By BOB BIRD
In Alaska’s political history, the Alaskan Independence Party holds a unique place. Founded by the embittered genius Joe Vogler in the early 80s in reaction to the federal land grab engineered not only by President Jimmy Carter but also in cooperation with Sen. Ted Stevens, it soldiers on today as a bastion of states’ rights, constitutionalism and the persistent effort to hold a proper re-vote on the Alaska Statehood Act.
Despite what mainstream journalists say, the AIP is not a “secessionist party,” if secession is defined as a belligerent and unilateral withdrawal from a parent nation. This was something that the American colonies did in 1776 and the southern Confederacy tried in 1860. Rather, through Vogler’s persistent research in the days before the internet, the party claims that Alaska (and Hawaii) were denied the four options that all “non-self-governing territories” were entitled to by the United Nations Treaty of 1945.
The options were to continue as a colony or territory, opt to amalgamate with the parent nation (statehood), free-trade independence or “commonwealth,” and finally independence.
Thus, The Philippines did not secede, but merely exercised its treaty rights when it voted for independence in 1946. Puerto Rico still exercises these rights, as does Guam. The colonies of England, France, Netherlands, and other Euro-imperial powers all have done the same. The Alaskan Independence Party promotes the idea that Alaska and Hawaii have fewer rights than these other countries. Our statehood vote gave us only two options: remain a territory or become a state.
Our economic destiny has long been controlled by corporate and federal interests and explains why we cannot develop our petroleum and other natural resources without an act of Congress. If the state legislature were to reclaim the denied treaty obligations, the AIP believes that it would awaken national and international consciences, force the respect of a runaway federal bureaucracy, corner the Green Lobby to mitigate its stranglehold on the state and get fellow citizens in the Lower 48 to rethink just what the term “sovereign state” ought to mean.
This is, of course, dangerous to the status quo, where constitutional and treaty violations are selectively cited only when it serves the purposes of Deep State power.
Conservatives in Alaska need to get around the mainstream propaganda machine and learn that the AIP has steadfastly held to its purposes. The time may be ripe, as events unfold, for a resurgence of authentic Alaskan values and true patriotism. It is a pro-gun, pro-family, pro-constitution and pro-life voice, not a caricature of disgruntled Interior miners and trappers, trying to lead the state into a hopeless secession against a leviathan.
Bob Bird is chair of the Alaskan Independence Party and the host of a talk show, the Bird’s Eye View on KSRM radio, Kenai.