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October 19, 2004

Comments

R. A. Rabinowitz of New Jersey

I admire your call for Californian independence, and I agree that California and New York/New England/NJ are too far from each other to effectively be a single country without the land in between. However, secession would be a good way to skoosh the Union, SO LONG AS NOBODY STARTS FIRING GUNS. (The mistake South Carolina et al. made in 1860 was firing on Fort Sumter and quibbling over the forts. They should've aimed to build their OWN forts.) Just snubbing the rest of the USA could work wonders.

Same Rabinowitz, same state (nj)

btw, the name "Atlantis" sucks. I think "Megalopolis" or "New Canada" suits us better.

J Devaney

I've been trying to find like-minded people for months. Our only chance for world survival is to cut the cord. I think we can do much better on our own.

M George

I hope it doesn't take a New York/East Coast secession movement to kick start one here in California. No offense- I am a transplanted Bostonian and there is a proud historical tradition of rebelling against tyrants who are beholden to a bronze age Gawd there, but I would be happier to see secession movements crop up independently...

Peter Syvertsen


>>Mr. O’Brien the only thing we can say is screw you! While the red states may be overfed and intolerant, you and your kind are overfed and power hungry. You cannot feed yourself and suck on to the rest of this nation like a gigantic remora. If we go, we will go alone and gladly strip ourselves of New York as fast as cheerfully as we would Texas.

Nice try but fight your own battle we want not part of your mess.<<

Whoever wrote the above - please be assured that Mr. O'Brien does not speak for the true sececcionist movement. I am quite sure that most of the people who are serious at all about the movement would not include California in the ideal group of seceeding states. The Northeast - with most of the Great Lake States, Minnesota and Iowa - Oregon perhaps.

California? Ummmmm don't think so.

Having said that - I whole heartedly support California in it's own secessionist efforts. The sooner the better.

mkn

As a Marylander, I wholeheartedly support a secessionsit movement away from the decaying remains of the American state. I am only jealous that the circumstances fro you all in California are so much more favorable. We here in the east are split into so many mini-states that it would be hard to build any unified movement.

rogerashton

This got me locked on Democratic Underground.

All my life I have favored broader unity, not disunity, and so have not considered dissolution of the American union as anything worth considering. However, this election has caused me to reconsider. I am still for democratic world government as the ultimate goal. However, America as it is will never enter into a world community, both because doing so would give up power, and the powerful never give up power willingly, and because a developing world community could not welcome a power that would dominate it. America as it is is too big a lump for a world community to chew. Moreover, as long as we are an imperial power, we will never have a rational politics. It is only post-empire that the European countries have moved away from fascism and jingoism to progressivism and community: It would be unreasonable "American exceptionalism" to suppose that we will be otherwise. But a country as big as we are is always subject to the imperial temptation. These considerations lead me to believe that there is more hope in the dissolution of the American union into three to a dozen smaller countries that would be more liveable neighbors in the world. To be sure, we have something to gain by secession. Discussions of the possibility of California seceding have pointed out that California would be better off without the burden of paying taxes to support all those subsidies and port-barrel military operations in the red states. California is not unique.

Let us consider the implications of the joint secession of the northeastern states from the Potomac northward, and their reconstitution as a new nation. We may call it the Atlantic Federation, or Atlantica for short. The Atlantica I envision would be a federation of twelve states:

1 Connecticut
2 Delaware
3 District of Columbia
4 Maine
5 Maryland
6 Massachusetts
7 New Hampshire
8 New Jersey
9 New York
10 Pennsylvania
11 Rhode Island
12 Vermont

Atlantica would have a population just under 60 million. That is 22nd in the world, between France and Italy, and roughly double that of California or Canada. Atlantica would have a gross domestic product of about two and one quarter trillion dollars, making it the fourth largest in the world, after Japan, the rump "United States" (henceforward "Rump States") and Germany. Assuming California were to secede also, California would then be seventh, after (in addition) France and the United Kingdom, and the Rump States would be second after Japan. Atlantica would have a GDP per capita in the neighborhood of $40,000, making it second in the world to Luxembourg. California would be close behind, though. These data are for 2000 and use constant dollars of 1996 purchasing power, mostly from the Census Bureau. In those terms, Atlantica beat out California by a light lunch: the difference was 13.50 per head.

In short, Atlantica would be a nation to reckon with, and on a par with the bigger European nations.

I won't say much more now about how and what to do, but just this: I would hope to see a new Atlantic Federation approach the European Community for membership, with a commitment to join the Euro. That would, of course, change the European community fundamentally – into, in fact, something of an emerging world community – and Europeans might not welcome that at first. Looser association satisfactory to our European friends should be sought, if necessary, as a preliminary step. On the other side, Atlantica should seek close association and alliance, but not political union, with California and any other breakaways from the rump states. The idea is to break North America into lumps digestible to a world community. Political reunion of Atlantica with other breakaways should wait until the world community can form. Meanwhile, association on the European Community model should be considered, if direct accession to the Community is not possible. Canada, in particular, may not welcome the embrace of a new Atlantic nation with double her population; but with California, and perhaps some other breakaways, as counterweights, might be confortable in a closer North American association as a counterweight to the Rump States.

Obviously, this leaves many important points untouched. However, I suggest there is enough here to suggest the idea ought to be seriously considered.

rogerashton

This got me locked on Democratic Underground.

All my life I have favored broader unity, not disunity, and so have not considered dissolution of the American union as anything worth considering. However, this election has caused me to reconsider. I am still for democratic world government as the ultimate goal. However, America as it is will never enter into a world community, both because doing so would give up power, and the powerful never give up power willingly, and because a developing world community could not welcome a power that would dominate it. America as it is is too big a lump for a world community to chew. Moreover, as long as we are an imperial power, we will never have a rational politics. It is only post-empire that the European countries have moved away from fascism and jingoism to progressivism and community: It would be unreasonable "American exceptionalism" to suppose that we will be otherwise. But a country as big as we are is always subject to the imperial temptation. These considerations lead me to believe that there is more hope in the dissolution of the American union into three to a dozen smaller countries that would be more liveable neighbors in the world. To be sure, we have something to gain by secession. Discussions of the possibility of California seceding have pointed out that California would be better off without the burden of paying taxes to support all those subsidies and port-barrel military operations in the red states. California is not unique.

Let us consider the implications of the joint secession of the northeastern states from the Potomac northward, and their reconstitution as a new nation. We may call it the Atlantic Federation, or Atlantica for short. The Atlantica I envision would be a federation of twelve states:

1 Connecticut
2 Delaware
3 District of Columbia
4 Maine
5 Maryland
6 Massachusetts
7 New Hampshire
8 New Jersey
9 New York
10 Pennsylvania
11 Rhode Island
12 Vermont

Atlantica would have a population just under 60 million. That is 22nd in the world, between France and Italy, and roughly double that of California or Canada. Atlantica would have a gross domestic product of about two and one quarter trillion dollars, making it the fourth largest in the world, after Japan, the rump "United States" (henceforward "Rump States") and Germany. Assuming California were to secede also, California would then be seventh, after (in addition) France and the United Kingdom, and the Rump States would be second after Japan. Atlantica would have a GDP per capita in the neighborhood of $40,000, making it second in the world to Luxembourg. California would be close behind, though. These data are for 2000 and use constant dollars of 1996 purchasing power, mostly from the Census Bureau. In those terms, Atlantica beat out California by a light lunch: the difference was 13.50 per head.

In short, Atlantica would be a nation to reckon with, and on a par with the bigger European nations.

I won't say much more now about how and what to do, but just this: I would hope to see a new Atlantic Federation approach the European Community for membership, with a commitment to join the Euro. That would, of course, change the European community fundamentally – into, in fact, something of an emerging world community – and Europeans might not welcome that at first. Looser association satisfactory to our European friends should be sought, if necessary, as a preliminary step. On the other side, Atlantica should seek close association and alliance, but not political union, with California and any other breakaways from the rump states. The idea is to break North America into lumps digestible to a world community. Political reunion of Atlantica with other breakaways should wait until the world community can form. Meanwhile, association on the European Community model should be considered, if direct accession to the Community is not possible. Canada, in particular, may not welcome the embrace of a new Atlantic nation with double her population; but with California, and perhaps some other breakaways, as counterweights, might be confortable in a closer North American association as a counterweight to the Rump States.

Obviously, this leaves many important points untouched. However, I suggest there is enough here to suggest the idea ought to be seriously considered.

Patrick Killelea

California, Oregon, and Washington state would make a great country, call it Pacifica, self-sufficient in all essentials, and relieved of the burden of dealing with the intolerant, violent, insecure chip-on-shoulder unfortunates who seem to make up the majority of America at the moment. They don't want us, we don't want them. It's mutual and our parting will be peaceful and civil.

First step: make California even more unpalatable to the backwards states by passing the most liberal laws possible, gay marriage, legal marijuana, complete gun bans, eliminate God from the pledge and really separate church and state. We'll live up to the principles of tolerance and human rights so much they'll be happy to send us on our way.

Thomas Grové

I am a big fan of secession too, how can we get the ball rolling on this? Like some of you, I also once thought the idea unrealistic, but now it seems like the best course of action. On the opposite side of the spectrum, funny but predictably enough, the christians in the south want secession too. I don't think that there would be much resistance from other states but the Feds would probably be very resistant.

Steve Jensen

As a Californian, I agree with Patrick Killelea's comments about a new state of Pacifica (California, Oregon, Washington, and let's welcome in Hawaii too). I was most pleasantly surprised by the number of letters (three, out of a grand total of seven or eight dealing with this week's elections) in today's L.A. Times openly advocating California secession, and one person from Washington state wrote in to say, in effect, "If you Californians leave, please take us in Washington with you!" Clearly, this is an idea whose time has come, and some very unscientific--but interesting--online polls suggest that the red-state conservatives would be almost as glad to be rid of us left-coast progressives (by 77-23, they want us to go) as we would be happy to be rid of them (97-3). So this whole secession scenario may actually be easier to accomplish than it seems--that is to say, without necessarily triggering a civil war. And with so much of the overburdened US military currently tied up in foreign wars anyway. . . I would seriously suggest that now is the time to get going on this!

I used to think I was the only person who desired California or West Coast secession, and now I realize there is a potential army of us! The great question, as Thomas Grove suggests, is how de we organize? How do we find each other? What do we do next? Bombard the media with pro-secession letters? And what else?

Che Guevara

The first word that popped in my head on 12:32 am Nov. 3 was "Secession". Tonight a commentator on the Mclaughlin Group (Lawrence?) uttered this word on one of his anti-conservative tirades. The notion must be simmering in peoples minds and needs to be verbalized. The evangelical christian right are scary people. If you've never met one you will be in for a treat when you do. I'm in California where we have the governator. It's a mixed bunch here as the further away you get from the coast the more conservative people get. So the notion of secession may not fly. BUT if new york or any of the northern states secede I will be the first to immigrate there!

Deborah Kent

I was so pleased to see sites with the same idea. I see no other option, given the exit polls indicating that the major reason for choosing Bush were "moral" issues. There is no way that the Democrats can ever again regain the White House, and thereby the Court, and the Republican South will choose "moral" (Republican) candidates for the Senate and House. Since "The Rump" seems to have total control over the Blue States, we have no control over our destiny, and it will only get worse as the Evangelicals use their power to determine the direction of the US, making it impossible for us to be heard. Go Atlantica!

Thomas Kalinowski

Speaking as one pissed-off New Englander, I agree wholeheartedly with Deborah Kent and all you other proponents of secession. It's just not in our best interests to allow ourselves to be ruled by a gang of imperialist warmongers and religious fanatics.

Long live Free New England!

Scooter

I doubt very much that Western State secession could be achieved peaceably. Keep in mind that to be economically viable, secession would have to involve all four Pacific Coast States (that includes Hawaii by the way). While California does have the 5th or 7th largest economy (depending on who you talk to) in the world, it does not have a huge natural resource reservoir to draw upon. However, trade can make up for much of this difference. Yet Trade itself involves competition and to be truly competitive, the new proto-state would need to be in a position to control Pacific Rim trade. This means control over the western seaboard. Yet this recipe for success carries with it secessions greatest risk, war. Control of Pacific Rim trade would mean control of the vital Pacific Rim naval bases as well. We know that nothing motivates the current administration as much as its almost obsessive need to project power abroad. Yet the loss of San Diego, Pearl Harbor and Bremerton (not to mention the Long Beach NS weapons depot) would create an enormous gap in U.S. defense capabilities. Indeed, does anyone seriously think that the National Government would just peaceably give up its ability to keep a rotating patrol of Ohio class submarines (i.e. the ones that fire Nuclear missiles) in the North Pacific at all times.

Furthermore, it is through West Coast ports that all of that Alaskan oil enters the U.S. How easily to you think Bush and Co. would be willing to give that up (thereby requiring a much, much more expensive South American transit) without a fight.

No, I dare say; there would be a fight; perhaps a bloody one at that. We certainly have the resources to fight such a war with multiple defense plants, a large population, and a strong economic base to work from. Moreover, we have g great natural barrier, the Cascade/Sierra Nevada crest. This natural barrier would focus the defense to a relatively few discrete points, rather than the entire length of the border.

Robert Chaviano

All this talk about secession is fine, and I'm in agreement, but there are two very sticky points noone in these postings seems to consider. 1: Immigration. You all speak with the self satisfied assurance of a red state fundamentalist. Yes, you states on the Pacific coast have the geographical advantage of being connected to each other and able to establish definable borders from the rest of the country but are you so certain that everyone in your states would want to live in your new entity? Are you certain that you could achieve plurality in the pursuit of common political and cultural points? And what about all of us "Blue Staters" currently residing in Red States, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of native Californians, Oregonians and Washingtonians who would want to return if secession were to occur? 2. Military hardware. I believe that a substantial part, if not most, of America's military hardware, resides in the Red States. How do we resolve that? Do we really want all that stuff in the hands of a people that, if they were to follow a Bush like path, would almost certainly be belligerent, suspicious and itching for a fight with the Blue State "desereters"? This is a scenario made all the more likely by the fact that the rump Southern-Western alliance would probably suffer some serious economic and foreign policy setbacks after a Blue State departure.
And finally,a word of caution to the fellow who harrangued Mr. O'Brian for his ideas on East Coast, Midwset Industrial and Pacific Coast alliance. Don't be so smug about California's chances for survival or prosperity on it's own. You currently labor under a defecit that would swallow most third world countries and your solution was to elect a governor who seems hell bent on ignoring the realities of raising taxes while continuing to promise increases in expenditure in things like stenmcell research. Admirable, yes, but where are you gonna get the three billion dollars?

Paul

I am a whole hearted supporter of a single United States, but, without a doubt, rather than live with a theocracy (a direction we are clearly heading in), I would fully support my region, New England, seceding. Perhaps we could have some form of relationship to Canada or Europe. Having lived in New England, Canada and Europe, I'll tell you - I have FAR more in common with those places than I do with red state Jesusland.

Peter

Living in Connecticut- and as a New Englander- I am fully for secession- I feel the religious far right has destroyed our democracy. I hope- as many have opined, that this is the rubicorn of these zealots- and they will now recede. The Republican party will soon be out of power for decades, and if not we need to follow through on secession- we will include New England- but also the northeastern corridor- from DC north to form either a nation or a confederation with the upper midwest and the pacific coast staes.

Scooter

In response to Robert.

“Blue State” secession would almost certainly be achieved with an enormous demographic realignment, meaning there would be substantial outward migration of many who could not see themselves living in the somewhat liberal (dare I say European) west while there would also be significant inward migration of many who could not see themselves as being left behind in “Jesusland.”

From a budgetary standpoint, Western secession would no doubt have a painful period as there are big budget shortfalls right now. However, those shortfalls auger in favor of secession, not against it. One of the reasons California has a large deficit problem is that so much California revenue goes to other states and in return California gets less than nothing? I did a rough calculation, and if you did not change the tax overall tax burden in California, but shifted 100% of it to California, while adding to the budget all the federal monies spent in California, including military bases, which the sate would have to take over, then California’s budget would actually come close to being in balance. That is, the net loss of California federal tax dollars just about makes up the typical shortfall in California’s budgets. Besides, as a separate nation, California could safely run some deficit spending whereas States are prohibited from doing so.

Defense spending would alter this calculus rather significantly. However, right now the is a huge amount of redundancy (a perpetual complaint) between state and federal regulatory agencies. Elimination of these redundancies could go a long way to freeing up money for defense spending. In the short term, however, we would probably need some lending, which I believe the E.U. would be more than willing to provide.

The main impediment however is the initial military imbalance. It takes time to raise, equip, and train a modern army; a point that is being made all to clear in Iraq every day. Assuming we could immediately draw upon our national guard units, California has one full mechanized infantry division, and Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii have roughly another division between them. Our air guard units are very limited. So the question is could our forces hold onto the population centers using the Cascade-Sierra crest as fortress long enough to raise and equip additional forces. Doubtful. However, in the next few years, I truly believe (as opposed to the fantasy I am espousing here) that America’s primary strategic competitor will be the E.U. We Might be able to use this as a jump start. France, Germany and Sweden might very well be willing to provide us with all sorts of military goodies: Leclerc and Leopard 2 Main Battle Tanks; PzH 2000 artillery pieces; AMX 10RC Wheeled Armoured Vehicles (a sort of wheeled mini-tank, great for smaller forces in need of high mobility; and Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft. That last one, the Gripens, would be tailor made for our needs because Swedish defense plans have always incorporated the use of ordinary roads as airstrips and it is doubtful that many usable airbases would last past the first few hours of our hypothetical Second civil war.

What would be truly helpful, however, is if we could follow the Ukrainian model. As you might recall, when the Ukraine seceded from the Soviet Union, they managed to convince the former Soviet Land forces based in the Ukraine to switch allegiances. Individual soldiers were given the option of staying loyal to the USSR and leaving or swearing an oath to defend Ukraine and thus remain where they were. Given the better living conditions in the Ukraine, most chose to stay. The result was, presto, an instant army. Now the quibbled over the black sea fleet and ultimately the Ukrainians caved in and allowed the fleet to return to Russia, but who says we would need to be so magnanimous. If the officers and men currently stationed in our three states could be convinced that theirs would be a better future in the new Pacific republic, and then we would have a formidable force indeed. This would include the First Marine Division in Camp Pendleton, Several Marine regiments stationed in Hawaii which make the bulk of the remainder of the First Marine Expeditionary Force; the whole the Pacific Fleet with its all important air wings; 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and I Corps command in Fort Lewis Washington; and, the 11th Armored Calvary regiment in Fort Irwin, which is already perfectly situated to defend the Eastern Desert approach to the Los Angeles Basin. Although still outnumbered, this would be a force to reckon with.

Peter

Living in all blue New England (Connecticut)
I feel a certain frustration putting up with the far right religious zealots. I truly feel that succession is not so far fetched in concept. The 21st century will see many new alignments around the world- and a splintering of the USA has been forseen by many. After all the Roman empire split in the late 200's. Events and technology have speeded up since ancient times- making a splitting of this nation not such a fantasy. The far right and its intolerant boorish minions are prompting such discussions like this. If the Northeastern megalopolis and the Pacific coast and upper midwest states did secede they would form a powerful nation holding most of the nations wealth, intellect and energy- as for the red states- they hold some natural resources, agriculture, and not much else. I frankly do not think the federal government would have much power or motivation to halt the progression of this idea and movement. The New capital of the red states can be moved to Richmond VA or perhaps Denver.

SGT Shultz

As one has pointed out, California does not possess all of the natural resources to go it alone. For one thing, what will you do when your fresh water supply is cut off from the "red" areas. Hmm.. rethink that one. California also benefits from being a major port area. Cargo is shipped from there to other parts of the US. If it moved out on its own, this part of their industry would suffer greatly, as other states would ship their goods in from the atlantic or from Canadian ports in the west, just to take it away from CA. I think that people are looking past the inter-dependecy of the states. People in CA seem to think they produce everything they need in their state...wrong!

FREE CALIFORNIA

We disagree, SGT.

First, do you actually believe that the Canadians would pick up the where California left off if we left the union? Not a chance, western canada would side with California. And if California succeeded it would be very likely that Western Canada (British Columbia is becoming more Chinese than Western by the day anyway) would join Oregon and Washington in an independant Northwest Alliance and succeed from Washington.

Second, with your theory the United States would just be switching from one soveriegn to another. Just because California left the union would not mean that the United States could not get access to Western ports.

Second, water. Right now California gets a portion of its water from from the Rio Grande basin which would obviously be taken out of the supply especailly in the South and eastern slope water from Nevada, any sessiontion move would have to include part of Nevada. So, the question would be does northern Nevada side with a Free California or the barron lands to their east? If you look at the economics of the Nevada and the fact the United States is trying to make Nevada a dumping ground for Nuclear waste, we suspect that they would look west not east. Water is a critical issue; however, and there would obviously be a tremedous shift in the economic state of California. The economy would face a large depression, so what it the trade off? A slower economy or freedom from Washington? We would hope that any succession would coincide with an adjustment to many aspects of the culture, eniornmentally destructive economic policy (unconrolled sprawl, unfunded debt, etc.) paramount among them. California is mostly desert and at somepoint unsustainable growth must be addressed. Now the state is simply being raped.

Rog

I've lived in NYC and CA and I would only embrace a secession movement that included the NY/NJ/New England states. CA is too hypocritical, fake, passive-aggressive, racist and superficial for our tastes out here. Kerry won by a much narrower margin in CA because there is a huge Christian Coalition constituency in SoCal and in Central CA. To the author of Free California: go fuck yourself! We don't want any part of you, either.

idou ajao

hello

jp

This is the stupid idea where people kill each other. We are going to a path of global humanity not a more self egocentric states, nationalism and racism. As you see, Europe was once in division and now they wanna be as European Union like America. Are We going backwards...Alienate our self again.

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