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Parent Article: How Best To Organize A Free New England
purple-scale county cartogram, 2004 prez elections
12 Nov 2004
Modified: 03:38:21 AM
1.png
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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/