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Commentary :: Politics
How Best To Organize A Free New England
10 Nov 2004
New England has within it two strong political leanings, Socialism and Libertarianism, often mistakenly referred to as “liberalism” and “republicanism.” Any political entity encompassing all of New England must permit both of these tendencies to co-exist. I propose a new form of government fit for New England.
New England has within it two strong political leanings, Socialism and Libertarianism, often mistakenly referred to as “liberalism” and “republicanism.” Any political entity encompassing all of New England must permit both of these tendencies to co-exist. I propose a new form of government fit for New England.



Within the political entity, “New England”, each major sub-entity, currently referred to as states, should be conceived as nodes in a network. The political entity “New England itself should be thought of as a network with a minimalist structure for administering this network. Each node should be legally autonomous, hold equal status with all other nodes, and be free to form economic and infrastructure relationships with other nodes in the network as mutually consenting nodes see fit. The network itself, hereafter referred to as “The Network of Autonomous Commonwealths” (geographically coextensive with the current New England) should concern itself only with foreign policy, mutual defense, arbitration of conflicts between the nodes, the issuance of a currency, the guarantor of a bill of rights and representative of The Network of Autonomous Commonwealths within the U.N. and other international bodies.



The Network of Autonomous Commonwealths should remain strictly neutral in foreign policy, forming no permanent alliances with nations, and have no standing military. All persons living within the Network of Autonomous Commonwealths will enjoy equal rights. The only citizenship requirement for the Network of Autonomous Republics should be residency within the Network. All residents of the Network of Autonomous Republics should be responsible for her defense at times of war, which by definition as a neutral state can only be defensive. Therefore, while there is no standing military, all residents are considered to be combatants at times of war. This will encourage the Network to refrain from war, equally distribute the responsibility for defense and eliminate the need for a standing military.



Each node within the Network will be referred to politically as a commonwealth. Each commonwealth, provided it respects and enforces the Bill of Rights (see above), will be free to organize itself internally as it sees fit and is free to extend the Bill of Rights as it sees fit. Therefore, commonwealths likely to embrace a libertarian philosophy, such as New Hampshire, will be free to implement a capitalist economic system. Commonwealths like to embrace a socialist philosophy, such as Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut would be free to add additional rights such as the right to universal healthcare, free university education, shelter, food, etc. In order to pay for these services, such states would be free to form associations with other nodes (commonwealths) in the network, integrate their economies as they see fit, and share their resources as they see fit. The Network of Autonomous Commonwealths will neither hinder nor show preference for any such relationships constructed between its commonwealths.



In time, this model could be encouraged within the Maritime Provinces of Canada as well, as they are a natural part of the same geographical region as New England. An open invitation should be extended to those provinces to join the Network of Autonomous Commonwealths.

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Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
10 Nov 2004
i am a green- rainbow, not a socialist or libertarian.
I have been influenced by both but neither too my liking sorry. my opininion is green-rainbows
are closest to anarchists.
Dont laugh. Anarchism is actually the strictist philosophy.
There is nothing in the proposal excluding anarchist nodes.
10 Nov 2004
Capitalism and Socialism are used as examples. The point of the network structure is to allow each node to form itself as it sees fit. Anarchist entities would be welcome as would green.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
10 Nov 2004
the secession movement is the way forward. fuck what you heard, who cares about who's running it, or the democrats or whatever is behind it. who cares.

this is finally something that i think could gain massive popular support, if done right. regardless of whether or not it will create a perfect society, this could easily be a rallying point against the federal government, serving as a broad based movement with many different tactics involved.

this is the only way i see it possible to rally the people in this part of the country. anyone can stand behind the secession idea.

imagine what kind of uproar would occur in the media and in the country if antiwar protests began showing a solid message of secession? it would be NUTS. a lot could be accomplished.

don't dismiss it because some dead old white dude told you to. this aint the 1890s anymore.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
11 Nov 2004
well, quebec came awfully close-- i certainly don't feel muc national kinship with teh bible belt- never did, and now i REALLY don't. massachusetts, for all its romneys and so forth, seems like a safe haven in compoarrisson. . . and quesbec seems to have gotten more opena nd free sinc etheir seccesionist movement.

this is a sort of. . . .decentralist idea, except on a larger scale. . ..

it'd never happen, but what with teh shadow of teh civil war stil upon us, i think talk of secession would definitely stir something up if it were widespread and organized(though it would definitely have to be those things).

i take it you;'ve seen teh jesusland/united states of canda map.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
11 Nov 2004
While all of this sounds lovely, some of us are too busy trying to organize a REAL grass anti-capitalist workers movement instead of grandstanding about some fantasy "secession" movement.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
11 Nov 2004
* sorry, make that "grassroots," not "grass"
RE: Substance over Style
11 Nov 2004
Let's see, over the last century....

None.

I think we'll try something new.
Thanks for the support, though.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
11 Nov 2004
Wooah, now that's audacious. Apparently anti-capitalist workers' organization has never accomplished anything. I suppose then you don't particularly care for the 8-hour workday, or medical benefits, or the minimum wage. Or maybe you just so take those things for granted that you don't think it's worth continuing the fight to control our workplaces and our communities.

Reality check: there are people in every part of this country struggling to take control over their own lives. New England doesn't have a fucking monopoly on revolutionary politics. It does, however seem to have a monopoly on the monst pathetic kind of arrogance: "liberalism."
And now we're losing everything you accomplished.
11 Nov 2004
So long as we're married to the mid-west, you can forget about progress for the next half century. If you want to stop wars of aggression, the rise of theocracy and give socialism a chance in North America, you're going to have to do something more creative than talk with yourself.

Think outside of the box.

In any case, don't get involved if you don't want to. No one is forcing you to.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
11 Nov 2004
Funny, "libertarian socialism" IS anarchism.

To that end, geographical "seccession" misses the forest for the trees.

Quebec came close because of an unmistakably right-wing nationalist movement.

Side question--where do the reservations fall into your internet utopia?
Re: "where do the reservations fall into your internet utopia? "
12 Nov 2004
What internet utopia? Is that something you pulled out of your imagination or is it meant to be somekind of meaningful criticism?

Tell me, exactly, how you intend to accomplish the elimination of the state? Do you believe that it will evaporate someday? I have a hard time believing that the state will simply go away, even in response to revolution. The state needs to be deconstructed in small steps. Moving from a hierarchical structure to a more network like structure is a step in the correct direction.

One of the biggest weakness on the left is a poverty of imagination. Trying the same thing, over and over again without success strongly implies that something is not correct in the strategy.

In the case of New England, we are not talking about immitating Quebec in any way. Quebec is a minority culture embedded in a largely English speaking North America. Nationalism, as much as we do not like it, has prevented their culture from being destroyed. In the case of New England this is less the case. The proposal that you are responding to clearly states that the only citizenship requirement is residency. That is highly progressive and anti-Nationalist. The design of the system is decentralized and non-nationalist as well.

I can't help thinking that what I'm seeing here is jealously more than anything else. As soon as an idea takes off, out comes the fangs. As soon as something is presented well, all you can think of to fling mud at it is "style" or "internet utopia".

You guys need some help. I'm glad I'm not you.
How DARE you NOT conform!
12 Nov 2004
How DARE you NOT conform to the techniques and standards laid down by the standard strains of anarchist thought and practice!!!! You MUST conform.

The ONLY form of anarchism is LIBERTARIAN SOCIALISM. Nothing else counts!!!!!
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
12 Nov 2004
I love how easy it is, when armed with the wonders of the internet and catchy phrases like "poverty of imagination", to hatch up fantastical plans that skip over that boring part of a movement where you actually have to, you know, organize with real people and stuff.

It's super how you can just cast aside the vast majority of a country, since they're just common working slobs anyway, and chat with your progressive virtual buddies about "socialism" and "secession".

Get real folks; as unglamorous as reality may be, the fact remains that it takes a long time and a lot of work to build an anti-capitalist movement strong enough to resist the state. You can keep talking your bullshit for as long as you want, but the rest of us will be waiting for you where there's actual work to be done.
purple-scale county cartogram, 2004 prez elections
12 Nov 2004
Modified: 04:38:21 AM
1.png
2.png
This is why all this secession talk is a waste of our fucking time. First off, face it, it's an opportunist project based on looking at the Red-versus-Blue States maps. There is indeed a surprising geographic split between the states in which more people voted for Bush than Kerry and those in which more people voted for Kerry than Bush. But, if you look at a county-by-county breakdown, purple-scaled map, America is actually looking feeling this way about Bush or Kerry:

#file_1#

Secession is always and everywhere a question of territorial power, and thus a question of nation-state. Secession is the assertion of illegitimacy of a specific nation-state, based not on the illegitimacy of the nation-state political form itself, but of the alleged non-representation of certain falsely naturalized "national" realities by a certain state. During the process of secession, one state becomes two, but any benefits to working class people from the fragmentation of the state are counterbalanced by the intensification of nationalism, which is always the same. Nationalism is always predicated on class compromise. Nationalism is always predicated on gender domination. A nation is always a set of Men willing to put aside their "abstract" class differences in order to join in a project of dominance over their Land, their Women, and their Enemies.

To pretend that a secession movement--inherently the fragmentation of the State corresponding to a territorial fragmentation--could win in New England in 2004 without some kind of fucked up appeal to nationalism is totally delusional. How about you go write down the details of your "highly progressive and anti-Nationalist" internet utopia, your "Network of Autonomous Commonwealths” that "should concern itself only with foreign policy, mutual defense, arbitration of conflicts between the nodes, the issuance of a currency, the guarantor of a bill of rights and representative of The Network of Autonomous Commonwealths within the U.N. and other international bodies," on a sandwich board and go march down the median strip on Mass Ave?

It's not even internally consistent! You couldn't even write science fiction about it! How on earth would you preserve the states (New Hampshire, Connecticut, etc) AND say that each state will be able to manage its populations as it sees fit (to various "libertarian" or "socialist" extents) AND then just announce that "All persons living within the Network of Autonomous Commonwealths will enjoy equal rights"???? Rights are something that an accountable political entity (like a federation) can guarantee to its constituent members. A "network" can no more guarantee "rights" than, well... a website.

If you want to start thinking about an actual "progressive" "anti-nationalist" "decentralized" political strategy in response to the 2004 election results, here's the real map to look at:

#file_2#

That's a "cartogram" of those county-by-county resultes, distorting the area of each county to reflect its population. Why does it look so different? What do you call a place where there's a LOT of people?

What's one way in which the political power of people living in cities could be leveraged so that it more closely approximates our numbers?
See also:
http://www.cscs.umich.edu/%7Ecrshalizi/election/
Just as I suspected...
12 Nov 2004
"Style of Substance" is a rightwing troll attempting to sow dischord. Take, for example, this statement:

"It's super how you can just cast aside the vast majority of a country, since they're just common working slobs anyway, and chat with your progressive virtual buddies about "socialism" and "secession"."

Now, exactly what leftist would write that?

Clever, but not clever enough. Stop pretending to be one of us.
More poverty of imagination as far as I can see.
12 Nov 2004
I thought mj was more than this. I guess I was wrong.

My first impulse was to write a counter argument. But then I took a step back and looked at the larger picture and thought, hmm, it's interesting that mj and the right have so much in common: a desire to take no steps to eliminate the status quo and replace it with something new. Rather than giving any meaningful rebuttal, mj gives us a diatribe based on old rhetoric.

mj, are you anti-intellectual by any chance? Does the promulgation and discussion of an idea so threaten you that you must rant and rave like an angry and insolent person?

In any case, we exist in more than one world. We exist on the street but we exist within the mind as well and the struggle takes place on both planes. Those who keep their nose to the ground often fail to see the mental plane, so entrenched are they with what their hands and feet can do. But the works of hands and feet seldom replicate themselves. They sit there still, dead artifacts and lifeless. Ideas, however, replicate and evolve and they become the motivating force that causes men and women to commit acts with their hands and feet. Thus, the idea is more powerful than the deed for it creates deeds without bound, but deeds themselves, taken in isolation, are mere events with little or no replicative power.

I leave you to your small deeds of small consequence. I have my own mission and I've been on it for years. It has accomplished much and I see no reason to change its course.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
12 Nov 2004
Okay great. Calling me an anti-intellectual. "promulgation." "old rhetoric." No counter-argument because you're "above" it. Good, I'm glad this silly internet-utopian stuff isn't going to take up any more of my time. :)

Tell me, how many of the above pseudonyms are actually you? Are "X", "@", "spectator", "List your accomplishments", "Reader", "Local Boston Activist", and "New Englander" actually seven different people? Six? Five? Two? Be honest, now.

One last thing though--

"The state needs to be deconstructed in small steps. Moving from a hierarchical structure to a more network like structure is a step in the correct direction."

Okay, there are 193 legally distinct nation-states right now. We must have a pretty non-hierarchical world, right? Wrong. "Nodes" in a network can be as hierarchical as you can get. My apartment building could be "networked" with my neighbors' house, but if in my building our landlord is fucking us all over with rent hikes and shitty maintenance, and my neighbor is raping and beating his wife and starving his children, it doesn't mean shit that the two addresses are mutually "networked." In fact, it would be *less* hierarchical, as a total system, if someone swung by from a third site (at the behest of the majority) to check in and make sure no landlords or patriarchs were gaining the upper hand. Not ideal, but certainly less hierarchical. Learn to think a little more systemically.
You seem very bitter, mj.
12 Nov 2004
It does not follow that just because a network can be hierarchical that a network must be hierarchical. Really, nearly everything you write seems to come from a conscious attempt to seek out the worst possible interpretation rather than the best. Your comments about "reservations" (a topic you brought up) was pulled out of the blue as an attempt to cast a negative interpretation. Your comments about protesting on mass ave in Cambridge are just another example of the same. The reality is, if you don't like someone, for whatever reason, you'll seek out the most negative and mean spirited interpretation of their words rather than the best. It's very transparent and not worth spending much time on.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
12 Nov 2004
"Your comments about "reservations" (a topic you brought up) was pulled out of the blue as an attempt to cast a negative interpretation."

No, no, my comment about "reservations" was specifically in reference to that being one of the very worst things about the Quebecois secessionist movement.

I didn't bring up Quebec, Katt did.

Nevertheless, it's a valid question. If the six New England states are mutually equal nodes in a network, would the reservations be lesser nodes?

"The reality is, if you don't like someone,"

Sorry, I don't know you, you could be a perfectly great person who I get along with great in real life. It's this terrible shitty waste of time idea you have that bothers me. And you still haven't said how many of those seven "different" posters were you...
Sorry, can't answer your question.
12 Nov 2004
You need to learn more about Internet security.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
12 Nov 2004
Sorry, last I checked security culture was for something a little more serious than pretending to be multiple people so your stupid ideas look more popular.
I'm not talking about security culture.
12 Nov 2004
I'm talking about abuse on this very IMC. I don't need "multiple identities" to "make my ideas more popular." Strictly speaking, the answer to your original question is "no." Do I ever use other online identities? Sure I do. It keeps search engines from being used to string them together. I have no intention of making harassment easier for harassers. Choosing common words as name also causes online names to become mere noise in the space of all symbols used online.

You are way too bitter and flipant to bother communicating with. As I said above, your intent seems to be to merely cast anything said into the worst interpretation.

Can't say I've enjoyed communicating with you, so I'll do myself a favor and write you off as a troll.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
12 Nov 2004
Haha, it just gets better and better.

I, apparently, am a "right-wing troll" because I believe that you can't create socialism by arrogantly ignoring the working class of an entire country.

And mj, apparently, is an "angry and insolent" "anti-intellectual," because s/he presents an argument based on reality and substantiated evidence.

Meanwhile the person whose pseudonyms may or may not include "X", "@", "spectator", "List your accomplishments", "Reader", "Local Boston Activist", and "New Englander," cannot divulge which of the many absurd comments on this thread were posted by him/her due to "internet security."

I'm beginning to wonder why on earth I'm actually responding to all this nonsense.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
12 Nov 2004
Look, not everyone who thinks the idea of New England seceding from the US is, at best, a waste of time is a "troll." So far you've called both people who have actually spent time critiquing your "idea" instead of just rolling their eyes and clicking elsewhere "trolls." Speaks volumes.

Talking about splitting the US into a small secular bourgeois confederation and a large religious bourgeois republic is a meaningless reaction to a meaningless election. The main problems most of us face are wage-slavery, rent, enclosures of the creative commons, and other expropriations, as well as racism, patriarchy, and other diffuse social mechanisms of oppression. Your proposal addresses none of these, and thus serves to dilute the meaning of words like "free," "progressive," and "autonomous."

Sorry to hear about the paranoia and delusions of grandeur.
Left wing or right wing, a troll is a troll.
12 Nov 2004
Some guy posts an idea and the trolls get all worked up. Shows how little respect they have for free speech. Who cares if they're right or left. They're still trolls.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
12 Nov 2004
Okay this is just ridiculous. I'm completely psyched that X/New Englander/whoever is exercising his/her free speech. Boston IMC is great. Yay.

Since when is any sort of critical engagement trolling? And since when do trolls bust out cartograms?
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
12 Nov 2004
Oh, and just to clarify, that wasn't sarcasm. I'm really glad this space exists. I just wish people would be more willing to dialogue and work on their ideas instead of just getting defensive and accusatory.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
12 Nov 2004
mj: i agree with you almost completely.

but i'm looking at this as a tactic, a very real tactic. we're obviously not going to secede. sure. but think of it: this area is FLAMING with regionalism. people have a sick new england pride in them. this place is ripe for organizing under a banner of secession, whether or not i (or you) agree with the end result.

in terms of disrupting the empire, and creating a popular front which people from all walks of life can get in on, AND A DIVERSITY of tactics can be used under the general movement.

we can disrupt the economy. we could probably get some strikes moving, eventually. the secession movement can also be used as a platform to change society on local levels.

i agree with your analysis. but consider what i'm saying. consider the amount of people who COULD be rallied under this call.

really think about it. i could be wrong; i'm not saying i'm right. but the potential for a disruption of the empire is there, and disrupting this empire using whatever means possible should be our goal, at this point.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
13 Nov 2004
Ups to "spectator" for actually trying to dialogue without accusing anyone of being a "right-wing troll." But I do politely and strongly disagree. I think that actually taking the idea of "secession" seriously would, at very best, be a total waste of time. You say "the secession movement can also be used as a platform to change society on local levels." Theoretically, maybe. (And that's a big maybe.) But the amount of positive effects that could possibly come out of it, I personally think would be quite drastically outweighed by the amount of time and energy spent on it. Not to mention the countless people across the country that would be alienated by it.

On another note, can someone please explain to me why mj and I are trolls for disagreeing with the article and presenting arguments and evidence against it? Isn't that the purpose of a comments section?
Interesting to see KOBE teaming up with mj.
13 Nov 2004
"Substance over Style", "Nefarious Cabal", KOBE

- same shit, different name.

So, here we have a unique pair, a fascist and an anarcho-communist
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
13 Nov 2004
Wow. Now I've seen it all. Someone just accused me of being KOBE.

My name is Max Kennedy. I am an anarchist. I live in Jamaica Plain. I think that secession is a stupid idea not to be taken seriously because it has nothing to do with fighting against the oppression leveled by capitalism and the State. Please, argue and debate with the ideas, but stop throwing around words like "troll" that you apparently don't know the definition of.
We'll investigate that.
13 Nov 2004
Nice try. According to my database of all residents of Boston, there is no Max Kennedy in Jamaca Plain.
Typical troll, this "Substance over Style"
13 Nov 2004
Let's see, an out of stater, perhaps an FBI agent, pretends to be a local anarchist in order to sow division over the secession issue, so he picks the only famous Massachusetts Irish name he knows, "Kennedy" and ads a completely inappropriate first name "Max." I've never run into a person with an Irish last name and "Max" for a first name before. I've never met an anachist in Boston named "Max Kennedy".
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
13 Nov 2004
Is this how you behave every time someone disagrees with you? Accuse them of being FBI agents and concoct delusional conspiracy theories based on the ethnic origins of their name? That's pretty immature. Feel free to engage in rational discussion any day now.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
13 Nov 2004
all i'm saying is, don't work AGAINST a secession movement, at best just ignore it. if it grows to contain massive popular support, use the movement's banner for your own goals.

i just think it's the best possible chance to rally huge amounts of completely ordinary non-political thinking working class people. i'm just saying, it COULD turn into a perfect opportunity.

but i'm not saying i know this for sure. and it's nnot my place to dictate the terms of any movement. i'm just a spectator these days, after aall.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
13 Nov 2004
It's okay, Max, they're just fucking with us. (I know who you are and I know you're an anarchist, if that makes you feel any better. You probably know who I am too.)

"Sow division over the secession issue"--bwaaah ha ha ha. Gee, it is a really hot button issue. The FBI must be really worried if they're sending in out of staters to pose as anarchists.

Spectator: thank you for actually advancing an argument here. I'm glad it would just be a tactic. more to the point, I could see *talking* about secession being a tactic to get people thinking about what kind of political change they'd like to see.

I think I just don't see as much "new england" pride per se. I've only seen something approaching that in Maine and Vermont, when people are talking about thrift and ingenuity and winters and stuff.
Re: How Best To Organize A Free New England
13 Nov 2004
Okay, I promise not to work against the secession movement, if it becomes an actual movement and not just something people talk about on the internet. Unless it's about racism and anti-immigrant sentiment and stuff.