Unlike other state houses across the United States, libertarians, voluntarists, and even anarchists are frequently seen testifying on various issues here in New Hampshire. With at least fifteen Free State Project participants having been elected to the state house in 2014, liberty activists are there as legislators, lobbyists, and average folks testifying in favor of freedom!
This week, the Keene contingent shared their thoughts with a house committee hearing a bill that would offer protections to bitcoin-transacting businesses from being regulated as “money transmitters”. Chris Cantwell, me, and Darryl W. Perry all testified with Cantwell and I being asked many questions by the interested committee members:
As part of NHJury.com’s new mission, we’re reaching out to help educate legislators about Jury Nullification. To that end, board members Rich Paul and I went to speak with the NH house judiciary committee on a recent bill regarding expanding protections to a jury nullification defense, HB 246.
NHJury.com‘s board members will continue testifying in the upcoming weeks as there are even better jury nullification bills that are still-to-come to the committee. Rich’s testimony was caught on camera, but a malfunction prevented mine from being recorded:
Earlier this morning myself, fellow Free Keene blogger and co-host of the Rebel Love ShowShire Dude, and Ann Leverette of Seditious Sirens decided to hand out School Sucks Project flyers out to students in front of Manchester West High School. If the school can use pro state propaganda in their curriculum, so can those of us that believe the state should not have any role in education. The entire event was inspired by education outreach conducted in Keene years ago. At one point, a school official came out to “request” that we leave school property. We of course did not cooperate with his request. Myself and Shire Dude started to ask what would happen if we didn’t comply with his request at which point the school official refused to talk to us. Most likely due to the fact he was being recorded. After no longer having a distraction from one of the employees of the school, we returned to the purpose of our activism. Even with the freezing temperatures, we handed out flyers for roughly thirty minutes to students as they were entering the school. (more…)
Today was jury selection day at the very-important trial of Ross Ulbricht in New York City. Free Keene bloggers were out front of the federal district court in Manhattan, trying to get the word out about the insane penalty that Ross Ulbricht is facing if he’s found guilty at trial. Ross is accused of running the Silk Road underground marketplace and is facing decades in prison for it. Ross’ mother, Lyn has stood by her son and even joined the Free State Project. She has said that Ross will come to Porcfest in 2015 if he is not imprisoned!
However, getting him out of the cage he’s been in for 15 months awaiting trial is no easy task. The prosecutors are well funded and working within a system where they are on the same side as the judge. In the insane, inhumane US court system, jurors are generally precluded from knowing the penalty faced by the accused, as it may make them more likely to nullify a bad law if they feel the penalty is too severe.
Ademo Freeman from Copblock.org holds a sign in front of the Manhattan Federal District Court
They are deathly afraid of jurors knowing about nullification. Indeed, according to Derrick J, potential jurors are being asked if they saw any signs outside the court. If so, the prosecution is dismissing them.
Several signs came from a heroic effort by Derrick J to help Free Ross that included liberty activists cranking out signage to bring for Ulbricht supporters, including:
“30 YEARS TO LIFE FOR AN HONEST WEBSITE?”
“WEB HOSTING IS NOT A CRIME. WTF?”
Jay Freeville, right, shows his support for the freedom to buy and sell.
NH liberty activists have been doing jury rights outreach for years and defendants at trial in New Hampshire have been able to raise jury nullification as a defense, but this is federal court. No cell phones are allowed in. No cameras. Not even for the media. Just pencil and paper.
I look forward to participating in what will be the second annual Keenevention this weekend. The forum taking place at the Best Western Plus Sovereign Hotel on Winchester Street will feature panels and speeches by New Hampshire’s activist community. In addition to a panel focusing on Direct Action that I will be hosting on Sunday, I was also asked to speak on Saturday’s media panel by organizer Mark Edge. When I agreed, I was not informed who else would be on the panel, though I expected that organizers would only select participants of honorable reputation when showcasing the most effective activists that New Hampshire offers.
While there is certainly a need for diversity of perspective within the activist community, there are standards that a reasonable person would expect individuals would hold each other to if we wish to make any sort of collective impact. As a peace activist, anyone who directly advocated or applauds the use of violence can be objectively classified as having beliefs counter to my own. For myself, I am wasting my most valuable asset, my time, if I support those working against my interests, those who are promoting ideas that are the opposite of my own.
It was once consensus within the libertarian and anarchist community of greater Keene that embracing peace was equally imperative to embracing ideas of social liberty. For whatever reason over the past year or so, that sentiment has changed as some formerly positive spirits have darkened amidst of heightened wave of reactionary opposition. (more…)