by Thomas H. Naylor
When the Second Vermont Republic was launched in 2003, there were no books available on secession, few articles on the subject, and only a handful of websites devoted to specific secession movements such as those in Alaska and Hawaii. Seven years later the country is awash with books, articles, and websites extolling the virtues of secession. Secession is definitely on the national radar screen. Although a lot of people are talking about it, precious few are actually doing anything to make it happen.
Unfortunately, most of what is currently being written about secession focuses on its constitutionality, arguably the least important aspect of this provocative topic. Ultimately, as was the case with the American Revolution, whether or not a state is allowed to secede is neither a legal question nor a constitutional question, but rather a matter of political will. The ultimate test of sovereignty lies with the people themselves: How strong is the will of the people of the departing state to be free and independent of the control of the larger nation it was a part of?
Although thirty or so states now have some form of political independence movement, in most states it’s all talk and no action. Some so-called secession movements are little more than computer websites.
If the people of a particular state are serious about secession, mounting such an effort requires an extensive grass roots campaign, the ability to raise money, and supporters who are actively engaged in the political process, not just sitting in front of a computer screen all day. Currently there are only two secession movements in the United States which are seriously engaged in this process. They are the Texas National Movement and the Second Vermont Republic.
Arguably, the Texas Nationalist Movement is the largest, best organized, best financed, and most effective secession movement in the United States since the Civil War. Led by 36-year-old, charismatic, politically sophisticated Daniel Miller, TNM was catapulted onto the national stage when Texas Governor Rick Perry threatened to secede from the Union while participating in an April 15, 2009 Tea Party rally in Austin.
TNM is currently engaged in a campaign to collect one million signatures calling for a statewide referendum to consider secession. The Texas political culture is not unsympathetic towards independence, since Texas was an independent republic between April 22, 1836 and December 29, 1845. Texas probably has the best chance to become the first American state to secede since 1861.
Not unlike Texas, tiny Vermont was also once an independent republic between January 15, 1777 and March 4, 1791. Under the leadership of gubernatorial candidate Dennis Steele, the Second Vermont Republic is supporting ten candidates in the 2010 statewide election. Open secessionists are running for Governor, Lt. Governor, seven Senate seats, and one House seat. They all support the return of Vermont National Guard troops from Afghanistan as well as the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic.
Steele, who is part Abenaki Indian, is truly bigger than life. Some think he could become the Lech Walesa of the Vermont independence movement. (Walesa was the leader of the highly successful Polish Solidarity movement in the 1980s.) When you meet Dennis on a one-on-one basis, he comes across as a harmless pussycat. But when he enters the political arena, he goes straight for the jugular vein of his opponents. He is vehemently opposed to the policies of the morally corrupt American Empire.
In spite of its relatively high energy level, the Second Vermont Republic operates on a financial shoestring. We receive almost no funding from sources outside of Vermont. If we are going to prevail, we must have the financial support of secessionists from all over the country. Even if you are not yet ready to run for public office as a secessionist in your own state, you can help Dennis by sending him a check.
Visit his website http://www.GovernorSteele.com and make an online contribution or send your check to Steele for Governor, P.O. Box 28, E. St. Johnsbury, VT 05838. He needs your support.
Thomas Naylor is the founder of the Second Vermont Republic.