That attractive graphic up there represents a plan put forth by a group of liberty lovers who’d like to see New York state split into two “autonomous regions”: New York, below, composed of the city plus Long Island and Westchester and Rockland Counties, and New Amsterdam, above, composed of everything else. If that sounds appealing to you, you can attend their rally on Sunday.
Splitting up New York is not a new idea. Vermont only became a state after it successfully withdrew from New York in 1777, and in the 1960s, Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin ran a wacky New York City mayoral campaign premised on independence for the five boroughs.
This time around, it’s the far right leading the charge: groups including the Tri-County Tea Party and the local Oath Keepers will come together Sunday to demonstrate in favor of “reclaiming the economic opportunities Upstate has lost and restoring the liberties Upstate residents once enjoyed,” according to a statement.
Those lost liberties include the right to fracking and unfettered access to guns. SCOPE NY, one of the principal groups of the New Amsterdam movement, exists to challenge the SAFE Act, a set of lukewarm gun control laws Governor Andrew Cuomo signed after the Sandy Hook shooting. Nice timing.
Though the event’s organizers are billing it as a “secessionist movement” rally, they don’t actually want to form their own state. In order to sidestep the act of Congress that would be required to do so, they’re pushing for New York and New Amsterdam to become self-governing regions with a “token state government” above them, which “would have about the same power as the Queen of England!” a representative of the Divide New York State Caucus told Syracuse.com.
A Change.org petition in support of New Amsterdam has about 3,000 signatures at the time of this writing. They’ll need more than that to make their big red dream a reality. Namely, they’ll need the state government to sign off on it, which, of course, it will not.
If supporters are serious about splitting from the depraved metropolis below them, that also means splitting from their largest source of revenue. In 2009 and 2010, New York City and the rest of the non-New Amsterdam counties paid out $12 billion in tax dollars to struggling counties upstate. Good luck getting along without it.