Artistry in Revolution

“You can say you want a revolution,” sang John Lennon and Paul McCartney, “Well, you know we all want to change the world.”

What America needs is neither a tea party movement, a tenth amendment movement, a nullification movement, nor a secession movement but rather a peaceful revolution.

Unfortunately, the premise underlying the tea party, tenth amendment, and nullification movements is that the U.S. government is indeed fixable.  All one need do is return to the Constitution and everything will be just fine.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  The U.S. government is owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street, Corporate America, the Pentagon, and the bellicose Israeli government, who like things just the way they are, and are prepared to make sure they stay that way.

Secession, on the other hand, is viewed by most Americans, particularly those on the political left, as a complete anathema to be avoided like the plague.  The mere mention of the word conjures up images of slavery, the Civil War, violence, and racism.  So ignorant are most Americans of the moral, philosophical, and legal principles underlying secession that anyone displaying secessionist tendencies is labeled a “racist.”  Those opposed to secession often embark on well organized smear campaigns employing the racist tag to discredit secessionists.  As someone who has spent twenty years promoting the idea of peaceful secession in America, it is extremely painful for me to admit that the modern day secession movement in America was probably dead on arrival.

But what about the American Empire—the largest, wealthiest, most powerful, most materialistic, most environmentally destructive, most racist, most militaristic, most violent empire of all-time?  What can be done about an empire which condones the annihilation of Afghanistan and Iraq, a convoluted war on terrorism which it helped create, the illegal rendition of terrorist suspects, prisoner abuse and torture, citizen surveillance, the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, staggering deficits, corporate greed, Wall Street bailouts, pandering to the rich and powerful, a culture of deceit, and a foreign policy based on full spectrum dominance, imperial overstretch, and unconditional support for the apartheid state of Israel?

For some of the reasons outlined above, there may be no escape from the Empire.  The fantasy of an individual state seceding from the United States is most likely an impossible dream.  The Empire simply will not tolerate such an action, and the political will does not exist to make it happen.

The United States has lost its moral authority.  When all is said and done, there is but one morally defensible alternative to the Empire—peaceful dissolution, just like back in the USSR.

Twenty years ago the Soviet Union unexpectedly, peacefully imploded. Could that happen to the United States?  How sure are we that American exceptionalism will save us from the adverse effects of a crash of the dollar, financial meltdown, a collapse of the economy, or some major environmental catastrophe?

This is a call for rebellion against the Empire, a Second American Revolution.  The objective is not the overthrow of the government, but rather the peaceful break up of the Union.  In the poignant words of Albert Camus, “It is those who know how to rebél, at the appropriate moment, against history who really advance its interest.”


Thomas H. Naylor

February 21, 2011

Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of Affluenza, Downsizing the USA, and The Search for Meaning.