Secession!

8-Red Learns What it Takes to Become a Sovereign Nation

8-Red students learn about governments through a mock secession of Fairfield County.

8-Red students learn about governments through a mock secession of Fairfield County.

Adarsh, Staff Writer

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The 8-Red team representing Independent Fairfield, is separating from the United States! Why? The 8-Red teachers have designed this challenging and complicated project, to teach students the struggles and the immense difficulty in forming an independent country.

Numerous forms of secession have occurred throughout the world. Just recently, South Sudan separated from their mother country, Sudan. Quebec has also seriously considered becoming its own country. New York and Chicago have also applied for becoming their own states, and California and New Jersey have tried to separate into two or three states. Inspired by the ongoing idea of sovereignty and freedom, Independent Fairfield has applied and made agreements to form its own country. According to 8-Red teachers:

“Fairfield County is tired of carrying the tax burden for the state of Connecticut. Fairfield County is tired of seeing the bulk of its tax dollars sent to support and repair the rural regions of Tolland and Windham Counties and the urban centers of Hartford, New Haven, and New London Counties. In fact, Fairfield County is tired of seeing the bulk of its tax dollars sent to support and repair the rural regions of Maine and Idaho and the urban centers of Washington, DC and Ohio. Fairfield County believes its citizens can better take care of themselves than can the politicians at the state or national capitals. Therefore, Fairfield County has formally pursued secession to become not only its own state but, inspired by the people of Quebec, a sovereign nation. After years of following the proper legal and political channels, agreements have been signed and Independent Fairfield has been born.”

It has been up to the 8-Red students to design and debate which laws will govern this new country, what kind of government it will have, and what they want the government to do for them: the citizens of Independent Fairfield. Each student is assigned to a town in Independent Fairfield, proportional to the actual population of Independent Fairfield.  Mr. Schluntz, 8-Red Team Leader and English teacher, says, “Independent Fairfield involves students in a mock-congress experience based on the premise that (for very realistic economic reasons) Fairfield County has seceded from the United States to become a sovereign nation. Students are called on to prepare, present, and debate proposals for any laws they feel are both fair and necessary in our new society.”

Independent Fairfield has created 12 committees designed to create laws regarding science and technology, mass transportation, police fire and prisons, civil rights, personal transportation, commerce, defense, foreign relations, education, environment, public health, and homeland security.  These committees were in charge of creating bills for each of these categories: a set of laws to guide this new country. Throughout the past few weeks, four Congresses thoroughly and deeply debated and questioned each bill, each law, each point, and each and every word or the bill. Delegates asked questions, added amendments, ‘tweaked’ the wording, and debated how reasonable and fair these bills are. Finally, each Congress was in charge of voting for or against each bill, and describing their reasoning for doing so.

    There were other groups of students in only one Congress who had unique tasks separate from everyone else. Mr. Schluntz says, “Students take on the task of representing one of the twenty-three towns in Fairfield County, learning about the situations, needs, and attitudes of the town so that they can argue for legislation that best supports their town.”  For example, one group of students was in charge of secretly promoting and spreading political ideas and beliefs to the 8-Red students, given the title of special interest groups.

Another group was assigned to campaign for a type of government: constitutional monarchy, communism, theocracy, oligarchy, representative democracy, totalitarian state, and anarchy. A constitutional monarchy is a government ruled by a supreme leader, with his powers limited by a constitution. A theocracy is a government based on the fundamental beliefs of a religion, designed to eliminate religious conflict.  An oligarchy is a government where the rules are decided and voted on by the wealthiest and most powerful leaders. A representative democracy is the current government of the United States, where each and every decision is voted on by representatives, elected by the people. A totalitarian state is a government where the government controls each and every aspect of society, secret police everywhere, where everything is ruled and controlled by a supreme leader. Communism is a theory designed to eliminate classes within society, and emphasis is placed on equality, while the government controls and manages all private buildings, food, money and other basic needs. Anarchy is government without a central government, where you take over your own life, deciding how to live and what to do.

    Throughout the past two-three weeks, these groups were expected to campaign for these governments. They had to create a website, which you can access by clicking here.  It thoroughly shows and describes how each government could be the best option for Independent Fairfield, as an alternate for Congress. In the end, after a tough battle between communism and representative democracy, representative democracy succeeded in winning.

    Independent Fairfield was one of the most valuable projects for 8-Red, in which students truly experienced the struggles of forming a new country.  Students were able to learn firsthand the difficulty of passing a bill in congress, influencing others to support their ideas, and campaigning for a government. Mr. Schultz summed it up by saying, “Perhaps the finest aspect of the project is that once it is in place, it is student-run; and the teachers participate in the congressional sessions in the same manner as the students do – sitting in desks and raising their hands in an attempt to gain the floor and speak on behalf of the towns they represent.”

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