Libertarian Party HQ: Outreach at Left of Center Conferences

From: Robert Kraus
Subject: LPHQ Attendance at Left of Center Conferences


Please feel free to share this email.

We have been asked by several LP Members to look at “left of center” or “alternative” conferences in the DC area which we could attend to counter the image that we only attend CPAC like events (8,500 attendees).

We have assigned several interns to review the more than 700 such conferences and conventions in the Mid-Atlantic area to determine what might be best for us to attend.

The list includes:

· Powershift 2010 (Powershift 2009 had over 10,000 attendees)

· ACLU Membership Conference (over 5,000 attendees)

· Netroots 2009 (over 2,000 attendees)

· America’s Future Now (formerly Take Back America which had a little under 2,000 attendees)

· National Young Women’s Leadership Conference (500-1000 attendees)

We estimate the cost of attending one of these events at $1500-2500 including booth and materials. We are looking for sponsors who will at least pay for the booth or arrange for a free booth. Obviously the better attended events, which in turn draw more media attention, would be our preferred option.

We are currently scheduled to attend these two “alternative” events (which we already have a sponsor for):

· Capital Pride in DC (200,000 attendees)

· Equality Forum 2009 in Philadelphia (75,000 attendees)

We encourage our regional reps to ask their state chairs to also look at events other than the typical gun show or “CPAC” type conventions as well. The office is here to support them in promoting their event to our email and media lists, on our events page, and enlisting volunteer support. Please remind your states to let us know about their events by simply sending an email to and to email Austin at if they need assistance in staffing their booths.

Thank you!


Robert S. Kraus

Acting Executive Director

Libertarian National Committee

2600 Virginia Ave NW #200

Washington, DC 20037

Ph: 202.333.0008 x 231

Fx: 703.935.8015

Posted to IPR by Paulie.

35 thoughts on “Libertarian Party HQ: Outreach at Left of Center Conferences

  1. Susan Hogarth

    Robert sent this email to members of the LNC (through their list), his staff, and me on March 25. My reply to him:

    On Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 1:43 PM, Robert Kraus wrote:
    > All:
    > The list includes:

    It’d be great if you could share links to make reviewing this list
    easier. Also perhaps a line or two about location and dates. Also, did
    the folks who prepared this list get actual quotes for tabling, or is
    the 1500-2500 you mention below a ballpark number? Will each of these
    allow political party (and LP in particular) tabling? Was someone at
    each of these conferences contacted?

    I’ve put a few notes beneath each one in your list.

    > · Powershift 2010 (Powershift 2009 had over 10,000 attendees)

    Youth-oriented left energy and climate lobbying. This interview from
    March 11, 2009 seems to indicate there may not be a 2010 conference:

    > · ACLU Membership Conference (over 5,000 attendees)

    Do you have a link for this? All I seem to find is info on 2008’s conference:

    > · Netroots 2009 (over 2,000 attendees)

    Pittsburgh, Aug 13-16

    > · America’s Future Now (formerly Take Back America which had a
    > little under 2,000 attendees)

    DC, June 1-3, tabling fee for political party, $1,000.00

    > · National Young Women’s Leadership Conference (500-1000 attendees)

    DC, March 21-23 (last weekend), they said several weeks ago (when I
    inquired) that they (1) were full, and (2) would not allow political
    parties to table.

    to which I appended:

    I just realized Robert’s list is still in the preliminary stages, and
    that my questions might therefore be premature. He wrote:

    “We have assigned several interns to review the more than 700 such
    conferences and conventions in the Mid-Atlantic area to determine what
    might be best for us to attend.”

    I hope my links and info (and questions!) are of some use to your
    interns. I think Netroots and AFN are great targets. An ACLU event is
    a great idea, but I’ve had trouble tracking down any sort of national

    I’m not sure where the LNC discussion went with that, as I am not included on their list, but Rachel Hawkridge did mention another possibility – I will take the liberty of reproducing her note:

    The Junior Statesmen Program is a fabulous one – this is the high school program where young people participate in politics. They’re not big events, but one person, a handful of brochures and quizzes, and a bag of candy is about all that is required. And they’ve been free, and thrilled to have us participate. – Spring State Conventions are the next big event.

    They have other events, as well.

  2. Rocky Eades

    Antiwar Conference: “In the aftermath of the March 21 and April 3-4 demonstrations, a number of critical questions must be addressed by the antiwar movement: What next for the movement? Where do we go from here? How can we broaden the movement and win new forces to our cause? How can we help ensure that our next demonstrations are larger than the ones organized in March and April and that the ones organized after those will be even larger?

    We who are supporters of the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations believe these questions can best be answered by convening a national antiwar conference open to all peace activists who will have the opportunity to share their ideas and proposals, be part of a broad ranging discussion and debate, and help make decisions based on one person, one vote.”

  3. paulie Post author

    · ACLU Membership Conference (over 5,000 attendees)

    Do you have a link for this? All I seem to find is info on 2008’s conference:

    Apparently it happens every other year:

    ” Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Thanks to all who attended!
    Current mood: ecstatic

    This years Membership Conference was a blast. We had awesome speakers, amazing music (Ozomatli rocked the house!) and more youth in attendance then ever before. Keep your eyes and ears open for some exciting ACLU news (including a cool new contest we are about to launch) coming your way soon. See you in 2010!”

  4. paulie Post author

    Netroots sounds like a good idea if they’re OK with it. Bob Barr did surprisingly well there, if I remember correctly.

  5. paulie Post author

    ” · America’s Future Now (formerly Take Back America which had a little under 2,000 attendees)

    DC, June 1-3, tabling fee for political party, $1,000.00″

    How is that coming on the fee?

  6. Michael Cavlan

    good job folks. In Minnesota we are doing the same thing.

    However, point of information. Some of the anti-war movement do not want the movement to grow. Quite the opposite. Groups like UFPJ and Progressives For Obama want us small because

    they are Democratic Party fronts. They do not want serious opposition to Barack Obama and the Democratic party.

    they want a small amount of opposition to the Democratic party wing of the war machine. This is also the case with the Green party, as an aside. That is why serious activists and organizers are leaving it.

    We look forward in working with any and all who are serious about opposing the war machine and PUBLICALLY opposing Barack Obama’s War Criminal Administration.

    Fortunately, they are being exposed.

  7. Robert Milnes

    Oh my. This is quite a development. Very encouraging. I’ve been suspicious of Progressives for Obama. As I have concluded, Teddy Roosevelt was a left libertarian.

  8. Steven R Linnabary

    If somebody on the left coast is looking for something in the LA area, there is:

    Their convention is May 22-24, 2009. The cost of a table is $150.

    The LP is a natural fit for Islamic groups. I was at the Islamic Society of North America conference last year (this is not the same group), and the libertarian philosophy was warmly received.


  9. Rocky Eades

    @ #6 – Take the lead, Michael! The LP/CSRA here in Georgia is organizing a statewide anti-war conference for this summer – for all those who are serious about holding Obama to the same standard they held Bush.

    Actually, UfPJ was one of the organizers of the March 21 and April 4 actions. While they want to contaminate the antiwar movement with “progressive” demands for state violence on other issues, they remain solid on the antiwar front.

  10. Danny S

    TR was not a left libertarian. He was the greatest advocate of WWI and still was ardently opposed to Wilson. He was an ardent war hawk who sought huge reparations on Germany too. Like Obama, many of his actions in the White House (like trust busting) were only political posturing- in reality, Taft was more of a progressive until the 1912 election! TR also was opposed to black civil rights, butting heads with fellow veterans of Cuba who were of a different race after some controversial shootings.

    Most of his good progressive positions were only adopted when he ran as a Bull Moose. Others he had shied away from earlier. He never let go of his hawkism though. Heck, it was his fault we took the Philippines for years and put those people under imperialist sway(he put in secret orders to future Admiral Dewey to descend on Manila in the event of war with Spain.)

  11. Thomas L. Knapp

    Danny S,

    You beat me to the punch!


    You write:

    “As I have concluded, Teddy Roosevelt was a left libertarian.”

    The word you’re looking for is not “concluded,” it’s “fantasized.” TR was about as libertarian as Pol Pot.

  12. michael cavlan

    Rocky Eades

    We are taking the lead my friend. In fact, once I figure out how to do a story on this ite, I wll do a full report on our meeting last week.

    The one where third party activists who are serious about confronting the two wings of the war machine are coming together and figuring out how to work together.

    Kimberley, perhaps you could help me figure out how to post a story? Should make the conversation free of censorship and quite interesting.

    No cornflakes will be pissed on in the making of this story.


  13. Donald Meinshausen

    I’ve been pushing this idea for a while and its nice to see it has some traction. We need to develop a data base on each group and conference. Visit their chatrooms and find out about them. eventually I hope that they would consider having us on a panel. Don’t laugh I did that very thing at a Socialist Scholar’s Conference

  14. paulie Post author

    Kimberley, perhaps you could help me figure out how to post a story? Should make the conversation free of censorship and quite interesting.

    Send it to

    If you can commit to posting independent candidate/alternative party news (not editorials) on a regular basis, you can also ask to become a blogger here as well.

  15. Robert Milnes

    Danny S., Tom K., More accurately TR was a left libertarian about 100 years ago and evidently the farther into his career the more he became. Naturally because evolving from a republican to a libertarian(long before the LP) to a left libertarian/progressive is an ongoing process, even now. Further-I see no other explaination for Teddy Roosevelt splitting off from the RP to form the Progressive party than he must have been a left libertarian. & now what is your explaination for this LP outreach to the left? The progressives must have a lot in common with the libertarians; not the Ron Paul/Bob Barr libertarians i.e. conservative libertarians. If Taft was so progressive how did he get so supported by the conservatives? Taft & TR must have had serious differences. IF libertarians want to win, then outreach to the left/progressives is the only avenue available. The Ronulans will lose because they do not have the NUMBERS.(13%)& alienate progressives.

  16. morey

    JSA is definitely worthwhile. The first one I did was my best OPH ever – there were 6 or 7 of us and we were all talking to people non-stop. A subsequent event wasn’t as busy, but still on par with a large fair. Unfortunately they’re only held in major metros.

  17. Rocky Eades

    @ #12 – Good on you, Michael!

    Another thing we are doing here in Augusta during the summer – through the Augusta libertarian Meetup Group rather than the LP/CSRA – is a “Legalize Freedom Music Festival”. It should draw people from all spectrums of political color wheels (is that even a valid metaphor?) though most of the entertainers and presenters will be hardcore libertarian/anarchists.

  18. Danny S

    Oh no, don’t get me wrong I sympathize with many progressive platform planks, and stray from libertarianism on several accords.

    TR had toyed with many progressive ideas, and was more liberal than his predecessor McKinley, especially in being influenced by muckraking accounts(I use the term in a neutral manner). However, TR was very much the egotist when it came to new ideas. While he adopted new ideas from others, the implementation could only be done by his hand. While his behavior to monopoly and labor was often good, it sometimes is like McCain and how he will pick an enemy.

    If we totally take out his Bull Moose run, several things discount his more libertarian side. He was a president who meddled in every little thing he could. His trust-busting was less than that of Taft; in the end, he sought more to tame business to be subservient to government. His hawkism was a constant discounting his cordial behavior with Japan, whether is was manhandling Colombia, the Roosevelt Corrollary, the Philippines, or WWI. One may discount his civil rights positions on the time; however, his treatment and ostracization of anarchists was appalling, especially right after McKinley’s assassination. This is contrasted with Peter Altgeld, the fellow Progressive. Oh, and not to mention his endorsing the famed legislation of Aldritch in 1908 that began leading to the Federal Reserve.

    Taft wasn’t so much a conservative as he made the wrong decisions with his administration. First in endorsing the Aldrich Tariff, then the Pinchot-Ballinger Tariff. He actually busted more trusts than TR, who was posturing. However, Taft was in the end thrown into the Old Guard because they controlled the party mechanisms that were inherited from Roosevelt. Just as we see a convention steamroller today, it existed back then. Now that Taft was the president, the party apparatus was under him. Roosevelt became insurgent.

    It was more the circumstances that made Roosevelt the Progressive crusader and Taft the Old Guard conservative.

    Note, I am not saying these efforts to work with the left are bad either. I don’t know where you got that; I just disagree with your premise that TR was a left-libertarian.

  19. pdca

    I have been a frequent and vocal critic of the LP attending CPAC. This is a bit of a change, but looks to me like it’s just lip-service given with a lack of understanding about why the LP National deserves to be criticised.

    The LP should be above the filthy and distorted model of a bipolar polity. It should not be associated with either side, existing without it.

    The LP says they are going to pay entry fees and set-up tables at liberal/left conventions. What exactly are they bringing to the table other than a good time and refreshments for their representatives? Look at the LP’s website homepage presently. There is not one of the many official LP Platform planks that would naturally attract left/liberal persons even given short notice on it. The same goes for the front page of their blogs and press releases. The reach-out “initiative” is doomed for massive failure, because of this.

    The LP should first begin a policy of publishing strong positions supporting the Official LP Statement of Principles; Articles 1.0 – 1.6, and Articles 3.0 – 3.7. You cannot attract liberal/left persons with glowing posts about Wayne Root being interviewed by Michael Savage, or by shouting “Obomination” to the highest rafters. You do this by first showing that libertarianism supports individual liberties other than being at liberty to amass personal fortune, and then prove that a essential pat of individual liberty must include the economic side. Let me know when the LP National starts posting unequivocal support on the website for open immigration, complete decriminalisation of all drug prohibitions, and the proposition that no rights should be abridged based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation.

    Let me know when the LP National quits dancing with the absurd “states’ rights” rationalisation for the theft of liberty. If it is a theft of liberty when done by the federal government, it is still a theft of liberty when done by an individual state.

  20. paulie Post author

    What exactly are they bringing to the table other than a good time and refreshments for their representatives? Look at the LP’s website homepage presently. There is not one of the many official LP Platform planks that would naturally attract left/liberal persons even given short notice on it. The same goes for the front page of their blogs and press releases. The reach-out “initiative” is doomed for massive failure, because of this.

    Something is better than nothing.

    The alternative is that they don’t show up and make no effort until we get a different LNC and LPHQ; but why would we (in this regard), without any effort to recruit from the left first?

    You are correct that a lot of groundwork has to be laid here, but it should start now; better late than never.

  21. Danny S

    #18, Note, I meant Ballinger-Pinchot feud, not Tariff.

    #19 And what would TR be? I don’t really like defining people anymore, but if I had too then I would say that he was somewhat of a centrist but leaned statist, but even those are way too broad of strokes with a paintbrush. I guess a more bellicose John McCain is the best way to put it.

  22. Erik Geib

    I’d say on the Nolan Chart that TR fits somewhere around the moderate edge near populism and progressivism. Certainly *NOT* a left-libertarian.

  23. pdsa

    Paulie, that’s ass-backwards implementation. If the LP National is serious about reaching out to the liberal/left, they should begin by publishing strong policy positions on, which will resonate with them.

    The LP National is helping to perpetuate the myth that libertarians are nothing but selfish greedheads with their focus of published issues. Again, where is their adamant support for legalisation of all drugs, including manufacturing and sales. America’s War On Drugs has destroyed the stability of several nations in the Americas. It is presently the cause of the inordinate amount of violence in Mexico, and the reason that Mexican-based criminal organisations have gained a foothold in over 200 American cities. The War On Drugs is used as a rationale for the theft of Natural Liberty. This is a significant contemporary problem. It is also a foundational platform plank for the LP. So why isn’t there any support for ending the drug war found on the entry pages to’s different sections? Why is The Independent Institute a better proponent of libertarianism than is the LP National?

    Ivan Eland, “How to Combat Mexican Drug Cartels-Legalize Their Activities“, The Independent Institute, April 6, 2009

  24. paulie Post author

    If the LP National is serious about reaching out to the liberal/left

    They’re opening a window that has been shut pretty tight by a small crack.

    We either use the opportunity to try to open the crack up a little more, or it shuts again.

  25. pdsa

    Yeah Paulie, you’re right about that, but I’ll not stop my criticisms of the LP National, because I believe they are proper concerns. I believe thy intentionally avoid publicly supporting LP Platform planks they believe will alienate their conservative power base within the LP. That’s not being “principled”, it playing pure pro-politiking for personal gain. The LP should not lean right or left. It should exist without the political linearity.

  26. Marc Montoni

    PDSA, one of the reasons why many of us are now pursuing outreach to the left is *because* we think the focus has been on pocketbook issues to satisfy those that have come to us from the right. Much of what we are doing is independent of the national office (some of our state parties are in a better position to fund these activities; and of course some of the conferences could be considered to be appropriate targets of local LP activity anyway).

    You are correct, that the LP must exist without political linearity; but to do that, the current lopsidedness needs to be balanced.

    We want all lovers of liberty to join the LP and become candidates and volunteers, whether they come from a rightward tilt or a leftward one.

    So will you help out at one of the outreach-to-the-left tables?

    Incidentally, there is nothing preventing you from procuring materials for such outreach along the lines you prefer. The LP’s drug policy brochure sold at is actually pretty good, for example.

    And nothing would stop you (or your local party) from periodically following up with any new contacts you collect yourself — and when doing so, you can stress the Libertarian Party’s position on _x_.

    I agree that there is way too much focus on pocketbook issues on the website; and I also agree that there is a huge amount of reluctance on the part of some libertarians to ever utter a word about eliminating the government’s war on porn, police excess, abolishing drug prohibition, open immigration, and all other personal choices the government has stuck its nose into in the past century. I also think that there are way too many “libertarians” who are all too willing to criticize those who are interested in these issues as just being a bunch of potheads who just want cheaper drugs.

    But once again, to combat narrow-mindedness, we must find small-government progressivesa and get them hooked up with the LP so we can elect a more balanced LNC at the next convention.

    Will you help?

  27. Pingback: Libertarian Party HQ: Outreach at Left of Center Conferences « Next Free Voice

  28. Rich

    We should be able to hit both the left and right by a coherent and focused outreach piece against all the bailouts and lack of accountability on the Fed.

    The reproduction of the bailout application was neat info, but not focused enough on action or recruitment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *