Secede to Succeed

An Interview with YesCalifornia's Marcus Ruiz Evans

Marcus Ruiz Evans is author of California’s Next Century 2.0: Economic Renaissance, a leader of the YesCalifornia campaign for independence, and has lived throughout California including in LA, the Bay Area, Sacramento, the Inland Empire, the Central Valley, and is a Fresno, CA native.

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William Hawes: Thanks for taking the time to do this, Marcus. For those that don’t know, YesCalifornia is a budding movement for secession in the Golden State, with a rally on November 9th in Sacramento. Can you give readers some of your most compelling reasons why and how California should secede from the USA?

Marcus Ruiz Evans: The top reason is that Californians are physically separated from Americans. If you look at what’s called a “population density map” or the map of “the world at night” you will notice that America is not populated across all of its land-mass. From the East coast to about half way through Texas and from the Southern border to the Canadian border there are Americans. This is where they live. From halfway through Texas all the way to the border of Arizona/ California – there is basically no one. Yes, there are the cities of Salt Lake, Vegas, Phoenix and Denver – but when you look the maps it will show that outside of these few cities, there is no one living in about half of the land mass of America. Then at the border of Nevada/ Arizona/ Oregon and California all the way to the Pacific Ocean there is another giant population cluster.

This population cluster is the size of most large nations such as Italy or England or the Philippines – it is the size of a large nation. This distance of essentially no population between what I call the “Main American Population” or MAP and the CA population is equivalent to the distance between China and India across the Tibetan plateau, between Islamic Africa and Central Africa separated by the Sahara Desert, between Spanish speaking South America and Portuguese speaking South America separated by the rain forest. Whenever you have two large populations separated by such a vast amount of land with no population connecting the two – you get vastly different cultures. Why is Europe not like Africa, or China not like India, or why do they speak Spanish in part of South America and Portuguese in another part – because of this “population divide”.

It’s not America’s fault or California’s fault – no one is to be blamed. It is just that when humans form huge population clusters and there is a giant distance between these two population clusters you get vastly different cultures. This is why California’s moved on enacting Climate Change a decade ago – while Americans still debate if it is real, why Californians do things like ban plastic bags, and provide for multi-cultural multi-lingual education while America debates if multi-lingual education is a good thing and immigration, and thinks the idea of banning plastic bags is just crazy.

I am sure you have heard of jokes about how all Californians are crazy, or “it’s the land of nuts”. Chinese people think some things that India does are to be considered backwards, and the difference between how Europeans and Central Africans think is huge. This cultural gap is never going to away unless the area between MAP and CA population is bridged. That will never happen. America conquered this “fly-over states” area and committed genocide against the Plains Indians to own the land, then enacted the “homestead” act to populate it over a century ago. It’s still not populated. In fact the American Census shows that most young people in the fly-over states are leaving and moving to the MAP. So America tried to populate this gap and failed and the gap is growing even wider. This suggests the population gap between the USA and CA culture will never be bridged.

Things might work out if this was just a slight change in the way that people prepare soup or what sorts of games they like to watch on TV, or sorts of dances they prefer to dance – slight cultural variations America can easily handle, like how New Yorkers and Texans talk differently, but are all Americans. California is too culturally different.

The majority of the protest movement against the Vietnam War was in California. The majority of the protest movement against the Iraq War was in California. The only place to move on creating regulation for Climate Change before the Federal government enacted legislation is California. The first place to create air quality regulation was California. The only place where a sitting governor wrote an essay recently pleading with America to get along with Russia and prevent war was California. The only state where the sitting governor refused to enact part of the NDAA – or American national security act, specifically the part that says the Federal government can kidnap citizens and fly them to a black site where they are tortured, was California. America had Martin Luther King’s movement – the Black Panthers were nearly exclusively created and existed in California. The NAACP was created in America, while the Black Lives Matter movement was almost exclusively created in California. California does/ acts/reacts in ways very different from how America reacts to the same issues. It has been this way since at least the 1960s – which means for over half a century. That suggests the wide cultural differences will not go away.

Still while this suggests two different nations – going by the definition that a nation is a place where the people have defined borders, a unique identity and a different culture – perhaps America could make it work with California as part of the Union, except for the fact that America hates, picks on, and financially abuses California and has done so for decades. This is what makes the need for California to secede conclusive. California is a donor state and pays more into the Federal system than it receives back in services from the Federal government. For about 25-35 states, depending on the year – they get back more in services from the Federal government (roads, schools, loans) than they pay in – so the Federal system works for them. California for about 30 years has always lost financially being part of America – it always paid more in than it got out.

This is the definition of unfair – because compared to 49 states, California has been rated by the Federal government as having the worst, roads, schools, dams, airports, infrastructure of all kind. So for many decades – California has paid for around 30 states to continue to have roads, schools, dams, airports, infrastructure and a quality of life better than Californians. Californians know their roads and schools are falling apart. California has many poor people – why do we pay for others to have life better than us? If California had the top 10 in comparison to the other 49 states in education and infrastructure things might be different – but for decades CA has been at the bottom of almost everything while around 30 states do better – because the Federal government leeches money from California. This is why we say California is America’s colony – a place to use for resources and nothing more.

Perhaps people might think that there is a simple accounting error that created this situation – except that it has gone on for decades, and when Governor Schwarzenegger brought up this situation he was called a liar by California Senators Boxer and Feinstein – even though he was right about this. It’s weird for senators to attack the sitting governor of their own state when he talks about how to make life better in that state – but that is exactly what happened when the CA governor brought up this issue. It makes you think that the Federal government – where senators live, but not where the Governor lives, knows that it is milking California dry and wants to keep it that way – aka they know they are doing something wrong.

Finally – we think that there is some sort of abusive usury relationship between America and California because CA has the worst of everything and yet pays more out for others at the same time – and is insulted by America routinely. Type in “America hates California” and see the amount of responses from real Americans about how they feel about California. How many times have conservatives – who are half of the American voters – said they hate “Hollywood values” or “San Francisco values”? When you list Southern California and the Northern part as examples of what Americans should not be – it means that you are saying all of California is basically not a good example for American culture.

There are more scientific notes that show that America genuinely hates California. A few polls have been done – one in 2014 by Fox News that said half of America wants CA “kicked out the union”, another one in 2014 by Movoto real estate that said America thinks CA is the worst of all 50 states, one in 2013 by Business Insider which also said Americans want CA to secede, another one in 2013 by True Car Sales Data that said CA is the worst of all 50 states, and finally a poll in 2012 by Public Policy Polling showing America has the worst opinion of all 50 states about California. In 2012, the magazine Chief Executive said that American business leaders said “California should secede from the Union” because they hated it, that same year both the San Francisco Chronicle and LA Weekly asked why Americans hate California so much. In 2010, the LA Times editorial staff wrote that it seems to them that America hates California, and in 2009 both Time magazine and the New York Times newspaper admitted that there seems to be a special place of hate in all of America for just California.

When someone hates you because you act differently and have acted differently for a long time – maybe they hate you for who you are. If they at the same time, take money from you every year, to the degree that they can see you are falling down, and yet they still take money and give it to other people who are clearly doing much better than you – maybe they think it is okay to abuse you and don’t care if it hurts you. What rational Californian would think this is not an abusive relationship?

William Hawes: Can you walk us through the legal framework for a state to secede from the union? What is the broad strategy that YesCalifornia is pursuing for secession? Tell us about your ballot initiative, and your plans for a 2019 referendum. How would it work?

Marcus Ruiz Evans: The American Constitution says that each state in the Union shall retain every power which is not by the Constitution given to the federal government. The Constitution does not give the power of secession to the federal government, nor does it expressly prohibit the states from exercising this power. Therefore, the power of secession is reserved to the states, or to the people, per the Tenth Amendment. Further, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution says that treaties ratified by Congress are the supreme law of the land.

In 1945, the United States ratified the UN Charter, a treaty that guarantees peoples the right to self-determination in Article I. Thus, by ratifying this treaty, the United States adopted the right of self-determination as the supreme law of our land.

Furthermore – Aristotle, who invented the concept of politics and government, wrote that the state “is a culmination of widening circles of human association based on human wants,” and that it is “the highest form of human association.” Why is this important? It is important because in 1948, the United Nations adopted its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 20 of that Declaration provides that “No one may be compelled to belong to an association.” Yes California expresses the stance, as Aristotle argued, that the state is an association and therefore we Californians may not be compelled to belong to the State, or the country, that is the United States of America.

Because America signed on to the UN charter, and because the UN created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and because America still associated with the UN after that declaration – it means that if California can show that it does not want to belong to the association of the American government – then according to the law of America and International law – America has to recognize this and respect the right of self-determination for the future California nation.

Another legal opening for secession in America comes from the case of Texas versus White – it is the only American federal Supreme Court case that actually dealt with the topic of secession. The court ruled that “When Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.”

We focus on the phrase “except throughconsent of the States” which means that if the American Congress, or a Convention of the American States agreed that CA could become independent – then according to the highest court in America it is legal to secede that way. This interpretation was recently backed up by Professor Jason Sorens, who earned a PhD in political science from Yale University and teaches government at the prestigious Dartmouth College. The professor admitted in 2012, to the International Business Times that Texas versus White did leave open this door.

In 2018 Yes California will file for an initiative. In California, any citizen can ask to place a proposed law up for a vote of the people of California – if they pay a small fee of $2000 and collect enough signatures – somewhere around 400,000, within roughly a five month time frame. If you collect the required amount of signatures, within time, then you qualify to have your suggested law available for the public to vote on. If the public votes for that proposal – then it becomes law.

This is called direct democracy and it is most prevalent in California in comparison to essentially any other government on the Earth – not just in comparison to 49 states of America. The Economist magazine said that because of this Californians had too much democracy – as if that’s possible.

Yes California wants to build up enough awareness of Californians about independence so that when we start to collect signatures in 2018 – there will be thousands of Californians who are out trying to get other Californians to sign the initiative within the five month period. Currently in 2016, we are at 3,000 Californians who said they would volunteer – if we can get to around 10,000 volunteers toward the end of 2018 we would be in a competitive position to get the signatures without having to spend money on advertising – meaning we could accomplish this with purely grassroots effort.

If the movement collects enough signatures in 2018 – then a vote for the initiative would happen in 2019. If Californians vote yes on the initiative – which simply asks if Californians would like to be independent – then California can say definitively that Californians want to be a separate nation from America. At that point the California government would take the results of this vote to the federal government and ask to begin negotiations for California to become an independent nation.

We think that America will listen to the will of Californians and allow California to secede at this point for two reasons. One is that numerous polls taken in just the last few years show that Americans hate California and that many Americans have already suggested that California “secede from the Union.” Americans do not like Californians and so we expect there won’t be a big fight among the American people to keep California in the Union. We want to use the hate America has for California as the catalyst to legally secede. While California financially contributes to America – American politics are not decided on rational debates but on emotional pleas – we expect the Americans to continue behaving the way that they do when they have to vote on big decisions. We believe that the emotion of hate which Americans already feel in abundance to California will over rule any one bringing up the rational point that America feeds financially off of California.

Also, Yes California took a lot of inspiration from the fact that recently, Catalonia decided to hold a vote on independence, even though the Spanish government said the vote would not be legally binding. Catalonia had the vote, and invited international reporters and election monitors to observe the vote and report what they saw. Over the protests of the Spanish government who said it wouldn’t recognize the vote – the entire world was informed by these international reporters/observers that Catalonians wanted independence. The struggle to gain independence did not end there – but with this act Catalonia made the entire world aware that its people want to be independent. The Spanish government was immediately put in a difficult position of saying – it is a democracy but does not want its people to be able to have the government that they want.

Catalonia came out looking like a hero and gained international connections with other nations because of this act, and the Spanish government came out looking like a villain. At some point there might be enough international pressure on Spain – because the whole world knows what Catalonia wants – that it might be forced to recognize there is a legitimate Catalonian secession movement or at least start negotiating to some degree with the Catalonian separatists. That’s not the end of the story but the entire Catalonian cause for nationhood would jump to the next level if either of these two actions took place.

California after a vote for independence would be in the same situation as Catalonia but with even better chances. The fact is that California is already known around the world, already has immigrants, tourists, and scholars from around the world routinely visiting here. California is a hot spot destination for the entire planet. We would be able to alert the world to what California just decided for itself with 10 times that amount of presence that Catalonia did. If America was not willing to at least start negotiations with California after Californians expressed their will – then California would simply appeal to the international community to constantly remind America that while they claim to be a democracy, they don’t respect the will of the people.

Californians invented modern day marketing, and social media, and the internet – we would know how to get the word out to the entire planet in a way that any nation that America ever talked to – we would bring up the point “why don’t you let those Californians be free?” Over time America would get tired of constantly having to answer the question and having its global reputation shrink and would realize that it would be better for its global image to at least start negotiations with the elected leaders of California. That’s not the end state for secession – but at that point California has essentially achieved the success level of Scotland – which is the world leader in secession – for now.

William Hawes: The cultural, demographic, and economic rationales you’ve mentioned for California’s secession are compelling. Your Calexit Blue Book tends to heavily focus on the financial reasons for a divorce from the US. There is a pretty clear moral case for leaving, too, as an independent California would send shockwaves worldwide, and could help people around the world fight for ecological restoration, promote social justice issues, and put a dent in America’s murderous foreign policy. Where does YesCalifornia stand on international relations? Would an independent Californian nation be able to stand on its own in an increasingly multipolar world, without the help of Washington?

Marcus Ruiz Evans: Great question – this gets at the heart of why Californians deserve to be a separate nation seen by the world as truly independent from America. We’ve talked about good reasons why it is logical for California to secede – aka that life would be better in California – but the strongest point of this movement is that California deserves to be independent – and the reason for that is that Californians are fundamentally a different culture from Americans.

For example – the largest protest against the Vietnam War were in California. The largest protests against the Iraq war – decades later, anywhere in America – were also in California. Esalen institute based in CA began the Soviet-American Exchange Program which was the first program of “Americans” starting to reach out to the Soviet Union from anywhere in the 50 states of America to say – hey let’s talk and be friends. These Californians did this because they opposed the cold war/nuclear standoff between the USSR and the USA. So when it comes to war – Californians consistently over the last half century have been opposed to the wars that a majority of regular Americans supported.

Californians recognized the Armenian genocide a while ago – America still has not recognized that genocide occurred. California also pursued making sure that survivors of the Holocaust were able to get their money out of insurance companies who took it during WWII – America did not think of the idea of making sure Jewish victims of the Holocaust received money stolen from them – Californians did. And America actually struck down the California’s Holocaust Victim Insurance Relief Act of 1999 and prevented CA from acting on this new law.

Californians invented Air Quality regulation in the 1960s and the laws spread to the rest of America after CA figured out how to create laws and the necessary infrastructure to clean the air. Then in the 2000s CA did this with Climate Change – when the entire rest of the world could not figure out how to actually move on dealing with Climate Change in a real legal framework. Americans still debate publicly if Climate Change is real.

So when we look at being opposed to wars, helping victims, recognizing atrocities, moving to protect the Earth – you see Californians acting very differently than Americans. I am sure there is more that Californians could have done on these issues – but in comparison to America it is clear – that there is an inherent long living culture of California that has fundamentally different views on the most important issues of the time – in comparison to America. Yes CA points to that to show how California would be different/ talk/ advocate/ act differently than America to the world if it was independent. A world where there is a separate California would be one where one of the largest economies in the world was bringing up the right stance on key issues with more energy than the EU or the USA.

As far as the near future is concerned – namely that the era of American being the lone super power is coming to an end, and a new century where there will be possibly up to 5 other governments with as much money and power – aka Superpower status as America – Yes CA believes without any doubt that California would do much better in this future by itself – than being associated with America.

The world does not like America despite what you may have been told in American news. The entire planet was scared by the American invasion of Iraq in the early 2000s, the collapse of the entire world economic system by American greed and lack of government review in the late 2000s and then again by the spying on the entire globe, including allies, in the 2010s, and the invasion and destabilization of Libya also around the same time. The invasion of Iraq and Libya were not in keeping with the will and trust of the UN and collapsing the economy due to your worst motivations and literally spying on everyone, just terrifies the entire planet’s population. They see a Super power who does whatever it wants to anyone at any time and who does not listen to international law. Fact is that America for as much as it talks about respecting international laws did not do so in Libya, and Iraq, and is not part of the International Criminal Court – so it can’t be tried for war crimes.

Americans don’t see any of this because it is not reported on – but the world is not dumb, they know exactly what is going on. California was recently attacked by terrorists in San Bernardino because of its association with America. CA also loses a lot of money in lost technology sales because the world does not want to own technology products produced by America because they think they will be spied on. American President George W. Bush made the mess, but Obama did not fix it and also made messes. It’s been over 15 years and the world has not changed its opinion on America. Yes CA believes that the world is never going to change its opinion on America. So the best thing is to pursue a future where CA is always a partner to America but is able to be seen as something on its own – who does not necessarily agree with America – much the way Canada is today. Canada works with America but makes sure it is seen differently by the world. It’s safer for California in the long term to be able to have the insulation that Canada uses today now.

We also think that the new superpowers would have a better relationship with California – where more trade, and people and ideas moving back and forth, and peace occurred if it was seen as separate from America. Fact is that the number one place for investment from around the world is California – more foreign people want to invest in California than any other place in 50 states of the USA or the rest of the world. The number one place where foreign people want to send their children to study at a University is California. The first meeting between the leader of China and American President Obama was in California – because the Chinese requested it. Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited California personally and then remained close friends with the CA governor at the time. India’s entire technology economy is based on linkages to Silicon Valley in California. The place in the entire Western hemisphere with the highest amount of Asian immigrants from South East Asia is California. California has already signed direct deals with Brazil and China.

So when we look at who the new superpowers will be – India, China, Brazil, Russia, and a group of Southeast Asian nations – we can see that all of the potential super powers all have their own warm relations and thoughts and prominent connections to California – already. An independent CA would be able to only improve these relations. It’s worth noting that the location that the World wanted the UN to be placed in originally was San Francisco California. The world said that they preferred this location. The American government decided to go against World opinion and place the UN in New York next to Washington DC – that is the only reason the UN is not in California now.
California will always be connected as a family member to America. But America is in a dangerous place because of its behavior and character. It is dangerous for California’s security and economy to continue to stay as connected to America as it has been. Also there is every reason to believe that all of the emerging Super Powers would want to connect even more to California once it had seceded from the USA. Given that California has always been against war – Yes CA believes that an independent CA would be seen as someone who wants to encourage and secure peace. California would always been seen by all of the Super Powers as constantly pushing for dialogue and peaceful relations among – the total set of Super Powers – America, China, Russia, Brazil, India, ASEAN. As California’s governor says Californians are about “building bridges”. We think we would have this reputation among the new Super Powers and because of that we could increase the amount of dialogue between the Super Powers and increase the amount of pressure to always come to a peaceful resolution among them also. They already know our reputation – and frankly America could use a family member who is liked by the World saying – “hey keep talking to America and working toward a peaceful resolution”.

This is why Yes CA believes allowing California secession will be in America’s long term security interest – it is not liked, and the people who don’t like it are only getting stronger, America needs a popular cousin to smooth over the wrinkles America has created and to ensure that people don’t fully hate or gang up on America. America seems to be doing a horrible job at improving its world image on its own. This overall concept is the main point of my book California’s Next Century 2.0. Yes CA found me from reading about this book and that is why I work with them today.
If the world wants to make sure that the superpowers don’t go to war or fight each other but focus on working together, especially during this very tense period where the new superpowers are rising to the size of the older ones – then it should definitely unleash California to help provide some pressure on all of them. This is the main reason Yes CA says that California secession is good for the security of the entire planet.

William Hawes: I can imagine there would be legitimate concerns from the other 49 states, and progressives, that a Calexit would push the rest of US further to the right politically. Also, there would be plenty of swirling rumors and questions about an independent California cozying up to China and Mexico. How would you respond to this, and can you explain your theory about how California could become a “New Switzerland” with regard to neutrality and international diplomacy?

Marcus Ruiz Evans: California’s electoral votes haven’t affected a presidential election since 1876. Every American presidential election since that time was decided before the California votes were counted. Watch how the 2016 election is decided before the California votes are counted – again. This frustrates Californians and proves our point – as the largest “state” of 50 states, the California vote should be decisive but it is not. This year – Hillary Clinton told Bernie Sanders supporters that it didn’t matter if he won California in a Democratic Party primary election because she had enough votes anyways. The New York Times in September in an article by Toni Monkovic pointed out that the vote of California is virtually insignificant. There would be a loss of liberal support in America if CA was independent but I don’t think the impact would be that dramatic given that CA has been rendered irrelevant for over the last century in how votes turn out in American federal elections.

California worked out what is essentially a trade deal with Mexico and a treaty on climate change in China – they were called “memorandums of understanding” and high level talks because technically only the American President can agree to trade deals and treaties but the negotiations between CA and these nations is exactly the same thing in deed. California has been close to most of the world’s cultures and nations in a way that far exceeds what Americans are willing to do. For example Governor Brown recently wrote an essay asking for Russia and America to continue dialogue. No other governor did that. Americans look at this and think it is weird – but for Californians it is who we are, as our Governor said, “Californians build bridges” while Americans build walls. Americans will definitely find the behavior of an independent CA strange – just as America thinks California as a “state” is strange.

This proves the point of why CA can’t stay part of America – we are not the same culture. California is incredibly linked to the international economy, has the highest amount of immigrants and foreign tongues spoken every day in every community – being full of immigrants and surrounded by people who speak a language other than English is just strange to Americans – but it is normal life literally everywhere in California. For example – immigrants are about 10% of the American population – whereas in California they are 30%. International trade is linked to the 1/3 of the American economy, whereas in California it is linked to almost 1/2. California has a fundamentally different relationship with the foreign world and as Yes Ca says Californians will definitely act “more like themselves” when they are not held back by American xenophobia any longer.

It is key to recognize that the way that California relates to the foreign world is the way that Americans should act. America should be closer to other nations, have more immigrants, know more about the foreign world, share the opinions of foreign nations, sign more trade deals and treaties – but currently it is not in Americans’ character to act like this. Americans are having a huge debate right now as seen in the American president elections on how connected to the foreign world the USA should be, and how open to immigration it should be.

However in an increasingly internationally connected world – where connections to other nations are the life blood of a nation’s economic strength and one where America will be surrounded by powers that are equal in size to it – for the first time in 70 years – being more connected, and acting more like California’s culture is key to America’s survival and ability to remain strong in the upcoming future. Since it appears Americans aren’t up to this – it is up to California to do it for them – to reach out to the world – to make connections and then connect America to those connections. This is why we say California independence is key to America’s national security for the long term. California will do what America needs to do – connect better to the foreign world – and because CA will always be a family partner to America it will be able to lessen the global tension aimed at America and improve the good relations that America can be part of.

In my book California’s Next Century 2.0 the idea that California could be the “new Switzerland for the next century” – directly comes from this concept above. Besides being able to relate America to the rest of the world – California can relate the rest of the world to any superpower. This globally unique ability provides a unique opportunity just for California.

When European countries owned the entire world under colonialism – the dialogue headquarters for Europe and therefore the world was in Switzerland. First with the League of Nations and then with the United Nations – which keeps a second headquarters there in addition to the one in NYC, and even before the league of nations many international treaties between Europe’s nations were signed at this central location. This central hub for discussion worked well for the world when the world was literally almost totally owned by European nations. Switzerland is a nation that is made up of many cultures – French, German, Italian, and early on the Swiss mandated that all school children be able to speak English. So Switzerland was a nation – that understood French, German, Italian, English cultures and languages and people – and was the living example of all of these people living together in peace. The Swiss were the best at getting the different European nations to dialogue and reach an agreement – because they really understood all of the different European cultures and weren’t biased against any one group – their goal was always to get people to agree – because it was who they are as a people – one culture from many living peacefully and very productively.

The world has changed and now Europe does not own or control the world. The world is going to fall into competing spheres of regional control – with each region controlled or influenced by the Super Power of that part of the globe – South America by Brazil, Asia by China, South East Asia by India and by ASEAN, Eastern Europe and Central Asia by Russia, the Middle East and North Africa by Europe, Latin America and the Pacific by America. Therefore a global center for dialogue located in Europe like Switzerland, or in predominantly European heritage created city like New York, does not make sense for this new emerging world order.

The question then becomes what place in the world has all of these superpowers cultures living together, with their languages intact, and practicing their cultures, but in a way that melds them together and that already has a reputation for world dialogue and always pushing for peace. In the book I review the entire planet and prove that only California has all of these characteristics – in one place – anywhere in the world. There just aren’t that many places that have all of these cultures living together, still practicing their separate cultures, but living together in a productive way. Add to that having a good global reputation – where the entire world already knows who you are and has an idea of what you are about and feels positively about you – and the list of contenders shrinks to just California.

California is the most diverse place in the world, and has peoples from all of the superpowers already living together. California already showed that it can by itself create world dialogue on a major problem – when it got the world to agree to the first climate change legislation. California had many nations fly to California and engage in a mini-UN style dialogue and created the first attempt at dealing with an issue the USA, EU, UN all felt was too complicated to even attempt to tackle. China and France have both recognized that California appears to be a separate nation form America when it comes to Climate Change. The entire world saw the protests in America against the Iraq war and noted that the majority of the protest was in CA alone. California also already has global recognition of a unique “California brand” – meaning a way of life, and culture that is different and distinct from American culture and is thought positively about around the world.

It is true that Switzerland had no major European powers stationing an army in its borders, and had a long history of neutrality before it became a negotiation center – but we feel that given the benefits that California already has today – that it could – with a public declaration of independence – be able to convince the world to see it as the new Switzerland for the emerging world order.

We think the world would be open to this – because the old world order and international legal institutions are seen as been created by and for America and Europe. The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the International Criminal Court are all seen as being primarily funded, and staffed and usually advocating for American/ European interests. Because of this Brazil has made its own international dialogue center, Mercosur, China and Russia work together on the Shanghai Cooperation Council, and ASEAN and India also have created their own leagues for international dialogue. These rising superpowers don’t have faith that the international infrastructure will open up and include them to the point that they will be effectively unbiased against them anymore and will treat them on equal footing with America and Europe. It is clear by the energy that Brazil, Russia, China, India, ASEAN put into their own organizations that they aren’t betting on the UN, IMF, World Bank, ICC being neutral enough for them.

Rather than have competition international dialogue centers – to the point that there is no central place for discussion but rather multiple tables where no one ever sits and talks to each other at one big table any more – California can become a new UN – the new center for international dialogue. We believe that with Independence CA has a real chance at reaching out to the new superpowers and asking them to recognize CA as the new world dialogue center – for the reasons stated before, and because the first UN was supposed to be located in California – the world wanted CA as the site for the UN and America disagreed with world opinion – and that is the only reason the UN is not in CA today. We also feel that if CA can’t pull this off – then no one can. There is no next best option for a new dialogue center – CA is the only realistic option. If CA does not become a new dialogue center for the new superpowers and the rest of the world then we expect the pulling away from international institutions set up by USA & EU to simply continue to the point that the world enters a prolonged period of chaos. This is why Yes CA states that it is in the interest of everyone in the world to make CA independent – so world peace can be insured.

William Hawes: Speaking of la Suisse, here’s something to think about. In June the Swiss people voted on a referendum for a universal basic income, however, it was badly defeated. A cursory glance at the numbers in California, with about 2.5 trillion GDP and 40 million people, could provide $62,500 per year for each man, woman, and child. Income inequality in California is rising every year, with endemic poverty affecting millions. There are many other social and environmental justice issues threatening to explode into full-blown crises in the state. How could a new Californian nation tackle such problems as amnesty and a speedy path to citizenship for undocumented workers, renewable energy projects, high unemployment, and gentrification due to rising real estate prices?

Marcus Ruiz Evans: Let’s take the issues one by one. Immigration – Yes CA is very pleased that we have already been covered in the news for our radical immigration reform plan. We figured out how to use existing CA law to allow for the millions of undocumented Californians to be able to achieve first class citizenship in California. It was the called the “California Immigration Reform Act” and it was covered by the International Business Times, and Terra TV’s Noticias which also gave Louis Marinelli, the President of Yes California, the title of “Anti-Trump” for proposing this law. A Spanish language TV station news show gave the leader of Yes California that title. Yes California was called Sovereign California at this time – we changed our name – but it is the same organization. We figured out that there is an existing law in CA where undocumented people can register with the California department of motor vehicles and receive a driver’s license. This license is only good in California and can’t be used outside of CA. Also part of that law is a provision that information that the government of CA collects about undocumented immigrants would not be shared with the federal government – at all – even if they ask.

This law has not been struck down, although it has been criticized. This act was nothing less than California saying legally that it will not work with federal authorities on immigration, and that it will do what it feels is best for its people – regardless of how the Federal government feels, or if it is legal under federal law. Only the federal government can deal with immigration issues – and people without immigration papers – but California completely ignored that. Yes CA realized that this was the opening of Pandora’s Box. If driver’s licenses can be provided – aka service can be provided by the California department of motor vehicles – and this law was not struck down – then what is to prevent every California government office from providing services to the millions of undocumented Californians? The “California Immigration Reform Act” expands what happened at the CA DMV to all agencies of the CA Republic.

Yes CA did a survey and we found very few things that the Federal government has an agency for, overlooking and providing regulation on – that California doesn’t have its own agency for. California has a government office for everything. There is overlap on almost everything that the Federal government does in California – with a separate California agency. For example – there is OSHA and Cal OSHA – who both oversee worker safety. Given this infrastructure it was possible that California could provide full citizenship to all of the undocumented – full services for everything that a person would need in CA society – as long as we continued to ignore the fact that the Federal government controls all immigration issues – which CA already did when it allowed Undocumented Californians to get DMV licenses.

The initiative didn’t pass – we were just starting out and were much smaller then than today – and we didn’t have the publicly to get attention to the fact that an option was available to pull literally millions of people who live as second class citizens in California – because of federal law – out of that situation. But this law is a perfect example of what could be done if California was independent. The federal government controls the borders – and California has the highest amount of undocumented people anywhere in 50 states, and the Federal government controls immigration – which it has not reformed in over 25 years. California has the most undocumented people – and yet has to wait for the federal government to pass immigration reform and deal with the massive flow of undocumented people in California. The federal system does not work – and California suffers. If CA could do immigration on its own – there would be a workable immigration system that would secure borders – but allow millions of people a chance at a better life at the same time – almost instantly. Californians would not wait to figure out how to deal with immigration and undocumented immigration – it would recognize all of the people already in California and it would create a way to have a much more workable system for allowing new people into California from Latin America, by working with Latin American governments – than exists today.

Renewable Energy projects, Lack of affordable housing, poor schooling results, and the catastrophic drought in California are all results from a lack of infrastructure development in California over the last 40 years. When Pat Brown was Governor of CA – he built modern California as we know it today. He convinced the CA people to borrow money and raise taxes to pay for a transportation system, a university system, a water system and many other massive infrastructure projects that would provide for incredible growth in California for decades into the future. Since his time – California has built nothing, basically nothing at all.

Starting in the 1970s California stopped building major infrastructure – yet the population has more than doubled. If you built a home for 4 people – and then 8 people lived in the home, but you built no more bedrooms, bathrooms, sinks, showers, electrical lines – that home would being to completely fall apart and turn into a shanty. It was a good home – but now it looks like a shanty – because you did not expand infrastructure for that home – although you doubled the population. That’s the situation in California – it has not built major education facilities – there was one UC campus built in recent years, it has not built new water ways or dams, or hydro-electric facilities, or desalination facilities powered by solar power, or major affordable housing tracts or major improvements to the electrical grid – like massive solar powered farms, wind farms along the coast, wave power farms along the sea, geo thermal plants, or anything like this in decades. Some infrastructure has been built – but not like when California had a governor like Pat Brown. The high speed rail project is the biggest – Pat Brown like – infrastructure project CA has done in decades.

You don’t have water systems, education systems, power, housing and all of the other type of infrastructure built up to handle increased stress – and no wonder that life for the majority of Californians is not as good as it was during the “Golden State Era” – which was right after Pat Brown finished building all of this infrastructure and it was brand new and only allowed for massive growth.

California is a donor state, and pays more into the federal system than it gets out in services. It has done this for decades. The typical amount lost – according to calculations by Yes CA is about $16 Billion – but some years it could be as high as $30 Billion. California also is losing money in technology sales – which is a huge part of the CA economy – because foreign people don’t want to buy things associated with America – the loss of this market is in the Billions. This was documented in a study by the Think Tank “Information Technology and Innovation Foundation” in late 2015. California routinely has trade deals stalled by the Federal government for years and years because while CA is very connected to the international economy and willing to work with anyone, the Federal government is more interested in using trade as a weapon to intimidate foreign nations. Because of intrigue on the part of the Federal government – California loses billions in trade deals that take years to pass. This was documented in the book Global California by Professor Abraham Lowenthal of the University of Southern California. When you add all this up – Yes CA estimates CA is loses somewhere between $16 – 60 Billion dollars a year by being associated with the federal government. And this has gone on for decades.

That kind of money is as we say “GAME CHANGING”. Give or get out of the way and allow CA to get – that kind of money and we can improve this infrastructure now – and literally life for all of the middle class and lower middle class people would be dramatically improved over night. Not every problem would be fixed, but all Californians agree that life was better during the “Golden State Era” – roughly the 1950s to early 1980s – when all of the infrastructure that California’s Pat Brown created was fresh and more than provided for everyone’s needs.

This also gets to the issue of high unemployment and unequal wages. California is possibly the worst place for unequal pay aka the Gini coefficient – meaning the gap between what the wealthy and upper income makes and what lower middle class makes. The recession caused by Wall Street bankers in America decimated good working class jobs in California, and we are still totally struggling to come out of it. California improved its economy with the technology industry – which provides very high salaries and employs many people – but which requires highly skilled/ educated workers only. If you are not highly educated/ or have advanced high skills – there is no job for you. That is the problem in CA today.

CA used to have a large air plane manufacturing industry that employed many blue collar jobs – but that left CA in the late 1990s. The dot com economy picked up a lot of the slack in the early 2000s and eased that transition – but then the recession in 2008 happened and reset California back. California needs blue collar jobs – jobs where people only need a high school diploma, and can “learn on the job” – and become highly skilled on the job. The last great industry that employs primarily blue collar laborers and provides long term careers and the ability to grow in pay with increased on the job learned skills – is trade. Truck drivers between sea ports, sea port workers, container operators, ship drivers, logistics managers, people who work sorting goods in warehouses – those are all stable, good blue collar jobs that would pull the mass of Californians who are struggling to find a minimum wage job – a good career wage that pays around $60,000 a year – because the market is willing to pay that, not because the government ordered businesses to pay it. If minimum wage needs to be raised then so be it – but no one thinks that forcing the minimum wage to be raised is a better option than having an economy that naturally prefers to pay high wages to workers.

Grow international trade – unleash California. Disassociate the world renowned horrible image of America from California products – as Apple computers already does when it says “made in California” instead of “made in America”. Allow California to act on trade with other nations – at the speed that it can handle it – not the much slower speed of a dysfunctional federal government. Let California keep the money it sends to Washington that it receives nothing for – and we can invest in infrastructure and grow international trade and grow the CA economy and provide for a massive increase in blue collar jobs – which will raise literally millions of poor and underemployed Californians to stable, sustainable, middle class living standards and end the massive gap between rich and poor in CA that exists today because of American greed in Wall Street.

The world respected economist Michael Porter pointed out in his book The Competitive Advantage of Nations that every nation that provides good jobs for its entire people has first class infrastructure – there is no economy that does well – that does not have first class infrastructure. CA no longer has first class infrastructure – which includes education to transportation infrastructure – this is the main reason that there aren’t good jobs for everyone. By the way, Porter also said that no economy that does well is not able to move as efficiently as possible at moving on new international trade deals – meaning that CA is also not able to provide as many jobs as it can – because it has to go through a bloated federal bureaucracy to get approval.

William Hawes: It’s been quite interesting reading your own book, your group’s Calexit blue book, some of the media attention on your Facebook page, and talking privately with you. On one hand, you’re taking a revolutionary stance, openly calling for secession, an end to poverty and discrimination, etc. On the other, some of your rhetoric is uncannily similar to a mainstream liberal argument: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Your words above: “Grow international trade- unleash California”. I’ve cautioned you about that approach privately, chided you a little for that financially-focused kind of strategy. Some of your words appear to be no different than the talking points and sound bites the public hears every day from our elected representatives, and has grown increasingly numb to.

The world needs less capitalism, not more. California, and any state for that matter, needs to learn to use its immense wealth for community enrichment, not to grow the economy. Globally, Californians are the 1%, as are most middle-class Americans, and we all need to give back. The public wants to know about how to solve issues closest to their hearts: how to provide a good education for their children and grandchildren, how to generate energy without fossil fuels, how to produce healthy, affordable food, how to promote peace among nations, how to change our lifestyles and crush our addictions to materialism and primitive entertainment. How we can personally and spiritually transform ourselves.

You brought up Apple, in a sort of positive light, so I’m going to bounce off that. We don’t need any more laptops or iPhone apps. The Silicon Valley venture, ahem, vulture capitalists, the Cooks, the Thiels, the Schmidts of the world, these are very dangerous people, Marcus. They are in bed with Wall Street, K-Street, the Pentagon, and Foggy Bottom. They are the status quo, and they won’t give up your state without a fight. To battle these people you need a grassroots movement, you need to promote international solidarity and brotherhood with all nations, to offer to help poor nations develop their economies. Using domestic economic arguments will only take you so far.

How is your group working to develop a philosophy that transcends capitalist ideology? Are you planning a broad-based strategy and platform for citizens of all creeds and colors to get behind, to ward off any possible neo-feudal usurpers who would be desperate to stop your movement from coalescing? Are you starting to understand the need for public education of Californian adults, and the need for the un-learning of our culture’s indoctrination?

Marcus Ruiz Evans: First I want to point out that we do feel that we are addressing reaching out to all creeds and colors. However, we are always open to ideas on what more could be done – no one in Yes CA pretends that we have it all figured out. We work on what we do have figured out and – always – always ask people “what are we missing” – and then move on that.

Yes CA was one of the first organizations in CA to publicly endorse “Campaign Zero” which is the Black Lives Matter platform for how to change society so that African Americans are treated fairly in all aspects of society. We already stood for that – and did it when it first came out – and were one of the few organizations to do that, that early. Our President, Louis Marinelli, when he ran for Assembly – stood outside of police stations and talked about police reform against brutality. That’s on video and we posted it proudly. To our knowledge no other politician has taken this public and radical a stance on directly challenging the police to reform.

Yes CA already proposed a plan to make undocumented people who are primarily Latino have a real way to not be second class citizens. To date we have not seen any other organization even suggest that CA take care of the millions of Latinos and Chinese descent Californians who are living as second class citizens – on its own or present a plan to do so. To date we are the only group in California who has presented a real plan to help these people.

Yes CA also pointed out that California gives more money to the federal system than it gets back and that this money goes from the federal government primarily to governments in the Southern part of the USA and the Mid-west – where people are racists and homophobic. On our Facebook page, we have LGBT people saying they like what Yes CA is doing, because they don’t want their tax money going to support people who hate the LGBT community. To date we are the only group pointing out that the federal government subsidizes people who hate LGBT people – and at least starting the conversation that this should stop.

Yes CA was the only organization to point out that in recent years CA did not get its fair share of “McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act” funding – it got half. Meaning all of the children who live in poverty – got half of what they were promised by the federal government from the official fund designed to help homeless children. The main source of funding designed to help homeless children in 50 states – CA got half and almost no other organizations even bothered to mention this. To date we have not seen any other organization in California bring this up.

Finally, Yes California has said from the beginning and in the loudest way possible that the main reason CA is a different place than the USA is because it is the most diverse place in the planet – and that this world class diversity is key to our culture. We celebrate that, yell it out and have done so from the beginning.

Why was Yes CA first among so many other organizations, politicians, activists, well-meaning people – in supporting Campaign Zero, providing a plan to help millions of Latino come out of second class citizenship, plan to not help governments that support intolerance against LGBT people, highlight how the Children in poverty are not treated fairly. We think it is because Yes CA is about supporting diversity inherently. Our actions speak very loudly we feel. Could we do more – absolutely and are always open to more ideas. Are we doing more than other organizations out there – we feel yes, and point to these acts as proof.

How can California provide higher quality education for its children? To me, it is a question of money. California has the lowest “per pupil spending” of all 50 states, except for Mississippi which is dead last. This means that CA spends less on its children in public education than 48 states. Spending more on the kids has at least something dramatic to do with providing more quality education.

The same understanding applies we feel to moving off fossil fuels. California is at the fore front of research into alternative energy – being among the first places to set up wind farms, massive solar farms, and one of very few places in the planet to try out wave energy. However, moving beyond research to actually having energy that is renewable and can supply the needs of the population requires investment. You have to buy and build more solar panels, wind power generators, wave power generators. That comes down to money to build this technology. I don’t know of a way to provide alternative energy in a way that can get society off fossil fuels without massive construction of alternative energy facilities – which requires money. Even if people were willing to volunteer the effort – at some point you have to hire engineers because these are technically sophisticated machines, and you would have to buy the steel and wires to construct them.

Having more money in the CA economy – means more money can be spent on children in schools – which will have a dramatic impact and means we can create an alternative power infrastructure. The only other way to get this money is to raise taxes on the rich. CA already does that – CA has the highest taxes on the rich anywhere in the USA, and had the highest taxes almost anywhere in the USA already – which predominantly the upper middle class pay. Maybe taxes could be higher – but when comparing CA to any other place in America – we are at the forefront of making the rich pay to provide for the poor already. If we can’t get a tax increase on the rich passed – then the only other way to raise the money to do these things is to grow the economy – which will grow tax revenue without raising taxes. This is the way you get more money for social programs without having the 1% stand in the path to progress – which, as we all know – they control the system.

I also want to point out that money also helps with poverty. California has the worst situation when it comes to poverty and homelessness. Recently California was ranked 48 out of all 50 states for providing for homeless children. California was also recently ranked as have the highest amount of adult homelessness, veteran homelessness, and chronically homeless people. California pays more into the federal system than it ever gets out – yet – although it has 39% of the chronic homeless population, it only receives 2% of the Federal funds designed to help this group. Although it has 21% of all of the homeless children, it only gets 11% of the Federal funds aimed for this group.

If helping the homeless and those in dire poverty is important – then California has the highest amount of need. Yes CA does not get its fair share of Federal assistance for homelessness – and yet continues to pay more money into the Federal system. If CA was independent – it would not pay extra Federal taxes, that money would stay in CA and could go to homeless. If CA was able to grow its economy it could increase the amount of tax revenue and provide greater services for homeless. To date – no one has provided a plan to deal with the incredible – worst of any place in all 50 states – homeless crisis in California – other than dramatically increase taxes on the rich – and hope that they allow that to happen.

The questions you’ve brought up, of how to produce healthy foods, make sure the public is eating healthier, promote peace among nations, change lifestyles away from a destructive path to a long term sustainable manner, end an addiction on primitive entertainment, upgrade our spiritual being, develop a philosophy that transcends capitalist ideology, create a platform for citizens of all creeds and colors to get behind, create the understanding that adults need to be life-long learners, and unplug people from a toxic American culture are absolutely not about money. The answer to these issues is what we in Yes CA call “the epiphany”.

Travel back to 1950s America. Yes there was racism and sexism and discrimination against many groups and not everyone got to participate in the quality of life at this time. Totally true and there is much to hate about this era – and it was also the time when America really believed in America and believed that they were helping the world. Yes, America was lying to the public and toppling democracies – but I want to focus on how the domestic population of America felt and acted at this time.

Children worked hard in school because they wanted to give back. They wanted to be a fireman or police officer, or doctor – for the pure reason of giving back. They didn’t say I want to be a doctor to make a wealthy life style –they said they wanted to be a doctor to help people. Communities took care of each other. Doors were left unlocked. People donated and volunteered at levels not seen in recent times. People went to college and then joined the Peace Corps and traveled to a poor nation and lived in poverty to help the people there. Others joined the military because they really felt they were spreading democracy. I know that the image and the reality didn’t match – but that belief that you are part of a great society that is literally making the entire world better and so you need to do your part is what we believe can be recreated – in California among our Californians. America actually achieved this – so we know it is possible to get a society this motivated to help the world – the question is how to recreate that energy / belief again.

If California was a nation in our current era – it could reach out and connect to the world in a way that it has never been able to do for the last three centuries. Californians have always protested Americans wars, and they got America to do air quality legal reform and they got the world – by themselves – to actually move to fixing climate change. Yes, I know more can be done – but it was California alone that got the world doing whatever it is doing to date for addressing Climate Change. The President of the UN admitted that. So if California is its own nation – it would only advocate more for – less war, more environmental reform. We have that track record – it is who we are – it is how we would talk when independent – but even louder.

An independent California has the ability to become the negotiation table for the entire world – at a time when the rising powers outside of USA/EU don’t trust the UN and other international institutions and are making their own. That is a dangerous pattern the entire world is on. No one has a plan to get everyone back to one table. The UN/IMF and other organizations made by USA/EU – are not going to be reformed, and if they ever are – it will be when they are so powerless and unpopular that it won’t matter that they are finally accepting of non-European descent cultures actually running and leading those organizations.

California is the only place that could be that central discussion. If California does not do this – I don’t think anyone will do it. That’s what the book California’s Next Century 2.0 is all about proving. It just will not get done – and the near future will be one where there are regions that don’t negotiation with each other, but have their own separate discussions – which will lead to more international crime, more war crimes, more human rights abuses, more wars, and move the entire world closer to nuclear war. I don’t know of another plan to get the world back on track of everyone negotiating at one table. Currently America and Europe and the United Nations big plan – is to act like the world still loves them and is not pulling away from the global institutions they built. That is a plan to allow chaos and if this issue is not fixed in the next decade – the upcoming decades will be more violent and repressive and inhumane than anything seen in the last 70 years.

The greatest gift that can be given from CA to the world is a stable future – without an increase in wars or international crime. That won’t happen if a new discussion center is not solidified in the next decade worth of time. Who else is going to do this? Who else is even talking about this as an issue? Who else has suggested a plan? Other than wait and hope things don’t get that bad. That is not a plan for a secure future, not for any of the world’s peoples.

If California took on the role of being the world discussion center – it would be not just a new industry that created jobs, it would be a “calling for all Californians”. Convincing diverse cultures to get along and work to productive solutions is not just something Californians would do – it would be something that they believe in. California is the most diverse place on the planet – but currently Californians just think of this as something that is a source of pride.

If California took on this role – as the new Switzerland for the next Century – it would require all schools to train children to be ready for this role, all universities to train students to think about how to do this, require all adults to educate themselves to get jobs in this arena, require all politicians to provide motivation to their local communities on supporting this plan. In short – you would have that American 1950s belief – that everyone had to do their part to make the world safe. However, instead of the American concept that spreading democracy is the greatest gift to the World – California’s mission to the entire world would be about showing the world that diverse cultures can get along as one people with incredible productivity.

You get California to be the discussion center for the world – and you will have a calling for all adults, all children – a calling that asks them to not watch TV but learn how to make the world a better place, that asks adults to unlearn ideas that make the world more violent and embrace new ways of thinking that bring cultures together – because everyone in California will have absorbed the goal that California’s place in the world is not just to lead the world but show the world how all cultures can live together. The mere mention that CA is going to become the discussion center of the world would send a massive wave of shock and reforms throughout all parts of California society: to all people, and it would cause “California’s great epiphany”.

To deal with the question of how do you fight the powers that be that will fight to keep the status quo – the elites who would try to shut this movement all the way completely down, the answer is that you get them to fight themselves. There is a phrase “it takes fire to fight fire” – and that applies.

What does a rich person want after they become rich? More wealth. It makes no sense but they want it. What about after they have so much wealth it stops being impressive – they want power? What about after they have power – they want fame? That is why you see so many rich people who are powerful and also famous. Fame occurs to be the top desire of the rich – so many billionaires spend their own money on initiatives in California. Why do they do this – because it makes them famous – Ron Unz, Sean Parker, Tim Draper, Nicolas Berggruen, Tom Steyer, are just a few examples – of Californians who made incredible money and then turned to attempt to alter the political environment specifically in California. These people did not put as much effort into changing society anywhere else in 50 states. It did not make them richer to support and advocate for initiatives in California – but it did make them famous.

You are totally correct that the rich run things and they have interest in keeping the system exactly how it is – because they are rich in this system and that some of them will stand in the way of progress. However in California the situation is not the normal situation around the world or in America. In California the majority of billionaires are not old money – they are new money people who grew up middle class and know what it is like to struggle. They are people who innovated or created something new to get rich. We find it no surprise therefore that California has the most active billionaires of anywhere – anywhere in the world – where the super wealthy try to change the way society works. Yes, there are heartless billionaires who want nothing more than horde what they have – but the overwhelming majority of billionaires in California made their money after living like one of the people and from thinking of a bold big new way to change things.

Our plan is to reach out to these billionaires and these politicians who dream big and got to their wealth and power because they made big bold decisions that were different and shocking. In California – most of the people in power and in super wealth got that way from dreaming and acting in a dramatically different way. When we tell them – that the people want CA to be a nation – and that you could be a leader in a nation – not just a state – it will appeal to their sense of making a big bold change, and being famous. That will be enough – to get enough of the wealthy and powerful to support California against those billionaires and powerful politicians who will not want change. Yes many will stand against this – but they will not stand against an equally powerful, connected, resourced person – they will agree to not fight each other and let the game play out. That’s all we can ask for. Those wealthy and powerful who want to become even more famous because they support something – that they can see a plan the people of California definitely want – aka a true grassroots desire – will stand for and protect this movement.

I’ll address your point of the world needing less capitalism, not more. I get what you are saying – I grew up in a Mexican Catholic household– although I am not religious now, my family volunteered in the community, protested, and told off teachers who taught the wrong thing, and we were brought up being told that charity and helping other people is the best thing that you can do. We learned that there is a sacred honor to help the poor and less fortunate.

I spent the first half of my life talking about why things were morally right and why things should be done a certain way because it is the right thing to do. I found that when I focused on just the moral reason – that I was blocked by half of the population – namely, the mainstream media, all elected officials at every level and anyone who is middle class. This is a huge amount of people to just have turned off to your plan on how to make life better for the other half.

I found that when I explained why it was in their interest to do what is right – that they started to listen and started to actually change the way that they did things so that you got results – you actually started making things better. A perfect example is a grass roots project I work at in my home town. We want to build a system of bicycle lanes on canals – so that people don’t have to drive everywhere. This will allow people who can’t afford a car to be able to have the same mobility as the middle class and rich because it is much cheaper to own a bike. Fresno has incredible poverty – yet the entire metro region is set up so that you can’t do anything if you don’t have a car. Fresno also doesn’t spend enough on transit. So providing a way for bicycles to compete with cars as a way of getting anywhere in Fresno is a way that would allow most – the overwhelming majority – but not all of the poor – a way to live life to a dramatically increased quality.

I was able to get Fresno to start spending money on making this bike freeway system, as we call it – because I could show them that it was in their economic interest to help the poor. The rich are not going to help the poor for the sake of doing so. When I showed them that, economically it was in the benefit of the rich to provide for the poor – then all of the sudden, after a decade of having the highest death rate for bicyclists anywhere in the Republic of California, Fresno started moving to create a bike network that will help the poor. They had a decade prior of knowing they had the highest death rate of bicyclists and that most bicyclists dying were all poor, and they did nothing. People dying were not a strong enough case to get the system to change. When we argued it was in their interest to do this – change happened. Not talk – real change – that will have a real impact on literally hundreds of thousands of poor people.

I understand my situation, that when you talk about capitalism and economics, you sound like a heartless Republican – because that is who normally talks about this. But economics is the way the entire world works. Even in socialism and communists and tribal societies – economics is what powers everything. So when you can explain how helping the poor – helps the rich – suddenly the rich who are in control of everything – actually let that change happen. Yes CA focuses on these economic arguments not to be heartless, not because we don’t care about the poor – because we have seen this is the fastest way to dramatically improve the lives of many poor people.

To learn more about YesCalifornia, visit their website, Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.

William Hawes is a writer specializing in politics and environmental issues. He is author of the ebook Planetary Vision: Essays on Freedom and Empire. His articles have appeared online at CounterPunch, Global Research, Countercurrents, Gods & Radicals, Dissident Voice, The Ecologist, and more. You can email him at wilhawes@gmail.com. Visit his website williamhawes.wordpress.com Read other articles by William.