Modern-day U.S. Secession Movements are Ideologically Diverse (UPDATE 1)
(APN) PORTLAND, Oregon — As Georgians continue to debate the future of Stone Mountain and whether the carving of Confederate leaders should be removed, supplemented, or left alone, it is worth noting that there are several modern-day movements for secession throughout the U.S. that are guided by a common desire for self-determination.
Modern-day movements for secession in the Pacific Northwest region and in the State of Texas are gaining momentum, albeit in different ways, while the movement for a 51st State of Jefferson in northern California and southern Oregon has also gained traction in the grassroots.
Some of these movements are driven by a desire to create governments that are centered around progressive social policy and environmental sustainability, while others are conservative and reactionary.
An understanding of these movements is necessary for a more nuanced view of the legal bases and substantive merits of secession.
NEW NATION OF CASCADIA
The Cascadia movement is based in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S., and includes a variety of proposed secession maps, which typically include Oregon and Washington. Some also include parts of southwest Canada, and even more include additional U.S. states.
A non-profit organization, CascadiaNow, fosters awareness and common identity across the Cascadia region, but does not promote secession; while the Cascadian Independence Party actively promotes secession.
The proposed flag for Cascadia includes a Douglas Fir tree, and is called the Cascadia Doug Flag.
“The Cascadia Bioregion is created through the watersheds of the Columbia and Fraser river valleys that flow through British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, and stretches all the way from South East Alaska in the North, to Northern California in the South, and all the way out east as far as the Yellowstone Caldera, which gives the region its continental and tectonic boundary,” the CascadiaNow website states.
“CascadiaNow is a grassroots social movement dedicated to empowering individuals and communities throughout the Pacific Northwest, celebrating the things that define our unique regional character, and increase the independence of the Cascadia bioregion – socially, politically, economically and environmentally,” the website states.
“The Cascadia Movement and what I believe secession is, the realization that there is something f****d up with your country and you want to fix it. But with a country as big as the United States, that’s pretty hard to do… Look at the various social justice movements, 15 Now, Black Lives Matter, the environmental movement, divestment from fossil fuels, and divestment of private prison complexes. People want change. And the Cascadia Movement is trying to advocate for change,” Elyse Cogburn, a resident of Portland, Oregon, and a recent college graduate, told Atlanta Progressive News.
CascadiaNow “is a social movement, not a political one. Politics are part of it for some, but we are much more interested in getting people active in their communities right now, building towards a positive vision, as well as creating an inclusive movement for real impact throughout the Pacific Northwest. CascadiaNow! is a 501(c)3 umbrella non-profit organization. We celebrate the things that help make our region distinct, as well as protect the things we find special. We undertake no political organizing or lobbying,” Brandon Letsinger, a spokesperson for CascadiaNow, told APN.
STATE OF JEFFERSON
The State of Jefferson is not a new concept.
The formation a new U.S. state including southern Oregon and northern California was attempted in 1941.
The counties of Curry, Josephine, Jackson, and Klamath in Oregon were set to join with Del Norte, Siskiyou, and Modoc counties in Northern California.
While the movement ended before it began, as bombs were dropped on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the idea lived on.
Today’s effort does not include the counties in Oregon, unless they decide to join once a new state is formed. Each state movement has to follow its own state Constitution in order to secede.
“My state senator has 11 counties. 51 percent of the representation of California stops at the northern edge of LA [Los Angeles] County. Whatever southern Cali wants, that’s what will happen. We are taxed with no say; lost one million acres in fires… Fires contribute more pollution than cars, planes,” Mark Baird, spokesperson for the State of Jefferson, told APN.
“The Northern third of California has 6 state representatives. The Southern two thirds has 114 state reps,” Baird claims.
“California is two trillion in debt and Senate Bill 350 will ration gas… where we live on half of the fuel they have now. I’m a farmer. Cities don’t recognize where their food comes from… they’re worried about their own problems. This would be a win-win for all of California,” Baird said.
“If they separate, they can solve the problems that I don’t care about. We could form a true Constitution Republic. Provide liberty for our prosperity. You get the government you deserve, you get what you allow. We propose what the Declaration of Independence did for us. Freedom was a gift. The only reason government exists is to protect our liberties. Empower us with liberty to get things done for ourselves,” Baird said.
According to Baird, there are eight counties in Northern California that are in support of the State of Jefferson.
Declarations must be filed under Article One, Section Three of the California Constitution for a redress of grievances due to lack of representation. Once a viable amount of counties have signed on with declarations, the effort will be confident in dropping their legislation to the California State House this January 20016.
“Jefferson is viable on day one. The California Constitution is over 100,000 words. Everything a Constitution ought not to be… failed social and regulatory schemes, and burdens the people for every nickel they have. We can’t afford a California-style bureaucracy. Who would want one? A part time legislator who works for 60 days… 570 state agencies, we don’t need that. Eliminate state roads department and give the federal funds to counties so they can [have] their own jobs. We don’t need a state police force. Fully capable of doing every job… for a third of the money. The money California wastes in a month would fund us for a year,” Baird said.
Several counties have adopted resolutions calling for a State of Jefferson, according to Wikipedia.
“The recent movement for statehood started on September 3, 2013, when the Siksiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4–1 in favor of withdrawal from California to form a proposed state named Jefferson,” Wikipedia states.
“The proposal was joined by the Modoc County Board of Supervisors (September 24) and Glenn County Board of Supervisors (January 21, 2014),” Wikipedia states.
“On April 15, 2014 Yuba County supervisors joined the State of Jefferson movement to separate from California and create a new state of Jefferson. On July 15, 2014 The Tehama County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt a resolution supporting the declaration of withdrawal from California based on an advisory vote taken on June 6, 2014 where the public voted 56% to 44% in favor of splitting the state. On July 22, 2014 the Board of Supervisors of Sutter County unanimously adopted a resolution supporting a declaration and petition to the Legislature to withdraw from California to redress a lack of representation,” Wikipedia states.
“On March 3, 2015, Lake County supervisors voted 3-2 to submit the question of secession to voters and on March 17, Lassen County supervisors made a similar declaration that also has the voters deciding in 2016,” Wikipedia states.
“On October 24, 2014, Modoc and Siskiyou Counties delivered their declarations for independence from the state of California to the California Secretary of State’s office. On January 15, 2015, three more counties, Glenn, Tehama, and Yuba Counties submitted their official declarations as well,” Wikipedia states.
While Lake County has an upcoming referendum, a County Supervisor there is not yet convinced.
“Lake County has taken a position, by putting it towards the electorate. A few board members telegraphed some support. It’s quite a silly proposal. It solely looks at the poorest counties in Oregon and California, with no tax base. Wild fires for instance, with state support that we get, the State of Jefferson could not provide those assets. It’s noble to assert that Sacramento is deaf, let’s carve it up by geography, and make it an equal split,” Anthony Farrington, Supervisor in Lake County, told APN.
“Their feasibility studies are defective as are the services for the county and state. Look at the budget with a magic wand and we’ll be sovereign. None of them understand the inner workings of government,” Farrington said.
Farrington supports continued discussion but wants to see issues like natural resources, population, and services fleshed out.
Freedom Texas, the youngest and most active in the secession movements, would separate Texas from the Union.
Freedom Texas has been working with veteran organizations and small community groups to start the long process of public education around the idea of true secession.
Lack of faith in the federal government, along with disagreement with the Affordable Care Act and the upholding of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court of the U.S., are the top reasons that Texas wants to break up with the rest of the union.
“All the [Texas] groups tend to agree, independent Texas as a nation is a goal or a real probability. The methods include a transition plan, how do we take the current state of Texas and the U.S., and how would that transition to independence?” Tommy Attaway, Executive Director for Freedom Texas, told APN.
“The first path is political, with a state government referendum for the people; Texas does not have an initiative process. That’s odd about Texas as most other states have an initiative process. If approved, the elected officials of the state will notify Congress of our intent to withdraw. If Congress denies the approved initiative, a lawsuit would be likely,” Attaway said.
“The second path is economic. The federal government runs a massive deficit… The State of Texas has no income tax, which means no invasion from the IRS. A tariff policy would work best. The economy of Texas is two trillion [dollars], which would raise enough money to cover social security payments, military retirements, Medicare, direct federal programs that are contractually obligated to be paid to the people,” Attaway said.
UPDATE 1: Based on a comment posted by Mr. Baird, we have updated the information about the number of State Assembly and Senate districts in northern California, versus central and southern California. The totals are originally listed were clearly erroneous as they did not even add up to the total number of districts, which is 120, including eighty in the Assembly and forty in the Senate.