I think we can all agree that the White House secession petitions are mostly not serious, and most of the hyperventilating responses are a chance for the left to continue glossing those crazies with conservatives writ large and for the right to get their dander up and engage in some ritual denunciation. Nonetheless, as Goldman points out, secession historically has taken many different forms. As Texas apparently wants out of the Union, so El Paso wants out of Texas. Scotland, Croatia, Biafra, the list of decentralist movements, successful and less-so, goes on and on. And I’ll keep cheering for Cascadia even if no one else is (dream big, guys). Here’s a playlist of encouragement for those who still cling to that reactionary, atavistic notion of meaningful self-government.
10. Hiss Golden Messenger — A Working Man Can’t Make it No Way
On the first few listens, I thought 2012’s “Poor Moon” was a pretty anodyne pop-country album, but it’s grown on me, it might be one of my favorites all year. This is a particularly despairing cut, in which the game is even rigged in heaven; “Through those pearly locks / well, they’ve got ’em breaking rocks / I guess a working man can’t make it no way.”
9. Porter Robinson — The State
Otherwise known as the “libertarian dubstep guy.” This song samples, of all things, a Murray Rothbard speech.
8. Burning Spear — Marcus Garvey
The seminal reggae band’s celebration of the black nationalist leader sounds more like a warning than a tribute.
7. Galaxie 500 — Leave the Planet
Whatever they’re talking about, you get the sense it’s not NASA…
6. Bob Dylan — Union Sundown
Dylan channels Pat Buchanan: “Well, it’s sundown on the union / And what’s made in the U.S.A / Sure was a good idea / Till greed got in the way // Democracy don’t rule the world / You’d better get that in your head / This world is ruled by violence / But I guess that’s better left unsaid” (Off “Infidels,” 1983)
5. Roger Scruton — Lorca Songs
Scruton’s setting of several poems by Federico Garcia Lorca, a poet and playwright murdered by the nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Check out his articles for TAC about green conservatism and the dangers of democracy.
4. Fela Kuti — Zombie
Kuti declared independence from Nigeria for his Kalakuta Republic, which was subsequently invaded, largely thanks to the commercial success of this song. Indicting the just-following-orders mentality of the Nigerian military and militaries in general, he sings, “zombie no go walk unless you tell ‘am to walk.”
3. Mes Aïeux — Dégénération
Thanks to @SedLibera for sending along this choice cut of reactionary Québécois folk-rock.
2. Negu Gorriak — Radio Rahim
Ever wondered what rap in Euskara sounds like? Here’s your answer. This fascinating band fused hip-hop, hard guitar work, and radical Basque nationalism. The title is a reference to the main character in Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” which came out a year prior.
1. Secession — Love Lies Bleeding
A memorable track off the forgotten Scottish synthpop band’s 1987 debut album “A Dark Enchantment.”
Did I miss anything? An obscure Tibetan pop song or Flemish separatist ballad? Leave ’em in the comments.