my problems today are the fact that many, many people think that my belief that my people deserve and require statehood in order to remain safe makes me an objectively bad person, and there are ants in my apartment.

This year’s September 11 Catalan national day (Diada) demonstration, in support of the Catalan parliament’s planned November 9 popular consultation on Catalan statehood, was the biggest since the present cycle of mobilisations for the country’s right to national self-determination began four years ago.

The first was the July 2010 1 million-strong protest against the Spanish Constitutional Court’s overruling of key parts of the 2006 Catalan statute of autonomy. The second was the 2012 1 million-plus Diada protest in Barcelona and the third was last year’s “Catalan Way”—a human chain of well over 1 million that stretched 400 kilometres across Catalonia, from France in the north to Valencia in the south.

Yet, according to the local police, 1.8 million people (25% of the population of Catalonia), took part in this year’s Diada demonstration, forming an immense human V across capital Barcelona. Its two arms each spread back 5.5 kilometres from the starting point in the Place of Catalan Glories, intersection point of the city’s three main avenues. It was the biggest political mobilisation in modern European history.

The V (for “victory”, “vote” and voluntat—“will” in Catalan) was formed in the national colours of red and yellow. The striking impact of this 11-kilometre-long V-shaped national flag was achieved by demonstrators wearing either a yellow or red t-shirt and agreeing to stand in an assigned space. The resulting red-and-yellow-striped V straddled the entire central city area.

The whole effort was based on over half-a-million people volunteering through a special “Now is the Hour” organising web site, set up by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and the Omnium Cultural association.


America’s Lost State —- The State of Franklin

After the American Revolution the Continental Congress was drowning in war debts.  To help pay off the debt, the State of North Carolina voted to donate some of its western counties to the Congress.  The people living in those territories, mostly small farmers, trappers, and rugged frontiersmen were resentful about having their part of the state pawned off to other governments.  They even feared that the Continental Congress might sell the land to a foreign power, such a France or Spain.

On August 23rd, 1784 delegates of the counties that were part of the donated land met at Jonesborough and decided to declare themselves independent of North Carolina.  Later in December they attempted to draft a new constitution, but because it contained a clause that forbid, “lawyers, doctors, and preachers” from running for office, it was never ratified.  Rather, the Constitution of North Carolina was used instead.  The purpose of declaring independence revolved around a bid for statehood.  On May 15th, 1785 the territory presented a petition to Congress for statehood, a petition which failed to garner 2/3rds support from the states, which was the majority needed under the Article of Confederation to pass a law.

Since the territory failed to become the 14th state, the people of the territory decided to strike out on their own.  Forming a new sovereign and independent republic, they created courts, an executive branch (president), a congress with two houses (senate and house of representatives), and formed their own capitol in Jonesborough.  They even built their own special capitol building that served as the heart of the new republic’s government (pictured above).    Finally, the people also gave their new nation a name; Franklin, named after founding father Benjamin Franklin. 

The Republic of Franklin was disorganized country, with a small militia for a military, no police system, no currency, and no practical way to raise taxes.  It was not uncommon for public servants and government officials to be paid in tobacco, corn whiskey, food crops, and brandy.  Even the Governor (President) of Franklin, John Sevier, was paid a salary of deer hides.  Regardless, the Republic of Franklin was somewhat prosperous, even undergoing an expansionist phase in which it annexed territories and conquered lands from neighboring Native Americans.  However, the disorganized nature of the republic and the lack of organized national defense began to wear away at the seams of the new government.

The beginning of the end of Franklin occurred in 1786 when North Carolina offered to waive all back taxes if Franklin reintegrated with the state.  The allure of reinstatement became stronger as Franklin’s position with its neighbors weakened.  Native American tribes who had been attacked by Franklin’s forces began to strike back.  Worse yet foreign powers such as France and Spain began to eye the territory.  Without a strong military it appeared that Franklin was in trouble.  In 1788 a civil war occurred when those who supported reinstatement clashed with Franklinite patriots.  The small skirmish, called “The Battle of Franklin” literally involved dozens of people with no casualties.  By the summer of 1788 Cherokee and Chickasaw forces converged on Franklin.  In a desperate act, President Servier attempted to cede Franklin to the Spanish.  At that point the government of Franklin collapsed entirely.  In 1789 the North Carolina militia drove away the Cherokee and Chickasaw, then reintegrated Franklin back into the state.  The territory was once again donated to Congress, which in turn used it to form a new state called Tennessee.

(Reuters) - The U.N. General Assembly is set to implicitly recognize a sovereign state of Palestine on Thursday despite threats by the United States and Israel to punish the Palestinian Authority by withholding much-needed funds for the West Bank government.

A resolution that would lift the Palestinian Authority’s U.N. observer status from “entity” to “non-member state,” like the Vatican, is expected to pass easily in the 193-nation General Assembly. At least 15 European states plan to vote for it.

Israel, the United States and a handful of other members are set to vote against what they see as a largely symbolic and counterproductive move by the Palestinians, which takes place on the 65th anniversary of the assembly’s adoption of resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

America and the Palestine vote

It is safe to say that the US government is dreading the prospect of a UN Security Council vote on Palestine’s bid for statehood later this month. At present the Americans reckon they could well lose such a vote 14-1, which would be a humiliation. It is possible that Britain, France and Germany (in particular) might abstain – but the Americans aren’t counting on it.

Photo (C) by zona di fotographia aka TW3 News

On December 31, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia into the Union. This petition in favor of admission was received by Congress in 1862.

Petition from citizens of Monongalia County, requesting admission of West Virginia into the Union, 1862, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives (ARC 306643)

Palestinian statehood vote: Palestinians certain to win UN recognition
November 29, 2012

The Palestinians are certain to win U.N. recognition as a state Thursday but success could exact a high price: Israel and the United States warn it could delay hopes of achieving an independent Palestinian state through peace talks with Israel.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, mounted an aggressive campaign to head off the General Assembly vote. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defiantly declared Thursday that the Palestinians would have to back down from long-held positions if they ever hope to gain independence.

In a last-ditch move Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns made a personal appeal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promising that President Barack Obama would re-engage as a mediator in 2013 if Abbas abandoned the effort to seek statehood. The Palestinian leader refused, said Abbas aide Saeb Erekat.

Ahead of Thursday’s vote, thousands of Palestinians from rival factions celebrated in the streets of the West Bank. Although the initiative will not immediately bring about independence, the Palestinians view it as a historic step in their quest for global recognition.

In a statement Thursday, Abbas appealed to all nations to vote in favor of the Palestinians “as an investment in peace.”

"We remain committed to the two-state solution and our hand remains extended in peace," Abbas said in a statement read by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki after the start of the General Assembly session. Abbas is expected to address the assembly in the afternoon.

With most of the 193 General Assembly member states sympathetic to the Palestinians, the vote is certain to succeed. Several key countries, including France, have recently announced they would support the move to elevate the Palestinians from the status of U.N. observer to nonmember observer state. However, a country’s vote in favor of the status change does not automatically imply its individual recognition of a Palestine state, something that must be done bilaterally.

The Palestinians say they need U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the lands Israel captured in 1967, to be able to resume negotiations with Israel. They say global recognition of the 1967 lines as the borders of Palestine is meant to salvage a peace deal, not sabotage it, as Israel claims.

The non-member observer state status could also open the way for possible war crimes charges against the Jewish state at the International Criminal Court.

Netanyahu warned the Palestinians Thursday that they would not win their hoped-for state until they recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, declare an end to their conflict with the Jewish state and agree to security arrangements that protect Israel.

"The resolution in the U.N. today won’t change anything on the ground," Netanyahu declared. "It won’t advance the establishment of a Palestinian state, but rather, put it further off."


The UN vote will only go so far, but it is a step toward an independent Palestine & recognizing it will be a state under occupation.

France, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Austria, Pakistan, UAE, China, India, South Africa, Denmark and Japan will vote for Palestine statehood. US, Canada, Czech and Guatemala will vote against the Palestinian bid. Australia, England, Italy and Germany are going to abstain from voting.

"If we are a country, then it will be recognized that we are occupied." - Ibrahim Khamis in a Ramallah refugee camp.