Over 200 people visited the House Chamber of the Vermont State House on November 7 for a festive event sponsored by the Second Vermont Republic. The Vermont Independence 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. The Irreverend Ben T. Matchstick presided.
Some of the convention highlights included:
The Obama Myth: Trends forecaster Gerald Celente opened the convention by casting doubt on whether Barack Obama will be the political, economic, and foreign policy savior many Vermonters expect him to become. “Yes we can,” says Obama. “No we can’t,” says Celente.
Women for Independence: Author Chellis Glendinning and Alaskan Independence Party leader Lynette Clark were among five women calling for more political independence.
Bread & Puppet: The Bread & Puppet Theater troupe provided a lively, humorous skit attacking the American Empire as well as a rousing marching band.
Vermont Independence Song: Fiddler, folk musician Pete Sutherland played his Vermont secession song “Two Hundred Years Is Enough.”
Peak Oil: James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, reminded participants that although the price of oil is down, the problem of peak oil has not gone away.
Rural Vermont: Amy Shollenberger’s call for Vermont to become more self-sufficient in the production of food drew a standing ovation from the audience.
Invitation to Obama: Vermont Commons editor Rob Williams invited President-elect Obama to visit Vermont, the only state in the Empire not visited by George W. Bush.
College Campus Appeal: Perhaps the high point of the convention was the address made by UVM freshman Tyler Wilkinson-Ray challenging the forty to fifty UVM students in the audience to consider what life would be like after graduation under the Empire. The student response was little short of electrifying.
Green Mountain Brigade: Kirby businessman Dennis Steele invoked a very positive response from the convention when he introduced the Green Mountain Brigade, the new grassroots citizens’ movement committed to Vermont independence. The GMB will focus on town meetings, legislative support, the Internet, college campus participation, art and entertainment, and public service. Visit http://www.greenmountainbrigade.org.
Message to Bernie: It’s time for Senator Bernie Sanders to come clean. Where do his real loyalties lie? With the Empire or with the people of Vermont? He should resign from the U.S. Senate, run for governor in 2010, and lead Vermont out of the Empire. So proposed Second Vermont Founder, Thomas H. Naylor.
Benediction: “In the name of the flounder, the sunfish, and the holy mackerel.” The Irreverend Ben T. Matchstick.
Happy Hour: The Langdon Street Café.