Monday morning of PorcFest started out slow. “Oh no,” I thought. Nobody’s coming. But by the evening it was clear that PorcFest was indeed happening. It has become a lot more spread out. In the past, most of the activity happened down on the main field. Entrepreneurial people saw the opportunity to sell things to the people concentrated there and began renting sites close to the field to capitalize on the market. Over time, FSP Inc began charging the vendors for their prime real estate, imposing rules and restrictions, and creating bureaucracies to manage what they affectionately named “Agora Valley.” Well intentioned I am sure, but the results were perfectly predictable: No more vendors in Agora Valley.
The effect of the regulations are that everyone dispersed throughout the campground. Even though FSP Inc tried to reverse course by removing most restrictions and “property taxes,” it was too late. The market internalized the new reality. The last vestige of control remains: In order to reserve a site in the previously coveted first three rows of campsites, one must first contact an official PorcFest organizer and state their intention for a particular site; then he contacts the campground, and only then can the vendor call up the campground and claim their desired sites. This caused huge delays reminiscent of a Politburo. Now when you drive into the campground for Porcfest, you see rows and rows of empty campsites. In the past, the field and its adjoining sites were bursting with activity. The good news is that there is plenty of activity to be found around the campground with “splinter cells” emerging from this diaspora. People going their own way. Fewer monopolies. More coffee served in more places. Lower barriers to entry, but less economies of scale.
Also one interesting thing is that transportation technology has changed the game at PorcFest. Now everyone has these electronic transport pods — scooters, skateboards, wheels — that they are flying around on really fast. It is really easy to get from one end to the other. “It used to be a pain to get to where Ernie is, but I rode the wheel over there, and it was a pleasure,” said Porcfest attendee Steven Zeiler. This year’s Porcfest is big, it is exciting, it is high energy, it is fun, and I think everyone involved (including attendees) are doing a terrific job bringing the best they have to offer.
This is a microcosm of the freedom experiment, and if we are to succeed on scale, then we must succeed in our independent mini village in the woods. Good to see Porcfest moving away from central control and more in the direction of what they are now calling “Independent offerings,” and they now play a more supportive role rather than a central planning role. Good!
The Porcupine Freedom Festival is in its 17th year, and every year brings changes. Sometimes a step forward, sometimes a step back. You can follow along and see for yourself what life is like at this event as I document each day for you.
Here is the first video in the series. Steven and I begin construction on the Dome, the centerpiece and hub of activity within “Energy City.” The mini city encompasses 3 “city blocks,” (campsites) and contains spaces for meeting, eating, moving and dancing, stretching and exercising.
Abby and Ryan provide fresh fruits and vegetables with their tent “Porcupine Produce” right at the entrance to the city. Propane heaters and picnic tables flank the sides. James provides the Bistro lighting and ambiance by illuminating the trees of the city. Steven rocks the dome with heavy beats that can be heard from far and wide. Derrick leads morning yoga under the shade of the big tree by the exercise area, complete with weight bench, free weights, and a barbell. Health, strength, and energy to achieve liberty in our lifetime.
Massive crowd watching speakers at BLM event in Keene.
Finally, average people are showing concern for police violence! It only took thousands of innocent bodies piled up over many years and countless millions of peaceful people arrested for victimless crimes before enough people got mad enough to do something. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops who brazenly choked him to death for several minutes while being recorded on video as Floyd tried to plead with the gang of killers and alert them that he could not breathe.
However, what happened to Floyd was the spark that lit a flame – literally, with large numbers of people coming out from their homes to join in protests demanding police accountability and railing against police violence, which is used more often against blacks, but affects all of the human race. The protestors even torched the Minneapolis third precinct station after police abandoned the property after days of protests outside, which was an amazing victory and was refreshing to see the people’s understandable anger targeted where it was actually deserved.
KPD’s Cristina Paterno and Cheshire Sheriff Eli Rivera hear you, but will they listen and change?
Sadly, some protests have also been sullied by violence committed against people and the destruction of private property in many cities. The destruction of innocent-owned private property has been significant and tragic. However, New Hampshire has thankfully avoided these losses, likely because people here are much more free to defend their property from attackers, with weapons if necessary. The people who are targeting private property are unwelcome among the peaceful protestors and are likely a mix of police acting as agents-provocateur and opportunists who are looking to destroy and/or steal.
Today in Keene, several hundred people gathered in Central Square at 4pm today for a Black Lives Matter protest that rivaled the BLM event from Manchester, NH on Saturday. After nearly fifteen years in Keene, I’ve never seen anything this big in Central Square, ever. Today’s event was probably 4-5 times larger than the biggest 420 rallies in Central Square more than a decade ago.
Large crowd in Keene kneels, fist up.
The honking from drivers was nearly non-stop including multiple large trucks and tractor trailers laying on their horns to cheers from the excited crowd. Keene’s police chief Steven Russo and Cheshire County’s sheriff Eli Rivera were both present in the heart of the park holding signs saying, “We hear you” and taking pictures with people. To their credit, this was a smart move. By physically joining the protestors, the police acting like humans can diffuse anger and deescalate tensions. However, talk is cheap, and “hearing” isn’t the same as “listening”, and it’s certainly not actually changing their behavior.
Will the Keene police stop arresting peaceful people for victimless crimes? It’s the insane war on drugs and other prohibitions that have resulted in people of all shapes and sizes and colors being attacked, imprisoned, and murdered by police nationwide for decades. Keene’s police have made a myriad of drug busts and assisted the DEA in raiding a popular local head shop on Main Street several years ago. A stroll through past posts at Keene Cop Block shows just a fraction of the lives the local police have ruined in the name of their authoritarian prohibitions. Are they going to now see how they harmed their brothers and sisters, issue an apology, change their ways and send back the BEARCAT armored tank to its manufacturer?
I sure hope so, for their sake, but then again, I’m an optimist.
A local business owner walked into the Anypay offices a few weeks ago.
“Would be awesome to take bitcoin at my restaurant. Do you guys… do that?”
Turns out he owns a pizza shop and likes bitcoin. Well isn’t that good timing? Bitcoin Pizza Day right around the corner, and a guy walks in ready to sell me pizzas for bitcoin. It was fate.
He downloaded Anypay, set some addresses, and took a payment.
“Cool! That’s it?”
Yeah, that’s everyone’s reaction the first time they use Anypay.
I asked him if we could bring some friends to his restaurant and use bitcoin. He was like, “Yeah!” So a week later, we went to try it out. Bought some spicy chicken wings and a case of cold Guinness beers to go. Tap, tap, tap. Scan, ding, cha-ching! Easy.
On May 22nd 2010, someone spent 10,000 Bitcoin (BTC) to purchase two pizzas. This historic first-real-life-usage-of-bitcoin has since been celebrated as “Bitcoin Pizza Day” and here in Keene we celebrated Bitcoin Pizza Day for the fourth year in a row at Little Zoe’s Pizza in Keene. Little Zoe’s has been accepting cryptocurrencies for years and the weather was perfect for a gathering of those who not only were interested in crypto, but also willing to potentially violate “HIS EXCELLENCY” Chris Sununu’s “executive orders”.
As has been the case for years in Keene, more than several crypto-enthusiasts gathered for Bitcoin Pizza Day, though one did have a mask.
Hundreds gathered today, May 2nd, in the name of freedom on the steps of the NH state house.
Several hundred protestors descended once again today on the grounds of the state house in Concord, New Hampshire to protest the tyrannical behavior from the New Hampshire criminal gang known as “government” and their governor-king Chris Sununu. The same thing happened two weeks previous, where hundreds gathered despite near-freezing temperatures and rain. Today’s freedom rally was warm and sunny and again hundreds attended, perhaps even more than last time.
As before there were speeches and signs, but this time the crowd started by Main Street and ended the event by amassing in front of and on the state house steps where a myriad of photos were taken, including the one I snapped that you can see on this post. Video is expected tonight from Vincent Moore of Shire Free Media. I’ll post that when I get it. Meanwhile, you can see his video from two weeks ago here.
Today’s rally was a huge success, though it wasn’t perfect. There were a lot of Trump supporters there, apparently still under the deluded belief that Trump somehow supports freedom. That said, the rally was an excellent example of mass civil disobedience and noncooperation and many minds were open to the idea of New Hampshire declaring independence, which is the flyer I passed out to most of the crowd.
My “ASSEMBLY IS A HUMAN RIGHT” / “FREE HUGS” sign netted me six hugs, five from ladies, one from a guy.
Will the protestors take the next rally to the home of “HIS EXCELLENCY”? Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest.