Progressives Try to Purge Libertarians from Occupy New Hampshire


Last week, the Concord Monitor reports, a progressive faction within New Hampshire's Occupy movement moved to expel members of the libertarian Free State Project. The progressives did this—savor the irony here—by attempting to turn the Occupation into a corporation:

A cause to unite us all.

a small number of Occupy New Hampshire members incorporated the movement as a nonprofit in order to boot their former bedfellows: the Free Staters. Also prohibited from future Occupy events are gun owners who openly carry….

Given the Facebook discussions since [Mark] Provost and the others filed corporation papers, it's not likely to be an amicable split. More likely, this is the start of a tug of war over what the Occupy movement becomes in New Hampshire.

"If the people associated with the (Free State Project) want to move here, fine," wrote Occupy member Julia Riber Pitt of Salem in a Facebook post last week. "But when they do things that upset the rest of NH's 1.3 million people, they deserve to be called out and shunned."

Ryan Glen Hirsch, an Occupy member from Pelham, responded to Pitt and others on the same Facebook thread: "You have no authority over me. I have no authority over you. You can choose to associate with me or not, but I am still just as much a member of OccupyNH as you."

Bill Gould wrote, "As they become the very thing they fight against…. Well, good luck to them lobbying against firearms in NH. I'm sure that will be a big hit."

To be a part of Provost's version of Occupy New Hampshire, you must sign a "solidarity statement" that requires, among other things, that you support a tax hike and oppose Citizens United.

The Monitor reports that many non-Free Staters in the Occupy movement have sided with the libertarians. [Update: And here's a left-libertarian who's siding with Provost, at least as far as divorcing Occupy from the Free Staters is concerned; I don't know how she feels about incorporating or imposing the solidarity statement.] The Monitor story also includes the phrase "Rep. Seth Cohn, a Canterbury Republican who calls himself both a Free Stater and an Occupier"—words that, if nothing else, say something about New Hampshire's unique political culture.

Via Free Keene, which describes the incorporators as "a splinter group" that "made lots of noise recently about why they have left." The Free Keeners claim that "most of Occupy did not go with them, as most of Occupy are open-minded folks who value the participation of 'Free Staters.'"