Q. What is the Second Vermont Republic (2VR)?
A. Founded in 2014, the 2nd Vermont Republic (2VR) is a peaceful, citizens movement opposed to the lawless imperialism of the U.S. government, the domination and corruption of the national political process by Wall Street, and the corporate monopolies and dysfunctional concentrations of wealth that are hallmarks of neoliberalism and corporate globalization. We are committed to restoring Vermont to its historical status as an independent republic, as it was from 1777-1791, thus freeing it citizens to pursue life, liberty and happiness unimpeded by the demands of a rapacious and disintegrating U.S. of Empire. We embrace “Freedom and Unity,” Vermont’s communitarian state motto, as well as Vermont’s unofficial creed of “live and let live” tolerance. We oppose both Empire building and state-sponsored institutional racism in all of its forms, including race-based policies and programs sponsored by the U.S. of Empire at home and abroad. We do not affiliate with ANY secession movement that promotes racism, xenophobia, or intolerance, such as the League of the South (LOS) or Italy’s Northern League (to name but two).
Q. What is Our History?
Founded in 2005 as Vermont Commons: Voices of Independence, 2VR is a a multimedia forum for exploring the idea of Vermont independence – political, economic, social, and spiritual. We are solutions-oriented, non-partisan, and interested in promoting ongoing and vigorous debate about a more sustainable future for the once and future republic of Vermont. We are unaffiliated with any other organization or media, and interested in all points of view.
Q. What is 2VR’s Mission?
2VR publishes articles and opinion written by citizen journalists doing the good work required of us on a wide variety of fronts – finance, energy, agriculture, food&health, governance, arts&media, and more. Some of our writers advocate nonviolent secession, others do not, while still others are on the fence. All of our writers, though, are fierce champions of localism and decentralization. These visionary thinkers are helping us imagine a more sustainable and self-reliant Vermont future into which we can invest our time, energy, and financial and spiritual resources.
What are 2VR’s Politics?
We at 2VR believe that the United States is no longer a republic governed by its citizens, but an Empire that is immoral and essentially ungovernable. We believe that a sovereign state’s right to nonviolently secede, first championed in the United States by the citizens of 19th century New England, is a right that demands re-exploration in the 21st century. We believe that, working in concert with our neighbors and the rest of the world, may better be able to feed, power, educate and care for its citizens as an independent 21st century commonwealth than as one of fifty states within the U.S. Empire.
What is Our Vision for 2012 and beyond?
We continue our efforts at pioneering a new and sustainable model for 21st century journalism. Elements of this model include:
Not-For-Profit: We see our news journal as a nonprofit “statewide multimedia coffeehouse,” not as a commercially-run for-profit business. In an era of corporate consolidation, and the gutting of the print news business, we are providing an essential public service for the citizens of Vermont.
Place/Commons-Based: We are focused on the goings-on of a single place – Vermont – and its relationship with the rest of the world, with a specific focus on the idea of “the Commons.” (See Peter Barnes’ book Capitalism 3.0 for an introduction.)
Civically-Minded and Solutions-Oriented: We seek out writers and ask them to submit their work as volunteer citizen journalists, chronicling solutions-oriented work being done by Vermonters across the state.
Fiercely Subjective/Non-Partisan: We make no pretense to “Objectivity,” preferring instead to model ourselves after 19th century republican newspapers in the then new U.S. republic. We have a definite point of view. But we balance this with a non-partisan approach, seeing ourselves as a “big tent” for a variety of voices from a variety of political perspectives – liberal, conservative, progressive, libertarian, and decentralist/mutualist.
Collaboratively-Funded: As a not-for-profit, we rely on funding from multiple sources, including generous individuals, organizational partnerships, and crowd funding campaigns.
Q. Which issues does 2VR focus on?
A. 2VR considers a broad range of contemporary issues – finance, fuel, food, politics, education, sovereignty, and the arts. Big civilizational challenges like Peak Oil, climate change, and the imminent collapse of the U.S. Empire will profoundly impact Vermonters’ futures. We explore these issues at our web site, in our book Most Likely To Secede, and in F2F events around the once and future republic of Vermont.
Q. Why does 2VR want Vermont to be independent of the United States?
A. The United States has become militarily, agriculturally, politically, economically, culturally, and environmentally unsustainable:
U.S. foreign policy is based on the doctrine of full- spectrum dominance, which is immoral, illegal, unconstitutional, and extravagantly expensive.
U.S. agricultural monoculture is dependent upon unpredictable and privately owned genetically modified life forms.
U.S. politics is entirely captured by corporate special interests that defend their incumbent privilege at all costs.
U.S. is economically dependent upon the pixel wealth of the finance industry which creates a simulacrum of productivity and value out of thin air by issuing and repackaging debt and then making bets on it, to the detriment of investment in real production, innovation and progress.
U.S. cultural diversity is insurmountable if the aim is unified governance (i.e.: the “Union”), yet is deeply laudable in terms of regional cultural tradition and individual freedom, and should not be squelched in the interest of corporate or imperial uniformity.
U.S. environmental regulations support and encourage polluters and place no value on our Commons: our air, our water, our soil, and the other shared resources our communities hold dear.
Q. Why does 2VR think Vermont can do better as an independent republic?
A. First and foremost, the government of an independent Vermont will be able to respond to the needs and desires of its citizens better than it can if Vermont remains a part of the U.S. Empire. Because it is dependent upon the U.S. imperial machine for its livelihood, Vermont suffers greatly from blatant institutional capture by outside corporate special interests. Citizens of Vermont do not get a complete and fair vetting of ideas regarding the highest and best use of our government and treasure, because we are limited by the narrow menu of options served up by the federal government and their corporate partners. This menu of options includes: prosecuting illegal resource wars, subsidizing the planet-destroying fossil fuel industry and agricultural Industry, and allowing Wall Street to siphon away the wealth of the nation in a “heads they win, tails they win” game of musical chairs. This institutional capture limits a full and honest discussion about how government can best serve its citizens.
Secondly, the United States has become an Empire suffering from imperial overstretch, and has become unsustainable politically, economically, agriculturally, socially, culturally, and environmentally. Vermont finds it increasingly difficult to protect itself from the debilitating effects of big business, big agriculture, big markets, and big government, who want all of us to be the same— just like they are. Third, the U.S. Government has lost its moral authority because it is owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street. Fourth, U.S. foreign policy, which is based on the doctrine of full- spectrum dominance, is immoral, illegal, unconstitutional, and in violation of the United Nations charter. Fifth, as long as Vermont remains in the United States, our citizens face curtailed civil liberties, corporate domination, revocation of the social contract and all of the other challenges that accompany an Empire that is collapsing.
Q. Could Vermont survive economically as an independent republic?
A. Unquestionably. Vermont has plentiful of hydro resources with which to generate electrical power, a rich stock of forestry products with which to build, and a productive and innovative agricultural community that can feed all of us with plenty left over to share with our friends across borders. Vermonters are exceptionally entrepreneurial, creative and well-educated. An Independent Vermont would not need to be self-sufficient (though we could be), but rather would be a more empowered trading partner with our neighbors, including Quebec and the rest of Canada. Considering the world as a whole, of the 200 or so independent nation-states in the world, 50 of them have a smaller population than Vermont’s 620,000. Five of the ten richest countries in the world as measured by per capita income are smaller than Vermont: Liechtenstein, Iceland, Luxembourg, Bermuda, and Cayman Islands. Independence does not mean economic or political isolation. More than 600 Vermont firms export nearly 24 percent of the state’s gross product. We see no reason why this should change after independence.
Q. Describe the steps necessary for Vermont independence to be successful.
A. First things first. We must establish the desire for Vermont independence by providing a steady stream of reliable information to Vermont citizens, and supporting initiatives that strengthen Vermont sovereignty, rather than promoting dependence on second-hand options passed down from the U.S. of Empire.
Example #1. If Vermont can form a public bank that allows ordinary Vermonters to reap the benefits, Vermonters will have one less logistical and psychological tie to Wall Street and the Empire it enables.
Example #2. If Vermont can pass educational reform that improves our children’s educational experience without federal educational mandates and oppressive standardized testing schedules, then Vermont cuts another psychological tie with U.S. imperial dictates.
Example #3. Vermont labels GMOs, effectively removing them from the local food supply, and suddenly Vermont is free from Monsanto.
Along the way, Vermont will reach a “tipping point” and realize that it doesn’t need the U.S. of Empire to “solve” its problems.
Q. Does this mean secession for Vermont?
A. Ultimately, yes.
Q. But isn’t secession unconstitutional?
A. No. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the 1776 Declaration of Independence, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government.” Just as a group has a right to form, so, too, does it have a right to disband, to subdivide itself, or withdraw from a larger unit. The U.S. Constitution does not forbid secession. According to the tenth amendment, that which is not expressly prohibited by the Constitution is allowed. All states have a Constitutional right to secede, and secession is every American’s birthright.
Q. Does the Second Vermont Republic (2VR) want to take over the government of Vermont?
A. No. The citizens of the independent Republic of Vermont will decide how we are self-governed. Unlike the Free State Project in New Hampshire, our aim is not to take over the government. For that reason, the Second Vermont Republic takes no official position on such controversial issues as abortion, gay marriage, school prayer, and legalizing marijuana. These are issues for the citizens of the independent republic to decide.
Q. Is Vermont independence politically feasible?
A. Yes. Ultimately whether or not Vermont achieves political independence is a question of the will of the people. Is the will of the citizens of Vermont for independence strong enough to overcome the will of the U.S. government to prevent them from achieving their goal? In 1989, six Eastern European allies of the Soviet Union unseated their respective Communist governments and seceded from the Soviet sphere of influence. With the bloody exception of Romania, this all took place nonviolently.
Q. For Vermont independence to be successful, what are the necessary political steps?
A. The Vermont legislature must be persuaded to authorize a convention of the people to vote on rescinding the petition for statehood approved by the Vermont Assembly in January 1791 and ratified on March 4, 1791. To be credible, the vote should pass by at least a two-thirds majority. Articles of Secession should then be submitted to the U.S. President, Secretary of State, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House. Diplomatic recognition should be sought from Canada, Quebec, Mexico, England, France, and the United Nations. And then the moment of truth—Vermont would start behaving like an independent nation-state.
Q. What if the Vermont independence movement fails?
A. The once and future Republic of Vermont still provides a communitarian alternative to the dehumanized mass production, mass consumption, narcissistic lifestyle that pervades most of the United States. Vermont is smaller, more rural, more democratic, less violent, less commercial, more egalitarian, and more independent than most states. It offers itself as a kinder, gentler metaphor for a U.S. of Empire obsessed with money, power, size, speed, greed, and fear of terrorism.
As a writer, an artist, an advertiser, a donor, and an advocate.
Long live the “Untied States.”