Mar 19, 2009

Updated: My Vision for a Socialist State of Vermont

Studying guerrilla movement in a academic context, I have noticed that very often guerrilla movements have extensive critiques of the current system, but spend scant attention to what they want to replace it with. So here is how I would re-organize the government and economy of Vermont, in some-what particular order of importance. Forgive my Utopian nature...

1. Agrarian Reform- Subsidies would be given to farmers in order to revitalize the agrarian economy of the state, create jobs, garner support for the revolution among the politically conservative sector of the working class and increase the state's self-sufficiency, reducing the need to import food from potentially hostile neighbors. Farmer's markets would helped to mitigate the alienation of the consumer from the producer. Small farmers would retain ownership of their property and could profit from their labor, where as other forms of private enterprise would be restricted. The seasonal work permit program would be expanded to allow increased numbers of immigrants to work in Vermont during the harvest season and any other seasonal work (i.e. ski-resorts, hotels, etc.) Fallow land is a crime against humanity and a tool of oppression and as such MUST be eliminate, with fair compensation (maybe not market value) for the owner. Part of this reform would also include the creating of state-owned, worker-controlled farming cooperative whose food products would replace or supplement food stamp and food bank programs.

A cornerstone of both the agrarian program and the environmental program described below would be the widespread cultivation of industrial hemp. Using hemp to its full potential would further increase Vermont's economic self sufficiency, eliminating the need to import food, fuel, and fiber products (paper, rope, cloth, etc.) and could additionally be used to make building material and to clean up soil contaminated with heavy metals.

2. NASA-esque Environmental Program- By this I mean the promotion of ecological practices at all levels of government, the economu and society. A state funded renewable energy program would be key, again to increase Vermont's economic self-sufficiency, reduce reliance on carbon energy/imported energy, and keep the state's environment as clean and pristine as possible as it's enjoyment is a right for all Vermonters. Clean energy cooperatives would be another potential means of generating income for individuals.

3. Economy- see 1. A mixed economy (i.e. state-owned and privately owned industry) would be a possibility with private ownership restricted to small and family-owned businesses. Eco-tourism would provide external sources of revenue. All state owned properties would be under direct control of the worker's who would be organized in a non-hierarchical, egalitarian nature.

4. Civil Service- There would be a one year mandatory or four year voluntary civil service requirement for all able-bodied and/or -minded persons aged 18. Those who would not wish to receive training and become a member of the Ethan Allen Brigade(a citizen's militia) would have a number of options, such as internships, apprenticeships in the vocation of their choice, voluntary labor projects, etc. The Ethan Allen Brigade would train young men and women on how to conduct guerrilla warfare in Vermont to resist invasion or put down a counter-revolutionary insurgency. After receiving training, they would do community service labor, building houses, maintaining trails, etc.

5. Law and Order- To begin with, all laws criminalizing "moral" violations, so-called blue laws will be eliminated. What a person chooses to do in their own homes will no longer be of concern to the state and to the people as long as it does not have a greater impact, i.e. hurt somebody else, create social problems, etc. Recreational use of marijuana and the production thereof will no longer be a criminal act and drug abuse will be dealt with a public health issue and not as a criminal act. Police powers will likely be severely reduced and in general monitored to prevent abuse and infringement upon the citizenry. Police departments will more closely resemble citizen's militia and as such will be directly accountable to the citizenry.

Now that's a start, isn't it?

20 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

Very interesting blog.

Having links is necessary to be found by others, and where you stand with Google. The more links, the more traffic.

Revolutionary practice flows from theory.

This is the revolutionary program of the group I support.

subadei said...

Is this conjecture or are you among the 12% of Vermonters who favor secession.

The Red Son said...

well, it is conjecture in that I have nothing to back it up, i.e. facts, but yes I do favor the secession of vermont.

subadei said...

I've been interested in the secession of Vermont (not supportive just interested) for some time now. Problem is I can't (and I've contacted VT Commons to no avail) seem to find any in depth hypothetical framework for making secession a reality. Essentially what I've read is a whole lot of "and here's why we should be independent" and not much of "here's how we'll be independent."

blackstone said...

This is my first time hearing about this. Is there a reason why vermont wants to secede?

The Red Son said...

Well I can't speak for other Vermont nationalist i.e. the second vermont republic movement. My reason for supporting an independent Vermont has to do with my desire for a world wide socialist revolution. Why not start at home? Vermont doesn't need the rest of the country, all of the money we pay in federal taxes is going to fight an Imperialist war that we don't support. I mean I could go on and on. Keep watching for more posts on the Socialist State of Vermont.

Thirtyseven said...

If you're favoring restrictions on private enterprise, and putting more business under state control...how are you going to raise taxes? So much of this plan involves "subsidies" and "government programs" but their money doesn't exist in a vacuum. Unless you've got a situation where people have unrestricted access to free enterprise, I don't see how you're going to raise enough in taxes to pay for these programs.

All in all, this doesn't sound too much different from how Vermont works right now. Which is a good thing, I suppose.

Side Note: are you aware of the "Captive Insurance" industry? Vermont competes with Bermuda and other "tax havens" to allow corporations to build dummy insurance firms and basically underwrite themselves. It brings in billions in revenue for the state, although it's hard to account for where that money is going.

The Red Son said...

Vermont only gets slightly more in federal tax dollars than it pays in federal taxes. And I am sure that much of is to fund the Border Patrol stations, marijuana-eradication programs, National Guard barracks in Vermont. The cost of these programs completely outweighs the limited, if any benefit that they bring to the people of Vermont. Tax dollars freed up can be re-allocated by investing in the infrastructure and institutions (social and economic), efforts which yield a much better return than "Homeland Security"

And yes I am aware of the use/misuse of our fine state as a tax haven. Virtually none of that money stays in the state or is taxed. By closing tax loop-holes for the rich, additional tax dollars will be found.

I don't pretend to have all the answers or even a clear conception of how complex economic and political systems function. I was just describing my Utopia.

Thirtyseven said...

Well, very nearly all of the money that comes through because of Captive Insurance is from out of state, so if those loopholes were closed, it would just shut the cashflow off altogether -- not "free up" the revenue, because without the loopholes Vermont has no access to that revenue.

You're still in Hawaii? I'm currently in Illinois, myself, and missing home the more I think and write about this.

AK said...

Excellent post, comrade!

Some very interesting ideas, and I'm glad to see some debate on this issue. I can't stress enough how important it is for us as revolutionaries to put forward not only what it is that we fight against (capitalism, imperialism, racism, etc), but to clearly communicate to the masses what it is we are fighting for, and why our liberation struggle represents the interests of the working clas, the ordinary people and small farmers of Vermont.

This may not be as daunting as it sounds. There already exists a forgotten wealth of literature on Vermont, its culture, and political systems from which to draw. One example of which I can think of right now is Frank Bryan's "The Vermont Papers," which, wlthough adapted for Vermont as part of the United States, I think could work just as well under the Republic, with some adaptations to adopt for a more Marxist state, while still keeping the participatory and decentralizing aspects built into the Shire system.

The good news is that as a people, we don't have to do this from scratch. There already exist numerous examples of excellent programs and solutions posited by fellow freedom movements around the world from which we can draw (Zapatistas, the Freedom Charter, 1916 Proclamation, etc), as well as established traditions from Abenaki ritual and law that may apply. Most important of all is that any such vision be grounded in the community we claim to represent and fight on behalf of, and it must derive its mandate from their wishes and desires, written in a way that speaks to their needs. Something I learned very recently, and which goes a long way in explaining why the Black Panthers' 10 Point Program (available online) was so popular and why the Panthers had so much support from the oppressed Black community was that when deciding what they wanted their vision to be, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale went around their community with surceys asking normal people what were 10 things they needed or wanted changed, and from this arose the broader platform of an incredibly successful movement.

In response to some of the comments, to be fair, I do think Second Vermont Republic has done som work in highlighting examples of local sustainability and material examples of independence. Theur najor problem, IMO, is that they lack any kind of coherent ideology or broader principles other than "Vermont Independence." Yes, it's important to get that message out there, and gain public attention, but without any kind of vision of the Republic we want to restore, or the basis from which it will derive its just powers, this means nothing in context.

The braoder problem is that we're still seeing this issue in the guise of "secession." Let me be clear about this, as far as I am concerned, Vermont IS NOT, and NEVER WAS a part of the United States. When our beautiful land was annexed by the Americans, it was done so without the express democratic consent of the Vermont people, and in direct violation of international law and the Windsor Constitution at that time. Thus, the struggle is not to remove Vermont from the United States, it is in fact to reomve the 200-plus year American occupation from our country, so that the people of Vermont are able to determine their own destiny, free of foreign coercion and interferance, as a political, cultural, and economic unit.

Now, re: the questions on a post-independenc economy. First, let's not forget that when the fascist invaders took our country, they forced Vermont to pay over $50,000 at that time to New York in "back taxes," even though New York never had any legitimate claim to our sovereignty. This, combined with the lost revenue from the 3 counties lost to Massachussetts and New Hamphsire, means that the US goverment owes the people and Republic of Vermont $5-10 billion in today's currency (a pittance when compared to their so-called "stimulus:" plan), more than enough money to get us started. The other thing to consider that under American occupation, Vermont has been infrastructurally underdeveloped and economically crippled, unable to make its own trade deals and subject to distastrous US agreements, such as NAFTA and FTAA, and transformed into a sevice economy. Let me give you just one examle: Vermont, as all of us no, has a fairly significant dairy sector, yet up until very recently, it had not milk pasturization and refinery system. Such a plant would have cost only $300,000 to build, yet would have added millions in annual revenue to Vermont farmers, who forced to ship their milk to New York and New Hampshire to be pasturized and treated under pressure from Big Ag. As far as a broader view is concerned, I would support the following model in relation to our economy: Nationalize, democratise, decentralize.

But, as Red Son pointed out, ours is only part of a larger revolution, and our liberation will only be sucessful in conjunction with that of those around us. As Malcolm X said: "Either everydody's free, or nobody's free." our Republic will only suceed if Quebec liberates itself, as well as the struggles in Peurto Rico, Dakota-Lakota nation, and of course, Hawaii. An independent Vermont could act as Cuba did in Latin America during the 20th century, as a springboard for revolutionary movements throughout the Western Hemisphere. That is why this struggle is so important, and the work as done by Red Son so valuable. Together we must win, or divided we will surely perish. This doesn't mean our task will be easy, but as Amilcar Cabral advised: Tell not lies, claim no easy victories.

Wobenakiak Kizos Posiwaganogan!
Long Live Free Vermont!

More on this later...

The Red Son said...

Thank you comrade and yours was an excellent comment in kind.

The Iroquois Confederation was one of the closest things to democracy that the world had seen at the time when Europeans arrived in Lower Canada and the New England Colonies, aka Great Turtle Island. Although we are taught that the Magna Carta and the May Flower Compact were the foundational/inspirational documents for American democracy, this is a flawed statement for at least two reasons. First, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson both studies the governmental system of the Iroquois and incorporated parts of it into the constitution. Second, the May Flower Compact was not unique. Pirate ships were actually one of the first democratic methods of social organization, each one creating a code of law for this ship and giving each crew member an equal share of the profits, except for the captain who got more because it was his boat.

So yes, when rewriting the constitution of Vermont it will be important to look at all possible models of social organizations, even one considered "primitive" in order to establish a more perfect society.

As for internationalism, I have worked and will continue to work with the Zapatistas, APPO and other anti-capitalist resistance movements, both materially and ideologically to strengthen a movement such must take a transnational from in order to defeat the machine of transnational capitalism/imperialism.

And I am flattered to be likened to Cuban revolutionaries, but we must remember that we are not yet in a "revolutionary situation," although we may be growing ever closer.

Popeye said...

Red Son --

OK -- I accept your invitation to comment.

Your argument for an independent Vermont seems to rest on the idea that if you remove the federal infrastructure in the state, Vermont would end up being a net payer into the federal government: receiving less in federal benefits than are paid by residents in taxes. That may be true; I don't have the data to challenge your assertion, so I'll accept it for argument's sake. But I would also point out that while that might be true today, it does not necessarily reflect the totality of benefits enjoyed by the state through its history, nor on its potential future. In short, it is a statement the reflects a moment in time. I suspect you could identify similar moments in time for the other 49 states and make a similar argument for each of them.

But let's follow that chain of logic to its inevitable conclusion. Vermont becomes an independent nation (whatever its name or the political nature of its government). The residents of a town or county in the new Republic of Vermont decide that they are contributing more of their labor, capital, (or whatever) to the republic, and so they declare their independence and form their own politically sovereign entity. And so on. The natural conclusion to this chain of logic is "every man for himself", or anarchy of some sort, where order and economy break down and groups of people will inevitably clash violently over basic resources. Human nature is what it is.

No doubt the people of Vermont are good and thoughtful people, not given to rash acts. Since the American government has not become "destructive of these ends..." (and I know you'll disagree with me on that), I suspect that 88% of your fellow citizens (if subadei's statistics are correct) would probably agree with me that any move to secede would be ill-considered.

The Red Son said...

I wouldn't say that my argument rests on the fact that we have little net gain from paying into the federal government. It is simply ONE reason why Vermont doesn't really benefit from being a part of the union. There are many more such as those outlined by AK in a previous comment.

Human nature=self-interest and greed? How Hobbesian of you. I don't think that it would come to everyman for himself, pretty soon the dairy farmer would get sick (literally) of eating beef, milk and cheese and he would need to buy grain to feed his cows somehow. Necessity, civility,and comradeship would grease the wheels of the economy, no government coercion needed. The SSV would protect the republic but the economy would be run by the workers.

Of course the 88 percent disagree, they are the 88 percent who didn't agree. And the work to be done no is to convince them that their interests are better served through secession.

Popeye said...

Hobbesian? I prefer to think of myself as a pragmatist. I agree with you that devolution to the point where individual farms become independent political entities is pretty unlikely, but hopefully the example I gave served to illustrate what Jefferson understood when he penned our Declaration of Indepedence: that governments should not be overthrown for light or transient reasons. The reasons I've seen in these posts argue more strongly for changes in our political leadership through elections than for secession.

Tearing the nation assunder over some ancient grievances (that history records as minority viewpoints even in their own day) opens the door to tearing assunder the states themselves in turn, and eventually remaking the map of North America to resemble that of medieval Germany. These grievances are periodically expressed by groups that claim all kinds of things, mostly along the lines of being the successors or modern-day representatives of entities such as the Confederate States of America (whose government never formally surrendered in 1865). I've even heard of a group that claims there has been no legal U.S. government since 1789, since the founders were not empowered by the Articles of Confederation to write a constitution. It's all very interesting to contemplate, but the fact in Vermont's case is that the state government ratified the U.S. constitution in 1791 and joined the Union because its legally constituted government voted to do so.

Our American republic works for many reasons, among them that we share common values and a common purpose: to live as free people. What holds our American republic together isn't force; there is no standing army of occupation and Posse Comitatus is more than a law: it is one of our values. What holds it together is ultimately the realization that we are better off in union than we would be in some sort of confederation of independent states. The state governments that sent representatives to Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 understood that. We already spend too much of our blood and labor relearning old lessons from history; it would be a shame to add this one to that list.

AK said...

Sorry I haven't responded in quite some time, life is busy :-)

Now, in response to Popeye's posts...

First, to respond to the claim that Vermont was "democratically" accepted into the Union. This is not some historical point, it underpins the very right to self-dertermination of the Vermont people. Both the Westminster Declaration and the Windsor Constitution of 1777, Vermont’s founding documents, state in their preambles that the Republic was founded “upon the will of the People of Vermont.” As Vermont was a collection of towns up to that point, having a representative from each town ratify these documents was in effect the highest form of government which existed. In the ensuing years that Vermont was a Republic, however, its citizens elected representative, passed measures, and participated in their fledgling, albeit flawed, democracy AS A POLITICAL UNIT. Thus, when Vermont was “accepted” into the US in 1791 (under the threat of massive military and economic retaliation from the US government if it did not submit, or as Gen. Washington put it: "It may be necessary to invade Vermont in order to make it part of the Union"), the members of the General Assembly voted away a power they did not have, since, as later recognized by both the US Supreme Court and the UN, only a direct and public referendum can dis-establish a sovereign and functioning state. So, let's get one thing straight, we believe that the United States has NO claim to Vermont, NEVER HAD any right to Vermont, and NEVER CAN HAVE any right to decide the future of the people of Vermont. As to whether other groups, organizations, or entities claim legitmacy or sovereignty from the United States, that is irrelevant, as it has nothing to do with Vermont and its history, and most of the groups and tendancies you mentioned are reactionary nationalists, which, if you had bothered to read this blog or what many of us in the Vermont freedom movement have written or said, is the antithesis of our ideological framework and what we are fighting for, which is a 17-County Democratic Socialist Workers' Republic, a plurinational Republic opposed to discrimination of any kind, whether based on gender, race, ability, sexuality, age, belief, income, etc.

Now, re: your concerns about Vermont dissolving itself. This is a non-issue, because if a town or municipality in Vermont (such as Killington is now trying) wanted to leave the Republic, it would have to be approved by a majority of the General Assembly, which, let's face it, is not likely to happen in most cases (especially since most of these requests have little to do with genuine differences and more with rich white liberals complaining about their tax rates). Furthermore, Greater Vermont had a clearly distinguished border, a coherent foreign and domestic policy, was a cohesive social and cultural unit, so there is little in the way of political and historical precedent that would justify their separation from the Republic. As Red Son already pointed out, this Hobbesian apocalyptic vision ignores the larger objective of our liberation struggle, which is international revolution and proletariat solidarity across the world, increasing cooperation between peoples, countries, and regions, recognizing the right to sovereignty of self-deternmination for all oppressed peoples around the world (including Palestine, the Basque Country, Ireland, Scotland, Polissario, Tibet, Tamil Ellam, Kurdistan, etc.) who, like us, are fighting for their freedom against an imperialist occupier. Thus, our aim is for the eventual dissolution of all borders and barriers that are used to divide and distract the poor and exploited working class of the world, which still recognizing the cultural, historical, and political autonomy of each area and region (for more on this, I reccommmend the Austrian Marxist Karl Renner). As for Thomas Jefferson, he was an aristocrat who feared the power of direct democracy and was contemptuous towards popular uprisings like Shays Rebellion, an ardent imperialist who advocated colonizing Africa, and an arrogant mysoginist who raped teenage female slaves like Sally Hemmings, and is hopefully burning in Hell right now.

Who is this "we" you are referring to when you talk about "our American Republic?" "WE" want nothing to do with the United States, and as far as "WE" are concerned, the US government can drop off the face of the Earth and never come back. What happens to the rest of the US after Vermont is free is their business, a future for THEM to decide, just as it is Vermont's right to decide its own future. I would also strongly disagree that Vermont neccessarily shares the values of the United States. Time upon time throughout Vermont's history, whether it is in regards to abolitionism, the war against Mexico, the environment, or recently gay marriage, it is clear that the will of the people of Vermont is radically different from those who would seek to rule it. Our history, our culture is being dtowned, belittled, and ignored by the United States. Before the 1930s and 40s, there were more than 30-50 different regional dialects in Vermont, all of which were slowly wiped out by a foreign education system that emphasized a "standard" English, brought about by the advent of the radio, and children who deviated from that were often ostracized or beaten until they complied. Let's not even get into the fact that there are now only a handful of native Abenaki speakers left, thanks to the US "native education" and eugenics campaign. Virtually every radio station, newspaper, and TV station in Vermont is now owned by an American corporation, as part of an economic and cultural system, capitalist globalization, which in theory promises "unity" and integration, but which in reality targets part of the population for removal from acknowledged existance. What future is there in this system for the indigenous, the Francophone Vermonters, the 1 in every 5 of our childtren who grows up in Vermont with chronic hunger and poverty? This is what the United States is: they claim they give us everything, when in reality all we get is scraps from THEIR table, and they tell us they know what is good for us (privatized social services, less environmental regulation), they treat us like childten. This is what colonialism is.

Why should Vermont be a part of a so-called "Republic" that was founded on the extermination and ethnic cleansing of the previous inhabitants of this continent? That directly built its wealth on the backs of another people stolen from a different continent, and continually marginalized in a sustem which continually denied them their own rights to self-determination and a decent life, even after they were supposedly "Free" (as at the end of Reconstruction), and on, and on. I am not going to go into all the tens, if not hundreds of millions of attrocities that the United States has committed all over the world, whether in Southeast Asia, South and Central America, Haiti, China, the Phillipines, Africa, or most recetnly in Iraq and Afrghanistan, the numerous international laws and statues, as well as its own laws and treaties, that it has broken countless times, its unabatted supression of various independence and democratic goverments and movements throughout the world since its inception. The United States as a Republic is irredeemable, and what happens to it is not my concern. The majority of Americans themselves have at one time or another been a victim of the American government and its economic system, such as the anti-Asian immigrant including the wartime concentration camps, the use of the Irish as forced labor and indentured servants, just look at the number of people who die in the US each year from dometsic abuse, powerty, workplace fatalies, lack of medical coverage.

I don't believe Vermont will ever be free from the US through "elections," simply because the historical record shows that the US government has never recognized them when they do not go in its favor, and will do its utmost to overthrow goverments that oppose it (just look at Venezuela). as Seamus Costello said: "There is no parlimentary road to socialism and freedom." Let it be clear, the only way Vermont will ever be free is through the cutting edge of the national liberation struggle. And if the tip of that spear is the armed struggle, then the broad base of that spear must be popular movements and mass political, soical, and cultural mobilization, to provide the power and base that can deliver the force required to cut throgh the foreign chains which bind us, as happened in Vietnam during the 1960s and South Africa during the 1980s. Finally, for someone who claims to believe in a "Republic," you seem to know very little about the principles of Republicanism. For all those who haven't read it, I would strongly reccommend James Connolly's "The Rights of Man," the best explanation of Republicanism I have yet to find. Here, I will gladly refer to the brilliance of Bernadette McAliskey, who outlines Republicanism better than I ever could:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmKeYDsDimI
Most important in the tenants of Republicanism is the realization that the Republic is only legitimate at long as it ensures BOTH individual and collective freedom, empowerment, and participation, and upholds and follows the principles it claims to rule by. Once it fails to follow the will of the people, or abandons these principles (as it has clearly done), then it is the right of the people, individually AND collectively, to recind the power they entrusted to that entity, at ANY time and by ANY means necessary. As I've said before, as long as the American govemrnment continuesto claim dominion or sovereignty over any region of Vermont (and that includes the parts of the Republic which were lost to New Hampshire and Massachusetts), or any aspect of the livelihood of all our people in their ability to control their own affairs and voice their democratic right to popular self-determination as a unit, a right forged in arms and dearly sealed in the lifeblood of our patriot dead, than the freedom struggle for national liberation, carried out by any means necessary at any time, will continue to be both justified and necessary.

Onwards to the Republic!
Aneo k'Kwishniakan!
We Shall Rise Again!

The Red Son said...

Popeye- You seem to place most trust in the institution of the State than you do in your fellow man, particularly the proletariat. That is what I find Hobbesian about you; to you a state-less soceity/"the state of nature" is a barbaric and chaotic world. Since you bring up Jefferson, who has also been read in support of nation liberation struggles I think that this quote is appropriate
God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...
And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.


Let the nation be torn asunder! A large part of the United States' national territory was stolen, wait no ALL OF IT IS STOLEN FROM INDIGENOUS PEOPLE. Hawai'i was annexed by force, overthrowing the Hawai'ian monarchy in the process. California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas were all taken from Mexico by the U.S. by force. As far as I am concerned the United States government has no right to the land which it occupies. While you are recoiling in horror at the thought of the end of Empire, I whole heartedly embrace the idea. While I do not support neo-Confederates, I do not live in the south and thus my opinions are insignificant to those who live there. In my opinion Southern Blacks have more claim than whites as it was their labor which created this country, particularly the south and they where promised their forty acres and a mule. My girlfriend is still waiting.

"we share common values and a common purpose: to live as free people. What holds our American republic together isn't force; there is no standing army of occupation"- I echo AK when saying who is this we? The more I travel to other parts of the country, the less I feel like an American and the more I feel like a Vermonter. The people who share the common purpose of living as a free people, does that include the millions of people incarcerated by the US domestically, at Gitmo, military detention centers and black-op secret prisons around the world? You do realize that the U.S. has the highest prison population by size and that 1 in every 5 prisoners around the world are found on U.S. soil? Land of the free my ass. No army of occupation? What about SWAT teams, riot squads, COINTELPRO-esque agents, paramilitary style police, etc? What footage of protest and tell me that we are still free to assemble and exercise free speech, I suggest the The Miami Model
As for Posse Comitatus, a lot of the police that I have encountered as either ex-soldiers or currently in the Reserves or National Guard.

AK- Many thanks comrade for putting the time and effort into providing thoughtful analysis and enlightening us all. Your intellect will be put to good use by the movement. I think I shall enlist your services as a co-author of communiques/press-releases in the future.

Popeye said...

Red Son,

Well, you misunderstand me. I place my trust in the state only to the extent that it’s constituted as an expression of the people’s will. (This is the real revolution!) It is in the people of this nation I place my trust. I don’t always agree with decisions made by the majority, but I have great respect for the process and accept the results they issue every few years, whether I like them or not. If the American people elect a socialist government, I’ll accept that also and will continue to serve them as faithfully then as I do today.

And that’s who this “we” is. Of some 212 million citizens at least 18 years of age, more than 131 million cast votes in our most recent elections. Although I claim no mandate to speak for anyone other than myself, I would say that a nearly 62% participation rate makes a pretty strong statement about the legitimacy the people impart to our constitution and the process by which we govern ourselves. Interestingly enough, the turnout rate in Vermont was higher than nationally: something like 66% of eligible Vermonters cast votes for one of the candidates running for president. And it was Vermonters themselves who decided which candidates met the qualifications for inclusion on their ballots. Now you could claim that those who didn’t bother to vote don’t self-identify as Americans or viewed the process as illegitimate, but we both know that would stretch credibility. But I’ll concede that some of them undoubtedly would prefer not to be Americans.

But here’s another way in which we differ. Yes – there are some pretty ugly episodes in our nation’s history – episodes that cause us to feel some shame when we soberly reflect upon them. And yes – as an American, I own that history and that shame. I don’t run from it by declaring that my home state of Connecticut should return to the sovereign nature it enjoyed before 1788, or by disavowing the heritage or identity my antecedents passed to me. That the United States sits on land once owned by other civilizations is equally true of Vermont. (I can’t think of any civilization or modern nation that has a completely unblemished or non-violent history, can you? Even pre-Columbian natives in America conducted wars of conquest and extermination upon each other.) But if we’re going to consider American history, then let’s consider all of it. We’re also the people who rose up and put an end to 19th century European militarism, to 20th century facism in most of Europe, and more recently helped end the Soviet occupation of eastern Europe. And at home, we continue to free ourselves through civil rights movements because the very framework you might condemn allows for, even encourages those movements and the freedoms they espouse. It’s not always pretty, but it works, and I submit there must be some reason our nation has attracted so many political refugees over the years.

The problem with ancient grievances is that, for better or worse, we are all products of them: beneficiaries as well as victims. I have ancestors who were thrown off their land and farms, and I have other ancestors who threw them off. I’m also a product of the history that has since transpired, and can only speculate as to whether all 8 of my great grandparents would have met, married, and given birth to my grandparents if that history had not unfolded in the way it did. I endorse the idea that we should make restitution to living persons who have been victimized by official actions…perhaps even to their children or grandchildren in some cases. But at some point, it becomes an exercise that will deny justice to most of those it seeks to serve, if only because most of us don’t know who all of our ancestors were. And what standing do we now claim to replay old differences that were justly (and sometimes amicably) settled by those ancestors in their day? So back to the point I tried to make in my last post about ancient grievances: should we look backwards to find illegitimacy in the actions of earlier generations or to the present to find legitimacy in the people’s expression of their will for the future? (Should we advocate the restoration of absolute power to the British monarch because King John signed the Magna Carta under duress?) As I said before, it is with the people that I place my trust and loyalty, and I hope that as an avowed socialist, you do as well. And the people of Vermont seem to be quite happy, for now, with being constituents of the United States.

Lastly, I can assure you that as a serving officer on active duty in our Navy (hence the moniker “Popeye”), the principles of Posse Comitatus and the subordination of our military to elected civilian leadership have the greatest value to me. That some policemen may be military reservists is true, but they aren’t armed, organized, or controlled by the military while in performance of their civil law enforcement duties. If you take issue with they way your community or state protects its citizens, then do so, but consider this proposition: the rate of incarceration you cite may have as much to do with the fact that people here are free to make bad choices, and with the fact that there aren’t machine-gun toting policemen on most street corners, as I have seen with my own eyes in parts of the world I have visited.

I continue to enjoy our discourse, Red Son, and am happy to continue it on the site you host. Hopefully we can put aside the emotion and keep it objective. We’re both idealists, and we’re both trying to make the world a better place.

CODE said...

I like this, particularly #5. But in #4 you talk of training to put down "counter-revolutions" after the revolution. But if you aren't invaded I see this as impeeding. In cuba for example this has become a means of corruption (not to say Cuba is corrupt) and caused a massively bad world image of them. I would think that if you wheren't becomeing corrupt then you would hav no fear of revolt. If your in uptopia would you not be happy? I mean nothing can be utopia but if you have fear of a real threat of overthrow then you have become hated by the people and therefor am not worthy of leading. I hope I'm making sence.

The Red Son said...

Code- Good to hear from you again and I am glad that you like the post. To begin with, I have no desire of leading the new nation nor of helping to create a system in which the people's will not be manifested. Of course dissent will not only be tolerated but encouraged among the populace; if it is not how will a more perfect system continue to evolve? What I was referring to was Contra-style, CIA-fomented counter revolutionary forces which seek to usurp the will of the people in order to preserve empire.

Popeye- Stay tuned for when I have time to give your ideas the consideration that the require and deserve.

The Red Son said...

Thirtyseven- Sorry to answer your question so far after the fact. I think would be better off without these corporate parasites. In terms of freeing up revenue, I was more talking about actually taxing business and the bourgeois, removing the tax burden from the working class of Vermont. Yes I am in Hawai'i, bound for the mainland shortly.

Popeye- The state is not the manifestation of the people's interests and is therefor illegitimate. I could go on and on about the "electoral" system that "elects" members of our "representative democracy/democratic republic," but for sanity's sake I will only address the specific points that you made in your most recent post. The real revolution will be when the People are the government.

In this particular election 66 seems like a high number, until recently (200) it hovered around %55. Now compare this number to other countries: 30 have participation rates higher than %70 and six above %90.
Even if the percent is high enough to be considered legitimizing, they are only voting on the candidates chosen in the primaries and caucuses. In Vermont, the turnout rate for the primary was %40.7. New Hampshire, often considered THE most important early primary saw the highes turnout rate, %53.6; no other state broke %45. In contrast, the first contest, the Iowa caucus only had a %16.1 turnout, in some caucuses it was as low as %3. These are tiny numbers of people selecting two people from a pool of already carefully screened candidate to be voted on be everybody else. The two party system is a joke, even more so than electoral democracy in general. Add this to voter disenfranchisement campaigns, general voter fraud, and the fact that large sections of the population cannot vote and it becomes clear that our system is broken, assuming that it was ever fixed.

"We’re also the people who rose up and put an end to 19th century European militarism,"- If by that you mean the Monroe Doctrine, it was only done for the sake of imperialism; the U.S.
"to 20th century facism in most of Europe,"- Spanish Anarchists and other fighter of the republic took up the battle against fascism while the rest of the world watched Hitler amass power and eventually invade Poland, after which everybody still stayed out of it. We did not enter the fight until millions of Europeans had already died to preserve freedom. The Soviets took Berlin, not the Allies.

"and more recently helped end the Soviet occupation of eastern Europe."- By means of an arms build up, proxy warfare, and economic blockades?
"And at home, we continue to free ourselves through civil rights movements because the very framework you might condemn allows for, even encourages those movements and the freedoms they espouse."- All of our constitutional rights are slowly being eroded in the name of security. The government infiltrates peaceful groups, like common ground who is helping to rebuild New Orleans and subverts them. Remember COINTELPRO? Protests are always met with teargas, pepper spray and rubber bullets. The recent G-20 is a good example. Protests are anything but free and speech is anything but unrestricted.
"It’s not always pretty, but it works,"- When a protester is blinded by a rubber bullet or bean bag round or shocked with a taser, that is not pretty. When police sic German Shepherds on black people protesting theses rights, that is not pretty. When police fire live ammo into college dormatories or the national guard guns down students on college campuses, that is not pretty? Is this free speech? Is this free assembly? Is this the price of so-called "democratic reforms?"
"I submit there must be some reason our nation has attracted so many political refugees over the years."-Except for Iraqi's of whom we admitted far fewer than Sweden. But if your a Cuban terrorist, come on in! Most immigrants are fleeing situations we have helped to create, economic, political and social.

Your point on historical grievances is well taken. While I am interested in such histories, I do not dwell on them. I can think of lots of reasons why Vermont doesn't need the United States, now or in the future. The minds of the people have been clouded by the culture industry, the propaganda machine and hundreds of millions of doses of mind altering drugs, legal, prescribed and otherwise. There is much work to be done before the people can make an educated and empowered decision on how they wish society to be formed. This is one of this blog's missions, PSY-OPS.

Do much skeet shooting in the navy?

"the rate of incarceration you cite may have as much to do with the fact that people here are free to make bad choices, and with the fact that there aren’t machine-gun toting policemen on most street corners, as I have seen with my own eyes in parts of the world I have visited."- Your assumptions are flawed. People in Canada, Europe and else where aren't free to make the same bad choices. And where there are mall cops with Uzis, which I have also seen there is still a high crime rate. See: Mexico, present day.

I, too enjoy the mental massage of heated discourse and I will do my best to keep it civil, as I hope all my readers do at all times.