Michael Hart, American Renaissance, May 1996
In the course of talking about partition of the United States, I will often be using the words “nation” and “state,” so perhaps I should define them right now. The word “nation” refers to ethnicity. One dictionary defines a a nation as: “a body of people marked off by common descent, language, culture, or historical tradition.” By contrast, the word state denotes a sovereign, independent country. I will use the words “country” and “state” interchangeably. Here are some examples:
- The Norwegians are a nation, and they have their own state, Norway.
- The Kurds are a nation, but they do not have their own independent state.
- Rwanda, in Africa, is a state containing two national groups, the Hutu and the Tusi.
- India, Nigeria, the former Soviet Union, and the former Yugoslavia are or were multinational states.
Now what should be the relationship between nations and states? Most people accept, at least in theory, the principle of self-determination, the idea that each nation or people should be allowed to choose its government, and in particular should be allowed to have its own independent country or state if desired. The principle of self-determination is closely related to the notion of democracy. Both are special cases of the general principle that, “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” which is perhaps the central notion of our Declaration of Independence.
Aside from the principle involved, there is the pragmatic consideration that most binational and multinational states do not work very well, but are beset by endless ethnic strife, often quite bloody. For example:
- In Yugoslavia over the last few years, at least 300,000 people have died in fighting between Serbs, Croats, and Bosnian Muslims.
- In Rwanda, during the past three years, more than 500,000 people were massacred in Hutu-Tutsi strife.
- In Turkey, in 1915, about 1,000,000 Armenians were massacred.
- A few years ago the Soviet Union — perhaps the largest and strongest multinational state in all of history — fell apart completely.
- Canada, which has a much less violent history than ours, is nevertheless close to breakup.
- The case of Cyprus is instructive: For years, there was constant fighting there between Turks and Greeks. Then, in 1974, Cyprus was invaded by Turkey, which partitioned the country into two separate states, with a more-or-less forcible exchange of populations. It was a drastic solution, but it end the killing.
Among the many other examples of multinational states that have undergone bloody ethnic strife, I might mention India, Iraq, and Indonesia.
Why do I mention the sorry history of those multinational states? Because American blacks constitute a separate nation, which means that we ourselves are living in a multinational state. That statement may sound controversial, but the easiest way to see that it is correct is to go back to the definition of a nation. American blacks are a body of people with a common language, common descent, and a common historical tradition.
Their common language is English, which they often speak with a distinctive accent. Indeed, many of them employ a distinctive dialect call “Black English.” As for common descent, they often refer to themselves as “brothers,” or as “Afro-Americans,” or “African-Americans.” Indeed, they all do have African ancestors, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, and specifically from West Africa.
Their common historical tradition is widely shared and deeply felt. Virtually all American blacks are familiar with the story that: (a) Their ancestors were forcibly brought to this country, where they were enslaved for centuries. (b) They were freed by the Civil War, but then suffered a century of terrible oppression under Jim Crow laws; and (c) Led by their national hero, Martin Luther King, there was a struggle for liberation in the 1960s, a struggle which was partly but completely successful. It is worth noting that, although every nation has a historical tradition, few nations have a tradition that is as universally known and as emotionally powerful as this one.
Aside from the definition, there are many other ways in which American blacks behave as if they comprise a separate national group. Here are just a few:
- Frequent demands for racial preferences in hiring, promotions, college admissions, etc.
- Self-segregation on campuses, including requests for separate dormitories.
- Formation of specifically black subgroups with most large organizations, including the American Bar Association, the American Anthropological Association, the American Museum Association, and many others.
- Extreme bloc voting: It is common for more than 90 percent of blacks to vote for the same candidate in an election.
- A separate black holiday, Kwanzaa, which was invented primarily to emphasize black separateness.
- There is an (unofficial) black national anthem, “Life Every Voice and Sing.”
- There is also an unofficial black national flag.
- Many all-black private schools use a black nationalist, even separatist curriculum. For example, in one such school, instead of reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance,” the children recite a “Pledge to African People.” At another (the Shule Mandela Academy in East Palo Alto, California), the students pledge each morning to “think black, act black, speak black, buy black, pray black, love black, and live black.”
In addition, there is a long history of black support for movements that are explicitly separatist. For example:
- In the 1920s, Marcus Garvey, who proposed to lead American blacks back to Africa, had a few hundred thousand followers.
- Elijah Muhammad had many followers during his 40-year reign as head of the Black Muslims.
- And, today, Louis Farrakhan has an even larger following.
Of course, many blacks have always been loyal to the United States. Many served bravely in World War II and in other wars; many have white friends; many would like to live in an integrated society; and many feel genuine loyalty to the United States.
But, overall, even those blacks who are most loyal to the United States feel a strong identification as blacks, and have divided loyalties. Some of them identity more as Americans than as blacks; but a larger number identify more as blacks than as Americans. Of course, many blacks do not have divided loyalties, because they feel no loyalty at all to the United States! In fact, quite a few are outspokenly hostile to the United States and to the majority of its population.
The attitude of blacks to black criminals is very revealing. Many black jurors are reluctant to convict other blacks, especially if the victim is white. The most celebrated instance of this, of course, was the O.J. Simpson case: In some criminal trials the evidence is murky, but not in this one. Nevertheless, polls consistently showed that a large majority of blacks considered him not guilty, and a largely black jury acquitted him without much deliberation.
In the aftermath of the Simpson case, many whites have referred to U.S. blacks as a separate nation. For example:
- Robert Novak, a conservative columnist, wrote: “But in private, the politicians I contacted universally agreed that . . . the Not Guilty verdict points up the nation’s deepest internal problem: We are two countries, not divided between rich and poor (as Mario Cuomo has said), but between black and white.”
- Richard Cohen, who is an outspoken liberal Democrat, wrote: “We are two nations — one black, one white. Yesterday, one celebrated Simpson’s acquittal, the other did not.” It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this is true, and that the United States of America is indeed a multinational state.
Two Inadequate Solutions
What can be done to deal with these racial tensions? Aside from partition, there are two other plans that are often suggested. The first is usually proposed by liberal Democrats. They suggest that whites should be more strongly urged to abandon their racist attitudes, and that we need stronger civil rights laws and stronger enforcement of existing laws.
A major problem with this plan is that most American whites think that our civil rights laws have already gone too far, and they are strongly opposed to pushing reverse discrimination even further. Furthermore, even if that program were adopted, it would be ineffective. After all, a combination of civil rights laws, affirmative action programs, and endless exhortation of whites to be “less racist” has been our policy for the last 30 years, and it has obviously failed to solve our racial problems.
The other plan is quite different. It consists of the suggestion that the country should revoke its present system of “reverse discrimination” (i.e., racial preferences, quotas, and set-asides), and should instead adopt a color-blind policy. This plan seems much fairer; but even if it were adopted it would not work because of the intense resentment it would cause among blacks. After all, blacks are already bitterly resentful that they are “underrepresented” in colleges, in skilled occupations, and in high-paying jobs. If the present system of quotas were abandoned, blacks would hold many fewer of those jobs than they do now. This would make them even more resentful, and would result in increased black-on-white crime, including an endless series of race riots. A thorough removal of quotas is therefore unlikely.
It therefore appears that neither of those two plans can work; and in fact, it seems unlikely that any policy less drastic than partition can solve our racial problems. One strong reason for accepting this melancholy and admittedly radical conclusion is that the extensive reforms we have made during the past 40 years have not come close to solving the problems. Indeed, since 1968 the situation has obviously deteriorated. Despite the elimination of all discriminatory laws against blacks, plus the adoption of numerous laws that give them preferences, American blacks are more angry today than they were in 1968.
Back in 1968, Malcolm X was a fringe figure, with little support. Today, Louis Farrakhan has lots of support; in fact, his “Million-Man March” in 1995 drew far more blacks than even the largest rally ever organized by Martin Luther King. Extreme anti-white rhetoric is far more prevalent today than it was 30 years ago, as is direct black-on-white violence.
Nor does the history of other multinational states provide reason for optimism. Quite the reverse: History shows that other countries that have tried to preserve unity by making large concessions to minority groups have failed to placate them. For example, in Canada, the numerous concessions made to the French-speaking minority have failed to mollify them. The French Canadians were never slaves, never had to live under “Jim Crow” laws, and have had full legal equality for well over a century. Nevertheless, in a recent vote in Quebec, 49 percent of the voters — and a clear majority of the French-speaking inhabitants — voted in favor of full independence for Quebec.
Another example: For most of the nineteenth century Norway and Sweden were ruled by the same king. The two nations are similar in race, language, and religion; indeed most outsiders can’t even tell the difference between Norwegians and Swedes! The Norwegians were not persecuted in any way, and they had their own separate parliament and virtually complete autonomy. Still, they were not satisfied, and in 1905 declared their complete independence. Fortunately, the Swedish government was wise enough not to try to maintain unity by force.
In view of the foregoing, it seems plain that many American blacks will not be satisfied by anything less than their own independent country. Furthermore, perpetuation of the present binational state is harmful to the interests of American whites. It has caused an erosion of our traditional liberties:
- By the widespread use of racial preferences in hiring, promotions, college admissions, etc.; and also
- By restrictions on our freedom of speech (by means of “speech codes” on college campuses, for example).
In addition, we are victimized by high welfare costs, by high taxes, and by sky-high crime rates. (There problems are always worse in those parts of the country with large populations of blacks.) Therefore, fanciful as it may now seem to most Americans, partition of the United States is necessary. However, there is a better plan than dividing the United States into two countries.
I propose that the United States should be divided into three separate countries: (1) an independent black state; (2) an independent non-black state; and (3) an integrated state.
Let me refer to the independent black state as the “Black Separatist State,” or BSS, for short. The Black Separatist State would include only those blacks who chose to become citizens of that country. It would be a fully independent country, carved our of the present territory of the United States. The size of the Black Separatist State (in property value, not in area) would be proportional to the number of people who chose to live there. Let me stress again that no blacks would be forced to live the BSS: Citizenship in the BSS would be an option that individual blacks could choose or reject.
Let’s call the independent non-black state the “White Separatist State,” or WSS (although it might include some Asians and others). Like the BSS, the White Separatist State would include only those individuals who chose to become citizens. It would be a fully independent country, carved out of the present territory of the United States. The size of the WSS (in value, not in area) would be proportional to the number of people who originally chose to live there. Again, I wish to stress that citizenship in the WSS would be an option; nobody would be forced to live there.
The third country, the integrated state, would be a continuation of the present United States of America, but with a reduced area. All American citizens who did not explicitly choose to become citizens of the BSS or WSS would remain members of the integrated USA. Therefore, just after the partition, the tangible wealth of the integrated USA would be proportional to the number of people who chose to remain its citizens.
Advantages of Three-Way Partition
Although a three-way partition is more complicated than a two-way plan, it has three great advantages:
- It is more fair;
- It is more advantageous for the separatists than a two-way partition; and
- It would be easier to get approved.
As for fairness, it is plain that partition is fairer to black separatists than the present system is. Many American blacks now feel aggrieved that they do not have their own country. They know that blacks living here today are a minority — probably a permanent minority — and they therefore feel that they cannot control their own destiny. And they are right! Black Americans are one of the largest national groups in the whole world who do not have their own independent country.
Partition is also fairer to white separatists than the present system. Many whites feel that their country is being taken away from them.
- They are losing their rights.
- They are losing their personal safety.
- Their traditions are no longer respected and protected.
- And, worst of all, if there is no change in immigration policy we will soon be a permanent minority in what used to be our country. We there fore quite naturally want to preserve a separate country for ourselves.
Now either a two-way partition of the United States or a three-way division would satisfy most separatists. However, a three-way division is fairer to integrationists than any two-way plan could possibly be. Many whites really want to live in an integrated society. They would be horrified at the prospect of living in a white separatist state, which they would regard as “fascist.” A two-way partition plan would be unfair to them. It would also be unfair to those blacks who really want integration and do not want to live in a country dominated by Louis Farrakhan or any similar leader.
We don’t want integrationists to prevent us from choosing to live in a separate white state. In fairness, then, we should not deprive them of their choice to live in a racially integrated state, no matter how foolish we think their choice may be. At present, integrationists are imposing their notion of fairness on everyone else, but why should their desires be given preference to those of black separatists? Or of white separatists? In a two-way partition, separatists would be forcing their way on integrationists, but in a three-way partition, everyone gets to live in the country of his choice.
The second important reason why we should prefer a three-way partition plan is that white separatists would be much better off in a three-way split than we would be if the United sTates were divided into only two countries, one white and one black. If there were only two countries, the white state would necessarily start off with a large, disgruntled, embittered minority, consisting of those whites who were opposed to partition, which would cause tremendous internal problems. Remember: Those who favor partition are in the minority right now, and no partition plan can be implemented until a majority of the American public is willing to accept it. We must therefore be willing to delay partition for 20 or 30 years while we gain more public support for the idea. Therefore, at the time partition were adopted — shortly after the proposal gained majority support — only 55 or 60 percent of the public would support it.
Under those circumstances, if the country is partitioned into two states, the white state will start off bitterly divided into two factions, which is a recipe for disaster, especially since one of those factions would be opposed to the very existence of that state. However, in a three-way division, the White Separatist State would start off with a population that is basically united on racial attitudes and on the desirability of partition, which would greatly increase its chances of functioning successfully.
There is another reason why whites would be better off with a three-way split: In a three-way partition, the white state is likely to end up with the lion’s share of the most productive citizens. This would happen because everyone would expect the White Separatist State to have a basically conservative government. Therefore, most whites who favor the policies of the “liberal Democrats” (i.e., a generous welfare policy, “big government,” and high taxes), would probably choose to remain citizens of the integrated state. Similarly, most people would expect the integrated state to be dominated by liberal Democrats. Therefore, most whites who favor “conservative” policies (such as as reduced welfare, “small government,” and lower taxes) would probably choose to live in the White Separatist State.
People’s expectations in this regard would probably become self-fulfilling. With more conservatives than liberals choosing the white state, those who remained behind in the integrated state would include a disproportionate number of liberals and welfare recipients. And with most liberals choosing the integrated state, the White Separatist State would indeed have a relatively conservative government, and would attract many entrepreneurs, professionals, skilled workers, and other highly productive citizens. As a result, over a 30- to 50-year time span the integrated United States would probably become an advanced “welfare state,” like Sweden, and stagnate economically, whereas the white state would become a comparatively “laissez-faire,” capitalist state like Singapore, Switzerland, Hong Kong, or the 19th-century United States, and become much more prosperous.
The third major advantage of a three-way partition is that it would be much easier to get it approved than a two-way division. It is clear that those people (of any race) who prefer to live in an integrated country will strenuously oppose any two-way partition plan; however, some of those people would agree to a three-way partition which, indeed, they might well think was an improvement on the present state of affairs.
After all, the way they look at it, their goal of a just, integrated society with little or no racial tensions is being thwarted by the opposition of die-hard white segregationists and black extremists, such as the followers of Louis Farrakhan. Therefore, in their view, if the white and black extremists were to leave, the remaining population would consist of those persons (of both races) who favor integration, and are committed to it. Integrationists should therefore anticipate that the integrated state remaining after a three-way partition would have much lower racial tensions than today’s United States. It should therefore be much easier to gain their assent to a three-way partition than to a two-way plan.
In addition, many people with a libertarian outlook are likely to support a three-way partition because it maximizes the choices available to individuals, even though they might oppose a two-way division.
Details of the Plan
By what procedure could a three-way partition of the United States be carried out? In particular, how would the boundaries of the three countries be determined? As I said before, partition cannot be carried out now; more popular support is needed. Furthermore, the Constitution as it now stands does not provide for or permit partition. Therefore, a Constitutional amendment would be needed, which would cause more delay.
Since partition is at least 20 years away, it is clearly premature to try to specify all the details of how it would be carried out. However, in order to make my discussion less abstract, I will outline one possible method. I do not wish to imply that this is the only possible method, or necessarily the best method.
In the plan I am suggesting, partition would be implemented in four states. In the first stage, each adult would tentatively choose which of the three countries he or she wishes to join. Of course, whites could not become citizens of the black state, nor could blacks join the White Separatist State; but anyone would be free to choose the integrated state. In the second state, a special committee would be formed to draw up tentative boundaries for the three states. The members of this special committee — let’s call it the “Boundary Committee,” or BC, for short — would be selected by Congress. The BC would not draw boundaries arbitrarily, but rather in accordance with specific criteria laid out by Congress. For example:
- The tangible wealth of the three countries should be roughly proportional to their initial populations;
- Each of the three countries should have a wide variety of resources, such as farm land, minerals, factories, roads, railways, and ports.
- If possible, each country should be a single, connected compact territory.
- As much as possible (consistent with the foregoing) the least number of people should need to move in order to be in the country of their choice.
After drawing tentative boundaries based on the stage one voting, the Boundary Committee would then draw up sets of alternative boundary lines to be used if the relative populations of the three states change significantly in the next stage of the partition.
During the third state of the partition, after the Boundary Committee has issued its report and published its maps, there would be a six-month period during which each citizen would have the opportunity to revise the choice he or she made during the first state. At the end of the six-month period, the individual choices become final, and the populations of the three states would be tallied. On the basis of that tally, the final boundaries would be announced, in accordance with the maps drawn by the Boundary Committee during stage two.
The fourth and final stage of the partition would involve the actual movement of people. This would take place over a one- or two-year interval. People who moved would be compensated by the government for their property, and for their relocation expenses. Each of the three governments would thereby acquire a lot of residential property, which it would then auction off to its own citizens.
It is plain that the citizens of the black state would gain financially in this process, since American blacks now own much less than their proportional share of the total wealth of the United States. Since blacks would gain in the process, and since the partition would not in the short run create any tangible wealth, it seems plain that the integrated state the White Separatist State would each lose money during the partition. They might agree to share this net expense proportionately.
At the end of the partition, the three states would be three completely independent countries. They would not be required to accept immigrants or visitors from the others, nor to trade with the others. However, as a practical matter, the three states would probably permit ordinary trade and tourism (although perhaps with some restrictions), and the three states might join in some sort of “common market.”
As you can see, a three-way partition is much more complicated than a two-way partition. Just solutions to problems usually are complicated, because life is complicated, and human relations are complicated. But it is much better to have a complicated plan than one that is simple, but unfair. Furthermore, it would be difficult to get an unfair plan accepted.
There is one more problem: As I pointed out before, a partition of the United States cannot be carried out right now. We will have to wait quite a few years before this goal is achieved. That is a problem that all political minorities face: Their ideas cannot be adopted immediately, unless they are able and willing to use violence to force their views on an unwilling majority, which I think is a terrible idea. Quite the contrary, we should do everything we can to avert violence.
Indeed, a major problem with the present situation is that it involves continual low-level racial violence, and the possibility that racial tensions will erupt into major violence cannot be ignored. Indeed, major violence between ethnic groups has occurred in many other binational or multinational states. We don’t want it to happen here.
A race war in the United States would be a horrible disaster for everyone. My partition plan has been designed to avert bloodshed by giving everyone — blacks and whites alike — the opportunity to get most of what they want without violence. Let us hope that is what happens.
Editor’s Note: This essay is included in the book, The Real American Dilemma: Race, Immigration, and the Future of America, available at the American Renaissance store.