A group of California secessionists are trying to open an embassy in Russia
One group isn't giving up hope.
The Yes California Independence Campaign, which assembled long before Election Day 2016, is taking meetings in Russia to establish a California embassy.Louis Marinelli, president of Yes California, left for Russia two months ago to join forces with the Antiglobalization Movement of Russia. The grassroots campaign shares Marinelli's belief that a state has a right to self-determination, he claims.
His plans include a resource center that will educate Russian locals on Californian history and culture, foster trade relations, and encourge tourism. Marinelli clarified that the embassy will not conduct diplomatic affairs, but rather, serve as a promotional front for Yes California.
Marinelli envisions a network of Yes California hubs around the world someday.
"We want to establish connections with the people of these countries so that when the time comes, we have the ability to reach out and say, 'Californians just double-opted into independence. Will you now recognize that and therefore recognize our independence from the United States as a country?'" Marinelli said.
The Yes California campaign aims to put a measure on a 2018 ballot that, if passed, would bring California one step closer to legally seceding from the union.
The Calexit movement exploded from a fringe political group to a nationwide social media trend in a matter of hours on November 9th, as Californians came to terms with a Trump presidency. Yes California held a rally on the steps of the state capitol building in Sacramento.
The movement found an impressive backer in Shervin Pishevar, a well-known angel investor. He took to Twitter on election night urging California to become its own nation and offering to bankroll a secession campaign. Pishevar has since walked back those claims.
The hashtag Calexit, which recalls Britain's push to leave the European Union in a "Brexit," is no longer trending on social media.
A state has not seceded from the union since the 1860s, and those 11 southern states rejoined after the American Civil War. The event that Calexit actually happens is unlikely, and we have no idea what the impact of a California exit might have.
Marinelli first linked up with the Antiglobalization Movement of Russia at a convention on sessionist rights in Moscow in September. Yes California and roughly 30 other groups from Texas, Puerto Rico, Northern Ireland, and Catalonia gathered to submit ideas for a resolution that their Russian hosts wants to put before the United Nations. The bill calls upon the UN to establish a state's right to self-determination, according to Marinelli.
The convention ended, but Marinelli stuck around to continue drafting the resolution and to attend to some personal matters, he tells Business Insider.
Marinelli, a California resident and a former English teacher in Russia, said he has received some backlash for working with Russia, which has held antagonist views toward the US.He maintained that Yes California will work with any group that shares its values and supports the right of self-determination, no matter how it appears to the outside world.
"That's why we don't a problem with me being in Russia, for example, or signing an agreement with a group in Russia. It sounds kind of controversial, but we want California to become an independent country and we're not going to hold any punches to make that happen," he said.
There is no timeline currently in place to establish a California embassy in Russia.