Tag Archives: Secession

Memphis Lawmakers Propose Seceding from Tennessee Over Civil War Statue Dispute

After the Tennessee General Assembly voted last Tuesday to strip Memphis of $250,000 worth of funding for an upcoming bicentennial celebration over its decision to remove Confederate Civil War monuments located in the city, state Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) called for the city to secede from the State of Tennessee.

“We are in what I consider an abusive relationship with the State of Tennessee. Maybe it’s time for a conversation about secession. Create a new state, maybe West Tennessee,” Rep. Parkinson told WREG-TV.

He added, “Maybe if the conversation [about secession] is being had, maybe it’ll wake those individuals up who have been taking Davidson and Shelby County for granted.”

“It’s very interesting but yes, it can be done,” said Memphis City Council Chairman Berlin Boyd according to WBIR-TV. “If we became our own state we could control our overall destiny, we could create a state income tax… You have to think about, would we want to be the size of Rhode Island? Or would it be more impactful of a larger portion of West Tennessee?”

While critics have said that separating from the state would completely disconnect the city from funds it receives from state tax coffers, such as the $517 million in funding it received this year for Shelby County schools, Chairman Boyd suggested that a newly-created state could raise its own revenues by legalizing marijuana or allowing casinos.

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell said that he opposes secession from the state but called the General Assembly’s effort to punish Memphis for removing the Civil War monuments “a little bit of a stick in the eye.”

“We are different in many ways from the rest of the state, and I say that in a very positive way, and I think that we’ve just got to resolve to continue going forward and push the message that we are a very progressive, very growing, very vibrant community that needs the state’s help,” Mayor Luttrell added.

City Council Member Worth Morgan said he opposes the measure and told WMC Action News 5, “I think seceding from the State of Tennessee is an impossible and stupid idea and any time spent researching it is probably a waste.”

While it is legally possible that Memphis could secede from Tennessee, to do so would first require that a majority of Memphis voters approve the concept in a referendum, then the Tennessee General Assembly and U.S. Congress would have to pass legislation allowing it.

Rhodes College Political Science professor Stephen Wirls said that it is unlikely that the state would approve secession. “If they allowed Memphis to go they’re basically inviting every other part of Tennessee that has beef with the state,” he said.

SC Bill Would Convene Legislature to Consider Secession If Feds Seize Guns

Republican state representatives in South Carolina introduced a bill on Thursday that would convene the state’s legislature to consider secession from the U.S. government in the event that federal officials began seizing lawfully-purchased firearms in the state.

The bill summary for H 5217, which was introduced by state Reps. Mike Pitts (R-District 14), Jonathan Hill (R-District 8), and Ashley Trantham (R-District 28), reads, “A bill to amend the code of laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Article 11 to Chapter 31, Title 23 so as to provide that the General Assembly shall convene to consider whether to secede from the United States based upon the federal government’s unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution if the federal government confiscates legally purchased firearms in this state.”

The introduction of the bill comes amid a nationwide debate over school security and gun laws that was sparked by the deadly February 14 mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 dead and 17 wounded.

Gun control activists have called for new restrictions on firearms, such as bans or age limits on tactical rifles and expanded background checks, while supporters of gun rights have advocated for the elimination of gun-free zones in schools through measures including allowing some teachers or faculty members to carry firearms. In a New York Times op ed, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said that he believes that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution should be repealed, calling the amendment protecting gun rights a “relic of the 18th century.”

Bill author Rep. Mike Pitts said that it was the increasing chorus of demands for new gun restrictions that inspired him to pen the legislation and not former Justice John Paul Stevens’ comments on the Second Amendment.

Rep. Pitts, who claims that he is not “promoting secession,” said according to Fox News, “Without a Bill of Rights, our nation is not what it is. I see a lot of stuff where people even talk about totally repealing the Second Amendment, which separates us from the entire rest of the world.”

According to The Hill, the bill was assigned on Thursday to the House Judiciary Committee.

The measure is reportedly being considered primarily symbolic and unlikely to pass during this session, as it would have to gain swift traction in order to be transferred to the state’s Senate by the session’s April 10 deadline. As of press time, with that deadline fast approaching, the bill has yet to be introduced in the Senate.

15 Towns in New York’s Southern Tier Reportedly Considering Secession

Economic desolation has consumed New York’s Southern Tier region, which traces the New York-Pennsylvania border, and some locals are blaming the New York state government for their woes. According to WBNG-TV, the Upstate New York Towns Association, which represents the interests of towns in the area, is researching whether it would be possible or prudent for fifteen towns located in the counties of Broome, Sullivan, Delaware, and Tioga to secede from New York and join Pennsylvania. The Upstate New York Towns Association has declined to name which towns have expressed interest in secession.

A statement released by the organization read, “On December 17, 2014, when it was announced that high volume hydraulic fracturing would be banned in New York State and there would be no casino license in the ‘true’ Southern Tier, a supervisor, whose town is a member of the Association, told a reporter from the Wall Street Journal that we should all secede… That supervisor discussed the idea of seceding to Pennsylvania with the Association. The Association began comparing taxes in New York with taxes in Pennsylvania and comparing the cost of doing business in New York with the cost of doing business in Pennsylvania. The Association also is studying whether or not decisions made in Albany are disproportionately benefiting Downstate.”

At issue are high taxes and bans on fracking and casinos, which some residents feel are crushing the local economy. Conklin, NY town supervisor Jim Finch (R) told WBNG-TV, “The Southern Tier is desolate. We have no jobs and no income. The richest resource we have is in the ground… We’re comparing the taxes in Pennsylvania compared to those in New York. There’s a great, great difference. Right now, we are being deprived of work, jobs and incomes.”

Bradford County, PA Commissioner Doug McLinko (R) said that he feels the pain of New Yorkers who want to jump ship and join up with Pennsylvania. Said McLinko in the above-embedded video coverage by Newswatch 16, “They look across the border and see our farms prospering, staying intact. They’re not being subdivided. They see our county cut taxes, eliminated debt.”

New York Senate Deputy Majority Coalition Leader Tom Libous (R) recently made news when he issued a pocketbook survey to his constituents asking them if they would support allowing some of the affected towns to secede from New York. Though the fifteen towns looking at secession have not yet identified themselves, Libous’ pocketbook survey specifically named Conklin and Kirkwood as two of the possible towns. The Upstate New York Towns Association says that the plan for fifteen towns to secede from New York and join Pennsylvania would have to be approved by the Pennsylvania and New York state legislatures, as well as the federal government. Conklin town supervisor Jim Finch called the possibility that the plan might work “far fetched” in comments to The Huffington Post. The Upstate New York Towns Association said it is conducting a study and will decide whether to go forward with secession after considering the merits and potential complications involved with the transition.

Though attempts at secession from New York have been tried many times before, most have failed, and the last successful effort took place in the 1790s when Vermont seceded from the state.

Exclusive Interview: 80% of Catalans Say “Yes” to Secession in Symbolic Vote

After more than two million people voted in a symbolic independence referendum in favor of secession, Catalonia is considering separating itself from Spain just like Scotland did recently.

Artur Mas, head of the Catalan regional government, called the vote “a total success,” after the overwhelming majority supported independence.

“The people of Catalonia have made it very clear that we want to govern ourselves. It is an old aspiration, which dates back centuries and remains perfectly alive,” he said.

According to the Catalan government, on Monday, a total of 2.3 million people voted, and the vast majority, 80.7 percent, voted for independence.

Anti-independence groups boycotted the referendum, which organizers said, could have skewed the results towards succession.

The regional government said 5.4 million Catalans and resident foreigners age 16 and above were eligible to vote, but there was no official electoral roll.

The next step, Mas said, was to get an official vote.

“We deserve to vote in a legal and binding referendum and this is what we are going to try to do,” he added.

Catalonia is one of Spain’s  autonomous communities and includes Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city.

But does Catalans have a chance of peaceful secession? Dartmouth professor Jason Sorens think they can if they implement good strategy and game theory.

Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook interviews Sorens about his take on the secession movement in Spain and his book, Secessionism: Identity, Interest, and Strategy.

Check out the fascinating discussion on secession below:


As Scottish vote for independence, more Americans think of secession

As the Scottish vote to secede from the UK failed, the idea of secession has been picked up by almost a quarter of Americans who say they would be open to the idea of their respective state leaving the Union.

A new Reuters poll, which took place between Aug. 23 and Sept. 16, found 23.9 percent of Americans strongly support the notion of their state breaking away from the larger US.  However, on the other side of this argument, of those polled, 53.3 percent strongly opposed the idea.

The idea to secede seems to be split down party lines too, as more Republicans, 29.7 percent of those polled, support their state standing on its own, while 21 percent of Democrats who were polled supported the idea for their state.

Many Republicans cited their dissatisfaction with the way the Obama administration has handled various issues as to why they liked the idea of secession.  These issues range from the current administration’s handling of ISIS in the Middle East, to the healthcare reforms put in place recently.

Others said they don’t believe Washington gets anything done, and they feel if their state would break away, things would be better off.  Roy Gustafson, 61, of South Carolina, told the Sun Sentinel“I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference anymore which political party is running things. Nothing gets done… The state would better off handling things on its own.”

One state that has taken the idea of secession seriously is Texas, where a group known as the Texas Nationalist Movement has been looking into ways to leave the US behind in hopes of establishing their own nation.

Daniel Miller is the director for the TNM who was excited for the Scottish vote to breakaway from the UK.  Miller said, according to USA Today, “We’re excited that they are able to have a voice, to be able to go to the polls and voice their political will on the issue of self-determination…”

Will Scotland Vote “yes” to Secede from the United Kingdom In September?


Mainstream media is full of stories from around the world, but one story that isn’t receiving the coverage it deserves is what’s happening in Scotland.

On September 18, Scotland voters will vote yes or no to a complicated question: Should Scotland be an independent country?

According to the BBC, since the Scottish National Party won the 2011 Scottish Parliament election by a landslide, it gave them the mandate to stage the referendum.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said that Great Britain no longer serves a purpose and that an independent Scotland would be one of the world’s richest countries, thanks to its oil wealth.

On the other side, Prime Minister David Cameron called Great Britain one of the world’s most successful social and political unions.

North Sea oil and gas are central to Scotland’s case for independence.

Salmond recommends earmarking a tenth of revenues to form an oil fund familiar to Norway’s.

Those in opposition of independence argue that oil and gas will eventually run out.

Another spot of contention is what would be Scotland’s currency?

An independent Scotland wants to still use the pound as its official currency, but Britain’s three main political parties, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, won’t go for that. Watch the debate on currency below:

But the majority of Scotland doesn’t want independence, according to a recent poll.

In a poll that took place on August 5, 2014 for the BBC, 55 percent of Scotland would vote no on the referendum. Thirty-five percent would vote yes, and 11 percent don’t know.

“It will be the biggest poll in Scotland’s history in terms of turnout,” said Historian Tom Devine.

Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, said that people should disregard opinion polls: “…And many of the people who will be voting will be people who are not touched by opinion polls and opinion surveys, which tend to discount people with no voting record, and I think that’s going to be a major factor.”

According to Forbes, it is in Scotland’s best interest, business wise, to remain as part of Great Britain.

Isolating itself from UK’s established banking system would complicate things.

“Banks that could remain in Scotland would also face difficulties. Upon independence, Scotland would have to develop, fund, and staff a new financial regulatory authority, establish a central bank and approve a mechanism for insuring consumer deposits,” wrote Jodie A. Kirshner, a law professor at Cambridge University.

So this secession movement would mean Scotland would keep more of its own money. However, Scottish leaders are not talking about creating a Libertarian utopia. The Scots’ plan is to make the revenues from oil production public in order to pay for free education and other social welfare programs.

In 2012, the Cato Institute’s David Boaz wrote,

“…the land of Adam Smith has become one of the poorest and most socialist parts of Great Britain. So maybe a libertarian shouldn’t look forward to Scottish independence. On the contrary, I think it’s easy for Scotland to whine and demand more money from the British central government. An independent Scotland would have to create its own prosperity, and surely the people who produced the Enlightenment are smart enough to discover the failures of socialism pretty quickly if they become free, independent, and responsible for their own future.”


Californians May Vote on Splitting CA into 6 States in 2016 Referendum

With California being the third-largest US state in terms of land mass, covering a significant portion of the US West Coast, it has historically struggled to find state-wide consensus on political issues, as voters in rural parts of the state often face completely different circumstances than those who live in massive population centers like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Secession movements have arisen in various California counties throughout the history of the state, including recent efforts by Northern California counties to separate and create a new state called “Jefferson.”

Recognizing these political complications, venture capitalist Tim Draper, hailing from Silicon Valley, came forward with a plan to split California into six separate states in an effort to develop a more responsive political system. After attaining permission earlier in the year to collect signatures for a ballot initiative that would put a referendum on splitting the state six ways before voters on the November 2016 general election ballot, Draper pumped $2 million into a petition drive. Now, SFGate is reporting that Draper may have successfully gathered more than the required 807,615 valid signatures necessary to place the “Six Californias” plan on the ballot.

If the long-shot ballot initiative were to succeed, which would also require an act of Congress and support by the Democratic-controlled state legislature before going into effect, California would be split into six separate states: Jefferson, North California, South California, West California, Central California, and Silicon Valley. Each state would get two US senators and its own stable of congressional representatives. Draper claims to have received 1.3 million signatures supporting the ballot initiative. County registrars are currently verifying the signatures, and, if a sufficient number of them are valid, the question of splitting into six states will appear on the 2016 ballot.

Democratic politicians worry that, if the referendum were to make it onto November 2016’s general election ballot, it could draw large numbers of conservative voters to the polls, hurting the party’s candidates. However, if the plan were approved, according to analysis by The Washington Post, it could also give the Democratic Party more guaranteed US Senate seats. Draper theorizes that one of the major political parties will come to back his proposal, saying, “I don’t know whether it will be the Democrats or the Republicans but one of those two parties, at some time in the future, will politically want to have to have six Californias and I believe that it will eventually happen.”

Carla Marinucci at SFGate explained how the states would break down, “Under the proposal, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose would be part of the state of Silicon Valley, which would extend to Santa Cruz and Monterey counties; San Diego and Orange counties would be in South California; Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Santa Barbara would be part of West California. The Central Valley south of Stockton and the central and southern Sierra would be the state of Central California, while North California would include Marin and Sonoma counties and the greater Sacramento area. Rural counties in far Northern California would make up the state of Jefferson.”

Detractors have dismissed the initiative as a waste of time or a conspiracy to elect Republican politicians. Democratic strategist and Six Californias spokesperson Roger Salazar, who worked for the Clinton administration and Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, disagrees, saying, “California is a beautiful place to live, and any time you can get new ideas and have a conversation, it’s a good thing for California. If it helps to make government more responsible, that’s a good thing, too.”

Tim Draper feels that the competitive nature of the six-state solution would benefit California residents. Said Tim, according to CBS News, “With six, you do get a good sense that you can drive 45 minutes in any direction and maybe be part of a different state and it keeps those states on their toes.”

The petitions were submitted on July 15, after which time officials began the eight-workday signature verification process. Additional signature checks could drag the process out for up to two more months.

Tehama County Votes to Secede from California

In California politics, there has been a long-standing feud between rural voters and those from densely-populated cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. California is an unusually large state in terms of geography, and the policies of its equally massive government sometimes please one county at the expense of another. Rural voters often complain that their voices aren’t heard in the California State Legislature in Sacramento.

Eleven sparsely-populated rural counties of Northern California cover a land mass equal to many US states, but are represented by only one state senator, unlike the Los Angeles area, which is represented by 20. This has led many Northern California counties to consider secession, with a plan in place to create a new state called “Jefferson.” Some counties in the southern region of Oregon are also considering taking formal steps to join this movement to create a new US state.

According to The Washington Post, a majority of voters in Tehama County, California approved a non-binding resolution on Tuesday that would encourage local officials to look into seceding from California and joining in the process of creating the State of Jefferson. Voters in Del Norte County also considered the same measure on the same day, but rejected it. Additionally, Siskiyou County voters considered a proposal to create the Jefferson Republic, which failed.

In the past, county officials in the California counties of Glenn, Modoc, Yuba, and Siskiyou have approved measures to consider seceding from California. The movement to create a new state encompassing parts of Northern California and a few southern counties in Oregon has been building since prior to World War II. Though the failed votes in the counties of Siskiyou and Del Norte represent a hiccup in the plan to form a new state, Tehama County’s vote to look into the idea marks the fifth county to approve such a resolution, giving credence to the view that an increasing number of voters are growing weary of their lack of representation in Sacramento politics.

Additional California counties will vote on similar measures in the near future. According to Russia Today, citizens in 16 counties are considering joining this theoretical State of Jefferson. If the initiative to form a new state were to gain serious traction, it would also have to be approved by the California State Legislature and the US Congress. Given the nature of the under-representation of the counties in question in the California State Legislature, it would be challenging for supporters of the movement to get state officials to approve the plan.

Watch the video below by Russia Today for additional coverage on the California and Oregon secession movements and the plan to create a new 51st US state.

Crimea Renews the Battle Over Rights to Secession

This article was submitted by guest contributor Jason Ditz.

One week from today, Crimea will hold a referendum on the issue of secession with the Ukraine, deciding if they will split from the nation, and potentially if they will seek reaccession into the Russian Federation.

crimThe contentious vote has renewed international debate about whether or not self-rule is a right under international law, though the history of positions from all the major powers suggests that their positions are completely malleable and just a matter of what benefits them at any given time.

The West, which has decided in this case Crimea’s self-rule is not in their interest, has taken the position that self-rule is a violation of international law, and that secession votes are only allowed if the regime one’s region is trying to escape from gives them permission.

That’s an historically problematic position for a number of reasons, from America’s own war of secession against a very unwilling Britain to the 1999 secession of Kosovo from Serbia, which Western nations loudly backed.

Russia opposed Kosovar independence, but President Putin argues that Crimea’s referendum is fully in keeping with international norms. He’s not wrong, but the norms suggest that major powers on all sides are cynically reserving self-rule for those they might stand to gain something from.


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