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The Army of the Republic

Good fiction has the power to illuminate reality and inform one's perspective like nothing else. It gives the reader the opportunity to see reality from a different point of view. Good fiction can also serve as the warning for a potential reality that we want to avoid. Stuart Archer Cohen's The Army of the Republic is an excellent example of this kind of fiction.

Set in a not too distant future United States of America, things have progressed from bad to worse. The gap between the haves and the have-nots has grown into a yawning chasm; elections are routinely hijacked; organized citizens' groups who see the corruption of the current Regime fight to restore the rule of law - both violently and non-violently - while their protests are painted as "domestic terrorism" by the pro-Administration, big media network Channel America. Corporations work hand in glove with the Administration to privatize public highways and utilities, the latest and most brazen instance being the entire Pacific Northwest's water supply, the Columbia River. Citizen's groups are powerless to stop the fascist onslaught as the line between military, police, and private corporate security is blurred. The private contract security firm Whitehall, funded with billions of dollars in corporate money becomes law unto itself, ultimately engaging in domestic kidnapping and assassinations of activists (or terrorists, depending on who you believe).

Get the picture? The fictional world Cohen has created isn't all that different from the world we live in today. Extrapolate out a few years from today and if things don't change, we'll soon be living in Cohen's world.

Already here in Massachusetts, they're talking about privatizing the Mass Turnpike, while the corporate press spins it as "a public-private partnership that will make the Mass Pike more efficient." In Chicago, they've rammed through a law to lease the city's parking meters to a private corporation. Forget about free parking on Sundays and holidays, but the corporate press spins it as a way for the city to raise much needed cash. And at the Federal level, we all know that the US Treasury, headed by the former chief of the nation's largest investment bank, is engaged in a massive, blatant transfer of wealth from the US taxpayers to largest financial firms. Yet nary a peep of protest do we hear from the majority of citizens.

Like most people in our current slumbering nation, most in Cohen's story are clueless to the changes as well. The story thus revolves around the vocal minority of activists, democracy groups, affinity groups and guerillas who are wide awake and fighting the Regime in every way possible. This is the power of the book. It allows us to imagine and see the consequences of the different paths the future might take and how we can respond, and what the potential costs and consequences might be.

The story is unique in that it is narrated from a variety of perspectives. The first chapter is told from the POV of Lando, the young activist-cum-urban guerilla in Seattle who is a member of the loose affiliation of direct action groups collectively known as the "Army of the Republic." We also hear from James Sands, the billionaire D.C. insider and businessman who is out to privatize and profit from the entire Columbia River. The third perspective is that of Emily Cortright, a non-violent political organizer, head of Seattle-based Democracy Northwest Network and coordinator of a nation-wide network of civil action groups. Throughout the book, the perspective shifts from character to character, giving us a 360-degree view of the action, including different takes on the same situation. Lando represents the violent militant faction, which believes that the time for non-violent change has long since passed. Emily represents the myriad non-violent civil action groups from across the political spectrum that oppose the regime. Taken together, the entire movement is de-centralized and messy. Lando quotes from the Book of Judges to describe it: "At that time, there was no King in Israel, and each mad did as he saw fit in his own eyes." What unites them, and allows them to work together is their opposition to the Regime.

Although the book describes violence, which many abhor, it is fiction. And it takes place in a world in which, like at the founding of this nation, non-violent options seem to have been exhausted. As Cohen wrote in an email to me, "I'm not endorsing violence. On the contrary, the book makes clear the enormous personal and social costs when people take the path of violent resistance. At the same time, it makes apparent the costs when elites succeed in getting everything they want."

Indeed, as in life, there are no easy answers. But the book gives tremendous perspective for anyone involved in the R3volution over the past two years. You'll recognize much of what we've been through, aside from the violence (though anyone at the 2008 RNC knows that it was implicit throughout the entire city and event).

I enjoyed this book tremendously, partly because I was born and raised in Seattle, where most of the book is set. It brought back memories of being at the 1999 WTO protests, and it was exciting to read of an alternate future of the city and country under siege.

To the r3volution community, I give my highest recommendation for The Army of the Republic. In an age when I seem to be simultaneously reading ten books at once, and never finishing any of them, this was one that I could barely put down, and found myself reading it at every spare moment. It has been a long time since I've been that excited about a book. Not only is it educational & thought provoking, it is a fast paced thriller.

But don't take my word for it. The New York "Judith Miller" Times really slammed it in a review for its elite readers. All things considered, I take the fact that they want to silence this book as high praise.

Buy your copy at Amazon. You won't be disappointed.

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Privatizing roads would be okay BUT we live in an Oligarchy

So that means you get the crappiest roads China can build with ZERO accountability.

Our current system of government is ALREADY run by the corporations. We need to break the monopoly and hand it all over to the little guys who will actually compete to do a good job.

Corruption makes everything murky.


Glen Beck -- An Exposed Enemy:
Glenn Beck Supports NAFTA and taking your job:

Michael here is a good testimonial on public/private ownership..

by a leading libertarian group, the Reason Foundation. They argue for a Public-Private Partnerships in transportation in Mass. Here is a link to the article by Leonard Gilroy that I found at the Reason Foundation site.
Public-Private Partnerships in Transportation: Opportunities for Massachusetts
Testimony to the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Transportation

Are you a libertarian, because you have never come across to me as one?

The Reason foundation is full of it

They say - "Public-private partnerships are contracts formed between public agencies and private companies that facilitate greater private sector participation in the delivery of a public function" - in other words, fascism. Of course, the private part of this is regulated, and monopolized and price fixed to the point of being socialist

If you want to privatize roads, there should be open bidding, and, like an open land auction, bids should be allowed for sections of the road, as well as the whole thing, to see what brings the most money. Perhaps 50 mile sections.

Further, given that the public has already paid taxes for the construction and up keep of the roads

Actually the ideas that they promote are right in line with Ron

Paul and his libertarian philosophy...

"Founded in 1968, Reason advances a free society by developing, applying, and promoting libertarian principles, including individual liberty, free markets, and the rule of law."

Michael Nystrom's picture

You'd have to destroy the Fed first

To be in line with Ron Paul's ideas.

If there is no free market in money, there is no free market in anything money touches.

That is the crux of the problem.

To be mean is never excusable, but there is some merit in knowing that one is; the most irreparable of vices is to do evil out of stupidity. - C.B.

tReason helped destroy RP's campaign

with stuff like this quote: "Yet even Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican candidate for president, has fallen for the paranoia. You'd think that Paul would be chanting hosannas to anything that facilitates free trade, but he too fears that the "superhighway" is part of a scheme by foreign companies to erode U.S. borders and create a North American Union combining the United States, Mexico and Canada -- complete with a single government and a common currency called the "amero." https://www.reason.com/news/show/122632.html

and propagating the racist newsletters B.S. smear.

Fake libertarians is what tReason is...

woo hoo!

I thought Libertarians were for private ownership.

Mr. Nystrom, you said "Already here in Massachusetts, they're talking about privatizing the Mass Turnpike, " Isn't this what libertarians, like FFF members, stand for---complete private ownership?

I'm half way through

So Don't tell me what happens

So far I really like it - except he should give up writing about sex. I know revolutionaries do it too, but . . .

"Customers buy this book with The Revolution: A Manifesto"

Manipulation to look like a fringe group or reality?

I find this funny since they are saying a far left books is being paired with a far right one.

Something is not quite adding up.


Glen Beck -- An Exposed Enemy:
Glenn Beck Supports NAFTA and taking your job:


Actually, the lef-right paradigm is false. There is an up and down to political beliefes. We are libertarians, the polar opposite of statists and authoritarians. However, we are socially moderate...right?

Michael Nystrom's picture

Consider this

Perhaps the distinction "far left" and "far right" are meaningless constructs.

If you read the book, which I did, you'll understand why people of the r3VOLution identify with this book. It isn't about false "left" vs. "right"


It is about a creeping fascist control of the country - business & government uniting under the single umbrella of the Federal Reserve system falsely deemed "free market democratic capitalism." People on the "left" as well as the "right" are compelled to fight such injustice.

I invite you to read the book and then see how things add up. This is why I said fiction has a singular power to educate. I think you'll see things differently than you do now.

To be mean is never excusable, but there is some merit in knowing that one is; the most irreparable of vices is to do evil out of stupidity. - C.B.

Yes, Far left- Far Right

There are "authoritarian followers" within both of these political leanings and what we are dealing with in the populace and most leaders is a "personality type" that submits to authoritarian rule.

Read the first few pages here which explains the aspects of this type personality


and then there are these ( we have been referring to as "sheeple")
"Automaton Conformists"

If I look like, talk like, think like, feel like... everyone else in my society, then I disappear into the crowd, and I don't need to acknowledge my freedom or take responsibility. It is the horizontal counterpart to authoritarianism.


"Thomas Jefferson is rolling in his grave fast enough to be a new source of energy independence."~ samthurston


"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don't even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies." ~ Chris Floyd

a nice gift

to add to the Christmas shopping list.


LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

Modern day 1984.


Just Got Mine

I just bought this book! So far it's a great read. It's amazingly similar to our nation today and it presents what I see as a possible evolution of our movement...

Great book.

A great novel, a great read.

I'll second that recommendation.


(gotta get the book now.... to get it.)


sounds good but creepy!

Michael Nystrom's picture



To be mean is never excusable, but there is some merit in knowing that one is; the most irreparable of vices is to do evil out of stupidity. - C.B.