Could Secession Be Possible In The US?

 

The Daily Journalist Community Question.

 

 

 

A hypothetical map of a divided United States found online. 

I hate to predict situations because I tend to nail the coffin after much thought…

The United States is deeply divided as a nation and the division is worsening to historical levels only seen during the US civil war.  Democracy won’t last forever – no system ever does — and historically nations that started democratic shifted to either secession, civil war or military dictatorships. States like New York, Washington, Vermont and California – to name a few traditional democratic states — no longer feel identified with conservative states like Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas…etc. The media and Celebrities are only making the division steepen and inflaming hate between libertarians, progressives and conservatives with negative rhetoric.   

If one follows the rise of social media closely and the propaganda brewing inside of it, it is clear that the extreme progressives and many non-religious conservatives blame particularly the Jewish media for manipulating news — Antisemitism is only second to Islamophobia online; the religious conservatives blame the liberals and the progressives for betraying constitutional values and destroying the military core with social Utopian experiments to change American traditionalism. The liberals blame the republicans for the neo-conservative model of franchising American fascist values worldwide by bulldozing other cultures into submission– whether fascism can survive in a non-socialist country like the US, as it once did in Italy and Spain remains to be seen.

Globalization is a financial facet Democrats and Republican politicians fully embrace and protect, yet a globalized world has stiffen the world economy and hurt employment nationwide by outsourcing jobs in exchange of cheap labor significantly increasing gains to borrowers — particularly big banks. At this point, politicians are look upon as capitalist moguls who only serve Wall Street pundits, and not popular interest – lobbying the hallmark of legal corruption.  The rise of Donald Trump in the right and Socialism in the left might and probably will eventually doom the once indestructible core values of a free market economy into a tightly regulated fiscal system.

Ultimately, the lack of nationalism and patriotism observed today as compared to the Roosevelt Era – which unified the country to recover from the Great Depression and enter War World Two — might end as the final precursor of secession among states given the actual ideological disunion of the country and downfall of military protectionism.  In the end of the day, Auburn Alabama will never feel like NYC, and California will never become Montana.  

In Europe the situation will probably end with multiple dictatorships or the rise of new nationalist leaderships that will abandon the European Union like England.  The future doesn’t look very bright despite the multiple attempts to unify it.

The questions follow, If worst came the worst.

1)      Do you think America is deeply divided? Is it getting worst?

2)      Is secession becoming a real possibility in the US? Do states like Alabama and Arizona represent states like New York and California at a federal level?

3)      If secession happens in the near future, how would it impact the US dollar and how would it affect trade?

4)      Could a state like California or Texas be better off ruling itself than having to depend on the federal government which doesn’t represent their states interest? Example the state of Texas disliking Barack Obama’s policy, and the state of California disliking Donald Trump’s Policy.

5)      Would you approve secession states in the US?

 

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Themistocles Konstantinou.

(Present Military data Analyst. Hellenic National Defense General Staff, Athens Greece)

“Despite the fact that I am not an American citizen, I strongly believe that this nation must be united and not separated. I don’t want to express an opinion on this but I know that divided nations collapsed very quickly. I beg US the administration to be a government for all the people. The impact will be a disaster for all over the world not only the US.”

 

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Steven Hansen. 

(Publisher and Co-founder of Econintersect, is an international business and industrial consultant specializing in turning around troubled business units; consults to governments to optimize process flows; and provides economic indicator analysis based on unadjusted data and process limitations)

“I consider all five questions the same question.

The  USA constitution was written in a way that the federal government was not to interfere in states rights. Since WWI there has been a significant interference by the federal government in items which should be states issues – marriage, health care, religion, social security, labor laws, environmental laws …..

Each state should be different and have different rules. Economically it sets up 50+ state incubators to understand what works and what does not work. Texas does NOT need to have the same laws as California.

The question becomes should states be able to secede? I believe the only way forward involves chaos – and a state seceding would cause chaos and then the change of the existing system. Nobody can say with any certainty what would happen to the dollar or trade.”

 

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Sebastian Sarbu.

(He is a military analyst and vice-president of National Academy of Security and Defense Planning. Member of American Diplomatic Mission for International Relations)

“I don’t believe in a possible secessionist movement. If social America prospers then the integrity of the US will maintain itself united.

The risk is another. It consist in problematic issues and upset citizens who can generate a social crisis in America.

The ability of new politically leadership is to combat fake news and any form of extremism and to ensure the public safety, restoring the trust in solid US institutions.”

 

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Paul Pillar.

(He is a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies of Georgetown University and the Brookings Institution and an Associate Fellow of the Geneva Center for Security Policy. He retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community)

“America certainly is deeply divided, and it has continued to get worse.  Among the factors reinforcing this trend is the tribal manner of absorbing beliefs, in which things are accepted as true because leaders of one’s political tribe say they are true.  Secession is not a prospect; rather, we will see more of what we have now: political paralysis and dysfunction, and continued erosion of a common civic culture.  History offers numerous examples of nation-states still holding together and appearing as only one country on a map despite major, animosity-laden political divisions.”  

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Robert A. Slayton. 

(Professor of History, Chapman University. Research Specialist in Housing, Chicago Urban League Author of seven books, including Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith)

“I completely agree that we are at a level of tension not seen since the Civil War.

And it just starting, with a long way to go.  Besides the factors you mentioned, the president is a verbal provocateur and his stated agenda is to disrupt the status quo.

I do not see secession, but a rising anger of epic proportions, with outbursts of violence growing in scale, intensity, and frequency to record levels.

There is also one other strand you did not mention.  There is a growing sense of post-war norms being shattered in the West:  Brexit, Trump, Le Pen in France, etc.  This reminds me a lot of Europe on the brink of World War I.  In both cases there was massive disruption because of economic/technological changes (in the early example the first and second wave of the Industrial Revolution, now computers).  In both cases there was massive disruption of society:   jobs, the family, new forms of protest and challenges to the political order.In 1914 an episode in a small place was the spark, and cascaded from there.  I think that is not outside the realm of possibility now.”

 

Claude Forthomme. 

(Senior Editor of Impakter Magazine. Passionate traveller (80 countries+) 25 years experience in United Nations: project evaluation specialist; FAO Director for Europe/Central Asia)

“The idea of the United States falling apart and becoming the Disunited States of America is premature, and, in my opinion, not even realistic. I just don’t believe it. It looks bad because ideas online are taken up by anyone and everyone, and spread around like candies. Anyone and everyone who doesn’t understand anything about how the world really functions has as much say, and is heard as much as people in the know.

The Internet acts as a megaphone for division, but it doesn’t mean that the division is real or is ever going to happen. Are we going to believe the trolls and the spreaders of fake news?

Yes, at first, people listen and many may even buy in. At this point in time, as I write (12 January 2017), fakes news are an epidemic. But I have hopes, strong hopes that people are not that stupid. They will catch on. They will learn that they have been taken in by Trump and his 0.1 Percent cabinet. The billionaires in the Federal government will do whatever it takes to shield themselves from the people and make their own businesses thrive. Once middle America realizes it has been taken for a ride, it will rebel.

But this won’t happen overnight. First Trump must put into action his plans to take on China and Mexico, stop globalization, destroy international trade and health care and pull the US out of the Paris climate Accord. Once everything is destroyed and stuff in supermarkets, groceries and apparel stores start costing twice as much as before, the white middle class that supported Trump will wake up.

And when they do, nobody will talk of secession, everyone will talk of getting rid of this Tweeting Presidency. I believe in America and American values. And Americans won’t allow Trump to make America small again. ”

 

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Dale Yeager.

(He is the CEO of SERAPH and F.L.E.T.C trained Forensic Profiler and U.S. DOJ DOD Federal Law Enforcement SME / Instructor.)

“1)      Do you think America is deeply divided? Is it getting worst?

 Yes, it is and it has been fueled by the current administration which clearly had an agenda to change social systems within the U.S.

2)      Is secession becoming a real possibility in the US? Do states like Alabama and Arizona represent states like New York and California at a federal level?

Americans are Americans. This doomsday idea is unrealistic.

3)      If secession happens in the near future, how would it impact the US dollar and how would it affect trade?

This will not happen guaranteed.

4)      Could a state like California or Texas be better off ruling itself than having to depend on the federal government which doesn’t represent their states interest? Example the state of Texas disliking Barack Obama’s policy, and the state of California disliking Donald Trump’s Policy.

That would be treason. We have for over 200 years agreed to be a United States. If they did that they would suffer economic loss and anarchy.

5)      Would you approve secession states in the US?

No, it is treason.”

 

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Paul Winghart.

(He is an economist. Paul is a two-time nominee (2011, 2012) for selection into the Financial Advisor/Private Wealth magazine’s national Due Diligence/Research Manager All-Star Team)

“In perhaps the greatest bit of economic irony ever to behold the U.S., it is the dynamic of division that is greatest unifying force right now and it is getting worse. Basically, via the mostly invisible force of surplus productivity, everyone is being further detached from their own personal and unique economic potential.

Being unable to mental and emotionally frame a pathway to one’s potential. Much less identify the blockage that is surplus productivity, means that people are having a much more difficult time relating to themselves, much less anyone else around even though they are struggling with the same issue.

Because everyone’s economic potential is unique, you can’t appreciate fully someone else’s issues with surplus productivity just as they can’t appreciate yours. An analogy would be that while everyone is indeed in the same economic boat, the fog is so thick that you can’t even see anyone else who is in the boat with you.

This situation, festering since 2000, is only likely to get worse as we begin to see surplus productivity encroach on all facets of the U.S. economy. I wrote an article that was published on LinkedIn a few months ago entitled The Greatest American Irony – The Economics That Is Uniting Us Is Dividing Us that goes into this dynamic in much more detail.

I for one would not be in favor of seccession. However, I do believe  that states should break-up into smaller states. Many economists have argued that the U.S. could/ should be actually somewhere around 75 to 100 states and that can be down by making California, for example, into 6 different states.”

 

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Jose Luis Chalhoub Naffah.

(He is a political scientist with a masters in international oil trading and an independent politics consultant on politics and geopolitical risk based in Venezuela focusing on Russia AMD Middle East issues)

“1.) Certainly the U.S. is going through important Socio-political issues and most of this is related to the rise of racism and xenophobic sentiments fostered by the arrival of Barack Obama to the presidency of the U.S. — and now with the winning of Donald Trump, both related to the rise of anti-black and anti-white anti-Latino and anti-Asian and anti- Muslim action and sentiment, but ironically this has been happening utmost at the best economic moment the US has experienced. Yes, the U.S. is getting importantly divided and could get worse if not properly assessed by the Trump administration and the radical groups not controlled timely.

2.) Secession as such is now a threat for the union of the U.S. but not for all the states or the majority of the states of the union but for the demographic and economically relevant states like California and Texas, but since the economy in general is going through an important positive momentum, then this issue could be downplayed. Yet, secession also could be importantly played out by foreign players interested in destabilizing the U.S. Certainly not every state has equal representation and interests at the federal level and that’s why not every state has interest in separating from the U.S. just like the lesser resourced country in the EU wont want to see the union vanish.

4.) Certainly oil states, but mostly Texas given its oil production, reserves and size —-does not only depend on oil and shale oil and gas resources — but also on agriculture and farming, so Texas could be possible be better off and it has had some previous initiatives of separating from the U.S. :I could only bet for this state. California is in no positive economic position to carry out a secessionist strategy from Washington — a political distaste ideologically speaking. I don’t see either Mexico or China making California another state of their own.

5.) I would never approve such kind of political and geopolitical strategy, but now that we are watching how social and political dynamics in anti-globalization evolve quickly and separatism becoming a rule not the exception, then I would not rule out such a possibility in the general analysis.

 

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Dr. Christopher Warburton. 

(He holds a Ph.D in International Economics from Fordham University in New York. He has published several peer-reviewed articles and books on stabilization theory, market failure, monetary policy, exchange rates, international trade law, forensic economics, international crimes, and transitional justice)

“1. America is deeply divided and the American polarization is nothing new. It  might get worse if a substantial amount of voters continue to be unenlightened,   unemployed, and abandoned. Immigration, income inequality, and poverty have become drivers of xenophobic sentiments. From the foregoing, the adverse socio-economic attributes  have become symptoms of national discontents and alienation.

2. Secession is unlikely. Historically, States have voted to reflect their interests and confidence in those who aspire to higher office. Democracy is  a political ideology that works reasonably well when it is not susceptible to perversion, subterfuge, and complacence. In effect, it can be subverted from within and without political boundaries. As humans gravitate toward a corruption of the democratic system, because of political biases and self-enrichment, democracy ceases to function as it should. The Founding Fathers were much more diligent in safeguarding the fundamental principles of democracy. A longtime ago, political leaders were more interested in country first. Today, it seems to be pocket first; a perversion of the spirit and intent of democratic principles.

Obviously, citizens need to exercise their rights in a democracy for a democratic state to function properly. Citizens must vote and be allowed to vote. The infrastructure for voting must be freely accessible and sufficient. The sight of long lines of voters who are expected to vote within a very limited time span is indicative of a blemish on any democratic system.  A system  ceases to be democratic when voting is suppressed. It is needless to say that voting requires a minimum amount of intelligence and civic awareness. When the central pieces of a democratic system are missing , a democratic state can no longer function as a composite whole and  the cohesion of a body politic begins to disintegrate. Yet, the strength of the American system, is that political leaders are judged by their performances even when voters make sentimental choices.

National leaders who infuriate a substantial amount of the  American electorate  can be rest assured that they will be voted out of office. For these reasons, political parties  have alternated in the roles of leadership without the fear of regional secession even when the American voters are less vigilant. The voters eventually pull themselves by their bootstraps when they are confronted with adversity. Yet, the will of the majority must count in any democratic society. The tyranny of the majority or minority requires  measured rectification to maintain a balance of the expectations of voters in any democratic society.

3. Apart from the political improbabilities of secession, the economic reasons for cohesion are equally compelling. Once upon a time, US States were using different currencies. It did not work out too well. The very thought of secession presumes the possibility of the multiplicity or duplicity of currencies, which imposes transaction costs and raises the question about the acceptability of State-issued currencies. Trade will ultimately be contingent on the economic resources that are available to each seceding State.

Obviously, Sates that are not well endowed will have to find resources that will determine their comparative advantage. The paucity of such resources will spell doom, and demographic issues of domestic migration to areas of opportunity will generate unwanted external effects like crime and economic destabilization. States that are less endowed and excluded from the union will not receive federal financial support. These imaginary conditions are highly improbable. The result of a US election cannot be extraordinarily catastrophic. However, the persistence or long-lasting encouragement of economic and political deprivations against the will of voters can become very destabilizing.

4. Since secession is improbable and counterproductive, Americans are only left with some pointed and very important options: (i) they must safeguard the principles of democracy from corrosive internal and external denigration, (ii) they must ensure that national interest supersedes parochial pecuniary interests, (iii) they must address the issue of  income inequality and poverty, (iv) they must utilize opportunities to exercise their civic responsibilities, ( v) they must ensure that the voting   infrastructure is accessible, sufficient, and uniform, and (vi) American voters who lack knowledge about the principles of government and international relations will do well to educate themselves about such matters to become enlightened citizens. When voters exercise their civic responsibilities and national interest supersedes parochial interests, the body politic will be preserved and discussions about secession will fade away or become moot.”

 

John Mariotti.

(He has spoken to thousands of people in the business, professional and university audiences in the US and Europe; he hosted a one-hour talk-radio show on the North American Broadcasting Network, (The Life of Business & the Business of Life); founded & moderated, The Reunion Conference, an annual round table/think-tank for 16 years) 

“1)      Do you think America is deeply divided? Is it getting worse?

Yes, America is deeply divided, but it was at its worst in 2016. Strangely enough, the unique coalition of voters who supported Donald Trump are a blend of formerly split groups. There is no way the far left and far right will ever reconcile completely, but that was the same in the days of the Founding Fathers. America’s Constitution actually was designed to force them to find compromises that would hold the country together instead of splitting it apart, while serving the American people’s best interests. Government is intended to work for the American people, not vice versa.

2)      Is secession becoming a real possibility in the US? Do states like Alabama and Arizona represent states like New York and California at a federal level?

No. The huge differences between liberal states (NY, CA) and conservative states (TX & Southern tier), cities and rural areas, simply exhibit the diversity of America. As more Americans move South, a natural blending of ideologies will occur. Secession is no answer. It is a great cop-out to avoid reasonable dialogue about the best compromise solutions.

3)      If secession happens in the near future, how would it impact the US dollar and how would it affect trade?

If it happened, which it won’t, it would totally disrupt how the US$ is viewed globally, and similar disrupt trade. But there is no other viable reserve currency in the world either.

4)      Could a state like California or Texas be better off ruling itself than having to depend on the federal government which doesn’t represent their states interest? Example the state of Texas disliking Barack Obama’s policy, and the state of California disliking Donald Trump’s Policy.

No. The Federal government needs to cede more power back to the states. Obama’s regime contradicted the Constitution’s intention that the states have as many rights and do as much as possible locally … and the Federal government do as little as possible. That need to be restored. Contrary to Obama and his allies, the Federal government seldom knows best, and does most things poorly. wasting enormous sums of taxpayer money while doing so—to achieve flawed solutions. Continental Europe is proving that right now.

5)      Would you approve secession states in the US?

Absolutely not. To even consider it is a lazy, arrogant cop out. Reasonable people can find compromises if they want to and choose to have dialogue over it. The biggest problem in the divisiveness in America is not the people. It is the sensationalism seeking media, which is dominated by liberals to an unhealthy extent (as is education). As long as the American people let media feed them their biased, and politically motivated “news,” this will not improve. What many people dislike about Donald Trump is his intention to “blow up” this untenable situation. It is, however, one of his greatest callings to “Make America Great Again.”  Nobody has to agree with everything. However, every elected official MUST set aside their selfish, biased positions and find positions that represent the will and wishes of the people they were elected to represent.”

 

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Nick Dranias.

(He is President & Executive Director of Compact for America Educational Foundation. He is a constitutional scholar and an expert in the law of interstate compacts. He has appeared as a constitutional scholar on Fox News, MSN-NBC, NPR, and many other outlets)

“1)       Do you think America is deeply divided? Is it getting worst?

America is deeply divided and if our system of federalism—allowing for state and local control of most policy issues—were working the division would not necessarily be a threat, but a basis for policy competition and persuasion for residents and businesses, with the best state or city winning the competition. The problem has been that the federal government under the outgoing administration did as much as possible to obliterate that safety release for division and healthy policy competition (except in the field of marijuana production), and by consolidating ever more power in a centralized location, transformed such division into a nearly existential political conflict. Perhaps the new administration will reverse course, but if not, further centralization will exacerbate the problem.

2)       Is secession becoming a real possibility in the US? Do states like Alabama and Arizona represent states like New York and California at a federal level?

Secession is not a real possibility, nor should it be tried. The effort failed in the civil war and it will certainly fail today. Plus, there is too much division internal to all states to extract an entire state from the union. There are communities within states that have their own policy ideas that need the autonomy to make core policy decisions. That’s why powerful ideas like the Prosperity States Compact should be used whereby states can agree to create autonomous local communities that can robustly restore the constitution and free market policies for those who want them. The vehicle of a compact is recommended because it preserves that policy environment from political interference and with congressional consent can also restore limits on federal power.

3)       If secession happens in the near future, how would it impact the US dollar and how would it affect trade?

It won’t happen.

4)       Could a state like California or Texas be better off ruling itself than having to depend on the federal government which doesn’t represent their states interest? Example the state of Texas disliking Barack Obama’s policy, and the state of California disliking Donald Trump’s Policy.

No.

5)       Would you approve secession states in the US?

No. The ProsperityStates.org effort is both more politically plausible, more effective and more likely to actually result in greater freedom.”

 

Halyna Mokrushyna.

(Holds a doctorate in linguistics and MA degree in communication. She publishes in Counterpunch, Truthout, and  New Cold War on Ukrainian politics, history, and culture. She is also a contributing editor to the New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond and a founder of the Civic group for democracy in Ukraine)

“Without any doubt, America is divided. The last presidential election showed it very clearly. There is a deep ideological divide between traditionalist, conservative Americans and neoliberal, ‘progressive’ Democrats. I took the ‘progressive’ into brackets not accidentally, because Democrats of Hillary Clinton’s likes are hypocritical demagogues, pretending to be preoccupied with destinies of little people, while in reality serving interests of the elite to which they belong. Real progressives, like Senator Sanders, do not stand a chance in a non-socialist country that the US is, and I do not think that socialism is ever possible in the States.

What shocked me the most in the aftermath of Trump’s victory in the presidential election is a violent, immature reaction to it of Democratic Party supporters. They launched street protests, called upon members of the Electoral College not to vote for Trump, doubted the results of counting. They are so nice when their representatives sit in the White House, but when somebody else dares to challenge their ideology and power, their politeness and civility suddenly disappear. A quote from Churchill comes to mind: ‘Some people’s idea of [free speech] is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage’. Democracy is a democracy precisely because it allows the multiplicity of voices to be heard and represented politically.

Neo-liberal rulers even successfully convinced many Americans that Russians hacked the DNC servers and influenced the results of the election. It is ironic how the American spy agencies, without any convincing proof, are accusing Russians of intervening in the U.S domestic affairs. The U.S. has been meddling in other countries’ politics for decades, the last example being the coup d’état in Ukraine, which resulted in the awakening of right-wing nationalism, oppression of the opposition, and the disintegration of the economy.

Yes, America is divided ideologically, but what country isn’t? American intellectual and political elites are in panic mode because they have finally understood that their country is not exceptional and it is subject to the same fragility as any other. American elites thought self-indulgently and arrogantly that their country is well shielded from the destruction which they have been bringing to other countries. It is very difficult to give up the self-illusion of superpower and self-righteousness and accept the political and intellectual multipolarity. It is easier to blame one’s problems on others, and Russia is the ready-made escape goat for sins of American military industrial moguls.

In my opinion, we are witnessing the decline of American domination in the world, and this is good. Globalization, promoted by both Republican and Democrat elites, brought cheap products to the masses, but stripped American working class of jobs and is deskilling American workers. The election of Donald Trump who promised to bring back industries into the U.S. is a good thing for America and the rest of the world. Globalization in the current configuration is a very eschewed world system that is not sustainable in the long run, as it serves interests of the transnational elite. Transnational capitalists dislike nationalism precisely because it threatens their freedom to move production anywhere in the world where the labour is cheaper, where taxes are much lower, and where various regulations do not exist. Nationalism as protection of one’s own interests is a positive thing as long as it does not mutate into hatred and exclusion of others.

We are witnessing the rise of such nationalism in Europe. I disagree with Jaime Ortega that it would lead to the emergence of dictatorships. It might lead to the emergence of nationalist leaders, but coming to power of dictators is highly improbable, given the traumatic and tragic experience of Nazism in Europe.

Is secession possible in the U.S.? I do not think so. Separatism in any country historically is based on ethnic/cultural cleavages, not on ideological ones, and in that sense, America has a strong unity. Different actors on the margins of mainstream politics might entertain the idea of leaving the confederation, but they will never gather a sufficient support from ordinary citizens and the elites. There is no genuine social movement in the States that would promote the idea of secession. Even if such a movement were present, as it was in Quebec in 1960-1970, the economic reality check would dispel the enchantment of sovereignty. The defeat of Quebec sovereignists in the referendum of 1995 by a close margin of one percent was due to a large extent to fear of economic instability that the separation of Quebec would bring. People think about their basic needs first. It is difficult to lure into an uncertain adventure somebody who already lives in more or less easy circumstances.

Secession in the States is not viable economically, it does not have the support of the elites and the population at large, and it will not happen. That is why I will not speculate what would happen to the trade and the American dollar.

As to whether I would approve or disapprove the secession, it would up to American citizens to decide, and I am not one of them.

Last point: democracy is possible without capitalism. The elites instilled into us the idea that free market and democracy are inseparable twins, but it is a false ideological construct. It is quite possible to have a centrally planned economy and a political system reflecting the interests of diverse population. Entrepreneurship is a very positive phenomenon and a drive of economic development, which should be allowed and encouraged. But any large, nation-wide production units should be under public ownership as it would allow a more transparent and just management and distribution of income across society. It would also prevent the accumulation of excessive riches in the hands of few people. What is needed for the building of such democracy is the political will of the elites, or a revolution, and both seem highly unlikely in the world we currently live in.”

 

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Jon Kofas. 

(Retired Indiana University university professor academic writing. International political economy — fiction)

“Is Secession a Possibility? In case of Secession, what would be its impact on the dollar and trade?

By 2016, the majority of Americans were angry and dissatisfied with their government led by a neoliberal Cold War Democrat President Obama whose actions did not match his rhetoric when it came to social justice and economic opportunity for all. Two weeks before the presidential election of 2016, a survey indicated that the nation was sharply divided on nearly everything from race relations to health care. The majority of people, 20% more than in 2012, believed the country was headed in the wrong direction and blamed the establishment Democrats and Republicans.

Polarization was evident when considering evangelical Protestants who associated America’s glory with the Eisenhower administration, an era when institutionalized racism was legal and witch hunts against dissidents entailed absolute conformity in a country that called itself a democracy and castigated totalitarian Russia. Many populist conservatives that voted Trump are not bothered if their president violates the constitution and goes above the law to crush all enemies foreign and domestic, from ISIS in Iraq to illegal aliens and Black Lives Matter in the inner cities. In short, if authoritarianism is what it takes for social integration, then so be it, as far as the populist right wing is concerned. That populist conservatives lump together jihadists, illegal aliens, and minority activists speaks volumes of deep-seated cultural, political and institutional racism.

Beyond the obvious socioeconomic divisions that tend to be much more evident in southern states and rural areas, coastal states are enjoying higher living standards than the rest of the country and are culturally very different from most states except the larger Midwestern and even some large southern cities. The “Red-state” (Republican) vs. “Blue-state” (Democrat) divide transcends class and reflects more of a cultural and ideological chasm that reflects historic societal conditioning. Although it is true that the social, cultural, religious, financial, and political elites have shaped the ideological/cultural chasm largely to suppress class solidarity which poses a threat to capitalism, this divide is deeply rooted in American history layered with the experiences of the dominant white Western European culture as hegemonic subordinating all others.

As a political tool of rallying support behind the flag, shifting blame to external enemies has limited staying power, although the US did very well using Communism for half a century to achieve a domestic and international political consensus. Although large segments of the population feel excluded by the institutional structure, indoctrination has them convinced that enemies du jour are to blame, whether they are Russian and WIKILEAKS hackers, illegal immigrants, Muslims, the Chinese, etc. According to Pew Research public opinion data, the US did not become divided in 2016 as a result of the general election. The divisions in fact predate 9/11 and become sharper with the ideological/political gap widening as the income gap widened after the great recession of 2008. The decline in living standards follows a corresponding rise in the phenomenon of culture clashes and various socially excluded and differentiated groups seeking integration by different political means.  https://www.quora.com/HowandwhyhastheUnitedStatesbecomesodividedpoliticallyandsocially

Considering the US progressive tradition was limited to the trade union movement from the late 19trh century until the Great Depression but thoroughly co-opted, and considering the women’s movement along with all other identity politics issues were also co-opted by the Democrat Party, there is no historical tradition of an effective progressive grassroots movement that takes under its umbrella all socially excluded and differentiated groups.  Given this reality people turn to the right when a populist extreme right wing demagogue like Trump comes along and promises to restore the American Dream, although in practice will deliver more wealth concentration that will lead to even lower social integration levels than what he inherited.

Is Secession a Good Idea? Would liberal California or conservative Texas be better off as breakaway Republics?

Considering the polarizing societal conditions, one could imagine how perpetual division, even secession may enter the public discourse. Secession is a deep-seated fear or wish on the part of some Americans who see that country geographically, ideologically, politically, racially, ethnically and culturally divided. It is true that southern states do not reflect the values or lifestyles of the coastal states. It is equally true that the smaller less populated southern states enjoy as many votes in the senate as the larger coastal states, thus determining the national agenda for the majority of the population. Does such a system reflect the will of the people, the social contract, or is it simply a reflection of states’ rights mentality that had relevance during the pre-Civil War slave era?

Secession was tried in the 1860s and failed miserably despite the considerable confidence of the southern elites who believed that their interests were better served by closer integration with England than the northern states. The secession movement that resulted in the Civil War suggests that secession is beyond the realm of possibility. Of course, people understand politics on the basis of their educational level, their family and local influences, their religious and ideological-political leanings, as well as cultural conditioning.

Rural Mississippi populist Republicans who link their identity to the Christian faith view New York Democrats as leftist atheists interested in destroying cherished southern traditions and values. In such case, the individual subordinates material self interest to religious faith and culture, as Samuel Huntington argued in “Clash of Civilizations” referring to a Middle East-West conflict rather than a domestic culture clash. Conservatives are spending billions of dollars every year trying to convince the masses to disregard their material self interests and focus on religion, cherished traditions, and loyalty to the nation, even if that means that every year their living standards decline and their prospects and those of their children for social integration diminish. 

Conclusions

Not just the mass anti-Trump-inauguration demonstrations estimated at more than 200,000 people, but the media wars, social media and mainstream media ‘fake news’, the political elites’ wars, the struggle for the country’s direction either toward a more authoritarian course or a liberal bourgeois based on pluralism, all provide a glimpse of a polarized society where social integration is the presumptive theoretical goal but exclusion and differentiation are realities. Although dialogue about the issues concerning the lives of the middle class and working people raises conflict in a capitalist society, the question is to what degree and how do the bourgeois political parties deal with social integration to achieve political consensus.

Under an imaginary scenario of secession, the cultural elites and some people on either side of the cultural divide would be happy if they were not bound by the federal government pursuing an ideological and political agenda with which they disagree sharply. Clearly, there is an ideological, political and cultural chasm between Texas and California, at so many levels, despite similarities especially in the larger cities of both states. It is also the case that while in many southern and rural areas there is convergence of religious dogma and conservative political ideology.

States have a great deal in common and would not give up the safety and security of the federal umbrella which makes possible US global reach partly because it has military bases around the world, military alliances, and the strong dollar as a reserve currency that is overvalued to the benefit of those holding it. Unless their privileges are taken from them by force as has been the case in revolutions, financial elites always manage to protect, preserve and expand their interests by backing the political status quo even if they have to reform it with a more progressive agenda, or support authoritarian policies, whichever side manages to forge a better popular consensus. 

The reality of the well-integrated economy with global ties takes precedent over all other issues. California and Texas have economies largely in the primary sector of production but also in banking and high tech. This means that they need markets beyond their state borders and beyond US borders. Not just the costs of running an independent nation-state with sovereign currency, trade and investment policy that is in line with international organizations such as the WTO, World Bank, IMF, but also the reality of a mobile work force would complicate matters and make the breakaway states less competitive.

In the end, the political, ideological and cultural benefits would be so minor to the breakaway states, and economic costs so high that they would rejoin the union even if they were given the freedom to form their own nation. There is strength in unity and weakness in division. However, human beings are indeed irrational and material interests are not their only motivating factor in political choices. Indoctrinated by “Manifest Destiny” ideology and the American Dream of achieving greatness again even by association with the nation-state, people will sacrifice self-interest as they perceive it so they may satisfy their illusions such as identity with the militarily strong nation.

One possible scenario for the future of the US amid rapidly changing demographics is that it may resemble some aspects of post-Mandela South Africa. South African blacks have entered the political arena and government bureaucracy, they enjoy political rights and in theory equal protection under the law, but the economy and the entire institutional structure is designed to serve the white capitalist minority. As much as the US criticizes Russia for its authoritarianism and crony capitalism, is it that far off and is it not moving in that direction rather than the direction of the Scandinavian countries?

As the trend of massive wealth concentration under a corporate welfare state continues to erode the middle class and working class, the struggle against the tide of domestic and global history will keep America at war with itself and tilt it even more toward the road of authoritarianism and militarism after the next inevitable deep recession. Because popular expression of discontent lacks class solidarity owing to cultural divisions and identity politics in America, political leadership will not be under the umbrella of a leftist or even a center-left movement. America’s future is an even more authoritarian regime with roots at the local and state levels financed by wealthy individuals like the Koch brothers among other likeminded billionaires, finding expression at the federal level with populist demagogues like Trump.”

 

Jaime Ortega-Simo.

(The Daily Journalist president and founder)

“It looks very unrealistic to suggest secession today is a viable outcome in the United States. A few riots and a few protest could not possibly pave the way towards separation. But one important concept I learned throughout the history of the world is that looks and appearances can deceive and be undermined by the most avid observers.  What looks like small bumps and modest swells in society end up transforming the nation’s political framework! Geographically speaking, the US is simply too vast size wise to not consider separation. The issues that affect Montana, are just not the issues hurting Florida.

The United Sates is in real trouble and it’s highly unlikely the current ideological war initiated by the media unites the country. I compare this to a hallow ball which exterior is made out of plastic covered gold with sharp nails impacting the inside.  The gold exterior is the American economy; the air inside represents the lack of values, and the nails represent the political and ideological divisions pinning down the gold exterior as the ball moves and bounces. The ball depends on its gold surface made of plastic, once it blows up, the nails will fly away.

Financially – for now—the United States remains united under financial prosperity that keeps most people secure without fully embracing ideological revolts despite growing tension among different factions; however, the real problem is that United States is ideologically divided and states like California no longer represent the nationalistic and patriotic values of conservative states like Alabama or Kentucky.  Every state differs financially from one another and in the past few years cities like Chicago and Atlantic City have suffered bankruptcy — it has worsened over the years. In fact, people from Chicago, Michigan, California, Ohio and other financially hit states have started to migrate to the southwest in search for new opportunities!  States that financially prosper don’t want to deal with welfare states that rely on government aid to sustain themselves, and welfare states want to use federal powers to keep their disastrous state policy running at the cost of raising taxes to whatever is left of the middle class.

As I mentioned earlier, the silent generation and the generation that preceded them, helped reshape America during the Great Depression and united to fight against Nazi Germany; nationalism, military faith and patriotism were on all-time high. Today the opposite is true and after talking to plenty of military colleagues and war vets, I can guarantee they see politicians the same way Julius Caesar saw the Aristocracy in Rome – a cancer of society run by corrupt elites. The Democratic Party is particularly blamed for their incursion on inciting division– a situation never seen before the American Civil war.

Then the progressive media has initiated a race war vilifying police officers and victimizing criminals to generate more views and incentivize their networks at the cost of inflaming hate among ethnic groups; white versus black media sensationalism generates vast amount of converts, viewership and new subscribers. The media is making local news, national news to create controversy and generate higher ratings to out-rate their competition. Yet, the media won’t cover the ethnic war between Mexicans and blacks in America taking place in the south, west and southwest – and it’s a bad scenario. Such issue is making white Americans despise Blacks and blacks hate whites and other minorities that also reciprocate with violence. The US flag is now viewed as a fascist symbol of worldwide interventionism and genocide, it no longer represents “the home of the brave and the proud”.  The media has created an unrecoverable ethnic war in America to incentivize their networks, at the expense of social divisions. Just wait and see…

Then we have the growing tension between Wall Street and the millennial generation. The millennials believe in massive conspiracy theories and despise banks and bureaucrats. The millennials have adopted socialism and other far left ideologies to counter the pro-capitalist dogmas run inside Government. Wall Street is completely disconnected with the average Joe and they only care about finding legal loopholes to evade government regulations from interfering with their interest. Companies will purchase robots and hire illegal immigrants to avoid paying more money to low income Americans— never mind outsourcing jobs and its impact on employment. In America corporations and elites have the same leverage as politicians and escape prosecution while the average Joe suffers the full consequences of the law.  Justice exist at insignificant local and state levels, but loses traction at Supreme Court level, when the criminals trialed own large reserves of money.

The division steepens further between progressives, liberals and conservatives. The rotten relationship is headed toward more divisions constantly impacting the core values of strong nationalism in America. The wealthy baby boomer liberals see the new young progressives like fake democrats, who want to take the party to the far left, diffuse privatization and unjustly distribute their wealth. The conservatives view liberals as the progenitors of the progressive movement and view both ideologies as cancerous to America.  Progressivism has turned nationalism into fascism, and military incursions into interventionism; nationalism, patriotism, traditionalism are all viewed as enemies of Darwinian-democracy.  Even in education, the palpable war between conservatives, liberals and progressives is vicious and unforgiving. A few decades ago the left and the right and the center were united under nationalism and military efficiency, today no longer is the case.

The Democratic Party challenged the election and took part on the vote recount started by Jill Stein. This is the start of a negative narrative which will make Republicans in the near future contest elections results not satisfied by the results. The left should have accepted the election results and not blame Putin. The CIA’s report shows Russia, China, Iran and many other countries breach government servers on a regular basis. The pentagon was breached over 300 times in the past three years and information has been leaked.

Also the growing list of politicians skipping Trump’s inauguration is alarming and will send a rancid signal to Trump supporters across the US, who will start to boycott democratic initiatives as a response. The Democratic Party has brought such negativity to itself, and it has lost significant power in congress, now dominated by republicans.

People underestimate the power of comments on social media and its impact and influence on people’s reactions and opinion.  Conventional ideological battles were traditionally fought with constant revolutions, uprisings and public discontent.  The western world has changed its beat with the rise of technology; ideological battles today are fought online and unlike mainstream media which filters its opinion, the online world is unfiltered.  Such unfiltered system allows hate to spread like wildfire. Just like the health consequences of smoking a cigarette without filters, are the ideological consequences of not filtering forums, comment sections and opinion pieces online.  Now if the government decided to regulate the internet, democracy would cease to exist and it would cluster more coals to the growing hatred between Americans and government. If the Government doesn’t regulate the internet, democracy will pay the consequences regardless. No good options…

Realistically, I think the only reason why states have not separated in America is because the pillars of the financial system haven’t collapsed and reach the levels of the Great Depression;  Once we reach that level, I not only believe secession is a likely possibility but a new civil war is probable. America is not united and the fact that various high level entrepreneurs and celebs openly express “they don’t feel like Americans anymore” among millions of other people, sparks the start of the problem to arise. Mark my words, secession is closer than what most people think and its sugar coated on hopes that the US economy wont crash.”

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