Monday, September 19, 2005

Modern Traditionalists

While Canada may represent an extreme view on the question of secession, even in the West, it is one that is gaining ground as the culture and objectives of the virtual state become increasingly dominant. Other Western countries still have their minorities and groups demanding independence, but increasingly it is being realised in the developed world, that some kind of concessions must be made for either autonomy or secession in democracies. It is the developed world that is transforming the international system, which in turn puts pressure on other states and institutions to adopt more modern attitudes and structures.
This comes from the conclusion on an article that compares Canadian and Chinese attitudes towards secession and separatism in their respective countries (which Joel quotes). Regional movements, whether they are ethnic or not, whether they are secessional or not, are often depicted as anti-national or counter-revolutionary, resisting integration to protect a culture of traditions. But as much as regionalisms are informed by tradition, many movements strive to control of own resources -- intellectual, cultural, social, economic -- to take advantage of modernization and globalization. As much as the Confederate identity of Southerners troubles many in America, it is a motivating factor in economic development. Even the Aymara, the Andean movement that claims the legacy of the Inca Empire and appeals to a unintegrated native population, is concerned greatly with the use of Bolivia's oil resources.

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