Temporary Autonomous Zone


Marty Levine of the Pittsburgh City Paper profiles the Second Revolutionary Army of the United States, "which resembles the First Revolutionary Army about as much as a dozen people who meet in Squirrel Hill's Wightman School Community Center can reasonably be expected to." The group has big plans for later this year:

Russ Schneider and a small group of compatriots plan to form a new country on the sidewalk of a busy Pittsburgh intersection and secede from the union this summer. For an hour.

"Well, we have to start small," Schneider says. "We don't have the numbers to grab Florida."…

Their 60-minute country, says Schneider, will be called Free America. Its citizens "won't be subject to irrational laws. Our nation will be at war with nobody. We won't have any type of police force harassing them. Our librarians would never report what they read to a centralized government."

The new nation won't be around for long, but it does intend to respect the rules of diplomatic propriety:

"We're trying to get a permit from the city," he says. "Because you know, you can't secede from the union without getting a permit from the city."

NEXT: Filibustering the History of Filibustering

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  1. Are these guys aware that David Cross and the Mr. Show gang already did this skit a few years back?

  2. Thanks Jesse,

    I needed a chuckle this morning;

    “Because you know, you can’t secede from the union without getting a permit from the city.”

    Oh the irony,

    M.J. Taylor
    from Reason to Freedom

  3. The Conch Republic beat them to it, too… Although I suppose they were more directly encouraged by government action.

  4. “Because you know, you can’t secede from the union without getting a permit from the city.”

    To quote a well-known commedian – I don’t care who ya’ are – that there’s funny.

  5. Our nation will be at war with nobody. We won’t have any type of police force harassing them.

    Sounds perfect for a coup! Can this be pulled off causing this “Free America” to last longer than an hour?

  6. Hopefully Tongan troops will capture this small nation while nobody is paying attention. That would ceartainly be justifiably embarassing.

    It’d be interesting to watch “progressives” attempt to defend much of anything from invasion – let alone a small sidewalk nation.

    From their website:
    “We further believe that any two or more parties, military or civilian … should always seek non-violent solutions to resolve their differences.”

    Good luck with that…

  7. This is even older news than Mr. Show. Back in ’93/’94 I was living in Sq Hill in Pittsburgh across from Allderdice HS. All set for an evening of video games and drinking with my friends, I found an old playpen that I dragged up to the apartment. I stocked it full of beer and chips, ran communication lines to and from the viedo game console and declared it my country. I proceed to stay in it for several hours, only leaving for diplomatic visits to the bathroom (not yet built into my country’s infrastructure).

    Unfortunately my fellow drinkers and former countrymen turned hostile. They began firing projectiles at me and my country and later succeeded in attacking on the ground, damaging my protective walls and overflowing my country’s population capactiy. Eventually my country was overturned (quite literally) and I fled back to the US for asylum.

    Two things for Russ to note. First, you’ll have to do better than an hour to beat even the Pgh record. Second, do expect attack from hostile American militias.

  8. Besides the word “progressive,” which is kinda scary in itself, there isn’t really anything to distinguish his politics from anyone else. The only point they really make is for stronger environmental regs. and maybe anti-corporation.

    Maybe he is a Green. I’ll have to venture downtown and diplomatically heckle them.

  9. So if there’s no police force to harass anybody, does that mean if I live in this Mini-Murrika, and somebody commits a crime against me, I can just shoot them?

    Hooray! Plug ’em and plant ’em, I say.

  10. Hey, be sure to look at their list of grievances “against the current admnistration” justifying their secession from the USA.

    And they want to “incorporate as much public input as possible into the process.” You can submit your own grievances for inclusion, and vote for the ones you want to be included. So far, the grievances are mostly from the greenish-pink end of the spectrum. How about making some libertarian-minded contributions, Reasonistas? Maybe we can turn this into our own little Free State Project.

  11. This sounds a lot like StrongBadia, the semi-autonomous enclave within the borders of Free Country, USA … the home of the Homestar Runner characters.

    Of course, StrongBadia is more of a monarchy than a democracy, and Free Country USA has a self-proclaimed king nobody pays any attention, but I’ve actually heard serious conversations about the libertarian ideals within this cartoon land within another cartoon land.

  12. It also sounds vaguely reminiscent of King Bacchus, in which The Castle and Frog pub secedes from Britain.

    Actually, to me, the pub sounds rather preferable to the sidewalk, as locations for a new country go…

  13. Stevo,

    I don’t intend test it, but I suspect any attempt to hijack their site for libertarian purposes will be swiftly and ruthlessly suppressed.

  14. At the risk of piling on: A permit? For a revolution? They just don’t quite seem to get the concept, do they?

  15. There’s an entry against the war on drugs with three votes.

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