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Residents of rural areas feel shut out of their states' politics, so why not create their own?
One county commission discribed these political movements thus: "It's grounded in the legitimate feeling that if you're marginalized by geography, it's easy to feel neglected by the central government." The political division between urban and rural citizens can lead to pockets of the population feeling as though the state government ignores your and the surrounding communities. It took the Civil War to separate West Virginia from Virginia, and while many may want to be in a different state, it's not happening simply because there is grassroots support for greater local autonomy. Hypothetically, let's say that many new states are generated; what consequences might come of this? Would it leading to further gerrymandering?
Tags: political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, borders, gerrymandering.
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These rural colorado area feel that being overheard or misrepresented by their local government would lead them to seceed and create their own state. This may be a good idea only in making sure they are being heard as an autonomous state it will only be a potentially bad thing if they attempt to be their own country. urbna centralized governments may overlook farmers anf other people who have needs that dont coincide to well with government whose agenda is focused on urbanizing and expanding in a non agricultural way. It is aparent though that there are leaders who do want a seccession and want to see the rural areas come together and feel that they are being more better represented.
On election day this year, several Colorado counties voted on whether to secede from Colorado and create a new state. Many of the counties voted in favor of the idea. (See the link below for more info on the Colorado secession movement.) This is not the first time groups of Americans have considered (and voted on) breaking away from their state. When political issues come up and decisions are made by the government and/or the people, some get their way and others do not. The article explains one way that some people have decided to take action when they do not feel their interests are being served.
BONUS for my students:
1) What steps do you think should be taken before people consider seceding from their state?
2) What are some possible pros and cons of breaking away from a state to create a new one?
3) Hypothetically speaking, what would it take for you to want to create a new state?
Here is the link to the article about Colorado's secession movement:
Some states urban and rural areas have had differences and beliefs when it comes to politics. For example Virginia and West Virginia have had their differences and this is what has caused them to seperate. If every state did this there would be too much craziness because im sure each state would have a different belief and nobody would agree on anything.
"Prime Minister David Cameron is 'seriously concerned' about the escalation of tensions on the border between Spain and the British territory of Gibraltar."
This video and article briefly show the reasons behind the current tension between Spain, NATO allies and fellow EU members. The deeper, underlying issues though are all fundamentally rooted in the complex local political geography. As an exclave of the UK on a peninsula connected to the Spanish mainland that controls access to the Mediterranean Sea, there is naturally going to be friction over this unusual political configuration. Spain, in what the chief Minister of Gibraltar calls "sabre-rattling," is flexing its muscles and considering using their border and airspace as a political leverage. Spain is upset that Gibraltar has created an artificial reef in waters that their fishermen use. Spanish fisherman have recently condemned the escalating political rhetoic.
Questions to Ponder: Why are both parties politically and culturally invested in this piece of territory? What challenges are there for a small exclave when neighbors aren't friendly? How does Spanish and British suprantional connections impact this issue?
Tags: borders, political, territoriality, sovereignty, Spain, Europe, autonomy.
Relationships between Britain and Spain.
"The video explains about Spain and Gibraltar and how they have feuded back and forth with one another and their borders for some time now. Gibraltar has made a articfical reef to mess with the Spainish fisherman and SPain has made travel to Gibraltar nearly impossible and dreadfully long for tourists. Spain understands how essential tourism is to their economy. Until they are able to come to an agreement thei matter is only going to intenisfy more and worsen."
The independence-minded region of Catalonia asks the Spanish central government for an extra 9bn euros (£7.7bn) in bailout money.
Catalonia appears to want the benefits of independence AND of being politically connected to Spain.
Tags: Spain, Europe, devolution, autonomy.
Another peg in the EU coffin...
Another peg in the collective EU coffin...
This is sad news for an area that is trying to persuede the world it deserves to be independent. Unfortunately, they still have to rely on the Spanish government to help their economy, something that does not help their case. While other countries do take money from other powers, one that is trying to establish itself might want to have a more optimistic outlook on it's economy before it tries to go off on it's own.
As Kurds Fight for Freedom in Syria, Fears Rise in Turkey of Following Suit
Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been caught in other people's plans for what the states of the Middle East should look like and are the largest 'stateless nation' in the world. Divided between Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have not been able to politically mobilize support for Kurdistan as they have been violently oppressed in these countries. The Kurds in Iraq have been able to gain political autonomy with the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and the Syrian Kurds are hoping to do the same if and when the Assad regime crumbles at the end of the civil war. This make Turkey concerned that the Kurds in the southeastern part of Turkey will make renewed efforts to push for sovereignty.
UPDATE: This PBS feature explains the historic timeline of the important political events for the Kurds in Iraq.This article from the Economist focuses on the key reason that outside forces won't leave the Kurds alone: oil.
Tags: Syria, ethnic, conflict, political, Turkey, culture, devolution.
How to handle it?
The BBC's John Simpson reports from Hong Kong, where the former colony's increasing independent-mindedness is worrying Beijing.
When the rule of Hong Kong transferred from the UK to China in 1997, the Chinese government was careful to ease the fears of those in Hong Kong that they would not have their political and economic systems turned upside down. "One country, two systems" was the famous slogan to sum up the policy that some felt would simply delay the inevitable. Today, many of the youth in Hong Kong are demonstrating against what they feel are pressures to do away with their unique status and are bringing back the old colonial flag. This is not asking for a return to British rule, but a symbolic reference to their distinct history from the rest of mainland China. Today only 16.6% of Hong Kong residents identify themselves as Chinese, which is the lowest it's ever been since 1997.
Interesting facts...that's the interdependence concept of Geography..
"As Catalonia goes to the polls, Sid Lowe looks at one of the region's great cultural sporting icons and its role in Catalan identity..."
Sports and cultural identity of a region are often intertwined. As Catalonia is poised to break from Spain, this video shows how the local teams (especially FC Barcelona) are at the center of political identity and part of the very fabric of the political movement that is pushing for independence. For more, see this recent Geography in the News article.
Tags: sport, Spain, Europe, devolution, autonomy.
its understood that catalonie has a completely different country from the rest of spain. In fact many people associate catalonia as a seperate country. It would be cool to see spain let them have thier independence. However that would mean spain would lose land and money. For the most part, atleast the catalonia poeple are expressing thier feelings and wishes in a humane manor, rather than with vilolence
"Freedom House has been at the forefront in monitoring threats to media independence since 1980. A free press plays a key role in sustaining and monitoring a healthy democracy, as well as in contributing to greater accountability, good government, and economic development. Most importantly, restrictions on media are often an early indicator that governments intend to assault other democratic institutions."
This interactive map shows some intriguing spatial patterns about the freedom of press internationally. What other patterns to you see in matching up with the most free presses in the world (in green)? How does a free (or not free press) influence the cultural and political values of a country?
Brown University's Choices Program has many excellent resources for social studies teachers including "Teaching with the News." Many teachers are seeing the importance of Syria, but might lack the regional expertise to put it in context or to the time to link it with the curriculum. If that is the case (and even if it is not), this is the perfect place to find lesson plans on the ongoing Syrian conflict.
Tags: political, MiddleEast, conflict, war.
Spain's dismal economy has residents of the country's richest region, Catalonia, wondering if they'd be better off going it alone. With their own language and distinct culture, Catalans have long pushed for independence from Spain.
This podcast merges several geographic strands together as economic turmoil in the southern portion of the Euro Zone has fanned the flames of cultural resentment and put discussions for Catalonian independence on the agenda for local politicians.
Questions to ponder: Will this internal devolution cause greater disintegration in the European Union or Spain? Would an independent Catalan be a wise move for the Catalonians? How would their independence impact Spain?
Tags: political, autonomy, economic, Europe, devolution, sovereignty, unit 4 political.
Competing territorial claims have led to maritime disputes off the coast of Asia. See a map of the islands at issue.
This is an nice interactive map that allows the reader to explore current geopolitical conflicts that are about controlling islands. This is an good source to use when introducing Exclusive Economic Zones, which is often the key strategic importance of small, lightly populated islands.
Tags: EastAsia, SouthEastAsia, political, unit 4 political, territoriality, autonomy, conflict, economic.
Discover the number of countries participating in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Find out which countries are not participating in the Olympic Games and learn which non-countries are participating as well.
204 countries are participating in the Olympics? There aren't even 204 countries in the world! This article looks at the political geography of international recognition. One interesting case not discussed in the article is that of Taiwan. Taiwan is participating, but marched under a non-Taiwanese flag under the name Chinese Taipei because the IOC wanted the mainland Chinese to return to the games. Also, South Sudan, Kosovo and the Vatican are not participating (although pondering them competing, especially the Vatican, is something that deeply amuses me). Another intriguing thought: how many of the participants were former British colonies? There are more classroom resources based on the Olympics from the GA.
The Endangered Languages Project is a website for people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about the over 3,000 endangered ...
This short video is a great primer for understanding the importance of linguistic diversity. Why the loss of linguistic diversity (a global phenomenon) related to other themes on geography, such as political and economic autonomy for minority groups? Why are so many languages vanishing today? What forces are creating these emerging cultural patterns? For more on the project, see: http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/
This is a great website in which everyone should look at because it shows how everyone can come together and help preserve all these languages we all hear today. Day by day languages are becoming extinct because they are speaking English one of the most spoken languages in the world and everyone speaks it or speaks little of it that people can understand. More languages are becoming extinct day by day.
I introduce this topic when teaching about Europe (regionally) or devolution (thematically). The tourism board bills them as "a European Mediterranean country," distinctly separate from Spanish cultural identity. Implied also is a political distinction as well with their NATIONAL history museum (select language to view in English). A google image search for "Catalonia is not Spain" will yield excellent visual materials to support the political will for greater autonomy.
More than 1 million flag-draped and face-painted Catalans held hands and formed a 250-mile human chain across the northeastern Spanish region Wednesday in a demonstration of their desires for independence.
September 11th means different things is different places. While many Americans were remembering the terrorist attacks of 2001, it was Catalonian National Day. In addition to the festivities, they organized a massive public demonstration to support independence and to garner international attention. They created a 'human border' that sretched across the region to apply pressure on the Spanish government to allow a vote that would let Catalonia break away and form their own country. While this energy and enthusiasm swept Barcelona, the Spanish government stopped the protest from spreading into neighboring Valencia (many Valencians speak Catalan).
Questions to Ponder: How do events such as this in public places impact the political process? Is it significant that the link about the Spanish government stopping Valencia comes from a Scottish newspaper? Why? How can social media and technology (such as the hastags #CatalanWay #ViaCatalana) impact social movements?
Tags: Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomy, Europe, culture.
Catalonia struggles for it's independence from Spain. The wealthy region of Spain angers for becoming it's own country, with sentiments of not getting what they deserve from Spain, such as government services. Spain urges Catalonia to not make such a fuss and head Spain into another civil war. But Catalonia wants to be autonomous at least. Their independence parade is to show Spain they won't back down.
"Mr Füzes had voiced support for the Székler people, a group of ethnic Hungarians who live in Transylvania, after two Romanian counties banned the display of the Székler flag (pictured above with men in hussar uniform) on public buildings. Zsolt Nemeth, Hungary’s state secretary for foreign affairs, described the ban as an act of “symbolic aggression” and called for local councils in Hungary to show solidarity by flying the Székler flag from town halls. The Hungarian government then raised the Székler flag above Parliament, further enraging Bucharest..."
Flags are important symbols of cultural identity and displaying them can be a strong political statement. For Hungarians, displaying symbols of a "Greater Hungary" shows some desire for irredentism--to redeem Hungarians of the 'wrong' side of the border. For those Hungarians in Romania this is an act of defiance that show that they want greater autonomy.
For sports fans, ESPN did a "30 for 30" documentary on the early 90's Yugoslavian basketball team that was a major talent (1990 World Champions) but was torn apart as devolutionary forces fractured the countries and the once-teammates were estranged after what some perceived as disrespectful acts to the Croatian national flag. Vlade Divac (a Serbian) was pitted against some of his best friends from Croatia as the civil war was playing itself out on the court as well. This is a great way to get a sports fan to learn about ethnic conflict and about the importance of cultural symbols ("Once Brothers"--$1.99, free for Amazon Prime users).
Tags: political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, Europe, culture.
The riots linked to flag protests in Northern Ireland are causing "significant damage" to the economy, the secretary of state warns.
Flags are tangible symbols of communal identity and political power. If the meaning behind these identities are unresolved, the symbols of these identities in public spaces becomes all the more there is contentious. Currently, the Union Jack is a lightning rod for controversy in Northern Ireland and the riots stemming from this are harming the local economy.
Tags: Ireland, political, conflict, devolution, autonomy, economic, Europe, unit 4 political.
It is Italy's richest province, and has been part of the country for almost 100 years - but some in South Tyrol just do not feel fully Italian.
While the idea of everyone of the same nationality belonging to the same country might be considered an ideal situation, the world's ethnic geography is too jumbled to create perfect nation-states. South Tyrol is a part of Italy that is one of those places with mixed a ethnic, linguistic and political heritage. By different criteria, many of the residents could be considered German, Austrian or Italian or a combination of the them. Since the Euro Zone fiscal crisis, the push for political autonomy in South Tyrol has intensified, in part because this region has avoided the crisis and is economically fairing better than the rest of Italy.
Questions to Ponder: How do political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line? What elements are a part of a regions heritage? Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages? How does devolution impact the whole country?
Tags: Italy, states, autonomy, ethnic, language, devolution.
Questions to Ponder: How to political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line? What elements are a part of a regions heritage? Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages? How does devolution impact the whole country?
Take note Kate and Johnny!!
Millions of American citizens on the island have spoken. Now, Washington must act.
After the Nov. 6th referendum, the question of Puerto Rico's political status vis-a-vis the United States for the future is actually murkier than it was before. The Puerto Rican voters have spoken, but the meanings of the plebiscite results are still being debated.
Puerto Rico is often forgotten about even though it is apart of the united states one way or another. "If if were a beachouse it would get more attention". This man is right unfortunatly, perhaps the nation doesnt spend much time thinking about the territory. But couldnt one assume that the island would enjoy that more, they feel more independent no?
"Why would they want to pull down these walls?” asks William Boyd mildly as he offers me a cup of tea in his home at Cluan Place, a predominantly Loyalist area of east Belfast.
These walls, orginally installed in the late 60s to protect Belfast residents during "the Troubles." Today, some argue that these walls are now barriers to the peace process as they continue defacto segregation. Walls, as barriers to diffusion, stifle communication, cooperation and interaction. Still, these walls are symbols of communal identity and icons in the cultural landscape. For more academic work on this, see Peter Shirlow's Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City.
Questions to Consider: How would a wall through an already culturally and politically divided city impact both sides of the wall? Today, are the walls beneficial to peace in Northern Ireland?
Tags: Ireland, states, borders, political.
The walls in Belfast Ireland were put in the 60's to protect the residents and today many people argue they need to come down. My grandmother just returned from a trip to Ireland and Belfast was one of the areas they went. She said it was very sad, Christians had to walk on one side of the street and Protestans on the other in one area and the tour bus driver was being voice monitered by the police the whole time. There is so much seperation in Befast because of that wall and more people dont want it taken down then want it down for anything to be done.
The barrier in Belfast, Ireland is an impressive one. It has been there since the 1960s and having it there has become a security for the residence on both sides. Neither side wants it taken down, however, they have extremely different political/religious views. It seems strange to me that these people would prefer living in prison-like conditions just because that is the way it has been for so long. So long as the physical walls stay up, so will the cultural walls between these people.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Ricans faced a fundamental question on Election Day: Should they change their ties with the United States?
Lost in the election day enthusiasm throught much of the United Statees was coverage about Puerto Rico. A 'non-binding referendum' was on the ballot to reconsider the 114-relationship with the United States as a territory. 54% voted for a change, while 46% favored the status quo. The second question was asking how to change that relationship: 61% voted for statehood, 33% endorsed a sovereign free association, and 5% for independence. President Obama has gone on record stating that he'll support the will of a clear majority. We'll see what this means, but we are a lot closer to 51 states than we've ever been before. For more information, see Matt Rosenberg's assessment.
Tags: USA, political, states, autonomy.
What is more likely to happen first: Greece will leave the eurozone, or Scotland will leave the UK?
Although there is currently only about 30% of Scotland that would support independence, this is something that will be gaining importance. The United Kingdom is a complex political entity, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland connected with England. The "divorce referendum" will be help on October 2014 to see if Scotland wishes to dissolve this union and many of the political and economic events throughout Europe will be seen through this prism, especially the Euro Zone crisis in southern European countries (e.g.-Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal). The possibility that this might happen are small, but as the article stated, "not zero."
Tags: devolution, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political.
Good for Scotland... as anyone that has watched Braveheart knows, all they need is Mel Gibson to fight for their independence, and they will surely win! I know some people that play the bagpies, and I like the Scottish music better than much English music. I don't know much about the UK, so I have little to guide me in favor or against Scotland declaring independence, but aw heck, why not... The US declared independence, and it seemed to work out for them until... whenever...? forever? it depends on what you use as criteria to look at it... But live and let live, let people do what they want, the only advice to that is not to let people harm others. That way, true peace can be achieved. Harmony, instead of harm. So I would advocate for Scotland to wear women's clothing with turtle shells in their crotches and dance to celebrate their independence if that's what they want, as long as there are no epic battle sequences that precede or follow their dancing. Don't be an elitist, open your eyes, the governments own your brothers and their lives... We must work to change this.
An interactive series of maps show possible new additions to the world’s list of independent nations.
This is great way to show examples of devolution and political instability. Included are 11 potential scenarios where further fragmentation/disintegration might occur or even greater regional integration that would redraw the map. These case studies include: Somalia, Korea, Azerbaijan, Belgium and the Arabian Gulf Union.
Tags: political, devolution, supranationalism, war, autonomy, unit 4 political.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the knottiest border problem of all.
The historical events of 1948 and 1967 loom large in the formation of the borders in the region of Israel/Palestine. This is the most contentious border in the world with competing political/cultural factions with distinct territorial visions for the place. To complicate matters, other countries (most notably the United States and European countries siding with Israel and Arab states with other Muslim-majority countries supporting Palestine) are involved in the region, making this the most contentious border in the world. As Frank Jacobs said, “considering how deep those divisions are, it’s remarkable how relatively new the current set of borders is.” This is an intriguing analysis of an incredibly important set of borders that have larger geographic repercussions despite the short distances and relatively small populations involved.
London and the City of London are the same political and territorial entity right? Of course not. Why have something simple when we can have a rich archaic legacy with a fascinating (albeit convoluted) history. Here’s a great political geography lesson just in time for the Olympic Ceremonies.
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is not affiliated with the United Nations (UN). The UNPO seeks to represent nations (as opposed to states) that are not fully autonomous are without a vote in the UN. This group supports all ethnic groups in their pursuit for political self-determination, economic empowerment and environmental resource control. This is an excellent source for case studies in devolution, ethnic conflicts, indigenous peoples and many issues from both cultural and political geography.