[this page is a mirror of this original]

Doing Freedom masthead

Secession: A First Step to Freedom

The Breeze

Many who crave power and control wish folks didn't see or act on this basic truth:

Each person is born a free being.

Over time, through "education", cultural indoctrination, and general socio-political pressure, most people forget this fact and become accustomed to jackboots on their necks and chains around their wrists. And the rest? The rest are rabble-rousers of various sorts, questioning the authority and legitimacy of those who wear the jackboots and hand out the chains. Many of the rabble-rousers are us. The routes we take to gain freedom are varied, and as is typical of us, we seem to take an almost perverse pleasure in observing, discussing, and critiquing all the different routes. It's possible that, in all this yakking, we've overlooked some good opportunities to gain more allies in the worldwide struggle for freedom.

One such opportunity I see presenting itself as I travel the world is the great explosion of secession movements. (That's not to be confused with the great explosion out at Tom Spooner's ranch last week--that was not a mushroom cloud!) Haven't been paying attention? Well, aside from the increase in attention it's been getting in the media--even the "mainstream" media--in the US, every continent except Australia (give 'em time) is fomenting revolution in multiple locations. A hop over to the Homelands page gives an organized listing of known secessionist, autonomy, and/or "nationalist" movements.

The list, in and of itself, is rather impressive. Some of the places are fairly well known, such as East Timor, Armenia, Croatia, and Serbia. Others, while not getting much attention recently, aren't particularly surprising to anyone vaguely familiar with the culture and history of certain areas: India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and even Hawaii. A good number of sites appear focused on doing in the European Union--a worthwhile goal but one that's not limited to hardcore freedom seekers (but it does make for some interesting outreach possibilities, if you think about it). This still leaves a lot of rather surprising places that are heating up. Places like Italy (which really shouldn't be all that much of a surprise; after all, the country was cobbled together from lots of little ethnic enclaves--remember your Shakespeare), Flanders (read "Belgium"), Norway, Sweden, Okinawa (so much for the stereotype of Japanese cultural unity), Normandy, the Iberian peninsula (that's Spain for those of you educated in US public schools), and the Celts in several countries. And Canada.

Canada? Not those snooty Quebecois again?

No--Alberta, Canada. (Although Quebec is still agitating for secession, their movement has been upstaged by the action brewing to the west.) This movement has been picking up steam for some time, and the apparently imbecilic socialist government in the east can't seem to help but give them more and more reasons to split. After the publication of the now-famous red/blue map following George W. Bush's election as the US President, some folks have, not so tongue-in-cheek, suggested that the US-Canada border be rotated 90 degrees (redrawn up and down along an east-west split--socialists east, conservatives/libertarians west). That's an idea that makes a good deal of sense to the westerners, but leaves the eastern socialists with a lot less resources to plunder. Boo hoo....

Browsing several of the links from the Homelands page proved very informative, and uplifting for this ol' anarchist. I mean, who'd've thought socialist havens like Norway and Sweden would have secessionist movements? Some of the action there is from the Sami people, who might be more familiar to many readers under the label "Laplanders" (though they consider it derogatory). But in Sweden, another active secessionist movement involves the region of Skånia.

Even the United States has several secession movements afoot--and that's not counting the increasingly popular idea of "individual secession", something Walter Williams has been talking about for a few years now. There's Arcadia, a region consisting of parts of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, which apparently had just about succeeded in seceding when WWII broke out and the movement was suspended for the sake of "patriotism". Lots of southern movements exist (and some don't have anything to do with racism), along with other small pockets of resistance to American jackboots, such as in Pennsylvania.

Some of the reasons given for wanting to secede are heartwarming to freedom fighters, such as resisting taxes and rejecting the intrusive control of the nation-state. Others seem less "pure"--wanting to practice old traditions (many of which may involve their own forms of control over others) is a common one.

But does the reason really matter all that much? In the same way that the 50 laboratories of democracy are safer places to fight policy battles in the US, breaking up larger nation-states into smaller units limits the scope of tyranny of a brutal regime. For example: no matter how good or bad an independent Kosovo might be, its goons can't massacre as many people as the old Soviet Union did. It's also easier for a smaller area with some coherent threads of culture and values to experiment with new ideas--it'd be a lot easier for a free Alberta to enact Vermont carry than the whole country of Canada. In general, the smaller the protection racket, the easier it becomes for people to vote with their feet.

I think we'd make great progress toward real freedom--individual sovereignty--if we could encourage alliances and find allies among these varied secession movements. They're already talking our language, to some degree or other; perhaps we can bring them further along the curve, and actually contribute to some successes. Breaking up a large, overbearing nation-state into smaller nations that are more rights-respecting is progress, after all. And maybe, just maybe, we can get one or two to give a total free-market system a try. What an exhilarating thing that would be!

(c) 2001


Please rate this article! Knowing what you like will help us provide the content you want.

bad poor average good excellent

If there's anything specific you'd like to say about this article, please do so here. Comments may be used in an upcoming Letters to the Editor.


Table of Contents

Comment on this article
View all comments on this article