It is a year for separatist referenda. Scotland will hold its vote on separation from the United Kingdom on September 18th. Catalonia, in Spain, will follow suit on December 18th—allowing the separatist government there a full three months to learn from any Scottish mistakes or successes. Three days ago, on March 16th, the whole global order was called into question as the newly declared Republic of Crimea voted on cutting its ties to Ukraine and joining Russia. Not to be outdone, the people of Veneto (in Italian, Veneta), the administrative region of which Venice is the capital, on the same day Crimeans went to the polls, began voting on whether to secede from the Italian Republic.
|The seven provinces that form Veneto are in northeastern Italy.|
|Gianluca Busato says, “Vote sì!”|
|The Northern League’s Umberto Bossi tried but failed|
to coax Venetians toward Padanism.
|Veneto’s president, Luca Zaia, demonstrating what he’d like to do to Italy|
Fringe I.V. may be, and non-binding the referendum may be, but one I.V. spokesman, Lodovico Pizzati, sounds very serious when he discusses its implications. “If there is a majority yes vote,” he told a reporter, “we have scholars drawing up a declaration of independence and there are businesses in the region who say they will begin paying taxes to local authorities instead of to Rome.” The new state is to be called the Republic of Veneto (Repubblica Veneta). Pizzati is a World Bank economist who currently lives in California. Another I.V. member, Raffaele Serafini, told media, “Venetians not only want out of Italy, but we also want out of the euro, the E.U. and NATO.” This view is distinct from the pro-Brussels separatist sentiment found in Scotland or Catalonia, but it is not clear if most Venetans share Serafini’s views. If so, then one of the obstacles to Scottish separatists reaching a majority—fear of ejection from the E.U.—is one which Venetists don’t need to worry about.
|Lodovico Pizzati in St. Mark’s Plaza in 2012|
|Venetian flags mingle with Lombard and Padanian ones at a rally.|
[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 mid 2014. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]
“Lega Nord, Flemish Separatists, Others at Secret Vienna Summit Plot Far-Right Slate for Strasbourg” (Nov. 2013)
“Italophone Swiss Bid Ciao but Not Auf Wiedersehen to Right-Wing Ticinese Nationalist Giuliano Bignasca” (March 2013)
“10 Separatist Movements to Watch in 2013” (Dec. 2012)
“Venice Declares Independence—via Gondola; Gibraltar, Kosovo Jostle for Football Independence; Musqueam Win Vancouver Condo Battle; Nuwaubians in Georgia; Mauritius Rallies Africans to Take Chagos Isles Back from U.K.: The Week in Separatist News” (Oct. 2012)
“The World’s 21 Sexiest Separatists” (including Lega Nord’s Renzo Bossi) (April 2012)
“10 Separatist Movements to Watch in 2012” (Dec. 2011)