tv Carla Gericke The Ecstatic Pessimist CSPAN September 19, 2021 7:21pm-8:02pm EDT
thank you so much for joining us. >> the author of this book stories of hope mostly. i want to ask you a question i've never asked an author before. what was i reading? >> you were reading a collection of my essays and it was sort of an amalgamation of the work that i did in the city college and new york so those were award-winning short stories and
political essays and blog posts and opinion pieces mostly in my role with the free state project. >> it is a libertarian movement. itit is a mass migration movemet so what we are trying to do it's been around since 2003 and the success stories are piling up. what we did is in 2001, this gentle man who is a yale student at a time wrote an essay like what would happen if we put all libertarians in one geographical area. there are a lot of people that believed in the principles of freedom but they are scattered all over america. if we concentrate this together in one thought that maybe we could be able to make actual differences and achieve liberty
in our lifetime. i wrote about it in 2003. i started going to new hampshire to sorta check out the scene and in 2005 when i finished at city college, i decided my husband and i were like let's move to new hampshire and see what this is all about. so, we moved outov and the rests history as you can read about in the book. >> what has experience been like as a part of this project? >> i grew up a in south africa during the apartheid. they have to go with being abandoned as a little one and then moving to the states for this liberty, i had a green card in the green card lottery back in the mid-90s. i was in law school at the time
and i always had this notion i wanted to come to america to this country. we went to san francisco and new york city and then because of my experience having grown up in south africa, it was a nationalist totalitarian police state so that informed. after 9/11 i feel like america started going in a dark path so being solution driven i was like what's out there that forms the solution. so then new hampshire isn't for everyone but i do have to jokingly say people are like it's so cold and i'm like it's still warmer than mars. >> what was it like to grow up in south africa being part of a minority being part of this system was it normal to you at
the time? >> i have a very unique background. we were not raised in a racist environment. i traveled a lot as a child and had this comparison about what life was like in south africa which was extremely controlled, you know, the nationalist government especially i was sort of growing up at the tail end of apartheid so they were clinging to their power and we saw a lot of what we are seeing now in america in terms of the mass censorship telling people there's only one story or one answer to suppress any alternate
views. i went to thed marches when i s doing my law degree at the university. i taught black students when i got my degree i was one of the few that would actually going to the township and represent defendants as a legal aid case so i was going into that and in one of the essays it sort of talks about that and how i could do that. people were like it's not safe. a lot of those cases were also drug war related which is a parallel to life in america. one of the essays inn the book talks about how i think black people in america actually are worse than under apartheid and i don't say that lightly. in america we have the largest incarcerated population in the world and the war on drugs has been angs abject failure and
disproportionately affected the community so in some ways it is ironic to see this extension of the work i did in south africa to actually come to america. that's theag reality. it was a closed society. it was c strange because i lived in different places there was something out there worth striving for and of course he was released in 94. i voted for him in the first open election. we went to the an occupation and i remember cnn was out there and i would love to track down that footage one day. so, i think south africa and informed the person i became. people asked how did you become
a libertarian and i thought we are all pretty much born authoritarian and get forced into some kind of thing. for me really it's been individualism and trying to help the community from an individualistic way and not from a top-down way. so with life in south africa again with all the censorship, words and newspapers were banned. they were no longer able to talk about certaince words going on. we had a national conscription's. a lot of my friends were forced into the military who didn't want to be there. it's sad to say but that experience and knowing what the tales are between the regime saying these certain people were going to be labeled as terrorist
or as i've been called all those things and frankly i may be the only african-american at the apartheid activist that voted for nelson mandela who is now frequently called a white supremacist. i think that is where we are in america. so i think that is the mood to try to silence voices that are genuinely trying to fix the problems. >> in a couple of the essays, the fourth amendment appears. >> why do you write about that? why is that important to you? >> i think a sense of privacy is important and it's sort of who we are. where is someone's focus, like where are they kind of coming
from i am a person and this is me. the sense of privacy and everywhere he talks about this as well is that a sense of privacy is an opportunity for us to figure out who we are. we have a notion with this cancel culture and all this craziness where people say you have to be a fully formed human and perfect from the start but really what privacy gives you is the opportunity to explore who are you. people start one way and and somewhere else. with the government starting to prevail us, we all know that in the past, the government shockingly and i'm surprised the
media isn't talking about this more said we are going to monitor not only your post, it's hard to get my message out there bute for no other reason than t is a threat to the regime a or the establishment the people are saying we don't want to live in some kind of fate tele totalitarian health regime. it's not the play that i expected. but again, the surveillance is a huge issue i think so they are talking about not just looking at a public stuff but actually starting. the government said they are going to monitor the private messages and censor them if they don't like what you are seeing so to me that is so shocking and a someone like me you can see in the book i've been writing abot these since 2008 you don't want
to be the cassandra like i told you so but i am here to say i told you so. libertarians were the vanguard on the police accountability work. no one will give us the credit. they had this same issue. but to give credit libertarians said same-sex marriage should have been. we said the drug war was the problem and that there is actually an issue with racism and police brutality. no one listens to us and now suddenly people are talking aboutur it. one t is about the protests that
we did in new hampshire. they ran the network and basically whatat it does is allw to anonymously surf the internet. like in oppressive regimes i might argue that it's now being used by activists in america because we need a channel in order to do these things. at this protest it was a sight to behold. we had people from all over the state saying the department of homeland security doesn't have the right to come into a town in new hampshire and shut down the tool that they've created in order to be able to anonymously search for things.
it's none of the government's business what we read or what we are interested in or what we are doing. it is deeply problematic that we are moving in this direction and there are not enough people in the mainstream speaking out against this becausere it is a giant, giant issue. we are working in the wrong and i hope that people will read the book and understand there are a lot of voices out here. everyone that went through 2020, it's frankly undeniable that we are right. we are calling out the problems what theproblems are and we alse the solutions which of course i say partly is state offered as a sort of safe haven where we can get people together and where we can build a community of people who are like-minded and have
values to say we believe in individualism and are excited when we don't agree on things because there's a whole notion we move towards like we all have to lock step and if you don't then you are the out class. it's not how the world should work. we should celebrate our uniqueness. >> you said that you are a shadow band. what does that mean? >> on facebook and various media platforms they will put you on some kind of list and depending on the kind of things that you post they will either post the audience down so people don't see yourself in the newsfeed. i certainly am not one of them like naomi wolf at the freedom
festival last month. she was the platform from twitter simply for raising questions about the lockdown situation. so, basically it means it gets smaller and smaller. it's a very insidious and smart waysi to do things because it is hard to prove. the only way you can see if it is happening is if you know i used to post to this and it would get 500 likes and now it gets 40. another example wouldps be i've done a lot with an outspoken critic of the lockdown. i think we should have done it as countries like asia. we didn't have to make it a huge political issue. i think i posted a photo of the interview. they put one on everything a
post now so it is an insidious way to silence voices speaking out against the regime. a. >> i want to ask about some of the people that pop up. lewis. >> my husband,wi yes. so, we met in south africa. we were dating when i won the green card so we moved out to california together. he is a tech nerd and we came out. he had a start up and i worked as an in-house counsel at the fortune 500 companies and apple computer when steve jobs came back. he's my husband, i love him dearly and i wish that he were with me but he's at home holding her down the fort. a.
>> in addition to working at apple, according to her bio, she's been a model, chair maker, playwright, lecture magazine editor, nonprofit director and high-tech lawyer is a masters degree and law degree another one of the essays in the pessimist is about the 420 rally. that?as >> that was one of those situations never say never. they said you are doing this rally after the liberty forum for the free state project. like can i come with? and i'm like no, there won't be trouble at all. you're fine. famous last words. basically what happened, we get the rally that is a pro- cannabis rally.
it was a beautiful spring day in nashua new hampshire and we had probably 100 people. people smoking weed, playing guitar, peaceful, beautiful, happy. everyone hanging out and then the next second two people pop out with badges behind their shirt and go and arrest literally one of two black kids at the rally. we were all like what is happening. this seems crazy. sixty, 70, 80 people and you are going to arrest that one kid so they did that. onthey claimed they had been watching him for a while and there was an outstanding warrant, but basically because that happened, the situation escalated and i will say this the protests and rallies and
marches and things in my life and things can turn on a dime. we saw in the situation immediately when it was happening, some people were very angry and chanting. immediately i thought we need to shift this to no victim, no crime. that is something that resonates with most people. so asif this was happening there were several activists in front of the police car. a lot of people carry firearms and we do have constitutional carry. they might open carry and conceal carry so when the police realize, they of coursee call fr backup and we've got 11 squad
cars coming in. people were angry and getting feisty. they remember in this video there's an officer like he's got a gun and someone yells from our side we all have guns. what now. and it was interesting because what you realize is in terms of the level of violence they were willing to bring to the situations so when we talk about gun rights and second amendment rights, that's part of the leveling of the playing field so i come from the progressive left. we have a lot of friends like i don't know about half the things you think about butab that's one of the things that we know it levels the playing field and changedy the energy.
they had their police the dogs but there wasn't that sort of rounding up and arresting that i think would have happened had that not been the case. so they took the boy to the police station and several activists went to the police station. we raised money in the foyer. the next week they did follow-up protests and that is the kind of stuff that we get in the free state of new hampshire. we are taking peaceful people and incarcerating them and not only that. we are creating a society that has a downstream problem.
it's destroyed families. single-parent families we know statistically don't do it well. these people have a hard time finding a job afterwards and this is for personal choices and personal nonviolent behavior. i would love to see america we see from a state's right perspective they have their laws in this direction and i think that's great. to the federal government i hope that we will see more of that. it was a great rally and very dramatic. to that poor college student that came to write the essay i sincerely deeply apologize. >> with regards to the free state project is it spread out, how does that work? >> the project of self says
let's come to new hampshire. people live all over the state. it is a perfect tiny little country. we've got the seacoast, mountains, big city of 120,000 people, manchester where i live. there were these little towns everywhere. university towns. it's very central and it's right next to the airport and it's an hour t from boston. people live in different areas. i about of house five years ago in manchester and we have a community club in that area. we probably have hundreds that
happened to live there but there's 5,000 across the state and they just live where they want. they were like the power is out, why. you could really find something that would appeal to you. we have a huge homeschooling community. once we can get over the canadianth border. we are not in one geographic
area, but we are in one state, the state of new hampshire. >> where did you come up with the name for your books? >> it's from the opening story which is a short story called the ecstatic pessimist. i think it felt like the last essay that is called how to change the color off your aura. i tell people i don't know if it is really just like the idea ofk someone if someone came up to me and i had quit drinking and changed my diet or my lifestyle if i went from being very angry about things to being much more solution driven and lifestyle driven and liberty, so i really try to be a good steward of the messagee and aspirational for other people so it is loosely
based on where i was. there is definitely parts of me in that short story and the ark of the book and the collections and all that but then at the end of the book it has this change. i was thinking i should do testing and change the title of the ecstatic optimist because that's mores where i am now but iti was more letting go of that and the w title story so i went with that and i'm working on my next book so we will see if i have a chance to redeem myself. >> what is the next book about? >> it'ss about my court case in
2010 f i got arrested for filmig police officers in a late night traffic stop. people are always surprised cell phones have become so ubiquitous and we have cameras with us all the time. this is 2010 and i literally had a video camera in my console. it was my birthday present i only had it for a month and we got pulled over and the police officer was acting weirdsa and m like i'm going to film this. why not. long story short, things escalated. i got arrested. they took me to the police station and chained me to a pole for several hours. it was a strange experience in general including being dragged behind the station at 3:00 in the morning by three cops who sort of held me up like you are never going to see that camera again.
what happened was they confiscated the camera but they wouldn't give me a receipt to proveve that they had taken it o i thought i'm not leaving without that camera. and they charged me with the whole disobeying an officer where you have around really committed a crime. becauseei i insisted on that, ty ended up charging me with wiretapping which is a seven year felony and they picked the wrong lady. i was like i'm not going to let you get away with this. so it talks about the court case in general but i'm incredibly proud of that the walls moved.
they dropped their charges against me and then i ended up doing an original 37 count for violation of my civil rights. as we were progressing over the time my lawyers were asking what do you care about and i was like i care about the first amendment right t to film officials in thr public duty. there's no reasonn why a police officery could claim in public that we as citizens of the country do not have the right to film them. so there was one proceeding case all the way to the courts or get out of boston that covers 13 million people so 13 million nowno definitely have the first amendment right to film in the execution. the other thing that was important in this case is that they u did end up saying that it
was a three person panel of judges and they did say police officers do not have qualified immunity here's the thing qualified immunity is a weird exception in american law basically when we are told ignorance ofbu the law is no excuse but they argue unless you are in an enforcer of the law thene it's an absolute defense. that's crazy we cannot hold them to a lower standard than we are being held to so they are arguing that you have a constitutional right to film in public during the day at the boston commons which was the case, the proceeding case. they were like but we don't think you necessarily have the right toce do it on a dark roadt
night in new hampshire. i said to the opposing counsel i was like so let me get this straight you are trying to make an argument the constitution doesn't apply after dark. they laughed but what the court said as they cannot claim qualified immunity so if a police officer in america confiscates your camera, takes your footage or tries to stop you from filming something, don't get in the middle of whatever is happening, you don't want to make a bad situation worse but we do want to bear witness to what is going on. one of the things i am incredibly proud of and why we are having the discussions today about the police brutality and accountability, all the things
everyone is up in arms about, all of that is because in the first time we can prove the truth. we have footage to show that they are lying. i was actually horrified i guess is may be the right word in my own case and my own experience to see the blatant lies and the unnecessary framing and misconduct among other things. they claimed in the report -- i started reading it and i laughed out loud like this is ridiculous. i called my lawyer like are you sending me a report just to tease me or something.
they framed among other things that i parked my car in the middle-of-the-road, jumped out, ran down the street, 11:00 at night, yelling remember the cause and i was like first of all i've never uttered those words but i w might call my book that. they said the camera that i was using -- they instructed me, i was following another car so i said i'm going to go park over there in the school and film you from there. i got out and i said i'm putting it on video recording so they were on notice i was doing everything right. i'm a lawyer so i kind of know what i'm supposed to be doing. they claimed the video camera that i had in the police report they said there was a red light, a red laser light like that made them think that it was the scope on a firearm. it turns out the brand of camera
that they confiscated and held for over a year did not have any lights on it because it's the camera people have when they bootleg stuff. it's designed not to have a light on it so those kind of levels of lives in a police report for me it was a wild wake-up call. i am an individualist and i'm not someone who believes every police officer is evil. i think at this stage maybe it needs deep reform because i believe in individualism i have to believe that there are good police officers just like there are bad ones. i read that report and it really opened my eyes. there is a system and they can just make things up and devastate people's lives. again i felt like you picked on
the wrong person and then you have to think about all the other people that they pick on that are not like me and willing to fight back and who don't have the resources to say hell no. there's a lot of people being harmed with where we are now. >> carla has run for the new hampshire senate for three times getting 44% of the vote in 2020. she's the author of this book, the ecstatic pessimist. thanks for joining us on booktv. >> thank you for having me. this is a pleasure.