We Invoke Chapter 11 of the United Nations Charter
California is effectively a non-self-governing territory and on this 240th anniversary of the United States' independence from Great Britain, we invoke Chapter 11 of the United Nations Charter in pursuance of independence from the United States.
California has many of the institutions of government that on its surface appear to guarantee the right to self-government, a cornerstone of both the American Revolutionary War, as well as the Charter of the United Nations. However, the mere presence of these institutions, such as the State Assembly and State Senate, comprised of representatives chosen by election every two years does not necessarily mean we enjoy self-government.
Self-government exists when the citizens of a political unit, such as California, rule themselves, control their own affairs, and are free from external government control or outside political authority.
Do the people of California enjoy these conditions of self-government?
Not quite. We do choose our own state lawmakers ourselves but Federal laws are the supreme law of the land and take precedence over the laws we enact through our state lawmakers. These Federal laws are enacted largely by 382 representatives and 98 senators who we may not vote for, who exercise supreme political authority from the District of Columbia, and therefore exert great control over California's affairs from outside our borders.
The budget we have to deal with each year is drafted largely by these 382 representatives we may not vote for. For decades, this external government institution, although the actual representatives themselves have changed over time, has been responsible for treating California like a colony. Whether it be for our gold in the 1800s or presently our taxes, we have been powerless to end this exploitation and so this does not reflect self-government.
The 98 senators we may not vote for have the collective authority to confirm judges to Federal courts that hold jurisdiction over the people of California. These judges have the authority to invalidate any law enacted by our state lawmakers. Since we have no power to reject or confirm these judges ourselves, this does not reflect self-government.
The 98 senators which we may not vote for have the collective authority to ratify treaties. Per the United States Constitution, which was ratified prior to California’s annexation in 1846, treaties are the “supreme law of the land” in California and these treaties superesede our state laws. These treaties subject us to external political authority, namely, foreign governments. Since we have no power to negotiate, reject, or confirm these treaties ourselves, this does not reflect self-government.
The District of Columbia, which is rooted thousands of miles from California’s borders and on the other side of the continent, owns about 45% of the land in California. Since this outside political authority though its various agencies controls this land, collects the majority of the royalties earned from the extraction of natural resources from this land, and even deprives us of our share of the royalties when they deem it necessary, this does not reflect self-government.
As one scholar, Paul David Miller, put it: “Because self-government is distinct from its institutional embodiments, a government can undermine the substance of democracy even while retaining its formal appearance by undermining a culture of responsibility, citizens’ faith in democratic legitimacy, or their ability to engage meaningfully in the system.”
On that note, California further lacks self-government regardless of the regularity of our elections and the existence of our legislative bodies because we have lost faith in the legitimacy of our democratic system. Additionally, we no longer maintain the ability to engage meaningfully in this system.
This is evident by the abysmal support people have for these democratic institutions. When more than two-thirds of the population has lost faith in all three branches of government, and when the people who run the three branches of government no longer represent the people, this does not reflect self-government.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of us consistently believe the country itself is on the wrong path. Since this belief persists beyond elections that occur every two years, it is evident that we lack the ability to meaningfully engage in our system to effect the change we want to see, and so this also does not reflect self-government.
When the Supreme Court in the District of Columbia, comprised of nine justices confirmed by the 98 senators we never elected routinely overturns rulings made by lower courts in California, this does not reflect self-government. When that same Court undermines democratic legitimacy and our ability to engage meaningfully in our system by allowing corporations from outside California to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence our elections, this does not reflect self-government.
The examples go on and on and lead to the same conclusion: Californians lack the ability to self-govern not by choice or some lacking quality, but by affiliation in the association that is the United States of America, a political union. Aristotle once wrote that the state is an association, a sentiment which was more recently echoed by political philosopher Robert Morrison MacIver. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, to which the United States Government is obliged to adhere, declares that no one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Therefore, California invokes Chapter 11 of the United Nations Charter, which requires that Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government, “to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions.”
If it is demonstrated via honest referendum that the political aspirations of the people of California include independence from the authority, jurisdiction, and influence of the United States Government, then the United States of America must, in accordance with their treaty obligations under the United Nations Charter, “take due account” of that, and not only allow us to develop the self-government that is the cornerstone of the American Revolutionary War and the Charter of the United Nations, but they must even assist us in the progressive development of the free political institutions that are conducive of the type of self-government to which we are entitled as a free people.