American Secessionists Meet

American Secessionism tends to be thought of as mostly a fantasy of far right-wing types who pointedly refer to the Civil War as “The War Between The States” and imagine themselves jumping like minutemen and grabbing their rifles from above their beds when they hear Hilary’s black helicopters coming.

Maybe that’s about to change. Kirkpatrick Sale and Thomas Naylor tell us about the “Milddlebury Declaration”:

We believe that, of the options open to those who would dissent from the actions and institutions of a government grown too big and unwieldy and its handmaiden corporate sponsors grown too powerful and corrupt, the only comprehensive and practical one is some form of separatism.…

The Middlebury Institute hopes to foster a national movement in the United States that will:

  • place secession on the national political agenda,
  • encourage secessionist and separatist movements here and abroad,
  • develop communication among such existing and future groups,
  • create a body of scholarship to examine and promote the ideas of separatism,
  • and work carefully and thoughtfully for the ultimate task, the peaceful dissolution of the American empire.

They’re not anywhere near the “to the barricades!” stage yet — they’re more in the “let’s make a think tank!” stage. But it looks like it will be worth keeping an eye on.

The declaration itself says of separatism:

By separatism we mean all the forms by which small political bodies, dedicated to the precept of human scale, distance themselves from larger ones, as in decentralization, dissolution, disunion, division, devolution, or secession, creating small and independent bodies that rule themselves. Of course we favor such polities that operate with participatory democracy and egalitarian justice, which are attainable only at a small scale, but the primary principle is that these states should enact their separation and self-government as they see fit.

Which sounds delightful to me, though I hope they don’t restrict themselves to “states” and take notice of how such “small and independent bodies that rule themselves” like families and people can also distance themselves from larger governments. As Thoreau wrote:

Some are petitioning the State to dissolve the Union, to disregard the requisitions of the President. Why do they not dissolve it themselves — the union between themselves and the State — and refuse to pay their quota into its treasury?

Life’s pretty busy for me this week, so probably we’re due for infrequent posts at The Picket Line. Nothing to worry about — I’m not going anywhere, and things should be more-or-less back to normal here by some time next week.