As the world’s eyes largely remain fixed on the unrest between Russia and Ukraine, voters in another country are stirring up some controversy of their own.
Shortly after residents of the Crimean peninsula expressed overwhelming support of a referendum allowing them to secede from Ukraine, Venetian voters took to the polls in pursuit of a similar goal.
Nearly nine in 10 backed an unofficial call to form a state independent of Italy. The Venetian Republic would include about five million residents and could feasibly grow to include other regions of the nation.
Venice, which became a part of Italy after a defeat by Napoleon’s army about 150 years ago, was independent for the majority of its 1,000 year history. Now, it seems, residents are yearning for that feeling once again.
Reports indicate the more affluent city of Venice has become increasingly perturbed by Italy’s confiscatory tax system that has taken more and more of its residents’ income to support social programs in the nation’s southern region. Rome takes in about 21 billion euros from taxpayers in Venice that never returns to the city. This lost revenue was a major bone of contention driving the recent vote.
While Rome will not officially recognize the proposal, nearly three in four eligible voters weighed in on the ballot. A committee tasked with declaring the city’s independence was appointed in the process and, as a result, Italy’s capital may soon stop receiving tax money from Venice completely.
One of the movement’s leaders said the move not only makes sense for Venice; it is also a sign that smaller autonomous governments are more capable than ever to exist independently and interact with other nations around the world.
Paolo Bernardini said the “openly oppressed” city should return to self-rule, explaining “the entire world is moving towards fragmentation – a positive fragmentation – where local traditions mingle with global exchanges.”
As American taxpayers continue to see their hard-earned money squandered by a corrupt and wasteful federal government, one might expect a similar reaction here. After all, states – and portions of states – across the nation have ramped up secession efforts in recent years.
–B. Christopher Agee
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Photo Credit: Didier Descouens (Creative Commons)
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom