Boston Tea Party passes 500 members; will hold online convention Friday, October 24

BTP News reports

20 October 2009 We have 504 members! Please invite your friends. The convention is less than a week away!

19 October 2008 We have 493 members! Invite your friends, please. If someone you know is planning to attend our convention next weekend, they have to join here, first. It is a members-only event.

The Florida state affiliate of the Boston Tea Party today voted to disaffiliate. Charles Jay asserts, “Apparently Davidson feels he has the right to monitor private conversations that take place between BTP Florida members, including those that exclusively concern my campaign…” to which Davidson responded, “I don’t claim any such thing, and never did. Tom Knapp forwarded a series of messages to me in which Darcy Richardson, Tom Knapp, and Charles Jay heap calumny on Todd Barnett for delivering the message of Ms. Barnes’s accusations to the national list.”

18 October 2008 We have 476 members on this site. Ten pages of members. 24 more and “this one goes to eleven!” Facebook shows 586 members. Lots going on – get ready for the election. Last time I looked, Charles Jay was edging out Ralph Nader in this poll:

17 October 2008 We have 473 members on this site. Thank you for joining! Please invite a friend, today.

16 October 2008 We have 459 members here, 585 on Facebook. Please invite your friends to join our party.

15 October 2008 We have 456 members here, 577 on Facebook. Please invite all your friends. The poll at gives you the opportunity to vote for Charles Jay or some other people.

14 October 2008 We have 450 members here, 565 on Facebook. Please invite your friends. Also, consider voting in the poll at

13 October 2008 Happy “Columbus Day” to bank and other federal employees. As of noon, we have 446 members here, and 564 on Facebook. Ralph Nader is winning the poll at with Cynthia McKinney second and Charles Jay a reasonably close third. You might enjoy voting in it.

12 October 2008 We have 446 members here. Facebook shows 555. Charles Jay is winning the poll at

10 October 2008 We have 440 members here. Facebook shows 552. Charles Jay is winning the poll at

9 October 2008 We have 436 members here. Facebook shows 546. Charles Jay is winning the poll at

8 October 2008 We have 432 members here. Facebook shows 540. Charles Jay is winning the poll at

7 October 2008 Interesting poll:

We have 425 members on this site. Facebook shows 535. Still 141 electoral votes available to Charles Jay. Candidates on our voter’s guide: 33. Alexa reach for up 110% in three months. Alexa traffic rank up 374,814 in three months.

500 members was interim Chair Jim Davidson’s goal for his term, which ends on Friday with an online convention and election of new officers. Jason Gatties is running for chair, and Douglass Gaking and Matty Grossman are running for vice chair. More nominations can be found here.

The party has sent out the following press release:

October 21, 2008
POC Thomas L. Knapp


Oct 21, 2008 – Think of it as “the little party that could” — small as it is, the Boston Tea Party has placed its presidential slate on three state ballots, qualified for write-in status in other states,
and opens its second biennial convention this Friday.

On Monday, party chair Jim Davidson announced that the party had surpassed 500 members — a goal he had personally set for it before his term ends with this convention.

Unlike other parties, the Boston Tea Party does its national business online — completely. In 2006, it became the first political party to conduct an entire national convention on the Internet with all members eligible to participate as delegates.

America’s new libertarian party nominated its presidential ticket — Charles Jay of Florida and Thomas L. Knapp of Missouri — in a special convention in June, also held online. This Friday evening, party
members will “gather” to elect new officers and national committee members, draw up the party’s two-year program, and amend its bylaws.

The platform? It won’t be amended — it’s one sentence long and permanent: “The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes
increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.”

The Boston Tea Party’s web site is located at

14 thoughts on “Boston Tea Party passes 500 members; will hold online convention Friday, October 24

  1. Thomas L. Knapp

    With two threads already running on the Florida disaffiliation and related matters, is there any possible chance that you could run an article on the BTP passing 500 members and holding a convention without having to make it about those other things as well?

  2. paulie cannoli Post author

    I just included the news updates on membership growth that Jim Davidson posts on the site, going back to the last time I did one of those (oct. 6).

    If you’d like, I can remove all the quoted material except the last item.

  3. Thomas L. Knapp


    It was a comment, not a request.

    I just flashed forward to 2036:

    Resurrection technology having been perfected and Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein having been raised from the dead, the Boston Tea Party has nominated them for President and Vice-President respectively, claiming that Rand’s “re-birth” makes her a “natural-born” US citizen and therefore eligible.

    The BTP’s 2032 nominee, sitting president Charity Bennett Millay (daughter of the party’s 2008 New Hampshire vice-presidential nominee and daughter-in-law of its 2008 nationwide VP nominee and founder), declined to seek a second term and nominated Rand and Heinlein in a rousing speech on the party’s virtual convention floor.

    Oh, and by the way, twenty years ago, the BTP’s Florida affiliate disaffiliated during an intra-party dustup [extend to 300 words on the subject].

    The party fought back the latest recurring biennial attempt to modify its platform of reducing the size, scope and power of government, with supporters of the existing platform claiming that government is still too large and expensive and agitating to reduce the federal budget from $10 per week to $5.

  4. Thomas L. Knapp


    The convention begins at 9pm Eastern. There’s an article on the party web site’s front page about it now, and the “convention space” has been created but is not yet populated with the order of business. I’ll be working on that this week to have it ready.

  5. paulie cannoli Post author

    It was a comment, not a request.

    I just flashed forward to 2036:


    I’ll tell you what: feel free to edit the story as you see fit. I added your press release. If you want to make any other changes, I have no objection.

  6. Ross Levin

    Congratulations to the Boston Tea Party, a party that I’ve been following closely. Hopefully the controversy is quickly done with and you can all reach a compromise and come back together.

  7. JimDavidson

    Not a chance, Ross. Compromising principles never works. Check the 2006 platform of the LP for details.

    I like Tom’s science fiction novel, but he neglects to mention that the dustup in 2008 kept the BTP from ever organising in Florida. You see, the liberty activists in Florida were never able to get over their fawning over Charles Jay. Who is, after all, God’s greatest gift to women since John Holmes, and nearly as pleasant to work with.

  8. Jason_Gatties

    I’m confident Florida will return to the BTP mix. We need someone with the ability to bring folks together, rather folks trashing each other on blogs & forums.

    I’m not going to bash anyone for the way they have handled this situation and if bad mouthing each other is your cup of tea, then so be it. I would handle situations differently. Thats the beauty of us all being different.

    I have no dog in this inner party fight. I will however reach out to everyone, attempt to make peace and simply move on. Continued trash talking is counter productive.

  9. Thomas L. Knapp


    State affiliate organization is not linked to individual national membership. Some members of the national BTP may not be members of the BTP’s affiliate in their state, and vice versa.

  10. JimDavidson

    Tom is correct. National doesn’t require that the states bow and scrape, the states haven’t managed to make national do so, either. The presidential campaign may have wanted to nail some hides to their wall, but they didn’t get every one they wanted.

    Jason, I do have three dogs in every BTP fight. They are the principles of openness, member control, and zero budget for national. When you become chair, as I aver you may very well this weekend, it is my request that you have those three dogs in every fight, too. They are the keys to the success of the party.

    There are going to be times when you get called names for standing for principles. How you handle name calling is up to you.

    For me, I like to say, as I have on the other thread, that sticks and stones, rattan swords or steel, even fists or boots may break my bones. Words don’t hurt me. To illustrate this point to my oppressors, I like to amuse myself by hurling some back.

  11. Thomas L. Knapp


    “The presidential campaign may have wanted to nail some hides to their wall, but they didn’t get every one they wanted.”

    Other than my decision to seek a candidate to run for vice-chair — an action in which I am well within my rights for any reason or no reason at all — no attempt was made by the presidential campaign or anyone involved in it to “nail [anyone’s] hide to the wall.”

    You maintain that you are unconcerned with wielding power, but you seem awfully obsessed with the notion that everything anyone else does is an attempt to do so.

  12. JimDavidson

    So, are you saying that you represent the presidential campaign, Tom? There’s a finely nuanced interpretation of your words that says you are.

    Two of our national committee have resigned as a result of this conflict. One of those two conveyed to me what he said was a message from Charles asking for my resignation. Chris seemed to be deeply offended by you describing him as destructive of the party, which was clearly not his intention. You might want to work your way around to apologising to him.

    I think we’ve both read where you wrote that you were too hard on Todd. Enough said.

    I am wielding power, Tom. Isn’t that clear? I have considerable powers compared to others in the party. I have access to the admin functions on the site, I can edit and update pages, I can form polls, I can admin the Facebook groups, ban people from the Yahoogroups, block members from posting – I don’t say that I’m doing those things, but that I have those powers, and many more. I can message all members of our Facebook group, which is a power I’ve been exercising with some vigor to draw people to the site. I could go on at some length about my powers, but you have many similar powers and must be aware of them. Choosing not to use a power is wielding it, after a fashion, just as choosing to let the sword sail past an opponent’s ear is a choice in wielding a sword.

    I am not unconcerned. I am deeply concerned. I don’t like this power over others. I am releasing the ring of power just as soon as the convention elects someone else. But don’t imagine that I’m unaware of my power.

    Many things that others do are attempts to wield power. Coercing John’s vote and pushing to withdraw the Florida BTP from national – if that wasn’t a power play, what could it have been? If it was not a bold exercise of naked power, then what was its purpose? Was it helpful in any way? Does it make Florida BTP look wiser? More dignified?

    Their press release characterised it as a direct slam on me, a sort of “Davidson sux so we split” move. Is there some other way to interpret it?

    What’s done is done. There’s nothing to be done about it until after I leave office.

    But it would be a mistake to see power being wielded and suppose that it isn’t. It is extremely bizarre to discuss with you the sundry powers you possess, watch you use them, and try to understand how you can be so oblivious to the powers you hold. Every once in a while, when the chariot wheels run over a body, pull up on the reins, give a whoa, and check behind ya. Some of your friends are laying in the dirt with these bemused expressions looking at you up there on the chariot. You could take a minute and help them up, dust them off, and then set off on whatever mission you’ve been on.

    Politics is about power. It is about how power is acquired, how it is developed, how it is applied, how it is used, and how it is abused. It is also very much about whom power is acquired by, developed through, applied to, what it is used for, and why it is abused. I don’t say that I have any especially keen insights into fixing the political system. I’m pretty confident that, given what I’ve come to understand about the vast panoply of human history, there are no solutions to our difficulties which come from political means.

    I could go into some detail here, but it’s late, and I have work to pursue.

    So I leave you with JRR Tolkien:

    “She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illuminated her alone and left all else dark.
    She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful
    beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful.
    Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again,
    and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white
    whose gentle voice was soft and sad.

    “I pass the test,” she said. “I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel”

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