Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Interview with a Secessionist: Dennis Steele on the Vermont Independence Movement

Below is an interview with Dennis Steele, who competed in Vermont’s 2010 gubernatorial election under an explicitly secessionist platform. He is a member of the Second Vermont Republic, an ideologically diverse organization seeking to return Vermont to its original status as an independent republic. Steele is also quite the entrepreneur: he is the owner of Online Chess LLC, a free online chess-playing community, Museter, which provides audio SHOUTcast streaming hosting services, and Radio Free Vermont, which broadcasts Vermont-made music.

Please briefly explain why you believe that Vermont ought to secede from the United States.


While most Americans seemingly agree that their political system is fundamentally flawed, they seek to reform it, not break it apart. Why is secession the best (or only) solution?

We all try to reform it. In fact, I am involved in Ron Paul's campaign trying to reform it. However, the reality is that the system will need to be drastically changed in order to get the change we are looking for. Most people are still hanging on by a thread making ends meet. When this starts to break down and food prices rise, with the coming inflation, they will begin to see things differently. They will want more control over their local lives. If the feds push against this change... well then, Atlas will Shrug, to use Ayn Rand's book as an analogy.

It would seem that secession has not caught on since 2007, when it was found in an oft-noted poll that 13% of Vermonters supported independence. Why is that?

This really has to do with the ignorant people in Vermont voting for Obama. Let's face it: Obama has not changed anything. I grew up in Vermont and at the age of 17 I joined the army. When I came back I had this sort of utopian view of Vermont... we were different than most other places. We are the Shire. After coming back here to live after being gone for 20 years it is really sad to realize that Vermont really is not different. Instead we are like all the rest now. We are bought off with fiat money coming from Washington. Vermont has a very solid liberal democratic base and they did not like Bush and his wars. So, in 2007, yes - there was more support for secession. Once Obama was elected they seemed to think he was going to change the world. Most of the liberals now defend him no matter what he does. It is really very sad.

Vermont is the weak link in the empire. It only takes 500 signatures to run for Governor, 100 signatures to run for state senate and only 50 signatures to run for representative. We really have the opportunity to wag the dog but we keep getting fiat money handed to us. When this ends Vermont will get a wake-up call.

With all of the hand outs and special programs from the government we get to live in a bubble, so to speak. Fiat money has really given us the pleasure of living up in the sticks without having to deal with the harsh realities of surviving up here. It really is like having our cake and eating it too. The reality is Vermont and other pockets in the U.S. with small farming communities will do very well when the dollar crashes. However, because it is human nature to resist change until it is staring you in the face, we will be very weak for some time. But after the transition period Vermont will do just fine and the feds should, by that time, be very weak and easy to push off our backs.

The people in this movement are the forward thinkers. We can feel this change coming. We are ridiculed for our beliefs. But really we are the truth tellers and all societies need people like us.

Are there talks of forming a political party for the purpose of advocating for secession through electoral means? Would this be a good idea?

the system does not like third party or independent candidates. They are isolated and left out of almost all debates. The system is fixed. I think the most important lesson was to realize that democracy does not exist anymore. The choice of freedom has become the choice between Coke and Pepsi.

How do you picture the future of the Vermont secessionist movement? Do you plan to remain involved? If so, in what capacity?

I am going to take more of a back seat approach right now. I saw myself as giving the movement a bit of a jolt to try and get it going. I think I did this very well given the odds I was up against. More people now are aware of our movement and I think we will continue to grow. It really is the only place for people to go once they realize what is going on.

There are many things unfolding now and people are more awake now than ever before. The important point is we are here and when more people wake up from their stupefied slumber of being drugged by the Keynesian economic system... which is in a major bubble right now...they will be looking for some place to go and we will welcome them with open arms.