The Second Vermont Republic’s November 7th Vermont Independence Convention was featured in Ben McGrath’s piece entitled “The Dystopians” which appeared in the January 26, 2009, issue of The New Yorker. McGrath’s cogent article on contemporary doomsayers and the current economic meltdown includes interviews with Russian writer Dmitry Orlov (Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects), peak-oil doomster James Howard Kunstler (The Long Emergency), and former hedge-fund manager Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan).
Kunstler was the keynote speaker at the SVR convention which was held in the House Chamber of the Vermont State House in Montpelier. McGrath spent two days in Vermont and interviewed many of the speakers at the convention whose theme was “The Vermont Village Green: Alternative to Empire.” The convention consisted of a potpourri of radical music, art, theater, circus, conversation, politics, and community aimed at fomenting a Genteel Revolution against the American Empire.
McGrath’s two-page overview of the convention focuses on trend forecaster Gerald Celente, Alaskan Independence Party Chair Lynette Clark, Vermont Commons editor Rob Williams, SVR founder Thomas H. Naylor, Middlebury Institute director Kirkpatrick Sale, and Green Mountain Brigade leader Dennis Steele. McGrath refers to Kirby businessman and fifth generation Vermonter Steele as the convention’s “breakout star.”
If one were to try to summarize Ben McGrath’s views on the global economic crisis and the Second Vermont Republic, one could simply say, “He gets it.”