ONTD Political

We want to be alone: The Texas Independence Movement wants America's second largest state to leave t

10:10 am - 02/13/2013
At noon on 8 January, the first day of the 2013 legislative session, around 200 Texans stood stubbornly in the rain on the north steps of the capitol building in Austin. Some carried state flags, others placards bearing messages such as “I want off the sinking ship”. To cries of “Remember the Alamo!” and “Liberty or Death!”, Daniel Miller, the leader of the Texas Independence Movement (TNM), stepped forward to speak.

The 39-year-old in the suit and cowboy boots has been the leader of the TNM, which organised the rally, since 2001. His recent book, Line in the Sand, is the movement’s core text. Miller turned and pointed to the figure of Lady Liberty at the summit of the capitol’s domed roof. “You’ll notice,” he joked, “that Liberty has her back turned to the North.”

There has been enthusiasm for the notion of independence at the far fringes of Texan politics for decades, but the re-election of Barack Obama has significantly broadened the TNM’s base. The organisation claims more than a quarter of a million members, and has registered more than three million hits on its website since November. It even formed its own Political Action Committee, or PAC, to back candidates that share its goals.

As the President prepared to deliver the State of the Union address, he will have been aware that some in its second-largest state would rather leave the Union altogether. Last month, the Obama administration rejected a petition calling for the state’s secession from the US. Posted on the White House website in November by a student from Arlington, the petition drew 125,746 signatures in just eight weeks. Similar appeals emerged from all 50 states, but the Texan’s was by far the most-signed. In his response, the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Jon Carson, claimed the US Constitution, “enshrined… the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot – a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it.”

The petition was rejected, but this week Texas got its first taste of international diplomacy – and its first ally – in the shape of the former Soviet state of Belarus, ruled by brutal dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Apparently fed up with constantly being criticised for abusing human rights, the Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs levelled the same accusation at Washington for rejecting Texas’s call. Whether Minsk’s intervention will help the secessionist cause is open to debate.

Texas was briefly a nation, between securing independence from Mexico in 1836 and annexation by the United States in 1845, during which time it had embassies in London and Paris. Alone, the state would boast the world’s 15th-largest economy. At a Tea Party rally in 2009, Governor Rick Perry gave hope to secessionists by suggesting, “When we came into the nation in 1845… we were a stand-alone nation. And one of the deals was, we can leave any time we want. So we’re kind of thinking about that again.” (Last year, Perry’s office informed the Dallas Morning News that the Governor, “believes in the greatness of our Union”.)

One person who could reasonably expect support from the TNM PAC is Larry Kilgore, a 48-year-old telecommunications consultant, who changed his middle name to “SECEDE” in December. Kilgore received 250,000 votes when he contested the Republican Senate primary in 2008, and has announced his intention to run for Perry’s job in 2014. His aim, he told The Independent, is to become Governor and then immediately hold a referendum on independence, before stepping down. “I don’t want people to think I’m just interested in power,” he explained. Kilgore’s reasons for advocating secession are partly economic. He resents paying social security and federal income tax. Also, “We’re not even allowed to execute people who molest children,” he said. “We don’t want the US coming in and saying, ‘You can’t perform this judicial punishment.’”

Soon after the presidential election, Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County Republican party, wrote in his regular Tea Party newsletter in favour of the state’s “amicable divorce” from the US and from the “maggots” who’d voted for Obama. “When citizens of Czechoslovakia decided to peacefully separate into the Czech Republic and Slovakia,” he explained in an email, “it was not a case of a sore loser, but rather two free groups deciding they wanted to govern themselves independently.”

Morrison believes there is a “serious possibility” of Texas gaining independence in similar fashion during his lifetime. Daniel Miller grew up in White Oak, a town of around 6,000 in northeast Texas. His father was a unionised ironworker, his mother a secretary. When he graduated from high school in 1991, he immediately ran for mayor. He lost, and resolved to give up politics. But three years later, he recalled, an acquaintance, “handed me a copy of the US Constitution and a copy of the Communist manifesto. They said, ‘Read both of them and tell us what you feel like you’re living in right now.’ I saw a lot more of Marx in society than the Constitution. That flipped a switch for me.”

The TNM leadership’s post-secession aims sound reasonable – small government; low taxes; a balanced budget – and their chosen means are peaceful. “Our members must be committed to the peaceful, non-violent approach,” said Miller. “Like the SNP in Scotland, or Gandhi in India. We look at the SNP as a model for modern-day independence.”

But not all their members agree. Alan Daves, 70, an insurance and real estate broker who calls himself “The Texas Mob-Father”, wore a military-style poncho to the rally, to protect himself from the drizzle. “We’re liable to fight the Alamo all over again,” he said. “We’re not interested in legislation; we’re interested in bullets, body-bags and bayonets. If the ‘Gestapo Government’ starts trying to take away our guns, we’re going to have another revolution.”

The TNM also has ideological differences with the other leading independence group: the Republic of Texas, which won’t discuss secession, on the basis that Texas was never “ceded” to the US in the first place. Bob Wilson, 76, is one of eight senators in the Republic’s shadow legislature. Unlike the TNM, he’s unwilling to negotiate with the US or Texan governments. “There’s nothing to negotiate. We’re right; they’re wrong… The Texan state is just a subsidiary of US Incorporated.” Miller, Wilson claimed, “is a profiteer who won’t change a thing.”

If anything, the Republic of Texas is less radical than it used to be: its former leader was involved in a week-long armed stand-off with Texas Rangers in 1997, which left one of its members dead, and a number of others in jail. The group now has its own currency, minted in Dallas, which it claims is accepted by more than 20,000 merchants. Wilson, a mechanical engineer by trade, says he’s designing a seat of government in Waco. “It has become abundantly clear that we’ll be receiving foreign dignitaries,” he said. What Wilson and the TNM share is a conviction that independence is coming, and sooner than anyone else expects.

“The likely scenario is that Obama’s government will collapse sometime in 2013 or 2014,” Wilson claimed. “Then people will look to who’s best equipped to take over.”

Factfile: Texas the country would be...

46th largest in the world by population, with more than 26 million inhabitants

40th largest in the world by area, at 696,000 sq km

15th largest economy in the world, just behind Spain and ahead of Mexico. Its GDP of $1.2trn is 8 per cent of the US total

17th in the world oil production league with two billion barrels per day – putting it ahead of Libya, Qatar and the UK

Texas was once home to the US nuclear assembly line, in Amarillo, and still posseses large stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium.

The state has its own fighter-jet plant in the shape of Lockheed-Martin, maker of the F-16.

It is also, of course, home to Nasa’s Mission Control in Houston (but not, alas, a rocket-launch site).

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/we-want-to-be-alone-the-texas-independence-movement-wants-americas-second-largest-state-to-leave-the-union-8492246.html?origin=internalSearch

OP: Anyone who thinks the US has a 'Gestapo Government' probably hasn't read many books. These people are an absolute delight with the silly things they say.
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primeling 13th-Feb-2013 12:08 pm (UTC)
Lulz. My ole state.
blackjedii 13th-Feb-2013 12:19 pm (UTC)

No federal money for you

No more Dallas on TNT either!

No more Texas Steakhouse chains cause that's foreign junk

also any time a Texan goes to another state they're officially illegal immigrants ok
glamoursnipe 13th-Feb-2013 12:26 pm (UTC)
You know that if they were to go through with this, they'd be Mexico's bitch in six months.
layweed 13th-Feb-2013 12:19 pm (UTC)
If you want off the sinking ship you should move out of Texas, not move Texas out of the United States.
glamoursnipe 13th-Feb-2013 12:21 pm (UTC)

Enjoy your trade embargo, suckers.

Edited at 2013-02-13 12:22 pm (UTC)
tabaqui 13th-Feb-2013 12:53 pm (UTC)
For fuck's sake. World's tiniest violin, guys, playing a tune that goes 'whaaaaa, whaaaaaa, whaaaaaaaaaaa'.
silver_apples 13th-Feb-2013 01:21 pm (UTC)
I wish these people would at least pretend to think about the practical issues. Even if they started the process today, by the time all the details of a peaceful secession were worked out, we'd have had another presidential election and maybe someone they like will win. I think they honestly believe all it takes is the federal and state governments saying "yeah sure" and Texas is its own country and everything will run as smoothly as before or even better. Nevermind that there are army bases, a bureau of engraving, federal offices, non-Texans living in the state, Texans living outside the state, Texans serving in what will be a foreign country's military, inter-state trade, federal funds...it is not a simple or quick process.

We’re not even allowed to execute people who molest children

Aren't death penalty laws decided on the state level?
intrikate88 13th-Feb-2013 01:56 pm (UTC)
I wish these people would at least pretend to think about the practical issues.

Exactly! If they want to leave, I'm not going to stand in their way, but WAAAAH WAAAAH WE DON'T LIKE TAXES AND ACCOUNTABILITY is not a valid independence proposal. If they want to try the example of the SNP and other separations, they have to work out a plan for how they are going to support an entire economy all on their own. Every single type of imported goods would no longer be just trucked in, it would be international trade and there would be regulations and tariffs and all of that. And everything you mentioned about gaps in citizenship and the whole military issue and participating as a player in international diplomacy... this is some serious commitment, and it's not just a commitment to being an assface.
sandstorm 13th-Feb-2013 01:27 pm (UTC)
As someone born in San Antonio and living elsewhere...go ahead Texas. Make like a banana.
carmy_w 13th-Feb-2013 05:09 pm (UTC)
Or a hockey player....

Edited at 2013-02-13 05:10 pm (UTC)
mollywobbles867 13th-Feb-2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
Go ahead. You'd lose the vast majority of residents who think you're idiots, you'd lose a military, and Mexico would try to get you back and the US would offer to help but only if you rejoined the union.
ragnor144 13th-Feb-2013 01:59 pm (UTC)
I would say good riddance, but too many good people are stuck in that hellhole of a state.

Here's an idea guys - instead of wasting all of this energy on succession, why don't you join those of us on the left that are outraged by real threats to liberty like the Patriot Act provisions and a legal climate where corporations are more a person than people are. Stop chasing phantom oppressions and work on the the oppressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Oh wait, that doesn't affect you, so you don't care about those limits on freedom.

Oh, and your independent country of Texas wanted to become a state so that your slave-owning Americans could transport their human chattel throughout the South without running up against the prohibition of foreign slave trade in the Constitution. Quite ironic that you are whining about your liberty.
quizzicalsphinx 13th-Feb-2013 02:20 pm (UTC)
Door's that way, guys.
jasonbeast 13th-Feb-2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
I seem to remember that this Republic of Texas thing was attempted once, and it didn't work out so well for anybody.
nesmith 13th-Feb-2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
And Sam Houston, who they still revere, did NOT want his state to secede and they went and did it anyway, and he tried to warn them that they were about to step in front of a bulldozer . . . and now a bunch of descendents of those idiots apparently didn't learn a damn thing from history.
aviv_b 13th-Feb-2013 02:35 pm (UTC)
Don't let the door hit you on the way out!
a_leprechaun 13th-Feb-2013 03:06 pm (UTC)
"So we’re kind of thinking about that again."

Truly, words that will go down in history.
dangomango 13th-Feb-2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah that's easily the most eloquent thing I've ever heard :P
thecityofdis 13th-Feb-2013 03:53 pm (UTC)
ok bye
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