Why Secession is Legal

I’ve finished the first draft of my essay arguing secession is not unconstitutional. I wanted to see if there are any libertarianism-friendly people (especially with a legal background) who could help me improve the arguments, structure, etc. If you’re interested email me at ssabhlok@mises.com Please don’t cite or circulate, as it’s a work in progress.

19 thoughts on “Why Secession is Legal

  1. What do you mean ‘not unconstitutional’? I don’t think it’s very meaningful if a state happens to have a technical loophole that allows secession; it will not be allowed.

  2. I’m sorry. As much as I admire the effort, That great constitutional scholar U.S. Grant won that argument in the 1860s.

  3. Care to elaborate Servius, maybe provide a source? I am very interested in reading Sukrit’s essay.

    Secession is a political war. If there are constitutional measures for secession, it increases the political power of separatist regions and makes it that much harder for the government to oppose them.

  4. Hahahaha. Missed the fact that there wasn’t an Australian constitution in 1860. Servius we’re talking about Australia here, and I suspect that there is a critical shortage of this kind of information in this country.

  5. And wasn’t Grant one of the Union Generals? Are you talking about the American Civil War? Why would that be relevant to Australian history, Servius?

  6. Put it online Sukrit. The answer in the affirmative is simply assumed. Where is the actual legal authorty for that?

  7. When I did my law degree, my lecturer in constitutional law (Tony Blackshield) was under no doubt that secession would be legal. I suggest you read his book to refine your essay and stop posturing on this blog.

  8. Sukrit, I usually don’t comment on your posts, but I find on this occasion that you are sufficiently irritating to force me to do so.

    No real libertarian, (and that includes the other 25 in this country,) would be pissing about wringing his hands over whether the state would grant them the right to withdraw from its clutches. A real libertarian sees the individual as the paramount element within society.

    Anything other than having the right to secede reverses this reality. Our rights are not granted by the state, the reverse is the case.

    Get real.

  9. Jim, get real yourself! Our rights SHOULD be independent of the state, but I still have to pay taxes, just like you do! I still pay council rates! Libertarianism is an ideal, not yet realised in Australia. One day, our rights will be reflected in the political structures around us, and we should work towards this, but we are not there yet! And if Sukrit can make a legal case for our position, it will make it easier for the state to change, and harder to hang on to the current set-up.

  10. Aw Hell Nuke, you’ve gone all serious on me. Its not often I see you say something that makes sense šŸ™‚

    Still, its an improvement to find the comment still there and myself not banned, at least not yet.

    There appear to be a number of cases where people have seceded, and if he is serious perhaps he should try to contact them and find out if the secession is real and the processes involved if this is really the case.

    In reality it is unlikely that it can happen except my mutual agreement by the state and the secessing region, as it seems that the world does not even recognise the right of regions of failed states to do so, like Somaliland.

    Think back to when we refused to recognise Cambodia because the ‘lawful ruler’ Pol Pot had been tossed out which we as a nation considered illegal. Ah, the joys of being part of the glorious state. šŸ™‚

  11. Thanks, Jim. Let’s not let a temporary annoyance of some articles by sukrit mar the fact this could be his major useful contribution to Australian libertarianism. Perhaps the day will even come when we’ll be happy to say, “I knew Sukrit before he became famous! He blackballed me from all his articles!” You never know!

  12. I think you should ask Hutt river principality how they did it. I’m not sure if they are independent, but they think they are. That might only have applied to Western Australia, of course- still, it’s a start!

  13. Its not illegal, As the WA showed in 1930’s. The fact was that the commonwealth has to ask the imperial parliament shows this. thus a state can only withdraw if the others agree. it cannot unilaterally withdraw from the commonwealth. However, that principal is questionable as of 1942 because of the legislative changes that were implemented from the different commonwealth agreements in the mid 1930s (we didn’t legislate this in 1936 which influenced the legal opinions from the WA succesion movement but did during the war for military reasons.) Its a tough ask, and i think your probably on the losing side of it. Did you refer to Thomas Musgraves journal article on the issue. Its probably now the leading voice on the issue, referenced in all the constitutional text books.

  14. Is this what you’re referring to?

    Musgrave, T. D. (2003). Western Australian Secessionist Movement. Macquarie Law Journal, 3 95-128.

    “This article examines the growth of the secessionist movement in Western Australia, which culminated in the referendum of 1933 and the presentation of a petition to secede by the government of Western Australia to the British Parliament. The attempt by Western Australia to secede from the Australian Federation remains important today because it illustrates the problem which perennially arises with regard to secession in democratic federations. This problem involves the two defining elements of a democratic federation, viz. the democratic process and the federal structure. There are two competing alternatives in such situations. On the one hand, there is the view that the expressed will to secede of a majority of the electorate with a constituent part of a federation should be given effect, by virtue of the legitimising force of the democratic process. On the other hand, there is the view that such decisions represent only the expressed will of a minority, by virtue of that electorate being considered in relation to the entire population of the existing federal structure. The attempted secession of Western Australia, and the response of the Joint Select Committee of the British Parliament, shows how this problem was dealt with in the context of the Australian Constitution.”

    I’m not a lawyer so can you summarise the point of the research to me?

  15. I suspect that in the real world, what will matter will be having the arms and weapons to keep any independence that you claim. Anyone got millions of rifles and bullets?

  16. When I did my law degree, my lecturer in constitutional law (Tony Blackshield) was under no doubt that secession would be legal.

    Do you have a reference to his written work specifically relating to secession?

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