The Alaska Independence Party (AIP) rocketed into national attention last year when the media discovered Todd Palin, husband to Gov. Sarah, was a former member of the party. The controversy centered itself entirely on the flagship issue of the AIP: secession. Was Sarah Palin a secessionist? After a brief, but intense scrutiny, the answer, it turned out, was no. Or maybe, but at least not publicly. The news cycle rotated, attention moved on to the next controversy of the campaign, and the AIP dropped from the national spotlight.
But who are the AIP? Often portrayed as a fringe band of die-hard, far-right secessionists, the AIP are more mainstream in Alaska than is generally believed. The party boasts of 13,000 registered members, making it easily the largest challenge to the Democrats and Republicans in Alaska, and one of the largest third parties in the nation. And while the central issue of the AIP is, of course, secession, the partys true goal is simply the ability to vote on secession, a subtly important difference.
I recently exchanged an e-mail interview with Lynette Clark, self-employed gold miner and chairman of the AIP:
How would you characterize the AIPs relationship with the two major parties in Alaska?
Distant ... The Republicrats and the Demopublicans have run a once great Nation into the ground. These two Parties have financially and morally bankrupted the Nation and no one but the United States Citizens can pull the fat out of this fire. And, by the way Nate, they are not the two major parties in Alaska. The largest voter registration in Alaska is what we respectfully refer to as the IOUs, the Independent, the Other and the Undeclared ... well over 400,000 citizens are registered as such.
Do you build coalitions with Republicans or Democrats to accomplish AIP goals, for example?
We are friendly of sorts on the like-minded issues, but the AIP practices what it preaches and stands by what it holds dear, not just giving lip service to the future and whats in the crystal ball.
Does the AIP support other potentially secessionist movements, such as the Second Vermont Republic, or the movement for Texas to return to a republic?
Yes, currently myself and the AIP Vice Chair North, Dexter Clark, are Board members of the Second Vermont Republic and have attended all of the North American Secessionists Conventions convened by the Middlebury Institute. There are 26 States that have active groups ... over half [of the States] see another road to travel and those routes are still a Republican form of government, as promised. However, we support States Rights up to and including removing ourselves (Alaska) and other States from this union of States.
On the national level, what party does the AIP generally align with?
None, but we recognize that the Sheeple do need a new Shepard. AIPs foundation is the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. When you read that last mentioned document starting with When in the course of human events ... you realize that those who placed those words on that paper put everything on the line. Alaskans are in very similar circumstances as the original colonies. They were, and we are, governed by a distant authority one with no understanding of our circumstances. They were, and we are, burdened with the same choices ... continue the relationship or declare our sovereignty as an independent Republic. There are many here that prefer the latter.
Where does the party see itself in the next 5-10 years?
Growing and realizing its full potential as a States Rights party.
What piece of legislation would you most like to see passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama?
I would like to see the Federal government come into compliance with the 9th and 10th Amendments of the Bill of Rights [relating to rights retained by the people and powers retained by the states and the people]. My own opinion is this will never happen. All that is coming out of Washington, D.C., is fascism and it would certainly make Mussolini proud.
Authors note: See the Alaska Independent Partys website, www.akip.org, for more information.
Nate Pedersen is a Minnesota native now living in Oregon as a volunteer with the Progressive Democrats of America. See natepedersen.wordpress.com.
From The Progressive Populist, August 1, 2009
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