Anti-Racism Protests and COVID-fueled unemployment crisis manifest need for California independence.

East County Press photo

On June 2, more than 2,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division , along with an undisclosed number of paramilitary troops from Border Patrol, Customs, the Bureau of Prisons, among other agencies, were deployed into Washington, D.C. in order to suppress largely peaceful protests in the national capitol. As the Washington Post observed, this is the latest sign of the intention of Donald Trump to use military force to suppress freedom and democracy, and follows his naked threat the day before to send troops to crush demonstrators in other American cities.

As the United States spirals downwards into civil war and martial law – accelerated by Trump’s organized supporters – the need to plan for California’s potential declaration of independence continues to increase. Certainly, as long as the national party-in-power, the Republican Party, willfully refuses to relieve the widespread economic distress unleashed by the Global COVID-19 Pandemic – with the real national unemployment rate now nearly 20%, the demonstrations, albeit ostensibly against police brutality and institutional racism, will continue to grow in size and disruptiveness.

I am not, I hasten to add, suggesting that “George Floyd” protesters are not sincerely devoted to ending police brutality. What I am saying is that it is hard to believe that there would be protests against police brutality in over hundred U.S. cities, often all day long and half the night, day after day, if millions of Americans who had steady employment three months ago were not now jobless for no fault of their own []. Moreover, I expect this will become manifest shortly as protesters begin to demand economic relief and reform.

Although the national unemployment rate declined slightly in May, 21 million Americans are still seeking either part-time or full-time work. While the number of people on “temporary layoff” is declining, 2.3 million Americans have lost their job in the wake of the COVID Crisis. Most worrisome, the unemployment rate for African-American workers remains 10.1% higher (16.7% in May) than it was in March 2020, while the unemployment rate for teenagers — without regard to race — is 18.9% higher (29.9% in May) than it was this March. Even among adults between ages 20-24, unemployment is 16.8% higher than it was in February, and now stands at 23.2%.

Despite the clear evidence of suffering among American workers , the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate refuses to pass a COVID Relief bill that will help restore economic stability to the nation’s workers. Moreover, any relief bill is not expected to be passed until the end of June, or even later.

To stop California from being completely destabilized, California workers need immediate economic relief and reform. An announcement by California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) that, in two weeks,  he will present to the state legislature, meeting virtually, a package of bills needed to make California an independent state, will force national leaders in Washington, D.C. to pass a COVID Relief bill immediately, with generous benefits for jobless workers — as long as it is taken seriously. Such a move by Newsom will be taken seriously if it is clear that Californians like you and I support independence.

Announcing our imminent independence will also refocus the energies of California protesters, who will suddenly have to account for the fact that Minnesota may soon be in a foreign country, while the new California national government will be able to take the drastic steps to make police killings a rare, rather than frequent event. California has already taken several of these positive steps already, including legalizing sale, possession, and use of marijuana.

If we are resolute in our demand for action, moving toward independence is certain to bring positive change. For example, as with the multi-state COVID “pacts”, publicly announcing that California will declare independence is sure to bring a chorus of responses from other states that they will rather form a federation with us than remain in the failing United States. Foreign figures horrified by Trump’s determination to spark a civil war, like the leaders of Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, and Japan, and would prefer to deal with stable governments in North America, will choose to express their support for our actions.

Because the State of California – like all other states – has been forced maintain a balanced budget and limit state public debt since her establishment in 1849, we would enter independence amply prepared to provide genuine economic relief for our COVID-impacted workers, no matter what happens. Also, once independent, Trump-appointed judges and lawyers from his Department of “Justice” would no longer be able to interfere with the enforcement of regulations necessary to protect us from the spread of COVID-19. In short, a Free California would no longer be one Ruth Bader Ginsburg (or John Roberts) heartbeat away from losing the ability to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, one of the most fundamental powers of a state government.

We came too close – one John Roberts vote – last week from losing complete control over order in our state. Declaring California provisionally independent is the first step toward restoring order, democracy, and stability in our beloved Republic.

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  1. August 4, 2020

    […] with repeal or a sharp revision of this 1918 chestnut of a law. This is especially urgent given the likelihood of major protests against economic insecurity caused by the COVID […]

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