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Middlebury Institute News and Updates
February: One group gets its message out to its representatives in South Carolina.
January: Kirkpatrick Sale article - "After This Year's Mess, Small is More Beautiful Than Ever"
*January: Kirkpatrick Sale's new book "Emancipation Hell" published; Charleston's The Post and Courier publishes Sale article "The flawed Proclamation".
December: Thomas Naylor (b. 1936) dies. Founder of The Second Vermont Republic, and author of Secession: How Vermont and all the Other States Can Save Themselves from the Empire and two other books on secession. See obituaries at Burlington Free Press, Duke University, Vermont Commons (1, 2) and Kirkpatrick Sale.
December: A November 2012 poll of 700 people done by the Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, NC found that secession is viewed positively/sympathetically by 46% of Hispanics, 50% of conservatives, 35% of women and 50% of 18-29 year olds. See Kirkpatrick Sale details and comments.
November: Charleston's The Post and Courier interviews Kirkpatrick Sale. See article Q&A with Kirkpatrick Sale: Secessionist weighs in on petition drives, fiscal cliff and Lincoln
Post 2012 election,White House website petitioners call for secession of every state in the union 1, 2, 3. (Democrats called for secession in 2004 when Bush was re-elected.) Also popular in debt-ridden Europe.
September: “The Montpelier Manifesto” is presented at the Third Statewide Convention on Vermont Independence on September 14, 2012 Read it here.
January: Utne Reader publishes Kirkpatrick Sales article from Chronicles The Secession Solution.
April: Charleston's The Post and Courier publishes Kirkpatrick Sale's article "Understanding the Sesquicentennial — and the war's real causes".
April: Report from Kirkpatrick Sale on five states passing Nullification or sovereignty resolutions that severely limit federal ability to pass laws dictating to the states. Read it at Vermont Commons.
February 2: A "Research 2000" poll found that nearly a quarter of Republicans in a poll of Republican attitudes - 23 percent - want their state to secede from the union.
January 31: Time Magzine prints Christopher Ketcham article “The Secessionist Campaign for the Republic of Vermont.”
January 15: Vermont announcement of seven candidates running for Governor, Lt. Governor and State Senate seats on the "Vermont Independence Day" party. Story carried by Associated Press and New York Times. More details here. Videos at YouTube/VermontCommons. The Alaska Independence Party endorsed Steele for Governor.
December 10: Announcement of January 15, 2010 ("Vermont Independence Day") press conference regarding Vermont Secessionists to Enter Statewide Races. Dennis P. Steele, Peter Garritano will run for Governor and Lt. Governor and other independents will announce for State Senate. Steele stated “The gods of the Empire are not the gods of Vermont.”
September 19: Dave Montgomery article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes Secession movement spreads well beyond Texas.
September 14: The Second Southern National Congress met in Alabama over the September 11-13 weekend and issued the Southern National Covenant. While not explicitly calling for secession, it is strong in its rejection of the United States empire and in the need for "a new foundation for law and government" and a restoration of "sovereignty of the Southern people."
June 8: Brion McClanahan on LewRockwell.com writes about "Decentralization for Socialists: A Brief Primer".
August 5: Josh Levin in Slate writes about "How Is America Going To End? Who's most likely to secede?"
June 8: Gary D. Barnett on LewRockwell.com writes about "Conspiracy, Census and the Case for Secession".
April 24: Two more interesting entries in "secession furor" include a Montana news article “Sovereignty resolution draws fears of secession” and Representative Ron Paul’s thoughts on secession shared on CNN.
April 16: Carol Moore's Vermont Commons blog entry "Prepared to be overwhelmed by secession" lists secessionist principles including nonviolent strategies and institutions, bills of rights, consensus-oriented (or super-majority) direct democracy and voluntary nature of secessionist entities.
March 27: Christian Science Monitor publishes article States rebel against Washington.
February 3: Middlebury Institute issues Paper IX: Danger Ahead: Obama’s Lincoln Thing by Kirkpatrick Sale.
New Years Eve: See two December articles, Wall Street Journal article on Russian academic Igor Panarin’s prediction the U.S. will dissolve into a number of smaller states and Jan Lundberg’s article in Culture Change Letter #221 on the same topic.
November 14-16: Third North American Secessionist Convention meets and issues The Manchester Declaration.
November 3: The American Conservative publishes John Schwenkler’s article “Untied States: If at first you don’t secede…”
October 2: Announcement of Third North American Secessionist Convention, to be held November 14-16, 2008, at the Radisson Hotel, Manchester, New Hampshire. The Theme: “Financial Meltdown Bogeyman Will Catch You If at First You Don’t Secede." Speakers to include Chellis Glendinning, Sebastian Cronin, Thomas Naylor, Robert Steele, Kirkpatrick Sale.
September 11: Los Angeles Times prints Christopher Ketcham's opinion piece The American secessionist streak.
July 23: Middlebury Institute sponsored Zogby poll shows One in Five Americans Believe States Have the Right to Secede.
April 18: Middlebury Institute announces its own Youtube site, YouTube.com/middleburyinst
March 31: Middlebury Institute issues call for Third North American Secessionist Convention.
November 15: Middlebury Institute issues Paper VII: The Logic of Secession: Three Tines to a Trident.
October 22: Middlebury Institute issues Report on Second Secessionist Convention.
October 18: New York Times prints feature story interview with Middlebury Institute Director Kirkpatrick Sale.
October 5th: National media attention for Second Secessionist Convention.
October 3-4: Second North American Secessionist Convention meets in Chattanooga, Tennessee and issues Chattanooga Declaration..
May 16: Middlebury Institute and League of the South issue call for Second North American Secessionist Convention
May: Middlebury Institute issues review of secessionist movement, Paper VI: "From Little Acorns: The American Secession Movement Today"
February-March: Middlebury Institute, Second Vermont Republic and Southern National Congress Committee issue statement on "Minimal Rights and Freedoms of Individuals in a Sovereign State" (also known as Middlebury Institute Paper V).
February: Middlebury Institute issues Paper IV: Statement on Collegiality regarding secessionist issues.
January 24: Middlebury Institute creates List of Current North American Secessionist Groups.
November 5th: National Media attention for First Secessionist Convention.
November 3-4: First North American Secessionist Conventionmeets in Burlington, Vermont and issues Burlington Declaration.
February 8: Middlebury Institute issues call for First North American Secessionist Convention.
November: Chronicles Magazine publishes Middlebury Institute Director Kirkpatrick Sale's "The Case for American Secession: Still a Good Idea” (also known as Middlebury Institute Paper II).
October 28: Middlebury Institute Director Kirkpatrick Sale presents speech “The Middlebury Institute: The Logic of American Secession” at the Vermont Convention, Montpelier, Vermont (also known as Middlebury Institute Paper III).
February 22: Middlebury Institute Director Kirkpatrick Sale publishes article "Imperial Entropy: Collapse of the American Empire” at Counterpunch.Org (also known as Middlebury Institute Paper I).
Vermont 5-7: Middlebury Institute established after the Radical Consultation II held in Middlebury, Vermont. See Middlebury Declaration.
UPDATESFebruary 8, 2010: Update: “Secession is in the Air” by Kirkpatrick Sale
I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but secession is in the air.
First of all, a fellow named Bill Miller has started a new website, SecessionNews.com, and it is a Drudge-Report-like compilation of anything connected with secession across the land and around the world. It is an extraordinary endeavor, and it reflects a great deal of talk about, interest in, separatism and independence these days. Miller, a retired computer engineer, has undertaken this, he says, because he has a passionate interest in getting Americans to understand that secession is a legitimate and honorable political strategy. Increasingly, it seems, they’re listening.
A regular contributor to the Miller site is Russell Longcore, who has also started up a new site of his own, the bluntly named DumpDC.com. Longcore, who seems to have insurance and publishing businesses in Georgia, writes long and vigorously about secession in his fairly regular posts. “Secession,” he says, “is on the lips of many Americans today. When they look at a Federal Government that is spinning wildly out of control, state secession begins to have an allure as a remedy. America has gone from a nation of sovereign states with a carefully defined Federal Government to a nation where states are but subservient territories of a rapacious, tyrannical ruling entity that entirely ignores any restrictions on its power.” His site figures to do something about that.
Last December another new voice was added to the cause, from something called Attackthesystem.com that considers itself to represent the “radical Left.” It argued that secession should be supported because it was the best way to bring down the American empire and all that it stands for, including its support for corporate capitalism, longtime goals of the traditional Left. Vermont liberals of the Sanders persuasion should take a look at it (“Why the Radical Left Should Consider Secession).
In January one notable event, carried by the Associated Press to the lengths of the land, was the launch of the campaign by Dennis Steele and Peter Garritano (and others) for an independent Vermont, but you know all that. You might not have known that another secession campaign, or something very close to it, was launched just before that in Texas, where the Texas Nationalist Movement (“Independence. In our lifetime”) announced its support for the Republican candidate for governor, Debra Medina, a libertarian. She is “in line with the core beliefs of our organization,” it said, and she believes that the people of Texas should vote on the issue of independence,” a core TNM demand.
(Just as an aside: Libertarians, particularly the smarter Paulists, are important allies for secessionists, since they get to the nullification/secession place with only a few prompts if they’re not already there. Ron himself has said it’s a workable option.)
Also in January the invaluable website TenthAmendmentCenter.com began tracking the number of legislatures coming back into session this year and considering bills to reassert their sovereignty and Tenth Amendment rights. By the end of January resolutions were introduced in 11 states (Washington, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, and Rhode Island). Last year (also tracked on this site) Tenth Amendment resolutions were introduced in 33 states, passed both houses in five, and were OK’d by the governors in two. The movement looks to be gaining momentum again.
In February that movement held a Tenth Amendment Summit, in Atlanta, assembling state representatives and candidates from across the country for a one-day closed meeting on strategies, and next day hearing presentations from Judge Napolitano, the Fox commentator, and Ray McBerry, a secessionist candidate for Georgia Governor.
Also in February there took place a remarkable conference boldly announced as on “Nullification, Secession, and the Human Scale of Political Order” in Charleston, South Carolina, maybe the first ever large-scale scholarly conference on secession open to the public. It featured many leading secessionist scholars, including Donald Livingston, Thomas DiLorenzo, SVR’s Thomas Naylor, Marshall DeRosa, Kent Brown, and yours truly, and was attended by upwards of 100 people, an impressive turnout, especially considering the admission cost of $2-400.
A national Tea Party Convention was also in Febrary, not exactly a secessionist event but a measure of the underlying discontent that is leading people at least to protest the system (and the debt) they’ve been given and start thinking (some of them) about alternatives.
So what’s going on?
Basically, of course, it is the growing dissatisfaction, in blue states as well as red, and the purple and mauves, too, with a government grown too big, complicated, and corrupt to function. It can’t do health care, swine flue, stimulus payments, carbon limits, education, jobs, corporate bonus control, or airport security. It can send 30,000 soldiers to the sinkhole of Afghanistan, because Congress long ago gave up any role in military policy and the peace movement long ago folded up, but that’s what Presidents always do when they want to seem to be strong. Reagan invades Granada, Bush I Panama and Iraq, Clinton Kosovo, Bush II Iraq and Afghanistan. All for no reason than showing that they can do something in Washington.
But there’s more to it than that. There is a deep and fundamental perception that corporate America—briefly, Wall Street—really is in the saddle and runs the country, and for its own benefit, of course. Very successfully, too, and with complete impunity. It cares nothing for public opinion and has no shame. Now this may always have been true, but there used to be the accepted illusion that the corporations had some interest in making the people happy, or prosperous—“What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” But now that the country owns General Motors they make no pretense that they are interested in spreading the wealth at all. And it is because the public perceives it—unconsciously if not knowingly—that there is the general sense of unease, of anger.
Many of those feeling this unease and anger, of course, don’t know what to do about it other than going to tea parties and shouting at town halls. But it is clear that a great many others are following the inexorable logical train that leads to secessionist thinking: this system is broken and can’t be fixed, party (including third party) politics is part of the problem not the solution, armed rebellion doesn’t have a chance against an apparently ruthless state, and the only way to change things and have a chance of a better world is through peaceful secession—getting out, not getting back. It has, too, the virtue of seeming to be doable—not like revolution or regime change or socialism or any other variant of extreme politics.
It’s not that I have any great faith in the mass of people of this nation using logic, but it just feels as if more people are following this line of thinking these days than… than any time since, say, 1865.
December 4, 2009: Kirkpatrick Sale reports on "More Talk about Secession than Any Time since 1865." You wouldn't necessarily know it from the mainstream press, but there is an extraordinary amount of attention being paid to secession these days, right across the country. Four excellent websites in particular now provide access to the kinds of thinking on secession--and related issues like nullification and state sovereignty--that are helping to seed a movement that might soon make a serious political impact.
* SecessionNews.com--a new site, started in July of this year, provides a wide sweep of articles and postings; excellent way to keep up on current thinking. It's sister site, SecessionUniversity.com, is less interesting and its information on secession activities is scanty.
* DumpDC.com--also fairly new, mostly the musings of one Russell D. Longcore, but with links to others writing on these subjects.
* LewRockwell.com--an old standby, but in recent months it has carried an increasing number of postings related to secession and state sovereignty.
* Tenthamendmentcenter.com--as the website says, this is devoted to the recent upsurge in state legislatures of interest in asserting Tenth Amendment rights and pursuing state sovereignty.
In addition, attention should be paid to the four states where candidates are running for electoral office in 2010 on forthright state-independence and secession platforms: Georgia, where Ray McBerry, a longtime League of the South activist, is running for Governor on the Republican line; Texas, where Larry Kilgore, who has garnered significant support in past campaigns, is running against the secession-hedging Rick Perry for Governor; Vermont, where Dennis Steele will announce his candidacy for Governor and Peter Garritan for Lieutenant Governor on January 15, the anniversary of Vermont's original declaration of independence in 1777; and Oregon, where Jerry Wilson has just announced a fledgling campaign for Governor "to establish Oregon as a nation." Add to that the upcoming moderately star-studded Abbeville Institute conference on "State Nullification, Secession, and the Human Scale of Politics" (abbevilleinstitute.org), and it is fair to conclude that secessionistic things are percolating in this lost and forlorn country, where they are badly needed.
December 10, 2008: Excerpts from Kirkpatrick Sales’ report, the Southern National Congress Convenes (December 5-7). Their model was the Continental Congress of 1774, and when 80 delegates from 14 Southern States met in the North Carolina mountains last week they saw themselves in the same position to the U.S. Federal government as the colonial delegates had to the British crown: suffering subjects of an unresponsive imperial power. The SNC was not intended to be a secessionist organization, and indeed the subject of secession never came up on the floor and only occasionally in the halls, but it was understood that in the future it might develop into the political arm of a unified South seeking genuine power. Like the earlier Congress, the SNC devoted most of its time to issuing a series of petitions for redress of grievances, a right so precious for the early colonists that they were careful to include it in the first amendment to the Constitution. The SNC grievances, accompanied by “remonstrances” spelling out the need for change, covered subjects from immigration (“cease the mass immigration that is destroying [our] common identity… and shared culture”) and war (“refrain from aggressive, unjustified, and undeclared wars”) to agriculture (“stop all agricultural subsidies… and promoting high-cost unsustainable agribusiness”) and even the money system (“revoke the Federal Reserve’s charter and… resume immediately the free coinage of silver and gold”). The grievances were generally from a strongly anti-authoritarian position and emphasized what would be a general libertarian perspective, couched in rhetoric that emphasized Southern identity. See their web page Southernnationalcongress.org.
November 18, 2008: Excerpts from Kirkpatrick Sales’ report on the Third North American Secessionist Convention. The sentiment for regional independence and the disgust with the Bush imperium have not yet gelled into a real movement for secession. Only eleven secessionist groups sent representatives, and it was clear that at least half of those groups were not much more than websites and letterheads. Three groups that had pledged to send delegates, the League of the South, Californians for Independence, and the Free State Project, did not deliver.
The strongest delegations were from next-door Vermont, where the Second Vermont Republic and the Vermont Commons newspaper are going strong, and the Alaskan Independence Party, in the news these days because of its previous support from Republican candidate Sara Palin. “We are building something,” said Dexter Clark, vice-chair of the AIP, “and I don’t know it’s name, but its function is freedom.” Delegates representing Hawai’I, Texas, Long Island, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Maine spoke to the gathering, but it was not clear that any serious secessionist activity was actually happening in those places. Thomas Moore of the Southern National Congress told the group of his project, an attempt to create a legislative body with real moral authority to represent Southern interests, but its first meeting will not be until December. “Sometimes it’s enough to know that there are organizations trying to do what I’m doing,” said Moore.
But the conclusion was unmistakable that after three years of conventions there has not been the kind of upsurge in secessionist organizations that many had anticipated, and many that pob up with a website and a call are not sustained beyond a few months. The convention ratified a final statement The Manchester Declaration.
July 4, 2008: Middlebury Institute extends "Happy Secession Day" wishes. July 4 marks the day when the American colonies declared their secession from the British empire and their right to “institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles…as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” And thus began the War of Secession—not a revolutionary war, for there was no intent to overthrow the British government—that led to the free Confederation of American colonies and ultimately the United States. It is in that great tradition that the modern secessionist movement in America takes its inspiration, hoping to dissolve the imperial government of the present United States and institute new governments, at state or regional levels, that will positively effect their safety and happiness. That movement, strong now and gaining strength every year, will hold its Third North American Secessionist Convention in Manchester, NH, this November 14-16.
May 2008 Thomas Naylor releases new book SECESSION: How Vermont and all the Other States Can Save Themselves from the Empire. Details here. Kirkpatrick Sale writes in the foreword: "There have been a number of books about secession in recent years, but none as powerful and useful as this one, because it not only lays out a convincing case for secession from the American Empire but provides a working model of how an American state might actually go about achieving that."
March 5, 2008
News Release: Secessionist Scores in Texas Primary
Larry Kilgore, a candidate for Texas Independence [in the Republican Senate primary race] scored a big count of 225,258 votes in the March 4 Texas GOP Primary. That represents 18.5 per cent of the total vote, significantly better than Ron Paul, who tallied only 1 per cent. Eighteen per cent of the total Texas population represents 1,305,000 people, a solid hard core from which to work for a Texas secessionist movement. Kilgore was a delegate to the Second North American Secessionist Convention in Chattanooga, TN, last October. More details on his campaign can be seen at Larrykilgore.com. See article.
News Release: Secession Movement Update
Some new developments in the vibrant secession movement:
* A new California secession organization--at http://www.astateofmine.com--has just produced a short film, to open early next year, a preview of which is available at
http://youtube.com/watch?v=DrOi_BOFNRY. (Web site defunct but video is still up.)
* A two-hour interview with Kirkpatrick Sale, director of the institute, on secession, by Michael Bennett and aired on WRFN in Nashville, TN, is available at http://Futurequake.com/FQ_PastShows.htm.
* The Dixie Broadcasting network, begun in 2005, has now reached an audience of 1.5 million people. http://Dixiebroadcasting.com.
* A New England Confederation Alliance has been established to link secessionists in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. It can be reached at http://www.newenglandconfederationalliance.org, and email to firstname.lastname@example.org; it has a lively forum. One of the members of the alliance with an interesting website is Patriots for Liberty, http://www.patriotsforliberty.com, and email to email@example.com that address.
* A Free Maine organization has recently been formed--http://www.freemaine.org--and reachable by FreeMaine@sacredlands.org. (Now defunct.)
The movement is growing: the logic of secession, compared to all the other ways of dissenting from the empire and creating a free and democratic society, is overwhelming.