Not-so-great minds don’t think alike, either :)

The other day, I asked: “What if some sort of larger formal organization of education- and outreach-oriented LP members was created?”

While my reason for asking the question primarily dealt with trying to provide a solution to longstanding debate within the Libertarian Party, it was also partially prompted by Brad Spangler’s call to dissolve the LP.

Social Memory Complex has now added a similar viewpoint(emphasis added):

Perhaps Brad Spangler’s call for the dissolution of the Libertarian Party would indeed be the best way to ensure that libertarians maintain their radical credentials and don’t get swallowed up in the institutional identity of statist politics. Personally, I haven’t quite decided whether dissolving the LP would, in fact, assist the cause of liberty. Too many, including yours truly, u-turned on the road to serfdom as a result of that organization, however status quo they may in fact be. Perhaps the answer is for us radical libertarians to work harder to build an alternative institution to the LP that can expedite getting people out of the suffocating political process.

I agree that the LP often does serve the valuable purpose of u-turning (pardon the neologism) people “on the road to serfdom,” but there are two other factors which I sometimes don’t think are understood by certain radicals:

  • To most Americans I know, simply being involved with the Libertarian Party is considered an act of extreme radicalism already.
  • Many of us (including some self-described radicals) actually have a goal of substantial electoral victory—in our lifetime. This doesn’t mean “watering down” libertarianism, but recruiting decent candidates and running effective campaigns.

For the meantime, I’ll continue to stand by my earlier quote:

My friend Brad forgot one key group of people: There are those of us who would prefer to pursue electoral strategies but don’t have the stomach to work within the major parties, at least for any prolonged period of time. Many of us find neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party reformable. To use some of Spangler’s logic, the Ron Paul presidential campaign has underscored this point.

Props.

9 Responses to “Not-so-great minds don’t think alike, either :)”

  1. mketcher Says:

    I’m an anarchist, don’t vote, don’t care too much who wins (although I am supporting Ron Paul this year, because I like the way he’s shaking up the political establishment and saying many things that no one else in either party will say). I do think the LP should exist, though. For many people, the LP its a gateway drug to the harder stuff, so I think it serves a useful purpose. People get into the LP for awhile, work hard, get burned out or disgusted by all the petty bickering, backbiting, backstabbing, and backstabbing—and become anarchists.

    For a great satire on the president, the mainstream media, and the war on terror, see this YouTube music video from the international award-winning zombie musical feature film, “Song of the Dead.” (www.songofthedead.com)It’ stars horror movie veteran Reggie Bannister (Phantasm, Wishmaster, Bubba Ho-tep) as the president of the U.S. The filmmaker, Chip Gubera, is giving a share of his profits from DVD sales to the Ron Paul campaign. Go to:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=qQmkkoxSKYw

  2. Jeremy Says:

    Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I see dissolving the LP and building an alternative organization to be two, mutually unexclusive endeavors. One can argue for or against the former, but neither argument detracts from the latter. In fact, left libertarian anarchists like Brad and I should be all about building alternative institutions, since that activity is a big part of both agorism and mutualism. I’m afraid focusing on the LP any further, even to break it down, is a waste of energy.

    Hoping Brad will find this comment here, as I had no luck posting comments on his original post (yes, Brad, I was logged in).

    You know, another point occurred to me about the electoral approach. Alternative institutions would give people more expressiveness in their activism if they didn’t try to take over the LP’s members. We should be trying to do something different enough that people could feel participating in both is worthwhile.

    There’s no reason (well, Brad has reasons, but they’re not reasons all libertarians are convinced by) that you should not be able to, for instance, support the LP in your town to change your Board of Supervisors, while simultaneously participating in anarchist projects such as building mutual aid organizations and propagandizing against corporations. For some of us, those two activities may be mutually exclusive, but there’s no reason they must be – for example, I’ve been working with the Ron Paul campaign.

  3. Jeremy Says:

    People get into the LP for awhile, work hard, get burned out or disgusted by all the petty bickering, backbiting, backstabbing, and backstabbing—and become anarchists.

    Holy shit, did you just read my mind or something? That was precisely my experience in the LPVA (although I could have worked harder).

  4. Carl Says:

    I agree with Brad. In fact, some time back I seriously contemplated starting destroythelp.org…

    But I held back since many reformers still believe the LP worth salvaging.

    And the LP could be a useful organization if either the purists or the reformers win a clear, overwhelming victory.

  5. Roscoe Says:

    Rumors have it that an parallel organization, complimentary to the LP, has been in the works for some months now. Watch for an announcement soon.

  6. timothy west Says:

    eople get into the LP for awhile, work hard, get burned out or disgusted by all the petty bickering, backbiting, backstabbing, and backstabbing—and become anarchists.

    no, they just leave shaking their head and take their money and support with them when they go. They make damn sure they tell everyone they know about their bad experience after they leave as well.

  7. Gene Berkman Says:

    I was involved in the libertarian movement before the LP was formed – I helped organize the California Libertarian Alliance, and I am a life member of Society for Individual Liberty (now ISIL), Both groups suffered from inability to create an ongoing organization, because of anti-organizational philosophies rampant among libertarians at the time.

    The Libertarian Party filled two voids. It was organized in crude imitation of other parties. And it provided an answer to the question people would ask libertarians – how do we get to a free society. Other than voting for candidates who favor less government, the other alternatives were more fantastic – civil disobedience, a tax strike, or hiding out in the hills with survival gear.

    Now that the Libertarian Party is on the ballot in many states, activists can organize local Libertarian clubs with our without LP affiliation, that can engage in educational activies and local activism. But we need better sources of educational materials – concise issue papers, more in depth pamphlets, and other media. The LP does not provide adequate outreach material, and the think tanks provide books for people interested in more indepth understanding. But we need to increase public support for our stands on current issues, not just philosophy.

  8. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    Gene write: ” But we need better sources of educational materials – concise issue papers, more in depth pamphlets, and other media. The LP does not provide adequate outreach material, and the think tanks provide books for people interested in more indepth understanding. But we need to increase public support for our stands on current issues, not just philosophy.”

    Glad to see someone else has this same thought. At least there are two of us. Anyone else?
    MHW

  9. Michael Seebeck Says:

    Gene’s right, the outreach materials from the LP suck. ISIL’s were much better, but all the slimjims in the world don’t work well in today’s Short Attention Span Theater.

    Time to take the materials forward from the 19th century to the 21st century. Outreach booths need DVD players and we need LP-oriented DVD videos and info, youtube locations, and better merchandising. Paper pamphlets are not and should not be the primary outreach tool. Multimedia is the key nowadays.

    One other thing: the pamphlets, liiek the old LP platform, are too egg-headed. People’s eyeys glaze over if they don’t get simple and quick answers. Multimedia helps on that, but so does better presentation skills.

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