Friday afternoon a few of us went down to the Post Office in Portsmouth to advocate for New Hampshire secession. Shortly after we arrived a man wearing a DHS uniform and open carrying two handguns approached us,
presumably on behalf of the Post Office, and ordered us to vacate the property. The agent stated that protesting on Federal “Property” without a permit is illegal, and that we could protest on the sidewalk since the sidewalk is “owned” by the city. One protester wanted to give the DHS agent a copy of the 1st Amendment as a permit. The agent responded that the 1st Amendment was not a permit, that doesn’t work, permits are easy to get, and we had to leave Post Office “property”- which most, but not all, of us had already done.
For the most part, after being threatened with kidnapping and robbery by agents acting on behalf of the Post Office, everyone stayed on the sidewalk. Shire Dude did at one point put one foot on the Post Office’s “property” just to film himself doing it, but he wasn’t holding a sign at the time, so in my (non-legal) opinion he technically didn’t violate the terms of the threat. Rich Paul held a sign and stepped back and forth saying “illegal, legal.”
Overall, and to my surprise, the reactions overall were positive. Several people took Derrick J’s survey. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=971515182947331&set=a.334508636647992.70276.100002665766955&type=3&theater Two men stopped and spoke with me on some of the practical effects of secession. They seemed mostly worried about retribution from the US Government. One woman did not want to talk to us because she believed that the Gadsden Flag we had was a Tea Party symbol. After she was told that the flag pre-dated the Tea Party she spoke to us and was pleasant, though she seemed to disagree with secession. Most people appeared to be in favor of at least looking into secession as a realistic option.
A few people had negative reactions. I assume that all of these people advocate the existence of the State. Which is somewhat ironic, as it is highly likely that the only reason we are able to protest at all is because the State exists. Aside from the fact that, in my opinion, there would be little left to protest in the absence of the State, there would be nowhere to do it. Protesting on private property without the consent of the owner is trespassing. I would even argue that it is trespassing if the private property is generally open to the public. Typically stores and the like grant conditional invitations- you may enter the property to engage in business with the store, not to advocate for secession. But the State defends land and claims to own it; this results in the existence of ownerless land. It is moral to use ownerless land for any purpose, including protesting, as long as you do not otherwise violate the NAP. It also happens to generally be legal. I doubt that most business owners, especially most business owners in highly trafficked areas- which are the areas that we seek to protest on, would allow us to advocate for what is usually a minority opinion on their land. It is also highly unlikely, I would claim impossible, that there would be large tracts of unowned land in the middle of highly trafficked areas, if the State did not impose commons. If protests are a tragedy, they are a tragedy of the commons.