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Anarchist Democrat Free Stater Beats Small-Government RepublicanFree Stater

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo http://www.unionleader.com/article/20121115/LOCALVOICES08/121119494 November 14.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 17, 2012
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      November 14. 2012 11:20PM
      Mark Hayward's City Matters: Anarchy in Ward 5? Well, not exactly

      For Republicans in the New Hampshire House, the party is over.

      For Democrats, of course, the party is rocking. In fact, the party's
      party has been going strong for a week now.

      But as the haze starts to clear, some unexpected guests are starting to
      appear in the fog.

      Consider Tim O'Flaherty, a Manchester resident of 11 months who was
      elected a state rep in the inner city Ward 5. O'Flaherty, a Free Stater
      who describes himself as an anarchist, has raised alarm bells.

      "We believe the Free State Project is extreme, and Tim O'Flaherty is one
      of the most extreme examples of the movement we've seen," said Zandra
      Rice Hawkins, director of Granite State Progress, an organization backed
      by labor, voting rights and abortion-rights groups.

      She points to blogs where O'Flaherty said he doesn't support Social
      Security, Medicare, the armed forces or public roads. He has blogged
      that he's an anarchist, and that there should not even be a state.

      But during an interview Wednesday, the harried thoughts of a midnight
      blogger took a backseat to the practical politics of a man with a title
      - state representative-elect.

      Flaherty said he wouldn't vote to defund public education because there
      is no vibrant private system to replace it. He realizes a welfare system
      is in place, so he would help a constituent navigate the system to get
      food stamps or unemployment benefits. And he would oppose anti-union
      Right to Work legislation as written.

      "I'm an idealist, but I have a practical side," O'Flaherty said over
      coffee. "Implementing my ideals overnight is not going to happen."

      He won't run away from the anarchist label, which he described as

      "Anarchy means no rulers; it doesn't mean no law," he said.

      O'Flaherty stands 6 feet 3 inches tall, and although he says he is 33,
      he has the body of a teenage boy who knows no fat. He speaks softly and
      deliberately, a contrast to a photo on his campaign literature, which
      features a smirk. That smirk turns out to be a pretty good symbol of his

      O'Flaherty said he was surprised to win the Democratic primary over
      Richard Komi, a former state rep who was voted out of office in 2010.
      O'Flaherty won the contest by one vote. He said Komi may have suffered
      from name problems; his name is similar to Joseph Kony, the Ugandan
      guerilla leader whose capture was encouraged by the Kony 2012 effort, a
      viral Internet video.

      In the general election, O'Flaherty ran against a fellow Free Stater,
      housemate Dan Garthwaite, whom O'Flaherty called a statist who favors
      more government than O'Flaherty.

      O'Flaherty's campaign literature calls for reduced spending, individual
      responsibility and protection of constitutional liberties. The backside
      encourages people to donate to Shire Sharing, an effort to raise money
      for the needy. Nowhere is Free State or anarchy mentioned; O'Flaherty
      said one doesn't get elected campaigning as an anarchist.

      In one of the more bizarre moments in the campaign, O'Flaherty wrote to
      Comedy Central's election Internet site to say he and Garthwaite are
      lovers, and the election would decide certain role-playing aspects of
      their relationship. (We're talking dominance and jackboots here.)

      But O'Flaherty, who is gay, said he doesn't know Garthwaite well, and he
      made the comments to undermine his opponent with his Republican base.

      Granite State Progress dropped fliers in Ward 5 on election day to alert
      voters to O'Flaherty's beliefs, but he easily won, coming in second in
      the race for two seats.

      "I feel it strange they should want to demonize Free Staters so much,"
      he said about Granite State Progress. "We have a lot of common ground
      with the political left."

      He said he had to choose a major political party in order to get
      elected, and he agreed with the Democrats' principles of tolerance and

      Ed Osborne, the longtime alderman in Ward 5, said a Free Stater ran
      against him last year. Like O'Flaherty, Mike Segal didn't mention his
      Free State allegiance, Osborne said. He said many people in his ward,
      especially Democrats, vote party line.

      "I don't think 75 percent (of voters) know what the Free State Project
      is. Free Stater, free skater - I don't pay much attention to it either,"
      Osborne said.

      O'Flaherty said he grew up poor, the only child of a single mom who
      works in a florist shop in Reading, Pa. He worked in the hotel industry
      before moving to New Hampshire in 2009 as part of the Free State
      movement. He said his anti-war leanings drew him to the Free State movement.

      Since moving to Manchester, he's been mugged, but he did not report the
      crime to police. ("What's the best outcome? A prison cell? It's torture;
      it would not restore justice at all.")

      He also spent a weekend in jail; he said he did not realize his driver's
      license expired. ("It's pretty ridiculous to be arrested for not having
      your paperwork in order.")

      Friends helped him out, and he's now settled at Porc Central, a Central
      Street rooming house with six Free State residents. (Porc refers to
      porcupine, the symbol of Free Staters.) He now works as a carpenter for
      Joel Winters, another Free State Democrat, who was a state rep for two
      terms and was elected last week. On his way to work, he had a copy of
      "The Righteous Mind," a book by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt that
      diagnoses the divisions of the American political system and gives
      recommendations for mutual understanding.

      So what will happen to O'Flaherty over these next two years?

      Kathy Sullivan, a New Hampshire Democratic leader and Democratic
      National Committee member, has criticized Republicans in the past for
      their embrace of Free Staters. But Donald Manning, chairman of
      Manchester City Democrats, said he's met O'Flaherty and that his critics
      should sit down and talk to him.

      Although O'Flaherty has a libertarian streak, Manning said he does not
      think he wants to tear down state government.

      "I think he's right in step with the people of Ward 5," Manning said. "I
      have no reason to suspect otherwise."

      - - - - - - - -

      Mark Hayward's City Matters runs Thursdays in the New Hampshire Union
      Leader and UnionLeader.com. He may be reached at mhayward@....

      Dan Clore

      New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord We├┐rdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      in charge on this island?
      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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