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To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Their Walls are Filled with Cannon Balls, Their Motto is "Don't Tread on Me"


An Impossible Dream or a Vision of the Future?

State House

Montpelier, Vermont

October 28, 2005

James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, will be the keynote speaker at The Vermont Convention on Independence to be held in the House Chamber of the State House in Montpelier on Friday October 28th. Sponsored by the Second Vermont Republic, the convention, which will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 5:00 p.m., is open to the public and free of charge.

This historic event will be the first statewide convention on secession in the United States since North Carolina voted to secede from the Union on May 20, 1861.
Other speakers will include Professor Frank Bryan, UVM; Kirkpatrick Sale, author of Human Scale, J. Kevin Graffagnino, Executive Director, Vermont Historical Society; Professor Eric Davis, Middlebury College; Shay Totten, editor, Vermont Guardian; Antoine Robitaille, journalist Le Devoir (Quebec City); G. Roderick Lawrence, CEO, Stevenson Kellogg(Canada); (Rev.) Ben T. Matchstick; and General Ethan Allen (aka Jim Hogue). General Allen is expected to travel by horse to the State House.

The objectives of the convention are twofold. First, to raise the level of awareness of Vermonters of the feasibility of independence as a viable alternative to a nation which has lost its moral authority and is unsustainable. Second, to provide an example and a process for other states and nations which may be seriously considering separatism, secession, independence, and similar devolutionary strategies.

The Second Vermont Republic is a peaceful, democratic, grassroots, libertarian populist movement committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic as it once was between 1777 and 1791.

For additional information, contact Thomas H. Naylor at 802-425-4133 or Jane Dwinell at 802-229-4008, info@vermontrepublic org.


Blogger Russell Arben Fox said...

This would be a fascinating conference to attend; thanks for the heads up. I don't know if the official program will note it, but Professor Bryan is co-author of a wonderfully provocative book, The Vermont Papers, which argues for establishing in Vermont a localist, primarily agrarian "shire democracy," in contrast to America's nation-state one. It's worth checking out.

October 26, 2005 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I have heard it, Ethan Allen was also negotiating to see if he could set up an autonomous principality/protectorate under the British. That is, he went for accession to the Union when that turned out to be the only viable option, and so he did not actually have any personal commitment to it (whatever he may have said at the taking of Ticonderoga).

October 26, 2005 7:28 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

I like the sound of Bryan's "canton democracy." It sounds a lot like the kind of decentralized republic the Levellers envisioned for England, with even the shires being loose federations of localities.

Such a political culture, more broadly, was common to much of northern New England--at least according to Forrest McDonald. In E Pluribus Unum, he describes New Hampshire as a loose federation of town meetings. Many towns didn't consider themselves bound by new articles of the state Constitution until they had ratified them; some towns didn't even bother with the expense of sending a delegate to the legislature. In fact, to a large extent the state government existed only on paper.

I like to imagine an alternative America where the Articles of Confederation remained in place, Jefferson's township/ward system was adopted in Virginia, and Capt. Shay's boys won in Massachusetts.

Instead of the anglo-republican ideology of the Revolution, we've got a Mansfieldized version of the legal system, the restoration of prerogative law through the regulatory state, a Walpolean financial system, and a presidency with the "national security" powers of Charles I. The Federalist junta and their successors have, for all intents and purposes, recreated the same Whore of Bablyon the Revolution was fought against.

October 26, 2005 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are these secessionists seen as a real force in Vermont, or are we talking about the blue skins?

- Josh

October 26, 2005 4:02 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Blue skins, I'm afraid. Although the fact that they're meeting in the State House is intriguing....

October 26, 2005 5:11 PM  
Blogger Roy F. Moore said...

It would take a miracle from Heaven for these secessionists to succeed, especially with the pro-global government types running things in DC and elsewhere. So let us pray for them.

BTW, forgive my ignorance on this, but what are "blue skins"? Thank you.

October 26, 2005 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will be there having been a member since last summer. Anyone who wants to discuss in more detail send me an e-mail with your phone number and I will call you.

I am a signer of the Middlebury Declaration and will be volunteer coordinator to raise money out of state for a video project to take to every town meeting and civic group in Vermont.

Thomas Naylor is a distributist, agrarian, mutualist - he is a big fan of mondragon and warming geoism.

He called me this morning and invite me to dinner with Kunstler and Sale tomorrow night.

Daniel Shays was forced out of Massachusetts and into Vermont...they had tried to recruit Allen to lead the rebellion earlier to no avail (although he had traveled to Pennsylvania earlier in his life to stick-up for yeomen farmers and their land claims) remember he was trying to get Vermont into the union at the time and they did by paying New York $30K which Vermont is trying to get back (it is worth 1.3 billion)

here is the article:

Vermonters want New York to repay Vermont statehood debt
By Wilson Ring, Associated Press Writer | October 26, 2005

MONTPELIER, Vt. --A Vermont Supreme Court justice wants the state of
New York to repay, with interest, a $30,000 payment Vermont made to
New York 215 years ago so it would allow Vermont to join the union.

In a lighthearted event at the Vermont Statehouse sponsored by the
Center for Research on Vermont, Associate Justice John Dooley and
University of Vermont history Professor Frank Bryan outlined the
state's case.

"This money was taken, as far as we're concerned, simply as
extortion," Dooley said. "We had to pay it to get into the union,
because otherwise if New York opposed we would not become a state."

Depending on how the interest on the money is calculated, the
$30,000 payment could have grown to as much as $1.3 billion, said a
March op-ed piece on the issue written by two other Vermont
historians that Dooley and Bryan referred to.

"It's one of those issues that's primarily educational, historical,
but it is important. It does speak and resonate to current issues.
And it's also fun," Bryan said.

"This is, as Frank says, a historical incident, but we believe it's
a historical wrong and we're going to prove it," said Dooley.

The Center for Research on Vermont was established in 1975 to
promote the study of all things Vermont. The center is hosting two
debates next month on Vermont's payment to New York.

Before Vermont joined the union in 1791, New York argued it was owed
the money to repay land claims in what was then the independent
Republic of Vermont dating to a 1664 British royal proclamation.

Vermont and New York officials signed a payment agreement on Oct. 7,
1790. The first payment was in 1794. It took Vermont five years to
finish paying the debt, said state Archivist Gregory Sanford.

At the debates, New York's position on the issue will be debated by
retired University of Vermont history professor Neal Stout and
University of Wisconsin-Madison History Professor John Kaminski.

At the time, $30,000 was a lot of money Vermont. Dooley said a
statewide property tax was used to collect the money.

Dooley and Bryan didn't say if they expected to ever receive any
money from New York or even if they could get anyone in Albany to
listen to their claim.

"We hope to stimulate enough interest so there is correspondence
between the governors of both states, so that the Legislature deals
with this when they meet in a couple months," Bryan said. "We think
it's a refreshing and important and civil alternative to some of the
politics that seem to dominate the news."

The debates will be held in Manchester on Nov. 2 and in Burlington
on Nov. 3.

October 27, 2005 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're going to get all legalistic about it, Vermont wasn't legitimate at all (in the sense Kissinger describes, that was adopted as a guiding principle by congress - the Congress of Vienna, that is). Similarly the USA's legitimacy was in hiatus pending US implementation of the 1783 treaty's requirements; this never happened, so technically the de facto independence of 1783 wasn't ratified until the later 1814 treaty superseded it. (That was why international law allowed Britain to impress US sailors until then.) It is of course absurd to claim US independence as of 1776, since this confuses conception and birth (or would you recognise the CSA as of 1861 and assert it died in 1865?).

October 28, 2005 4:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


In 1999, Stan Jones ran for one of Montana's Senate seats as a Libertarian. The jackass drank a homemade quack remedy of collodial silver because he thought the Year 2000 bug would disrupt the flow of antibiotics, and that this collodial silver formula would protect him. Well, the solution turned his skin blue.

The term "blue skin" is a reference to libertarian kooks, especially ones who make the rest of us look like cabin-dwelling weirdos (I'm looking at you, Thoreau).

- Josh

October 31, 2005 8:12 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


Oops! I should have been more careful to find out exactly what you meant by "blue skins." I didn't mean to imply that the secessionists were kooks, only that they had no official or representative status.

October 31, 2005 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secession will not change bad policies, or reduce the ignorance among policymakers. As a political statement it is useless. Most importantly though, it is a complete and utter waste of time - it'll never happen. Never. I would suggest those folks redirect their efforts to something meaningful.

January 04, 2007 5:34 AM  

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