SONOMA, Calif.—The New California State movement completed its 96-week-long weekly grievance process on Nov. 19, the 156th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
The New California State movement is a statewide grassroots effort to break away most of California’s rural areas from the current state and to form a new state. So far, representatives from 52 counties in California have joined the movement.
The activists in the movement have worn yellow vests at public events since last December to express their opposition to globalism and socialism.
The movement, if successful, would make New California the 51st state in the Union. The new state would be the 6th most populous state, after New York but ahead of Illinois and Pennsylvania. The remaining part of California would have only seven counties and become the 2nd most populous state after Texas.
The movement declared its independence on Jan. 15 last year, and it states that it is following a constitutional process based on Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which specifies the process for establishing a new state from an existing one. The last time this process was done successfully was when West Virginia broke away from Virginia in 1861.
Since claiming its independence, the movement has filed weekly grievances each Tuesday, except Christmas Day in 2018, in counties involved in this process. The movement has filed 95 grievances using the First Amendment right of petitioning the government for redress of grievances.
Paul Preston, the president of the movement, told The Epoch Times that the reason it filed a total of 95 grievances was that he was inspired by Reverend Father Martin Luther, who made 95 theses for the reformation of Roman Catholic churches.
The new state chose Jan. 15, 2018 to claim its independence because it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The African American leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960s was named by his father after the Protestant reformation leader, Martin Luther.
The grievances issued by the movement stated that California has been in violation of U.S. Constitution Article IV, Section 4, which is known as the “Guarantee Clause.” This section of the Constitution requires that the state and federal governments provide the citizens of the United States with a republican form of government, protect them against invasion, and protect them against domestic violence.
The movement holds that the current state has a “mono-party control” system instead of a republican form of government, and that it has adopted sanctuary state policies that have failed to protect California from invasion by illegal immigrants and failed to protect Californians from domestic crimes caused by illegal immigrants.
Since Article VI of the Constitution states that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, the new state movement believes that by violating Article IV, Section 4, California has also violated Article VI.
One of the locations where the 95th and final grievance was announced was Sonoma Plaza, where California’s Bear Flag was first raised in 1846 after the state declared its independence from Mexico.
Reed Johnson, Committee Chair and the interim State Senator of Butte County of the new state, read the full Gettysburg Address in front of the statue in memory of the first raising of the Bear Flag.
Johnson also read the full text of the Declaration of Independence of California, which was written in 1836 by Juan Bautista Alvarado.
The Declaration states: “California is free and it will cut off all relations with Mexico until the mother country cease being oppressed by the present ruling faction known as the central government.”
Alvarado led a coup in 1836 and declared independence for California. His effort to make California independent did not succeed. Alvarado became the governor of the state between 1837 and 1842, and the central government of Mexico gave the state more local autonomy.
Following Johnson’s reading, Preston read the Proclamation written by Commander William B. Ide in June 1846, when California again declared its independence from Mexico and raised its own Bear Flag.
In his proclamation, Ide invited California citizens to assist him in establishing a government, “which shall secure to all, civil, religious and personal liberty; which shall insure the security of life and property; which shall detect and punish crime and injustice; which shall encourage industry, virtue and literature, and which shall foster agriculture, manufactures, and mechanism.”
California existed as a republic with its Bear Flag for less than 24 days before it was claimed as territory of the United States on July 9, 1846.
Preston told The Epoch Times that since the new state movement has completed it grievance process, they will start negotiating with the state legislators and forming statewide interim commissions to work on issues related to New California State.
The U.S. Constitution requires that the formation of a new state from an existing state must be approved by the legislature of the existing state. What motive the California legislature would have for letting the rural areas form a new state is not clear.
In addition, the U.S. Senate must approve the formation of the new state. Doing so would likely require 60 votes to bring the matter before the Senate for a vote.
As the Senate is currently constituted, this would require several Democrats to vote to create a new, likely Republican, state and diminish the electoral power of California that gives their party a significant advantage in presidential contests.
These difficulties have often been brought up at New California State meetings, but the movement has continued to move forward regardless of the challenges.