California Independence

A brief histoy of the Californian Independence Movement

The Californian independence movement predates the American conquest. In fact, the California Legislature declared independence from Mexico in 1836.  In 1838, Governor Alvarado, worried about American aggression, negotiated a deal by which Mexico would recognize California as an autonomous and self-governing “free and sovereign State” with a voluntary and federal relationship with Mexico.   It was essentially a defensive treaty. Mexico tried to violate this treaty in 1844 and impose a Mexican Governor on California, but he was chased out of the country at gunpoint and Pio Pico was elected governor instead. When war came, Mexico did not hold up their end of the bargain, failing to make any meaningful effort to help the Californios defend themselves, and then surrendered our country without our consent even though they explicitly did not have the right to do so. 

In other words, the United States did not “steal California from Mexico,” as many American liberals have put it, America stole California from Californians and the entire process was completely illegal, even if one accepts the dubious legality of the treaty Mexico signed at gunpoint. From a legal and historical perspective, California is a conquered nation – a colony.

California is also a nation in biological terms and is biologically distinct from the rest of North America – 60% of our native species grow nowhere else. Our unique climate and natural borders – from the mountains to the Pacific – have shaped an utterly unique set of ecosystems. In geographic and biological terms, California has been distinct from the rest of North America for thousands of years – far longer than the US has existed.  That biological distinctiveness is under direct threat by ongoing environmental colonization and the reckless destruction of our ecosystem and introduction of non-native species. From 98% of our redwoods being clearcut to rivers emptied of salmon to the introduction of non-native grasses that fuel wildfires and the more recent decimation of our kelp forests; being part of the United States has been catastrophic for wild California.

It has also been a catastrophe for native Californians and Californians of color. Under pre-conquest Californian law, african, indigenous, and mixed race people were allowed to own property and hold government office – while their contemporaries in America were still being held in chattel slavery.  Under the afro-indigenous Pio Pico – the last person of color to be Governor of California and the last Governor before the American conquest – California actually seized the Missions from the Catholic church and had begun redistributing the lands. While many thousands of acres were given to wealthy Californio families in return for their support against the church, many thousands more were returned to native people in one of the biggest land back efforts in north American history. 

When the Americans conquered California they gave the Missions back to the Catholic church in return for the church agreeing to preach passivity and urge people not to revolt against the new conquerors. They immediately began waging a war of extermination against native Californians that put even the brutality of the Spanish Missions to shame. Black and mixed race people were completely disenfranchised, and slavery – though technically illegal – was widely tolerated. The gold rush accelerated all of this and led to genocide and scalp bounties all over California. America brought death and misery on a scale never before seen in California. The Spanish had been monstrous, but the Americans put them to shame.

Californians of all stripes – including a surprising number of the new American immigrants – saw rule from Washington 3000 miles away for the terrible idea that it was. It was the influence of the pro-independence faction that combined the red star of the Alvarado rebellion with the grizzly of the Bear flag revolt and the words “California Republic” as our new State flag – a vivid symbol at the time of the lingering desire for independence. In fact, armed resistance to American rule continued right up to the Civil War and the Americans had to keep California under military occupation through the entire war to prevent a second breakaway Republic in the west – while they used gold looted from California to finance their war.

Even today, California is politically distinct from the rest of the US, to the degree that conservatives all over the US talk about “California values” and mean degeneracy while openly salivating at the chance to use the federal government to force us into line. California is systematically under-represented in the federal government with 1/72nd the representation in the Senate per person that Wyoming gets . As a result, we pay tens of billions of dollars more in federal taxes every year than we get back. If California were fairly represented, Donald Trump would have never been President and DeSantis would have no chance of ever becoming president in the future.

The word for a conquered nation that is looted to finance the conqueror and systematically deprived of fair representation is “colony.” California became a colony on the day that the American military brutally and illegally took control of our country and it remains a colony today.

Though most of the facts discussed here are not widely known because of the education system put in place by the colonizer which paints a rather different and altogether false picture of our history, many Californians intuitively understand our position vis a vis the American federal government that has never, will never, and can never represent us.  By the most recent polling, more than a third of Californians would vote for independence tomorrow. 58% believe we’d be better off independent, but most don’t believe America will ever let us go.

We are a colony. A captive nation held against our will by the history and threat of violence. This situation cannot and must not last forever. California must be set free.