Saturday, September 6, 2008

Imagine there's no LNC--it's easy if you try.... (With apologies to John Lennon)

The current venal and moronic conduct of the Libertarian National Committee and the Bob Barr campaign make it patently clear that this incarnation of the Libertarian Party is on the brink of disintegration at the national level.

Ironically, there are more potential Libertarian voters out there than ever, and in states like North Carolina, Texas, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and--yes, even Delaware, the State parties are growing and earning both media attention and voter support.

Isn't it time to take back national control of the Libertarian movement from a group composed primarily of self-serving parasites?

How would this be done?

As I pointed out in an email answer to George Donnelly, the Libertarian Party does not--indeed, cannot--have a lock on the term Libertarian. In multi-party European democracies, for example, there are often distinct parties in existence as Social Democrats, Liberal Democrats, Christian Democrats, and/or Progressive Democrats.

A Libertarian Alliance [feel free to think up a better name] as a national umbrella would not be difficult to start, and it could act by doing something exceptionally libertarian: competing in the free market for the allegiance of the State Libertarian parties.

Moreover, it could be organized from the bottom up, with fund-raising decentralized to the States, who would be the primary conduits of cash to the national organization based on the willingness of the national organization to support the states.

George's work on the Libertarian candidates' website proves that we don't have to pay Communications Directors who can't communicate in order to perform legitimate party functions.

The DailyKOS and the netroots organizations being exploited so successfully by the Obama campaign prove that with our already existing network of blogs and social network pages we have the beginnings of a decentralized but quite effective movement.

Then maybe we'd have a website, a newsletter, and even a staff dedicated to electing State and local Libertarians or at least to supporting the insertion of Libertarian ideas and ideals at the State and local level.

The only good thing about the ongoing dissolution of the national Libertarian Party headquarters is that most people who might vote for Michael Munger, Allen Buckley, Scotty Boman, Jason Gatties, Tom Knapp, Eric Schansberg, or Mark Anthony Parks will never hear of it.

If the Libertarian movement is ever to be a significant influence in American politics, we have to change what we're doing, because aside from picking up the right-wing protest vote, what we're doing at the national level just ain't working.

Hell, at this point I'd even be quite happy if the new Libertarian Alliance decided in 2012 not to worry about running a Presidential candidate at all (or not more than a ceremonial/educational candidate), while concentrating on actually using the combined intellectual abilities of people like Dr Mary Ruwart, Dr George Phillies, George Donnelly, Angela Keaton, GE Smith,, Brian Miller, Michael Munger, and dozens more to figure out how to actually elect even a handful of Libertarians to the House of Representatives.

It actually could happen.

But only if we decide to make it happen.


George Donnelly said...

Em, my name has no business being placed among those others. Seriously, all I've done is run my mouth and make a simple website. :)

I like your idea. It's intriguing.

I've also been thinking about what the positive consequences of not focusing so much on the presidential race could be.

I wonder what the negative consequences of it could be though, especially for ballot access. There's probably a middle ground.

Good post.

John Famularo said...

The LNC inc, has applied for a copyright on "national Libertarian party" and "party of principle". I don't know where these stand at the moment.

However, I don't think that the party name should not be that important especially when you are contemplating a bottom up organization.

If the plan is to create a viable political entity in which “libertarians” would be comfortable, i think it would be unwise to use “libertarian” in the party name. It would only encourage debate as to what “libertarian” means exactly. You want to recruit doers not debaters. If you want policy debates join CATO or ISIL or FFF etc.

As the internet becomes more ubiquitous and multifaceted, managing a nationwide coalition of local activists becomes easier and less expensive.

Anonymous said...

The LNC would need to be able to defend the trademark in court. Commonly used words cannot be trademarked for exclusive use, and at the way its finances and support are cratering, LNC Inc. would not have the financial resources to attempt to enforce its "rights" anyway.

Thomas L. Knapp said...

The LNC was not the first entity to use the term "Libertarian Party" in commerce, nor has it, so far as I know, attempted to defend that term as its property in the 30 years or so that it has existed. Its trademark claim is entirely without merit.

The LNC is at most a custodian of the term "Libertarian Party" on behalf of the LNC's owners -- the state LPs which created the LNC and which can dissolve it at any national convention or disown it any time they like.

John Famularo said...

Tom Knapp said:
"the state LPs which created the LNC and which can dissolve it at any national convention or disown it any time they like."

I'm not so sure about that. Since the LNC, inc is a DC corporation AND a federal pac, it controls the bank accounts and pays the employees. Even if a national convention disavowed the LNC,inc how would they wrest control from the LNC.
That was the main reason I moved against Perry Willis and Harry Browne in 2001. The LNC was contemplating giving effective control of the Libertarian Party name and membership list by contract to the Browne organization.

Instead they had to go off and start to milk the suckers.