Calexit: a fractured California, where militias and the DHS battle the resistance in Trump's future America


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/12/16/california-sovereign-republic.html


#2

I’m thinking it sounds like wish fulfillment for some people living outside California.


#3

California separating from the USA is an incredibly stupid idea, predicated on innumerable misconceptions (including the idea that the state that gave us Nixon, Reagan, and Schwarzenegger is uniformly progressive, and also the idea that “the world’s sixth largest economy” wouldn’t radically contract the instant it lost access to the rest of the country, including the Atlantic Ocean).

There’s a reason that this organisation was run by an expat living in Moscow and that the main office/“embassy” was partially funded by the Kremlin:

So yes …

And outside the U.S., too.

All that said, California has been front and centre in resisting Il Douche’s agenda. That is how it’s most valuable in the fight to defend liberal democracy and the environment under this regime: using its clout by staying in the Union, creating or preserving government programmes that the looters and kleptocrats and authoritarians want to wipe out, and fighting in the federal courts.


#4

Yeah, Calexit would make both Brexit and electing Trump look like minor silliness.


#5

Which is what makes this sound dreadful. Thinly veiled current events make for annoying fiction. Either write something with a little more imagination or just write the op-ed screed they wanted to to begin with.

Calexit is no doubt a bad idea but I see nothing wrong with parts of the state wanting to split off if they want, State of Jefferson and all that. Not that I think it will ever happen, but California is enormous. When I happen to be somewhere that is kinda middle of nowhere I look around and think yeah, makes sense that people here wouldn’t think they should give a flying fuck what someone in L.A. thinks, and vice versa.

Thank you for saying this, it usually is completely ignored in these fantasies.


#6

Everything you said is true.

On the other hand, is there really any advantage in staying with a government system that’s tilted towards acreage rather than people? In less than 20 years, we’ve seen two (s)elections of unpopular presidents, and a Senate increasing dominated by depopulated states. All demographic trend are pointing to this getting worse rather than better Meanwhile the depopulating states move further and further towards racist demagoguery with authoritarian aspirations.

Technically, all of this is changable, but there’s no chance of actually getting say Wyoming to agree to give up it’s outside influence in government and electoral politics. (Wyoming should never have been made a state. There are towns with more people than that state.) So, it’s not going to get better. In fact, it’s going to get worse.

So honestly, my thought is, Fuck all those guys. Let them make themselves useful by dying in a cloud of carfentanil. And I say this as someone grew up in what’s now Methlandia.


#7

I just downloaded the first free issue here to get a taste:

At the end the writer puts the comic in context and explains why he chose to write it in an essay. He also has interviews with people with more constructive solutions to resistance than separation.

There could be very limited benefits to NorCal and SoCal as two separate states within the Union (e.g. more Senators), but parts splitting off isn’t workable. The “State of Jefferson”, for example, would immediately become another backwards and poor WV or MS, filled with militia types and “rugged individualists” who’d transfer their resentment from CA and OR to the federal government within moments of being granted statehood.

And as much as it pleases me to sometimes think about L.A. or the Bay Area becoming independent city-states, in reality their prosperity is reliant on being part of California in the same way that California’s is on being part of the U.S.

It mostly results in disadvantages, as the broken Electoral College and as the Senate attests. Realistically, though, Wyoming and the Dakotas aren’t going to lose their statehood status, so we’re better off looking at ways to reform the system so as to reduce the damage these low-population/right-wing states do to the country as a whole.

Change or not, California doesn’t have to worry. Its clout and relative self-sufficiency, whether in politics or economics or culture, comes mainly from its total population and its diversity (in all forms). And it seems capable of holding the line against the American Know-Nothing 27% both within and outside the state.


#8

Folks, there are copies at very reasonable prices available on eBay right now! I should know as I have been trying to sell a copy of this dreck for a couple months now. Read it, hated it, now I want to reclaim a bit of money. Help a guy out, eh?


#9

But what if they veil it so that it is about a planet, Thermofornia IV, leaving the United Federation of Planets? That sort of thing has worked for Star Trek for 50 years.


#10

So? I think it’s about practicalities of administration, not political power. If they’d never become a state, it would just mean political power was even further away and means even less responsiveness to local issues. Geography, distance, and lifestyle matters. As for the national government, I’m always shocked/not shocked to see progressives suddenly get all majoritarian/might-makes-right as soon as it looks like the numbers are favorable. Like somehow the problem in politics isn’t the lust to rule rather than a lack of majority rules. Majority rule, while not nothing, is one of the least important aspect of cobbling together a democracy, IMHO.

Honestly, if things were restructured to exact proportions to population I absolutely would not blame the small pop. states for attempting to secede, despite the obvious disaster that would be.


#11

Or probably use VRBOs in the California palm desert while simultaneously decrying it a failed state.


#12

I think this is why I enjoyed Star Trek so much more as a kid, because I wouldn’t have been aware of the context of a lot of it. As an adult the obviousness can get a little painful.


#13

When I lived in Texas, separation from the union gained traction, even with their idiot governor. Of course Trump got elected and everything is fine again. I move to California and here we go again. Just wait a couple of years and hopefully this too will fade.

Unless it’s me? If it is, I’ll start a Kickstarter to move to any state and the get them kicked out of the union.


#14

Somebody’s being a negative nellie. Could be that or… they just end up being halfway between Oregon and California, as befits its geography. As for the poverty, it stands to reason that with the beauty and richness of NoCal, that if given free-er reign over their own affairs they might prosper a little more.

Thx for mentioning, I’ll check that out when I have some time.


#15

I’ve been through that country, both CA and OR. It’s a beautiful area, but I also noticed more churches, gun stores, and billboards warning about the dangers of meth than anywhere else in either state. Then there’s also the white supremacist legacy of the Pacific Northwest, the sort that tends to linger in rural backwaters longer than in the large cities.

That prosperity would likely come at the cost of some of that beauty and richness on the region’s public lands and parks. Resource extraction industries would welcome the opportunities provided by a new state run by conservative greedpigs and Dominionists.

It did tend to be a little “on-the-nose” (especially the one with half-black/half-white faces), but in the context of the television of the time it was pretty edgy. Twilight Zone tended to be a bit more subtle with its allegories, though.


#16

I take it you’re not a George Orwell fan.


#17

Yeah that’s the thing. The idea is mostly championed by people looking at the benfits to the left in national elections. And your technolibertarians looking to split the wealthiest parts of Cali off into areas they can set up for their own benefit.

You’d end up creating a bunch of desperately poor states. And one or two where the population is insanely wealthy. But the tax base and ecconomy aren’t large enough to fund much in the way of government. You’d get like 4 Missouri’s dependant on federal funds. And about two completely controlled by the wealthy types that are building bunkers in New Zealand. Effectively acting as tax shelters.

Generally speaking I think more states is always a good thing. Gives more focused government, tends to increase enfranchisement. But all the Cali proposals I’ve seen are disturbingly focused on either exploiting California for the benfits in national politics damn the consequences. Or focused on the desires of some very disturbing political movements. Focused on their goals of neutering government and maximizing their wealth.

If you really wanted to rebalance Cali it probably be more about blocking rural places together around cities, and it would probably benefit conservatives. There are much better options in terms of creating new states.


#19

I don’t understand why anyone on the left would see breaking California up would end up as a net benefit in national elections. More likely the opposite would result.

I’d prefer that we added DC and PR as states, combined with reforming the Electoral College and having the Senate vote with the House as one body.

That would likely give the country enough of a breather from GOP craziness to give serious consideration to other things like preference voting, standardised state Presidential primaries, and voting day as a national holiday.


#20

Speaking as an outsider, I think the very large number of states, and the wide variety of cultures they contain, is the biggest problem the USA faces. For me, the US political system is operating hopelessly beyond its ability to scale.

@gracchus

How about making senate seats proportional to population?


#22

On first glance, I’m weirdly reminded of DMZ. It’s interesting how different the anxieties were in that comic and reflected a lot of very 2000s era concerns and this one seems to be more about the kind of political polarization we worry about in the current decade.

Y’know, speaking as an American, I think this gets played up way too much. Some of it is a racial shibboleth for the right in this country (“we can’t have nice things because we’re not ethnically homogenous like the European countries you guys love so much”). Some of it is flattening effects of dominant American culture making cultural differences seem more stark. The reality is that American diversity is not just interstate, but intrastate and mixed in ways that make it hard to draw boundaries. Some of the most important cultural differences are rural/urban divides. That’s why you can pick up a Confederate flag at a gas station in upstate New York.

Meanwhile Americans look at a place like the UK, with its highly diverse accents, and its status as literal countries with a country and go, “Hmm… doesn’t seem very tenable in the long term you guys.” The reality is that we’re missing how important inertia is in these equations.