Category Archives: News & Events

Vermont Independence Party Schedule

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vermont Statehouse – House Chamber

9:00     Welcome – Juliet Buck and Rob Williams

9:15 KEYNOTE: Morris Berman – Why the US Failed

10:00   Arts Interlude – Ethan Allen, remarks

10:15 Pecha Kucha #1 – Financing Vermont Independence

(Gwen Halsmith, Amy Kirschner, Gary Flomenhoft, Matt Cropp)

11:00   Arts Interlude (Ralph Meima – “Interstates”)

11:15 Pecha Kucha #2 – Fueling Vermont Independence

(Jessica Edgerly, Gaelan Brown, Ben Luce. Ben Graham)

12:00   Lunch break – visit our local eateries in town.

1:30 KEYNOTE: Lierre Keith – Resisting the Empire

2:15   Arts Interlude (Dylan Kelley – Occupy photos)

2:30 Pecha Kucha #3 – Feeding Vermont Independence

(Ben Falk, Jessica Bernier, Kevin Lehman)

3:15 Pecha Kucha #4 – Standing for Vermont Independence

(Pete Garritano, Rob Wagner, Steven Howard)

3:45 The Montpelier Manifesto: Thomas H. Naylor and Charles Keil

4:15 “Free Vermont” Guy Fawkes photo-statehouse steps

5:00   Fall Vermont Commons COOP meeting

“Three Penny Taproom” – downtown Montpelier.

Biggest Financial Scandal in Britain's History, Yet Not a Single Occupy Sign; What Happened?

As published in Counterpunch, Weekend Edition, July 6-8, 2012

by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

Since what is now going is being described as “the greatest financial scandal in the history of Britain”  — the Barclays imbroglio – I have a question to ask. Where are those tents outside St Pauls? Or ones in solidarity this side of the Atlantic? Where are the vibrant reminders that – as has happened in the Barclays case – there is most definitely one law for the 1% (none, in fact) and another for the 99 %?

It was very hard not to be swept away by the Occupy movement which established itself in New York’s Zuccotti Park last September and soon spread to Oakland, Chicago, London and Madrid. And indeed most people didn’t resist its allure.? ?Leninists threw aside their Marxist primers on party organisation and drained the full anarchist cocktail.

The Occupiers , with their “people’s mic”,  were always a little hard to understand. And as with all movements involving consensus, everything took a very long time.? ?Was there perhaps a leader, a small leadership group, sequestered somewhere among the tents and clutter? It was impossible to say and at that point somewhat disloyal to pose the question. Cynicism about Occupy was not a popular commodity.? ?But new movements always need a measure of cynicism dumped on them. Questions of organization were obliterated by the strength of the basic message – we are 99 per cent, they are one per cent. It was probably the most successful slogan since ‘peace, land, bread’.

The Occupy Wall Street assembly in Zuccotti Park soon developed its own cultural mores, drumming included. Like many onlookers, I asked myself, Where the hell’s the plan?

But I held my tongue. I had no particular better idea and for a CounterPuncher of mature years to start laying down the program seemed cocky. But, deep down, I felt that Occupy, with all its fancy talk, all its endless speechifying, was riding for a fall.

Before the fall came there were heroic actions, people battered senseless by the police. These were brave people trying to hold their ground.

There were other features that I think quite a large number of people found annoying: the cult of the internet, the tweeting and so forth, and I definitely didn’t like the enormous arrogance which prompted the Occupiers to claim that they were indeed the most important radical surge in living memory.

Where was the knowledge of, let along the respect for the past?  We had the non-violent resistors of the Forties organising against the war with enormous courage. The Fifties saw leftists took McCarthyism full on the chin. With the Sixties we were making efforts at revolutionary organisation and resistance.? ?Yet when one raised this history with someone from Occupy, I encountered total indifference.

There also seemed to be a serious level of political naivety about the shape of the society they were seeking to change. They definitely thought that it could be reshaped – the notion that the whole system was unfixable did not get much of a hearing.? ?After a while it seemed as though, in Tom Naylor’s question in this site: “Is it possible that the real purpose of Occupy Wall Street has little to do with either the 99 per cent or the one per cent, but rather everything to do with keeping the political left in America decentralised, widely dispersed, very busy, and completely impotent to deal with the collapse of the American empire…

“Occupiers are all occupied doing exactly what their handlers would have them be doing, namely, being fully occupied. In summary, Occupy Wall Street represents a huge distraction.”

Then the rains of winter came. Zuccotti Park came under repeated assault, the tents were cleared from Zucotti Park and from St Paul’s Cathedral and by early this year it was all over.

People have written complicated pieces trying to prove it’s not over, but if ever I saw a dead movement, it is surely Occupy.

Has it left anything worth remembering? Yes, maybe.  With Bob Diamond squirming before British MPs, and politicians jostling to apportion blame for the Barclays scandal, memories of the 99 per cent and the one per cent are surely at least warm in the coffin.

Everything leftists predicted came true, just as everything hard-eyed analysts predicted about the likely but unwelcome course of ecstatic populism in Tahrir Square also came true. ·I do think it’s incumbent on those veteran radicals who wrote hundreds of articles more or proclaiming a religious conversion to Occupyism,  to give a proper account of themselves, otherwise it will  happen all over again.

Alexander Cockburn died on July 21, 2012.

Freedom, Equality, Justice, and Liberty Forever

The new American flag forever postage stamp series recently released by the U.S. Postal Service represents a degree of hypocrisy heretofore unimaginable.  Below the American flag on each stamp is one of the following four words – freedom, equality, justice, or liberty – followed by the word “forever.”  For example, “freedom forever.”  The not so subtle message of American exceptionalism is that the United States is a country in which freedom, equality, justice, and liberty will surely live forever.  The sheer arrogance underlying this postage stamp series is almost beyond belief.

Freedom. “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose,” sang Kris Kristofferson back in 1969, “And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free.”  The land of the free and the home of the brave is no longer what it was once cracked up to be.  With every passing day our once highly touted freedom becomes more illusory and less of a reality.

Since 9/11 our government has created a plethora of new laws and institutions severely restricting our freedom and civil liberties while pretending to protect us from Islamic terrorists.  At the top of the list is the highly intrusive, inept, ever-growing, money-guzzling Department of Homeland Security which together with other intelligence agencies uses the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the Detainee Security Provision of the National Defense Administration Act of 2011, and other covers for citizen surveillance and suppression of civil liberties.  Among the instruments of surveillance currently being used by government authorities are the Internet, cell phones, concealed cameras, drones, and even old fashion moles to infiltrate suspicious groups.

Equality. If nothing else, Occupy Wall Street has brought the issue of extreme disparities in the levels of income and wealth in the United States to the forefront of national political consciousness.  By focusing on the degree of control which the 1 percent have over the 99 percent, OWS has exposed the myth of equality in the United States.  In his book Why America Failed, Morris Berman argues that it was not by chance alone that the United States has become one of the least egalitarian nations in the world.  The U.S., according to Berman, has always been about “hustling, materialism, and the pursuit of personal gain without regard for its effects on others.”  If you are poor, you deserve to be poor because you didn’t hustle enough.

Justice. There are six million people under “correctional supervision” in the United States (more than were in Stalin’s Gulag Archipelago), including more black men than were in slavery in 1860, 50,000 men in solitary confinement in “supermax” prisons, and 3170 on death row, 704 of which are in California, 407 in Florida, and 308 in Texas.

In addition our government has embraced the illegal rendition of terrorist suspects, prisoner abuse and torture, and the obscene Guantanamo Prison.

Our immoral, often clandestine and illegal, foreign policy is based on the principles of full-spectrum dominance, imperial overstretch, and might-makes-right.  The White House and the Congress remain unconditionally committed to the technofascist terrorist state of Israel and its policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing aimed at the Palestinians.

Perhaps the most egregious form of injustice practiced by the U.S. Government is epitomized by President Barack Obama’s kill list.  Obama has decided that he has the authority to order the assassination of anyone, anywhere, anytime, with no questions asked, no trial, no due process – just pure law of the jungle.  The frontier spirit of the Old West is alive and well.

Liberty. “Give me liberty or give me death,” proclaimed Patrick Henry in 1775.  Unfortunately, liberty, as we once knew it in this country, is dead in the water.

Today a group of political elites use corporate, state, and military power to manipulate and control most of the population.  What has evolved is a global system of dominance and deceit in which ostensibly free individuals allow Wall Street, transnational megacompanies, big government, and the Israeli Lobby to control their lives through money, markets, media, and technology resulting in the loss of political will, civil liberties, collective memory, and traditional culture.  It resembles a giant international Ponzi scheme whose victims suffer from the effects of affluenza, technomania, cybermania, megalomania, robotism, globalism, and imperialism.  It’s all about a government which is too big, too centralized, too undemocratic, too unjust, too powerful, too intrusive, and too unresponsive to the needs of individual citizens and small communities.  But liberty it is not!

When I first saw the new forever postage stamps I thought surely the struggling postal system had to be kidding.  Maybe the USPS had lost its marbles?  But maybe not.  The USPS desperately needs a bailout from a dysfunctional Congress which can agree on little other than American exceptionalism.  For the narcissistic patriots who make up the membership of Congress, freedom, equality, justice, and liberty are code for American exceptionalism.  My bet is that the Postal Service will get its bailout.

Thomas H. Naylor

August 4, 2012

Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of Affluenza, Downsizing the USA, and The Search for Meaning.

www.vermontrepublic.org.

The 1950-1970 Business School Coup d'Etat and the 2008 Wall Street Meltdown

Little did I know that when I began teaching at Tulane University in 1961 and three years later at Duke, where I taught for thirty years, that I was participating in a defacto coup d’état in American business education which would give rise to a period of unprecedented economic prosperity followed by the economic meltdown of 2007-2008.

Although what I had been hired to do at Tulane, namely, introduce courses in quantitative business analysis and management science in the undergraduate business curriculum, appeared on the surface to be quite innocuous, it turned out not to be so innocent at all.

Even though the seeds of American imperialism were sewn in the Mexican War (1846-1848), the Civil War (1861-1865), the Spanish-American War (1898), World War I (1914-1918), and World War II (1939-1945), the United States did not truly become an empire until after World War II.  Unbeknownst to me the United States was about to become an empire due in no small part to the revolution getting underway in business education.

Following on the heels of a 1959 Ford Foundation report calling for radical changes in business education in the United States, Tulane had obtained funding from Ford to beef up business research; strengthen the Business School’s grounding in economics, behavioral science, and quantitative analysis; and improve the professionalism of the school’s undergraduate business and MBA programs.  To help lead the revolution at Tulane I was paid a whopping $5,600 per year.  These were heady times!

Prior to the onset of the revolution business schools were viewed as comatose like institutions whose students took too many vocational business courses, too few liberal arts courses including math and science, and played too much because they had so few academic demands on their time.  Research in business schools tended to be unscientific, mundane, or nonexistent.  Business school faculty and students were treated as anti-intellectual, unprofessional, second class citizens.

Against this moribund backdrop the confluence of four forces precipitated the Business School Revolution in the 1950s.  These forces are spelled out in the recent book by Mie Augier and James G. March entitled The Roots, Rituals, and Rhetorics of Change (Stanford University Press, 2011).

First, the lasting positive impact on medical education in the United States of a 1910 report by Abraham Flexner provided an important role model for those interested in business education reform.  Based on evaluations of 155 medical schools in the United States, the Flexner Report called for tougher entry requirements, fewer medical schools, more scientific research, increased professionalism, and improved funding.  There was a widespread view that the Flexner Report had resulted in increased rigor and more involvement in basic research throughout academic medicine in America. It appeared to offer a model which might be emulated by business schools.

Second, an important byproduct of World War II was a new discipline known as operations research which was characterized by the use of sophisticated mathematical models and statistical techniques to solve managerial decision problems.  Operations research provided the intellectual foundation underlying an Air Force think tank known as the RAND Corporation launched in 1948 in Santa Monica, California.

According to Augier and March:

RAND championed a creed that celebrated multidisciplinary work, problem framing, mathematical social science and operations analysis, and the application of refined intelligence and educated technique to imagining new ways of resolving old social problems, beginning with problems of national security and extending ultimately to a wide range of public concerns.  In particular, the focus was on the use of decision theory, mathematics, statistics, and microeconomic analysis to improve the choices made by leaders of social collectivities (such as armies, firms, nations).

RAND soon became an incubator, laboratory testing ground, and promoter of creative new ideas in the decision sciences.  It attracted the crème de la crème of those working in the fields of economics, operations research, and organization theory including such luminaries as Kenneth Arrow, Tjalling Koopmans, Jacob Marschak, Roy Radner, Howard Raiffa, Martin Shubik, Herbert Simon, and Oliver Williamson to mention only a few.  By the 1960s RAND had become the place to be and the place to be seen, if you were an aspiring young business school professor.  RAND along with other Defense Department related think tanks such as the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) soon began to have considerable influence over the kind of research conducted in American business schools.  But this was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the influence the Pentagon would soon wield over higher education in America.  There was no turning back.

Third, the influence on the business education revolt of University of Chicago President Robert Maynard Hutchins and Economist Milton Friedman cannot possibly be overestimated.  Throughout his tenure as President Hutchins vigorously promoted “vicious intellectualism” and research based interdisciplinary scholarship, which resonated with those in search of a new mission for business education.  On the other hand, Professor Milton Friedman and his colleague George Stigler brought an almost religious-like commitment to radical free-market economics to the table.  This was an ideology which fiercely opposed labor unions and any form of government regulation, ownership, or control.  The name of the game was deregulation, privatization, and globalization.  The full impact of the Chicago School of Economics on business education did not kick in until the 1980s when President Ronald Reagan zealously promoted its use to the exclusion of any other form of economics.

Fourth, perhaps the most important force influencing the radical transformation of business education was the 1959 Ford Foundation commissioned report by two University of California, Berkeley, economists, Aaron Gordon and James Howell, calling for a virtual revolution in business education.  Gordon and Howell recommended that business education become more professional, less vocationally oriented, more scientific, and more research based.  In addition, they recommended that business school curricula increase their course offerings in economics, quantitative analysis, and behavioral science.

Between 1954 and 1964 the Ford Foundation spent over $35 million on programs to improve business schools and management education according to Augier and March:

It commissioned a major report, provided grants to business schools, supported graduate fellowships, established prizes for business school dissertation research, and supported conferences and training sessions in new methods for old faculty.

Over two-thirds of the money spent by Ford went to eight business schools:  Carnegie Tech, Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCLA.  But the crown jewel in Ford’s portfolio of grant recipients was the Graduate School of Industrial Administration at Carnegie Institute of Technology.  GSIA became the poster child of the business school coup d’état.  It was considered by most to be the place where the most innovative and most radical changes were taking place.

By the late 1970s all of the major business schools in the United States and many of the less important ones were in compliance with all of the recommendations of the 1959 Ford Foundation report.  They were also all marching to the ideological beat of the Chicago School of Economics drum.  Milton Friedman was their God.

Courses in management science, operations research, information systems, quantitative analysis, linear programming, computer simulation, and inventory control replaced descriptive courses in marketing, production, and personnel management.  Business schools became more research oriented and more professional as well.  Their status within colleges and universities began to rise accordingly.  To have an MBA meant that you were highly marketable and that you would be sought out by Wall Street and Corporate America who would offer premium wages for your services.  Indeed, that’s what it was all about.

But there was much more.  The groundwork had been laid for business schools to assume a much more influential role with Corporate America, Wall Street, the U.S. Government, and the Pentagon.

As the house of cards came crashing down on Wall Street and the global economy continued to melt down in 2008, the premier graduate schools of business who trained most of the architects and promoters of the financial debacle remained eerily silent on the sidelines.  Yet is was from MBA programs at places like Harvard, Wharton, Yale, Chicago, Columbia, and Stanford that Wall Street’s movers and shakers learned most of their dirty tricks such as creative accounting, insider trading, bribery, hostile takeovers, stock price manipulation, anti-labor tactics, lying, cheating, and fraud to mention only a few.  There they acquired the necessary skills to transform Wall Street into a global Ponzi scheme.  Hedge funds, derivative contracts, credit default swaps, exchange-traded funds, and sophisticated mathematical models were all part of the greed driven drill.  It was at business schools where Corporate America’s future leaders learned how to use behavioral science to manipulate consumers and employees alike so that their ever increasing salaries would go unnoticed below the radar screen.  It was all about the political economy of greed.

As I watched the financial meltdown unfold, I experienced feelings of déjà vu.  Back in the 1980s for a period of six years, I taught all of the courses on business strategy at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.  Each semester I would ask my students to write a personal strategic plan for the ten-year period after their graduation from Duke’s MBA program.  The question I posed was “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  With few exceptions, they wanted money, power, and things – very big things including vacation homes, expensive automobiles, yachts, and even airplanes.  They were primarily concerned with their careers and the growth of their financial portfolios.  It was all about greed and personal pleasure.  Their personal plans contained little room for family, intellectual development, spiritual growth, or social responsibility.

Their mandate to the faculty was “Teach me how to be a moneymaking, money spending machine.  Give me only the facts, tools, and computer techniques required to ensure my instantaneous financial success.”  Everything else was fundamentally irrelevant.

Their God was technology – particularly the computer.  Technology represented the ultimate solution to all of their problems – professional, financial, social, personal, political, and even geopolitical.  Only through technology could they deny their finiteness and guarantee their own immortality.  They had much rather automate a factory than negotiate with a difficult labor union.  Missile defense systems were preferable to negotiating with the Soviet Union, which was perceived to  be our enemy then.  Courses on business ethics and corporate responsibility were used by manipulative MBA students to come up with pseudomoral justifications for their narcissistic, materialistic, sociopathic behavior.

My Duke students exemplified cultural historian Morris Berman’s thesis in Why America Failed that what America has always been about is “hustling, materialism, and the pursuit of personal gain without regard for its effects on others.”

President Ronald Reagan and University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman were the heroes of my MBA students.  Reagan had assured Americans that what life was really all about was “looking out for number one.”  He once said, much to their delight, that “what I want to see above all is that this country remains a country where someone can always get rich.”  And he did just that.  As for Friedman, his irresponsible aphorism that “the only social responsibility of business is to make as much money as possible for the stockholders” was viewed with religious fervor.  Anything goes so long as the company is making as much money as possible for the shareholders.  This was an ideology to beat all ideologies – an ideology embraced by Wall Street and Corporate America for the next two decades and an ideology which resulted in the greatest recession since the 1930s.

But the chickens have finally come home to roost, and the cataclysmic failure of graduate schools of business is now painfully obvious to all.  Business school deans and professors are nowhere to be found on either the evening news or on television talk shows.  At a time when business schools should be engaged in serious introspective discussions about what went wrong, it’s business as usual at the academy.

The collapse of the American financial system raised serious doubts about the legitimacy of business education in a university curriculum.  Business schools are a national disgrace.  George W. Bush and Mitt Romney both received their MBAs from the Harvard Business School.  Need we say more?

On September 17, 2011, in tiny Zucotti Park in lower Manhattan, the so-called 99 percent fired the first shot across the bow aimed squarely at the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, officially launching the Occupy Wall Street movement.

OWS is nothing less than a frontal assault on the materialism, the greed, the inequality, the unemployment, the poverty, the environmental degradation, the racism, the cronyism, and the militarism associated with American capitalism.  The American Empire is too big, too centralized, too powerful, too undemocratic, too intrusive, too violent, and too unresponsive to the needs of individual citizens other than the superrich.  It has too few jobs, too many home mortgage foreclosures, too much student debt, too many people living in poverty, too many without health insurance, and increasingly does too little to support the poor and middle class.

The emperor truly has no clothes.  The myth of American exceptionalism is all a big lie!

What few seem to realize is that OWS is simply blowback from what Mie Augier and James G. March call the Golden Age of business schools in their recent book The Roots, Rituals, and Rhetorics of Change: North American Business Schools After the Second World War.

After devoting 322 pages to hyping the positive effects of the 1950-1970 takeover of graduate schools of business by the free market technocrats, the authors abruptly conclude their book with the following final sentence.  “The Golden Age was transformed to a significant extent into an era of the glorification of huge fortunes and of those who accumulated them, the anointing of greed as a social virtue, and the substitution of the lessons of experience for the lessons of analysis and research.”

It’s almost as though they wrote an entire book about the revolution which took place in business education and failed to notice that the seeds of destruction which have led to the precipitous decline in the American Empire were planted, cultivated, and nourished in graduate schools of business over the past sixty years.  The mathematical models, economic theories, behavioral science, and increased professionalism of American business schools have all played an important role in the creation, moral justification, and implementation of a culture of technofascism which Occupy Wall Street is now rebelling against.

As a result of the training which they received in leading MBA programs, professional managers on Wall Street and in Corporate America have been able to take scientifically based hustling, greed, and their own personal salaries and bonuses to heretofore unimaginable levels.

In the words of Eric Fromm:

Modern man has transformed himself into a commodity; he experiences his life energy as an investment with which he should make the highest profit, considering his position and the situation on the personality market.  He is alienated from himself, from his fellow men, and from nature.  His main aim is profitable exchange of his skills, knowledge, and of himself, his “personality package” with others who are equally intent on a fair and profitable exchange.  Life has no goal except the one to move, no principle except the one of fair exchange, no satisfaction except the one to consume.

And graduate schools of business have played no small part in making all of this happen!  The Harvard Business School model is under siege, and appropriately so.

Thomas H. Naylor

April 5, 2012

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Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of Affluenza, Downsizing the USA, and The Search for Meaning.

www.vermontrepublic.org.

George F. Kennan: Godfather of the Vermont Independence Movement

With the publication of John Lewis Gaddis’s new book George F. Kennan:  An American Life (Penguin Press, 2011), the name of the former dean of the American diplomatic corps is once again on the national radar screen.  When George F. Kennan died on March 17, 2005, at the age of 101, few Americans were aware that he had become a staunch advocate of the peaceful dissolution of the American Empire and of the fledgling Vermont independence movement.  Although best known as the father of “containment,” the mainstay of American Cold War policy, Kennan first revealed his radical decentralist tendencies in his 1993 book entitled Around the Cragged Hill.

We are, if territory and population be looked at together, one of the great countries of the world—a monster country, one might say, along with such others as China, India, the recent Soviet Union, and Brazil.  And there is a real question as to whether “bigness” in a body politic is not an evil in itself, quite aside from the policies pursued in its name.

Although virtually unnoticed by the media, Ambassador Kennan came right to the brink of calling for the peaceful break-up of the United States in this book.

I have often diverted myself, and puzzled my friends, by wondering how it would be if our country, while retaining certain of the rudiments of a federal government, were to be decentralized into something like a dozen constituent republics, absorbing not only the powers of the existing states but a considerable part of those of the present federal establishment.  I could conceive of something like nine of these republics—let us say, New England; the Middle Atlantic states; the Middle West; the Northwest (from Wisconsin to the Northwest, and down the Pacific coast to central California); the Southwest (including Southern California and Hawaii); Texas (by itself); the Old South; Florida (perhaps including Puerto Rico); and Alaska; plus three great self-governing urban regions, those of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles—a total of twelve constituent entities.  To these entities I would accord a larger part of the present federal powers than one might suspect—large enough, in fact, to make most people gasp.

About American imperialism, Kennan had this to say in the same book:

There is a further quality of greatness of size in a country that deserves mention here.  One might define it as the hubris of inordinate size.  It is a certain lack of modesty in the national self-image of the great state—a feeling that the nation’s role in the world must be equivalent to its physical size, with the consequent relative tendency to overweening pretensions and ambitions.  I don’t mean to say that the great power is always and everywhere imperialistic.  There have been times, to be sure, when the United States was very much that.


Between February 7, 2001 and February 14, 2003, I received ten personal letters from Ambassador Kennan and several telephone calls.  The subject was always the same—secession, the peaceful dissolution of the United States with Vermont leading the way.  Kennan was a closet secessionist.

In January 2001 I sent him a copy of my book with William H. Willimon entitled Downsizing the U.S.A., a book which unabashedly called for Vermont independence as a first step towards the peaceful break-up of the Union.  On February 7, 2001, Professor Kennan responded,

There can be no doubt of the closeness of many of our views.  But we are, I fear, a lonely band; until some of the things we have written are discovered by what we may hope will be a more thoughtful and serious generation of critics and reviewers, I am afraid we will remain that way.  I, in any case, being just on the eve of my 97th birthday, can no longer look forward to continuing the battle.  Writing is itself becoming difficult for me.  Let me wish you well in your own struggle for understanding. Much of your thinking must at least, I feel, break through.

Then on April 3, 2001, I received a letter from Ambassador Kennan’s secretary Terrie Bramley at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in which she said,

Mr. Kennan asked me to tell you how sorry he is that he is unable to pursue the correspondence with yourself further than he did, but his health is demanding his respect.  He asked me to tell you that…he felt much more well inclined to your suggestion that the state of Vermont should demand its independence.

On October 22, 2001, Ambassador Kennan dictated the following letter from his sick bed to Terrie Bramley.

Dear Prof. Naylor:

I am, for reasons of age and health, not normally able to reply in person to incoming letters.  I am, however, trying to make an exception in the case of your recent letter (I seem, unfortunately to have mislaid) because the content of it interests me greatly at this final stage in my life, and I have a few thoughts about it that I would like to see put into written form before it becomes too late.

You cited in your letter, if my memory is correct, the views of a lady in Maine who urged the establishment of independence for the three states of Main, New Hampshire and Vermont and their union with certain political entities of Canada to form something resembling a northeast federative state, separated from both the U.S. and Canada.  And while I cannot comment on that part of this vision that suggests the inclusion of what are at present parts of Canada (I know too little about them), I write to say that in the idea of three American states ultimate independence, whether separately or in union, I see nothing fanciful, and nothing towards the realization of which the efforts of enlightened people might not be usefully directed.  Such are at present the dominating trends in the U.S. that I can see no other means of ultimate preservation of cultural and societal values that will be not only endangered but eventually destroyed in an endlessly prolonged association of the northern parts of New England with the remainder of what is now the U.S.A.

Let me having said that, now add a few thoughts, some of a cautionary nature, the others essentially encouraging.  Any attempt to separate territories from the remainder of the U.S. could, if it were to be any less than tragically unsuccessful, have to be gradual and protractive.  It has long been an established principle in my own mind that no abrupt attempt at change (or even ostensibly achieved change) in the lives of entire peoples can have enduring useful effects.  To be successful, changes of this nature must proceed in close companionship with comparable developments in the minds and customs of the peoples in whose lives they are to take place; and such changes take time and patience. For this reason the changes that the lady from Maine envisaged could, if they are going to have any prospects for enduring success, only be slow ones, gradually and patiently pursued.  With this in mind, it occurs to me that those who would like to see such changes brought about could do worse than to study and consider the protracted historical process, both patient and non-violent, by which the Canadians succeeded in extracting themselves from the original dependence upon London and achieving complete independence.

One ought also to have in mind the experience and responses of other parts of the country which have either immediate boundaries with Canada, or as in the case, with the regions of relative compact Scandinavian immigration, in Minnesota, South Dakota, and my native Wisconsin.  In some instances, particularly in the relationships between the cities of Spokane and Vancouver, the relations seemed to have achieved a higher degree of natural intimacy than could be said to exist between either of those places and southern California or Ottawa.  Such consultations ought to be useful for anyone contemplating closer relationship between extreme northeastern regions of our country and neighboring parts of Canada. While, as I have said, any significant change will have to be a gradual one, it is therefore, to my mind, neither fanciful or unjustified to us to hold in mind at this time the whole problem of the future development of the relationship with the northern parts of this country and their immediate Canadian neighbors.

I offer these thoughts to you, for whatever they are worth.  My present state of health excludes any possibility of my writing about any of this for publication.  But I thought that you, more than anyone else of my acquaintance, ought to know the directions in which my thoughts are leading at this late stage in my own life. With all best wishes I remain,

Sincerely,

George Kennan

On May 1, 2002, Mr. Kennan wrote, “All power to Vermont in its effort to distinguish itself from the USA as a whole, and to pursue in its own way the cultivation of its own tradition.”

By far the most poignant of all of the letters which I received from Professor Kennan was a handwritten one dated August 1, 2002.  In the concluding paragraph he said,

I continue to be of poor and deteriorating health, and too much should not be looked for from me.  But my enthusiasm for what you are trying to do in Vermont remains undiminished; and I am happy for any small support I can give to it.

My last letter from Ambassador Kennan was written on February 14, 2003, two days before his 99th birthday and just prior to the beginning of the war with Iraq.  In this letter he expressed concern about the negative political impact which the war might have on the Vermont independence movement.

Although I never heard form him again, George Kennan was a major source of inspiration for the Second Vermont Republic, Vermont’s independence movement.  In every sense of the word, he was truly the godfather of the movement.

Thomas H. Naylor

January 1, 2012

Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of Affluenza, Downsizing the USA, and The Search for Meaning.  www.vermontrepublic.org.

High Priests of Technofascism 2012

  1. Benedict XVI  —   Pope
  2. Ben S. Bernanke —  Federal Reserve Chrmn
  3. Lloyd C. Blankfein  —  Goldman Sachs Chrmn
  4. Hillary Clinton  —  Secretary of State
  5. Rahm Emanuel  —   Mayor of Chicago
  6. Bill Gates   —   Microsoft Founder
  7. Stephen Harper  —  Canadian Prime Minister
  8. Angela Merkel  —  German Chancellor
  9. Rupert Murdoch   —  News Corporation Chrmn
  10. Benjamin Netanyahu  —   Israeli Prime Minister
  11. Grover Norquist   —   Americans for Tax Reform
  12. Barack Obama  —   President
  13. Bill O’Reilly  —   Fox News Talk Show Host
  14. Larry Page  —   Google CEO
  15. Leon Panetta   —   Secretary of Defense
  16. David Petraeus  —   CIA Director
  17. Bernie Sanders   —   Vermont Senator
  18. Nicholas Sarkozy  —   French President
  19. Robson Walton  —   Wal-Mart Chairman
  20. Mark Zuckerberg  —   Facebook CEO

God and Man (and Secession) at Yale

When I team taught a course on corporate strategy back in 1980 at the Yale School of Management with economist Martin Shubik and former New York Times chief financial officer Leonard Forman, I never dreamed I would be invited back to Yale thirty years later to be the keynote speaker for a debate on, of all things, secession.  Yet on the evening of November 9th, the Yale Political Union, the largest student organization on campus, held such a debate to consider the resolution, “Be it resolved that the United States of America be peacefully dissolved.”  One can’t even imagine how long it must have been since a politically correct Ivy League college organized a major debate on secession?

Founded in 1934 as a debate society, members of the Yale Political Union include Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, and others.  Each member belongs to one of seven political parties: either the Liberal Party, the Party of the Left, the Independent Party, the Federalist Party, the Conservative Party, the Tory Party, or the Party of the Right.  Past presidents have included Senator John Kerry, New York Governor George Pataki, and writers William F. Buckley and Fareed Zakaria.  The YPU’s list of past speakers reads like a veritable Who’s Who in American Politics.  Right wing writer and darling of Fox News, Ann Coulter, was there a couple of weeks earlier.

My charge that the U.S. Government is an immoral, undemocratic, over sized, materialistic, unsustainable, ungovernable, unfixable military machine run by and for the benefit of the superrich precipitated a lively and very intense response from the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed Yalies.

The liberal Democrats and the neoconservatives, both apologists for big government, didn’t like what I had to say one bit.  The rebuttal speaker, a young Filipino, made the case for America’s role as the global policeman.  The fate of America’s nuclear arsenal was the primary concern of another participant.  A conservative woman worried about the possible impact on copyright protection.  My favorite response came from a student from Rochester, N.Y., who feared that dissolution of the American Empire might threaten the future of the Super Bowl, which he considered to be an integral part of American exceptionalistm.

A lot more students came to my defense than I had expected.  They included several libertarians, some hard core leftists, and a Mexican socialist.  One student even claimed to be a fan of the Second Vermont Republic.

What was particularly gratifying about the debate was the extent of the engagement of these very bright, articulate Yale undergraduates in a conversation about a politically incorrect topic which had been summarily rejected by most Americans for over 150 years.  There seemed to be a willingness to think outside of the box and openly discuss heretofore unimaginable political options such as radical decentralization, Internet based direct democracy, secession, and even peaceful dissolution.

Many of the Yale debaters appeared to have been influenced by the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Although not everyone was in agreement with the goals and tactics of OWS, the movement has produced a tailwind of support for political change which was clearly evident in the debate hall.

After two hours of intense discussion, there was a motion to end debate and vote on the resolution.  Much to my surprise 45 percent of the participants voted to dissolve the United States.  Maybe there is hope after all, if that many Yalies opt for secession rather than empire.

Thomas H. Naylor

November 14, 2011

Founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University; co-author of Affluenza, Downsizing the USA, and The Search for Meaningwww.vermontrepublic.org

History of the Second Vermont Republic

Nearly three years before I moved to Vermont, on October 9, 1990, the Bennington Banner published my article entitled “Should the U.S. Be Downsized?”  Four years later in Challenge (Nov.-Dec. 1994) I wrote “The time has come both for the individual states and the federal government to begin planning the rational downsizing of America.”  Continuing I suggested that Vermont might lead the way by helping “save our nation from the debilitating effects of big government and big business” and by “providing an independent role model for the other states to follow.”

In 1997 William H. Willimon and I published Downsizing the U.S.A., which not only called for Vermont independence, but the peaceful dissolution of the American Empire.  We argued that the U.S. government had become too big, too centralized, too powerful, too undemocratic, too militaristic, too imperialistic, too materialistic, and too unresponsive to the needs of individual citizens and small communities.  However, since we were in the midst of the greatest economic boom in history, few Americans were interested in downsizing anything.  The name of the game was “up, up, and away.”  Only bigger and faster were thought to be better.

A year or so later I joined an organization called the New England Confederation whose objective was to have New England split away from the United States and establish itself as an independent nation-state.  Unfortunately, the Confederation turned out to be mostly an Internet website rather than a real political organization.  However, its website survived several years after the demise of the Confederation itself under the leadership of Bristol, Vermont resident Michael Patno.

For the most part, before September 11, 2001, my call for Vermont independence and the dissolution of the Empire fell on deaf ears.  It was as though I were speaking to an audience of one, namely myself.  But a year or so after 9/11 that gradually began to change.  On March 4, 2003, two weeks before the second war with Iraq began, Michael Patno and I met for lunch in Burlington to discuss the possibility of organizing a serious, nonviolent independence movement in Vermont opposed to the tyranny of the U.S. government, Corporate America, and globalization and committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic as it was between 1777 and 1791.  The following day I spoke at an anti-war rally at Johnson State College and decided to test-market the idea of an independent Vermont.

Basically my pitch to the students was, “If you want to prevent future wars in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, we have no choice but to break up the United States into smaller regions, and that process should begin with Vermont declaring its independence from the United States.”  They were stunned, but they got it.  Their positive response literally provided the energy for Michael Patno and I to launch the Second Vermont Republic.

Ten days after the bombing began in Baghdad on March 19, 2003, we held the first of four monthly meetings at the Village Cup in Jericho to discuss how such a movement might evolve.  These meetings were attended by only a handful of people.  Early on we decided not to become a political party but rather a civic club.  The name “Second Vermont Republic” was proposed by Jeffersonville high school student Walker Brook and registered with the Secretary of State on June 19, 2003.

Over lunch in the backyard of the Bread & Puppet Theater Museum in Glover, Vermont on July 18, 2003, the puppeteers, under the leadership of Peter Schumann, agreed to cooperate with the Second Vermont Republic to promote Vermont independence.  Since the outset, the Lake Parker Country Store in West Glover has been a focal point of SVR activity.

In conjunction with the release of my book The Vermont Manifesto on October 11, 2003, the first statewide meeting of the Second Vermont Republic was held in the New Building of Bread & Puppet Theater in Glover.  The daylong meeting was attended by around fifty people.  Wes Hamilton served as facilitator.

About the idea of Vermont independence, Ambassador George F. Kennan said, “I see nothing fanciful, and nothing towards the realization of which the efforts of enlightened people might not be usefully directed.”  Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith added, “I must assure you of my pleasure in, and approval of, your views of the Second Vermont Republic.”  “From the standpoint of puppeteers and their subversive papier-mâché, the Second Vermont Republic sounds like a very good idea to fight the megalomania of the globalizers,” echoed Peter Schumann.

On November 16, 2003, the Times-Argus published the first major article on the Second Vermont Republic.  This was followed by Jay Walljasper’s piece in Utne on the Vermont independence movement.  Chicago based economist and SVR member David Hale proposed in The Burlington Free Press on January 6, 2004 that Vermont should secede from the United States and join the British Commonwealth.

On January 4, 2004, SVR’s website www.vermontrepublic.org came on stream with Sam Young of West Glover as webmaster.  In 2005 the website received an average of 3,000 unique visitors per month.  It was substantially revised by Rob Williams in July 2006.  Since August 2007 it has been managed by NEK Information Associates based in Glover, Vt.

Throughout the spring of 2004, we held monthly planning meetings at the Institute of Social Ecology in Plainfield.  Then on June 19th SVR and Bread & Puppet Theater held a parade in downtown Montpelier which originated in front of the Firehouse and proceeded six blocks to the steps of the State House.  Nearly 350 people attended the rally which followed in front of the State House.  It included a performance by Bread & Puppet, live music, and a dozen or so speakers calling for Vermont independence.  John Remington Graham, author of A Constitutional History of Secession, was the keynote speaker.  The rally ended with the reading of the Vermont Declaration of Independence.  Copies of the new 32-page, glossy Journal of Vermont Independence edited by David White were also distributed.  Nearly a year later, this journal evolved into Vermont Commons.

Two events which took place in November of 2004 put the Second Vermont Republic on the map, so to speak – statewide, nationally, and internationally.  They were the November 2nd re-election of George W. Bush and a conference sponsored by SVR in Middlebury, Vermont three days after the election.

On November 5-7 forty people from eleven states and England attended a conference at the Middlebury Inn co-sponsored by SVR and the Fourth World of Wessex, England entitled “After the Fall of America, Then What?”  The Fourth World, which published The Fourth World Review, a periodical inspired by Leopold Kohr and Fritz Schumacher, was committed to small nations, small communities, small farms, small shops, the human scale, and the inalienable sovereignty of the human spirit.  Speakers included Kirkpatrick Sale, Donald Livingston, Rober Allio, Frank Bryan, and Thomas H. Naylor.

The underlying premise of the conference was that the United States had become unsustainable, ungovernable, and unfixable.  If that were indeed the case, then do we go down with the Titanic or seek other alternatives?  Among the options discussed at Middlebury were denial, compliance, and political reform, proven to be deadends; revolution, rebellion, and implosion, equally problematic; and decentralization, devolution, and peaceful dissolution.  The conference also included a mock town meeting open to the public with guest appearances by Ethan Allen (Jim Hogue) and Thomas Jefferson (Gus Jaccaci).

At the close of the meeting over half of the delegates including Kirkpatrick Sale, Donald Livingston, and Thomas H. Naylor signed The Middlebury Declaration which called for the creation of a movement that would “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.”  The Middlebury Institute headed by SVR member Kirkpatrick Sale is now engaged in the pursuit of these goals.

The combined effect of Bush’s re-election and the Middlebury Conference resulted in a significant increase in SVR’s membership, over 5,000 unique visits to our website in November, and an enormous amount of state, national, and international media attention. The Quebec newspaper Le Devoir published a front-page article on the conference.

As a follow-up to the Middlebury Conference, SVR held several meetings in Montpelier at the Langdon Street Café, a worker-owned collective which supports creative dialogue, sustainability, local products, and community.  Such a meeting was held on January 15, 2005 to commemorate the day in 1777 when Vermont declared its independence and became a separate republic for fourteen years.  Ethan Allen (Jim Hogue) again made a guest appearance.  One of the aims of the meeting was to promote the Vermont Independence Day Resolution being considered by the Vermont Legislature.  During the previous September SVR members Linda and John Whitney launched a statewide campaign calling for the Legislature to make January 15, 1777 Vermont Independence Day.

The resolution endorsed by Senator Jim Jeffords, Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle, Lt. Governor Brian Dubie, and most members of the Vermont House and Senate was approved in an amended form in April.  By then it had become a resolution naming January as Vermont history and independence month.

Then on March 4, 2005, a memorial service was held at the Langdon Street Café led by Rev. Ben Matchstick of Bread & Puppet Theater and General Ethan Allen (Jim Hogue) commemorating the day in 1791 when Vermont joined the Union.  The service included a reading from Ecclesiastes with Chopin’s “Funeral March” playing in the background.  A funeral procession with a New Orleans-style funeral band carried the flag-draped coffin containing the deceased First Vermont Republic to the State House where it was placed at the foot of the statue of Ethan Allen.  The funeral received extensive statewide media coverage.

In April 2005 publisher Ian Baldwin, editor Rowan Jacobsen, and webmaster Dr. Rob Williams introduced an exciting print and online forum for exploring the idea of Vermont independence called Vermont Commons.  The print version is a twenty-four-page bi-monthly newspaper distributed to paid subscribers and 200 venues through Vermont.  Contributors to Vermont Commons have included Wendell Berry, Peter Clavelle, Kirkpatrick Sale, Bill McKibben, and James Howard Kunstler.  Utne Magazine named Vermont Commons the “Best New Publication in 2005.”  Rob Williams is now editor and publisher of Vermont Commons.

Thomas H. Naylor and Jim Hogue, who speaks French, participated in the fifteenth national Congress of the Parti Québécois in Quebec City on June 3-5 at the invitation of Vice Premiere Marie Malavoy. The invitation to the PQ Congress represented a form of political recognition of the Second Vermont Republic by a major political party in a neighboring country.

In 2005 SVR supporters participated in Fourth of July parades in Barton, Cabot, and Warren.  The politically radical, funky, grassroots, seat-of-the-pants Warren parade attracts as many as 20,000 people each year to the Mad River Valley.  The parade, whose homemade floats are held together by duct tape and baling twine, has no marching bands, only bands that march.  It combines New England Americana with vintage Vermont culture and the residual effects of 1960s hippie culture.  In the 2006 Warren parade, SVR had its own float.  The Warren parade has become an annual event in which to promote Vermont independence.

To celebrate the signing of the Vermont Constitution in 1777, SVR held a mock town meeting on the Constitution House lawn in Windsor, Vermont on July 9, 2005.  The meeting was led by Ben Matchstick and Rick Foley.  Participants received their own personal Vermont passport.  SVR appeared at this event again in 2006, which was covered by the Los Angeles Times.

On October 28, 2005, SVR held the first statewide convention on secession in the United States since North Carolina voted to secede from the Union on May 20, 1861.  The daylong event took place in the House Chamber of the State House in Montpelier.  Only in Vermont would such a meeting be possible.

Over 300 people heard keynote speaker James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, warn that “the end of the cheap fossil fuel era will lead to the most serious challenge to our collective identity, economy, culture, and security since the Civil War.”  He further warned that “turbulence will be the rule” and that “all bets will be off for politics, economics, and social cohesion.”  Continuing he said, “the Federal government will be impotent and ineffectual – just as they were after Hurricane Katrina.”

He predicted that (1) American life will become intensely and profoundly local, (2) We will have to grow a lot more of our food in the regions where we live, and (3) We are going to have to reconstruct local economies, local networks of interdependency.  He also took note of the fact that Vermont is uniquely situated to meet the challenge of the cheap oil endgame because of its small towns, small businesses, small farms, and strong sense of community.

The objectives of the convention were twofold.  First, to raise the level of awareness of Vermonters of the feasibility of independence as a viable alternative to a nation which has lost its moral authority and is unsustainable.  Second, to provide an example and a process for other states and nations which may be seriously considering separatism, secession, independence, and similar devolutionary strategies.

Other convention speakers included Kirkpatrick Sale, author of Human Scale; Professor Frank Bryan, University of Vermont;  J. Kevin Graffagnino, Executive Director, Vermont Historical Society;  G. Roderick Lawrence, CEO, Stevenson Kellogg (Toronto); (Rev.) Ben T. Matchstick; and General Ethan Allen (aka Jim Hogue).  The meeting began after General Allen arrived at the State House on a black stallion named “Duke.”

Two resolutions were approved by the convention delegates in the concluding session.  One called for Vermont to return to its status as an independent republic as it had between January 15, 1777 and March 4, 1791.  The other called for the Second Vermont Republic to seek membership in the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.

The convention attracted extensive statewide and national media attention.  It was covered by Burlington Free Press, Times Argus, Brattleboro Reformer, Seven Days, Vermont Guardian, Associated Press (state/national), Channel 3 News, WDEV, Vermont Public Radio, Christian Science Monitor, American Conservative, Boston Globe, and the Alex Jones Show.  The SVR website received nearly 10,000 unique visits during October.  The meeting was attended by a major gubernatorial candidate and several legislators.

During the spring of 2006 SVR launched a campaign to promote Vermont sovereignty.  The “Vermont Sovereignty Declaration” calls for the State of Vermont to reaffirm (1) its right of sovereignty, (2) its right to nullify acts of the central government deemed to be unconstitutional, (3) its right to secede from the Union, and (4) its right to call a statewide convention of the People to decide whether or not it remains in the Union.

On April 27, 2006, SVR held a legislative briefing on Vermont independence in the State House in Montpelier for legislators.  The meeting was well attended and a lively discussion ensued.

In August 2006 SVR ceased being a membership organization and evolved into a think tank and citizens’ network.

On November 3-5, 2006 the Middlebury Institute hosted the first North American Convention on Secession in Burlington, Vermont.  Delegates from eighteen states attended including representatives from Texas, Alaska, Louisiana, Hawaii, California, New Hampshire, and Tennessee to mention only a few.  Kirkpatrick Sale was the keynote speaker.

In April 2007 the Center for Rural Studies of the University of Vermont released the results of its annual “Vermonter Poll” showing that thirteen percent of the eligible voters in Vermont support secession, up from eight percent a year earlier.  An astonishing 74.3 percent of Vermont voters expressed the view that the U.S. government had lost its moral authority.  A year later that percentage had jumped to 77.1.

On June 3, 2007 the Associated Press released a piece entitled “In Vermont, Nascent Secession Movement Gains Traction.”  The article was picked up worldwide by hundreds of newspapers, websites, radio stations, and TV stations.  As a result SVR founder Thomas H. Naylor was interviewed by Fox News three times within two days including an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor.  The SVR website received over 25,000 unique visits that month.

On October 3-4, 2007, the Second North American Secessionist Convention took place in Chattanooga, TN.  The convention attracted delegates representing secessionist organizations in 36 states.  The convention received worldwide media attention as a result of an AP story which described the meeting as bringing “the far left and the far right of American politics together.”

On November 7, 2008 SVR sponsored the Second Statewide Convention on Vermont Independence in the House Chamber of the State House in Montpelier.  The convention took the form of an all-day forum, circus, and medicine show entitled “The Vermont Village Green: Alternative to Empire.”  It consisted of a potpourri of radical music, art, theater, circus, conversation, politics, and community aimed at fomenting a Genteel Revolution against the American Empire.  Participants included trends forecaster Gerald Celente, New Mexico writer Chellis Glendinning, Alaskan Independence Party leader Lynette Clark, Bread & Puppet Theater, folk musician Pete Sutherland, peak oil writer James Howard Kunstler, Rural Vermont leader Amy Shollenberger, UVM student Tyler Wilkinson-Ray, and Kirby businessman Dennis Steele.  A new grass roots Vermont independence group was launched by Mr. Steele.

The following week the Third North American Secessionist Convention took place in Manchester, New Hampshire on November 14-15.

On May 22, 2009, Kirby businessman Dennis Steele launched Radio Free Vermont, an Internet radio station devoted exclusively to playing music produced by Vermont artists.  Today Radio Free Vermont has listeners in over 130 countries.

The Second Vermont Republic issued 500 SVR Scott Nearing 50 clover silver tokens in October of 2009 for those contributing financially to the Vermont independence movement.  The tokens contained one ounce of .999 fine silver.  The limited supply of tokens was sold out within a few months.

On January 15, 2010, Vermont Independence Day, ten secessionists announced their candidacy for the November 2nd election including candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, seven Senate seats, and one House seat.  Dennis Steele and Peter Garritano, our candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor respectively, each ran third in their statewide races.

Time magazine named SVR one of the “Top 10 Aspiring Nations” in the world in January 2011.  Matt Cropp and Dan Murphy launched the Vermont Independence Alliance, a statewide grass roots political organization in July 2011.

Thomas H. Naylor

August 1, 2011