Augustus Sol Invictus is an Orlando-area attorney who graduated from DePaul College of Law. He is perhaps best known for the “Departure Memo” he wrote in 2013 in which he renounced his U.S. citizenship, his law degree, law firm, and claimed he would go into hiding in the Florida wilderness to prepare for civil war. Last year, he declared his candidacy for the Libertarian Party’s 2016 U.S. Senate nomination in Florida. As transcribed on his Facebook page, he delivered the following speech yesterday to the Florida Libertarian Convention. The Saturnalian does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in this speech.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the State Convention of the Libertarian Party of Florida. My last formal address was on December 8th, four months ago this very night. Four months without an organized speech, in the middle of a presidential election season. And let me tell you, my friends, it has not been for lack of trying. It has not been because we were taking time off from the campaign or slacking in some regard.
No, today is my first formal address in four months because I have been blacklisted from coast-to-coast by organizations, by schools, by private venues.
Hostile elements have physically attacked my supporters in these intervening months; they have harassed small businesses in order to have our events canceled; they have threatened mass violence and assassination, and in so doing have had me expelled from Canada.
Friendly elements, uncomfortable with the level of hostility, scared by the demonstrated willingness of our enemies to resort to violence, have abandoned the campaign and distanced themselves from us, pulling all support and canceling my scheduled speaking engagements.
In an environment such as this, why should the Federal Government step in to silence me? They don’t need to. At this point in our country’s history, the First Amendment is not much more than a nice gesture. In reality, the Government need not lift a finger to keep the public from hearing our message, because the public itself has such a vested interest in censoring us all on their own. The American public is so invested in this System – in the police state, in two-party politics, the mass media, mindless consumerism – that they will, like all good slaves, do the Master’s bidding. And, like all good slaves, they will do the Master’s bidding without needing an explicit command.
And this is what I want to talk with you about tonight: the difference between a good slave and a hostile slave, between the slave who loves his safety and the slave who wants to be free.
Malcolm X spoke about this several decades ago when he told his people about the difference between the house Negro and the field Negro. He said there were two kinds of slaves, and I quote:
There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes – they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master’s house quicker than the master would. The house Negro, if the master said, “We got a good house here,” the house Negro would say, “Yeah, we got a good house here.” Whenever the master said “we,” he said “we.” That’s how you can tell a house Negro.
If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s run away, let’s escape, let’s separate,” the house Negro would look at you and say, “Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?”
The vast majority of our countrymen are house Negroes. Speak to them of seceding from the Federal Government and they’ll say, “Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate?” Speak to them of destroying the System, abolishing the Federal Reserve, ending usury, and they’ll say, “Where is there a better System than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?” They eat the scraps given to them by the bankers, by the politicians, by the corporate boards. And what they dream of is not freedom, but a seat at the table with the Masters.
What we want is to overthrow the table. We want to be our own Masters, and for this we need the help of our countrymen. But the revolutionary life is a tough sell, Brothers & Sisters. Who as a little boy sits thinking to himself, “When I grow up, I want to be blacklisted & ostracized. I want to be hated & reviled by my own countrymen. I want hardship & deprivation. I want to wonder where my next meal is coming from and whether the FBI will raid my house today. I want a life of severity. I want to put my life on the line because anything between death and total victory is a compromise & a mediocrity.” You try to sell that life to a house slave, and you will meet with great disappointment, I assure you.
But Malcolm X spoke of a second sort of slave, the field Negro. He said, “The Negro in the field caught hell.” He said:
The field Negro was beaten from morning to night. He lived in a shack, in a hut; He wore old, castoff clothes. He hated his master. I say he hated his master. He was intelligent. That house Negro loved his master. But that field Negro — remember, they were in the majority, and they hated the master. When the house caught on fire, he didn’t try and put it out; that field Negro prayed for a wind, for a breeze. When the master got sick, the field Negro prayed that he’d die. If someone come to the field Negro and said, “Let’s separate, let’s run,” he didn’t say “Where we going?” He’d say, “Any place is better than here.” You’ve got field Negroes in America today. I’m a field Negro.
I’m a field Negro. Everyone in this room, if you are sitting here listening to a speech from me, you are a field Negro, too. We want freedom. When the System soon catches fire, we will pray for a strong wind. When the Masters of the System get sick, we will pray that they die.
But let me take this one step further than Malcolm X ever did: I say that we are the strong wind that will burn down the System. I say that a prayer for death is too good for those who control this System. And that is the difference between a faithless slave and a revolutionary: a revolutionary is a man of action, not of wishes, not of hopes & dreams, not of listless longing for better days in a different field.
A revolutionary does not pick his cotton in the field while daydreaming of escape. He pulls the overseer off his horse and takes his rifle, he leaves the field and burns down the Master’s house.
Now how do we get to that step, comrades? How do we move past talk, past whispering to each other in our living rooms and blogging on the Internet? What sort of political action is necessary to destroy a System marked by a tyrannical Federal Government, cancerous bureaucracies, faceless enemies, the stranglehold of finance, the stench of slaves being burned in sacrifice to the God of Money?
I will say what I said last year: What is needed is total insurrection. An uprising in mind, heart, and body. We must break all boundaries and revolt. But of course the preliminary step is challenging what we have long been brainwashed to believe.
For instance – and I will be deliberately extreme here: When a cop draws a firearm on you, you are expected to fall to the ground, put your hands on your head, and wait for him to handcuff you. Even if you have broken no law, even if you pose no threat to the officer, even if you are an innocent bystander, you are expected to bend over and take it. And if you get an apology sometime later, wonderful! – but don’t hold your breath.
Just ask yourself Why? Why do we allow cops to put us in handcuffs for no reason? Why do we allow them to run roughshod over us, our communities, our Constitution? “Because there are criminals out there,” you say. And I agree, a man committing a robbery or shooting up a school should be drawn on. But I am talking about all of us, we who are not robbing convenience stores or shooting up schools. Why do we allow the police to treat us like criminals? Why do we not draw on them, handcuff them, keep them in our holding cells until we can sort the matter out and determine what the hell they thought they were doing drawing guns on us in the first place?
It is because we are conditioned. We are well-trained slaves. If you take nothing else away from what I say tonight, let it be this: You think you are free, but you are only slaves with more subtle chains.
And if you think I’m being overdramatic, if you think this is meaningless hyperbole, do me a favor and stop paying your taxes. Stop paying your student loans. Try to drive your car here in Florida without insurance. Drive without your seatbelt. Dare to exceed the speed limit. Punch the guy in the face who just insulted your girlfriend. Do these things and see what happens. My Scotch-Irish grandfather once fought off ten cops in a bar in Ohio, along with my uncle. But that was a different age; try that today, and see how many felonies you rack up in one bar fight.
Take it from a lawyer: There are so many laws in this country that you could not comprehend them even if you knew what they were. There are so many laws in this country that you could spend your entire life reading them and you would never finish. Every action you undertake is regulated by law. And those laws are zealously enforced by cowards with badges who show up in packs with guns drawn at the first sign of resistance.
So should it be any surprise that we are expected to put our hands up and get to the ground when a cop draws on us? If the overseer came out to check on the field Negro’s work, and he pulled his rifle and told the field Negroes to get on the ground, would they not be expected to drop to the ground and put their hands on their heads? Of course they would. And the same is expected of each & every one of us.
The Masters – the financiers, the corporate boards, the special interest groups – they pass their laws, and those laws are enforced by the field’s overseers – the local police department, the Sheriff’s office, the FBI, the DEA – and we are expected to follow those laws. And even when we are 100% compliant with those laws, we are still expected to quake in fear and to bow in submission to whatever federal agents and police officers decide to pull a gun on us that day.
Well I don’t know about you, Brothers & Sisters, but I am sick to death of the Masters and their overseers. I have no love for their System, for their money, for the comfort they provide that the house slaves find it impossible to live without. I don’t care for the health insurance, the retirement benefits, the professional discount on a car rental, the frequent flyer miles – “celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear” – or any of the other distractions waved in front of our faces or any of the other bribes given us by those in power to keep us from lynching them and burning down their houses.
So again we must ask the question: What sort of political action is necessary?
You find yourself at this moment at a State Convention for a major political party, the third largest in the United States, as a matter of fact. Tomorrow I am co-sponsoring a presidential debate right here at this hotel. Those of you who stay through the weekend will be able to rub elbows with high-level Party members and national candidates; you will be hearing speeches and soundclips until the platitudes of the libertarian movement are dripping out of your ears; and soon you will be able to vote for any number of us in the upcoming elections. But, as Bismarck once noted: “Not through speeches and majority decisions will the great questions of the day be decided . . . but by iron and blood.”
I sincerely hope that these speeches of mine will wake up our countrymen. And I sincerely hope that we will have a good showing at the election this November. But what is far more important than any election is action. I need you to be strong. Your country, the whole of Western Civilization, needs you to be prepared for War. Arm yourselves. Strengthen your bodies. Stop wasting your nights at the bars, stop living frivolous lives, and brace yourselves for the coming fire, for you will be the wind that spreads the flames. Slaves can afford weakness; a Master cannot.
So, yes, let us engage with the so-called “legitimate” political system. Let us do outreach, make phone calls, knock on doors, speak to our legislators, and all the rest. Protest, complain on social media, vote, the whole nine yards. Make friends here at the Convention, bury hatchets and shake hands, help the Party grow.
But more than this, prepare for the day the System catches fire; and on that day, let your actions speak louder than any speech I have given. Think now about whether you will be a house slave fighting for the Government or a field slave fighting for your freedom, your people, your country. Think about the world you want to create, and prepare yourselves for it.
Prepare. Work and prepare. War is coming.