Retiring Che

A few weeks ago, I posted an essay entitled “The Green Mountain Revolution Starts Now,” which was accompanied by an image of Che Guevera superimposed on the Green Mountain Boys flag. It stirred up noticeable controversy among my supporters, many of whom interpreted it to mean that I supported a wide range of things, from communism to a one-party state to political violence. None of that, of course, is true; as I’ve stated publicly many times, I support a non-violent transition to an independent, multi-party Vermont Republic which deeply respects the rights of its citizens.

As such, the purpose of the use of Che’s image was to do what it did: stir up controversy and get the attention of the left-wing press. And it succeeded; shortly after the image went up, the movement received coverage in Counter-Punch and the Huffington Post. Many people on the left have long been deeply suspicious of state sovereignty and secession as a purely right-wing, “reactionary” thing – the Che flag was a tactic to help the readers of those pieces overcome their initial prejudice against secession by introducing it to them accompanied by a symbol of the left counter-culture. By pairing an alien idea with a familiar image, it challenged the idea that secession is the exclusive domain of the right.

Which is not to say that conservatives and libertarians don’t have a place in the secession movement. On the contrary, this movement (and my campaign) is about building a coalition of people of good conscience to oppose and resist the Empire by working for Vermont independence. Our supporters come from a wide variety of political backgrounds, and that diversity can and should be a source of our movement’s strength. In recognition of that, I will be retiring the Che flag for the remainder of the campaign. The only place it will remain will be on a hand-out I’ve produced which has it on one side and the snake of the Gadsden flag on the other, so as to symbolize the breadth of our movement’s diversity. In its place will be the Green Mountain Boys flag, unadorned. It is our hope that, one day, that flag will fly over an independent Republic; in the meantime, it is the banner of *all* of us who are working hard for a Free Vermont!

Dennis Steele

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