Lysander Spooner was an abolitionist. He was also one of the great American anarchists whose legacy remains so toweringly influential that capitalists and socialists alike routinely bitch each other out on message boards over which tribe of wonks lays claim to his allegiance. But above all else, Lysander Spooner was an abolitionist and a militant one at that. Few white men in nineteenth-century America were more committed to annihilating that grotesque institution known as slavery than Mr. Spooner.
He was a brilliant and fearlessly radical lawyer who would have given William Kunstler a run for his money when it came to turning the courtroom into a revolutionary battlefield. He used the arsenal of his legal expertise like an insurgent, publishing pamphlets for escaped slaves on how to break the system with tactics like jury nullification and offering his services directly to fugitives who couldn’t read them free of charge.
Lysander Spooner also put his rifle where his mouth was, backing up his bombastic legal activism with direct action. He was a close friend of the great John Brown and actively conspired with the most notorious abolitionist revolutionary in American history to promote violent insurrection in the Antebellum South. Even after Brown was locked up for leading his brazenly quixotic uprising in Harper’s Ferry, Spooner participated in an aborted plot to liberate his doomed comrade from the gallows.
Lysander Spooner was a fucking abolitionist alright. He was a freedom fighter with fangs who wasn’t afraid to bite. He was also an equally ferocious opponent of the Civil War. This may sound like a contradiction to some but to Spooner the right to secession, even for an institution he committed his life and safety to violently smashing to bits, was a pivotal manifestation of a government-by-consent that originated from the same wellspring of natural rights which also afforded slaves their right to liberty. Neither of these rights could be broken without declaring war on God herself.
Lysander Spooner also understood that these rights and all rights for that matter could never be granted by violent authoritarian institutions like the Union, who sought only to usurp agrarian chattel slavery to replace it with their own superior industrial slavery of wages. Real rights were those that could only be achieved through the direct democracy of popular self-determination. In no document does Spooner make this fact clearer than he does in his incendiary manifesto “Plan for Abolition of Slavery” in which he calls for nothing short of guerrilla warfare against all slaveholders by a stateless front of Black slaves and landless southern rednecks with nothing but aid and solidarity from northern abolitionists. Needless to say, many northern academics didn’t like being cut out of the excitement of playing the white savior to the darker sheep in their flock.
But what Lysander Spooner’s more condescending northern white critics couldn’t seem to grasp was that he only opposed “liberating slaves” because he knew that slaves would never be truly free until they liberated themselves and that their right to secede from any union was a necessary component of this liberation. It was a radically iconoclastic position for any century, and it was one that spoke very deeply to me as a young genderqueer Marxist raised on similar ideas propagated by modern-day revolutionaries like Frantz Fanon and Che Guevara. But it was Lysander Spooner’s school of hands-on abolition that made this libertarian socialist a secessionist and this is why I am not ashamed to support and encourage the right for the self-proclaimed Republic of Texas to secede from these United States of Hysteria.
At the latest biennial convention of the ruling Republican Party of Texas, those unhinged psychopaths approved an equally unhinged and psychopathic platform. A platform that obnoxiously declares Joe Biden to be an illegitimately elected president and homosexuality to be an abnormal lifestyle choice amongst other hysterics. Most of this fascistic little temper tantrum is nothing new. The platform of the Texas GOP has long been a veritable casserole of juvenile shock tactics designed to turn on their notoriously reactionary base by appalling mommy and daddy back in Washington.
It’s fucking theater, people. The Rocky Horror Picture Show for closeted fag-bashers in ten-gallon-hats. And idle threats of secession have long been a part of the act. But this year, all hopped up on Trumptosterone, Dr. Frank-N-Furter decided to kick it up a notch by actually calling for a statewide referendum to be held on Texas Independence in 2023, thus officially making this year’s platform the first time any state’s ruling party has formally endorsed a referendum on secession since 1861. As a post-Marxist Spoonerite, I say we call these whack-jobs on their bluff, and not just because I believe secession to be an inalienable civil right. Much like Lysander, I’ve got other weapons up my sleeve for Texas.
I fully support a 2023 Texit for the same twisted strategic reasons that I fully supported a 2016 Brexit. The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union was similarly led by a ghastly cabal of openly racist brats and many if not most Brits who voted Yes on that referendum voted as an act of blatant xenophobia. But none of those unpleasant facts changes the equally unpleasant fact that the European Union and the United Kingdom are both equally despotic imperial institutions, and no one can deny in the light 2022 that Brexit quite successfully made both of those foul collaborations significantly weaker through the precedent-shattering decentralization of their institutional powers. Afterall, why do think NATO hated the idea so damn much?
Brexit also had the unintended but very predictable side effect of making long illegally occupied Celtic territories like Scotland, Wales and Ireland stronger. Speaking as an unbowed bastard daughter of James Connolly and the Saint Patrick Battalion whose ancestors only came to this wicked country to flee Royal genocide, this is precisely what I was hoping for back in 2016. Scotland’s pro-independence majority in parliament is now calling for their own referendum in 2023 with considerably more popular support than they had for the last one in 2014 and the long-overlooked Welsh independence campaign, Yes Cymru, has seen their membership explode from 2,000 to 17,000 between 2020 and 2021 alone.
But perhaps most gloriously of all, on the same year as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the former Provos in Sinn Fein won a majority in Northern Ireland’s parliament on a campaign devoted almost entirely to the reunification of my divided ancestral homeland. Meanwhile, the party’s popularity only continues to swell south of the border as well. Nigel Farage may be a snaggle-toothed Islamophobic twat, but I gleefully tip my bonnet to that son of three bastards for achieving in just eight short years what the IRA failed to do for over a century. To quote my fellow Queer Mick, Morrissey, London is dead, London is dead, London is dead, now I’m too much in love, I’m too much in love…
And what is Texas but gringo for Aztlan. In many ways Texas is America’s Ulster, a white supremacist colony founded by slave owners, for slave owners. A land ruthlessly mugged from good hardworking Catholic peasants considered subhuman by their Protestant abusers. Texas only declared independence when Mexico abolished slavery, triggering the Mexican American War in which Irish renegades like Juan Riley killed racist cowards like Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett like the neutered dogs they were. I’ll join Ozzy Osbourne in pissing on the Alamo any day of the fucking week, but Texas didn’t remain independent for a reason. Those gringos couldn’t hold their own against the people they colonized, so they called in Uncle Sam for backup.
Let’s see those bastards fight off the Jungian Reconquista without the taxpayer charity of federal gestapo like ICE and the Border Patrol. Let’s see them try to enforce their borderland apartheid state in a country whose economic growth is completely dependent on a Hispanic population that is now virtually equal to that of the colonists and growing at a speed of eleven brown people for every additional Frisco hipster. And as a student of Lysander Spooner, what kind of abolitionist would I be if I didn’t offer my ancestor’s comrades an Armalite or two? Not that I’ll need to in the gun show capitol of the known universe.
But this doesn’t have to be a bloodbath. Like I said, secession is a civil right and civil rights are for assholes too. If Texans truly support this right like I do, then it is my solemn hope that they won’t just respect the right for Texas to secede from America but the right for Chicano city states to secede from Texas and the right for hillbilly gayborhoods to secede from Chicano city states. This is the panarchist dream, what Karl Hess once poetically described as “a world of neighborhoods in which all social organizations are voluntary.”
When secession is truly recognized for the natural right that it is, borders will evaporate, the state will crumble, and nations will become as fluid and decentralized as the indigenous tribes who once roamed the rolling hills of Texas. But even if all else fails, I will still support Texas Independence with all the same fire with which I support the Chicano Movement and for all the same damn reason too, because Lysander Spooner was a fucking abolitionist and so am I.
Si, se puede, dearest motherfuckers. See you on the other side of that shrinking border. I’ll be the weird Irish bitch in platform boots with a five o’clock shadow and a daisy in my AR-18.