These are actual questions we get from real people. In regards to some of the later questions, no, we don’t know what is wrong with people either.
Q: Are you Calexit?
A: #Calexit is a hashtag, so depends you mean by it.
Do we think California would be better off as an independent country? Yes. Other ways forward include policy carve-outs for California (like we have for vehicle emission regulations now), keeping more California tax dollars in-state, and democratizing the United States.
Basically, if it improves Californians’ lives and gets us closer to living in a real, modern democracy, we’re for it.
Do we think California should unilaterally declare independence, possibly sparking a war? No. Please keep your Civil War fantasies to yourself.
Still confused? Read How We are Different from Other Pro-Independence Groups.
Q: Could California really secede?
A: Yes, with consent of Congress and a revision to the California Constitution (which would take a legislative supermajority and a vote of the people).
Negotiated secession is a real thing that actually happens. Czechoslovakia turned out not to be one nation, indivisible, and the U.S. might not either.
Q: But what about Texas v. White?
A: You’ve been reading caselaw from the 1860s! Remind us, who was White? How do you think the case might be different if Texas had seceded with the consent of Congress?
Q: Shouldn’t we fix California first before trying to be our own country?
A: Probably! Coincidentally, that’s our main focus for 2018. Stay tuned.
Q: Shouldn’t we all just work together to get the Democrats back in power?
A: Would that get Californians fair representation in the Senate? Give California a fair share of federal spending? End the deportations? Because it didn’t the last few times.
It’s not a bad tactic to give California more breathing room, but you can see addressing these persistent problems is going to take new ideas and strategies, yes?
Q: I’m a Californian and I love what you’re doing, but I don’t support secession. What should I do?
A: Join us, and work together for policy changes that help California? Read our bill tracker and call your state legislators? That’s the kind of stuff we do, and we’d be happy to have you on board.
If it ever does come to the point of California seceding (and not just America giving California more respect), lobby your state legislators not to put secession on the ballot, and if they do anyway, vote no. No hard feelings.
Q: You know they’ll never let California leave, right?
A: In that case, we stay. Muahahahahaha!
Q: Shouldn’t we just focus on voting for independence, and trust everything else will sort itself out?
A: Generally, you want ballot measures to poll in the low 60s, and right now, Californians’ support for secession is in the low 30s, so… we might want to lay some more groundwork first.
Also, yes, Californian institutions can be unwound from American ones, but it’s not simple or quick. Britain is doing this on a compressed 2-year timetable with Brexit, and it’s no fun at all. How about we start that unwinding now, so that (if a majority of Californians ever want it), independence becomes largely a formality?
Q: Are you funded by Russia?
A: As a matter of policy, we don’t take a dime in donations from overseas, and never have. Not only do we not particularly like the Russian government, we don’t even see them as a country that’s particularly relevant to California: they don’t have much to trade besides raw materials, and they’re useless on climate change.
For more perspective, read Russia Did Not Invent California and Texas Secession, by journalist Andrew Ash.
Q: Why don’t you just support the California National Party?
A: Hey, you’ve heard of the CNP!
The California National Party is a political party, and as such, their job is to recruit and support candidates. We’re a non-profit (technically, a pair of non-profits) and our goal is to educate people and advocate for better policies. Similar goals, different tools. While we are non-partisan and don’t support particular political parties, we’re generally pretty friendly.
Q: I love California and I love what you’re doing, but I’m in another state. How can I help?
A: You’re welcome to send us money, but the most important thing you can do is help democratize the U.S. Some things to get involved in, now:
- end the Electoral College by getting your state to adopt the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
- end partisan redistricting by getting your state to adopt an independent redistricting commission
- end felony disenfranchisement and let all citizens in your state vote, period
- support public campaign financing to end the pay-to-play reality of American politics
Also, we know it feels pretty great to have your own two senators, while nearly 40 million Californians have to share ours, but America is never going to be a real democracy as long as the Senate wields power. If you see one of your Senators, please tell them:
- stop setting per-state spending formulas
- stop filibustering, unless the filibuster is supported by Senators representing a majority of Americans
- stop confirming judges without the votes of Senators representing a majority of Americans
- stop calling it “the world’s greatest deliberative body” and realize what an embarrassment the Senate is to American “democracy”
Q: You don’t have a plan.
A: This technically isn’t a question, but we have about a dozen plans, mostly having to do with policy changes, education, and building new narratives. Wait and see! We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Q: If California seceded, what would you do for a military?
A: Spend 1% of our GDP on defense, like Canada does, rather than the 3% we do now? And spend a bit more of that on veterans, and a bit less on defense contractors?
Currently California taxpayers are on the hook for about $72 billion dollars a year for military spending, which is more than Russia spends. That’s totally stupid. At 1% of GDP, California would still be spending $24B on defense, compared to Mexico’s $7.1B, so, no, we wouldn’t be invaded by Mexico.
Also, rewind a bit here. If California did become independent (which is only one of many possible scenarios), it would be through negotiation with the U.S., so there’s no guarantee the U.S. military would even leave. Google “status of forces agreement” and you’ll see what we mean.
Believing that Americans can’t be safe unless we spend more and more on our “crumbling” military, while letting our schools and health care system and infrastructure go to pot, is cowardice. We’re not going to live in fear, and you don’t have to either.
Q: Ha! We’ll let California go, and then invade you! I can’t wait.
A: You sound like a total jerk, but that doesn’t mean we want to bomb you and your family. Seriously, what is wrong with you? This makes about as much sense as the United States invading Canada.
Q: What about water from the Colorado?
A: This is one of those questions that makes less and less sense the more you know about water in California.
The Colorado accounts for about 10% of the fresh water Californians use. If you suddenly had to use 10% less water, how would you manage?
Most of that water goes to southern California cities that, in a pinch, could build desalination plants.
California is currently party to a seven-state compact guaranteeing us a share of water. If we ever did negotiate independence, whatever agreement came out of that negotiation couldn’t get ratified with out southern Californian votes, so it’s pretty likely that inertia would win and California’s water rights would just become part of a three-country treaty (U.S., California, Mexico) instead.
Finally, the Colorado is within California’s borders, so there’s not really a way the U.S. could renege on such a treaty.
Q: I’m an American and I hate California and want you out of the United States ASAP. How can I help?
A: You could spread right-wing memes about how awful California is and what a burden we are on the U.S.
Already on that? Good job! Keep it up.
Also, we’re struggling with the largest state pension debt (not per-capita, but division is hard), the highest poverty rate (adjusting for our highly valuable real estate), and the crushing weight of a 13.3% income tax on people making over a million dollars a year, so we are hard up. Maybe you could send us a little cash?
Q: I am from other country, probably not Russia, and I want to see United States breaking up. How can I help?
A: You know we’re more about like, tax policy and government reform, right? Not a lot of bang for your buck.
How about you fix your own damn country rather than trying to make every other country look worse? Democracy, human rights, the rule of law—this stuff is totally rad, and you should try it. Also, Siberian Autonomy forever, and self-determination for the Altai Republic. Peace.