The existence of the Alaskan Independence Party has been misunderstood by most, both here in the state and certainly by the mainstream media Outside. The full blast of lies and half-truths came into play when Sarah Palin became the vice-presidential candidate for the Republican Party in 2008, and are still visible on the internet. Let’s set the record straight.

The AIP’s founder Joe Vogler was an embittered genius who indeed wanted Alaska out of the American union, but he also knew that unilateral secession was a dream that no Alaskan elected official would ever support. However, many sympathetic Alaskans understood the true problem was the false constitutional paradigm under which we operated. Vogler created the AIP relying upon the considerable – yet fading – sentiments of the Alaskan pioneer spirit, a spirit that would hopefully awaken Alaskans to the dangers of unconstitutional federal control. In the 1980s, this was still easily observable in Alaska’s second largest city, Fairbanks, and in numerous other areas throughout the state.

Vogler understood that the federal government hypocritically demanded that the states obey the constitutional limits placed upon them, even while it would ignore the far more numerous ones placed upon itself. The momentum that built up behind the false construction of the constitution that began with the Civil War and Reconstruction, had reached an irreversible course by the 20th century. The AIP has ever warned that federal control of western lands would eventually reach the point where Alaska could not sustain itself economically, and such development was not within Alaska’s power unless the conditions of statehood were to change.

Just as Vogler’s life was suddenly and mysteriously snuffed out in the early 1990s, peaceful secession was breaking out everywhere. The murderous Soviet Union was breaking apart. In addition, unnaturally unified states such as Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia would soon follow. Break-up sentiments continue today in the UK, Italy, Spain, China and Canada, and certainly in the EU.

Vogler, no fan of the United Nations, nevertheless discovered the 1945 UN Charter. It called for signatory nations to grant that their colonies be given four options of self-determination for their political future. Alaska and Hawaii were indeed included, but were only offered two choices, instead of four: continue as a territory or become a state. The options of commonwealth or independence were given to the American colonies of Guam, Philippines and Puerto Rico, meaning that Alaskans and Hawaiians were de facto second-class citizens, undeserving of the same rights as Filipinos, Puerto Ricans or Guamanians.

Alaskans actually approved a referendum in 1980 to re-examine its options with the United States, but the blue-ribbon committee which assembled for this purpose predictably ignored the UN Charter and basically threw up its hands. Instead, it placed its hopes that a coalition of western states might awaken the federal government to permit resource development to proceed according to local, rather than national, control. This “Sagebrush & Tundra Rebellion” reached its peak in the Reagan years but soon faded. Small increments of federal de-regulation actually occurred which placated some states and provided the naive hope of more to come – but which of course disappeared with succeeding elections and administrations.

Today, the AIP invites Alaskans to investigate and confirm its claims: that unilateral secession is constitutionally legal and need not lead to violence, invasion or war. This is guaranteed not only by the constitution itself in the 10th Amendment, but by the first breath of the Declaration of Independence, the unanimous acceptance by the states when they approved the constitution, and by Thomas Jefferson in his First Inaugural Address. But beyond this, as annexed and purchased territories, Alaska and Hawaii were granted a special opportunity through the UN Charter.

How Alaskans might vote today on the 1980 referendum, “Shall the Alaska Statehood Commission be convened to study the status of the people of Alaska within the United States and to consider and recommend appropriate changes in the relationship of the people of Alaska to the United States?” is irrelevant to the larger question of our Natural Law and constitutional rights as a state. The very existence of such a vote would serve to awaken the rest of the nation to the indisputable and ugly fact that the federal government has been operating outside of the rule book created by the states and the people from the very first years of this beleaguered republic.

Who knows what benefits might follow?

The view expressed here are those of the author.

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

It’s time to set the record straight on the Alaskan Independence Party

Bob Bird
Bob Bird ran for U.S. Senate in 1990 and 2008. He is a past president of Alaska Right to Life, a 47-year Alaska resident and a retired public school teacher. He has a passion for studying and teaching Alaska and U.S. constitutional history. He lives on the Kenai Peninsula and is currently a daily radio talk-show host for The Talk of the Kenai, on KSRM 920 AM from 3-5 pm and heard online


  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Time will tell

  • Ed Martin Jr says:

    Thank you Bob,
    Yes, your statement [The options of commonwealth or independence were given to the American colonies of Guam, Philippines and Puerto Rico, meaning that Alaskans and Hawaiians were de facto second-class citizens, undeserving of the same rights as Filipinos, Puerto Ricans or Guamanians.] alone is what pulls my heart strings of the “Alaskan within me”. Being with the love of freedom & Independence this statement gathers, my Alaskan Spirit of belief that Alaska may forever be “the Last Frontier of Opportunity & Creation of New Wealth for this present generation and future generations, I live now with the great hope of prosperity for my children, their children & my great grandson (the fifth generation since prior to Statehood)! Thank you Dad, for coming to this Great State and all those of Native indigenous descent & of the “Homestead Era ” long gone but not forgotten.
    Alaska’s great wealth in the owner state cannot ever be realized until it’s “promised lands” are in the Peoples hands!
    After the lessons of over 50 years since statehood, we still struggle to prove our independence. Why is this? We Alaskans own the most resources of all 50 states, yet fail to have our Elected officials follow the Law. Through wisdom, we created the pass-through of that great wealth as a “balance of equity & equality ” of the mineral rights invested and distributed. Those Land Rights, not given to it’s people, but shared, by operation of law in the permanent fund dividend. We currently demand our WEALTH DIVIDEND! With over 15 Billion in the ERA,& over 80 Billion total, there is NO excuse for not passing that payment to Alaskans; period.
    The statehood acceptance, of that first generation prior to statehood (alive or buried on it’s soil now) gave that fiduciary duty to our officials to carry out. What is the excuse, surly reason doesn’t seem to prevail?
    Yes Bob , Alaska’s own “Sagebrush & Tundra Rebellion” is still alive & lays heavy on all Alaskan’s minds, while our POCKETS remain empty due to our own “STATE GOVERNMENT’S FAILURES!
    The call for a special session by our Governor to pass an annual budget should never happen & the PFD shouldn’t be denied.
    Can we Alaskans come to a ” reasonable original position ” in our lives & state (politically & financially with equality and equity) regaining trust in our government?
    The peoples control, of Government & Wealth, is at stake. WAKE UP ALASKA! If there is to be a Constitutional question, it should include the one we all voted upon in 1999 with 83% . Following the ORIGINAL STATUTE , as we are the ” original position people”, worthy, as envisioned by modern day philosopher, John Bordley Rawls & by our founding fathers!

    Foot note :

  • Steve Peterson says:

    I understand and support the motive and sentiment behind secession- especially at this time in our country- but I can’t see that it could ever happen.
    Firstly, this state suckles upon the teats of the federal government like no other state. Whether roads or welfare, we chow down, and the interests most entangled in this feeding would not willingly let go.
    Secondly, one of the biggest employers is the military and various government agencies such as USFWS, USFS, BLM, NPS, etc. If you don’t directly serve or work in one of these entities, chances are you depend upon their contribution to your income in the form of goods and services. We all saw how our delegation panicked and rallied when the fed was going to downsize JBER and Fort Greeley.
    Sadly, we are hopelessly connected to the federal government and becoming more so every year. Even if we could develop and use our own resources to make up for the lack of money flowing in from DC, there are so many Alaskans beholden to those gravy dollars, that they would vote no for independence. Recent handouts of cash without having to work have reinforced this attitude.
    I’m not saying that something catastrophic couldn’t happen to force a break with the Union, but that would have many painful consequences of its own that I sure wouldn’t wish for.
    And then there is China…

    • Trained Observer says:

      Steve, you are correct and make some very good points regarding Alaska’s reliance upon the feds. However, when you look at many or most of these agencies, they barely register on the grand scheme of day to day activities. The military is a strategic presence and something that could be accomplished through a Status of Forces Agreement, as it is in other countries where it is not the home nation defense force. The rest of these agencies are merely forward located placeholders for the feds who provide a self imposed management on the resources that belong to this state. Aside from this, we are basically forgotten and are treated as a foreign country both in regard to goods and services supplied and transportation. If you haven’t noticed, with the advent of COVID and Canada’s self imposed isolation, we’ve been cut off from the US by road and have become essentially Hawaii; becoming an island with fly or float access only. The only thing that keeps us in the conversation with the feds is oil and our proximity to the arctic. Aside from oil and fish, we export virtually nothing. We’ve virtually given up on timber products, and have no manufacturing sector.
      What we do have in high stock levels are power hungry legislators in both houses of state and federal congress, a left leaning populace from places south bent on turning this state upside down and shaking it with the vigor of the Easter Quake of ’64 to empty the coffers for useless programs that mirror the collapsing cities of the lower 48. And then there is China…

  • Son of Tun says:

    There is a great deal of significance to your article. Not that I automatically jump to the concept of Alaska become its own nation. But, that I jump to the concept that Alaska is not treated as a sovereign (where the will of the people of Alaska determine its direction) state. In order to be successful as a sovereign, Alaska must have more (the fair and equal amount claimed by eastern states) authority. I stand with you in your call for Alaskans to re-examine our relationship with the United States, with, at least, the purpose of claiming our territory, resources, and authority to be self-governing/self-determined. And, for those who may question what I’m talking about, an example: no state should be prevented by the United States from building a road (for the purpose of health and safety, commerce, economic development, or any other reason – e.g. King Cove to Cold Bay) within its own boundaries.

  • G Aleution says:

    The Civil War gave evidence that there is permanence in becoming a permanent united state. Driving forward look forward.