There is a new wrinkle in the heavily Tea-Party-inflected, right-wing “State of Jefferson” secession movement in northern California and southern Oregon, which this blog has been watching closely (see related articles here, here, here, here, here, here, and in my annual survey of “10 Separatist Movements to Watch” for 2014). The board of supervisors of Siskiyou County, California, certified on January 14th that enough signatures have been gathered for a further proposal beyond the statehood measure already destined for this June’s ballot (statehood, that is, for Siskiyou and whichever other counties might wish to join; Tehama County, to be the south, will also be putting it to voters this year). A second proposal will now be offered, allowing Siskiyouans to vote on another measure providing for a “Republic of Jefferson.”
|An early State of Jefferson map, from 1941|
|Anthony Intiso, third from left, with the original design for the State of Jefferson flag,|
with its allusion to a “double cross” by city-slickers in Salem and Sacramento ...
|... though Tea Party iconography has lately been slipping|
into versions of the seal used in northern California too
This, of course, seems to me the point at which the new entity will indeed, in fact, be interfering with the authority of federal, state, and county governments. The J.A.C. website insists that this is not a secession or a separation, such as the 51st state envisioned by Mark Baird’s Jefferson Declaration Committee (J.D.C.), with its ballot measure. (Intiso is treasurer of a local organization of which Baird is vice-president, the Siskiyou County Water Users Association.) The best description for it might be the establishment of an autonomous, sovereign entity within the existing levels of government. In fact, as I pointed out in an earlier blog post when Jeffersonians first raised this idea, it resembles nothing so much as the kind of embedded, non-state sovereignty granted to indigenous people in the U.S. and Canada—exactly the kind of “special rights” and “special treatment” that people of the Tea Party persuasion usually decry loudly when it is non-white people being treated “preferentially.” For after all, how could a Republic of Jefferson administration govern within Siskiyou County without replacing existing governments unless some people were to come under the new Republic’s administration while some will not? Or maybe, as is more likely, such things have not even been thought through all that well.
|The new Jefferson Republic flag which has been appearing online.|
Meanwhile, an activist named Mike Rodriguez has begun gathering signatures online (among other places, at a TeaParty.org web page) for a “Declaration of Independence” of the “Free State of Jefferson,” which aims to secede from California and Oregon but not from the U.S. Rodriguez, some digging suggests, is the Parks and Recreation Administrator for Mt. Shasta, a town in Siskiyou County, but he doesn’t mention that in his petition (after all—city parks? sounds like socialism!). Instead, he identifies himself only as chairman of the Shasta Reform Party and the North State Reform Party—though if you search for those organizations online you will find references to them nowhere other than the online petition itself. Rodriguez lists as Jefferson counties the original 1941 counties—Curry, Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath in Oregon, plus Siskiyou, Modoc, Del Norte, Trinity, and Lassen in California—as well as two extra California counties often included in Jefferson proposals over the years, Shasta and Humboldt.
|Mike Rodriguez, freedom fighter|
[For those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it some time in 2014. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]