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The Cases for Autonomy and Separatism in the Caribbean

While occupying the intermediate condition as a protected autonomous entity within an extensively decentralized sovereign state, the movement tends to continue to articulate the desire for a separate independent destiny with these two goals oscillating between moments of satisfying accommodation and periodic bursts of renewed determination for outright secession. In the end, the objective remains constant – exit completely. (Premdas 1990:12-31) Separatism may be conceived broadly as a quest for autonomous survival either within or without a state. secession strictly speaking is a variant of separatism in which the secessionists seek outright separation and independence in a sovereign state. The quest for self-determination by a community within a plural state is often caught up in upheaval. As an act of territorial and political assertion, a secessionist struggle is usually prolonged, punishing, and prohibitively costly. Furthermore, the logic of the self-determination principle in sanctioning the demand of each people for its own state, embedded doctrinally in the nature of the state as it has evolved, has been the source of territorial fragmentation accompanied with mass expulsions and genocide not merely with the claims of the Third World states after WWII but this has been the case since the French Revolution. There have been waves of self-determination drives ever since the inception of the nation-state as a unit of national and international social organization. With the fall of the multi-ethnic great empires run by the Turks, the Hapsburgs, and the Russians, the cultural fragments sought separate destinies in acts of self-determination. Practically the entire globe was under European imperial control where new states after the European model were engrafted willy nilly on ethnically diverse populations. In these territories, self-determination drives for freedom were enacted one after the other, especially after WWII. (Premdas 1990:12-31) This essay will look at the concept of secession from a comparative point o view.