March 5, 2007

Progressive Vermont ...

People are confused. There was quite a hullabaloo created recently by John Odum, membership director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, upset that there are secessionist movements in the world that could be characterized as racist or fascist. Second Vermont Republic is also a secessionist movement. Therefore, according to Odum -- and even his nemesis, the otherwise perceptive "Snarky Boy" -- Second Vermont Republic is racist and fascist, despite all evidence to the contrary. Snarky Boy even equates Second Vermont Republic with the homophobic "Take Back Vermont" campaign of several years ago.

Which is as absurd as the following editorial from northeastern Vermont's main newspaper, the Caledonian-Record, last Friday, a hate-filled effort to portray Cindy Sheehan as hateful for working to end the war on Iraq, the killing of both Iraqis and Americans.
On Saturday, Cindy Sheehan will appear and speak at St. Johnsbury School. Sheehan is a notoriously controversial peace activist who is so vicious and non-discriminating in her hate-filled broadsides that she once called the Islamo-fascist militants who are killing our troops, "freedom fighters."

These are the same people who killed her son, Casey. We aren't interested in Sheehan's desperate quest for a fame that diminishes every day for her. We want some answers that, so far, no one is willing to provide.

Does the school board have a policy regarding political use of its public buildings? Is the school automatically available to any group who asks to use it, regardless of their political or religious or other controversial orientation? Who asked, and how did they ask, to use our public school for this highly partisan political purpose? Is this group paying for use of the school? If so, how much? If not, why not?

Who on the St. Johnsbury School Board said "Yes" to this petition? Would the same people who approved this group OK a petition to use the facilities from the Ku Klux Klan? Or from the American Man/Boy Love Association? Or from the Aryan Brotherhood? Or from the American Nazi Party?
Or from Second Vermont Republic, one of whose advisors is Dan DeWalt of Newfane, who invited Sheehan to Vermont??

George Bush and Dick Cheney killed Cindy Sheehan's son, a victim along with the Iraqi people (not to mention the American people) of corporatist (i.e., fascist) imperialism. Continuing acquiescence to their war is killing yet more. That is a political statement and ought to be debated. Those who, like the infantile, reactionary, and just plain stupid about so much publisher of the Caledonian-Record, would silence that debate have forgotten what democracy is. It is the duty of citizens to question our government. That's what participation means.

Rather than shout this "editorial" out from his hideyhole, demanding answers, why didn't he act like a journalist and call up the school and school board? That's no fun! Where would the hate be that keeps the system going?

Similarly, John Odum on his up-to-now irrelevant blog reproduced without question the accusations of another's -- anonymous, though likely himself -- blog about Second Vermont Republic and demanded answers. Why didn't he simply call up and ask them the questions he had? Because he, too, is infantile, reactionary, and just plain stupid about so much.

The fact is, we are all shut out of our own democracy. Impeachment bills languish in statehouses because the Democratic party (and "Independent" Bernie Sanders) run from their duty to challenge a tyrant (to which power each of them obviously aspires -- any problem they have with Bush and Cheney's crimes is envy, not horror -- thus they bully state legislators to not act according to the people's clear mandate). Rightwingers can only hurl invective at those who take their responsibility as citizens seriously, who don't on the one hand fetishize power and on the other worry about the sensitivities of our military families. The "vital center" does the same. The left is famous for splintering into accusatory camps. We are as occupied a country as Iraq, turning on each other because our government gives us the finger at every turn. The crumbs are meager, but even while we fight for our share, we ought to be able to recognize the crime that only crumbs are given us -- by people whose power we pay for and is in our name!

Hating is easy, to defend your tribe's claim of crumbs. Democracy has become something to fear. Second Vermont Republic advocates a vital democracy, in which everyone's voices would be part of our self-government, whose purpose will be to serve the people, not wage war. There won't be a Democratic/Republican Party to keep us distracted from the real work of the occupying power. Most people wouldn't know what to do. Freedom is something else they fear. In Vermont as much as anywhere in this dying republic.

Vermont, anarchism, anarchosyndicalism