Sunday, May 10, 2009

Is Free Association Superior to Independence?

Those who are willing to defend free association and the "delegation of competences" to the United States have not explained why free association is superior to independence. It is not enough to say, as many do, that free association represents "a better reflection of the historical aspirations of our people". That response not only cannot be considered an argument in favor of the convenience of free association, but does not take into account that those "historical aspirations' (assuming they are actually consistent with a claim to free association), are not developed in a vacuum, but result from a series of complex relationships that include colonialism itself as well as the positions of political leaders that people have trusted at certain moments. The fact that in electoral terms free association is more viable than independence is merely the enunciation of an empirical fact, of something that appears to be that way, but does not say anything in favor of that political alternative. For instance, if at some point in our history, it becomes obvious that a considerable part of the people aspire to a military dictatorship, that would not be a reason for us to support dictatorship nor to say that dictatorship is superior to democracy. On the contrary, it would be an urgent reason to, via work at a grassroot level, attempt to mobilize the population toward other political positions. And of course, that should be the priority of the independence movement.

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