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Comments from readers

New California Republic posts a select number of responses both pro and con. If you would like to contribute a longer, thoughtful essay favoring one view or another, please submit it to info@newCaliforniarepublic.org. Paste your comments in the body of the email. No attachments please. Thank you for visiting New California Republic.

Date posted
12/18/04
As attractive as secession sounds as a response to voter fraud and nasty Republican politics during this past election, I propose a alternative. Different path, same goal.
Instead of Calif or even the West Coast breaking away for the ole USA, might we identify just what we want to be different and work on those issues. For example, The Feds have a strong limits on stem cell research and yet Calif voters approved $3B in this state for enhanced stem cell research. So instead of focusing on Washington, we focus on Sacramento or the West Coast instead.
So lets consider California energy independence, California health care for all children, California one person one vote, California low cost medications, the list goes on and on. As federal programs supporting these concepts go against our grain, we Californians take up the torch and do what is right for our citizens. If Federal Pell Grants for College expenses dry up, we start a CAL-Pell replacement. As the cost of medical drugs escalate, we work with Calif drug companies to contain those costs for Californians or make a state to country deal between Calif and Canada to hold our costs down.
The list goes on and on. Basically I would suggest California for California. Let's gain our independence one step at a time. Instead of secession from the Union, we would gain the Nationhood of California. I am not talking about the fine tuning of our wonderful state as proposed by the California Performance Review (CPR), but am talking about a comprehensive reformation of the state into a Nation. As a true Nation we have to tackle these issues anyway. Why not address them now?
Secession sounds a bit militant, but evolution to Nationhood will be very hard to stop once it's started.
--Ron (Ridgecrest, CA)

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12/18/04
It is the typical narrow sighted views that make most patriotic americans disgusted with the liberal minority that think they know everything. If anything is wrong it is never their fault. California wouldn't be what it is without the rest of America, and without the rest of America it wouldn't be much more than a JOKE. My opinion is that as long as we allow corrupt politics (Gray Davis - liberal choice) and law suits that that waste everyones time, for no ones good, we are headed in the wrong direction. Seccesion is another over reaction from someone who thinks 53% is a vast majority on not one at all.
--Chuck (San Diego, CA)
12/18/04
I started thinking about secession as soon as I realized that Liberal values are not represented by our currrent government. But please consider the formation of The United States of the West Coast of America (or USWCA) to include Washington and Oregon. I think you'll find many in Washington and Oregon who would support such a cause.
--Eric (Seattle, WA)
12/18/04
How about asking the people of Baja California to join us? Let's make a west coast nation with all the plurality the west has to offer--and some great fishing, too!
--Jim (San Diego, CA)
12/17/04
I agree with the comments made by the founder that much of the U.S. is moving one direction and California, Oregon, and Washington are moving the other direction. The citizens of the three "left coast" states are very different culturally and politically than much of the U.S.
I believe that we - Washington, Oregon, and California - should consider seceding together as a very strong nation with the individual freedoms, rights, and responsibilities given us by the founders of the U.S. via the U.S. Constitutions. The extremests on both sides, but particularly the conservatives are destroying our the U.S. Constitution and our individual liberties.

--K (Sacramento, CA)
12/17/04
The USA has changed and I'm very disappointed in my country. I think secession or the threat of it is the only answer. The blue states should leave the hell with the USA.
--Dave (Kettering, OH)
12/17/04
I've written more on this here: http://amsam.org/2004/12/strategies-for-new-resistance_17.html. I also think you can use seccession as a tactic for getting things that you want, such as federalism or a right to choose or even some indictments of Enron officials.
--Philip (Pittsburgh, PA)
12/17/04
Congrads on your bold proposal. I had the same idea a couple of years ago. I'm in . let me help in any way I can.
--Brian (Santa Rosa, CA)
12/17/04
I have long thought that the time has come for California to establish a new relationship with the U.S.! I still see that as a necessity, I would support Secession if it were feasible. My theory is that we should establish a commonwealth "type" relationship as between Canada and England. All taxes would stay instate, and we would negotiate an annual payment for defense costs. Not for OFFENSE costs! Social Security is a debt paid to individuals who have earned it regardless of where they live. (to put that fear to bed.) We would establish our own Social Security system and healthcare system. I have a myriad of reasons why California is not getting it's share of return on our taxes paid to the U.S., and never will. The commonwealth concept could be developed simultaneously with other states such as Vermont Maine, New hampshire, Oregon and Washington. I bet even poor benighted Nevada might want in. This concept might also be an easier pill to swallow for everyone concerned.
--Jack (Sonoma, CA)
12/17/04
I beleive this would be a positive option rather then revolution. I was born and raised here in California and have been a tax paying voting citizen for thirty five years and to see my state go to shit because we oppose the direction the ruling power is taking us is wrong. I have organized with the UFW and SEIU for many years and my beleif is SI SE PUEDE (We can do it). We need to start by bringing back the pride for our great state of California. Where are the California Flags? I don't see them in the air unless its a goverment building and sometimes not even there.Why are we made to feel anti-american if we bring out our California flags. Lets talk about why we are made to fear being Californian this administration has turned its back on us once before and we survived.
--Estella (Stockton, CA)
12/17/04
I have been advocating this for years! Of course, we'd have the military in her on us like a shot! The USA would never let our resources go without a fight.
--Patricia (Pinole, CA)
12/16/04
Several of the postings below want to characterize the debate about secession as Liberal versus Conservative and Cities versus Farms. This continues the divide which drove the last election and created a true need for us to consider drastic actions.
It would be a fatal mistake to position possible secession as anything but a net win for ALL California regions, and it would be misleading to think of it any other way.
This is not a geophysical debate. It is a frame of mind and method of administration. It is not Liberal versus Conservative, not city against farm, not family-values compared to ... well ... family values. This is Western culture versus Midwestern policies.
The vast majority of California conservatives (can't speak for Washington or Oregon) are much more moderate and thoughtful than the US administration's version of "compassionate conservatives". Many of them would be mortally offended to be compared to the bible-thumping, socially judgemental stereotypes of the midwestern states. While this stereotype may be unfair to midwesterners, it's as valid a comment as "liberal Californians" as referenced in several messages below.
In truth, many western states conservatives share the exact same values as the western states liberals, with a much smaller gap of disagreements between the two. Acceptance and tolerance of differences is still a hallmark of the West Coast. To comment otherwise simply seeks to divide and create exactly the sociological environment we're growing disillusioned with, and conveys a complete misunderstanding of our culture.
To succeed in this movement we must concentrate on the benefits (and fully understand the risks) involved in secession -- and again, this is just the first step. Whether California independence on its own, as part of a greater "Pacifica", or more dominant in United States national politics is the fundamental question we should be asking. A lack of action is acceptance of the status quo. ANY of the three above options yield important benefits when compared to sitting on our collective hands and waiting for change.
As Westerners (particularly Californians) are sadly underrepresented in the electoral system -- a major political liability. We experience a massive revenue drain which ultimately subsidizes other states, and historic trends show this is getting worse every year. We are told what to do with our land and our people by a government which is increasingly cut off from Western US values.
That is the debate.
This isn't us versus ourselves, it's us versus federal policy and practice, policies which so far are leaving Westcoasters -- Californian, Oregonian, Washingtonian. Red county and Blue county. Conservative and Liberal alike -- very much at a loss.
--Steve (Long Beach, CA)
12/16/04
Dear Jeff, I am glad about the response to your initiative. What are the next steps? ... The first "National" Conference, formation of local chapters, ballot... ? Please keep me updated (mailing list) - I would be happy to participate.
--Gerhard (Los Angeles, CA)
(NOTE: Thanks for your comments, Gerhard. We plan to have some initial meetings in various parts of California as soon as January. If anyone is interested in hosting such an event, please contact jeff@moveoncalifornia.org.)
12/16/04
Please continue this effort and allow ex residents to return when the secession occurs
--Wade (Roanoke, VA)
12/16/04
As are many people, I am repulsed and embarrassed by the direction this country has taken. Exploring the idea of secession provides a small ray of hope in what now appears to be a hopeless future.
--Genie (Prather, CA)
12/16/04
I'm glad someone has started the secession debate since I believe it is very needed in today's political climate. I've felt that California should try to separate from the US since pre-Clinton times, though my reasons for supporting secession are different than those listed here. I feel that our system of government has broken down under the weight of the size of our country. Larger electorates are more susceptible to media manipulation and increasingly accurate polling techniques to the point where grass-roots counter-movements cannot possibly raise the necessary votes to make a difference. With incumbency rates well over 90% and the current trend where the winning campaign is the one that spends the most money, our politicians are increasingly beholden not to the citizens that elected them, but to the corporations that financed their victory.
I would actually advocate the break-up of the US into a number of smaller countries with an umbrella organization (similar to the EU) to handle a limited number of issues (like a single currency). But if this is ever to happen, the California secession discussion is the way it has to begin.
So, kudos to you on championing this issue. If nothing else, a ballot measure would send the message to Washington that we aren't simply a cash cow that can be written off as a blue state and then ignored.
--Tim (San Francisco, CA)
12/16/04
This country has gone to hell in a handbasket, its time we started from scratch.
--Glen (Guerneville, CA)
12/15/04
I'm glad this dialogue is moving forward. It's time to realize the power imbalances with the status quo and our position on the receiving end in a clearly dysfunctional and abusive relationship. Remaining as a US state preserves a national mythology that glosses over the abuse and dysfunction, but does not benefit Californians in the long run. I support leaving the Union. We can do it!
--Michael (San Francisco, CA)
12/15/04
I think that there are several points to make in any argument for secession.
1. Much of california is actually controlled by federal agencies; Interior, Forest Service, Military etc. Unlike most eastern states, many of the environmental decisions that affect our state are out of our hands. Plus much of this land is simply used for resource extraction.
2. If we are to have a new country, how will we improve how democratic government is run? How will this new entity better serve and involve its citizens? Because just duplicating the system now in place nationally will only prolong real solutions.
--Jonah (Sausalito, CA)
12/15/04
after the 'election' my soul couldn't continue to consider possibilities. exxxccept for this one. and now here you are. let's go and do this thing. or move to vermont.
--Olivia (Oakland, CA)
12/15/04
If you take a quick look at the county by county break down, california looks a lot more red then blue. I think you have an unexpected fight on your hands. And what would the blue counties do for water, since all the farm land and water would be in red counties. Looks like the big cities are the only red counties in the entire country. Take a look at the county by county round up of red vs blue. You may be even more dissapointed
--Scott (Stockton, CA)
12/15/04
Just think. If we seceded, we would be able to enact sensible immigration law, and have the ability to enfoce it. That alone should make secession a topic of interest to most Californians.
--Mary (Fountain Valley, CA)
12/15/04
California is powerful enough politically and economically to be its own country. I've dallied with this idea in my head for years, ever since I was politically aware, and wondered why Californians were always subject to the whims of a bunch of cracker-rednecks in the so-called Bicameral Legislature of our House of Congress.
Okay, enough with the maniacal ranting, I'll be serious now:
I know plenty of southerners, even people in my family, who look down upon my side because we are Californians. At one family reunion just after 9/11, an uncle from Alabhama said, "We should just nuke those liberal f@ggots and be done with it. They support Al-Qaeda anyway! Look at Johnny Walker, That's the west coast for you right there!"
If that is how the Red States see us, why should we stick around and be at their whims? They just get fat of the food we produce, the money we generate and they even discuss boycotting our economic exports (namely entertainment media) because they supposedly espouse liberal ideals. Secondly, Californians on average are better educated than most Americans. Our school system may not be that great, but we have some of the most prestigious universities in the country, if not the world... (California and Stanfurd! Yes, Stanfurd. I'm a Cal-Bear, so.. *raspberry* :) )
We have the 5th, soon to be -4th- most powerful economy in the world, produce a lot of the world's food and have tremendous resources at our disposal. We are rising without stopping for breath and yet we are dangerously underrepresented in the US Government and called hippies, pinkos and weirdos by those in control? Do we really have to take this kind of childish taunting? NO! California deserves better. And besides, ! if they really hate us so much, they won't mind to see us go. So, let's do it! See how they like it without us.
--Andrew (Berkeley, CA)
12/15/04
1. Biggest opportunity: California by itself is not as strong as it would be w/both Western Oregon and Western Washington state. It would occupy the entire Pacific coast (Canada through Mexico). Better leverage, better bargaining power.
2. Biggest drawback/limit: California, like Washington state, is a net tax donor, as you already know. But many of these accrued surpluses are stored as items like Social Security. If CA (and WA and OR) seceded, do you think the hundreds of billions of California $$ in Social Security stored assets would be blithely returned to the Repuiblica of Calif (or whatever) treasury? You would end up with, I believe, a large cohort of baby boomers and older who have been paying thousands of dollars a year into retirement and you would not have that -- it would float the "federal" (remaining U.S.) deficit and be a big credit against which fewer creditors would draw. Sure, they'd keep paying out beneifts to the cloacas who voted out Max Cleland, but Californians who had paid would not be able to collect.
I'm not saying it's impossible to get it back --- I just can't imagine how you could, nor, alternatively, how you would charge up retirement trust fund to pay for the payees' retirements. I don't think MoveOn bake sales (yes, I love them, but...) will cover that loss. Until you solve this conundrum, I think the finances don't balance.
I like the idea -- just don't see how to cover that.
--Jack (Seattle, WA)

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