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Commentary :: Politics
Now More Than Ever, We Need to Secede
07 Nov 2009
The United States is a ball and chain that we can live without.
More than 200 years ago, the New England states made a mistake by forming a union with the other rebellious colonies to their south. Yes, the anti-colonial war was necessary, but it did not need to end with one United States of America. I could have ended with smaller regionally based unions – unions promoting greater local self-determination. At that time, no one imagined that the union formed by these colonies would grow to the shores of the Pacific ocean, into the Caribbean and beyond. Perhaps, had that been known then, the colonies would have been more hesitant in subjecting their governance to a central government, as they did when they ratified the Constitution of the United States. After all, the larger a government grows, the more self-determination diminishes.

By joining the United States, the thriving New England commonwealths assigned to themselves a peripheral role in the greater governmental body to which they had joined. It was a realization that took more than one hundred years to come. By the end of the 1800s, Boston was “the Hub” of New England and the Maritimes. The border between New England and her northern neighbors hardly went noticed. Trains and commerce emanated outward from the Hub and New England prospered. Indeed, the connections between New England and the Maritimes were so deep that during the War of 1812, New England resisted involvement in the war. Massachusetts threatened to secede from the United States rather than fight against its regional neighbors. In Maine, several towns surrendered without a shot to the British, preferring to return to English control than to defend the United States. This was not a cowardly act. They were joined by blood and commerce with their neighbors in New Brunswick. Indeed, it is an accident of history that New England and the Maritimes are not considered a single region. For a time, during the 1600s, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were included as part of New England.

However, as the United States grew more powerful and the federal government began to play a more intimate role in the lives of Americans, the border between Canada and the United States became more than a theoretical line. Gradually, New Englanders and Maritimers found themselves more and more living at the extremes of their respective national territories. Commerce and the free movement that once flowed across the region of New England and the Maritimes slowed down and was replaced with East/West commerce for both parts of the now divided region. This was accompanied by an economic decline across the region, but especially pronounced in Northern New England and the Maritimes.

Nevertheless, most New Englanders can trace their family lineages back and forth across the border that now divides the region. Three our of four of my own grandparents came from families where one parent was from the Maritimes or Quebec. My paternal grandfather's parents lived in Maine and returned to their own parents' home in New Brunswick to give birth to their son, who then immediately returned to the United States. I can trace my family to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. When I once visited Saint John, New Brunswick, I felt like I had never left home. I might as well have still been in New England. We New Englanders belong to a wider region that extends northward along the Atlantic coast. Our country is the United States only by accident. Our true country is New England and the Maritimes. Our consciousness of our own true identity has been truncated by borders.

While all of this may seem academic and, more importantly, unchangeable, it is not. If there is one thing that is constant across history it is that borders are redrawn, governments come and go, and just when you think nothing will change, it changes.

The situation in the United States is becoming progressively worse. I am referring not only to the economy, but to the decline of whatever vestige of democracy that once existed. Put simply, the corporatists and wealthy have won the class war. There is no longer even a fig-leaf of denial about who controls the United States and that “who” is not you and me. When a government deteriorates to the point where the treasury and all future treasure is handed over to a small class of individuals without an iota of consent from the people, that government cannot be described as a democracy and its citizens cannot be described as a free people. Now, more than ever, the Government of the United States has lost all legitimacy. Even on the international state the United States has become a rogue criminal state, instigating unprovoked wars, torturing detainees, murdering civilians, committing countless war crimes, and supporting an apartheidist state in its own crimes against humanity.

All of this would be mortally tragic if it were not for the fact that we are now at the beginning of a complete economic collapse. That economic collapse comes with opportunity for change. As the U.S. Government withers and is unable to meet its foreign debt, it will demand more and more from its serfs and there will come a time when those serfs will have nothing more to give. Without money, without credit, without moral standing, and without friends, the U.S. Government will collapse. When it does, or even before it does, we need to be thinking about what we will do when that time comes. The solution will not be “one size fits all.” A disintegrated United States will experience the wrath of its creditors, the wrath of its citizens, and the wrath of those who have been wronged. It will not be a pretty sight. I think it is more than reasonable to assume that the parts of the fallen empire will have very different views on what needs to happen to return to something resembling normalcy. Without the heavy hand of the central government, our differences will become more obvious. Face it, New Englanders have very little in common with Texans. Texans have more in common with Oklahomans and New Mexicans than they do with other states. It is only logical that a post-USA North America will emerge as a collection of new political entities: Cascadia, New England, Greater Texas, Aztlán, Redneckistan, The Republic of Alaska, The Kingdom of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Mormonia, Farmlandia, and Industriopia, to make up a few names. When that happens, New England should be ready to create a nation that incorporates its values of individual liberty, mutual concern, and non-aggression. As well, we should extend a welcoming hand to our neighbors to the north and take down the offensive border that separates us from our own people.

Imagine the opportunity that this would present to us. Imagine what we could do if we did not spend most of our taxes on supporting a war machine and bailing out corporatist enemies of the working class? We could provide each and every New Englander with healthcare. We could maintain an official policy of neutrality in international affairs. We could practice and expand the implementation of our progressive values without the interference of far off regions that do not share our vision of humanity and its promise. An independent New England could build a true democracy with greater local self-determination. An independent New England could cherish and protect its natural environment better than a federal government interested only in stripping it of its resources. We would be better off without the yoke of the United States upon our shoulders.

Seek out and involve yourself in a local secessionist movement or start your own. The time is coming when noone will need to lift a gun to make that dream come true. Change is coming on its own. We can ride that change or be ridden over by that change.
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