideas that are definitely more valuable than brain candy talk about secession. Breaking the stranglehold that the corporate media has over almost everyone's minds (of whatever color) is an example; while the propaganda machine reigns free, all other changes will be very difficult. Breaking the addiction to junk food that most people (of whatever color) have is also key; while people are ingesting poison, they're unlikely to think clearly or be part of positive change. Breaking the primacy of automobile culture that most people (of whatever color) are trapped in; while our population centers are spread out and car dependent, it is difficult to build community or connect with people, in order to work on change. These three examples all have their racist twists, too, of course: people of color are stereotyped in the media (making them easier to incarcerate and harder to employ), fast food restaurants are concentrated in their neighborhoods, and increasingly the cheaper places to live (which people of color disproportionately need) are further out, with less access to public transportation, and out of easy bike distance of jobs/necessities.

I bring all this up not to downplay racism as an issue. Rather, I wanted to point out that the people talking about secession are really talking about independence, and there's many ways to work toward that goal, short of an on-paper break-away. As we work on real, local, community issues, we will make ourselves more free. At the same time, the federal gov't (and other forms of nationalized oppression, corporate, etc.) will become more irrelevant. That's a good thing. That's secession in slow motion. And while we work on this stuff, right here in our own neighborhoods, we will have to address racism, sexism, etc., because our labor will be all about making a reality that's based on cooperation and respect.

a proposal 22.Nov.2004 01:56


Because of the times and culture that "Ecotopia" the novel emerged from. Let me propose a new approach that is not divisive or used by those opposed to Cascadia to intentionally de-rail the growing movement. We create a new literary work that reflects both the realities of our age and the visions of what kind of Cascadia we would like to leave to our descendants. This could be a collection of interviews or commentaries with those who live, work and play in what we call Cascadia. It could address issues of all the chauvanism. It could be from all demographics of the bioregion. From all ancestory and individuals from all aspects of our Cascadia. A suggested title could be "An Anthology of Cascadia: a Quest for Bioregional Communities". We can use this to create a new paradigm for Cascadia. Commentaries about "Ecotopia" and the history of the region would be welcomed.

I think many of us get wrapped up in the ecological idea of Ecotopia and ignore the pieces we dislike. I have always had problems with its treatment of the Black communities and lack of Native Americans. Many of us were just seduced by its ecological message, freedom and even its return to a stereotype of the "noble savage".

I believe this is important to focus on thses issues in a constructive way. It is far too easy for people wishing to stop this vision to post constantly in this posts and groups solely with the goal to stop Cascadian awareness.

... 22.Nov.2004 01:59


> They are the descendents of immigrants who had in common the notion that
> community and rootedness in a place was worth less than the possiblity of
> fulfilment of boundless personal material fantasies and liberty to no
> particular end.

Many of us are the descendants of refugees from serfdom, 19th century urban squalor, and/or the horrible carnage carried out by generation after generation of wannabe tinpot Caesars all over "the old world." I know in particular that pacifism in the face of Bismarck's madness was a prominent factor in my family's emigration from the old country all them years ago.

So I'm not sure it's quite fair to paint everybody with the brush of "the pursuit of liberty to no particular end." Bush was not the world's first mad dictator, and this generation is not the first one to flee from a sinking ship.

new northwestern 22.Nov.2004 02:09

secessionist literature

I think titles (etc.) for an anthology of contributions from a wide variety of different points of view ought to be the last things the editors come up with. If, for instance, it turns out the only people interested in "bioregionalism" (or some other casually-employed subcultural buzzword) are white folks, then over-specifying the topic in advance limits the contributor base before you even get started.

Re: new northwestern 22.Nov.2004 02:33


it was merely a suggestion. By the way "new northwestern" of course comes from the idea that maps must be America-centric. Why not "NorthEastern Pacific" from a Pacific-centric point of view. My point with this is we need to be open and not shoot down everything someone else says. We need to stop reacting and start becoming mindful.

--- 22.Nov.2004 03:42


> Why not "NorthEastern Pacific" from a Pacific-centric point of view.
> My point with this is

Because my point is (a suggestion) to start with language that is used and understood by as many people across as many demographics as possible, and not to start with the weirdest, most oppositional, most marginalized language we can think of, employing the kind of jargon that long-time activists use to impress each other. That's "why not" :-)

How to translate the COINTELPRO posts. 22.Nov.2004 04:14


(1) Note the times of the exchanges, look for "back and forth" sequences with very short turn around times.

(2) Note the hyper-politeness.

(3) Statements about "treason" and "sedition" come from the philosophy of the right wing. Anarchists don't give a rat's ass about these terms. Whoever is bringing them up is not one of us.

(4) Statements about war are intended to provoke counterstatements affirming a committment to fight. Such counterstatements will be seized upon by law enforcement to obtain warrants.

Love, your friendly anti-COINTELPRO-er

Laura 22.Nov.2004 06:40


You wrote "Since this isn't kindergarten, I don't think all ideas are equally valuable. A diversity of ideas is great and necessary, but I think it is brain candy when we get attracted to revolutionary **ideas** and spend a lot of time evaluating them, holding meetings about them, etc. I think if people want to be known by their actions then spending your time in meetings about an event that isnt going to happen isn't particularly inspiring."

Ideas without action usually don't get us anywhere. However, since I think in the long-term we need to radically change/alter/re-do society to have locally based autonomous anti-capitaist communities, I think having larger goals is really important to our local actions. We can't divorce those ideas from our local actions, but I think it is important to have those ideas. And I think what is truly insular is having those ideas with disucssing them, and without truly engaging them. I would never advocate meetings about seccession without placing our work in real communities, real organizations and real campaigns center stage. But I think having those meetings (be they about seccession, community autonomy, anti-capitalism) to engage ideas and work through the difficulties in the improved societies we dream about - is crucial to having a self-reflective, self-critical, left that one day truly may change society.

Discussing those ideas can provide the hope and the inspiritation to fuel much of the "real" work on local campaigns and local organizations. I think the seccession movement can connect in really powerful ways with local organizing. I think it can provide a vision and a framework that may not be realized in any of our lifetimes but is important.

In my opinion, there is no way for seccession to happen unless we do years and years (probably decades and decades) of ground work which includes building strong communities, building economic autonomy, building food and water security, fighting economic, racial, and gendered injustice in our communities, transforming our way of thinking about the world. If our goal is seccession, and we take it seriously, I think we need to start engaging in that work, we need to be engaging in dialogue with so many communities. I think that would be really powerful and the long-term goal could provide amazing inspiration.

It may be (and probably is) that folks are not willing to do that hard work - that folks want an easy answer - want to seceede to escape Bush and would be just as happy to join Canada- anything to escape responsibililty for Bush. That is a) unrealistic b) unresponsible. We are the belly of the beast. It is important we resist from within.

So, I guess I have my question for you:
1) How do we balance between cycnism/realism that may lead to unneccesarily to reformism and an idealism that may "waste" people's time and organizing energy? How do you decide when you are placing an idea as "brain candy" versus an important critical framework worth discussing and meeting about? I love knowing that a million people voted Eugene V. Debs as a socialist for president while he was in jail. I love knowing about the history of the wobbly workers in the lumber mills in the Pacific Northwest. I love the history of resistance and that history is so powerful when it is tied with a faith in an ability to truly change society. Many of those ideas were unobtainable. But their idealism, their dreams of change, provide hope today and planted so many seeds of faith and resistance along the way.

indymedia's ever-helpful (?) cointelpro monitor 22.Nov.2004 06:43

what's yer point?

which posts, if any, are you alleging to be establishment disinformation?

anti-COINTELPRO-er 22.Nov.2004 09:50

is paranoid

>> (1) Note the times of the exchanges, look for "back and forth" sequences with very short turn >> around times.

have you ever visited an internet bulletin board before?

Go look at slashdot.org, democraticunderground.org, etc. etc. people use these and reply quickly...it's what one might call a "conversation" aka "dialogue" or, more formally "discourse".

This social action is typified by people "talking" in ""back and forth" sequences" and is nothing to be alarmed about. Perhaps you've witnessed it before?

>> (2) Note the hyper-politeness.

Politeness is an all but lost social moree on the internet which occasionally re-emerges, rearing is pretty head in surprising everyone who has lost basic congeniality due to the impersonal nature of the net. see above definition of "conversation" for more details.

>> (3) Statements about "treason" and "sedition" come from the philosophy of the right wing.
>> Anarchists don't give a rat's ass about these terms. Whoever is bringing them up is not one of us.

These statements we're made in the context of the governments responce.

You're absolutely clueless about the history of anarchism if you think anarchists haven't acknoledged that the government views some of their actions in this way. It would certainly be difficult to converse about the governments response without using these terms, eh?.

It appears you are suggesting anyone who recognizes the government exists and is an oppressive force that needs to be reckoned with in the context of movement strategy is cointelpro, or am I missing something?

>> (4) Statements about war are intended to provoke counterstatements affirming a committment to
>> fight. Such counterstatements will be seized upon by law enforcement to obtain warrants.

Nonsense. Anyone who disagrees with a certain viewpoint seems to be cointelpro to you.

And what are you talking about? Warrants for who exactly? The feds have ABSOLUTELY no way of knowing who is having these conversations here unless they ALREADY have a warrant and are monitoring your personal computer. pdx.Indymedia does not store IP addresses. This is uninformed paranoia.

You are a making a mockery of the seriousness of cointelpro by blowing it up into ridiculous hyperbole.

Re: --- 22.Nov.2004 12:31


listen --- (if that is your real name) I was commenting on the pettiness of just attacking any suggested working name. Part of this I believe is to break our fixed concepts of things. To move away from how we saw things and to more to something else.

thanks to soledad 22.Nov.2004 16:22


I've heard "hope is a path we walk towards liberation". I think that this is accurate. We're not going to achieve positive revolutionary change in this nation out of hatred or guilt or chauvanism. It will have to be a path of hope, linking movements for social, economic, and political justice into a context of mutual aid and inclusive liberation.

I think that secession is a conversation that will foster this work. I agree that it is likely to take a while to achieve a lasting and principled independence. The work that needs to be done is LOCALIZATION, meaning mutual support of those in our communities, and understanding the context of this place. As it is, many people find the idea ridiculous and meaningless because they have no understanding (or perhaps love of) any local collective identity. In my opinion that is the greatest barrier to many white people participating effectively in community movement. I don't mean to be over-broad. This has class, gender, and other dynamics to it. I just think white people often view community as something "other", which I think is really messed up.

I'm not for a white sepratist movement. At all. I've had to defend myself from those jerks! I think that a lot of work needs to be done in growing our communities and collective identity. But to stifle the whole conversation based on its lack of coherence is like throwing a seed out because it hasn't started to grow.

Or do you assume the seed is rotten? If so, why? Most people I've met have never even read "Ecotopia".

Yawn.... 22.Nov.2004 16:38


Seen it all before. Keep bantering away. We're seceding whether you like it or not.

responce to V. Putin 23.Nov.2004 03:04


I think your comment is well put and I would also say that, because I studied history extensively, there is a good chance of a war occurring and it is not because of the violent Cascadians, it's the violent government that you seem so inclined to remain a slave of.
In direct response to the questions you brought up I would ask you some different ones that I think make it very clear what my answers would be IF I were to answer yours.

1) Does living in the United States give you anything to live for?

2) Do your family/ children's lifes really mean so little to you that you would not fight for their future as truly free individuals?

3) How can you sit back and see what is already being done to our land (clear cuts, factory farms, air pollution, and so much more) and not feel compelled to help with ANYTHING that even has the slightest chance of being part of the solution?

4) Is the war that the bush administration is perpetuating able to withstand OUR military leaving THEM in the trenches they dug for themselves?

5) Do you feel strongly enough in your own rights as a human being to be willing to fight for your life, because make no mistake, that is what is being done here?

Russia analogies 23.Nov.2004 09:11


So long as we're bringing up Chechnya, why don't we bring up oh say Poland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, and every other nation that broke away from the Soviet Empire?

You know... with the peaceful protests and the solidarity movement. Many long before the USSR officially crumbled.

Also, I sorta have this feeling that the Bush Admin doesn't intend to build a major oil pipeline through Gresham to ship out the great and copious oil reserves of Idaho.

But, if the focus on Chechnya is to say that Portlanders have as strongly ingrained a cultural tradition of anti-authoritarianism as the Chechen people... well, thank you.

No Association Between Cascadia Groups And Book 23.Nov.2004 11:17

Fact Checker

Critiquing Ecotopia is very valid. However do not go around associating this book with any working groups or their ideas without first finding evidence of an endorsement. To my knowledge no groups have endorsed this book. Furthermore, to my knowledge, many ideas have been put forth as means and ends to secession.

Check your facts before crying foul. You could spoil reputations of positive movements which you may someday wish to be a part of.

Laura 23.Nov.2004 19:17


I suggest you spend your time doing what you suggest and spend it trying to stop others. If people want to talk about Secession, that is cool. If it is a fad or passing fancy, it will die down soon enough. If it has some basis in reality, it will last and grow. This whole thread is a bigger waste than any of the people meeting to discuss secession.

Let people try the things they want. Stay out of their way, and you focus on the things you find important. None of us know what will save our collective asses. Hardly any seed has a chance to sprout and grow in the withering climate of criticism and over analysis that currently exists. I don't see anyone making progress, so nobody has any position to tell others what will work or not.