Should the U.S. Recognize Catalonia If It Secedes from Spain?

Over at Learn Liberty, I take up the question of what the rest of the world should do if Catalonia's referendum on independence on October 1 succeeds, as is expected. I apply some straightforward assumptions about justice and individual freedom to the case. Secession is hard because it always involves violating some people's rights -- … Continue reading Should the U.S. Recognize Catalonia If It Secedes from Spain?

My Testimony on National Self-Determination Movements to the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats

On March 15, I had the opportunity to testify at the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, chaired by California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, on the topic of whether the U.S. government should change its policy toward national self-determination movements. I'm posting here my written testimony (my oral testimony had to … Continue reading My Testimony on National Self-Determination Movements to the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats

Breaking: Catalan “Plebiscitary Elections” Set for September 27, 2015

Catalonia will hold a de facto independence referendum through regional elections on September 27, 2015. This one will have "real" effect, unlike the 9N, because the Catalan independence parties would form a unity government and set up the institutions of an independent state, ultimately declaring independence at a date yet to be announced. https://twitter.com/lizcastro/status/555449038221639681 https://twitter.com/MartiEstruch/status/555450187918098432Continue reading Breaking: Catalan “Plebiscitary Elections” Set for September 27, 2015

Legal Regimes for Secession: Applying Moral Theory and Empirical Findings

My paper on the political philosophy of secession is now out in Public Affairs Quarterly, an open-access journal. Read it here. Teaser: The United Kingdom currently sets the gold standard for management of secessionist politics. The British and Scottish governments negotiated in good faith over the terms of the independence referendum that Scotland held on … Continue reading Legal Regimes for Secession: Applying Moral Theory and Empirical Findings

Constitutions and Secession

Constitute.org is a useful website designed by political scientists to let researchers search for and compare constitutional texts on particular topics. Here for instance is a search on secession clauses. Although one of the site's creators, Zachary Elkins, says that 22 states contemplate some process for state divorce, only three constitutions expressly authorize some part … Continue reading Constitutions and Secession

Dispatch from Catalonia

Last week I was in Barcelona for two days, giving a talk at an event on "the right to decide," sponsored by the Centre Maurits Coppieters (nonprofit arm of the European Free Alliance, the European Parliament group for ideologically mainstream minority nationalist parties) and by the FundaciĆ³ Josep Irla (nonprofit arm of the Catalan Republican … Continue reading Dispatch from Catalonia

On Eve of Scottish Vote, Another Look at Capital Markets

Unless the polls are systematically biased or there is a late-breaking surge in support for "Yes," the "No" campaign looks set to squeak by with a narrow victory in the Scottish independence referendum. On the betting markets, a "Yes" vote has plunged below an implied probability of 20%. What has this decline in the prospects … Continue reading On Eve of Scottish Vote, Another Look at Capital Markets