The state within a state: The centralists better get used to it
Last weekend 43 delegates from a variety of local secessionists, independence and decentralizing movements from across North America descended upon Burlington, Vermont for the first-ever North American Secessionist Convention hosted by the Middlebury Institute, the intellectual force behind the Second Vermont Republic movement.
The fact that the Philadelphia Inquirer sent a reporter to cover this event and the fact the Los Angeles Times and New York Sun did preview articles of the convention showed that this was no mere fringe grouping, as it would have been dismissed even just a few years ago. Indeed, the fact that many of people attending the conference either were or are part of academia shows there is a growing intellectual foundation for secession for the first time since the War Between the States.
It may very well be that such dreams of secession for say, Hawaii or Alaska or even the South once again, may very well be just that, just dreams. But as events around the world are showing, there are ways to declare one’s independence on a de facto basis, whether it is secession of the mind or culture, or creating parallel governments to rival the central authority.
In short, the state within a state.
The centralizers better get used to it.
It is the wave of the future.
If there was one thing that seemed to annoy the Bush II Administration more than anything about Hezbollah during its recent war with Israel, was that Hezbollah was “a state within a state,” i.e. a parallel government was operating within the bounds of sovereign state (Lebanon). Apparently the Bushes and the centralizers within the Beltway don’t like “state within states” very much. Apparently such an idea seems to run afoul of the U.S.’ global hegemony. If the U.S. is the dominant power on the globe, then there is supposedly no room for such little entities to be able to operate. Don’t they know we’re an empire now according to one administration official?
They probably do and they could care less.
Hezbollah is a good model for the state within a state. It is homogenous, meaning that it is largely made up of one particular religious, ethnic, regional or racial or economic group. In this case, Hezbollah represents the Shiites of South Lebanon. Shiites as group may make up at least 45 percent of Lebanon’s population and yet all they control within the Lebanese government is the speakership of the parliament, whatever that’s worth. Many Shiites feel Hezbollah is the only political party that represents their interests and that feeling has been created by the wide variety of social services Hezbollah provides to the residents of rural South Lebanon and the slums of South Beirut. In so doing, Hezbollah, like an old U.S. political machine, maintains its political control for the goodies it hands out, like free medical care or money to rebuild bombed out homes thanks to the IAF. Since the Lebanese government has been unwilling or unable to help the Shiites, Hezbollah has stepped in and filled the vacuum and the residents have given Hezbollah their loyalties, like it or not. Such bonds helped the Hezbollah guerillas fight off the Israeli Defense Forces thanks to an extensive tunnel network, local intelligence and safe houses to hide in as well.
There are other examples as well. Sadr City in Baghdad, for all intents and purposes, is a state within a state. That’s something that drives the U.S. military in Iraq up a wall because their enemy, the radical cleric Motaqda Al-Sadr, can act with impunity thanks to the loyalty of the 2.1 million Shiites who live in the slum and give its loyalty to Sadr’s Mahdi Army. No doubt another Hezbollah is in the making and this one has its guns targeted at U.S. soldiers. Meanwhile in Mexico, presidential candidate Lopez-Obrador plans on forming a parallel government after losing a disputed race with the apparent president –elect Calderon. No doubt such a parallel government will want to form in Mexico’s southern provinces where Lopez-Obrador‘s PDR did quite well and in Oaxaca state where there has been much leftist-inspired unrest. In a reverse example, regions in eastern Bolivia wish to be a state within a state to protect its natural gas resources from being nationalized from the leftist, western Bolivian government of Indian miners.
Other, less violent, states within states include Quebec and Alberta within Canada; Scotland and Wales within Great Britain; the Breton regions of France, Sicily within Italy; Catalonia and the Basque regions within Spain; Bavaria within Germany; Transylvania within Romania and Hungary; The Trans-Dneister region of Moldavia; Lapland in the Scandinavia Artic Circle as European examples. Kurdistan is a state within many states of the Middle East (and a destabilizing one at that) while Tibet is a captive state within a state inside China. Taiwan is considered a “rebellious” province.
So if such places can have “states within states,” why not the U.S.? Especially why not the U.S.? After all, modern global connecting technology like the internet and GPS satellites give such small places the opportunity to survive economically and preserve their unique cultures through independence, de facto or de jure. An independent Vermont could very well survive on its own no worse than tiny Singapore, Lichtenstein or Andorra. And even if Vermont, or New Hampshire, or the South was just independent in the mind only, such distinct regionalism is the very hallmark of the American experiment.
It should be pointed out that when the U.S. won its independence, what it did more or less was secede from the British Empire. And for much of that struggle, it governed not by the Constitution, but by the Articles of Confederation, which allowed the states a great deal of freedom within structure of the American nation. It only because of powerful economic, commercial and political interests that the convention that ultimately adopted the Constitution was called to convene. Such forces tend to be the gravitational pull of centralism. But the very technologies that are supposed to pull the world together in one globalized mass, can also pull it apart. Such technologies make persons across the globe realize there is no “golden straightjacket” that encloses them. They can “be yet separate” in mind and in fact as well, one way or another and not suffer some sort of catastrophe as the elites always warn. They just have to be brave enough to do so.
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”