Published On: Mon, Nov 12th, 2012

Break-Up Of The USA? United States Secession Movement Gathers Steam

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Could the United States break-up? Of course it is unlikely that the 50 states which make up the Union will choose to go their own way, but the question may not be as crazy as you think – there is a growing movement of Americans who would like to see their home state ‘secede’ from the Union. If you are not familiar with the term that basically means that they want to leave the Federal union which makes up the United States of America.

The Modern Secession Movement

The issue of secession has a long and rich history. In fact it has never completely gone away since the American civil war, in which the southern states where forced into a Federal Union by the north, rather than forming the looser confederacy of states which they wanted. But what has for many years been a fringe movement with very few serious supporters appears to be picking up pace and drawing in supporters at a record pace.

Petitions have now been lodged with the White House from all 50 American states calling for secession, and recent reports suggest that between them they have garnered an impressive 1 million signatures. Yesterday the influential conspiracy theorist and talk show host Alex Jones threw his weight behind the secession movement and called for a ‘second American revolution’ in order to ‘reconstitute the Republic’. Alex Jones also called on Veteran Republican candidate Ron Paul, who won a great deal of support when he recently stood against Mitt Romney to secure his party’s nomination to run for President, to lead the new secession movement.

Alex Jones calls for a second American revolution:

Rather than seeking to break up the United States the modern secession movement claims that it wishes to secede from the current Union, which they claim has been hijacked by foreign and corporate interests and no longer serves the American people, only to then reform the Republic based more strictly on the country’s original constitution. The banks, with all the damage that they have caused to the global economy and the huge sums of money they continue to earn dispite their failures, are one of the main enemies which are portrayed as having corrupted the modern American Republic. But of course the main factor which has really served to reinvigorate these old calls for secession is the re-election of Barack Obama.

Race and Politics in Modern America

Regardless of how successful the modern secession movement is in achieving its goals there is one thing that cannot be denied – the United States today is looking less ‘United’ and more divided now than at any other time in living memory. The economic crisis, with all of the strains it has put on people and uncertainties over how to overcome it, has certainly played a significant role in highlighting the country’s divisions, but so has the election and recent re-election of President Barack Hussein Obama.

When Obama was first elected as the first black President of the United States of America there were high hopes that the country was entering a ‘post racial’ era, in which old ethnic divisions could be put aside. But in fact the opposite seems to have happened, and racial politics is now a much bigger part of the electoral landscape than ever before.

Critics of the secession movement have been quick to portray it as being fundamentally racist – a reaction primarily based in the Southern states (who, after all, opposed the abolition of slavery) to the election of a black man as President. But although there are of course racist people in America, and many of these people may support secession because they do not like having a black President, the real truth of the situation is more complex than this.

Many white Americans are feeling angry and disenfranchised, not because they do not want a black leader, but because they feel that their voice is no longer being heard.

Barack Obama won the 2012 Presidential election because he received overwhelming support from both black and Hispanic voters. Although Obama’s Democrat Party has always had strong support amongst African-Americans, this is the first US election in which he result has so obviously been decided ethnic block voting. Clearly this is not post-racial politics – it is the birth of racial politics, in which politicians can only win by appealing to specific ethnic blocks.

In the recent election which swept Obama back into office the Democrats lost the white vote by 20 points. In 1988 they lost the white vote by a similar amount, and so lost the election convincingly, but this year the size of both the African-American and Hispanic communities has grown to such an extent that their solid support for Obama and the Democrats was enough to swing the election.

In Virginia, for example, a state that was once solidly Republican, Obama lost whites by 24 points but an astonishing 87-point advantage among African Americans was enough to eke out a narrow win. – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/11/wake-up-republicans-michael-cohen

Many white Americans may resent the fact that Obama gained so much support from black voters choosing him purely based on the fact that he is black – Romney’s campaign co-chair John Sununu accused Gen. Colin Powell of choosing race over country, for example, suggesting that he gave Obama his endorsement because of the fact that he is black rather than based on policy. But in many ways it is actually Hispanic support for Obama and the Democrats which seems to threaten the most trouble going into the future.

This is because, unlike the African-American community, the Hispanic community is made up largely of recent immigrants, a significant number of whom entered the country illegally (or were born to parents who entered the country illegally).

This ethnic voting divide is bigger than Obama – it is the future of American politics. Both the African-American, and especially the Hispanic community, are set to grow at a faster rate than the white community for many years to come. If both of these communities continue to be solid supporters of the left-wing Democrat party then it will be difficult for the Republican party to win any elections in the future. I am not the first person to suggest this – many pundits have been saying since the recent election that the Democrats are the new ‘natural party of government’. The Republican party also sees the need to win support amongst Hispanics:

Take, for example, immigration. During the 2012 campaign, Republicans resisted any discussion of providing illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship. But after losing the Hispanic vote by stunningly large margins – and seeing a strong majority of all Americans opposed to their enforcement-only approach – Republicans have shifted course and are now talking up the need for compromise on the issue. - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/11/wake-up-republicans-michael-cohen

Whenever an ethnic divide becomes a political divide, within any country, there is a massive potential for racial tension, and for any group which feels like it is losing out because of race rather than because a political argument has been won through debate. It is easy to see how many white American Republicans would feel as if they had literally lost their country. As if the traditional American values which they love and stand had been replaced within their government by the values an interests of a foreign group. As if, perhaps, the right wing warnings of immigrant ‘invasion’, long lampooned as melodramatic fear-mongering, had come true in a very literal sense with the actual take-over of government. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the Democratic party is softer on immigration than the Republican party – so you essentially have an immigrant group voting for more immigration (which would further strengthen their political power) against the wishes of the existing community whose voice, many will feel, is no longer being heard.

The conflagration of race and politics in America seems like it is already having an effect on people’s attitudes to other races. A poll conducted in October 2012 by the Associated Press showed that racial prejudice is on the rise, with more than half of Americans now admitting to holding racially prejudiced attitudes.

This is the backdrop against which the current resurgence of calls for secession takes place. And although most would agree that it is very unlikely that any states will actually secede, the renewed support this movement is drawing does point to deep tensions within America, which will only get worse if they are not addressed head on.

The kind of polarisation that’s emerging, with race so major an element in it, will haunt the United States in elections to come. – http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/06/politics-race-and-money/

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About the Author

- Dean Walsh is the owner and editor of World News Curator. He also owns and runs Ourly News and a range of other online publications.

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