Radio Free Vermont "It is time for all people of conscience to call upon America to return to her true home of brotherhood and peaceful pursuits. We cannot remain silent as our nation engages in one of history's most cruel and senseless wars. During these days of human travail, we must encourage creative dissenters. We need them because the thunder of their fearless voices will be the only sound stronger than the blasts of bombs and the clamor of war hysteria. Those of us who love peace must organize as effectively as war hawks. As they spread the propaganda of war, we must spread the propaganda of peace. "Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968)

Tagged: secession RSS

  • Campaign Manager 3:02 am on September 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Che, secession   

    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

    • Steven J. Howard 11:06 am on September 17, 2010 Permalink

      Dennis: This decision is a good one on several levels. While I understand the motives behind including Che and get the symbolism, I also understand that there are many, obviously, who do not. Given a society that is driven by sound bites and eye candy, I am not surprised by the reaction. Hopefully, by removing Che, you can get people’s attention back to the real issues that your flag does symbolize: Vermont, our heritage, and our future. See you Sunday.

    • marcelo 6:33 pm on September 25, 2010 Permalink

      steele and ´che´only one heart :)

  • Campaign Manager 8:00 pm on May 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bluegrass, eminent domain, Rainville, Rockingham, secession,   

    May Campaign Update 

    May 24, 2010

    Summer weather seems to have finally arrived in the Green Mountain State, and the gubernatorial race has likewise heated up. For Dennis Steele, this has translated into a string of real successes throughout the month of May. After months of hard work, we’re finally gaining real traction, and are looking forward to spreading the vision of a free Vermont throughout the state as the summer progresses.

    The month started on a bit of a down note when, after taping a full interview with Dennis, WPTZ edited a few seconds of it into a segment that was, for all intents and purposes, a hit piece. It showed him briefly talking, never mentioned that he was running for Governor, and then subtly equated him with the registered sex-offender whose interview they subsequently showed.

    Fortunately, we experienced a radical reversal of fortunes the very next day, which was the date on which the court hearing for Dennis’ disruption of the Barre debate was scheduled. That morning, we found out that the charges had been dropped, but proceeded to the courthouse anyway to determine why. Upon our arrival, we discovered that the press was there and eager to hear Dennis’ side of the story. As a result, a fair, positive article ran the next day in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. As if that weren’t enough, that day also saw Dennis’ first gubernatorial candidates forum.

    This was a big milestone because, since the beginning of our campaign, forum organizers had, for one reason or another, refused to include Dennis in the discussion. We responded to this exclusionary tactic by having Dennis and supporters pose questions from the floor, but as the weeks progressed, the Democrats attempted to stop even that level of participation. The Barre forum was by invitation only, and when Dennis asked the candidates to address the fact that our current budget crisis must be viewed in the light of Vermont’s $1.5 billion pro-rata share of the Federal “Defense” budget, he was led out in handcuffs. So, when, at the prompting of numerous Steele supporters, the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger extended an invitation to Dennis to participate in their forum, it signaled that we’d entered a new phase of the campaign. You can check out the video below (and check out Racine’s expression when Dennis mentions the Barre debate):

    Dennis Addresses the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger

    Building off of those successes, last weekend we headed down to Barnaby’s Backroad Bluegrass Bash in Rockingham. Dennis had bartered promotion of the festival on Radio Free Vermont for a space in the vendors area, and we spent much of the weekend having conversations, handing out campaign literature, and and collecting signatures for lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Pete Garritano.

    Matt and Dennis at the Bluegrass Festival Booth

    However, on Saturday morning we found ourselves on the road at 5:30 headed to Franklin to show support for the Rainville family of Morses Line.

    For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Rainville’s predicament, they’re a dairy farming family whose property lies on the US-Canadian border. The Federal stimulus bill set aside money to upgrade the border crossing station near their property, but the new $7 million facility requires substantially more land than the one it is replacing, and the Feds initially demanded that the Rainvilles sell them more than 10 acres of their farm. When the Rainville’s refused, the Feds threatened to take it from them by eminent domain, and redesigned the facility to take up less than five acres. When the Rainvilles again refused to sell out, the Department of Homeland Security agreed to hold a community forum to discuss the issue and issue a new proposal.

    We arrived at the forum about 45 minutes before it started, and were able to have conversations with a good many people who were upset with the Federal Government. About two hundred people packed into the Franklin City Hall, and when the time to comment came around, the message was unanimous: Feds go home. The Rainvilles refused the further compromised 2.2 acre land-grab, and their community stood solidly behind their decision. After the hearing concluded, Dennis briefly chatted with Mr. Rainville to confirm his support for their cause before hopping in the car and driving the three hours back to Rockingham, where we finished up the festival and departed for home on Sunday.

    Dennis meets Mr. Rainville

    Dennis meeting Mr. Rainville in Franklin.

    At every turn for the past few weeks, we’ve been getting the sense that interest in the campaign for a free Vermont is growing, and that our efforts are putting the issue of independence truly and legitimately on the table. This summer we’re hoping to hit the road and visit as many of Vermont’s towns as possible; though many Vermonters are not yet ready to agree with the message of secession, our experience thus far has powerfully shown that there are many who are, if only someone reaches out to them. That’s our goal, but our effectiveness is limited by the resources at hand. We’ll do the best we can no matter what, but any help our supporters can provide will multiply our effectiveness. So far we’ve raised close to a thousand dollars, and have spent nearly as much on literature, gas, and signs. If you believe that what we’re doing is right and necessary, we could truly use and appreciate your support. The more money we raise, the more Vermonters we we’ll be able to reach with the vision of a second Republic of Vermont. To donate, visit, or send a check to P.O. Box 28, East St. Johnsbury, VT 05838. Thanks, and…

    Imagine … Free Vermont!

    Matt Cropp

    Campaign Manager

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