Im announcing my candidacy for Chair of the Libertarian Party of Alabama, as part of a slate whose overall program is summarised as follows:
A slate of candidates will be presented for election at the upcoming state party convention on June 27th 2009.
Chair: Dr. Roderick Long
Professor of Philosophy at Auburn University
Vice Chair: Matthew Givens
Former LPA Vice Chair and candidate for PSC
Secretary: Steve Dow
Former LPA Chair and current At-large EC member
Treasurer: Jim Albea
Current At-large EC member
The individuals on this slate share a common vision and operating model for the LPA as follows:
1) Lean internal expenses. Dispense with maintaining an office in Birmingham and decentralize the administration of the party.
2) Focus on building and activating the membership base with less of an emphasis on fundraising.
3) Achievable 2010 electoral strategy. While not cast in stone, given the present barriers to statewide ballot access, the strategy would be to target a few local races where we have the best chance of having an impact.
The plan is to have this group of individuals and this agenda considered as a whole.
(See also this thread for some of the background issues.)
An additional part of the proposed vision is for the Chair to be concerned primarily with the formulation of policy statements and speaking to the press, rather than combining the roles of chief spokesperson and chief administrator as has been done in the past.
So, given my view that electoral politics should not be the primary focus of libertarian activism, why am I interested in this position?
Well, Ive never bought the argument that electoral politics should play no role in political activism; quite the contrary. And in any case I dont see the LP as being solely about electoral politics; its at least as much about political education and nonelectoral activism, or anyway it should be. The objection that activism via a political party will mistakenly encourage people to focus on political campaigns rather than on building alternative institutions is, I think, well-taken; but that danger has to be balanced against the partys usefulness as a tool of education. And given that my prospective role would be centrally in the educational and vision-shaping side of the deal, I find the weights coming down in its favour; moreover, this would be a chance for me to promote libertarian ideals to an audience I dont ordinarily reach, and to pitch them in the way I think they need to be pitched.
Im also a longtime member of the Grassroots Libertarian Caucus, whose vision statement runs as follows:
We are a group of activists within the Libertarian Party of the United States, part of the global libertarian movement. Our caucus, founded in September 2005, exists to promote the following five key values for our party:
(I) BOTTOM-UP, NOT TOP-DOWN. We see a party that too often takes after the establishment parties and corporations rather than manifesting itself as a grassroots organization with revolutionary goals. We seek a decentralized Libertarian Party run by its members and activists rather than by a centralized clique of corporate-oriented professionals.
(II) POLITICALLY BALANCED. We see a party which has become too conservative in both style and substance. We seek to restore a balanced approach to Libertarian Party policy-making and outreach that strives to appeal to the political left as much as to the political right and emphasizes personal liberty no less than economic liberty.
(III) FUN, BOLD, AND FREE-SPIRITED. We see a party that has become too staid, timid, boring, and unimaginative. We seek a culture within the Libertarian Party that is bolder, more irreverent, more free-spirited, more creative, and more fun-loving.
(IV) RADICAL AND PROUD. We see a party that has become too ashamed of its own ideals, a place where idealist is too often treated as a dirty word. We seek a party in which Libertarians proudly share a sense of solidarity as radical freedom fighters in a larger movement committed to the vision of worldwide individual liberty expressed in the Preamble and Statement of Principles of the Libertarian Party’s national platform.
(V) YOUTH-FOCUSED. We see a party that is largely failing to connect with young people. We seek a Libertarian Party whose style, structure, culture, and materials speak first and foremost to the younger generations who hold the future in their hands.
Now Im part of a slate thats calling for a more decentralised and transparent party structure, which fits in nicely with point (I) above; and my position as Chair, as that role is envisioned in the proposed program, would allow me to promote the values outlined in points (II), (III), and (IV). The game is afoot!
Agorist Demerit Count: scale broken
May I jump in here? Some years ago there was an ad on the box for the local yellow pages. The salesman was talking to the owner of a hobbyshop and trying to sell him some ad space. The owner refused to buy because if he did people woud come by and his place would no long be a “hobby” shop.
That seeems to be the situation with many of us.
Regardless of what we do getting the word out about an alternative system might help. To that end I’ll post these comments I made elsewhere.
I have a bunch of other things to do over the next few weeks, but I’m going to take a few minutes to comment on this issue as to why the LP hasn’t had much success.
We’ve done wonders on the ballot access issue, but haven’t made much headway on anything else. To be sure some individuals have taken on specifics issues and changed things, but I don’t think the party can say it has had much impact on policy per se.
Why? Well for one thing we don’t seem to understand much about advertising, public relations, marketing and things that fall under those categories. However one care to describe those things. Sales in other words. Something they don’t teach in college.
Many, if not most Libertarians are males and not inclined to read news papers ads, but if they did they would find that much of advertising is simply repeating the same or similar message over and over.
For example a grocery store may stock over 30,000 items, but if you read their ads week after week you will notice that certain household staples are advertised all the time. Different items are mentioned along with those basic staples every week, but for the most part the ads are simply a repeat week after week.
Perhaps some day we will learn that we need to develop ten or twenty basic issues to hang our hat on until we achieve some degree of success with those few. Not that other issues are less important, but we simply cannot run with everything at once.
Those issues will need to be repeated over and over in brochures, media releases, on the website, in white papers and letters to the editor. Then maybe we can look back and learn.
Keep it simple. Keep it consistent & Repeat. None of which we are doing today.
@ should have also said that I’d be *thrilled* to have Prof. Long back on board!
Doing the education & speaking parts.
Professor, we need people like you so badly right now. Thank you.
re: “If your argument is that ALL is a superior tool for recruitment, it should be attracting more people than the LP, should it not?”
That isn’t *quite* my argument. I was attempting to point back to my original argument that was (as I see it) ignored — namely that pointing to people recruited to the LP is no more than a minimal demonstration of LP efficacy in recruiting people to libertarianism because it simply reflects the choices libertarian activists have made, not whether or not those were good choices.
Now, you DO have a point that competition can reveal which choices are better — but we might have to have a very long talk about metrics in order for that point to be placed in context.