Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Bioregional State as "Constitution, Version Two:" Arguments Why a Federated Bioregionalism is Better than Secession (4 of 4)

In the midst of a planned national truckers strike next week with its own political goals of DC shutdown, that will merge with the two other separate ongoing independent shutdowns of the US federal government--by its two gatekeeping, Wall Street parties of Democrats [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] and Republicans [1] [2] [3] [4]. Both Democrats and Republicans conduct standing ovations for murder of panicked women with children and only have minimal support from anyone and both didn't get in power except through vote fraud and gerrymandering. So in this interesting hiatus, it's good to think about the potential of just leaving this old version of Constitution 'version one' shutdown with its corrupt parties. Obviously there is something badly wrong with the U.S. Constitution being insufficient and "bad DNA" for keeping out corruption. In a previous section of this series, I identify at least 35 points why the U.S. Constitution fails to work and fails to have enough checks and balances in its 'version one'.

So during this federal shutdown, it's good to think about re-federation for what we would want that is better. This fiasco now even leaves the 104 U.S. nuclear plants unregulated and unmonitored. Conveniently for rubber-stamping tyrants, the only three branches open for business (literally) are the U.S. military (illegally making contracts and making crony billionaires richer), the NSA (except for its legal review board about surveillance that decided to shutdown inexplicably despite being funded anyway), and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court rebooted recently though it is perhaps better that it was shutdown as well given that its actions only support a bit more tyranny upon us all by rubber-stamping other tyrannies [1] [2] [3] instead of redressing them.

What would we want to rescue and resuscitate toward refederation? More civil rights protections? More environmental protections? More checks and balances to keep such an unrepresentative duopoly of party direction of the country from happening once more? More local financial security and local economies? The bioregional state has it all--the best of the past and the best of the future.

For this fourth and last installment of this series, now I argue why a federated bioregionalism (and a proactive preparation for it through Ecological Reformation) is better than both the human and ecological tyrannies that we have and better than secession--though the bioregional state obviously includes such a right of secession. I draw on some of the points from part 3, above on this point.

To get to the matter at hand, despite secession being a natural right that follows from self-determination, there are some difficulties with merely secession that makes a bioregional re-federation more desirable, such as :

- emergencies (What happens in the event of natural or ecological disaster--or invasion? Do you have to go back to the Stone Age or under someone else's tyranny as the price of your secession? As other regions or the tyrannic federation you left opportunistically invades you whenever you have an internal difficulty? The Swiss seceded from the Holy Roman Empire, yet even they seldom felt that they could secede alone since their secession was dependent upon mutual military aid in the event of reconquest attempts. Their autonomy was dependent upon other regionally autonomous friends respecting it and helping them to maintain it--since other kinds of emergencies would develop sooner or later in any smaller more autonomous area. Autonomy requires co-autonomous friends instead of going it alone.

- redistribution (What happens to the base of wider taxation frameworks that people have? Smaller regions will be much smaller economies, and will likely find it hard to afford basic welfare state frameworks much less aid for second chances for the unlucky poor that require a second chance. The lack of such a mechanism of second chances for those down and out may contribute toward more permanent and greater inequalities of political and economic power after secession instead of removing such issues. For instance, only 39% of the US think the American Dream is possible for their children anymore. How much worse would even less redistribution capacities be? A second point about redistribution is more global: how will places that have been kept underdeveloped and under European tyrannies and ongoing intentional destabalizations to maintain such arrangements for centuries ever see mere secession as an ideal when that means autarkic poverty held a hand's length, instead of a re-federation for development with the people who control them from afar?

- conflict resolution (What happens when their are brotherly or sisterly disagreements between different seceeded areas over borders, assets, water flows, pollution from other areas? Is war to be the only way to solve multiple secession issues? Secession without federated secession encourages mere conflict resolution through reconquest. Moreover, avoid assuming that secession is always motivated by the same goals. For instance, if your neighbor just secedes to pollute more, if your neighbor poisons your water, if your neighbor steals your production or harms your regional citizens, well, what other solution are secessionists setting up for themselves except warfare or mutual raiding and retributive violence to solve it? And does that kind of internecine long term warfare actually lead to a more democratically representative, autonomous, or even sustainable material arrangement that most secessionists want? Hardly so, it leads to a small scale regional warlordism: a military domination internally and externally. It merely sets up more designs of reconquest to get one region's way over another as well. Furthermore, secession without allies is the kind of short-sighted secession that is exactly what a tyrannical elite wants to have further pretexts for an easy route to destroy regionalized opposition without friends. So secession by itself by its short term thinking really does play into further tyrannies that it wanted to avoid. The divide and conquer contexts of mere secession play into making it easy to conquer. If you really want to avoid a tyranny, then a re-federated agreement between bioreigons is better check and balances on tyranny from both the larger tyrants that still exist as well as any potential small scale internal tyrannnies from within the region itself that people romanticize 'won't happen here' after they secede.

- individual civil rights (What happens when regional levels create ethnic, religious or language hierarchies against internal minorities? Who will stand up for minorities, and what will be their support when the local secession is corruptly repressing them instead? Given the look on arch bioregional-secessionist Kirkpatrick Sale's face when asked how such a bioregionalist secession would protect individual civil rights from vicious repressive majorities, this is a point that the bioregional secessionists of the world like himself seems to have failed to consider: that humans are hardly always really nice to each other. This is another strong argument that a re-federated bioregionalism signing off to maintain a cross-bioregional, watershed-based judiciary that can enforce common universal principle of civil rights and ecological rights protections is important. As said in the book Toward a Bioregional State, keeping the civil rights centralized while keeping the material world decentralized seems to be the best of both worlds--if the bad choice of a complete civil and material decentralization has [1] mostly led to repressive ethnic and religious regimes that [2] by their repression on others resuscitate or protect such unrepresentative degradative relations in their region instead of move away from it. So on the other hand, in bioregional re-federation, such wider judicial universal civil rights protections for minorities--that would additionally be the conflict resolution solution mentioned in the previous point for assuring more cross-border ecological soundness as a conflict resolution against pollution flows--would be available. However, this is hardly a complete trust in such larger frameworks either: the point is for people living in particular bioregions to have political options of checks and balances on even their own bioregion. To the contrary, both conflict resolution over protecting individual and group civil rights (whether for cultural, sexual, language, or religious minorities or any inequalities on these themes) and protecting cross-border pollution flows from developing would be very weak under a model of pure secessional bioregionalism. Plus, instead of conceiving of these institutions larger than a singular bioregion as an attempt to make all regions culturally the same however, the bioregional re-federation would allow the movement of peoples to other places that do have their different subjective cultural qualities of life. Thus in a bioregional state a more polytopian view of plural subjective qualities of life can be maintained in different regions as long as they avoid common pollution flows upon each other. A polytopia is a group of real places as the model in the plural, contrasted to a singular utopia which is an unreal place or ideal that tends to become more dystopian the more that people attempt to force its singular standards of quality of life upon all--when quality of life is a subjective issue that should be decided upon by the individual that allows them to move around to find others of like minds. So instead of the larger judicial court arrangement being the only way to maintain desired civil rights, the wider plural bioregional areas would additionally be a means to allow internal migration more readily. People could assemble their own fluxing versions of subjective quality of life on more cultural issues while sharing the same base standards of objective quality of life concerns of sustainability and regional political representation, instead of using it to attempt to regulate any cultural uniformity into practice across all bioregions. And if the people culturally repressed in a region (typically a subaltern labor class) could easily leave or be assisted in leaving to formulate their own ideal polytopian bioregion elsewhere. If such a useful labor dries up in a more tyrannous bioregion, there would be large pressure to remove the elites or their strategies that encouraged such a repression, toward making policy more representative to that laboring class in the attempt to keep them there under a better deal. Historically for example, the evacuation of the city of Rome by the plebes many times in a mass strike was the only true and real threat they had. It could cause the patricians to rethink their previous strategy of an unrepresentative tyranny of jurisdiction over them on some point. Instead, under the real threat of leaving a bad situation, the patricians attempted more than not to woo them back with better treatment and more representative material and political settlements, widening Roman participation for all. Institutions like the CDI and CEI could develop into being the 'bioregional tribunes' of the people in this way, for example.

- infrastructural heritage (This of course may be the one issue that fails to apply. If secessionists wish to remove such things, this infrastructural heritage is what they wish to remove. However, if a bioregional re-federation is more ideal, then the question is what happens to major cities and emporia on the oceanic coasts? What happens to the freeways or public transportation networks between regions like trains or other means of travel? What happens to maintain securely the inherited dusty temples of all cold-shutdown nuclear plants, run and monitored by a honorable monastic engineering elite protecting your region that the radioactive nuclear equipment does indeed remain isolated, safe and quiet? In the event of secession or refederation, all of these issues are still there. Mere political institutional change is unable to wish it away so easily as if all of this will disappear automatically upon secession as if secession is some kind of reborn phoenix from the flame. Instead, secession has a lot of karmic history to work out still regarding what happened before secession or re-federation in the bioregion.

Of these five points, at least the first four points are major issues why a re-federated bioregionalism is a much better route than secession and bioregionalism itself per se. Such a re-federated bioregionalism model of a polytopia is much better than most singular utopian-into-dystopian authoritarian drives potentially of a Green Party or Libertarian Party perspective as well. However much supporting multiple parties toward democracy and sustainability, for rationales explored elsewhere, individual parties by themselves are a poor model toward democratic representation or sustainability.

None of these four or five points above are likely possible in the pinched circumstances of secession alone, even though secession is a right if you grant self-determination is a right.

To move to that future, I heartily recommend both the things you can do in your own bioregions now to prepare while keeping in mind your attitudes to others' environmental citizenship that you will be then sharing. Both are important reorientations of thought and materials to the future. If there is to be a future, it has to be a bioregional future, yet it has to be a particular form of re-federated bioregionalism that thinks ahead to avoid the pitfalls mentioned above of an easily destroyed and corrupted secessionism.