A citizen movement committed to restoring Vermont to an independent republic, free to pursue life, liberty and happiness unimpeded by the demands of an imperial, corrupt and disintegrating United States.
Thanks to our friends at the University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum and RETN for hosting 2VR as part of their annual Pecha Kucha night. Here’s a 20 slide look at Vermont independence in 8 minutes – with pictures. Free Vermont, and long live the Untied States!
Here’s a FULL TRANSCRIPT of the Pecha Kucha talk.
2VR Pecha Kucha @ UVM’s Fleming Museum: The Case for Vermont Independence
Slide 1: Good evening. My name is Rob Williams, and I live and work out of the Mad River Valley. For ten years now, I have devoted much of my time to exploring why and how Vermont might peaceably secede from the United States and reinvent itself as an independent 21st century republic, publishing VERMONT COMMONS news journal for many years, and now 2VR.org and this book.
Slide 2: Nonviolent Secession? Really? Before I answer YES, consider the dirtiest word in US politics. In universal terms, “secession” simply refers to a smaller group of citizens choosing to detach themselves from a larger political group. In US history, secession is as American as baseball, apple pie and Chevys, before building cars got outsourced overseas.
Slide 3: When I say “secession,” you think ______? Maybe the Civil War, slavery, states rights, racism, or the South – our selective memory has all but erased secession from the American mindset, even though secession was a fundamental part of the US political fabric for 100 years.
Slide 4: Our Founders embedded secession in the D of I – “dissolve” is the key action verb, as in “dissolving the political bonds between England and the 13 colonies.” The Revolution of 1776 was a successful secession strategy to cut loose the forward-thinking British colonies from a corrupt, monopolistic, aggressive, and bloated Britain. Corrupt, monopolistic, aggressive and bloated – sound familiar?
Slide 5: Vermonters bleed independence – during the American Revolution, Vermonters ran Vermont as an independent country, authoring their own constitution, coining their own money, establishing their own post office, and running their own affairs, only joining the new US as the 14th state in 1791 when it made sense.
Slide 6: Like all other NE states, Vermonters supported secession at the 1814 Hartford Convention, arguing that the US was becoming too aggressive and militaristic. So – Vermont and New England championed secession as bedrock constitutional principle long before the South used secession to justify its embrace of race-based slavery and so-called “states rights.”
Slide 7: Republican president Abraham Lincoln’s shrewd prosecution of the “Civil War” and his radical reinvention of the US constitution – federal trumping states power put the question of nonviolent secession to bed in the United States for 150 years, swept it under our national rug of memory, and history – until now.
Slide 8: So why secession now? And why Vermont? Three reasons. First, it is clear that that the US is no longer a republic serving its citizens, but an Empire owned and operated by Wall Street banksters Let’s be honest – no one party, platform, person or program will ever be capable of fixing the US of empire. No, not even Bernie “No Bullshit” Sanders can save us.
Slide 9: Second, we face a unique global crisis unprecedented in human history – climate change and peak oil realities are threatening not only our oil-powered global economy, but human life on our planet, and the best way forward is to decentralize civilization as quickly as we can – to embrace a “Great Reskilling.” To do more with less.
Slide 10: Third, Vermont is the only one of 50 states to once exist as its own self-created republic, AND a place that enjoys a long history of both self-reliance and communitarianism. “Freedom and Unity” is our motto, and we know that Vermonters are good at rolling up their sleeves – look at our progressive history, our town meeting democratic tradition, and our “small is beautiful” entrepreneurial spirit.
Slide 11: So how can Vermont move towards 21st century independence? Nonviolent secession – political independence – falls at the far end of a spectrum of actionable activities already underway here in our once and future Vermont republic. We’ve published a whole book with the blueprints. Here are three ways we can start to make Vermont independence a reality.
Slide 12: Finance 1 – Petro Dollar
Slide 13: Finance 2 – Public Bank
The solution? Modeled after the highly successful Bank of North Dakota, a Vermont public bank would create new jobs, support entrepreneurialism, stimulate investment, and save Vermonters millions of dollars every year in non-interest payments to out-of-country big banks like Canada’s TD. We’ve already set aside 10% of Vermont state treasury’s cash balance – about $35 million – and are investing more locally under our “10 Percent for Vermont” plan passed last year. Bravo!
Slide 14: Fuel 1 – Climate Change/Peak Oil
Slide 15: Fuel 2 – Yankee Shut Down and Beyond
The solution? Harvesting more of our own energy here in Vermont. Vermonters are developing a new more renewable energy portfolio here at home. We’ve successfully shut down Vermont Yankee, Burlington is the first city in the U.S. to enjoy a 100% renewable electrical grid, and Vermont homes and businesses are aggressively building out solar, wind, and biomass energy projects – may it continue.
Slide 16: Food 1
Slide 17: Food 2
Solution? Vermonters must grow their own! Let’s take the idea of a “diversified working landscape” seriously, reclaiming thousands of acres of abandoned dairy farm land and putting our land back into productive use. We are the Napa Valley of beer, our local wine industry is bubbling, we create 1/3 of the world’s syrup supply, and our local produce, cheese, and ice cream are legendary. For young Vermonters who need capital to farm, BTW, a public bank could help.
Slide 18: Hemp and Pot
While we are at it, Vermont should legalize hemp production, and leverage the productive power of one of the world’s most remarkable crops. Ditto pot – let’s legalize cannabis focusing on “multiple bottom lines” – social, economic, environmental. Common sense commerce. A “Vermont Way” that blends our emphasis on individual freedom with communitarian values.
Slide 19: Fun and Festivals – Bernie, Ben and Jerry
Finally, Vermont independence should be FUN. As Ben and Jerry are fond of saying, “If it’s not fun, why do it?” We want singing, dancing, festivals, partying. Let us celebrate our successes and milestones, even as we keep our eyes on the prize – Vermont independence, and the creation of a second Vermont republic.
Slide 20: Let me end with the remarkable words of Vermonter Calvin Coolidge:
“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. 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.”
Or, perhaps, our brave little once and future Republic of Vermont.
Free Vermont, and long live the Untied States! Thank you.