PorcFest will be raided by a combined local, state and federal police force some time in the next three years.
Start preparing for this eventuality now. Take PorcFest a step further. Inject more leadership, long-range planning and on-the-ground organization into it. Do it now, before it’s too late.
PorcFest grows every year. There are more people, more events, more services, more firearms, more press, more money, more excited newbs and more flouting of illegitimate laws. In other words, PorcFest is getting more awesome every year.
The two greatest impediments to its growth are the incompetent people at Roger’s Campground, where the event is held, and the government.
This year, two-thousand people reportedly attended the week-long event in northern New Hampshire. There are reports of gambling and prostitution taking place at PorcFest. Illegal drug use and sale and consumption of unlicensed alcoholic drinks is commonplace. Let’s not even talk about unlicensed food vending.
But that’s not the important part. The part that really raises the ire of government control freaks is that at PorcFest we act like free people. We do what we like, when we like and we do it with the conspicuous carrying of firearms.
And then we get international press coverage of it.
The petty dictators in the government can’t have that. They make examples of rebels. They won’t let PorcFest stand without a fight.
Why it Matters
PorcFest has, ironically, become a symbol of complete freedom. Some call it an anarcho-capitalist city. It’s ironic because the event is run by the Free State Project, a statist, albeit libertarian, organization.
PorcFest has exceeded its goal. It is supposed to be marketing for the Free State Project. But it is now an experiment in statelessness.
What happens to PorcFest will be representative of the hopes and aspirations of libertarian anarchists for some time to come. PorcFest could continue to advance the cause of freedom, or it could set back our cause by decades in the minds of the American people.
A large-scale raid is coming. Will we react with a gunfight? Will PorcFest be burnt to the ground? Will babies be murdered in their mothers’ arms? Or will we have a strong organizational plan in place so that it goes down without casualties on either side?
When it Will Happen
Make no mistake. The raid will happen. It is just a question of when. Will it happen at PorcFest 2015? PorcFest 2018? PorcFest 2020? I don’t know. I think it’s safe to say that it will happen within the next three years.
Even if you think that is too soon, you should assume it’s not. The cost of preparing is minor compared to the price of leaving our reaction to the hottest heads in the worst moments.
The preparation for this eventuality – and for other emergencies – needs to happen anyway.
Because even if you think the police will never attack, someone else will. Someone will discharge a firearm. Someone will start a fire. Something will explode. It’s inevitable.
How it Will Happen
How do cops operate? They infiltrate. They gather intelligence and they raid, most likely at dawn. Most people are asleep then.
They will be very concerned about how many people are armed at PorcFest. They will come in ready to shoot. Say goodbye to your dogs.
Tent campers will need to watch out for police vehicles running over their tents. Tent walls won’t stop “lost” police bullets, either.
They will enter ready to kill and expecting fierce resistance.
Who Will Do it
I expect FBI and DEA for starters.
Who Will Suffer
We will all suffer because our philosophy of liberty will be impugned under cover of all of the usual strawmen and red herrings, especially if we let the hotheads among us react on instinct in the heat of the moment.
What to do About it
The Washington Post writer is correct. We complain a lot. But we don’t do anything about it. You are part of the problem if:
- you post stories of police abuse all day long;
- you quote Rothbard;
- you debate statists;
- you berate leftists and decry socialists;
- you can say ‘taxation is theft’ without cringing, not even a little;
- you proclaim that spontaneous order will solve all problems but never try to spontaneously create some order.
Don’t even get me started on celebritarianism.
And, by the way, I am guilty of all the above.
The time has come to implement libertarian anarchist philosophy. PorcFest needs its solutions.
The Free State Project is not able to maintain order at PorcFest. They have barely enough volunteers to give a veneer of ownership. But they do own the event. They rent most of the campground from Roger’s Campground.
The FSP holds the power but they are unable to exercise it.
Enter market anarchist theory.
The purpose of the following is to give you a primer on a market anarchist organizational theory. As it applies to PorcFest, it’s about controlling who can enter, what they voluntarily agree to do, or not do, there and the creation of the right incentives. This is a scheme for protecting PorcFest from aggressors both governmental and non-governmental.
Dispute Resolution Organizations
A Dispute Resolution Organization, or DRO, is like an insurance company. Their job is to insure people against disputes and any damages that come with them.
DROs provide a service to individuals. If you are engaged in a dispute and are at fault, they can make the injured party whole. If you are a victim and need to be made whole, they make you whole.
They can also maintain people on staff or on retainer to smooth the resolution of disputes. (See number two.)
DROs can create incentives for people to avoid disputes and to settle them honorably when they happen. They can raise your rates if you are at fault in a dispute. They can lower your rates for good behavior. They can drop your service if you are a repeat offender, thus effectively cutting you off from civilized society in an extreme case.
DROs can include provisions in the contracts you sign with them giving them permission to detain you under extreme circumstances.
Property owners catalyze the demand for DRO services by making it a requirement of doing business with them. Want to buy my stuff? Want to sell me stuff? Want to step foot on my property? Buy coverage from a reputable DRO. You’re either covered or you’re disqualified from doing business with me.
DROs can create stability and an environment of peace and respect through the right incentives when property owners strictly enforce the insurance requirement.
DROs are most effective when large swathes of the world have adopted this stateless organizational system. At PorcFest, the only stick available is to kick people out.
Advocates, Mediators and Arbitrators
When a dispute occurs, the parties involved require assistance.
Advocates are cool heads that know the dispute resolution process. They can assist you in documenting the events in question. They can advise you and even speak for you. They can take your request for remedy to the other party and see if a quick settlement can be reached.
Mediators attempt to resolve a dispute amicably so that it doesn’t have to go to arbitration. Mediators have special techniques for identifying the needs of the parties involved. They can find innovative solutions where both parties win.
Arbitrators are judges. They examine the facts and render a judgment. There is no negotiation here. There are no niceties. You submit documents. They make a decision.
In your DRO contract, you may find that the decision of the arbitrator, or perhaps a three-person panel, is final. Or you may be able to appeal to another arbitrator or panel.
It is possible to make arbitration backwards-compatible with the state legal system. In this case, the arbitrator’s decision would not just be meaningful under stateless law but also under state law.
Private Defense Agencies
Cops occupy a special place in the gall bladder of every libertarian. Private Defense Agencies (PDAs) are not cops in the sense that they are unaccountable thugs. PDAs are security guards with limited police powers that you grant them through contract.
They are accountable for their actions, however, just like everyone else.
PDAs are contracted by property owners, including DROs, to provide preventative security and to respond in emergencies.
Rules and Surety Bonds
People must agree to the rules ahead of time in a way that is backwards-compatible with the state legal system.
People must post bond (in some practical form) in case they don’t comply with the rules.
The success of any system, no matter how well-structured, depends on good people and good leaders. When you have those, even an ill-conceived system can produce good results.
Libertarians are good at complaining. We suffer from an “us vs. them” mentality. As a result, most of us still mentally inhabit a statist and tribal world where one hand washes the other. We keep secrets. We overlook acts of fraud within our ranks. We cover up or excuse aggressive and dangerous behavior. We are frequently silent when our fellows engage in improper behavior.
People are afraid to speak out against fellow libertarians, especially when a high-profile activist, media personality or celebritarian is involved.
This will have to change in order for a stateless system, such as the one I describe above, to work
Will this reduce PorcFest attendance?
Will more people complain about the Free State Project?
Is this really necessary?
It’s one proposal to get the conversation started. Maybe it’s not right for PorcFest but the model is solid. People closer to the FSP, inc. leadership are the best suited to customize this model for PorcFest or to simply adopt a different one. The important part is starting the conversation about the future of PorcFest.
To write off the need for greater organization at PorcFest would be gross negligence.
If liberty was a computer, it would say “Responsibility Inside” on it.
If liberty was an imported pair of pants, it would say “Made in Responsibility” on the tag.
If liberty was software, it would say “Powered by Responsibility” on the promotional website.
Liberty rides off the rails without responsibility. Without responsibility, it turns into unbridled chaos and endless middle fingers. Spontaneous order only happens when people can be made accountable for their spontaneity.
There needs to be security inside of PorcFest, to keep people safe and to keep an eye out for police infiltration. Here are some of the ways to do that:
- private security guards trained in non-violent dispute resolution;
- preventative patrol;
- a communications hotline that anyone can access (911);
- instant SMS updates from PorcFest security to attendees;
- protocols for police response;
- surveillance cameras;
- people need to be (unobtrusively) uniquely identified and identifiable.
Security does not require oppression. Providing security for PorcFest attendees is a basic example of taking responsibility.
PorcFest was 2,000 people this year. It will soon become an event of 5,000 people. What about when 10,000 people show up? Growth will not necessarily be linear. It could go exponential sooner than anyone anticipates.
Even if you expect slow growth, you should be planning for high growth because PorcFest is a factory that churns out radical libertarians. We want more of those.
I know that the PorcFest volunteers have already organized some of these things. They should be commended for it.
There must be alternate exit routes so that people can get out in an emergency when the front gate is blocked.
There is a service road on the south side of the campground. This is of limited use but to the northwest is forest. To the southwest is a trail that leads to burn areas. Beyond them is a wide trail that people could use to get to a couple different roads.
If shooting erupts, PorcFest attendees will need to, at least, get children and noncombatants to safety.
As an individual PorcFest attendee, you need to have contingency plans for destroying anything that would incriminate you in a state crime. Some items may require instead that you simply muddle any evidence that connects you with the items in question.
You also need to practice a quick exit.
There should be people and cameras watching all possible entrances for signs of police and other suspicious people.
Outside the gate of Roger’s Campground, there must be some kind of ongoing yet discreet monitoring of these people or offices:
- Lancaster police department;
- Lancaster Town Manager;
- Coos County Sheriff;
- New Hampshire Bureau of Liquor Enforcement;
- New Hampshire State Police;
- New Hampshire governor;
- the airports, both large and small.
When the PorcFest raid happens, these are some of the people who will know about it. By making friends or paying for information, we can find out about the raid ahead of time.
Conversely, we can also keep the eyes of the world on PorcFest by broadcasting it live on the internet so that allies who aren’t at Roger’s Campground can see what is happening as it happens.
We can design a script ahead of time so that people outside the campground know what to do in order to support those of us in the campground with the minimum delay and the maximum impact.
The Future of PorcFest
PorcFest is a little libertarian city in the forest for one week every year. That’s awesome enough but it’s time to think bigger.
PorcFest needs to be expanded. And it can’t happen at Roger’s Campground. Roger’s is incompetent at handling basic plumbing and they are subject to state intimidation.
PorcFest the anarcho-capitalist city and PorcFest the Free State Project marketing event may have to part ways.
The future of PorcFest is to make it year-round on private land.
We need to design a plan to make this happen in a way that is not only libertarian but will also escape immediate state crackdown.
We need to develop a plan to make the project pay for itself over the long-term.
Then we need to raise the initial capital required to make it happen.
Permanent PorcFest needn’t be located in New Hampshire and it needn’t be created by the FSP but it does need to exist. There is a demand for a vicarious experience of freedom. And there are many people in our community who need a cheap place to live and a way to financially get onto their feet.
We have a passion for freedom and there are enough of us.
A Permanent PorcFest can serve the following roles within the libertarian ecosystem:
- spiritual retreat;
- educational and employment training programs for people of all ages;
- agorist business incubator;
- vacation spot;
- activist training, including for activists from outside of North America;
- raise your kids here;
- summer camp for libertarian kids;
- PorcFest-like events;
- addiction recovery programs;
- permanent facilities for manufacturing agorist products;
- a laboratory for libertarianism;
- a showcase for how the stateless society works.
It’s a place where you can go any time of year to get excited about liberty.
A Permanent PorcFest is not something that can happen overnight but we must start work on it immediately so that it can become a reality within one to three years.
PorcFest has evolved into a precious nugget of gold. It needs to be protected. And we must seize this opportunity to build on it further.
The Independent (WashPo reprint)
Photo Credit: Nikki Darling