Another less well known, but equally interesting case of admission of the right to secession is to be found in the federal republic of Saint Kitts and Nevis, comprising those two homonymous islands in the Caribbean.
The 1983 Constitution grants the smaller island —Nevis— the unilateral right to secede. The rule specifies that independence must be supported by the people of Nevis in a referendum by a two-thirds majority (article 113).
Nevis has organized two independence votes so far. The first one, in 1977, was held before the adoption of the Constitution, and was nullified by the central government of the federation, albeit more than 99% of voters supported separation.
At that time, the pro-independence movement argued that, from the moment that the two islands had become a UK associated, semi-independent state, Nevis had found itself turned into a de facto colony of Saint Kitts, the Nevisian islanders’ quality of life having fallen in the meantime.
The second referendum took place in 1998, after the current Constitution had already been passed and the Federation was completely freed from UK rule. The Assembly of Nevis called the referendum. 62% of voters said “yes” to independence.
The share therefore felt short of the required threshold, and independence was not achieved.
This is probably the world’s most explicit Constitution regarding secession and plurinationality. The Ethiopian Constitution proclaims the “unrestricted” right of “Nations, Nationalities and Peoples” to “self-determination up to secession” (Article 39.1).
The African country —which from late 19th century until the end of the Cold War sought to build a highly centralized power— has been organized under a federal model since 1991, after the communist regime led by Mengistu Haile Mariam was overthrown.
There are 11 federal regions/territories, most of them formed on an ethnolinguistic basis: the Oromo, the Somali and the Afar, for instance, each have their own region, with their own government and Parliament.
The Constitution also specifies the procedure to achieve independence: the seceding nation must do a formal request, a referendum in the region must then be held, and finally the transfer of powers to the council of the seceding nation and the partition of property must be organized.
In practice, however, Ethiopia is currently ruled by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which holds 500 of 547 seats in the federal Parliament —its allies control the remaining 47 seats.
The EPRDF is accused by worldwide human rights organizations and by Ethiopian opposition groups alike of ruling the country with an iron hand and of not allowing any real democratic system to take root.
Under those conditions, it is difficult to think that any territory would be now allowed to launch its own way towards independence. The 2016 crackdown against protests in Oromia —the country’s largest and most populated region— are an example of that.
However, the fact that the Constitution says what it says is no small deed, bearing in mind that any future regime change and transition to democracy could lead to a new scenario in which the right to secession could be effectively implemented.
From “Ten countries that grant the right to independence.”
After the 1995 self-determination referendum in Quebec, in which independence was rejected by a margin of just 1% of the votes, the Canadian government —at that time led by anti-independence Quebecois Jean Chrétien— asked the Supreme Court to clarify whether Quebec was allowed to unilaterally secede.
In response, the Court issued the 2 S.C.R. 217 opinion of 1998, which can be summarized in three main points. The first one, that Canadian law does not provide that Quebec can unilaterally secede, nor that the province can dictate to Canada the terms of its separation.
The second one, that Canada has no basis to reject Quebec’s independence under the democratic principle provided that a majority of Quebecois clearly show in a referendum that they want to split.
And the third one, that if this latter scenario does occur, the Canadian and the Quebec governments must enter into negotiations to agree on the terms of separation.
The opinion of the Supreme Court gave arguments to both sides, as evidenced by the fact that both the Canadian and the Quebec governments welcomed it.
The unionist camp felt that the Court had acknowledged that Quebec could not unilaterally secede, and furthermore, that the decision must be “clear”. In fact, the so-called Clarity Act was born out of this idea: approved by the Canadian Parliament in 2000, the law establishes that the wording of the question of any independence referendum should be clear enough, as should be clear any pro-independence majority.
The same year, the National Assembly of Quebec countered by passing the so-called Act 99, according to which the required “yes” majority in a referendum should be a mere 50% of the votes plus one.
The pro-secession camp was given by the Supreme Court a possibly wider victory, as it became admitted that independence is above all a political issue
The pro-secession camp, on the other side, was given by the Court a possibly wider victory, as it became admitted that independence is above all a political issue, and that democratic decisions made by a majority should prevail over whether the Canadian legal corpus explicitly admits the possibility of Quebec independence.
From “Ten countries that grant the right to independence.”
It’s likely that were the US to be broken up into smaller pieces, it would be weakened in its ability to act as a global hegemon, invading foreign nations at will, imposing “regime change,” and threatening war with any regime that opposes the whims of the American regime. link
David French Talks “Divided We Fall”
On February 15th, Thomas Koenig was joined by David French to discuss his latest book, Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation, which was released in September. link
Why is Pablo Hasel, the Spanish rapper who insulted the monarchy, so controversial?
Spanish police say rapper Pablo Hasél was arrested by Catalan police at Lleida University in north-eastern Spain after a 24-hour standoff, where the rapper had barricaded himself in a building. He was taken to prison to serve a nine-month sentence after being convicted of offending the monarchy and endorsing terrorism in tweets and a song. link
‘Banned SFJ was conspiring to disturb atmosphere on R-Day’
New Delhi [India], February 16 (ANI): Delhi Police has said in its First Information Report (FIR) related to ‘Toolkit’ case that the document was created with the aid of a banned organization, Sikhs for Justice, to “disrupt the Republic Day ceremony and precipitate unlawful acts in the name of ongoing farmer protest.” link
General restoration of economic freedom to people. Self-determination for both people and groups (cultural, ethnic, ideological)
Vision for the country and the world?
In my home country, South Africa, I wish to see a free society in an independent Western Cape. Globally, more competitive governance.
How do you see these changes occurring?
By improving the technologies that enable freedom (i.e. blockchain and seasteading.)
What can Self-Determination Advocates do to help?
Provide support to organizations involved in the Western Cape independence movement.
Can I ask you three questions about the Western Cape Independence Movement?
What is the movement’s attitude toward freedom and a free market?
The main political party advocating for independence is a free-market orientated party (Cape Party) and many of the leading figures can be described as libertarians. Compared with the rest of the country, the Western Cape is also regarded as the most pro-capitalist region.
What is the movement’s attitude toward non-violence?
The movement is focused completely on non-violence. It aims to achieve independence through electoral means and non-violent protest (a protest was held in early December.)
What do you think are the odds of the movement’s success?
Support for independence currently stands at about 36% and I would expect that to rise higher if the campaign can become as well organized as Scottish or Catalan independence. Another poll also indicated that 10% may vote for pro-independence parties and force the governing party to have a referendum (which some have claimed they have the legal right to.)
Great, would you be willing to keep SDA informed about the movement and the situation in South Africa?
Will do. It is a fast-growing movement, so a lot of new details should emerge over the next few months. I would advise looking at some of the details on the cape party website and their manifesto. They’ve done a lot of research on the matter of economics in an independent Cape.
Charter cities are a tool that can help countries improve governance, the key determinant of long-run economic outcomes. A charter city is a new city development granted special jurisdiction with the freedom to make deep reforms aimed at improving economic competitiveness in a country.
Charter cities are built and largely financed by an in-country city developer on greenfield land and are administered through a public-private partnership between the developer and the government.
Developers recoup their billions invested through rising land values as the city’s economy grows, so their incentives are aligned with the long-term success of the city.
Implementing innovative policies on previously unoccupied land frees city leaders from the difficulty of introducing substantive reforms in existing cities, where special interests and bureaucracies generally stifle reforms that can deliver broad-based growth.
Take business regulation, for starters. Compared to high-income countries, developing countries tend to rank poorly on indices, like the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, that measure the ease of doing business.
When it takes several months and a large share of an individual’s income just to register a business, only those already well-off can easily thrive. Starting from a blank slate, a charter city can develop a new regulatory framework, which is attractive to both local entrepreneurs and major investors.
Limiting the cost and time required to register a business and simplifying the tax system, which charter cities have the freedom to do, can make the formal economy accessible to ordinary people.
Charter cities also establish independent arbitration and dedicated commercial courts, which can bolster investor confidence in developing markets by easing fears about arbitrary expropriation of their investments, leading to more growth-creating ventures in areas like manufacturing.
And depending on the terms of the public-private partnership, charter cities would also possess the authority over areas like energy, health, education, and others. Reforms of this scale reach far beyond typical special economic zone reforms or what is possible in existing cities.
Jeff Williamson I think it’s possible. And I don’t listen to Rush for the record.
Gloria B. Jenkins I do agree with him. But I have doubts as to how actually different Democrats and Republicans are from each other. As Lincoln so eloquently said, “A house divided itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.”
And that is true today, as well. We cannot live together when half of the country wants to be wards of the state and half want to be free.
Gloria B. Jenkins April Reigne I know that Lincoln’s goal was to save the union. Nevertheless, that is what he said and he was right. South Carolina seceded because of the presumed hostility toward slavery of the elected President and they could see the mood of the nation turning against slavery.
They didn’t want to be in the minority, barred from moving around the country with their property, which they would have been.
Andy Evans Cascadia on the Pacific Coast, New England, and the Upper Midwest… those should all be encouraged to form their own nations. The remainder of the West, Midwest, and South could likely still co-exist for now.
John Elkins At one time there were secession movements in all 50 states and parts of Canada.
April Reigne Canada never seceded from being under the rule of royalty… At least the 13 states tried.
John ElkinsApril Reigne According to Human Freedom Index… Canada is Freer than the USA… and they are more open to secession…
John Elkins I am sorry, I don’t have the numbers… just my opinion.
Sean Leal I disagree completely. All one has to do is look at the vast and varied religious differences in this country to understand we can coexist with diametrically opposed ideas so long as they ARE NOT FORCED upon one another.
The reason people get angry at each other is because either they will be forced to accept being ruled by someone they hate, or will impose a ruler onto others who *they* hate.
A same-sex couple could be guarding their pot farm with their AR15s next door to a Catholic school with no problems until one of them forces the other how to live.
Politics injects anger and fighting into ordinarily peaceful situations.
Andy EvansSean Leal – but force and aggression are the very definition of our current Federal Government. Every new law passed only serves to siphon more power from the States and the People.
The 10th Amendment was written for good reason, and Thomas Jefferson is surely spinning in his grave.
Andy Evans In 1900, federal spending was only about 3% of our GDP – now it can be 20% or more.
Sean Leal Andy Evans you are correct. Force and aggression ARE the very definition of the federal government. And the state governments. And the county and city governments.
The 10th Amendment is worthless. The Constitution “authorizes” the use of force. The Constitution is a document of violence.
John Elkins Yes, Sean Leal I agree, If we get a government that just protects life, liberty, and property… we will have so much less to argue and vote about.
John ElkinsAndy Evans I wonder… In one of Heinlein’s novels… maybe “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” They had a section of the legislature whose only job is to repeal laws that weren’t doing the job.
I don’t like adding another arm of government. So, Congress’s only job is to pass laws… but we need fewer… not more.
Andy EvansJohn Elkins – I think the first way to stop the tide of liberty killing legislation is to starve the beast. We need constraints on both taxation and spending.
If you just limit taxation then the borrowing and money printing still continue. Every dollar that flows to the Federal treasury is another dollar seized from the free market, and much of that dollar goes toward funding more bureaucracy and more tyranny.
It is not common knowledge that until recently, the UK had the world’s last fully functioning feudal state right on its doorstep. Not part of the UK but – like all other Channel Islands and the Isle of Man – a part of Great Britain outside the United Kingdom, the Island of Sark, population 500, is the Commonwealth’s smallest SIM.
It makes its own laws and manages its own money. Administered by the Seigneur, a hereditary ruler who held the island for the British Crown, Sark was the last remaining feudal community in the Western world until 2008, when the islanders voted for democracy and the Seigneur’s powers were significantly curtailed.
The Seigneur, however, still pays an inflation-free tax to the Queen of £1.79 a year – a more significant sum 500 years ago when it first came into force and constituted ‘one 20th part of a knight’s fee’.
Cars are banned from Sark and planes are not allowed to land there, or to fly over the island below 2,000 feet. The place is engulfed by a strange quiet, broken only by the wailing of wind.
The island still abides by medieval laws, one of which says that ‘unspayed bitches are not allowed to be kept on the Island, except by the Seigneur’.
This law was adopted during the 17th century, when Chief Pleas (the island’s parliament) decided that too many dogs could cause problems with sheep farming. ‘Yes, our island is bitch-free,’ Michael Beaumont, the previous Seigneur and the father of the incumbent one (Christopher Beaumont), who inherited his estate from the Dame of Sark, says.
Another law states that 40 local family heads, including the Seigneur, are obliged to keep muskets to protect the island from invaders. A modest-looking brochure, the Constitution of Sark, reveals much about the island.
One of its articles states that, under Norman custom, a person can obtain immediate cessation of any action he thinks is an infringement of his rights. At the scene, he must, in front of witnesses, recite the Lord’s Prayer in French and cry out in patois: ‘Haro, Haro, Haro! À mon aide, mon Prince, on me fait tort!’ At which point, all actions must cease until the matter is heard by the court.
The Haro cry didn’t help the islanders when Sark was occupied by a garrison of 300 Germans during the Second World War. Nevertheless, not a single shot was fired from either side and the locals still refer to that period as a ‘model occupation’.
One remembered how the German commandant of Sark refused to take any action against local residents who defied the occupation authorities by keeping short-wave radios at their houses – an offence punishable by death anywhere else in occupied Europe.
In 1990, the island experienced another foreign invasion, albeit on a much smaller scale. It was taken over – single-handedly – by a drunken Frenchman, André Gardes, who landed on Sark with a semi-automatic weapon.
In a ‘manifesto’, written in broken English and pinned on the village noticeboard, he announced that he was taking control of the island. Having stated his intentions, he retired for a refill to a village pub, where he was apprehended and disarmed by the part-time constable (head of Sark’s part-time police force) and frogmarched to the island’s miniature prison, which consisted of one small, windowless cell.
The constable soon came to regret his bravery, for another island law made him responsible for feeding prison inmates and the Frenchman proved to be voracious. Luckily, two days is the maximum jail term in Sark and in due course the gluttonous invader was deported to his homeland.
Exempt from the UK’s social security and health schemes, the island takes good care of itself. Special community funds help young people through school and university, pay medical bills for the sick and provide pensions for the old.
In Tórshavn, the picturesque Faroese capital is the Speaker’s chair in the Løgting, the Faroese ancient parliament, the origins of which can be traced back more than 1,000 years, when a shipload of Vikings stumbled upon the umbrella-shaped Faroese archipelago on their way to Iceland.
According to some sources, they were simply too seasick to continue their journey and chose to settle on the islands, driving out the wandering Irish monks who had lived there since the seventh century AD.
The Løgting, where, in line with the Home Rule Act of 1948, only Faroese internal matters are supposed to be debated by 32 local MPs (foreign policy and executive power are in the hands of the Danish crown), sits in a black log cabin with a turf roof in the center of Tórshavn.
All procedures are conducted in the Faroese language – a derivative of Old Norse and West Norwegian, now recognized as the main language of the islands.
Until 1938, the Danes treated the Faroese language as a small regional dialect and it was forbidden to teach it in schools. For centuries, it remained a popularly spoken tongue only; there was no recognized Faroese literature until 1890.
This is no longer the case. One of the most amazing sides of modern Faroese culture is the number of books (about 150 titles a year) written and published in the native language.
Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, and even Homer’s hexameters have been translated into Faroese by local enthusiasts. The mini-state also publishes several daily newspapers in Faroese.
The biggest problem the Faroese faced when trying to recreate their old tongue and turn it into a written language was the absence of words for such modern notions as ‘television’, ‘video’, ‘computer’, ‘compact disc’ and so on.
Instead of using foreign borrowings, they decided to come up with some genuine Faroese neologisms. Thus a computer became telda – from tal (number); a computer screen became skiggi – the word for a sheep’s stomach stretched across the smoke-holes of houses in the time before glass windows; and a compact disc became flöga – from the round wooden blocks put under haystacks.
That passion for the preservation of local languages and culture is perhaps the most distinguishing trait of all existing SIMs. Unperturbed by the ‘global village’ and ‘unified Europe’ rhetoric, most of them stay clear of pacts, leagues, and alliances, simply because they are quite happy to be on their own in our conflict-ridden and chaotic world that strives for integration, and yet is increasingly divided.
The British Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (population 15,500) comprise those parts of Cyprus that stayed under British jurisdiction and remained British sovereign territory when the 1960 Treaty of Establishment created the independent Republic of Cyprus.
They constitute a semi-independent British Overseas Territory, under the governance of an administrator, who at the same time is the commander of the British Forces Cyprus.
The bases remain formally a part of the UK, but can only be used for military and not commercial or any other purposes. It is the only part of the UK where the euro, and not the pound, is in circulation.
The bases have their own legal system, distinct from both the UK and Cyprus, but keep, as close as possible, to the laws of the latter. The Court of the Sovereign Base Area is concerned with non-military offenses committed by any person within Akrotiri and Dhekelia.
Law and order are maintained by the Sovereign Base Areas Police, while military law is upheld by the Cyprus Joint Police Unit. The Greek Cypriots living within either SBA actually have the right to both a Cypriot and a British Passport.