Liveblogging from 2015 Libertarian Party of Georgia convention

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The Libertarian Party of Georgia is holding its convention today. I’m here and will report on the convention in the comments of this post. Others are welcome and encouraged to do so as well. Thanks to outgoing LPGa chair Doug Craig for hosting me at Viking Metals, driving me around and setting me up as press here.

Further reporting will be in the comments.

78 thoughts on “Liveblogging from 2015 Libertarian Party of Georgia convention

  1. paulie Post author

    Maybe about 30 peoplle here now, maybe more arriving later. We’re in a gymnasium at the Decatur rec center.

  2. paulie Post author

    First speaker is Brian Christian, a high school senior who reated a computer model to compare/predict consumer behavior and overall economic performance under the “fair” tax vs. the current income tax system.

  3. paulie Post author

    Thanks to Ed also for walking over from the bar where the party social event was last night over to the metro and showing me the way back to the bar from there.

  4. paulie Post author

    Next speaker is Mayor David Lockhart of Forest Park, GA. He is an independent libertarian in a non-partisan office and has been involved in helping various past LP campaigns over the years.

  5. paulie Post author

    Libertarian candidates panel coming up after the break:

    Christine Austin (2014 GA House), Marc Feldman, John Monds (2008 and 2014 PSC; 2010 Gov), Jeff Amason (2006 and 2014 Georgia House), Ted Metz (2014 insurance commissioner candidate).

  6. paulie Post author

    Also if anyone has a video camera or even a regular digital camera we could use some video and/or photos. Also links to any coverage elsewhere if you are aware of any.

  7. paulie Post author

    I have one photo from the party last night in a text message, if anyone can put it into an email and email it back to me (or post it to IPR media and comments if you are an IPR editor) I can forward it to you. If we figure it out I may take a few more pictures myself. Break for lunch….

  8. paulie Post author

    From the convention site:

    “Lunch w/ special guest speaker activist and award winning musician, Aviva, Who will speak about industrial hemp and renewable resources and give a special musical performance.”

    We haven’t gotten into the speech yet but the music is very good.

  9. paulie Post author

    Debating possibly removing non-initiation of force pledge requirement as a condition of state party membership.

  10. Andy Craig

    “Debating possibly removing non-initiation of force pledge requirement as a condition of state party membership.”

    Have any other states done this?

  11. paulie Post author

    New officers being elected. Brett Larson (sp?) elected chair 28-0 over NOTA. Hakim Robsinson (sp?) 28-0 over NOTA as Vice Chair.

  12. paulie Post author

    I think there may have been a Secretary vote but I can’t remember for sure and if there was a name announced I don’t remember it. There’s a contested election for Treasurer – incumbent Matt Godown and challenger… Nick Wilson, if I caught that right.

  13. langa

    Debating possibly removing non-initiation of force pledge requirement as a condition of state party membership.

    Well, that would seem to be consistent with offering a lower fee for active duty military and veterans. It wouldn’t really make sense to simultaneously reward and punish someone for the same thing, would it?

  14. paulie Post author

    Exec Comm. At Large group of 4 elected unanimously over NOTA: Todd King, Beth Pollak, Doug Craig, BJ Mackler.

    District reps (by PSC district; minimum of one alloted per district then based on party membership numbers):

    1. John Monds
    2. Not filled, can be filled by EC later
    3. Christine Austin
    Ernest Moosa
    Gary Cims
    Hans Klein
    4. Jeff Amason
    Aaron Gilmer
    Nathan Wilson
    5. James Camp
    Javid
    Nelson Barnhouse
    Gretchen Mangan

  15. paulie Post author

    Motion passes to have a slate of candidates for the 2016 election selected by Labor Day 2015. I believe unanimously.

  16. paulie Post author

    Brett Larson addresses the group as the chairman elect. He wants to focus on elections, campaign, lobbying.

  17. paulie Post author

    Doug Craig addressing the group as the outgoing chair. Thanks Laura Harmon and Gretchen Mangan for the convention organizing. Thanks 2014 candidates (by name…to fast for me to get them all, but they will be on the candidates lists that have been published). Asks for pledges and contributions. Remembers Chuck Donovan, RIP.

  18. langa

    Sure, who needs to be reminded of that pesky NAP anyway? All it does is get in the way of growing the Party of Popularity. Or was it the Party of Populism? Actually, I think we should change it to the Party of Pragmatism. That has a very respectable ring to it!

    What’s that? Party of Principle? Oh, hell no! That sounds way, way too ideological and rigid. Of course, if we really want to be honest, we could just call it the Party of Pandering.

    And that brings us to the next order of business. I suggest that for next year’s convention, we offer a discount for all current and former employees of the DEA, the IRS and all other federal agencies. That would be a wonderful way to thank them for their service!

  19. Doug Craig

    We had the vote on NAP…did.not pass..my job was to allow for the vote..allow for discussion. ..be fair…and call for a vote..I disd not think it was going to pass…we still have a lot of hard core folks in the Georgia lp…but had to no reason to have some big knock down ffight over a bylaw charge that I was sure was not going to pass..and we had a great convention. ..where everyone left excited and fired up and ready to work…and Georgia will continue to lead the nation for the LP…in votes…preas releases. ..social media…

  20. Andy

    I totally agree with langa and Starchild. Getting rid of the NAP pledge is a horrible idea.

  21. Andy

    I understand that it did not pass, but the fact that it even went to a vote, and that 15 people actually voted for it, is rather disturbing.

  22. Matt Cholko

    How many delegates were there, Paulie? As I’m reading it, 15 would be about half. Is that about right? If so, I’d agree with Andy that it is rather disturbing.

  23. paulie Post author

    Not all of the ones who voted for it oppose the NA principle. Some of them consider the wording of the pledge to be clunky and confusing.

    Some people believe it is an anarchist pledge which they can’t sign because they are not anarchists (and it’s true that forced monopolization of even the most minimal functions of government can legitimately be considered initiation of force).

    Other people think just the opposite, that it means that we will not “initiate” armed resistance against government tyranny, and that this is the actual reason why the pledge was instituted as part of party membership. Still other people counter that, no, we can use force against government oppression and still adhere to the pledge because such force is retaliatory/defensive, not initiation.

    That’s a lot of disagreement even among people who have signed the pledge as to what it actually means.

    A few people claimed it makes us look “like a cult” when we are trying to sign up new members.

    A few people said that while they are comfortable with the pledge personally, they do not believe it should be a condition of membership, and can be hard to explain to new members that they are trying to sign up and turns some people away who are with us on the issues and ready to get active while still allowing others to join who are less nitpicky and/or honest about what they sign.

    Those were the arguments offered.

    I am not saying I agree with them; personally I think the pledge is useful, albeit certainly imperfect, in keeping the party at least somewhat on track. However, I don’t think their arguments are without merit and I have even seem some anarcho-libertarians make them (along the lines of: it’s an anarchist pledge, I am an anarchist but we can’t expect all party members to be anarchists, so it’s dishonest to have them sign something which actually implies anarchy if you think it through and hope they don’t notice).

  24. paulie Post author

    How many delegates were there, Paulie? As I’m reading it, 15 would be about half. Is that about right? If so, I’d agree with Andy that it is rather disturbing.

    As noted above there were 28 delegates, and an amendment would have required 2/3.

    There were also at least three non-delegate observers (myself, Marc Feldman and Vicki Kirkland). As far as I know everyone else there was a delegate, but I could be wrong.

  25. paulie Post author

    Oh yeah, also a few of the speakers hung out for additional parts of the convention also, that were in-state but not LP delegates.

  26. Matt Cholko

    I’m curious, has anyone reading this ever had a potential member question the pledge? This is the first I have ever heard of this issue.

  27. langa

    The pledge is important to keep the LP from becoming a home for disgruntled Republicans, and others who aren’t ideologically committed to libertarianism. The fact that more than half of the delegates voted to eliminate it, combined with the military discount, makes me wonder if the Libertarian Party of GA should be renamed the Conservatarian Party of GA.

  28. paulie Post author

    I don’t think they are all that conservatarian. They repeatedly, proudly mentioned marching in anti-war and gay pride events. One of the speakers was about hemp legalization and hemp benefits. One was about agorism and counter-economics. The convention passed a resolution against a legislative bill that legalizes no knock raids. Does that seem conservatarian to you?

    As for disgruntled Republicans and others who aren’t ideologically committed to libertarianism…does the pledge really stop them from joining? I would say yes, sometimes, but many will just sign it dishonestly or without thinking it through or based on the idea that what it actually means is that we pledge not to engage in violent resistance against tyranny, which is one interpretation of what it means that a lot of people have.

  29. Andy

    I support discounts for students to join the Libertarian Party, but I do not care for the idea of discounts for military people. Military people get paid a salary, plus benefits, so I see no reason that they can’t pony up the minimum $25 like everyone else.

  30. Andy

    I have very rarely heard the pledge brought up as an objection to joining the party, and I have been in the party since 1996.

  31. langa

    I don’t think they are all that conservatarian. They repeatedly, proudly mentioned marching in anti-war and gay pride events. One of the speakers was about hemp legalization and hemp benefits. One was about agorism and counter-economics. The convention passed a resolution against a legislative bill that legalizes no knock raids. Does that seem conservatarian to you?

    That’s all well and good, but they have, in the past, run quite a few candidates whose platform was basically GOP-lite, or at least Tea Party-style, with lots of talk about things like gun rights and cutting taxes, but very little (if anything) about ending the Drug War, military spending cuts, etc. I remember a few years back, it seemed like most of their candidates were anti-immigration as well, with some making that their top issue. Granted, that was a few years ago. Perhaps they’ve changed over time, but when over half the delegates want to get rid of the pledge, that’s certainly not a good sign in my book.

    Also, how can the LP be a credible antiwar voice when they buy into the same idiotic “thank you for your service” military idolatry that you see on Fox News?

  32. Jill Pyeatt

    I hear objections to the NAP from time to time, and it usually comes from those who are afraid it will chase disgruntled Republicans away. I think everyone knows how I feel about that.

    I’m very proud of the NAP, and I believe it defines what Libertarians are all about. I’ll resist all efforts to dilute or remove it.

  33. Doug Craig

    Langa…you not going to meet very many chairman as hardcore as me…and I put out some great press releases this year…as far as candidates. ..the party doea not control candidates once they are the candidates. ..even hardcore folks twnd to water thwir meaaage when thet think they have a chance to win….our governor candidate was not a hard core libertarian…and I tried to work with him and show him the light..but I could not force him to recite my views as much as I wanted him too..I myself have ran three times and I am about to run a fourth time….to have those great candidates we need them to show up and run…..it is easy for some to sit in the peanut gallery and judge will not actually miving us toward smaller government

  34. paulie Post author

    I had a couple of people promise to send me photos from the convention, but I have not seen them yet. I’ll post them if I get them.

  35. paulie Post author

    In the meantime, I have one from the social event the night before. However it is in a text message, and I don’t now how to get it from there into an email. If anyone knows how to do that I will forward you the text. Then email it back to me and I will post it.

  36. Doug Craig

    Need sure why the video frim Larken Rose…I am gulf war vet who opposes war..and never ask for thanks of anykind for my time in the service. .I would not do it again..and tell people as much…but I had not gotten on the path at that time..

  37. Rob Banks

    Doug Craig,

    I believe it was in reference to the discounted membership for veterans issue that langa had mentioned. I’m taking his word for it but I haven’t seen anyone say that’s not the case.

  38. Doug Craig

    The discount was up to the committee. ..I am good with their decision. ..I do not believe we sold any discount packages though …but preaching the choir is not what I want to do.all the time…..I want the sinners at my church…how do I get them to convert without them hearing a liberty message ?.

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