The Fetishism Of The Identity And The Secrets Thereof

Why I am compelled to understand the motivations behind separatist movements

David Nwa'eze
2 min readJul 16, 2022
Photo by Antonio Alcántara

I’m having something of an introspective and reflective day today, so I thought I’d share some of my motivation for looking at the ideas behind separatist movements and mini-nationalisms.

First off, I’m not a nationalist. My motivations for exploring this topic are more personal and emotional than ideological. What interests me is how people conceive of their relationships with their communities. For many people out there, the space where identity meets the world is an uneasy one. In response to this, some people seek to establish or assert the sovereignty of their community.

This impulse fascinates me because I cannot relate to it.

I understand the feelings of alienation and grievance with dominant power structures. All of my life, I’ve felt profoundly alone — as though I was a space alien and not of this world. In my teenage years, I even discovered a sense of political camaraderie at large summit protests — like the Summit of the Americas in Quebec in 2001. The part I don’t understand is seeking to remedy this tension by creating a new sovereign polity out of a community of those who share your identity.

I want to understand this better.

I’m not sure that I ever will. It’s entirely possible that I’m not wired for it and that it’s just not something I can understand on a deep experiential level.

Nevertheless, this curiosity drives me to want to see the many perspectives that make up the landscape of separatist, secessionist, and independence movements. I hope it leads me to some interesting answers in the months ahead. At the very least, it has me searching for ghosts in the machine — or at least the specters that haunt the international state system.

Originally published at on July 15, 2022.



David Nwa'eze

I write about independence aspirants within rich & developed states. Mostly posting random observations on here. Socials: