Tuesday, October 3

Democracy Failing, Vermont Seceding

Editorial note: For those redirected to my blog from Scholars for 9/11 Truth for my op-ed piece on Utah-styled academic censorship via the Bush White House, click here.--Moose

Hey, Americans. Tired of the increasingly sharp-edged fascism crammed down your throat by the Bush White House?

Have you wearied yet of tepid media propaganda called “news,” warrantless wiretaps, torture, industrial- strength war crimes in Iraq, and the two-tired society with one set of laws and tax codes for the wealthy and another for the rest of us?

Do you find yourself really missing your First, Second, Fourth and Sixth Amendments?

If you now are serious about pouring lighter fluid on your collectors’ edition of Fascism for Dummies (autographed that special night at Wal-Mart by both Pop and Georgie Boy Bush) then take heart.

Rather than opting out to Canada, consider relocating just a smidge further south, to the Vermont Second Republic, an independent nation founded three years ago by emeritus professor of economics at Duke University, Thomas Naylor. After retirement, Naylor moved from North Carolina to Vermont and wrote Downsizing the U.S.A., a book advocating the peaceful dissolution of the United States. He adopted his new home state as the laboratory for accomplishing his goal.

In part, the plan asks Vermonters to readopt those unadulterated freedoms enjoyed in the state from 1777-1791 when "the citizens of Vermont governed themselves as an independent republic."

Conservative and liberal Vermonters embraced the idea and began promoting Naylor’s vision across the state. For one, the staff and supporters of Vermont Commons, a journal and public forum that explores independence from America, are quietly promoting a plan among Vermont residents and legislators for seceding from what essayist Judy Marcel calls “Moribund America.

In addition, the Vermont Guardian, a weekly alternative news source “for the independent mind,” partners with Vermont Commons every third week of the month to update the state’s secessionist movement.

The “Free Vermont” movement went statewide (and beyond) last October after a Burlington TV station broadcast (QuickTime) a speech by “Ethan Allen” (aka Jim Hogue) on the floor of the state legislature in conjunction with the first Vermont Independence Convention then held in the state capital.

Hogue and other Vermonters who call themselves “the Green Mountain Boys” have expressed concerns to Patrick Leahy, their Democratic senator in the moribund congress, about glaring omissions in the 9/11 Commission Final Report and America’s stolen presidential election in 2004, two critical events that seem to have galvanized secessionist activism in the state.

The movement recently garnered some high-profile coast-to-coast attention. On 24 September, Los Angeles Times staff writer Elizabeth Mehren wrote a supportive article (“Secession -- a Revolutionary Idea,” elizabeth.mehren@latimes.com) about Vermont’s secessionist fever.

Its members argue that the U.S. government has lost its concern for individual citizens and small communities. They worry about global warming, the U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, unfair trade practices, and the "tyranny of multinational corporations."

At a presentation for Vermont legislators some months ago, Naylor said: "Do you go down with the Titanic, or do you consider other options while there are still other options on the table?"

State Rep. George Cross, a Democrat from the town of Winooski, responded: "Vermont should secede. I don't think it is probably a practical thing to do. But certainly there are principalities in the world that are a whole lot smaller than Vermont."

Three days later New York Sun staff reporter Gary Shapiro reported on the Middlebury Institute, “a think tank devoted to the study of separatism, secession, and self-determination,” and its first North American Secessionist Convention. Scheduled for November 3-4 in Burlington, the conference is expected to attract representatives from “a dozen secessionist organizations” from red and blue states from around the country.

According to Shapiro

A strong response has also come from secession supporters in "Cascadia" (Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia) and "Delmarva" (Delaware, Maryland, and the Virginia Peninsula), among other areas, according to the [Middlebury Institute website]. Scholars, researchers and journalists professionally interested in secession may be in attendance, as well.

Convention attendees will first "assess what stages these various organizations are at, how far along they are, and how many members they have," [Middlebury Institute director Kirkpatrick] Sale said. They will then discuss what they are planning to do and go over various successful secessionist strategies.

"Vermont has a very strong self-identity," Sale told Shapiro, adding that “New England states were talking about secession around the time of the War of 1812.”

If the notion of session resonates with your sense of freedom and civil liberaties, then you'll want to check out the Virginia Commons website. It provides supporters a wealth of information, to include a community blog, a downloadable teacher's guide for facilitating classroom debates on Vermont independence and the group's online journal that you obtain monthly in hardcopy with at $20 annual subscription.

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