Open Letter to the Free State Project Board

To the members of the Free State Project’s board of directors,

You surely recall an incident from last year when I was kicked out of your organization for advocating violence in an article titled “Concord Police, Go and Get Your Bearcat“. One of your board members contacted me, asking me to retract statements, under threat of removal from your lists, and being unwelcome at your events. I refused, as I think any self respecting content producer should when met with such demands. According to your public statements, I am so removed, and I am unwelcome now at your events, such as the annual Porcupine Freedom Festival in Lancaster, New Hampshire aka PorcFest.

As I have stated repeatedly on this blog and in numerous public statements and appearances, I understand why you felt this was necessary. While our goals are ultimately similar if not identical, our tactics and rhetoric differ. Sometimes, in the course of human events, it is better to break such bonds for the benefit of all involved. I recognize your freedom of association, and I have explained to my readers and viewers that our differences do not diminish the Free State Project’s position on free speech.

In contrast, your board member, Jody Underwood, took to video with George Donnelly to label me a domestic terrorist, and to my knowledge your organization has done nothing to mitigate the damage to my reputation inflicted by your actions.

Should the Free State Project reconsider their ban of Christopher Cantwell from the Porcupine Freedom Festival (aka PorcFest)?
Should the Free State Project reconsider their ban of Christopher Cantwell from the Porcupine Freedom Festival (aka PorcFest)?

I write this letter to you in hopes of resolving our differences. It is with some sadness that I do this publicly, as I had attempted to give your organization a quiet resolution to the conflict in a private communication with your president Carla Gericke. Carla unfortunately refused to speak to me by telephone without condition, and upon being given the circumstances I wished to speak with her about, she ignored me for two more days. After two days I told her I took her failure to respond as a disrespect, and set a timeline after which I would take the dispute public. She accused me of threatening her, as if this was not exactly what the Free State Project had done to me more than 6 months prior.

That was 28 days ago. Despite my patience, despite my being a good sport about the whole thing, despite my efforts to reconcile, despite the solid moral, philosophical, and tactical grounds of my arguments, and despite outrage from your general membership, your organization still shuns this well respected member of the voluntaryist community.

If you do indeed view my writings as exceeding the limits of self defense, then I have no interest in being counted amongst you. I happen to take this issue very seriously, as do my tens of thousands of readers and viewers. I have no interest in adding myself to the number of pacifists in the world. My views have not changed. I ask not that you accept me back into your organization. I ask not that you endorse any of my views or activities. I ask not your forgiveness. I do however have to acknowledge the response I have had from my audience, as you have surely had from your membership, that barring me from your events such as PorcFest was heavy handed, unnecessary, and just a flat out PR mistake on the part of your organization.

You attempted to make the Free State Project appear to reject all advocacy of violence. The overwhelming response from your membership was in support of my right to advocate defensive force against State agents, and in many cases supportive of the argument itself. Larken Rose, a featured speaker at PorcFest who discusses use of force, made a video in support of my arguments. Ian Freeman of Free Talk Live hosted a use of force discussion featuring me in New Hampshire at Keenevention, and it was the most attended panel of the entire event. As I predicted in my article, Concord went ahead and got their Bearcat, despite overwhelming opposition from the public. This was an unmitigated PR disaster on your part, and all of you know it. In contrast, support for me, my ideas, and my content has grown exponentially by every data point available.

I have received hundreds of messages from my supporters asking me about my attendance of the Porcupine Freedom Festival. An event which I have attended for the last three years. Two at which I received thunderous applause at your Soap Box Idol event (2012, 2013). It is difficult for me to tell people that I am banned from the event, but that I still think they should go. I have done this anyway.

Many, including but not limited to Free Talk Live host Ian Freeman, liberty rocker Jordan Page, the ever popular Alt Expo, and New York State Senate candidate Gigi Bowman, have suggested that I attend regardless of your opinions. They rightly point out that the Free State Project does not own Roger’s Camp Ground, and that I would be welcome at nearly any campsite in attendance. However, being told I am not welcome at a place is generally enough to keep me away from it.

I recently had a discussion with former Libertarian Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, about putting on an Anarchy vs. Minarchy debate/discussion. I think this would be very entertaining, enlightening, and informative for a PorcFest audience. I have also offered to debate the use of force question with Stefan Molyneux, an event which over 300 people have expressed interest in attending. Neither you nor Molyneux have responded to my repeated attempts to make this happen.

So, in our mutual best interests, for the sake of your membership, my audience, in the interests of furthering tactical and philosophical discussion, and for the cause of liberty, I respectfully request that you reconsider your decision to bar me from attending the Porcupine Freedom Festival. I have no interest in being a member of your organization any longer, but your attendees want to see me, and I want to see them. If I’m really that far off base in my ideas, then the best way to rectify that is to expose me to people with different ideas, and to discuss these ideas in a civilized manner. Shutting down the lines of communication is how wars start, and I have no interest in anything but peace, trade, and communication with you and your members. My only enemy, is the State.

In Liberty,
Christopher Cantwell.

 

Upon being made aware of this letter being released, Carla Gericke sent me the following communication,

Chris,

Did I miss the part where you provided a substantial track record of changing your position regarding the advocacy of violence? As recently as March 15th, you published a piece on your blog entitled: “Violently Overthrow The Government,” and tagged it under “Strategy.”

Let me be frank: you are seeking attention and fame by using the FSP’s brand, which was built on the backs of thousands of volunteer hours over more than 10 years, to further your own “career” as an “anarchist, atheist,” and “asshole.” You need us, we don’t need you. This is why you are trying to foist yourself on a private event where you are unwelcome due to your own actions.

In addition to your online antics, you will recall, or since you were extremely drunk perhaps you don’t, but you put several people at risk when you attended PorcFest in 2011. You drove drunk, almost hit a state representative, hit a trashcan, and then insisted your actions were defensible. Even though several people called for your banning at that time, I gave you the benefit of the doubt. I learned my lesson.

You are a smart guy. I wish you would figure out a way to become a functioning member of the liberty community. Until you learn how to separate your sense of self-worth and ego from your dealings with other people, I doubt this will happen. I don’t wish you ill, but I see no value in continuing this discussion. People can change for the better and grow and evolve, I hope you do.

Carla,

As stated in my letter, no, my views have not changed. My views are the same and consistent with the philosophy you purport to adhere to.

Your accusation of famewhoring is baseless. I never asked you to respond to my Bearcat article, that was your decision. I had advised Jody that it would be a poor decision to go after me over the issue, and you fine folks decided to go ahead and do it anyway. I wrote a blog about an issue that was in the headlines, writers tend to do that. I am in the business of spreading ideas, for me to do that, I have to reach people. Thanks for helping me do that, but you’re mistaken, I don’t need you. In fact, despite your opposition, my website ranks in the top 61k in the US, while yours ranks below the top 70k. Far from me trying to promote myself on your backs, I see it as the exact opposite. You alienated a high profile activist and content producer to gain favor with the State.

People drive drunk at PorcFest all the time and you know it, likely yourself included. You will recall that I did not drink at all during PorcFest 2013, and all the ash cans were run over anyway. The baseless allegations you are repeating were totally blown out of proportion by my ideological rivals, and you’re well aware of that. Despite all this, I have publicly apologized for that incident, and the fact that you have to go back 3 years to a non-event to criticize me, sort of shows how petty this dispute has become.

In Liberty,
Christopher Cantwell

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Chris

Christopher Cantwell comedian, writer, voice artist, and Patriot.

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