Dallas Observer writer Anne Merlan may not understand secession
January 15, 2013 § 2 Comments
I don’t know if Anne Merlan, writer for Dallas Observer, is opposed to secession or just petitions (maybe over-petititoning according to her last sentence) but she does call the Texas secession petition a “ridiculous secession petition” in a recent article.
Merlan’s first line of offense against secession is that it is not legal to do so, with a link of a Time piece to back up the “argument.”
What Merlan doesn’t understand is the right of secession, that is, the right of a people, under certain conditions, to withdraw themselves from a possibly tyrannical or unjust political authority. Secession is not to overthrow a government, or to break it up, but to withdraw. If people find this idea ridiculous then we should be scared of such people.
America came about through secession. The ones who saw secession as ridiculous and stupid were the overlords who benefitted from maximum autonomy — the British colonialist.
India-Pakistan War dealing with Bangladesh (the US opposed the separatists), Russia, Ukraine, Belarus from USSR (the US supported secession), Croatia from Yugoslavia, South Sudan from Sudan (a very brutal one I might add) and there are a few secessionist movements in the EU, even by GB itself (the US opposes UK secession). Surely no mass killings have occurred here but it would be disturbing if Merlan and others told the now-South Sudanese people that they had no right to secede from Sudan a few years ago. In each example, the ruling country used force to combat the secessionist and resulted in bloody wars.
Secession is not contingent on the degree of dissatisfaction or brutality from the ruling government; secession is an end in itself which doesn’t require government killings and wars before it comes to pass. War is the way of the State; peaceful people prefer secession.
We seem to have this idea–or it was drilled into us–that a state must not and can not be divided, for any reason, by any means. One nation, indivisible.
Sure the vocabulary of secession has been removed from the American language. USA is a federal republic, composed of individual states with “states” rights” and certain powers. This isn’t a third world country or the 1700’s–why on earth would a state want to secede from the glorious federal government? Remember Reagan anyone?
I do agree with her that a secession may–not will–require “guns and stuff” and not “angry typing.” It takes a lot more than typing to secede from a government that does not want to lose grips–ask the aforementioned countries. “Power concedes nothing without demand,” said Frederick Douglass.
She quotes John Carson, the White House’s Director of the Office of Public Engagement, saying there is no constitutional right to secede. Of course there is no constitutional right because that would go against one of the main purposes of the constitution, to bind the states together under one supreme law. This is odd because the DO doesn’t make constitutional arguments for anything else, much less mention the constitution. I couldn’t tell Carson, DO, and other secession opponents much cared for the constitution. Go to DallasObserver.com and type in “constitution” in the search bar to see for yourself.
Can Texas flourish as an independent state?
In 2009 Texas had the 16th largest GDP in the world (according to US Dept of Commerce) and Dallas alone boasts the 6th largest economy in the country. For anyone to suggest Texas can not make it as an independent state, without federal dollars, is surely fooling themselves. Coastal state, abundant oil, wonderful agriculture and extremely populous.
What people mean to ask is really, “With the current state of the global economy where trade isn’t permitted unless you are apart of a union like EU or trade agreement like NAFTA, can Texas flourish as an independent state?”
My answer is still yes but after a lot of work. Take for example Cuba, who is suffering, they say, because of socialism, they say. I’m not a socialist but I do believe it’s unfair to say a country can’t succeed due to socialism when that country is virtually banned from interacting with the global economy. Trade occurs where trade is allowed.
I wish to direct Merlan and others to constitutional scholar and philosophy professor Donald Livingston at Emory University for more insight on secession. Livingston’s contributions to this topic are invaluable and can hardly be regarded as “ridiculous.”
Lastly, to be sure, do not misconstrue this article to be an argument for secession; I am merely defending the idea, the right of a people to secede. Merlan and other statists think it is absurd to even consider withdrawing from your political authorities, many whom you didn’t elect (take UK in the EU, for example, or US and the United Nations) because they have some divine right to rule over us, or because the majority support it (again, do you recall voting to join the UN? Many Brits don’t recall voting for EU degree of control in their economy) and if we don’t like it…too bad.
Whether or not I support secession is a separate and unimportant matter. But I surely support the right to secede. You should too.