there are so many of us

The end result of colonialism is well summed up in the phrase:  “you do not exist,” which is the title of a recent article over at Bella Caledonia about the Scottish YES campaign.

Isn’t that what the colonizer says?  “We are the real people and you are not.”

Another line caught my attention from a “study” that found the Scottish people don’t really exist:

“Clearly it is in the interest of the SNP leadership to conduct the argument for independence on the premise that there is a single Scottish identity. No separatist movement has achieved its aims by highlighting the internal diversity of a would-be independent territory.

Scotland is uniform neither in terms of its ancestry, history and culture; that its electorate, just like that of the rest of the UK, is an amalgam of people of diverse origins who, despite the similarity of their physical appearance, derive from distinctly different cultural backgrounds; and that these differences may have a significant influence on people’s support for the concept of an independent Scotland.”



No separatist movement has achieved its aims by highlighting the internal diversity of a would-be independent territory.

What?  So Nationalism is the only pill that works, and Nationalism is false, so don’t even try.

From a Cascadian perspective, “highlighting the internal diversity of a would-be independent territory” is the perfect description of what we are trying to do here.  People from all four directions, many or most of whom belong to some dissident persuasion (religious or political), living together in a place, integral to itself.

No doubt Irish Republicanism had/has an advantage over the Scots because we  have our own island.  For all of our divisions, at least the geographical division is black-and-white for all the world to see.  The Atlantic was enough of a divide to create “America.”  And the Continental Divide is enough to separate us Cascadians from the rest of a continent.  Salmon do not swim over the Rockies.

OK.  But what I really want to do is question the ‘it has never happened so it will never happen’ mentality, apart from being leery about the historical veracity of such a statement.

I firmly believe that a diversity of people finding common ground and common cause is more powerful than ethnic Nationalism, and I am interested in the kind of common ground that is NOT Nationalism.  (a common language is most powerful, in my opinion, but this does not imply ethnic unity!) For a bioregionalist, this common ground is the real ground: the place itself.  And I suppose the Lowland/Highland divide (interestingly geographical and historical) is one impediment against Scottish independence.

But does this really mean that it is hopeless to highlight diversity as a strength?

True, there MUST me unifying factors.  There must be a “self” in the struggle for self-determination.  But I’ll be damned if ‘ethnic unity’ is the only legitimate grounds for self-determination.  Actually….EEF#&! THAT!

This is perhaps the question any modern independentista & autonomista must come to terms with.  How do we separate without separatism? How do we actively cultivate strength in diversity?

If we only share the colonizer’s tongue and are divided by colonially imposed class divisions, is there really no ground to stand on?

Well, if you can feel the sand between your toes….there is.  Because I want to read this news headline one day:

The Cascadian Bioregional movement has achieved its aims by highlighting the internal diversity of a now independent territory.




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