• The New Secessionists

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    by Chris Hedges: One
    Day We'll All Be Terrorists



    Acts of rebellion
    which promote moral and political change must be nonviolent. And
    one of the most potent nonviolent alternatives in the country, which
    defies the corporate state and calls for an end to imperial wars,
    is the secessionist movement bubbling up in some two dozen states
    including Vermont, Texas, Alaska and Hawaii.

    These movements
    do not always embrace liberal values. Most of the groups in the
    South champion a u201Cneo-Confederacyu201D and are often exclusively male
    and white. Secessionists, who call for statewide referendums to
    secede, do not advocate the use of force. It is unclear, however,
    if some will turn to force if the federal structure ever denies
    them independence.

    These groups
    at least grasp that the old divisions between liberals and conservatives
    are obsolete and meaningless. They understand that corporations
    have carried out a coup d'tat. They recognize that our permanent
    war economy and costly and futile imperial wars are unsustainable
    and they demand that we take popular action to prevent citizens
    from being further impoverished and robbed by Wall Street speculators
    and corporations.

    u201CThe defining
    characteristic of the Second Vermont Republic is that there are
    two enemies, the United States government and corporate America,u201D
    Thomas Naylor, who founded Vermont's secessionist movement, told
    me when I reached him by phone at his home 10 miles south of Burlington.
    u201COne owns the other one. We are not like the tea party. The underlying
    premise of the tea party movement is that the system is fixable.u201D

    Naylor rattles
    off the stark indicators of the nation's decline, noting that the
    United States stands near the bottom among industrialized countries
    in voter turnout, last in health care, last in education and highest
    in homicide rates, mortality, STDs among juveniles, youth pregnancy,
    abortion and divorce. The nation, he notes grimly, has trillions
    in deficits it can never repay, is beset by staggering income disparities,
    has destroyed its manufacturing base and is the planet's most egregious
    polluter and greediest consumer of fossil fuels. With some 40 million
    Americans living in poverty, tens of millions more in a category
    called u201Cnear povertyu201D and a permanent underclass trapped by a real
    unemployment rate of 17
    , there is ample tinder for internal combustion. If we
    do not undertake a dramatic reversal soon, he asserts, the country
    and the global environment will implode with catastrophic consequences.

    The secessionist
    movement is gaining ground in several states, especially Texas,
    where elected officials increasingly have to contend with secessionist

    u201COur membership
    has grown tremendously since the bailouts, since the tail end of
    the Bush administration,u201D said Daniel Miller, the leader of the
    Texas Nationalist Movement,
    when I spoke with him by telephone from his home in the small town
    of Nederland, Texas. u201CThere is a feeling in Texas that we are being
    spent into oblivion. We are operating as the cash cow for the states
    that cannot manage their budgets. With this Congress, Texas has
    been squarely in their cross hairs, from cap and trade to the alien
    transfer and exit program. So many legislative pieces coming down
    the pike are offensive to people here in Texas. The sentiment for
    independence here is very high. The sentiment inside the Legislature
    and state capital is one of guarded optimism. There are scores of
    folks within state government who are supportive of what we are
    doing, although there is a need to see the public support in a more
    tangible way. This is why we launched our Let Texas Decide petition
    drive. We intend to deliver over a million signatures on the opening
    day of the [state legislative] session on Jan. 11, 2011.u201D

    Miller, like
    Naylor, expects many in the tea party to migrate to secessionist
    movements once they realize that they cannot alter the structure
    or power of the corporate state through electoral politics. Polls
    in Texas show the secessionists have support from about 35 percent
    of the state's population, and Vermont is not far behind.

    Naylor, who
    taught economics at Duke University for 30 years, is, along with
    Kirkpatrick Sale and Donald Livingston, one of the intellectual
    godfathers of the secessionist movement. His writing can be found
    on The Second Vermont Republic website,
    on the website Secession News
    and in postings on the Middlebury
    website. Naylor first proposed secession in his 1997
    book Downsizing
    the USA
    . He comes out of the u201Csmall is beautifulu201D movement,
    as does Sale. Naylor lives with his wife in the Vermont village
    of Charlotte.

    The Second
    Vermont Republic arose from the statewide anti-war protests in 2003.
    It embraces a left-wing populism that makes it unique among the
    national movements, which usually veer more toward Ron Paul libertarianism.
    The Vermont movement, like the Texas and Alaska movements, is well
    organized. It has a bimonthly newspaper called The Vermont Commons,
    which champions sustainable agriculture and energy supplies based
    on wind and water, and calls for locally owned banks which will
    open lines of credit to their communities. Dennis Steele, who is
    campaigning for governor as a secessionist, runs Radio Free Vermont,
    which gives a venue to Vermont musicians and groups as well as being
    a voice of the movement. Vermont, like Texas, was an independent
    republic, but on March 4, 1791, voted to enter the union. Supporters
    of the Second Vermont Republic commemorate the anniversary by holding
    a mock funeral procession through the state capital, Montpelier,
    with a casket marked u201CVermont.u201D Secessionist candidates in Vermont
    are currently running for governor, lieutenant governor, eight Senate
    seats and two House seats.

    the rest of the article

    27, 2010

    Hedges has been a war reporter for 19 years, most recently for the
    New York Times. He is author of What
    Every Person Should Know About War
    a book that offers a critical
    lesson in the dangerous realities of war. He’s also author of War
    is a Force that Gives Us Meaning
    . He writes a weekly column
    for TruthDig.

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