Louis Marinelli's Farewell Statement
Today I want to speak to you of the future of independence for California.
No other question deserves more attention from our people in these troublesome times in America. No other plan offers better solutions to the problems or alleviates the growing fears of tens of millions of people who live in California today.
Since 2014, members of our campaign have traveled up and down the state working tirelessly to build up public support around our fact-based, grassroots campaign for California independence.
In the last few months, our campaign has witnessed tremendous growth. The growth has been encouraging, and yet at the same time, paralyzing, for we had not the resources, nor the infrastructure to deal with most of this growth.
For most of our campaign’s history, our effort was a small and quiet one. Prior to the November election, we had less than a hundred volunteers and most of the money we spent was borrowed money.
The numbers today look like this: Our mailing list has grown to 110,489. From that list, we have 97,463 registered supporters, 8,510 of them are signed up as volunteers and 1,201 of them have made a financial contribution to our effort.
Now the mainstream media, many of which are based in Washington and in New York, have called Calexit a fringe campaign with no chance of ever succeeding. Meanwhile, they have simultaneously sensationalized, exaggerated, and dramatized information about our campaign and particularly about myself in an effort to delegitimize our effort and demoralize our supporters.
Herein lies the curious question. If Calexit is indeed a fringe idea with no chance of ever succeeding, then why would it be necessary to smear the legitimacy of the Calexit campaign, or the integrity of the Calexit leaders? If Calexit were a fringe idea with no chance of ever succeeding then it would be ignored – much like how it was largely ignored in first years of its existence. Press coverage back then was positive, as we posed no real threat of achieving our goal.
The truth is Calexit, like any campaign, is entirely possible with the right amount of public support. With the right amount of public support, anything can be accomplished regardless of legal or constitutional barriers. Before the massive growth in public support we witnessed after the elections, Calexit wasn’t an even issue important enough to poll. Since then we’ve seen two major polls showing support for California independence at 32%.
While these numbers are welcome, they are not enough to make Calexit a reality but they have certainly been enough to raise eyebrows, and to serve as a cause of concern to those who wish to protect the status quo that Calexit threatens. The bottom line is that there is support for California independence in California, as well as around the entire country. With the right leadership and sufficient resources, particularly of a financial nature, Calexit can and will really take off.
If nothing else, the California Independence Campaign under my direction has demonstrated that point successfully.
From the beginning, I have been a reluctant leader of the Calexit campaign.
From the beginning, I have argued that Calexit ought to be led by a native Californian – someone who was born and raised under our bear flag.
From the beginning, I have pointed out the trouble I bring to the table with my political background and my history in Russia, a country I have grown to love.
For most of our campaign, there simply had not been another person ready, able, and willing to make the personal, professional, and financial sacrifices that were necessary to grow this movement from a one-man show nobody had ever heard of to the internationally-known political movement it is today.
If nothing else, the California Independence Campaign under my direction has accomplished that successfully, for the message of our campaign has reached most countries and virtually every continent on this planet.
Under my direction, the California Independence Campaign has shifted the public discourse on the topic of secession in the United States. Prior to our campaign, it was generally believed that secession was outright unconstitutional. Today, more people than ever understand that statement comes with an asterisk. The asterisk is that secession is constitutional with the “consent of the states.” What consent of the state means is yet to be determined.
If nothing else, the California Independence Campaign under my direction has cleared a narrow path to a legal and peaceful secession of California from the American Union – a path that most in this country had at worst, denied existed, or at best, merely overlooked.
Today I remain proud of the great work we have together accomplished from demonstrating Californians are open to a discussion of independence, that the people of the world are intrigued by that dream, and that that dream can be realized if only the people shall say so. That is why a referendum on independence must be the starting point on any journey to independence.
Throughout this campaign, I have followed the personal philosophy that I am a Californian first and foremost, and that my claim to being an American is the same claim that could be made by the other inhabitants of North and South America because we are all Americans.
Throughout this campaign, I have been primarily motivated by a personal struggle I have had with the United States government since 2012. That personal struggle revolved around the immigration status of my wife, a foreign national who I brought to the United States to live believing at the time that it was the best country in the world. For years, our marriage suffered as politicians in Washington argued and bickered about immigration reform while the American people expressed their anti-immigrant xenophobia.
For years, our family, like so many other families in California, suffered without the relief of comprehensive immigration reform. Unable to work, study, or travel internationally, and forced to live each day with the possibility of deportation, my wife was forced to live in the shadows. At times, it was difficult for me to even look at her, ashamed for what I had done, putting her in that situation, simply by bringing her to this country.
While Washington refused to act and the Americans continued to spew their hatred towards immigrants, Sacramento actively worked to protect our immigrants. And the people of California embraced our immigrants with open arms and with love and with respect.
It was this contrast between Washington and Sacramento and between the American people and Californian people which shifted my allegiance from the United States to California. It was this contrast which motivated me to start this campaign for independence.
And so, thirty-six months ago, I started the Calexit campaign in order to establish a country where my wife would not need to live in the shadows and where my family would feel welcome. And I wanted a country to be proud of again... and California, unlike the United States, is a great source of pride for me. But three weeks ago, my wife finally received her green card and now my personal struggle against the United States government has ended.
As I have stated in the past, I do not wish to live under the American flag. I do not wish to live under the American political system or within the American economic system. Regardless, I had long planned to eventually return to occupied California and struggle for her independence from the United States so we could build the kind of country that reflects our progressive values. However, while my frustration, disappointment and disillusionment with the United States remains, these feelings now point me in a different direction. I have found in Russia a new happiness, a life without the albatross of frustration and resentment towards ones’ homeland, and a future detached from the partisan divisions and animosity that has thus far engulfed my entire adult life.
Consequently, if the people of Russia would be so kind as to welcome me here on a permanent basis, I intend to make Russia my new home.
Accordingly, as the author and architect of the Calexit ballot initiative petition which is currently circulating in California, it is only proper, given my intention to seek permanent residence in Russia and not return to California in the foreseeable future, to withdraw that petition from circulation, and to allow a new petition, free from ties to me and drafted by others, to be resubmitted at future date of their choosing.
For me, today, my ballot initiative petition drive came to an end. To paraphrase Ted Kennedy, the brother of my childhood hero John Kennedy, I say this: for all those who support California independence, for all those whose signatures we collected, and whose cares have been our concern… the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and our dream shall never die.
Someday, after you’ve read this email and after the false allegations about me vanish, and after this period of anti-Russian hysteria subsides, may it be said of this campaign that we spoke the truth, may it be said of this campaign that we fought the good fight, and may it be said of this campaign that we set in motion a series of events that led California to independence from the United States.
When that day finally comes, as it will, I shall look forward with great satisfaction to return to California and to live once again under our bear flag. Until then I will continue to serve as the representative of the Republic of California to Russia.
Louis J. Marinelli