Keene Activism Decentralizes: SLAP Shuts Down, Real-Life Meetups Expand

KAC Logo 2010

The former Keene Activist Center logo

About a year ago, after five years of service and many good times (and challenging times) the Keene Activist Center shut down for good. Not long after, Free Keene blogger Rich Paul launched the Church of the Invisible Hand’s Society for Love and Peace in the same historic location.

This Summer, the board of the Shire Free Church Monadnock, which owns the property at River and Leverett opted to end the activist experiment and we parted ways with Rich Paul, converting the property back into a home for rent. It quickly filled up with liberty-friendly New Hampshire natives. Plus liberty-minded folks now occupy another house on the street as the Free Streets Project has officially begun in Keene and Manchester.

While some have mourned the loss of the historic center for Keene activism, ultimately the movement in Keene is now more diverse, with even more regular real-life activist meetups than has ever happened in Keene:

  • Social Sundays – The longest running social gathering of liberty-minded folks in New Hampshire continues at 6pm each Sunday at Local Burger (they accept bitcoin!)
  • Taco Tuesdays – This super-popular gathering was created in Spring of 2016 and happens each Tuesday at Mi Jalisco at 7pm.
  • Bacon Breakfast Buffet – Early risers meet up at Keene State College’s Zorn Dining Commons at 8:30am every Wednesday when school is in session.
  • Keene Bitcoin Network

    The Keene Bitcoin Network “Floating Meetup” Visits Lindy’s Diner

  • Keene Bitcoin Network – Twice monthly real-life meetups happen on the first Sunday of every month before Social Sundays and also on the 21st of each month at 3pm at a new location each month.

For a handy calendar listing many of the public meetups we have each month, check out the Keene Activist Calendar here.

In addition to the regular meetups, Keene activists are pushing forward in the area of online organization. While many libertarians are stuck on Facebook and are suffering from it, Keene activists have been successfully using Telegram and two-way radios for years for instant communications, plus we’re now experimenting with Trello for project organization. (more…)

Beer Pong Event Planned for Keene’s Railroad Square This Saturday!

Beer Pong Girls

Maybe it should be strip beer pong instead? Photo courtesy theCHIVE.

This Saturday, 9/17 at noon, activists will gather in Keene’s Railroad Square and play beer pong in protest of the open container ordinance. The event will be in the spirit of 2010’s Drinking Game, which resulted in my arrest in the city council chambers for “disorderly conduct”, but the charge later dropped. Inspired by the past actions, a new batch of movers to Keene will be taking up the banner of protesting the ridiculous ban on open containers of alcohol.

There are many towns and cities where open containers are allowed, including some right here in New Hampshire. Nearby Westmoreland, for instance, does not have an open container ordinance. The oppressive ordinance is just an excuse to target college students and poor people, give them tickets, and reap thousands of dollars into the system from the victims. It doesn’t stop drunk people from being on the streets, nor does it discourage them from drinking. The ordinance merely takes advantage of drunk people. It’s shameful and needs to be abolished.

I spoke with the beer pong event organizer, Bob Call, today about his motivations. He said, “I think the law is unjust and it’s ridiculous that you can sit outside at local businesses in Keene and consume alcoholic beverages legally, but not if you consume your own alcoholic beverage.”

Open Container Officer

Labeled containers are likely probable cause for a search. Don’t carry them around.

I’m no attorney, and this is not legal advice, but if you are ever targeted by police for a suspected open container of alcohol, DON’T CONSENT TO A SEARCH! This is the number-one mistake made by the police’s victims. Law enforcement officers are trained to intimidate. If you are walking with a drink in a bottle or cup that is not clearly an alcohol container, the officer will likely approach and say something like, “I have to ask you to hand that over.” At that point, most people will hand it over, consenting to a search of their container.

Take note of the careful wording of the officer’s statement. “Have to”, plus it being spoken in an authoritative manner makes is sound a lot like an order. However, it’s not. He says “ask”. If you’re ever uncertain about what an officer is saying, you have a right to ask, “Is that a request?” or whatever other questions you want. If you are clearly carrying am actual beer bottle, that’s likely enough probable cause for a search, and they won’t have to ask. On the other hand, if there is no clear way they could know by looking that it’s likely a container of alcohol, they have to get your consent to search. Don’t do consent. Politely decline their invitation, ask if you are free to go, and walk away.

See you Saturday 9/17 at noon at Railroad Square in downtown Keene for the beer pong event!

How to Mail a 2-cent Letter

My friend Josh sent me a letter affixing only a 2-cent stamp to the envelope. Surprise: It didn’t arrive.

But then he sent another letter with a 2-cent stamp, and on the envelope in red ink he wrote out the text of the law that requires 2-cent letters to be delivered. That letter was delivered to my mailbox. “Pretty cool,” I thought. I had heard that there is an old law on the books that letters can be sent for only 2 cents (if they are addressed a certain way), but I had never experienced it for myself. It really worked.

Josh sent another 2-cent letter, but it wasn’t delivered. Then he wrote to the postmaster and explained the law. His next 2-cent letter was delivered.

Read Josh’s letter to the “postmaster”

I’m going to mail him a 2-cent letter back. Let’s see if it gets delivered! What do you think of this exercise? Does it “hurt” the post office to follow the law?

Promising Tech Community Emerges in Freecoast

Steven Zeiler started a Meetup group for people interested in learning to use Node.js, a tool for making web apps. They meet once a month in Portsmouth. At their first meeting this week, 8 guys got together and in 1 hour, they installed Nodejs, got it running, and created a chat program and were able to communicate with each other over web sockets. At their next meeting, they’ll be learning about Electrum, a tool for making desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux. As Silicon Valley’s prominence wanes under the heavy burden over overzealous regulators, will the free state become ground zero for the next tech boom?

Join us at NH Hempfest, happening this weekend!

Darryl and I are running an outreach booth this weekend at NH Hempfest in Lancaster at Roger’s Campground.  We’re sharing the Shire Society declaration with attendees, along with plenty of know-your-rights propaganda, and a Bitcoin Vending Machine. We’ll be at the booth all day until Sunday and at night we’re hosting Free Talk Live.

Hempfest is packed with dozens of live bands and is kicking off right now.  Hope to see you!

NH Hempfest 2016 Day One

NH Hempfest 2016 Day One

Another Small Victory for NHexit

I organized an NHexit event in Portsmouth this Friday called “NH Independence Celebration“. People from Keene, Manchester, Nashua, and Portsmouth attended. Dave Ridley of New Hampshire’s #2 YouTube channel shot video from a safe distance across the street. Shire Dude live-streamed video while making commentary and chatting with curious passers by. One person waved a blue flag with a peace sign. Another waved a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag and a sign that read, “I LOVE AMERICA, NOT D.C.” Some conducted a 3-question poll about secession from a random sampling of Portsmouth’s downtown. Music by The Beatles played from a small portable speaker. In total the event was 1 hour.

Poll respondents were asked to read 3 short statements and rate their level of agreement or disagreement with each one. 17 people participated. The results are as follows (click image to enlarge):

NHexit poll
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