Though known as the Secessionists, members of the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP) rarely consider themselves such. The AIP a fringe group dating back to the 1970s and now numbering more than 17,000 voters calls itself a state's rights party. It homes in on conservative and libertarian positions such as gun rights, privatization, limited government and homeschooling; founder Joe Vogler once said, "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions." During the 2008 presidential-election season, rumors circulated about vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin's potential membership in the 1990s. Though the AIP says Palin was never an official member, she did visit a convention the AIP had in Wasilla while she was mayor. Other states have similar secessionist movements. The Second Vermont Republic, founded in 2003 by economics professor Thomas Naylor, above, is "committed to the peaceful return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic."
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