According to a Tuesday story in the Washington Free Beacon, a major liberal donor and activist named Guy Saperstein suggested in an email thread on Gamechanger Salon that the southern states be allowed to and perhaps even forced to secede from the union. The idea was inspired by a Michael Lind article in Salon that suggested that southern states were holding the United States hostage with free market economic policies. But the “United States” he meant is to say the great liberal project to impose “high wages, high taxes and centralized government,
While Lind’s prescription was to pass federal laws like a greatly increased federal minimum wage and federalizing Medicaid, Saperstein is going a step further by in effect reversing the verdict of the Civil War and letting the states of the old Confederacy go their separate way. It is unknown whether only the states which tried to secede in 1861 would be allowed to go or whether any red state would be allowed to leave the United States.
There was also an implicit assumption that the new southern nation would not have civil rights, perhaps even bringing back slavery. Part of the Saperstein project involves allowing African Americans time to flee the new southern nation to the presumably more progressive north, now to be entirely made up of blue, liberal states. Nothing was mentioned about Hispanics and other minorities who would presumably also face oppression in the new southern nation.
Lest one imagine that Saperstein is a fringe figure, it should be noted that he is a former president of the Sierra Club and a founder of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of the well-heeled who want to have their taxes raised. He is also a part owner of the Oakland Athletics. He is a major contributor to Democratic candidates and causes.
Gamechanger Salon is a shadowy, closed Google group comprised of liberal activists and journalists. “Sally Kohn, a CNN commentator, is a member, as are two Huffington Post reporters, Amanda Terkel and Ryan Grim. Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of the Nation, is also a member.” An organization called Media Trackers first noted the existence of the group thanks to a public records request of a Wisconsin university professor who is a member. It is through it that the proposal for forced secession was first uncovered.