by Matthew Choicej
This piece was originally published in Cascadia Spoke, a community publication dedicated to raising awareness of the Cascadia movement and bioregionalism.
Political ideology is defined as a set of shared rules, values, and beliefs held by a group of people. In the United States, there are many political communities that clash over issues such as reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ issues, global warming, taxes, the proper role of the state in the provision of basic services such as healthcare, education and many others.
While value differences date back to the founding of the United States, they have become more pronounced during the past 30 years. Americans living in “blue” and “red” states seem to exist in vastly different political and moral universes.
The central question concerns the irreconcilability of differing moral and political values. At their core, values are not necessarily rational. Values reflect the assumed worldview of what a group of people deems as “good.”
If people view political and social hierarchies as either natural or divinely based, with calls for change viewed as an assault on the natural or divine order, such persons will support politicians that reflect this similar worldview.
Contrarily, if persons view society as primarily a construct of power relations with those at the top claiming their position through theft and force, such persons will support politicians reflecting this view of society.
Broadly speaking, the American polity is dominated by two parties, Republicans and Democrats. While neither party is totally ideologically homogeneous, there are clear lines of ideological demarcation. Providing a list of issues both parties disagree on has been done ad nauseam by many media pundits and politicians. As Cascadians, we should begin to develop and clarify our own political and social values with an eye toward an independent Cascadian state.
As Cascadians, it is fair to say that the values we share differ significantly from both major political parties in the United States, especially the Republican party. While both parties differ significantly on social issues such as abortion, gun control, and the rights of LGBTQ+ persons, both parties share one key ideological tenant–the fetishization of private property. In this case, private property is defined as a social relationship where one person or small group of people take possession of the means of production used by others for the production of commodities. This dynamic results in the creation of gross levels of inequality.
As Cascadians, this notion of private property must be radically deconstructed and reconsidered. (Of course, private property is NOT synonymous with personal property. Many Americans, especially rightists, like to conflate the two either out of ignorance or in a deliberate attempt to mislead). The basis for this fetishization of private property is the assumption that all rights are based on private property ownership. This assumption acts as a smokescreen to mask monopolies of political and economic power. Under this system, a citizen is coerced into playing by certain “rules” created by economic and political elites. One either becomes a marketable labor commodity, or one risks sinking into penury.
A new Cascadian state should create an economy based on local human relationships, not on the abstractions of economic theory. Small businesses, worker owned co-ops and employee stock ownership come to mind. However, most importantly, a Cascadian economy must be local. Human and natural resources should remain in Cascadia for the benefit of Cascadians.
Cascadian citizens are fortunate. We live in a geographically defined bioregion that allows for the production of energy through 100% renewable resources such as solar and hydroelectric. Cascadian soil is excellent and allows for agricultural independence. Cascadia has an educated population that will facilitate the creation of an educational system centered around local concerns, not dictated by a remote federal education department.
An independent and free Cascadia will create an economy largely removed from the vicissitudes of international capital. It will foster the development of true human relationships based on love, respect, concern, and a mutual understanding of the common good. Without the imposition of malevolent foreign values on our society, Cascadians will be truly free.
Matthew Choicej is a Cascadian writing from the southern portion of the Salish Sea. He enjoys Marxism, process theology, and working to establish a free, independent and joyful Cascadia!