Heard of the Free State Project in New Hampshire? You might be interested in Bloomberg Businessweek‘s recent article about other efforts to upend politics as usual through the formation of breakaway states.
Something strange is happening to state government. Fed up with what they see as liberal overreaching, small groups of rural, largely conservative activists have decided they’re done trying to effect political change through the usual channels of votes and bills and the seemingly endless churn of election cycles. They’re plotting something drastic: They’re going to shutdow—wait, sorry. Wrong legislative impasse. What I meant to say is: They’re going to form their own states.
“It’ll be North Colorado. Or maybe New Colorado,” says Jeffrey Hare, founder of the so-called 51st State Initiative and a resident of Weld County, currently in the northern part of regular Colorado. In November, residents of Weld and 10 other counties will vote to determine if residents are interested in seceding from the state. Hare says he knows he’s fighting an uphill battle and that forming a new state is much more complicated than just redrawing a few borders. New (or North) Colorado would have to come up with a school system, maintain its own roads, and collect taxes—the latter a tricky prospect for a state conceived by Tea Partiers. But Hare is so sick of “those people in Boulder,” as he calls them, that he’s willing to take a stab at it.
He’s not alone. Northern Californians are trying to assemble the new state of Jefferson—again. (They tried in 1941, going so far as to inaugurate a governor.) Last year, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula briefly considered independence from the downstate mitten. And in Maryland, a man named Scott Strzelczyk is leading a movement to allow the five westernmost, Republican-leaning counties to separate from the rest of the state. “Here at the state level, we’re controlled by a single party—Democrats—and we feel we have no other recourse,” he says. “We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. We want to be our own state.”