by Dr. R. J. Tavel, J.D.

That simple statement, emblazoned on the front of the "big top" tent at the entrance to the grounds of HempAid '97, was the unifying theme for all of the glorious activities that took place in Vandalia, Michigan over the Memorial Day celebration. Throughout this working weekend, between 2,000 and 6,000 liberty-loving Hempsters heard, read and danced about freedom.

Liberty's Educational Advocacy Forum (Indiana's FIJA, Inc.) state coordinator R. J. Tavel, J.D. ( ) sponsored the event for the benefit of Max Robinson's Hemp Museum ( ) in Elkhart, Indiana. Max's inspired work brought 26 of the best bands and pot proponents in the country together to perpetuate the peace and love that inheres in the hearts of Hempsters. The "global village" being advanced everywhere would do well to pattern itself after the example of this gathering. A small city was created, complete with platting, infrastructure, inclement weather, minor medical emergencies, and, most of all, a deeply spiritual understanding of "community."

Last years' Labor Day event was threatened with police shut down when a local ordinance was advanced as a bar to such a gathering. "Madd Maxx" contacted R. J. who construed the law to exempt educational outreach organizations, like LEAF and FIJA, and thereafter assumed the mantle of sponsorship. Trumpeting a speakers list that heralded four attorneys from Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, the police decided to just hassle a few of the motorists on their way to last year's show. No police presence graced this years gathering. Security was provided by the Michigan Militia, armed with video cameras along the perimeter as well as patroling throughout the 35 acre camping facility. The leaders of the Militia were so moved by the message of individual power and responsibility that they took to the stage to speak after the first round of speeches by the headliners of the event, discussed below.

Readers who are visitors to "Dr. Tavel's Self Help Legal Clinic and Sovereign Law Library" ( ) will recognize this strategem as one of the many effective techniques touted to blunt the beast in its advance on our rights. Borrowing a premise from the early days of the Hemp Relegalization movement, specifically the smoke-ins, when you can organize a peaceful and substantial imposition upon the adminstrative aspects of governing, you can pretty much do whatever you wish without fear of police interference. Those who know their rights, effectively assert them and demand that the governors commit their allegedly scarce prosecutorial resources to deal with their number. FIJActivist leafletting outside courthouses across this land (see, ), as well as Hempsters coming together to "learn to live the liberty they love" (see, ) openly challenge the system to oppress them further, thereby demonstrating the strength and character of these courageous advocates for self government.

HempAid '97 built on this success and bettered it by more effectively advertising the event and its location, in spite of the fact that Ben Masel and others operated competing events at the same time. Headlining HempAid '97 were R.J., Jack Herer ("the terror"), Chris Conrad, Elvie Musika and "The Last Free Man in America" the Honorable Gatewood Galbraith. Madd Maxx Robinson had previously gotten Gatewood and R.J. together as speakers for the Drug Policy Reform Conference St. Valentine's Day seminar at the Chicago Historical Society last February 14. After that event, Maxx knew that R.J. would never want to be scheduled to speak after Gatewood, since "Gatewood stops the show!" So Maxx arranged with the stage manager to put "Sponsor R.J." on between all bands and before each of the speakers, to introduce them, and forge an information flux illustrating the cohesiveness of content and conscience:

* Author of one of the most popular and exhaustive treatises on the Hemp Prohibition Conspiracy, "The Emperor Wears No Clothes," Jack Herer railed against the phenomenal growth of the prison industry and other economic aspects of the war on individual rights in the name of drug prohibition.

* Two time author and expert witness Chris Conrad extolled the commerical benefits, environmental, and personal virtues of cannibus production.

* Medical Marijuana patient and gifted singer Elvie Musika was in fine voice carolling compassionate care, continuing her valient effort to expand the dialogue on alternative medical treatment regimes.

* Gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith from Lexington, KY inflamed the passions of even the most passive pot smoker as he exhorted the crowd [to] block international inroads into rural America in the name of biodiversity.

* Bringing everyone's message into sharp focus, R. J. reminded the crowd that teaching the essential lesson of FIJA to everyone they know and love will open the now closed doors to the forums where public policy is determined without hearing all of the material facts. Peaceful productive people must be free to pursue justice in their daily lives with the confidence that, when "The Crown" becomes offended, resort may safely be had to a "jury of their neighbors" at a "trial by the country" in defense of freedom for all.

Should you be organizing an event like this in your area? Considering that Liberty's Educational Advocacy Forum raised $3,000 to donate to national FIJA and Laura Krihoe's Legal Defense Fund, everyone should answer this question with a big YES, and then get busy doing more. This kind of interdisciplinary event galvanizes patriots from all paths, and provides an occasion for putting up your best literature tables and practicing your outreach oratory, while raising vitally needed money from donations and sales of T-shirts, bumper stickers, books, tapes, videos, and FIJA flyers. .


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