Why Some Californians Want to Break Away to Form a New State

October 22, 2018 Updated: October 24, 2018

IRVINE, Calif.—More than 160 Californians from 32 counties recently attended New California’s second constitutional convention. New California is a movement to break away from current California and form a new state.

The movement claimed independence for the new state on Jan. 15—Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The activists in this movement say they’ve followed Article 4, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, and are using the same process that West Virginia used in separating from Virginia in 1861.

When asked why MLK Day was chosen to proclaim independence, Paul Preston, the founder of the movement, said that like King, they want to assert the constitutional protection of their rights. “We feel that connectivity [of Martin Luther King Jr.] to New California has to be there. It is very strong, and very significant.”

Preston said the new state held its first constitutional convention on July 21, following the issuance of a declaration of independence, and has been receiving “tens of thousands of phone calls and emails” supporting the movement.

Totalitarian Mentality

Throughout U.S. history, new states have been formed for a variety of reasons. Why would Californians break away from the “Golden State,” the richest state in the union? California, which has the largest economy among the states, would be the world’s fifth-largest economy in the world by GDP, if considered as a nation on its own.

The reasons go all the way back to the original founding of the United States, said Donald Wilson, one of the speakers at the convention. New California is about how maximizing liberty and enhancing the role of individuals, he said.

Wilson is the author of “St. Andrew’s American Revolution,” which tells the history of how the founding fathers got their original ideas about liberty, the Constitution, and the First and Second amendments.

“Really, that’s what’s happening right now. People looking to build New California want to get out from the totalitarian mentality that people who run California have started to go toward,” Wilson said. He added that individuals should run their own lives instead of letting the government tell individuals how to live.

“The whole story of history is about the march of tyranny against human liberty,” Wilson said.

Preston noted there are four types of totalitarian systems in the modern world: religionism, fascism, communism, and socialism, all of which denied people’s God-given rights. In California, the blending of communism and socialism has taken away the republican form of government—which was guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution—from the people in California, he said.

Making History

Most of the convention’s attendees have been appointed as state senators and assemblypersons for the new state. They offered many different reasons for joining the movement.

Dane Senser, the San Luis Obispo County chairman for New California, said he moved to the Golden State originally from Chicago. Over the years, he has grown discouraged by the government because of regulations, taxes, expensive gas taxes, laws about drinking straws, and so on.

Dan Senser, wearing a "WINNING" shirt
Dane Senser, wearing a “WINNING” shirt, attends the second New California State Convention in Irvine, Calif. on Oct. 6, 2018. (David Zhang/The Epoch Times)

He planned to move to Las Vegas on April 5, after his retirement, but heard Preston’s radio program about New California before moving day arrived. Instead of moving, he organized a town hall meeting for Preston on April 12 in his county. To his surprise, 200 people showed up, and he became the chairman of the new state movement in his county.

“This is history in the making, and it is for our freedom and liberty,” Senser said.

Senser, who was the co-founder and served as vice president for California Missing Children years ago, said he was inspired by President Donald Trump: “President Trump got everybody thinking. We can win, and we can be winners.”

Senser wore a red shirt with “WINNING” printed across the front, and a small U.S. flag printed at the heart of the capital letter G.

God at Work

Will Johnson is a broadcaster, state senator, and chairman of San Joaquin County for New California. (David Zhang/The Epoch Times)

Broadcaster Will Johnson, the state senator and chairman of San Joaquin County for New California, is black and an Arkansas native. A former Democrat, he found upon coming to California that it was hard to be both a Democrat and a Christian.

“I can’t comprehend that someone can consider himself a Christian, and, in the same breath, call himself a Democrat,” said Johnson.

Johnson found new hope after Trump was elected: “Because of Donald J. Trump, I see God working in this country.” Johnson praised the president’s nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and said, “I would never have thought that we would have a Supreme Court where there would be a majority of people believing in God.”

Johnson joined the so-called walk away movement to leave the Democratic Party, and has been going everywhere wearing two kinds of T-shirts: One is printed “Trump is your president,” and the other is printed “Vote Dem. Out.”

During the Oct. 5-6 convention, two leaders, Paul Taylor and Liz Ritchie, made passionate speeches that urged immigrants living in California to join the New California movement. They also appealed for new immigrants to obtain citizenship and vote for the family values and freedom that drew them to come to the United States.

Taylor was a Republican candidate in this year’s primary for the U.S. Senate; Ritchie is the assemblywoman of Contra Costa County for New California.

David Zhang contributed to this report.

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