Back in mid-December I’d attended the final “stop the steal” rally in Concord to do some secssion outreach. The series of rallies by this time had basically died off, so Concord police decided to show up for the first time ever and targeted the lone man with a rifle. According to the muffled cop, someone – probably from Massachusetts – had called in a report of the man, who was entirely within his rights to bear arms in New Hampshire and the two masked agents of the state responded.
After asking if he could get down from the bench on which he was standing, the man refused their invitation to talk and after confirming he was not being arrested, turned around and wisely ignored the uniformed gang members. Meanwhile I began peppering the lead agent with questions and then Nobody started in as well. Within a minute, they take off. That’s what you call a Cop Block!
With Forums, Chat, and Social Media, Shire Society Shields Users from Big Tech
More than a decade ago, Facebook was still growing into the social media behemoth they are today. If you were around back then, you remember when it was actually useful for reaching friends across the world and keeping-in-touch.
There was a time, for instance, when you could create an event on Facebook and click an “invite all” box to invite all your friends to the event. Super handy! Every friend received an invite in their inbox and could make the choice to attend or not. The previous activist method of organizing – forums – did not have this calendar event feature, and understandably the activists migrated to Facebook as it seemed more useful for making things happen.
That was the first clue that things were not going in a good direction. At the time, you could still download a third-party browser plugin that brought the invite-all option back, but eventually Facebook changed their code so the plugin no longer worked. That was the end of easily being able to organize events on Facebook.
You’re leaving now, right?
Later, Facebook made it so you had to pay them if you wanted all your followers to see your posts. In more recent years we’ve seen anti-state events being taken down entirely and in recent days blanket bans applied to people with certain political views.
With record numbers of people leaving megacorporate state-worshiping sites like Facebook and Twitter for less-big-but-still-centralized communications platforms like Signal and Telegram, it’s finally cool to get off “Big Tech”.
Naturally, your friendly freedom-loving activists here at Free Keene have been encouraging this for more than a decade. It started when we launched the Shire Forum over a decade back. Originally the Free Keene Forum, it transitioned to become the Shire Society Forums after the Shire Society was formed in 2010. As one of the forum’s founders, I never cared for Facebook’s groups and wanted to keep forums alive as they were independents, self-hosted and open source.
Eventually the Shire Society Forums expanded to include other things like cryptocurrency discussion and non-Shire NH activism and media threads, so it was renamed simply “Shire Forum“. For the last few years it’s been running some super-modern forum software called Discourse. If you are a liberty-minded person considering a move to New Hampshire or already living here and you haven’t been on forums in many years – or ever – give the Shire Forum a try.
Join at Matrix.LRN.FM
Keene-area liberty activists have also been on the Telegram platform for chatting for most of the last decade. It’s long been the top-of-class of all centralized chat platforms on the planet. Slick, easy-to-use and great for group chats. However, while the source code for their clients is open-source, it’s not decentralized and so several years back we evaluated the Matrix – a decentralized, federated chat server system – and put its main client, then called “Riot” through the paces. It was good, but not great, and not easy-to-use like Telegram was. After about a year of trying it out, most of us gave up.
However, in 2020 we launched our own Matrix server after the centrally-hosted Discord corporation unceremoniously booted the LRN.FM chat server from its centrally managed platform. We knew it was coming and I’d heard that Matrix had a new client out called “Element” and that it was way better than its original “Riot”, so we launched our own Matrix server at Matrix.LRN.FM. It has been great, and the increase in freedom is palpable. No corporate masters are holding an axe over our heads.
Matrix is open source, self-hosted, and federated, which means that all of the Matrix servers on the planet are by default connected together, so users from one Matrix server can reach the rest of the planet’s Matrix users on other servers. Unless, a server admin disfederates, or blocks another server for whatever reason. Matrix is way more decentralized than Big Tech monsters like Discord. Technically, Matrix is polycentric – with many centers. If you don’t like one Matrix server, you can join another, or start your own. Element is indeed way better than Riot. If you want to try freer chat, join the LRN.FM Matrix server where you can join existing rooms or create and moderate your own, private or public. All freedom lovers are welcome, not just NH people.
Join the “FTL Social” Mastodon
The decentralizing liberty activist communications story doesn’t end there, however. Just this week we also launched our own federated, self-hosted social media platform called “FTL Social“. It’s running the open source Mastodon software which is also federated and polycentric, like Matrix. It’s open to voluntarists, liberty-loving anarchists, and libertarians from around the world who are looking for a place where their posts won’t be subject to the whims of statist Big Tech admins and their snitch users. Please join at social.freetalklive.com and check it out. It’s a killer replacement for Twitter and works great.
Don’t forget one of the most important decentralized change we’ve seen in our lifetimes – cryptocurrency! If you want to contribute to these projects I’ve listed here, please use the cryptocurrency addresses you can see in the right column here at Free Keene. Longtime readers here already know that crypto is the killer decentralized solution for money and can’t be shut down by greedy, evil politicians.
Last, but not least is LBRY. It’s the decentralized blockchain-based media protocol that has been hosting Free Keene’s videos since 2018. They recently launched a cool new video site called Odysee that has seen a big jump in activity in the last week. LBRY is based in Manchester and run by liberty activists.
I hope this article gave you some ideas about better options to protect your communications from the tech giants who hate freedom. See you in the decentralized, open source, polycentric fediverse!
an American author and historian of libertarian studies, and a voluntaryist. He has written articles for Reason magazine, the Libertarian Forum, Mises Institute and the Journal of Libertarian Studies. Although use of the label “voluntaryist” waned after the death of Auberon Herbert in 1906, its use was renewed in 1982, when George H. Smith, Wendy McElroy, and Carl Watner began publishing The Voluntaryist magazine.
That newsletter, The Voluntaryist, was published continuously since October 1982. For almost four decades Watner, a family man who ran a business in South Carolina, made time to share ideas he believed would foster human flourishing. He also wrote and edited a bevy of books, and is credited with tracking-down and making again accessible the seminal essay by Lysander Spooner, Vices Are Not Crimes.
Watner excelled at communicating a clear, consistent, strike-the-root message. Indeed, in no uncertain terms, Wendy McElroy wrote on her blog that Watner “was the primary hand in founding the modern Voluntaryist movement in the early 1980s.” She continues:
Tonight, New Year’s Eve, while government goons are threatening people and telling them to stay home, over one hundred revelers are together in a secret venue in the Keene area for “QUARANKEENE Space Disco”! Organizers of the party say it will feature now-prohibited activities like karaoke and dancing. Featuring multiple live DJs, delicious food, good times, and all donations at the door will be given to the NH Liberty Defense Fund. The Liberty Defense Fund is of course accepting cryptocurrency as well as Goldbacks. Here’s the official event flyer:
QUARANKEENE Space Disco 2020
Event co-organizer “Soundwave” said, “2020 has been a soul-crushing year for people across the planet. With lame-ass stay-at-home ‘dance parties’, drive-in concerts with zero crowd energy, and inhumane mask mandates, people have been unable to sing, dance, and connect with other humans. We’re not afraid of a virus that doesn’t show symptoms in the supermajority of the people it infects and kills a small fraction of the elderly, obese people who do actually show symptoms. This whole COVID thing has been a massive excuse to expand government control over people’s lives and transfer more wealth to the elite, while destroying small businesses. We decided the best thing we could do to fight this insanity is to throw a killer party.”
Indeed, tonight’s venue is a previously successful Keene-area restaurant that was closed permanently early on in 2020. The courageous venue owner, Malaise Lindenfeld, is also one of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against the statewide mask mandate as well as the City of Keene’s mandate. Lindenfeld said, “Our most basic freedoms have been coopted by politicians who forget that they serve at our pleasure and not the other way around. If each of us were to take a stand and say “I will not comply”, it will go a long way towards the fight against tyranny.”
QUARANKEENE is the latest in a series of Space Disco parties that began in August 2019, co-founded by DJ Capital Interest. The goal is to eventually throw an epic party in space, but until then build excitement by throwing space-themed parties here on Earth. DJ Capital Interest explained, “The Space Disco is literally going to outer space. Our life mission is to open the solar system’s first discotheque outside of Earth’s atmosphere by joining forces with the world’s leading space and party companies.” Regarding tonight’s party, DJ Capital Interest said, “Space Disco Summer 2020 was by far the best dance club in the country and Space Disco NYE 2020/21 is shaping up to be the best Winter dance club, thanks to so many independent thinkers concentrated in New Hampshire.”
UPDATE: The party raised over $1100 in cash plus a bunch of Goldbacks, a few ounces of silver, and multiple different cryptocurrencies for the Liberty Defense Fund! It was a smashing success.
Last week, the town selectmen of Newfields, NH illegally passed an unconstitutional ban on “picketing” outside residences. Monday evening, approximately two dozen state troopers were sent to crack down on a peaceful candlelight vigil outside “HIS EXCELLENCY” King Chris Sununu’s house. Here’s the insane footage, edited from multiple sources thanks to Vincent of Shire Free Media:
The video is a revealing look at how blatantly police will violate any kind of supposedly constitutional protections. There’s no penalty for them or the town selectmen for the illegal ordinance and enforcement. No one gets fired if they lose in court or have to pay any sort of price for their violations.
Also, observe how the cops are constantly telling the activists what to do: Don’t stand there, you have to move. You can’t move there. You with the cane, you’re getting a ticket for not moving fast enough. Stop moving. Keep your voice down.
Their show of force is ridiculous, with a dozen agents on the scene when the vigil arrives. The troopers don’t even let them light their candles. Then after giving a bunch of arbitrary orders, another dozen cruisers roll in with agents toting batons in a ready-to-engage stance. They surround YouTuber Savage Truth 603 to arrest him for “disorderly conduct” and “criminal trespass” and curiously order the other guy with a camera to back away. The remaining activists are left on the path.
They even ticketed a credentialed reporter from NH Journal, Chris Maidment for “picketing”. NH Journal’s editor says they’re going to court. As should all of the people who were issued tickets – which is everyone who was there, including a man walking with a cane. Even if they lose in court, hopefully the candlelight vigilists will not pay the $100 fines, as doing so only encourages the gang.
Also, hopefully they will get out of the habit of thanking the police for abusing them. It’s hard to watch, but that’s how people are trained. No amount of respecting the police for “just doing their job” is going to help protect anyone’s rights. No thank you, cops. I don’t want your “service”. Leave us alone. You’re hurting peaceful people and trashing human rights. It’s shameful. Don’t thank them when they hand you a ticket.
The point of the Chronic Carols was to protest the insane war on drugs and do it in a creative and fun way, as singing is much more likely to bring people together or get people to listen to new ideas than say, chanting. Chanting can come across as mindless and angry whereas singing is harmonious. Singing is a virtually unassailable activity as a protest and the American civil rights movement had a lot of success with song, as did the “Singing Revolution” in Estonia.
Fast forward to the present situation where the war on drugs has lightened up a little – at least on cannabis – but now the war is coming against people who just want to breath free, associate with others, hug, or smile at another person. The madness of prohibition has changed into an insane medical authoritarian state. If there was ever a time for the Shire Choir to come back, it’s now.
Actually, the Shire Choir has already come back this year. It was when we visited the NH Attorney General’s house on Thanksgiving and performed the original Chronic Carols, since the war on drugs the AG is behind is still harming innocent, peaceful drug users and dealers. It was fun, but it was clear we needed some current material that could be sung in more places.
Thankfully, Captain Kickass – a longtime professional parody writer who happens to live in Keene – stepped up and cranked out four “COVID Carols” in just a matter of days. The tunes parodied include “Do you hear what I hear?”, which has become “Do you fear what I fear?”, “Merry Little Christmas” is now “Sterile Little Christmas”, “Joy to the World” as “Close down the World”, and “Little Drummer Boy” replaced by “Little Lockdown Boy”. Johnson Rice provided some talented graphic design to put the Captain’s creative lyrics to classic Christmas carols onto a dual-sided color songsheet that you can easily print out and share. Though we have the Shire Choir here in New Hampshire, these songs are intended for the entire world. You can form your own choir and sing anywhere this COVID madness and tyranny has struck.
Don’t let yourself be silenced by the state or social pressure. Sing loud, proud, and hopefully in unison with others. Download and print your own “COVID Carols” songsheet PDF now! Please do share it anywhere you like. It’s our gift to you that hopefully will brighten your spirits on what is an otherwise depressing year and holiday season. It’s darkest before the light – don’t lose hope and please make it your New Year’s resolution to join the liberty migration to New Hampshire in 2021!