Secession is defined in the following ways:
1: withdrawal into privacy or solitude : retirement
2: formal withdrawal from an organization
In the political sense, secession implies withdrawing from an established nation-state. In the United States the concept of secession has come to be associated with the American Civil War, a conflict which lead to several states seceding from “The Union”, and ultimately, the death of at least a million Americans (depending on your source). This is perhaps one reason why many Americans are opposed to the idea of splitting or dissolving the centralized form of governance currently on display in the United States. However, there are valid reasons to consider the strategy of secession. Let’s take a look at the situation.
Secession movements tend to be associated with conservatives and states-rights activism. Interestingly, those who favor breaking free of a larger state are generally in favor of more localization and community reliance as opposed to relying on large, centralized institutions. This seems like an obvious opportunity for common ground among those across the political spectrum who support a return to localized action and organizing. However, the topic of secession is often dismissed outright by those who believe that rather than abandoning or dissolving the federal government, Americans ought to use it to attempt to create a utopia (or as close as we can reasonably get).
Essentially, those who want to build something new, or shift to local communities having more of a say in their affairs, tend to prefer the idea of seceding. Those who are unhappy with the status quo, but would prefer to use the infrastructure of the machine to the benefit of “the people”, tend to either be against secession or see it as an unlikely remedy to the social ills they wish to fix. Does this mean secession is not an effective candidate for uniting activists and truth seekers across the political spectrum? I think not.
If we move beyond simply applying secession to nation-states ( i.e., how and by whom we are ruled) we can amplify the effectiveness of the strategy. Specifically, if we focus our energies on “Economic Secession” we can begin to remove support for the systems which do not represent the values and principles we hold dear. What does it mean to economically secede? Quite simply, it’s the old adage of “voting with your dollar” (or euro, pesos, bitcoin, etc). You consciously choose not to do business with the individuals and corporations which you do not believe live up to your standards.
To truly understand this it’s important to understand that money (in whatever form it comes) is a form of currency. Currency is a medium of exchange, something people can trade as a representation of past time and energy. This means the currency, whether pieces of paper or digital bits on a screen, is a representation of your time and energy. Since your time on this planet is finite it is itself an incredibly valuable and irreplaceable currency. When understood in this manner one could say that giving your dollars to corporations which you do not support (and which often actually work against your goals) is akin to throwing away your limited and valuable time on this planet.
The only difference in the case of economic secession is that we are applying the concept of “voting with your money” to the notion of governance itself. So if you have an issue with how the federal government is running, or if you believe the institution itself to be an immoral use of force against free people, you can consciously choose to opt out of funding the system itself. If you see your local police force accepting military style weapons via federal government funding, find ways to avoid supporting the cops. This strategy calls for tax resistance and avoidance where possible by making money “under the table” or “off the grid”. This also means supporting and using alternative currencies that provide opportunities for exchange without using the State’s currency.
If you oppose the economic theft by the Wall Street banksters you ought to support exiting their institutions and seeking economic exchanges which do not involve their banks. If you stand against the theft and manipulation by the Federal Reserve cartel it’s worth making an effort to learn about alternative currencies such as cryptocurrencies and other local paper currencies. It serves all of us when we choose to forgo giving money (our limited time) to businesses and corporations which endanger the planet and threaten our liberties. No matter how you look at it, economic secession is the answer.
Fortunately, there is already a philosophy built around the idea of economic secession. It’s known as Agorism. Briefly, Agorism is a radical libertarian philosophy that seeks to create a society free of coercion and force by using black and gray markets in the underground or “illegal” economy to siphon power away from the state. Founder Samuel Konkin termed this strategy “counter-economics”, which he considered to be all peaceful economic activity that takes place outside the purview and control of the state. This includes competing currencies, community gardening schemes, tax resistance and operating a business without licenses. Agorism also extends to the creation of alternative education programs, free schools or skill shares, and independent media ventures that counter the establishment narratives. Also essential to the growth of agorism is the public’s support of entrepreneurs who actively do business outside of the state’s license and regulations.
Thankfully, Agorism is not just about “escaping”, but building a new world where people are free to live as they choose in harmony with others. I highly recommend reading more about this beautiful idea, starting with my essay, “What is Agorism? A History of Agorist Theory and Practice”.
The point is, despite the myriad of crises and issues we free humans face on a daily basis, there are solutions. I don’t claim that Agorism, counter-economics, and economic secession are the ONLY answers, but I do think they offer a valuable place to start. Next time you are out shopping consider the impact of where you spend your money and what kind of money you are using. Who is benefiting from your choices? Are they people and institutions which you are proud to support? Are their goals and actions in alignment with yours? Only you know the answers to these questions and the sooner we each choose to reflect upon them, the sooner we will see positive changes in our daily habits and lives.