My name is Louis J. Marinelli, I am a co-founder of the California Independence Movement known as Yes California, the first president of Calexit and the founding chairman of the California National Party.
I believe in putting America first and that by doing so we can make America great. That’s why I voted to elect Donald Trump president in 2016 and it is why I voted to reelect him in November 2020. But even before he rode down that escalator to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination, I was disappointed by the direction of the country and had come to understand that almost everything I had been taught in school about America was untrue.
I was born in Upstate New York in a city known for good hockey, pizza, and chicken wings. It’s the kind of Rust Belt city in a Deep Blue state behind the Blue Wall where the decline of America is evident by the abandoned factories that line the Niagara River, its empty downtown shopping mall, and the corporate exodus that left many of the city’s other commercial downtown properties vacant, including over a million square feet in the city’s lone skyscraper.
Not only the businesses are leaving. The population has fallen by nearly half of a percent each year since the turn of the century and its NFL franchise might leave when their lease expires in 2023. That is nothing to say of the deteriorating infrastructure across the city, its relatively high violent crime rate, and the fact that the city of Buffalo has some of the highest taxes in a state that has some of the highest taxes in the country.
Having grown up in Buffalo, a city which has had a Democratic mayor since 1966 in a state with a governorship and State Assembly controlled by the Democrats since 1975 (George Pataki, who FiveThirtyEight ranked the most liberal Republican presidential candidate in modern history, was governor from 1995-2006), in hindsight I understand the failures that result from total Democratic governance and why my father moved me to neighboring Niagara County, a more conservative county which voted 58.5% for Donald Trump this year.
After school I took up studying Russian and Political Science at university – which led to an opportunity to study abroad in Russia. After a short trip to that country as a student, I decided to return to immerse myself more deeply into the culture and to truly learn the language. Living in Russia was and has been an invaluable experience to which I owe my current ability to speak one of the world’s most difficult languages, and to which I owe my better understanding of a country that for decades was hidden behind an Iron Curtain.
I moved back to the states in 2011. I also had a change of heart on the issue of same-sex marriage that year, just as many other Americans during that time “evolved” on the issue. Still a conservative by heart and a Republican by registration, I voted against President Obama in 2012 because his globalist foreign policies were accelerating the pace of America’s decline – something I was able to clearly observe from “outside the box” of America while living abroad. His liberal domestic policies, meanwhile, were transforming independence-loving Americans into a nation of dependents increasingly reliant on the federal government for their livelihoods. There is no more effective way to ensure the rise of tyranny than by vesting the people’s livelihoods in the survival of the government. The Romans were placated by bread and circuses. Democrats placate with promises of universal healthcare and free college education.
That is not to say Mitt Romney was some kind of savior – and he would not have been were he elected – but I plugged my nose and voted for him even though the former Republican governor of Massachusetts was not much better than the former Republican governor of New York. Nor was he any better than senator John McCain, the so-called “maverick” who loved fraternizing with Democrats in Washington, who I also grudgingly voted for in 2008.
But a “savior” is exactly what America needed. Our country has always faced threats from abroad but what became particularly concerning as the years passed were the threats we faced from within, namely, the career politicians in Washington we refer to as the swamp and the non-elected government officials of the shadow government we refer to as the deep state. These are the two most significant threats to the Republic and why Donald Trump’s effort to drain the swamp and expose the deep state have made him the most important president since Abraham Lincoln.
Meanwhile, fake news, cancel culture, and censorship of conservative voices on social media were just kicking into high gear, threatening our First Amendment. Democrats had tolerance for just about everything those days except difference of opinion and through their media allies they instilled fear in those who would voice opposing points of view – fear for one’s business through targeted boycotts, fear for one’s property through organized riots and looting, fear for one’s reputation through public shaming. It is the kind of suppression of opposition which edges you closer to the very definition of fascism. And yet they have tried to hang the “fascist” albatross around Donald Trump’s neck.
Democrats have and continue to exploit mass shootings, playing on people’s emotions in order to grow public support for their ultimate dream of repealing or at least scaling back the Second Amendment. Yet the right to bear arms is the single most significant obstacle to the rise of tyranny. Once you provide the people with free education, free healthcare, a universal basic income, and their retirement, you have a society fully dependent on the government from birth to death. Take away its right to bear arms, as Democrats want to do, and you have a society unable to take its independence back from a tyrannical government.
When I returned to the United States, oddly enough I chose to live to California. Once there, the Golden State in many ways reminded me of the Empire State. Both long controlled by Democrats with all the “benefits” that come with total Democratic control of government – deteriorating infrastructure, high crime rates, high taxes. And yet on the surface California had everything going for it: a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that, if independent of the United States, would rank in the top ten global economies; a few the world’s busiest seaports; several major industries – everything from aerospace to agriculture and from technology to tourism; the film and entertainment industry in Hollywood; and a diverse population of nearly forty million provided a sizeable labor force and taxpayer base.
So, what is the problem? Like New York, California has been under total Democrat governance for decades – the Democrats have had a majority in the State Senate since 1970 and the essentially the same could be said about the State Assembly. With the exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger, another former Republican governor of a Deep Blue state, California has had Democrat governors since 1999.
New York and California. Two examples of the failures of so-called progressive policies which I personally experienced. Yet these failures are more profound in California than they were in New York. The Golden State’s deteriorating infrastructure, relatively high violent crime, and high taxes and fees are just the beginning.
Homelessness is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of one-party rule by Democrats in California. City centers across the state are all littered with homeless persons living in tent cities on abandoned lots and under bridges. This is not only a stain on the state’s name – it is a serious public health and safety issue. The reason the problem continues to worsen, despite the fact that massive amounts of tax dollars are appropriated to affordable housing each year, is due to the the state’s penchant for regulating everything – there is too much bureaucracy and it is too expensive for developers to build affordable housing.
Yet housing costs are just one aspect of the high cost of living in California. Gas taxes are the highest in the nation, yet roads in California are among the worst. Energy rates are among the highest in the nation as consumers pay for the construction of new power plants and the maintenance of power lines, yet California still faces blackouts. Water rates are among the highest in the nation as consumers pay for the construction and maintenance of water infrastructure, yet water infrastructure across the state is aging and failing.
Despite the fact California has the highest taxes in the nation paired with the largest work force and the greatest number of taxpaying small businesses, it ranks poorly for long-term fiscal stability. The outlook appears even worse as many businesses, including some high-profile business such as Charles Schwab and Jamba Juice, have or are moving to more business-friendly states like Texas.
Metric by metric, it is clear that California is the worst run state in the nation. The Democrats who run and have run the state claim to be the party of working people and families, yet their progressive policies and regulations are crushing workers struggling to afford the high cost of living progressive politicians have created. Like businesses, many of these working families are also relocating to places like Texas, where they will keep more of the money they earn and be able to pursue the American dream.
After a short time living in California, I understood that the root of America’s problems – why we were headed in the wrong direction, why we were in decline, was due to the cancer of so-called liberalism and that California was the core of the tumor that was slowly killing America from within. With decades of total control by the left, none of the ongoing and worsening problems California faces can be blamed on the right. Yet for me to say so in California would be to unmask a sheep in a lion’s den, for California is not welcoming to those who do not conform to, let alone criticize, their progressive doctrine.
If only California was not part of the United States. Once again, the state has everything going for it – a top ten global GDP, access to international trade routes, vast natural resources, a diversified economy, and a large population. It could theoretically be an independent country. Whether that independent country would mirror liberal Canada or socialist Venezuela is a different question, but the rest of America nonetheless would be better off without California. With that in mind, in 2014 I founded the modern-day California independence movement known as Calexit. To grow the campaign would require publicly adopting a liberal political ideology – temporarily muzzling my free-thinking soul to toe the progressive line.
Yet behind the scenes at Calexit, I was a regular guest on several conservative talk radio programs, I pushed our campaign to develop a relationship with the conservatives behind the State of Jefferson movement in northern California, I ran for State Assembly in a long-shot effort to unseat a Democrat in a heavily-democratic district but did not advance beyond the primary because I refused to sell my soul and register as a Democrat. That same election, our campaign officially opposed Hillary Clinton for president in large part due to my staunch opposition to her candidacy. I was genuinely #NeverHillary and moved back to Russia in September 2016 in anticipation of her victory. Shortly thereafter, I represented our independence movement in Russia during the height of the Democrats’ Russia collusion hoax.
Later on, I had our campaign attend a secession conference hosted by the Abbeville Institute in Dallas, Texas, where we networked with hundreds of conservatives from around the country. During this time, we modeled Calexit after the conservative Convention of States project, which seeks an Article V constitutional convention. Most recently, I have been lobbying our campaign to join the effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. The goal all along has been first to demonstrate that California has what it takes to be an independent country and, second, that there is a market, so to speak, supportive or at least open to the idea of California secession. If eventually some opportunistic investor like Timothy Draper or Shervin Pishevar came round to throw some money into the idea, it would spread like wildfire, and we were from day one prepared to hand everything over at that point.
Truth be told, I have indeed lost faith in the functionality of the United States as a country in its current form – that was not feigned. That loss of faith is rooted in the type of partisanship that exists in a country with ever-expanding political polarization. America cannot be great until we remove the tumor that that is rooted in places like California’s coast.
Let us amputate our western limb to save the rest of the nation from the cancer that is spreading from it. Let us have a national divorce with the State of California. Oregon and Washington can go, too – the three may already be headed in that direction via the so-called Western States Pact.
It is even more imperative than ever that we do this now, which is why I publish this statement today. There is an Orwellian revolution underway and those behind the real insurrection are exaggerating and embellishing the events of January 6 as justification – a sort of modern day Reichstag fire (which resulted in the suspension of certain civil liberties and the rise of Nazi control of government in 1933 Germany) to launch a propaganda campaign to mischaracterize and stifle the free speech of their political opponents, including the sitting president of the United States.
Nothing is more important to a free society than the freedom of speech, which exists specifically to protect controversial speech. Approved speech is not free speech and we must oppose this coup that is being orchestrated by the left, blamed on the right, and supported by big tech allies headquartered in California and Washington State.
Let us amputate these states for the sake of the rest of the country.