Donald Trump’s election always seemed like a bad dream to me, but I could always seek refuge by merely living in California, which would surely act as a bulwark against the conservative backlash emanating from the White House.
However, after the violent protests that led to the cancellation of a talk by Breitbart editor (and Trump propagandist) Milo Yiannopoulos at Cal, Trump directly threatened to pull the university’s funding. Furthermore, now that California is trying to become a “sanctuary state,” he has set his sights on us all.
Fellow Berkeleyans, we are in Trump’s crosshairs. We must choose how to respond. And the best response is for California to declare independence from the United States and become its own country.
Independence would solve many problems. You may have recently heard that California is one of the country’s few “donor states.” Which means, through our Federal taxes, Californians subsidize many red states with residents who seem to despise us, belittle our values, and elect officials who trample our rights — while our schools fail and roads crumble.
Once we declare independence, and we are not forced to bankroll regressive states, our budget problems would disappear overnight. California pays $59 billion — 2/3 of our state budget — in subsidies to other states. If this money stayed in California, we would enjoy more services and lower taxes.
We would finally pay our teachers a decent salary. Our universities (including Cal) could operate without fear of losing critical funding. And wouldn’t it be nice to finally implement a viable solution to the housing and homelessness crises plaguing Berkeley (and the Bay Area at large)?
Independence also means we’d no longer have to take orders from red states and the tyrants they elect. We could invest in climate research without the threat of defunding. We could set our own humane, sensible immigration policy. We could finally provide universal healthcare like the rest of the industrialized world.
California, and Berkeley in particular, can become a refuge and a shield from the incipient fascist regime in America. However, we can only do so through independence.
Some would say it is better to stay in the United States, fight from within, and enact reforms that would stop another Trump from taking power. However, our power to enact these reforms is limited. A Californian voter enjoys 1/70th the electoral power in the Senate, and 1/8th in the Electoral College, as a voter in Wyoming. We are massively under-represented in the House. Our electoral votes have not determined a presidential election since 1880. Staying in the US does nothing to help vulnerable Americans, and unfairly subjects millions of Californians to unnecessary harm.
Moreover, it is impossible to enact the reforms we would need to give us fair representation. The red states would never agree to them. Independence is much more likely to happen.
Some say such a move could provoke a civil war. But the world is much different now than it was in the 1860s. Our economies are deeply integrated, and America relies on California much more than we rely on it. An invasion would decimate both our economies.
Others say that we cannot make it on our own. But we have the world’s sixth largest economy, a budget surplus for the last two years, and our contribution to the US military is bigger than Russia’s entire military budget. We are more than capable of paying our own bills and defending our land.
And finally, there are those who say this is unrealistic, naive, and can never happen. But remember, Britain was never going to leave the European Union. Trump was never going to become president, either.
Berkeley has long been an incubator for progressive ideas that may have sounded far-fetched at first, but eventually made the world a better place — from the Free Speech Movement to the farm-to-table movement. It would be very characteristic of Berkeley to support Californian independence, to nurture and nourish the concept before spreading it to every corner of our California Republic.
The best way to do so is by joining the California National Party: a grassroots political party that advocates for Californian independence on a progressive platform. We have a plan for what an independent California would look like, as well as how to get there. And we are always looking for volunteers and donors. Read our platform for California, and when you are ready to help us lead California towards freedom, join.
I invite you to join me in fighting for an independent California: a place where our kids can grow up without fear of discrimination or oppression, in a nation that acts as a beacon of hope for a beleaguered world enduring dark and tumultuous times.
Your fellow country-people are counting on you.
Jay Rooney can be reached via email or Twitter.