Radical Small Nation Self-Determination in a Chaotic Meganation
by Thomas H. Naylor: The
Much to the
chagrin of Washington and Tel Aviv, a recent meeting of the so-called
Non-Aligned Movement, a group formed during the Cold War that views
itself as independent of the major powers, sent a clear signal to
the US-Israeli cabal that they are visibly annoyed at the United
States and Israel for continuing to portray Iran as the worlds
foremost scapegoat. The meeting which took place in Tehran on August
26-31 proved to be a public relations coup for Iran in spite of
UN Secretary General and American pawn Ban Ki-moons attempt
to hijack the meeting.
The NAM represents
nearly two-thirds of the nations of the world, most of whom are
small and poor. However, their membership does include four meganations
which have populations in excess of 100 million Bangladesh,
India, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
in Tehran was a vivid reminder that we live in a meganation world
under the cloud of Empire, the American Empire. Fifty-nine percent
of the people on the planet now live in one of the eleven nations
with a population of over one hundred million people. These meganations
in descending order of population size include China, India, USA,
Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia, Japan,
and Mexico. Extending the argument one step farther, we note that
twenty-five nations have populations in excess of 50 million and
that seventy-three percent of us live in one of those countries.
to imagine a more chaotic world than the world in which we find
ourselves. The ongoing residual effects of the 2008 Wall Street
meltdown, the current euro crisis, the alleged international threat
of terrorism (albeit Western induced), American imperialism (full
spectrum dominance and imperial overstretch), excessive population
growth, extreme poverty, peak oil, and climate change are all evidence
of a world that is totally out of control.
4 Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore a few miles east of New Orleans
in 2005 with all of its fury, the devastation was almost beyond
belief. Neither the New Orleans mayor, the Louisiana governor, nor
the president of the United States seemed to have a clue as to how
to deal with the crisis. Tens of thousands of New Orleanians behaved
as though they were experimental mice on an electric floor after
experiencing learned helplessness from repeated shocks, waiting
to be rescued by the City or the State, not knowing that the mayor
and the governor had both abdicated their responsibility for emergency
assistance to the federal government. There was widespread looting
as well as fires, explosions, gunshots, murders, rapes, and robberies.
By the time the cavalry finally arrived five days later, it was
too little, too late. All of this in the richest, most powerful
nation in the world. The story of Katrina was the story of too many
people being crammed into too little space, who were too dependent
on an ill-conceived flood control system and an impotent, unsustainable
government which had lost its moral authority.
$5.4 trillion economy, its state-of-the-art technology, nor its
military like efficiency could protect Japan from the catastrophic
consequences of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear
disaster. To be quite blunt, when you try to squeeze 127 million
people into one large island and a group of smaller ones, all prone
to earthquakes, you have few degrees of freedom when disaster strikes.
Its all about human scale. The recent widespread electric
power blackouts in India were examples of more of the same.
In the prescient
words of Leopold Kohr in his 1957 book Breakdown of Nations, There
seems only one cause behind all forms of social misery: bigness.
Whenever something is wrong, something is too big.
City, The Global Epicenter
among others, are completely obsessed with bigness big government,
big military, big banks, big businesses, bit cities, big buildings,
big farms, big schools, big universities, big health care systems,
big social welfare systems, big media networks, big computer networks,
big churches, and big empires. Few have the courage to challenge
the myth that Bigger Is Always Better.
effectively epitomizes the cult of bigness in the United States
than New York City, the economic, financial, marketing, cultural,
moral, and political epicenter of the world. Although Washington,
DC is the nominal capital of the United States, New York City is
the de facto capital, since the U.S. Government is owned, operated,
and controlled by Wall Street, Corporate America, and various foreign
interests which maintain a strong presence in Gotham.
New York City
is all about money, power, speed, greed and looking out for number
one. It is also the global capital of technofascism affluenza,
technomania, cybermania, megalomania, robotism, globalization, and
Gotham is the
twenty-first century equivalent of the Tower of Babel, for it is
too big, too crowded, too undemocratic, too regimented, too intrusive,
too polluted, too noisy, too commercial, too materialistic, and
too dehumanized. It also has too much traffic, too many policemen,
too much surveillance equipment, too much crime, too much drug addiction,
and too little sense of community. Last, and by no means least,
its distribution of income is more inequitable than that of any
other major city in the United States.
Since the end
of World War II a plethora of international megainstitutions have
evolved to deal with such issues as national security, peacekeeping,
international finance, economic development, and international trade.
They include the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the
World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union,
and NATO. The track record of these megainstitutions has proven
to be singularly unimpressive.
That the 192-member
United Nations, which is dominated by the United States, Russia,
and China, each of which has veto power in the Security Council,
has been so ineffective since its inception in 1945, is hardly surprising.
Nothing illustrates this better than the U.N. sponsored conferences
on climate change in Kyoto in 1997 and Copenhagen in 2009. Trying
to come up with solutions to a problem as complex as climate change
by assembling 178 heads of state, as was the case in Kyoto, or 193
in Copenhagen, is truly an exercise in futility. The product of
the 12-day Copenhagen conference was a nonbinding agreement in which
no one was committed to anything. The so-called Copenhagen agreement
was a complete sham. The process was replicated in Cancun, Mexico
in 2010 with similar results.
How many wars
has the U.N. prevented? Certainly none in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia,
Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Palestine, or Africa. Global political
problems are too complex for an assembly of two hundred international
political leaders to sort out in a public forum. This is even more
true if China and the United States refuse to budge from their positions
of national self-interest. Some have cynically suggested that the
U.N. is little more than an extension of the U.S. State Department.
The U.S. Treasury,
Federal Reserve Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and
World Trade Organization are all committed to transforming the world
economy into a giant global growth machine regulated by an international
gambling casino in which resource allocation decisions are driven
by a high-speed, multinational, high-tech crap shoot. Satellite
communications, fiber optics, and the Internet make it possible
to transform small, manageable local problems into unmanageable
global problems overnight.
is often achieved through coercion, intimidation, exploitation,
collectivism, monopoly, and American military might; local cultures,
local values, local communities and local environmental concerns
often receive short shrift.
megacompanies not only tell so called emerging market countries
(most of the world) what they will produce, how it will be produced,
when it will be sold, and at what price, but they also influence
local working conditions, wages, benefits, and labor laws. They
often dictate local government monetary, fiscal, trade, and banking
policies. International money managers decide which foreign currencies
are overvalued and which are not, as well as which countries should
be punished for not playing by their arbitrary, self-serving rules.
This is truly a one-size-fits-all game.
Clinton called for a New Global Financial Architecture. But what
he proposed was nothing new at all more trade, more budget
cuts, more privatization, more foreign investment, more megamergers,
more computer networks, less government control, lower interest
rates, more IMF bailouts, and, as always, more economic growth.
He wanted everything to be bigger, more complex, more high-tech,
and more interdependent bigger markets, bigger trade agreements,
bigger loans, bigger bailouts, bigger banks and financial institutions,
and bigger telecommunication networks. Our governments cryptic
message to the rest of the world is, Just be like us.
justify globalization on the basis of the so called trickle
down effect, in which the benefits of global trade to the
superwealthy eventually trickle down to the poor. But half of the
worlds population lives on less than $2 per day, and many
of these people have no access to clean water, electricity, or sanitation.
World Bank figures suggest that the trickle down effect has not
worked so well. In 1987, 1.2 billion people in the world were trying
to survive on $1 a day. Now over 1.5 billion are trying to do so.
ill-conceived, international organization which is too big to fix
is the 28-nation European Union with its common currency, the euro,
shared by 17 of its member nations. The euro is being kept afloat
by a series of lies, leaks, rumors, and smoke-and-mirrors dances.
Financial markets are pumped up by the expectations of the next
meeting of the ECB, the European finance ministers, or German Chancellor
Angela Merkel with either her French or Italian counterpart. Each
meeting holds out the hope of a silver bullet fix for the euro.
Most have turned out to be nonevents.
When the euro
was first introduced in 1999 it was supposed to unite Europe, promote
federalism, and lead to collective economic prosperity. As the euro
faces the real possibility of complete collapse, it seems to be
pulling Europe further apart. An increasing number of political
leaders in the EU are now calling for the break up of the $17 trillion
political and economic union with a population of nearly 500 million.
NATO is a Cold
War anachronism which has been unable to find a new mission to justify
its post Cold War existence. Thus far its primary aim seems to be
to antagonize Russia by enticing former Soviet Republics into its
ranks and thus surrounding the Russian Bear with what it perceives
to be a hostile force. More recently NATO has diversified its portfolio
to include the war on terror, e.g., its foray into Libya in 2011.
Responses to Empire
For those who
are actually citizens of an omnipotent, immoral empire capable of
inflicting a level of destruction on civilization and the entire
planet that was heretofore unimaginable, as well as those living
elsewhere but still under its influence, there are at least seven
Because of their abysmal ignorance of foreign affairs, most
Americans are completely oblivious to the fact that our government
has over 1,000 military bases in 153 countries and that our
foreign policy is based on military doctrines such as full spectrum
dominance, nuclear primacy, the right of pre-emptive strike,
and imperial overstretch. As a result, they find themselves
in a state of complete denial regarding the very existence of
the American Empire. The myth of American exceptionalism always
Although some armchair environmentalists, pacifists, democratic
socialists, and simple-living adherents are fully aware of the
perils of the Empire, they feel powerless to confront a government
owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street, Corporate America,
and the Israeli Lobby. They talk endlessly about how bad things
are, and they try to live their personal lives in positive ways,
but in relation to the government they do nothing but naively
hope for the best. Its all about rolling with the flow.
The name of the game is compliance.
A number of political groups persist in the belief that the
U.S. Government is still fixable through either constitutional
reform, tax reform, campaign finance reform, or corporate personhood
amendments. They include Ron Paul supporters, the Tea Party,
and Occupy Wall Street. Although these groups have quite different
views on what it will take to fix the Empire, they each represent
major distractions diverting public attention away from the
fact that our nation is beyond repair. Until we come to terms
with this reality, all is naught. Reform represents the null
As the American economy began to melt down in 2008, Americans
and foreigners alike sought financial security in the U.S. dollar
and U.S. Treasury bonds. The dollar maintained amazing resilience
in light of multitrillion-dollar government deficits. As the Federal
Reserve began printing money like it was going out of style, the
value of Treasury notes soared and interest rates plunged towards
zero even though the risk of holding such notes was escalating
upwards with each new government offering. It made no sense whatsoever!
Conservative bankers stood in line to receive government bailouts
and liberals and conservatives alike fought for so-called stimulus
funds. The government claimed it would solve the nations
health care problems which it had helped create. Conservative
politicians like Vermont Governor Jim Douglas showed up at the
White House hat-in-hand. Indeed, Douglas was the first governor
to have a private audience with Obama.
truly the Age of Obama, who promised to fix everything through
hope and change. The only problem was, tens of millions
of Americans actually believed him.
back to America was unbelievably strong in light of the chaos
caused by our government. Conservative Americans, many of whom
are supernationalists, resonate to the fact that the U.S. is the
only global superpower. The fact that America has become an imperialist
nation is actually a source of pride to them.
the Empire remains the politically correct norm in America regardless
of the moral, social, and ethical implications of that stance.
American loyalists are indeed the 21st century equivalents of
the British Tories back in 1776. They remain staunchly committed
to American exceptionalism.
An increasing number of Americans are expressing their displeasure
with the Empire by getting off the treadmill, distancing themselves
from the Empire, and embracing a lifestyle based on simple living.
They hope to achieve a quieter, simpler, more meaningful life
by slowing down, working less, consuming less, buying locally,
and becoming less dependent on fossil fuels. Downsizing and downshifting
are important bywords of the simple living movement. Many downshifters
view agricultural and energy self-sufficiency as necessary first
steps towards eventual political independence. Not only is such
a view based on ignorance, but it is politically naïve as
has the second largest economy in the world, is neither energy
independent nor food independent. It literally imports every drop
of oil that it consumes and most of its food.
many simple living, back-to-the-land practitioners become so self-absorbed
and complacent with their newfound ideology that they overlook
the fact that the world is still going to hell in a handbasket.
From the isolation of their small town, village, farm, or commune
they fail to note that the American Empire continues to bear the
primary responsibility for the deaths of thousands in places like
Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine, to mention only a
few places. Buying locally may make one feel good, but it really
doesnt do a whole lot to curtail the influence of the Empire.
Ones tax dollars are still used to purchase the Pentagons
high-tech instruments of death.
simple living, localvore, conservation, and back-to-the-land are
all worthwhile activities, they may also be forms of escapism,
alternatives to confronting the American Empire.
Another alternative response to the Empire is confrontation which
could take one of three forms rebellion, revolution, or
self-determination. Rebellion, armed resistance to the government,
and revolution, the attempted overthrow of the government, should
be summarily rejected as exercises in utter futility. Such activities
would be instantaneously snuffed out by the most powerful Empire
of all time. Nonviolence is the only game in town.
peaceable self-determination as the only viable way of confronting
the Empire. The Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the
Soviet Union were all brought down by a common nonviolent strategy,
namely by demonstrating unequivocally that the leaders of these
regimes had lost their moral authority. The American Empire
will eventually implode just like the Soviet Union did, but
the process can be accelerated significantly by hammering away
at the corruption and loss of moral authority of all U.S. government
officials and anyone who votes for or supports this government.
has no clothes, and the sooner we all realize this, the better
off we will be.
The path to self-determination represents a long, slow slog as
has been evidenced by the history of self-determination movements
in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, Quebec, Basque Country, and
Scotland. Its all about engagement and perseverance.
Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were
all brought down by effectively discrediting the leaders of
these regimes by demonstrating unequivocally that they
had lost their moral authority. The Communist government of
Poland was not toppled in 1989 by Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa
politely suggesting that President Wojciech Jaruzelski should
step down. Rather it, as well as the five other Eastern European
Communist governments, was brought down by a sophisticated mixture
of confrontation, engagement, negotiation, and testing of limits
spread out over several years. Ultimately it was a question
of political will. The political will of the people trumped
the will of the government to stay in power.
I believe it
is high time for the smaller nations of the world to begin withdrawing
from the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World
Bank, the IMF, the European Union, and NATO. These international
megainstitutions are morally, intellectually, politically, and spiritually
bankrupt. It is time for the smaller nations to confront the meganations
of the world and say, Enough is enough. We refuse to continue
condoning your plundering the planet in pursuit of resources and
markets to quench your insatiable appetite for consumer goods and
services. These small nations should call for the nonviolent
breakup of the United States, China, Russia, Japan, India, and the
other meganations of the world.
A small group
of peaceful, sustainable, cooperative, democratic, egalitarian,
ecofriendly nations might lead the way. Such a group might include
Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
five European nations have in common is that they are tiny, very
affluent, nonviolent, democratic, and socially responsible. They
also have a high degree of environmental integrity and a strong
sense of community. Although Denmark and Norway are members of NATO,
Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland are neutral. Once considered classical
European democratic socialist states, the four Nordic states in
the group have become much more market-oriented in recent years.
Not only is Switzerland the wealthiest of the lot, but it is the
most market-oriented country in the world, with the weakest central
government, the most decentralized social welfare system, and a
long tradition of direct democracy. Whats more, all of these
countries work, and they work very well. Compared to the United
States they have fewer big cities, less traffic congestion, less
pollution, less poverty, less crime, less drug abuse, and fewer
social welfare problems.
special case is the tiny Alpine Principality of Liechtenstein which
has the highest gross domestic product per person in the world when
adjusted by purchasing power parity (over $140,000 per capita),
the worlds lowest external debt, and the second lowest unemployment
rate in the world (recently as low as 1.5 percent), and a population
of only 35,000 spread over 62 square miles. Organized as a constitutional
monarchy with an enlightened Reigning Prince by the name of Hans-Adam
II, Liechtenstein is best known as a tax haven and home to 73,700
small countries which might also join the party are environmentally
friendly Costa Rica, which has no army, ecovillage pioneer Senegal,
and the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Since 1972 the king of Bhutan
has been trying to make Gross National Happiness the national priority
rather than Gross National Product. Although still a work-in-progress,
policies instituted by the king are aimed at ensuring that prosperity
is shared across society and that it is balanced against preserving
cultural traditions, protecting the environment, and maintaining
a responsive government.
economist Leopold Kohr said in The
Breakdown of Nations, A small-state world would not
only solve the problems of social brutality and war; it would solve
the problems of oppression and tyranny. It would solve all problems
arising from power.
Sweden, and Switzerland, four small European nations committed to
political neutrality, stand in stark contrast to the United States
with its multi-trillion dollar military budgets, 1.6 million troops
stationed in 153 countries (including 80,000 in Europe), Special
Operations strike forces deployed in 120 countries, and proliferation
of pilotless drone aircraft worldwide for reconnaissance and stealth
attacks, sometimes killing civilians, including Americans. Currently
the U.S. is engaged in illegal wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia,
and Yemen. It also provides unconditional military support for the
Likud government of Israel in its war against the Palestinians.
Last, but by no means least, it promotes a highly racist war on
terrorism aimed squarely at Muslims.
image of the Obama White House is a culture of so-called smart power
and death F-35 fighter jets, unmanned killer drones, Navy
Seals, Delta Force death squads, and more recently, the White House
kill list. In an act of unprecedented arrogance, President Obama
has granted himself the authority to order the assassination of
anyone, anywhere, anytime, with no questions asked, no trial, no
due process just pure law of the jungle.
on the other hand, has not been involved in a foreign war since
1515, and although it is heavily armed, it has remained neutral
since 1815. It has never been part of a larger empire. Sweden became
neutral in 1814.
policy is based on four premises: (1) Switzerland will never initiate
a war. (2) It will never enter a war on the side of a warring party.
(3) It will never side in any way with one warring party against
another. (4) It will vigorously defend itself against outside attack.
the Swiss constitution, every Swiss male is obligated to do military
service; women are also accepted into the military service on a
voluntary basis but are not drafted. In case of an attack on the
country several hundred thousand men and women can be mobilized
within a few days.
Finland, nor Sweden is a member of NATO. However, they are members
of the U.N. and the E.U. Even though Geneva is the home to many
agencies of the U.N., Switzerland did not join the U.N. until 2002.
Although the Swiss do trade extensively with member nations of the
E.U., the Swiss citizenry has consistently rejected membership in
the E.U. However, the Berne government favors membership.
does not imply non-involvement. Although the U.S. has the largest
economy in the world, each of the aforementioned nations is ranked
in the top twenty countries in terms of per capita income and each
contributes a higher percentage of its Gross National Income to
foreign aid than does the U.S.
to the dozen or so small neutral countries of the world, there are
over twenty countries without armed forces. They include Liechtenstein
and Costa Rica, the latter of which abolished its army and became
neutral in 1949. Most of the other such countries are small island
nations scattered throughout the world.
we should recall what economist Leopold Kohr said about military
power in his book The Breakdown of Nations:
a nation becomes large enough to accumulate the critical mass of
power, it will in the end accumulate it. And when it has acquired
it, it will become an aggressor, its previous record and intentions
to the contrary notwithstanding.
are self-determination movements in over two dozen countries. Notwithstanding
the European unification movement, during the last half-century
separatist movements have become much more important and widespread
than unification schemes. For example, there are now nearly two
hundred independent nations in the world, over four times the number
that existed after World War II. The implosion of the Soviet Union
and the breakup of Yugoslavia are two of the most important examples
of this tendency, but many more have occurred and more are on the
We are witnessing
the dismemberment and crumbling of the multi-ethnic empires all
over the world the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, India, Indonesia,
and potentially China. The Soviet Union split into fifteen independent
republics, many of which have their own independence movements.
Czechoslovakia peacefully divided itself into the Czech and Slovak
republics. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia-Montenegro,
and Slovenia have all become independent nations as a result of
the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Throughout Europe there are dozens
of other self-determination movements in such places as Belgium,
Bulgaria, Britain, Italy, Lapland, Poland, Romania, Scotland, and
Spain. The Basque region of Spain is but one of eleven Spanish regions
calling for more autonomy, and both Catalonia and Valencia also
have full-fledged separatist movements.
One of the
most divisive countries in Europe is Belgium which went 535 days
without a properly elected leader because of the toxicity in the
relationship between the wealthier Dutch-speaking majority and poorer
French-speaking minority. It was not until after Standard &
Poors downgraded the countrys credit rating that Belgian
politicians finally formed a coalition government in response to
pressure from international financial markets.
hundreds of tribes are trying to shake off artificial boundaries
imposed on them by nineteenth-century European colonialism. For
example, Sudan recently split into two parts.
self-determination is forbidden by the Indian constitution, the
country is literally awash with separatist movements. Although Kashmir
has the best known such movement in India, Sikkim and most of the
states in Northeast India have active separatist groups. These include
Assam, Bodoland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland. These
states are not contiguous with the rest of India. Then there is
also Khalistan, a global political self-determination group to create
a separate Sikh state.
After a near-miss
in its 1995 referendum to achieve independence from Canada, the
Quebec separatist movement fell into the doldrums for over 15 years.
However, in September 2012 the Parti Québécois won
a victory of sorts in the Quebec provincial election and was able
to put together a weak coalition government. The stability of the
new government remains somewhat in doubt. In 1998 the Canadian Supreme
Court issued a ruling declaring self-determination to be constitutional
and outlining the necessary steps which must be taken by a province
to split from the Confederation. There are also self-determination
movements in Alberta and British Columbia.
is an act of separation or withdrawal from a larger body.
Throughout life we experience an endless series of acts of self-determination
including birth, death, divorce, graduation, changing jobs,
leaving home, ending a relationship, and moving to another place.
Some are good; others not so good.
It is political acts of self-determination about which people
seem to become so agitated, whenever a subunit of a city, state,
or nation separates from the larger body. Few Americans seem to
recall that the United States was created by an act of self-determination
by thirteen English colonies which separated from the British
Empire. Although the self-determination of the eleven Confederate
States of America precipitated a bloody Civil War, self-determination
need not be violent as was the case when the Soviet Unions
six Eastern European allies rid themselves of their Communist
regimes in 1989. Communism was brought down peacefully in five
of the six Eastern European satellites of the USSR. Not only did
the U.S. Government support these acts of self-determination,
but it actively participated in most of them. The peaceable breakup
of the Soviet Union in 1991 was more of the same. Washington has
also supported independence for Kosovo, East Timor, and Taiwan.
other hand, the White House remains cool to the Québec
separatist movement and Puerto Rican independence. It does not
even acknowledge the existence of the thirty or so state independence
movements within the United States. The degree of support expressed
by the U.S. Government for political independence varies inversely
with the distance from Washington of the independence-seeking
Human Condition. In the case of the United States, from
the standpoint of the human condition, self-determination is
about confronting rather than denying, escaping from, or acquiescing
to the nihilism, the power, the separation, the violence, and
death associated with the American Empire. Self-determination
is not for the faint of heart.
Hierarchy of Needs. Some have suggested that ones inclination
towards self-determination depends on the extent to which his
or her needs are being met by the existing arrangement whether
it be a village, town, or state. Psychologist Abraham H. Maslows
five hierarchical categories of human needs may provide a useful
paradigm for thinking about this issue: (1) physiological requirements
(food, water, and shelter), (2) safety (economic security and
protection from injury and disease), (3) social acceptance (love,
a sense of belonging, and membership in a group), (4) self-esteem
(prestige, power, and recognition), (5) self-actualization (confidence,
competence, and achievement).
In a nutshell,
if your needs are not being satisfied, self-determination may
be an option worthy of serious consideration.
- A Form
of Loss. So obsessed with bigness are most Americans that
they view political self-determination s a form of loss or an
example of complete failure. To better understand how many Americans
experience the sense of loss associated with political separatism,
it may be instructive to examine the five states of grief outlined
in Elisabeth Kübler-Rosss 1969 book entitled On
Death and Dying. These stages include denial, anger, bargaining,
depression, and acceptance.
with the notion of American exceptionalism are American patriots,
that they cannot even conceive of the logical possibility of
a state wanting to leave the Union. Since the American Civil
War ended in 1865, the prevailing view on political self-determination
of our government, the Congress, the academy, our political
leaders, and the clergy has been one of complete denial. Academics,
religious leaders, and lawyers wont even come close to
the subject. They avoid it like the plague.
simply become enraged at the bare mention of the idea. Separatists
are viewed as unpatriotic and disloyal. Some acknowledge the
possibility of political self-determination, but not in
my lifetime. To them consideration of articles of political
independence would be like entering into a compact with the
denial and anger over the thought of political self-determination,
some people lapse into a state of complete depression. Finally,
there are some whose defeatism takes the form of reluctant acceptance,
If you cant beat them, join them.
of all of this is that the decision to leave the Union is a
complex psychodynamic process a process which may trigger
the release of intense negative feelings. Political self-determination
is a very tough sell in the United States and elsewhere.
to pursue a path of self-determination on the part of a subunit
of a larger political entity necessarily involves a very personal,
painful four-step process:
To justify an act of political self-determination it may be
necessary to challenge the moral authority of the larger political
unit from which the smaller one seeks independence.
Supporters of political self-determination must be prepared
to decathect from the larger political unit from which the separatist
group wishes to extricate itself. All emotional ties to the
original political entity must be severed.
Ultimately whether or not an act of self-determination is allowed
to go forward is neither a legal issue nor a constitutional
issue, but rather a matter of political will. How strong is
the political will of those seeking self-determination versus
those who are opposed to it?
Self-determination is a radical act of rebellion grounded in
anger and fear with a positive vision of the future. Even though
it is nonviolent, it may of necessity have to take the form
of civil disobedience as well.
of Small Nations
What is called
for is nothing less than the radicalization of the small, nonviolent,
sustainable, socially responsible countries of the world. Countries
like Bhutan, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland
must face up to the fact that they share nothing in common with
meganations such as the United States, China, Russia, and India.
They should not only stop sucking up to them but they should avoid
emulating them at all cost.
The small enlightened
nations of the world should begin organizing themselves into what
might be called the Small Nations Alliance (SNA) to encourage
(1) the nonviolent breakup of meganations such as the United States,
China, Russia, and India; (2) the peaceful coexistence of a community
of small, sustainable, cooperative, democratic, socially responsible,
egalitarian, nonviolent, ecofriendly nations; and (3) the independence
of small breakaway states such as Quebec, Scotland, Tibet, and Vermont.
One thing is
for sure, if there are to be any solutions to global megaproblems
such as poverty, peak oil and climate change, they will not originate
with either the United States, China, or Russia, each of which is
obsessed with protecting its own respective self interest. So long
as New York, London, and Tokyo maintain hammerlock control over
international financial markets, international finance and banking
reform will remain an illusive fantasy. What the world could use
effectively is a dozen or so financial centers, not just three megacenters.
We do not envision
the SNA as an international governing body with the power to impose
its collective will on others. Rather we see it as a role model
encouraging others to decentralize, downsize, localize, demilitarize,
simplify, and humanize their lives. Membership in the SNA will be
open to those nations who subscribe to the principles of the SNA
and are approved for membership by a consensus of SNA members. The
only mechanism available for enforcing policies endorsed by the
SNA would be expulsion from the organization for noncompliance.
issue in todays world is human scale. The hour is very late.
The small nations of the world have sat silently on the sidelines
for all too long allowing the worlds meganations to set the
global agenda. It is indeed high time they rebél against
the meganations, take control of their destiny, and demand a place
at the table. The future of the planet depends on it.
the words of French rebel Albert Camus, It is those who know
how to rebél at the appropriate moment, against history who
really advance its interests.
October 3, 2012
Naylor is founder of the Second
Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke
University. He is the author Secession:
How Vermont and All the Other States Can Save Themselves from the
Vermont Manifesto: The Second Vermont Republic and co-author
of Ajjluenza, Downsizing
the USA, and The
Search for Meaning.
© 2012 Thomas