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The Evil of Separatism Explained with Examples

Separatism Explained with Examples
The concept of separatism has come into play numerous times during the course of history, and has been observed in almost all countries of the world at some point or the other. While some separatist movements were initiated because of ethnic and racial oppression and inequality, few others were generated to establish their own autonomy.
Komal B. Patil
Last Updated: Dec 21, 2017
By far the greater part of violence that humans have inflicted on each other is not the work of criminals or the mentally deranged, but of normal, respectable citizens in the service of the collective ego.
- Eckhart Tolle
Separatism refers to advocating the separation or secession of a group of people from the larger group or population due to differences based on culture, ethnicity, religion, race, government, or gender. In layman's terms, it is analogous to a divorce between two groups of people. The people advocating a separation are called separatists, while the whole movement or organization is called a separatist movement or a secession movement.

These movements may be triggered due to the oppression of a certain group, discrimination against them by the larger population, or an attempt to promote unity and self-sufficiency among themselves. Alternatively, it may be possible that the group merely wants to be recognized as an independent and autonomous entity, while still being governed by the same government. Economic, political, and religious factors may also influence a group to want to secede, for example, if the group feels that some political party or religious sect is predominantly affecting governance of the country or state, or if it believes that monetary gains or employment benefits are being withheld unjustly for illogical reasons. Another major motivation for encouraging separation could be to right a historical wrong, e.g. reclaiming a piece of land usurped by a foreign group of people.
Motivating Factors for Separatism
★ Emotional resentment of rival communities, thereby giving rise to hatred.

★ To protect the people against attempts of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

★ Resisting all forms of oppression, such as the defamation of their language, culture or religion.

★ Seeking political gain by exploiting intergroup conflict and hatred.
★ Social inequality arising from the economic and political dominance of an elitist group.

★ To expunge stereotypical views of society, about the group.

★ To establish economic stability as well as economic equality among the people.

★ To preserve an ancient or rare religion, language, culture, etc.
★ Instability arising due to an ill-planned, unsuccessful prior separatist movement.

★ The creation of a geopolitical power vacuum resulting from the dissolution of a large State, or due to a change in the form of governing body or system.

★ Intervention by a foreign government in the affairs of another government.
★ Belief of the people that the State can no longer take care of them, or that it does not have their best interests at heart.

★ Dissatisfaction by political decisions and government policies.

★ Desire to be governed by a political structure that is practical and just.
Possible Outcomes
The success of any separatist movement depends on a variety of variables that include governmental outlook, method adopted by the group (non-violent and constitutional, or violent and rash), validity of claim, social and cultural factors, and the economic and political situation. Based on these, the government may carry out any one of the following responses.
★ Accept and accede to separatist proposal.

★ Address the claims of discontent by improving the circumstances of the people.

★ Adopt "asymmetric federalism" where each state deals appropriately according to the different demands or considerations of the people of that state.

★ Allow the people to have a say in relevant political disputes that affect them, via parliamentary voting, referendum, etc.

★ Create and set up a unionist confederation or a commonwealth of separated States.

★ Dismiss the proposal, citing that the claims are unfounded.
Types of Separatism
Religious Separatism
Separatism implemented on the basis of religious identity, in order to preserve their religious view and to be recognized as a distinct entity.
★ The congregationalists, who wished to separate from the Church of England to form independent local churches in the 16th and 17th century, were separatists.

★ The establishment of Israel as a Jewish State via Zionism, thus separating it from Muslim and Christian Palestinians.

★ The partition of India, Pakistan, and later Bangladesh was a result of Muslim separatism.

★ During 1970-1980, the Sikhs in India sought to separate into an independent sovereign State of "Khalistan".
Ethnic Separatism
It arises due to cultural and linguistic differences and discrimination, and seeks to form an independent, autonomous community.
★ The dissolution of the Soviet Union (USSR) into various ethnic nationalities such as Armenia, Belarus, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, etc.

★ Basque, Galician and Catalan separatists in Spain as well as France.

★ The splitting of Czechoslovakia into Czech and Slovakian republics in 1993.

★ Dissolution of Yugoslavia into Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

★ Debated separation of French-speaking Quebec from the State of Canada.

★ Grant of Statehood to Telangana and the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir in India.
Racist Separatism
Discrimination against people and their oppression solely due to their race, leads to the eventual advocacy of a separatist movement in order to provide a means to escape the oppression. They seek separate educational and corporate institutions as well as separate societies.
★ Black separatism movement in the U.S.A questions the efficacy and merit of government-enforced integration, when racial discrimination is still widespread among the populace.

★ White separatism in the U.S. and Europe seeks the separation and survival of the Caucasians or the "white race" by limiting the immigration by "non-whites" to their country. This is also accompanied by the notion of "White Supremacy".

★ Hawaiian populations seek a sovereign status.

★ The Native American tribes and populations seek the formation of separate nations for each tribe, e.g. the Cherokee people seek a Cherokee nation of Oklahoma.
Geographic and Socioeconomic Separatism
It involves the movement to separate a region as a sovereign nation in order to preserve the natural geographic terrain, and bioregion. Since the people living in the area are employed in businesses that depend on the terrain, a socioeconomic aspect is also present.
★ The Cascadia separatist movement in the northwest regions of U.S.A. seek independence to be able to conserve resources and preserve the natural bioregionalism, and local food networks and economies.
Gender and Sexist Separatism
It seeks separation of individuals into distinct communities based on their gender and sexual orientation.
★ Separatist feminism advocates the separation of women from male-defined, male-dominated institutions, relationships, gender roles, etc.

★ Lesbian separatism expounds lesbianism to be the logical end result of feminism.

★ Queer Separatism states that all lesbians, gay, bisexuals, and transgenders form a separate community (LGBT community) where none is judged for their individual orientation.
The main reason underlying the various forms of separatism is the fact that human nature is prone to ethnocentric egoism and intolerability of other beliefs. However, one can overcome this nature by being open-minded, and developing a peaceful tolerance and appreciation of others, irrespective of how different they may be. In the words of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin,"The ideology of concord is the most reliable way for developing a strong immunity against all types of separatism."