From the November 2004 Idaho Observer:
Vermont to Secede?
November 7, 2004 Middlebury, Vermont
2nd Vermont Republic holds second Radical Consultation Secessionist movement gains ground after Bush "reelection" MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—The Second Vermont Republic held its second Radical Consultation here Nov. 5-7. The conference was attended by about 40 people who share a vision uncommon today: A smaller world where there is no higher government in Vermont than that which is seated in Vermont.
The best way to report an event when you weren’t in attendance, is to read the literature. Seldom are you blessed with the opportunity to read a unanimously ratified declaration that speaks to the heart of our troubles today. Therefore, I will let it speak for itself and let your own imagination fill in the blanks of what happened in Middlebury, Vt., November 7, 2004. For the remainder of this space, let us talk about secession. Second Vermont Republic founder Thomas Naylor has noticed that the topic of secession is coming up more frequently since the "re-election" of George Bush. He has also noticed a dramatic increase in the numbers of hits at www.vermontrepublic.org
I first learned about Prof. Naylor’s book The Second Vermont Republic in Switzerland last April and published the Second Vermont Republic Manifesto in the June, 2004 edition of The IO. I then had the honor of being his roommate for several days at the Mut zur Ethik conference last September. As a speaker at the conference, he eloquently stated the reasons why Vermont should secede from the union. It was moving to see him explain how some Americans see the direction our nation is being led and are willing to secede from it in the hopes that others will follow us into a state where the dignity of the common man commands that justice and honor guide government’s actions.
THE MIDDLEBURY DECLARATION
We the undersigned participants of Radical Consultation II held in Middlebury, Vermont on November 5-7, 2004, are convinced that the American Empire, now imposing its military might on 153 countries around the world, is as fragile as empires historically tend to be, and that it might well implode upon itself in the near future. Before that happens, no matter what shape the United States may take, we believe there is an opportunity now to push through new political ideas and projects that would offer true popular participation and genuine democracy. The time to prepare for that is now.
In our deliberations we have considered many kinds of strategies for a new politics and eventually decided upon the inauguration of a campaign to monitor study, promote, and develop agencies of separatism. By separatism we mean all the forms by which small political bodies distance themselves from larger ones, as in decentralization, dissolution, disunion, division, devolution, or secession, creating small and independent states that rule themselves. Of course we favor such states that operate with participatory democracy and egalitarian justice, which is only attainable as a small scale, but the primary principle is that states should enact their own separation and self-government as they see fit.
It is important to realize that the separatist and self-determination movement is actually the most important and most widespread political force in the world today and has been for the last half-century, during which time the United Nations, for example, has grown from 51 nations in 1945 to 193 nations in 2004. The break-up of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia are recent manifestations of the separatist trend, and there are separatist movements in more than two dozen countries at this time, including such well-known ones as in Catalonia, Scotland, Wales, Lapland, Sardinia, Sicily, Sudan, Congo, Kashmire, Chechnya, Kurdistan, Quebec, British Columbia, Mexico, and the Indian nations of North America.
There is no reason that we cannot begin to examine the process of secession in the United States. There are already at least 28 separatist organizations in this country—the most active seem to be in Alaska, Cascadia, Texas, Hawaii, Vermont, Puerto Rico, and the South—and there seems to be a spreading sentiment that, because the national government has shown itself to be clumsy, unresponsive, and unaccountable, in so many ways, power should be concentrated at lower levels. Whether these levels should be the states or coherent regions within the states or something smaller still is a matter best left to the people active in devolution, but the principle of secession must be established as valid and legitimate.
To this end, therefore, we the undersigned are pledged to create a movement that will place secession on the national agenda, encourage secessionist organizations, develop communication among existing and future secessionist groups, and create a body of scholarship to examine and promote the ideas and principles of secessionism.
"Whenever any form of government is distributive of these ends—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government…in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."—Declaration of Independence, 1776
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