Happy 2013! Yowzer, the New Year started off with a bang. Democratic representative Cynthia Chase of the 8th District (Keene) gave the FSP a giant marketing boost with her remarks about wanting to restrict the freedoms of Free Staters who move to New Hampshire. The Union Leader covered it--front page, above the fold, no less--as well as Breitbart, Reason, and even Rush Limbaugh--although Rush couldn’t bring himself to utter the word “libertarians,” settling instead on “conservatives.” Several FSP participants followed up with TV, print, and radio interviews.
Thanks to Ms. Chase-You-Away, who moved from the People’s Republic of Rhode Island in 2006 (can you spell ‘hypocrisy’?), the FSP Facebook page received thousands of new “likes”--we crossed the 20,000 threshold yesterday!--and our website traffic leapt by 130%. We garnered 225 new Friends since December 1, 2012, and our sign-up rate accelerated. In December, we had 94 new signers, and so far this month, we already have 98!
To keep things lighthearted, some FSP participants sent Chase flowers at the State House to thank her for her recruitment efforts on the FSP’s behalf. I am also considering presenting her with a Golden Porcupine at Liberty Forum. We even received a donation in Chase’s name: "A Virginia resident donating this in Cynthia Chase's honor; please feel free to put her name down as an honorary contributor." Please continue this trend and donate to the FSP in honor of Representative Chase. Imagine the press release: “Rep. Chase Helps FSP Raise Thousands of Dollars!”
Days later, our PR efforts took a nosedive when an online poll hosted by Girard-at Large for Manchester’s “Person of the Year” erupted in a flame war with name calling and accusations of cheating. The “battle” raged between supporters of Shire Sharing, a private charity founded by Porcupine Amanda Bouldin, and supporters of Manchester police officer Dan Doherty who was shot on duty. The poor nominated meteorologist didn’t stand a chance!
The Chase Incident and the online poll fiasco highlight the challenges faced by a decentralized organization that values individualism. I have said it before, and I say it here again: for crying out loud, when posting in public forums, use some restraint and apply the Thumper Rule--“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” I am making a concerted effort to increase our marketing and publicity--the fastest way to recruit the last signers and Trigger the Move--and if you are not helping, bite your tongue! Always keep in mind, your actions can have a positive or a negative influence on the tireless work of all of our volunteers... please let it be positive!
Free State Now’s recruitment efforts kicked off in January. Think of FSN as a discrete FSP project, like Porcfest or Liberty Forum, but with the sole focus on signers, signers, signers! FSN’s remunerated work, based on results, will include phone banking, an affiliate program, live/college outreach, a road tour, and more. Please donate to help Trigger the Move.
Have YOU registered for Liberty Forum yet? With just over a month to go, hotel rooms are selling out fast, so don’t delay. As always, we are spoiled for choice with some of the best liberty minds in attendance: Tom Woods, Jack Spirko, Cory Doctorow, Ben Stone, and Jeff Tucker, to name a few. I am excited to hear CEO of The Atlas Society and FSP mover Aaron Day’s speech. I’ll be talking about “Art as Activism.” VIP tickets include special access to speakers, and all kinds of swag, including a limited edition 1oz FSP branded silver round.
If the first weeks of January are any indication, the FSP is poised for an incredible year. To Trigger the Move, we need your support. Tell a friend. Write a Letter to the Editor on a liberty topic and mention the FSP. Contact FSN to become an affiliate partner and spread the word online. Share and “like” posts on social media. Tweet! Call your favorite talk show and tell them about us. Word of mouth is one of our best outreach tools. The other? Yup, you guessed it: those pesky fiat dollars, or Bitcoins. If you want Liberty in Our Lifetime, help me, help you, and donate today.
Yours in peace and liberty,
Liberty Forum is next month and things are kicking into high gear! We continue to confirm and announce new speakers like Thaddeus Russell, author of A Renegade History of the United States, and YouTube’s TokenLibertarianGirl Julie Borowski.
Day passes for Friday and Saturday and a la carte tickets to keynote dinners are now available for those whose schedules don’t allow for the full Liberty Forum experience.
Many have been wondering just what a VIP gets for that extra $100. Final details are still getting ironed out, but here’s a partial list of the many VIP perks: Special edition 1 oz. FSP copper round AND 1 oz. silver round, bottle of wine, the opportunity to sit with speakers at the keynote dinners, and a premium bag with premium swag.
Want your logo or message hanging around everyone’s necks at Liberty Forum? A Lanyard Sponsorship is just one of the many sponsor packages offered. If you are interested in advertising in the event program or reaching participants through info or products in their swag bags, rates range from $25 to $120 -- it’s an excellent low-cost opportunity to reach hundreds of new people! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in sponsorship or advertising.
Making the move to New Hampshire for the Free State Project was an easy decision. At the time, I was in the process of separating from the Navy and looking for options on where to start my new life. My other half mentioned New Hampshire and the FSP when I was in the thick of discovering what freedom and liberty means. I immediately signed up and decided to move there in six months.
I moved on December 17, 2011 from San Diego and was greeted by a large group of Porcupines who helped me move in and welcomed me with open arms. So far, I have gotten involved in several activism events. In January, I campaigned for Ron Paul in the New Hampshire primary and met hundreds of students from around the country who share my passion for liberty. I also started a Young Americans for Liberty Chapter at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, where I major in Politics and Society using my post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Last year I helped Emily Sandblade with her winning campaign for State Representative.
These opportunities just scratch the surface of what the Free State Project offers. I have expanded my network and my knowledge of how a free society could work. When a person moves to New Hampshire, they instantly belong to a strong community. I am looking forward to discovering what the FSP has in store for the future, and hope to become even more involved in 2013. It is truly inspiring and I know anyone who moves here will appreciate what the Free State Project stands for: Liberty, Peace, and Opportunity.
Last week, the Free State Now campaign launched their website. Free State Now is a multi-faceted organization, coordinating a phone bank, road crew, affiliate program and more in order to reach 20,000 signers and “Trigger the Move.” The Affiliate program, FSN’s most recent endeavor, will give qualified Free State Project participants an incentive to create memes and banner ads with a link to the Free State Project's website. Affiliate links can be posted in Facebook, blog, and forum posts, with all efforts converging on the same goals -- getting the Free State Project in front of more eyes and hopefully encouraging more liberty lovers to sign the Statement of Intent.
If you would like to learn more, visit the FSN website, their Facebook page, or Twitter account.
What We Learned by Leaving and Returning to New Hampshire
by Mike Vine
I first heard about the FSP in 2003 and signed the Statement of Intent in ’04. By 2007, I had graduated college and taken a job in Toronto. When my wife Vanessa and I needed our America “fix,” we started taking trips around Lake Ontario and across to New Hampshire. We wanted to see the place we might call home if the FSP hit 20K and the move were triggered.
We found Portsmouth on our first trip and quickly became enamored with the small coastal city. I think we both had a sense from the very first visit that this was a place we could see ourselves settling down. But she was in college and I was just entering the working world, so we put that dream aside and focused on building our lives.
Canada did not agree with us. From healthcare to housing to groceries, protectionist and socialist policies have significantly hampered Canadian standards of living relative to the States. This is especially pronounced when compared to the freest of states, like New Hampshire – a fact of which we were reminded every time we paid a visit.
So, we left Toronto and moved back to our hometown of New York City. We had a loose plan: Vanessa would finish school. Then, we would tour the continent. If we still preferred Portsmouth to anywhere else, we would make the move.
Well, by the time Vanessa finished school, there were already close to 1K early movers in New Hampshire. We had been visiting Portsmouth regularly since ‘08, but with a little more free time, we were finally able to make it to Porcfest in 2011. We came home more excited than ever about the porcupine community and the potential of the project. Within two months, we made the move... becoming movers 932 and 933, if you’re counting.
Our first year was eventful. We made a ton of new friends, got involved in more activism than we could have imagined, set up a new business, and enjoyed everything the Seacoast had to offer. We explored Manch, Keene, the Lakes, the Upper Valley, Hanover (Dartmouth), Kittery ME, Portland ME, Newburyport MA, and many towns in between.
Still, we never had taken that big trip. So when our lease ran out, just before Porcfest 2012, we put our belongings in storage and hit the road. Porcfest was naturally our first stop, where we had a chance to say farewell. Our fellow porcupines were already dear friends, though we had only known many of them a short while, so leaving was bittersweet. But, knowing that the longer we stayed, the more roots we would put down, we were determined to see what else lay beyond the horizon.
The answer? Lots!
Growing up in Manhattan, we’re taught that civilization ends at the Hudson River. Everything to the West is just McDonald’s and trailer parks until you hit California. Then it’s Jamba Juice and McMansions.
The truth is that virtually any part of the continent has at least one attraction that is New York City quality. You just have to know how to look. Though Vanessa was already Yelp Elite for 5 years running before we left, she became a true virtuoso at scouring reviews as the trip went on. We had some of the best pizza of our lives in eastern Iowa (and I’ve been to Italy). We had an entire whiskey-marinated dinner in the mountains of Utah. We passed evenings at epic patio bars in Louisville, Portland, and San Antonio. We walked on sand as white as snow – as a stingray swam beside us – on the Florida Panhandle.
None of this is to brag. You can live vicariously through our travel blog here and save yourselves the drama of wondering where you’re going to sleep from night-to-night or how to locate a cell signal on the Olympic Peninsula. The point of the story is that we did it. We spent half a year of our lives seeing everything America has to offer. From the Smokies to the Rockies to the Texas Hills. And here’s what we learned: while most every place had something going for it, no other place had quite the same ingredients that we so cherish about New Hampshire – and no other place could offer a permanent community of 1K+ dedicated liberty activists to boot.
Because we’re telecommuters, our careers offered us the unusual opportunity to live on the road and support ourselves over a long period. I realize many do not have that luxury. So, you’ll have to take my word for it... New Hampshire is great – and the Free State Project is just icing on the cake.
Liberty candidates will be running for virtually every local office this year in Grafton, a small town in New Hampshire’s Upper Valley. Local activists have successfully gathered signatures for ten pro-liberty warrant articles for this year's town election. Among the most significant are articles implementing a local tax/spending cap, removing taxing authority from the Selectmen, prohibiting the town from kicking people out of their homes for back taxes, withdrawing from the regional public school district, formally acknowledging and supporting the new jury nullification law that passed last year (HB146), and raising awareness of this new law by notifying residents about it (all costs covered by voluntary funds).
Reporters for The Boston Globe explored Concord for a day and concluded that “New Hampshire’s capital city is so much more than its State House dome.”
And Forbes talked to real estate agent and NH State Rep Mark Warden about the Free Stater community's branding and identity as Porcupines. First time we've seen the word "porcupreneur" in print!
Oh yeah, and we made the front page!
Free Press Publications, an independent media and publishing company, recently introduced their FANS Program. FANS are Friends, Allies & Nummary Supporters who help FPP afford to produce more original content. With FANS support, FPP will be able to produce a daily 5-minute newscast to air on the Liberty Radio Network as well as publishing more freedom-oriented books and newspapers.
FANS will receive a monthly FPPNews, email announcements, and, if desired, thanks and recognition on the FPP webpage.
Spirit of Arcadia promotes independence and peace in the Atlantic Northeast. Arcadia is an ecoregion that shares a common cultural legacy of independence, neighborliness, humility, and peace. At its widest, it runs from Upstate New York through Atlantic Canada, though the core area covers roughly the territory of the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
As of 01/16/2013:
▪ Participants: 13,626
▪ Participants in NH: 1,125
As of 12/16/2012:
▪ Participants: 13,471
▪ Participants in NH: 1,118
As of 11/15/2012:
▪ Participants: 13,139
▪ Participants in NH: 1,106
As of 10/16/2012:
▪ Participants: 13,000
▪ Participants in NH: 1,097
As of 09/16/2012:
▪ Participants: 12,762
▪ Participants in NH: 1,082
The Free State Project is an effort to recruit 20,000 liberty-loving people to move to New Hampshire. We are looking for neighborly, productive, tolerant folks from all walks of life, of all ages, creeds, and colors who agree to the political philosophy expressed in our Statement of Intent, that government exists at most to protect people's rights, and should neither provide for people nor punish them for activities that interfere with no one else.
SIGN UP TODAY!
The work of creating and sustaining such a society in New Hampshire is the job of residents, including project participants, not the Free State Project itself.
The FSP does not endorse any specific changes to government or strategies to achieve them. The FSP does not take positions on issues, candidates, legislation, places to move within New Hampshire, tactics or methods of action. The one stipulation the FSP does make is that people who promote violence, racial hatred, or bigotry are not welcome.
Reporting by the FSP on participant activity or NH events on the website, in the newsletter, or in any other place does not represent support or endorsement and may not portray the diversity of opinions and activities that exists among participants.