Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 529, July 26, 2009

"Agorism proposes not to confront tyranny
in the streets, but to use counter-economics
to withdraw support from tyranny."

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Liberty's Reserves
A Call to Support Our Weekend Warriors
by Don Meinshausen

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

CPAC the nation's largest conservative political action conference is over and we as several libertarian interest groups were there and we were noticed. Not just in the conservative media but national media as well. Until the media gets smart enough to give us more notice we sometimes have to hitchhike on other events. And there are more reasons to go to other group's events.

For a long time libertarian groups, especially the ones in Washington DC, learned how important it is to have a booth there. We network there and give out information. We now have an event or speaker there as well. Witness Ron Paul's appearance and the enthusiasm received by conservatives and libertarians alike. Since the nation's conservative activist groups are there, we are there too. If you check the political blogs, you get an idea of our impact there. Just in the conversations in the halls there's a chance to reach a new activist or hear of some news that could affect us. Many important players are there as well and from all sides. What an opportunity to distribute literature, talk with politically active people on an informal basis, meet potential new donors and develop new alliances etc.

Do not interpret the previous statements as an attempt to bring libertarians back into the conservative fold. I organized the draft card burning at the 1969 YAF convention, which is regarded as the dramatic schism between us and the conservatives that gave birth to our movement. Many libertarians, including myself, have also been active in and going to other groups such as taxpayer organizations, drug law reform groups and other anti state efforts. All this activity is extremely helpful to their movements and the LP. In this era of growth it is important that libertarians, to be seen as doing outreach.

Go to large alternative cultural events like rock festivals and raves to network and pass out info. These events are as important as conferences. Here we reach out to the left, the young and other lifestyles. Do all this to get into talks about libertarianism.

What we need to do is to make sure that there is a libertarian presence when any group is having a gathering or convention that involves social change. This could start out as a friendly interchange in a chat room or an email. Once the group or at least some of the group is friendly to our presence we go as an attendee at a conference. Then we have a booth, working up to a presence on a panel or speaker. Then we negotiate with the group for joint efforts to achieve liberty.

Another option is leafleting at a rally. There are anti-tax rallies that have attracted 10-30,000 people. From these events we would collect names and addresses and establish friendly contacts. Our acceptance and co-operation with the group would be reported in a blog or report. More than one person should do this.

This extremely important and complex process is NOT infiltration. To do that is not the way to build good rapport. With many groups, even competing political parties, I see an exchange of free booths as a way of having ambassadors. It's also a way of comparing internal political processes to identify trends or potential problems. It is surveying potential markets for our ideas. It is a way to cultivate powerful allies on key issues for pending legislation, court cases, referenda and other activities that would further a common cause. The more people interact with you the more likely they will trust you in some effort. And in order to know them you have to go to their chat rooms, their events and their conventions. We have done this for years and we see the results already in great comments from both left and right media, especially about the Ron Paul campaign.

But this project involves more than just diplomatic relations with other political groups. There are also people in religious groups ranging from fundamentalist Christian to Pagan that are friends of ours already. They too have conferences and other events. All of these groups can have the same agenda of non-interference, tax credits for their religious schools and peace. There's a similar strategy but more discreet for them because every group has to deal with traditions and personalities

Other groups are teachers, filmmakers, investors, swingers, legal profession, business people, science fiction fandom etc. Don't forget seeding other countries with little or no libertarian activity. Large demonstrations and any cultural event that attracts a lot of young people would also be important targets.

But we cannot expect the over-worked libertarian employees and volunteers in the Washington DC area to do all this on their own. What I propose is that our people who are already within the targeted group's subculture be able to receive some compensation Funding is needed not just for expenses for a booth, attendance fees and literature. We also need a reasonable reimbursement for travel, room and meals. In many cases it would be under $1,000 per event. The more people we can get to work an event the more opportunity we can have to make the essential contacts and ask the right questions etc. People who are already involved with their cause or write for a blog or zine that our targeted audience reads would be the best candidates and are essential to our growth. Those who spend the occasional weekend with large potential constituencies are also good candidates for office and candidates for leadership in libertarian groups.

All this could be done with a clearinghouse of activists and potential events and conferences. It would need a website, a co-coordinator, funding and be run from anywhere though DC would be best. I would suggest the LP, Bureaucrash or Advocates. A poll of attendees could be done asking what their impressions of libertarianism are and other marketing questions. What should make this attractive to donors and fundraising is that each action results in a report that should provide data on effectiveness of what we are doing and where further efforts can go. Such an important project deserves its own administration, treasury and fundraising.

There is another very important reason to implement Liberty's Reserves. Like the reserve in the military this project bridges the social gap that develops between the activists and the paid full timers in our movement. Funding is respect. The reimbursement of expenses to be libertarianism's ambassadors to other movements will give us the right blend of professional/amateur that is so necessary to success.

Membership in the LP goes down after elections because activism projects are reduced. A great joy for libertarians is to reach other concerned people about our principles and solutions. If we can't find an opportunity and compensation for this zeal we could lose it. There are opportunities all over the world like the economic summits; which could involve us working with protestors and business groups at the same time. Some will go where no libertarian has gone before. What matters most is that libertarians are seen as everywhere and having friends everywhere. When that happens we win.

Don Meinshausen is the person who organized the draft card burning at the 1969 YAF convention which is regarded as the dramatic beginning of the libertarian movement. He's also a former political prisoner in for 4 years for heretical misinterpretation of the First Amendment and the doctrine of free enterprise (as his old friend and client Robert Anton Wilson put it). The state called it conspiracy to distribute ecstasy and hemp. Unauthorized shamanism. He is currently in desperate need of work and money. Contact him if you have some available! He's looking and ready to move.


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