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Separatism is the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. While it often refers to full political secession, separatist groups may seek nothing more than greater autonomy. While some critics may equate separatism with religious segregation, racist segregation, or sexist segregation, most separatists argue that separation by choice is not the same as government-enforced segregation and may serve useful purposes.
- 1 Motivations
- 2 Governmental responses
- 3 Types of separatist groups
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Groups may have one or more motivations for separation, including:
- emotional resentment and hatred of rival communities.
- protection from ethnic cleansing and genocide.
- resistance by victims of oppression, including denigration of their language, culture or religion.
- propaganda by those who hope to gain politically from intergroup conflict and hatred.
- economic and political dominance of one group that does not share power and privilege in an egalitarian fashion.
- detaching from generally accepted stereotypes and sacrificing more time to create happiness mote sustainability than the current flow of things.
- economic motivations: seeking to end economic exploitation by more powerful group or, conversely, to escape economic redistribution from a richer to a poorer group.
- preservation of threatened religious, language or other cultural tradition.
- destabilization from one separatist movement giving rise to others.
- geopolitical power vacuum from breakup of larger states or empires.
- continuing fragmentation as more and more states break up.
- feeling that the perceived nation was added to the larger state by illegitimate means.
- the perception that the state can no longer support one's own group or has betrayed their interests.
- opposition to political decisions.
- wish to have a more practical political structure and not rely on people who are located far away to govern them or otherwise impractical solutions.
How far separatist demands will go toward full independence, and whether groups pursue constitutional and nonviolent or armed violence, depend on a variety of economic, political, social and cultural factors, including movement leadership and the government's response. Governments may respond in a number of ways, some of which are mutually exclusive. Some include:
- accede to separatist demands
- improve the circumstances of disadvantaged minorities, be they religious, linguistic, territorial, economic or political
- adopt "asymmetric federalism" where different states have different relations to the central government depending on separatist demands or considerations
- allow minorities to win in political disputes about which they feel strongly, through parliamentary voting, referendum, etc.
- settle for a confederation or a commonwealth relationship where there are only limited ties among states.
Some governments suppress any separatist movement in their own country, but support separatism in other countries.
Types of separatist groups
Separatist groups practice a form of identity politics - "political activity and theorizing founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups." Such groups believe attempts at integration with dominant groups compromise their identity and ability to pursue greater self-determination. However, economic and political factors usually are critical in creating strong separatist movements as opposed to less ambitious identity movements.
- English Christians in the 16th and 17th centuries who wished to separate from the Church of England and form independent local churches were influential politically under Oliver Cromwell, who was himself a separatist. They were eventually called Congregationalists. The Pilgrims who established the first successful colony in New England were separatists.
- Christian separatist groups in Indonesia, India and South Carolina (United States).
- Zionism sought the creation of the State of Israel as a Jewish homeland, with separation from gentile Palestinians. Simon Dubnow, who had mixed feelings toward Zionism, formulated Jewish Autonomism, which was adopted in eastern Europe by Jewish political parties such as the Bund and his own Folkspartei before World War II. Zionism can also be seen as somewhat ethnic too, however, as its definition of who is Jewish has often included people of Jewish background who do not practice the Jewish religion. This is further complicated as some who had ancestors who converted to Judaism, such as some Ethiopian Jews, may not share ethnic history with the Jews however are considered to be so although not without debate.
- The Partition of India and (later Pakistan and Bangladesh) arose as a result of separatism on the part of Muslims.
- Sikhs in India sought an independent nation of Khalistan after an agitation in 70's and 80's for implementation of the Anandpur Sahib Resolution (which amongst other things demanded greater share of river water and autonomy for Punjab) resulted in the storming of the Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple) by the Government of India troops in 1984. The storming of the temple to flush out Sikh Militants who were gaining momentum in their agitation for greater autonomy for Punjab resulted in Sikhs demanding an independent state for the Sikhs situated in Punjab Khalistan movement. The conflict escalated and led to an assassination of the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi as a retaliation of an Indian military operation called 'Operation Blue Star' directed against the Sikhs' holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, in which many innocent Sikh civilians too lost their lives. The revenge murder of Mrs. Indira Gandhi evoked a Congress Party led backlash in the form of the Sikh Genocide which started in New Delhi and swept India in November 1984, which only further strengthened the Khalistan Movement, but it was largely subdued owing to the efforts of the police in Punjab. The controversial response by the Punjab state reportedly involved the use of human rights violations in the form of unexplained disappearances, faked encounters killings, rape and torture. However, many in the Sikh diaspora in the West and even Sikhs in India, still support the idea of Khalistan, although support is dying and generally the Indian Sikh population is patriotic towards India, or at least not supportive of the idea of Khalistan.
- Muslim separatist groups in the Philippines (Mindanao and other regions: Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Abu Sayyaf), in Thailand (see also South Thailand insurgency), in India (see also Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir), in the Peoples Republic of China (Xinjang: East Turkestan Islamic Movement), Tanzania (Zanzibarian separatist movements), in the Central African Republic (Regions who inhabited by Muslims: Séléka), in Russia (in the Northern Caucasus, especially in Chechnya: Caucasus Emirate), in Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina: Alija Izetbegovic espoused an Islamic inspired separatism)
- Independence movement in Puerto Rico with the goal of obtaining complete independence from the United States.
- The Tuareg separatists in Niger and Mali.
- The Soviet Union's dissolution into its original ethnic groupings which formed their own nations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
- Chechen separatism in the Caucasus, currently the Republic of Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation (Russian rule).
- Northern Cyprus separatism in Cyprus.
- South Ossetia and Abkhazia separatism in Georgia.
- Armenian separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan.
- Azeri separatists in Iran want to unite the provinces of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Zanjan and Ardabil with Azerbaijan.
- The Kurdish people whose lands and peoples were divided between Turkey, Syria, Iraq after World War I. Also the Kurdish region in Iran.
- Silesian separatism in Poland and Czech Republic.
- Spain's Basque, Galician and Catalan separatists. Minor separatist movements in Andalusia, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Castile (almost non-existent), León, Navarre and Valencia (see nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain).
- "Celtic nations" in the British Isles have created various separatist movements from the United Kingdom described as Scottish independence, Welsh Nationalism, Irish Republicanism and Cornish Nationalism. In addition to the Celtic nationalisms, there are also English nationalist and independence movements.
- France's Basque, Catalan, Corsican, Breton, Occitan and Savoyan separatists.
- Italy's separatist movements in Sardinia, Sicily, South Tyrol and Veneto.
- Bavarian separatism in Germany, despite the Bavarian Land being referred to as the Bavarian Free State.
- Czechoslovakia's split into ethnic Czech and Slovakian republics in 1993.
- The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia dissolution into ethnic (and religious) based Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Serbia.
- Belgium granting Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia greater autonomy.
- In the Netherlands some Frisians covet an autonomous country or area (see Fryske Beweging on the Frisian Wikipedia).
- Switzerland's division into cantons along geographical, religious and linguistic lines.
- Ukraine: Separatism in the Donbass regions Donetsk and Luhansk (see also Donetsk People's Republic, Luhansk People's Republic and War in Donbass) and the Ethnic-based Separatism of Russians in Crimea (see also Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation)
- French-speaking Quebec debating and voting on separation from Canada over several decades. It is unclear if this is a matter of ethnic, linguistic or territorial nationalism.
- Africa's hundreds of ethnic groups are subsumed into 53 nation states, often leading to ethnic conflict and separatism, including in Angola, Algeria, Burundi, the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, Congo and The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur in Sudan, Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Western Sahara and Zimbabwe.
- The Nigerian civil war (also known as the Biafran war) during the 1960s among Igbos, Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba; today's ethnic and oil-related conflict in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
- Conflicts in Liberia between African-Liberians and Americo-Liberians, people of African-descend who immigrated from the Americas after being freed from slavery.
- Conflicts between Zulus and Xhosa in South Africa during and after apartheid.
- Boere-Afrikaners separatists.
- Anjouan's separatism in the Union of Comoros as the island is a separate community from that of Comoros.
- Separatist movements of Pakistan including Balochistan movement, Sindhudesh movement and Pashtunistan movement.
- Separatist movements of India including Separate Statehood movement of Telangana, Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and Insurgent groups in Northeast India
- Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority separatism in Tamil Eelam.
- Burma (Union of Myanmar)'s ethnic Arakan, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Shan, Wa separatism.
- Ethnic Malay separatism in Thailand.
- Free Papua Movement in West Papua, Indonesia.
- China's Tibet has a separatist government in exile.
- Ethnic-based separatism among Turkic groups in Xinjiang (Uighurs).
- Māori separatism in New Zealand.
- The breakup of the Habsburg Empire into ethnic-based states.
- The breakup of the Ottoman Empire into ethnic based states.
- Hispanic (mostly Chicano) separatism, as embodied in the Chicano Movement (or Chicano nation) in the United States sought to recreate Aztlán, the mythical homeland of the Uto-Aztecs comprising the Southwestern United States which is home to the majority of Mexican Americans. They drew on the Latin American concepts of racial identity such as the bronze race and La Raza Cósmica. Today a small Raza Unida Party continues with similar goals.
Some separatist groups seek to separate from others along racial lines. They oppose interracial marriage and integration with other races and seek separate schools, businesses, churches and other institutions; and often separate societies, territories, countries, and governments.
- Black separatism (also known as black nationalism) is the most prominent wave advancing the concepts of "Black racial identity" in the United States and has been advanced by black leaders like Marcus Garvey and organizations such as the Nation of Islam. Critical race theorists like New York University's Derrick Bell and University of Colorado's Richard Delgado argue the U.S. legal, education and political party systems are rife with blatant racism. They support efforts like "all-black" schools and dorms and question the efficacy and merit of government-enforced integration. In 2008 statements by Barack Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright, Jr. revived the issue of the current relevance of black separatism.
- Latin American concepts of racial identity such as the bronze race and La Raza Cósmica found in the small separatist Raza Unida Party. The Chicano Movement (or Chicano nation) in the United States sought to recreate Aztlán, the mythical homeland of the Aztecs comprising the Southwestern United States.
- White separatism in the United States and Western Europe seeks separation and survival of the white race and limits to non-white immigration. According to two sociologists writing in the year 2000, most separatists formally reject any ideology of white supremacy, though some left-wing advocacy groups still continue to oppose such separatist groups.
- Most North American and many other Native American groups already have a high degree of autonomy. Complete separatism is advocated by some members of the Canadian First Nations, American Indian Movement, Republic of Lakotah (Lakota Sioux people in South Dakota), the Navajo or "Na-Dene" Nationalists in Arizona and tribal groups in Eastern Oklahoma, most notably the Cherokee people of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
- Hawaiian sovereignty movement seeks some form of sovereignty for Hawaii.
Geographic and socioeconomic separatism
Gender and sexist separatism
- Separatist feminism is women's choosing to separate from ostensibly male-defined, male-dominated institutions, relationships, roles and activities. Lesbian separatism advocates lesbianism as the logical result of feminism. Some separatist feminists and lesbian separatists have chosen to live apart in intentional community, cooperatives, and on land trusts. "Gay" separatism including both lesbians and gay men holds they should form a community distinct and separate from other groups.
- Lists of active separatist movements
- List of historical separatist movements
- List of states with limited recognition
- Lists of ethnic groups
- Ethnic minority
- Ethnic nationalism
- Identity politics
- Language secessionism
- Minority group
- Stateless nation
- Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
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