Kirkpatrick Sale is an author and independent scholar who has written extensively about environmentalism, luddism, technology and political decentralism.
Sale has been described as “a leader of the Neo-Luddites” and “the theoretician for a new secessionist movement.”
Just prior to receiving his history degree from Cornell University in 1958, he and his roommate, Richard Fariña (who would later marry Joan Baez’s sister, Mimi, and become identified with the 1960s folk music revival), were charged with violating the university’s “in loco parentis” policy that forbid male and female students from fraternizing.
After graduation, Sale married Faith Apfelbaum, who would later work as an editor with Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, and Amy Tan. Faith died in 1999.
Before becoming a freelance journalist and book author, Sale was employed as a writer for New York Times Magazine and New Leader, a leftist journal. He wrote his first book about his personal experiences in Ghana and his second book about the radical 1960s movement known as the Students for a Democratic Society.
Sale continues to write for publications such as The Nation, CounterPunch, The New York Review of Books, Utne Reader and Mother Jones. He has also appeared as a guest on The Political Cesspool.
In 2004, Sale and members of the Second Vermont Republic formed the Middlebury Institute, which is dedicated to the study of separatism, secession, and self-determination. In 2006, Middlebury sponsored the First North American Secessionist Convention, which attracted 40 participants from 16 secessionist organizations. The 2006 event was described as the first gathering of secessionists since the American Civil War. Delegates issued a statement of principles of secession which they presented as The Burlington Declaration.
In October 2007, the New York Times interviewed Sale about the Second North American Secessionist Convention that was co-hosted by the Middlebury Institute. Sale told the interviewer: “The virtue of small government is that the mistakes are small as well. If you want to leave a nation you think is corrupt, inefficient, militaristic, oppressive, repressive, but you don’t want to move to Canada or France, what do you do? Well, the way is through secession, where you could stay home and be where you want to be.”
The convention received worldwide media attention.