Saturday, March 05, 2016

What Victory Will Look Like

[The first chapter of Freedom's Sons]

Part One: After The Fire

After the fire, the ruins there did lay.

After the fire would come a brand new day.

-Ian Stuart, After the Fire


I. A Madhouse of Ministries

(18 days after Longview)

“Work expands to fill the time allotted for its performance.”

 – C. Northcote Parkinson

On a dark and rainy morning in November, Ray Ridgeway mounted the steps of the Insurance Building on the former Washington state capitol grounds in Olympia. He passed beneath the classic portico supported by eight tall and stately columns, stepped into the warm lobby of the building, and closed his sopping umbrella as if it was just another workday, rather than the first official day of business for the government of the Northwest American Republic.
Ridgeway was dressed in a conservative suit, with a tan winter coat and scarf. Besides the umbrella, he carried an expensive briefcase like the bank president he had once been. As of 16 hours ago, he was the new nation’s Finance Minister. At this moment he had about 40 American dollars in his pocket; he was paying his hotel bill with NAR vouchers, which the hotel manager probably honored only out of fear. His multiple bank accounts were now frozen, by order of the banks’ head offices back east, and his extensive portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds were now technically illegal. The mortgage on his home back in Portland was way in arrears, although under the circumstances he wasn’t worried about any attempt at foreclosure. The Finance Minister was one of the poorest men in the new country, and yet his heart was light as a feather—as light as it had been since the day his youngest daughter had died at the hands of a nigger. Payback was going to be a bitch, and Ray Ridgeway was going to be part and parcel of that. 
It was not quite eight in the morning yet. As he entered the lobby, Ridgeway could hear the sound of someone making a speech from the state legislative building across the way. The Senate chamber’s individual desks had been removed and hastily re-fitted with bleacher-like rows of seating for members of the Constitutional Convention, which was now in session to adopt a new constitution for the Northwest Republic based on a draft document that dated all the way back to 2006. Ridgeway could hear Speaker Frank Barrow’s voice as he pounded his gavel on the rostrum and tried to call the Convention to order; there seemed already to be arguments breaking out on the floor. In fact, he could hear Barrow amazingly clearly, considering that the convention chamber was indoors and several hundred yards away. Then Ridgeway realized that what he was hearing was the TV someone had set up in the lobby, where he could see Barrow in living color on the rostrum via CNN. “Is CNN still in the country?” Ridgeway asked the young soldier on the reception desk, who politely stood to attention. “I thought we’d decided to throw them out?”

“I guess nobody’s gotten around to it yet, sir,” replied the soldier. 

The scene on the television shifted to a view from a helicopter, which showed a stretch of Interstate 5 on the California-Oregon state line, or border as it was now. There were no border posts set up by either side yet, except for the old Department of Agriculture shacks on the California side that used to check motorists who might be transporting diseased produce. The weather was clear that far south, and the sun was just rising over the mountains. The interstate was as jammed with cars and trucks and SUVs as any Los Angeles freeway at rush hour. “All those white people, fleeing from the only country in the world where they and their children can be safe!” commented Ridgeway bitterly. “God, what wretched cowardice and stupidity!”

“That’s the southbound lanes, sir,” said the soldier, pointing to the screen. “Look at the northbound lanes. They’re jammed up as well. As many white people are coming into the Republic as are leaving. They’re not waiting for California to be handed over to Aztlan. That’s what the beaners are howling for in Congress now. Frente de la Raza says if us evil racists get our own country, then they should get theirs. They’ll probably get it. I’d be surprised if there are any white people left in California in a week’s time except for goddamned movie stars. As for all those assholes who are leaving, fuck ‘em. We don’t need them. They were probably Union collaborators and rats during the war anyway. By the way, how are we supposed to address you now? Mister Minister, or Mister Secretary, or Mister Ridgeway, or what?”

“I have no idea,” admitted Ridgeway. “Ray will do for now.” 

He took the stairs up to his offices on the second floor. Finance had been allocated one corridor in the maze of offices and conference rooms; they shared the Insurance Building with the ministries of Commerce and Industry, Science and Technology, and Public Health. On the previous day, the Council of State had officially brought a dozen such bodies into existence. “That’s quite a gaggle of ministries we got here, Red,” John Corbett Morgan had commented after the new ministers and their deputies had been sworn in. “Is that right? Do cabinet ministries come in gaggles?”

“Right at the moment, John, I’d call them a madhouse of ministries,” Council of State chairman Henry “Red” Morehouse had responded with a smile. “We’ve got only one man here, Foreign Minister Stanhope, who has done anything even remotely resembling this kind of job before, although Comrade Ridgeway has experience in the private sector that comes close to his Finance portfolio. This is going to be the mother of all learning curves, for all of us.”

Walter Stanhope was a former American Secretary of State. He had actually been an American signatory to the Treaty negotiations held in the Lewis and Clark Hotel in Longview, after which he promptly embarrassed the hell out of the United States by defecting to the Northwest Republic. He had given away the bride Emily Pastras at her impromptu wedding to Cody Brock in one of the hotel restaurants that night, and then left Longview in the same helicopter as the NVA delegation. Stanhope raised his hand. “I’ll be happy to offer any advice and assistance I can to any of you gentlemen,” he said. “Foreign Affairs is going to be mostly a sinecure for a while, since no other country on earth recognizes us, including the one we just signed the Treaty with, so I doubt I’ll be too busy with my own portfolio.”

“As soon as possible you will each be allocated separate digs around town for your offices,” Morehouse went on. “God knows, the state of Washington had enough bureaucrats who have now fled the country, or else they’re hiding out, so if we want to we can give every government janitor his own corner office. Ironic, when you think about all those years when the Party could never afford a single stand-alone building and had to operate out of fleabag apartments and mobile homes. But the security situation is still a bit fluid, and we want to keep everybody together here on the capitol grounds for a while until things settle down.” Ridgeway was aware of that; the previous night in his hotel room, he had heard the sputter of rifle and automatic weapons fire, and the boom of the occasional grenade. Not all of Olympia’s former American masters were reconciled to the treaty, and the NDF was still flushing out and putting down the last of the dark-skinned minorities as well, the final holdouts who for some reason defying rational analysis still hadn’t gotten the message yet. The Jews had fled the city months ago.

When Ray Ridgeway reached the second floor, he saw that a large brown cardboard sign, evidently cut from a box, had been taped to one wall at the beginning of the appropriate corridor. It displayed an acrylic blue, white and green Northwest Tricolor flag torn from a pre-revolutionary Party sticker, beneath which was inked in black Sharpie, Ministry of Finance and the Treasury. Ridgeway had commandeered a suite of offices that had once belonged to the state insurance commissioner. He walked in and found the outer office crowded with people. “Everybody here early?” he said after his new staff wished him good morning. “That’s an encouraging sign.”

“Actually, most of us are sleeping on cots over in the Rotunda or in the governor’s mansion,” said former Northwest Volunteer Martin Dewitt, a middle-aged man who had drawn the job of Deputy Finance Minister because he had been a CPA under the old régime. “They were talking about moving the whole show to Fort Lewis and bunking the government down in the barracks there, but the NDF is still securing the base, and there’s still booby-traps ZOG left behind. The Divisional Quartermaster wants to start confiscating some buildings to accommodate government personnel, but he hasn’t been given a list yet of what’s up for grabs. That’s if we decide to make Olympia the capital, which is another thing they’re arguing about across the way there.” Dewitt jerked his head in the direction of the legislative building. “There are factions demanding that we choose Spokane or Coeur d’Alene or Boise. We’re still getting the old anybody-who-lives-west-of-the-Cascades-is-a-sissy thing, if you can believe that. I don’t think white people are ever really happy unless they have something really dumb to fight each other about.”

“Oh, you haven’t seen anything yet,” said Ridgeway with a sigh. “The religious knives haven’t really come out so far. Anyway, Red and Frank tell me that Olympia is it for the foreseeable future, in the sense that the State President, when we have one, will reside over in the old Governor’s Mansion, across the way there. The Republic will want to decentralize as much as possible, though, so when they send the bombers they can’t wipe us all out in one fell swoop. Same goes for industry and all other vital services. Everything needs to be spread out as much as possible. No idea where we’ll end up, but that’s one of many bridges we’ll have to cross when we come to it. As far as accommodation goes, I’d like all our Ministry staff who don’t have their own homes in the city to go to at night to come with me over to the Red Lion. They’ve got plenty of room over there, and enough employees stuck around so the restaurant is still open. That way we can keep on brainstorming and working after office hours, which is the way we’re going to be rolling for a long time. We have a whole new nation to build, and somehow we’re going to have to pay for it all. That’s our department. I’ll arrange with the NDF to have military transport of some kind for us to get in to work in the mornings, and back to the Red Lion at night. Hopefully a proper bus and not a truck, although these days we pretty much have to take what we can get.”

“Is the bar gonna be open late?” called one of the men. “We’re all waiting for the witching hour tonight.”

“Yes, that’s right, isn’t it?” replied Ridgeway wryly. “General Order Number Ten for NVA personnel, or I guess ex-NVA personnel as we are now, is officially rescinded at midnight tonight, and we can break the long dry spell. Those of you who haven’t already been doing so for the past few weeks, that is. Me, I will probably be asleep. I expect every one of you to be in here tomorrow morning at eight sharp, sitting behind whatever desks you have managed to glom onto, and ready to go to work. If you’re hung over and puking in the wastebaskets, that’s your look-out. Just make sure you’re working while you puke. Now could we move into the conference room?”

The former insurance commissioners of the state of Washington had been sufficiently senior bureaucrats to rate a good deal of luxury. The floors of the offices were plushly carpeted and the conference room held a long mahogany table. “Sorry about the crowding,” said Ridgeway. “Looks like we’re short on chairs. In keeping with our new policy in the Republic of returning to the old gentlemanly ways, I would like to ask all of our ladies to sit down while the men stand, including myself.”

After they all were seated or leaning against the walls, Ridgeway took a look at them down the table. The new government department consisted of 32 people plus himself, about evenly split between male and female. This contrasted sharply with their opponents, the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who worked for the United States Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the Comptroller of the Currency, the New York Stock Exchange, the U.S. Mint, the Office of Budget and Management, and all of the other innumerable bureaucratic organs who dealt with the finances and economy of the United States.

Ridgeway smiled, and spoke. “Good morning, comrades, and welcome to the first day of the rest of your lives. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Raymond Ridgeway, former president of Cascade Bank, Oregon National Bank, the Portland Municipal Credit Union and a whole bunch of other stuff that doesn’t make any difference now. I was a Volunteer for the last couple of years of what I suppose may now be referred to as the War of Independence, reporting directly to the Army Council, and part of my job was designing a plan of operation for this very day, so that the Republic would hit the ground running and we wouldn’t end up floundering around in a sea of red ink and economic confusion that would stifle us before we even had a chance. Every one of you are here because, like me, you have some experience in the old private financial sector. All of you have spent most of your working lives handling and moving other people’s money. Now you are going to have a chance to do the same for an entire nation. First question: how many of you here are not NVA, or were not in some other way associated with the Northwest independence movement?” Half a dozen men and women hesitantly raised their hands. “I would like to extend an especially grateful welcome to you new comrades and co-workers,” Ridgeway told them. “I will not ask you about your motivations for staying when so many people in the Northwest are running away, but I will tell you that you have made the right choice, for yourselves and for your descendents. The Northwest Republic is going to depend on the effort and the services of those normal everyday white men and women who have made the difficult and soul-searching decision to remain at their posts, and to continue with their lives here in a new order of society.”

Ridgeway paused, and then continued. “Now let me describe for you in general terms the strategic task that lies before us in the long run. For the first few months, hell, the first few years, we are going to be working closely in harness with the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to make sure that just as the United States could not defeat us with weapons and murder and prison, they will not be able to defeat us with their almighty dollar. 

“Our three ministries will be kind of like a Trouble Trio in the old NVA. We will build our assets and resources, and we will take on and defeat every economic and monetary obstacle and challenge, every attempt the United States and the rest of the world makes to try and strangle our new nation in the cradle through dearth and economic hardship. The old régime is already threatening to impose crushing economic sanctions on the NAR. As Senator Gerald Gershon put it on Fox News yesterday, they intend to send us back to the age of the horse and buggy, and then starve the horse to death. They will not succeed. Our long-term strategic goal must be to create a completely self-contained economy here in the Northwest, completely independent of the rest of the world, almost like we were on another planet. Anything we have to import from outside, anything that we cannot produce or grow or manufacture ourselves, will be a knife held at our throat by ZOG until we find some way to remove it. All this globalization crap that has caused so much misery in the world for so long is going to end, here. The Northwest Republic must grow everything we eat, and make everything we use. That is a very tall order, but we are going to fill it, and we will do so with such skill and brilliance and panache that we will take the world’s breath away. We are going to demonstrate for good and all, that white people are indeed better people.”



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