Drive to secede: Towards a Second Vermont Republic

All 50 states now have secession petitions, with nearly a million signatures. This is about much more than the President.

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2012 ― Petitions to secede from the union have proliferated across the country since the election, showing up in all 50 states. They’ve been signed by almost a million people, picking up enough support in just a few days to require Obama Administration review of at least seven of them. 

Many have called these petitions “neo-confederate” or “racist.” Unbeknownst to most, one of the most active secession movements in the country is in a state that supported Barack Obama for President by a margin of 36 percent, and the 50th state to launch a petition: Vermont.

Vermont overwhelmingly supported the reelection of President Obama, but thousands in the state feel alienated from the United States. They believe that they are a separate people from most Americans, that they are in fact a separate independent group who would be better represented if they were to secede. 

A nation is more than the boundaries of a physical sovereign state. A nation is also a group of people who are separate from those who surround them. We’ve seen this clearly in the last century, as when the Soviet Union broke up and the new independent states arose, comprised of independent peoples from Lithuania to Kazakhstan. 

Usually Americans are the first to embrace the sovereignty of a new state when its people demand independence from others. No one could walk near Zuccotti Park where the Occupy Wall Street crowd took camp without seeing signs demanding, “Free Tibet!”  However, that is not the case when it’s Americans who ask to secede from their own federal government. 

Try to leave a bad relationship with someone else and you’re brave; try to leave one with me and you’re unfaithful or crazy.

One commenter to an earlier article asked, “What makes you think secession efforts don’t have anything to do with Obama, a black President!” The writer didn’t understand that the drive to secession isn’t about the race of the President (his race hasn’t changed in the last four years) but about the policies of the state (those seem ever more malignant). This is certainly the overwhelming impetus behind the Second Vermont Republic.

The first Vermont Republic existed from 1777 to 1791, when it decided by a vote of 105 to 4 to join the Union. Thomas Naylor started the movement for a Second Vermont Republic (SVR) in 2003. Naylor published the group’s manifesto the same year, The Vermont Manifesto, which listed amongst its grievances, “the government was too big, centralized, too powerful, and unresponsive to the needs of individual citizens and small communities.” The abuses by the federal government include cronyism with a corrupt corporate America, globalization, overburdening debt, and an immoral foreign policy that launches illegal wars, suppresses civil liberties.

Author Bill Kauffman wrote in his pro-secession book Bye Bye Miss American Empire, “The SVR lauds the principles and practices of direct democracy, local control of education and health care, small-scale farming, neighborhood enterprise, and the devolution of political power. The movement is anti-globalist and sees beauty in the small.” The SVR is set on maintaining Vermont’s true nature, a “curious mixture of radicalism, populism, and conservatism” as author Frank Bryan puts it, though Naylor describes the SVR, as “left-libertarian, anti-war, anti-empire, small is beautiful as our guiding principle.”

So, it’s obvious to our national critics that these left-wing, anti-war, and anti-corporation secessionists are filled with hatred of President Obama because he’s black and are using these so-called abuses as a front!

There are serious grievances between the people of the different states and the federal government. They have a different moral code and different ideas of governance, and the current course of the U.S. is an affront to their common beliefs. Does this make them “a people,” and if so, do they deserve autonomy?

Apparently some in Vermont think so. The VSR quarterly publication Vermont Commons has 10,000 subscribers. According to a poll by the Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont on whether “it would be a good idea for Vermont to secede from the United States and become once again an independent republic,” 11.5 percent in 2008 answered “yes.” Peter Garritano, a VSR member, ran for Lieutenant Governor as an independent candidate on a secession platform, garnering 8,267 votes or 3.7 percent. 

There are varying opinions about secession, a movement that appeals to people of different political persuasions. Be it the far-left in Hawaii or the far-right in Texas, the people of the different states demand a more localized government that represents their collective interests. Some will immediately brand these new secessionists as racists or crazies, some will say what they are doing is illegal or unpatriotic, but amongst their secessionist kin, Walt Whitman said it best in “To the States”:

“To States, or any one of them, or any city of the State,

Resist much, obey little,

Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,

Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever afterward resumes

Its liberty.”


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Ryan James Girdusky

Ryan James Girdusky has had his work published in Human Events,, American Spectator,, The Christian Science Monitor and  He is a political consultant based out of his native New York City. He has been featured on The Dr. Gina Radio Show, The Mark Skoda Show and The Edward Woodson Radio Show.


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