After a bid to launch a California secession movement failed in April, a more moderate ballot measure has been approved, and its backers now have 180 days to attain nearly 600,000 signatures in order to put it up to vote in the 2018 election.
The Yes California movement advocated full-on secession from the rest of the country, and it gained steam after Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016. However, as the Sacramento Bee noted, that attempt failed to gather the signatures needed and further floundered after it was accused of having ties to Russia.
But as the Los Angeles Times reported this week:
“On Tuesday afternoon, Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s office released an official title and summary for the initiative, now called the ‘California Autonomy From Federal Government’ initiative.”
The new measure that seeks to set up an advisory commission to inform California’s governor on ways to increase independence from the federal government. It would reportedly cost $1.25 million per year to fund “an advisory commission to assist the governor on California’s independence plus ‘unknown, potentially major, fiscal effects if California voters approved changes to the state’s relationship with the United States at a future election after the approval of this measure,’” the Los Angeles Times reported.
With Becerra’s approval, its backers can now seek the nearly 600,000 signatures required to place the measure on the 2018 ballot.
As the outlet explained:
“The initiative wouldn’t necessarily result in California exiting the country, but could allow the state to be a ‘fully functioning sovereign and autonomous nation’ within the U.S.’”
According to the Attorney General’s official document on the measure, it still appears to advocate secession as the ultimate goal — even if it doesn’t use the term outright.“Repeals provision in California Constitution stating California is an inseparable part of the United States,” the text explains, noting that the governor and California congress members would be expected “to negotiate continually greater autonomy from federal government, up to and including agreement establishing California as a fully independent country, provided voters agree to revise the California Constitution.”
Marcus Ruiz Evans, who is backing this new measure, previously served as Vice President of Yes California before it was pulled in April.
“The relationship between California and the federal system just isn’t working,” Evans has said. He is now behind the movement to push through the more tempered approach. Though some critics claim California would fail due to its massive debt, advocates point to the state’s massive economy, ranked fifth largest in the world. It boasts a large agricultural industry, a massive entertainment and “culture” industry, Silicon Valley, and an ever-expanding legal cannabis market.
There are also other efforts in California to break away from the federal government. Jed Wheeler is the general secretary of the California National Party and says he is “looking a dozen or more years down the road when its candidates hold office,” the Los Angeles Times reported in April when the original Yes California movement was floundering.
“[T]he idea of having a ballot initiative is seductive and appeals to a lot of people,” Wheeler argued. “[Y]ou can’t harvest the crop without the work of planting the seeds, then tilling the soil and all that stuff first.”
There is also a longstanding movement to establish a 51st state called Jefferson, which would include parts of northern California and southern Oregon. That effort has been underway since after World War II.
Regardless of the method or strategy — or their effectiveness — resistance to the federal government is growing in California and elsewhere. There are also secession movements in Vermont, Texas, New Hampshire, and Hawaii.
As Anti-Media observed shortly after the 2016 election:
“People are rioting and protesting over Trump’s win throughout California but celebrating in Alabama, and against the backdrop of an ever-encroaching federal government, it appears these differences are growing difficult to reconcile.
“This election put the deep societal rifts between left, right, and those in between on stark display, and the degree of hate and animosity is palpable.”
Now that Trump has taken office, these differences are all the more glaring and are likely to grow as time goes on.