An Open Letter to the Free State Project: From Selma, AL, to Concord, NH

An Open Letter to the Free State Project: From Selma, AL, to Concord, NH


Monday, in the face of 1500 activists, numerous speeches, and countless protests, the Concord, NH City Council voted to accept an armored tank to deal with local activists.

To Amanda BillyRock, Carla Gericke, Mark Warden, Occupy New Hampshire, and the Free State Project:

Despite the Council’s vote, if you stay vigilant, you’ve already won. .

On March 7th, 1965, thousands of protestors in the Civil Rights movement took to the streets of Selma, Alabama. Led by Hosea Williams and John Lewis, they marched from Selma to the capitol in Montgomery to protest the death of Deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson at the hands of Alabama State Troopers.

As the crowd reached the Edmund Pettis Bridge, they were met with a blockade of state troopers and local lawmen who ordered them to disperse. When they refused, the troopers attacked.

Under the command of Major John Cloud, and cheered on by onlookers, the state police brutalized, and beat the group. Several troopers fired tear gas. Mounted police chased after retreating protestors and clubbed them.

Although the Alabama State Government attempted to crush the Civil Rights movement under its boot, “Bloody Sunday,” as it became known, actually handed the movement their greatest victory. As Martin Luther King Jr. called for a peaceful, nonviolent march for freedom, the nation’s outrage toward the Alabama State Troopers was enflamed.

Although the movement would be far from over, within days the nation had switched to the side of King and the Civil Rights marchers. President Johnson issued a statement. FBI agents were called in to protect the rights of the marchers. Indeed, although the Alabama Government intended on crushing the people’s will through force, it achieved just the opposite and handed the Civil Rights movement the very break they were waiting for.

Five months later, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.

Monday, as the council voted 11-4 to accept an armored truck, BEARCAT, to use against peaceful groups, they are about to hand you a victory on a silver platter. 

I watched this situation unfold from the beginning, as Chief Duval submitted his application for a Lenco BEARCAT and labeled the Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire “terrorist” groups. I watched this story get local, then state, then national attention. Then, I watched you fight back.

I watched a former Marine Colonel, flanked by signs of “More Mayberry, less Fallujah,” speak out valiantly against the acquisition of the BEARCAT, and I saw articles from John Stossel to Mother Jones criticize the Police Chief for his decision. Even the Ron Paul Institute weighed in.

On the day the Concord City Council voted for this BEARCAT, you gave them over 1500 signatures opposing the acquisition of the vehicle. They ignored you, and voted to get the vehicle anyway.

But because you fought, you’ve won.

Through your activism, not only did you lay the path to end many members of the council’s political careers, you’ve painted the council into a corner. More people than ever now have heard of the Free State Project. If they don’t use the BEARCAT to “deal with” pesky liberty-lovers, besides the money spent, that’s just as good as not having it. If the Concord Police Department attempts to use the BEARCAT on Free Staters, Occupy New Hampshire, or other peaceful groups, they risk having another “Bloody Sunday,” and handing you even more good press.

In other words, you win. The vote, for council, was a consolation. As long as you never back down, keep up the pressure, and watch how the Concord PD uses the vehicle, you’ve forced them into a corner they can’t get out of. This is EXACTLY how grassroots activism is supposed to work.

In Selma, Alabama, the Civil Rights movement suffered its greatest beating. They were battered, gassed, and chased by an overbearing police state. But because they pressed on, it turned into their greatest victory.

After watching the videos, interviewing some of your activists, and watching the way you stood for liberty against an oppressive government, you have inspired thousands of others, including me. I truly believe we can achieve liberty in our lifetime. With that, I fully intend to move to the great state of New Hampshire.

My signed application is in your inbox. Never back down.  

Dan Johnson

Founder, PANDA

People Against the NDAA