“I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all, because of her indomitable people. They are a race of pioneers who have almost beggared themselves to serve others. If the spirit of liberty should vanish in other parts of the union and support of our institutions should languish, it could all be replenished from the generous store held by the people of this brave little state of Vermont.”
– U.S. President (and Vermonter) Calvin Coolidge, Sept 21, 1928
Q. What is the 2nd Vermont Republic (2VR)?
A. First founded in 2004, the 2nd Vermont Republic (2VR) is an open source nonpartisan network of citizen Vermont’repeneurs seeking to peaceably secede from the “deep state” imperialism of the U.S. government, the domination and corruption of the national political process by US-based transnational corporations, and the economic monopolies and dysfunctional concentrations of wealth that are hallmarks of neoliberalism and corporate globalization as practiced by the same.
Q. What is the 2nd Vermont Republic’s (2VR) mission?
A. 2VR is committed to restoring Vermont to its status as an independent republic, as it was from 1777-1791, freeing Vermonters to pursue life, liberty and happiness unimpeded by the demands of a rapacious and disintegrating US 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, While we welcome dialogue with decentralist organizations, we do not affiliate with any other 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. How many Vermonters support the creation of a 2nd Vermont Republic (2VR)?
A. The 2017 Vermonter poll, conducted by the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies, indicates that more than 20% of Vermonters now believe that the time has come to consider the creation of a 2nd Vermont Republic (2VR).
Q. What is The Vermont Independent?
A. First founded in 2005 as Vermont Commons: Voices of Independence, the Vermont Independent is a multimedia news 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 resilient 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. Read more at www.vermontindependent.org.
Q. What is The Vermont Independent’s mission?
A. The Vermont Independent publishes articles, interviews and opinion written by citizen Vermont’repreneurs doing the good work required of us on a wide variety of fronts – finance, fuel, food, agriculture, governance, arts and media, and beyond. Some of our writers advocate nonviolent secession and others do not. All of our writers are fierce champions of localism and decentralization. Our 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 as the US of Empire moves into catabolic collapse. In publishing our work, we ask three questions:
- Is our content accurate?
- Is our content Vermont-focused?
- Does our content serve the interests of Vermonters?
Q. What is The Vermont Independent’s approach?
A. We have eight core foundational ingredients.
- Vermont Commons-Focused: We are deeply interested in this place called “Vermont,” and we publish content focused on our commonwealth, all that we Vermonters share in common – our air, our water, our land, and our shared economic and political resources and destiny.
- Multi-Media/Modal: We recognize that individuals learn and share stories in a variety of ways, and “news” is no exception. We embrace a wide variety of “news” story-sharing platforms: traditional/analog print, electronic “print,” social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – each with its own global communities and unique pros and cons), digital video, and (soon) audio podcasting.
- Civically Minded: We provide publishing spaces which are independent of both state and commercial influence, spaces that 20th century philosopher Jurgen Habermas called, collectively “the public sphere.”Imagine a Vermont-focused 21st century electronic multimedia coffeehouse or pub. That’s us.
- Subjective: We have a clear, consistent, and transparent point of view – resistance, resilience, and greater independence for our 21st century Vermont communities. (To get wonky for a sec – “Objectivity” with a capital O does not exist and never has existed. Rather, we suggest that high quality “news” has SIX ingredients: information that is a) recent, b) relevant, c) reliable, d) multi-perspectival, e) historically and hegemonically contextualized, and f) inclusive of clearly-sourced multiple points of view.
- Non-Partisan: We support no specific political party, platform, person, or program, but rather endorse what we call Plan ‘V,” a series of overlapping initiatives for making more Vermont more resilient in our emerging 21st century, based on our conversations with forward-thinking Vermonters since 2005.
- Collaborative: We seek and enjoy mutually supportive partnerships with other Vermont individuals and organizations. For example, we work with a) University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies on statewide polling, b) the Vermont community cable television community to produce and deploy our “Plan ‘V’-TV” television program, c) Vermont-based documentary filmmakers (we currently have 2 Vermont independence documentaries in production), and d) various college and university classrooms of students interested in producing Vermont-focused content as part of their emerging interest in independent multi-media journalism. We also teach a wide variety of critical media literacy education and journalism tools, concepts and approaches at the University of Vermont, and share them for free under our Creative Commons license. Click here to access all of our MEDIA POWER TOOLS.
- Entrepreneurial: We are constantly innovating and seeking creative ways to move forward our efforts, funding our work through one-time and regular donors, 2VR/VI merchandise sales, forward-thinking philanthropic individuals and organizations, crowd-funding and other creative means.
- Educational: We approach our content production through a critical media literacy lens, in conjunction with organizations like the Action Coalition for Media Education. Again, click here to access all of our MEDIA POWER TOOLS.
Q. Is the 2VR in contact with other U.S.-based secession efforts like #Calexit and the New Hampshire’s Free State Project?
A. Loosely. Every decentralist and secession movement has its own unique brand of politics, and, as we’ve observed here for years, Vermont has its own unique history as an independent country.
Q. Does 2VR support the creation of a Vermont independent political party?
A. Not at this time. Instead, we champion an open source nonpartisan network for all Vermonters of good will, a network that dialogues with our elected legislators. We 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, Vermont 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 US Empire. Political parties are but one of many ways to achieve these goals.
Q. Why does 2VR want Vermont to peaceably secede from the United States?
A. The United States has become militarily, agriculturally, politically, economically, culturally, and environmentally unsustainable. US foreign policy is based on the doctrine of full- spectrum dominance, which is immoral, illegal, unconstitutional, and extravagantly expensive. US agricultural monoculture is dependent upon unpredictable and privately owned genetically modified life forms. US politics is entirely captured by corporate special interests that defend their incumbent privilege at all costs. The US 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.
US 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 US Empire. Because it is dependent upon the US 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, in collusion with both major US political parties, to siphon away the wealth of the US. This institutional capture limits a full and honest discussion about how Vermont’s government can best serve Vermont’s 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.
Third, the US government has lost its moral authority because both political parties – the Democrats and the Republicans – are owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street and the Deep State.
Fourth, US foreign policy is based on the doctrine of full- spectrum dominance, and is 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 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 regional neighbors, including Quebec and the rest of Canada.
Considering the world as a whole, of the roughly 200 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 to become an independent republic.
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 the U.S. of Empire.
Example #1. If Vermont can form a public bank that allows ordinary Vermonters to reap the financial 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.
Along the way, Vermont will reach a “tipping point” and realize that it doesn’t need the US of Empire to “solve” its problems.
Q. Does this mean nonviolent 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 to withdraw from a larger unit. The US 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. 19th century New England was the first region of the new United States to consider nonviolent secession in response to aggressive U.S. expansionism, decades before southern states seized upon secession to try and preserve a retrograde race-based system of slavery.
Q. Does the 2VR want to take over the government of Vermont?
A. No. The citizens of the 2nd Vermont Republic will decide how we govern ourselves. Unlike the Free State Project in New Hampshire, our aim is not to take over the government. For that reason, the 2nd Vermont Republic takes no official position on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, school prayer, or legalizing marijuana. These are issues for the citizens of Vermont to consider.
Q. So how would Vermonters govern themselves in a 2VR?
A. Vermont has a perfectly good state constitution and a long tradition of “town meeting” and direct citizen democracy upon which to build. As a starting plac, we suggest a thorough review of Frank Bryan and John McClaughry’s 1989 book The Vermont Papers: Recreating Democracy On A Human Scale (Chelsea Green Publishing), in which the authors, both well-studied Vermonters, call on the Vermont state government to fund a strategic study exploring how to devolve power from the Montpelier state capital to a “shire system,” in which Vermont reconfigures its internal political boundaries along population and bioregional lines to maximize citizen participation in the affairs of government. (Thomas Jefferson proposed a similar system known as “ward republics,” writing in1816 that “the true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property, and in their management.”) The Vermont Papers lays out goals, a strategy, and a timeline for re-creating Vermont’s political life under the shire system – now seems like a good time to revisit this proposal. Our 2012 book Most Likely To Secede may also be of use.
Q. Is Vermont independence politically feasible?
A. Yes. Ultimately, Vermont independence is a question of political will. Is the will of Vermont’s citizens for independence strong enough to overcome the will of the US government to prevent Vermonters from achieving their goal?
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 US 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. Sign our petition here.
Q. What if 2VR and the Vermont independence movement fails?
A. Vermont will continue to provide a communitarian alternative to the dehumanized mass production, mass consumption, and narcissistic lifestyle that pervades much of the United States. Vermont is smaller, more rural, more democratic, less violent, less commercial, more egalitarian, and more independent than most states.
Q. How can I support a 2VR?
A. Visit our web site – www.vermontindependent.org – for a complete list of resources and initiatives. We welcome your support, ideas, and involvement.
As a writer, a producer, an artist, an advertiser, a donor, and an advocate.
Long live the “Untied States.”