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New Path Plan: ‘Step Three: Tasks for the Libertarian National Committee’

Email from George Phillies to New Path for the LP is a slate of candidates for the Libertarian National Committee, and George Phillies is their candidate for Chair. This is Step 3 of Part Two of the 63-page New Path plan for the LP.

Which tasks are uniquely appropriate for the National Committee? One task, and only one, is specified in the Bylaws. Other tasks can be inferred from the mandate in Article Three of the Party Bylaws. Some tasks are reasonably sent to the National Party because they are huge, critical, and only the National Party has the needed resources.

Let’s start with our Bylaws. I’ve inserted numbers to help you keep track of specified actions.

The Party is organized to implement and give voice to the principles embodied in the Statement of Principles by: (1) functioning as a libertarian political entity separate and distinct from all other political parties or movements; moving public policy in a libertarian direction by (2) building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office; (3) chartering affiliate parties throughout the United States and (4) promoting their growth and activities; (5) nominating candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States, and (6) supporting Party and affiliate party candidates for political office; and, (7) entering into public information activities.

If you count, that’s seven major objectives. Of these, the LNC has succeeded with #5 (Presidential candidate), has performed #3 (issued charters covering much of the United States), has issued press releases (#7) and has usually followed #1 (be a separate and distinct political movement). #2 (win elections) has been a struggle. If you look at our spending, you’ll see we do very little toward #4 (affiliate support) except in terms of supporting Presidential ballot access. We specify to the FEC in our monthly filings that contrary to #6 we are not supporting candidates. Note that “Presidential Ballot Access” is actually not specified as an LNC action, though it clearly falls under #6.

What should the LNC uniquely be doing?

1) Run the biennial National Convention. That’s the only specific task the LNC is given in its Bylaws. Every two years, it must run the National Convention. The members voted to require the LNC to run the Convention. Running the National Convention is not a Mission Critical Activity, it is a matter of duty. With the convention comes nominating the candidates for President and Vice President, a further task mandated in the By-laws. A competent LNC will set aside adequate income from member dues to cover the core convention activity the members assigned: the business meeting.

Then there are other activities that the LNC should perform. These can each be justified by reference to the seven major objectives the LNC is assigned in the Bylaws. What are these activities?

2) Ensure we have 50 vibrant, active state parties, not to mention parties in D.C. Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Marianas, and every other place over which the American flag flies. Affiliate development corresponds to objectives 3 and 4; it is a Mission Critical Activity. In the long term, affiliate development makes all the other activities much easier.

Active? Clearly, more is better. We happily look forward to the day that larger state parties have more volunteers, money, and employees than the National Committee does. However, there should be minimum expectations as to what ‘active’ is. There should be reasonable expectations as to what the LNC will try in an effort to procure active state parties. If elected, New Path will set and meet those expectations.

3) Support our candidates. 50-state ballot access for the 2012 Presidential candidate. Fifty-state ballot access is an Important Activity. The Presidential candidate is the nominee of the national party. It’s expensive. Only by focusing the resources of the entire National Party can our Presidential nominee be on the ballot everywhere. If elected, New Path will try to reserve in the 2011 budget the funds needed to carry out this objective in 2012. However, we shouldn’t focus so tightly on the Presidential candidate that we ignore all our other candidates.

4) Build a Political Party. Activist Training. Activist training is an Important Activity. All across America, individual activists want to hear tips on how to solicit signatures, get out the vote, design trifolds, and help Libertarian friends. Training and demonstrations using advanced technical means (distance learning, video tapes, internet radio, web pages, streaming video) can satisfy this need. A simple substitute, the Libertarian Candidate campaign Disk, already exists. It can usefully be upgraded and distributed to every candidate, and every state and local group. New Path isn’t just talking. We are already distributing training materials.

5) Public Information. Develop a Quality Web Site. Web Site Development is an Important Activity. We can do much better that we are, and we can do it rather less expensively.
6) Build a Political Party. Support materials. Producing good support materials is an Important Activity. We need a good set of downloadable trifolds on Libertarian positions. The trifolds should include blank sections for local enhancements. Our Liberty for America website is putting up samples. We should offer a good set of downloadable templates for web pages.

New Path candidate Jake Porter’s County Plan template at gives a different approach to reusable documents. New Path isn’t just talking. We are already distributing support materials.

7) Cooperation with Other Libertarian Groups. Cooperation is an Important Activity. Independent libertarian groups such as AntiWar.Com should be friends with which we actively collaborate, recognizing that tax and election laws limit these collaborations. Outreach to the greater Libertarian movement is a key task for our National Party. New Path is already doing this, as witness Liberty for America coverage of fund raising drives.

8) Washington Lobbying. Lobbying is a Worthwhile Activity. Why lobbying? Lobbying introduces us as people to reporters, columnists, and bloggers. Lobbying reduces the damage done by the duopoly party as seen in the DefendYourPrivacy web campaign. Lobbying exposes members of other parties to libertarian ideas. When we start winning elections, we will start converting current public officials to our side. Lobbying prepares that ground by proving that we are serious about real politics. As resources become available, New Path calls for using some of them to Lobby Congress in support of our positions.

Then there are Worthwhile Activities that the National Committee can facilitate, but not perform.

9) More Libertarian PACs. The Libertarian Party intends to contest every Congressional seat. Modest fundraising for party-ID internet and radio advertising and bumper stickers would substantially boost results from these campaigns, which are already being run. To raise and distribute this money we need Libertarian PACs to raise funds and support Libertarian candidates. New Path’s Liberty for America PAC is already sending support.

10) Pro-Liberty Affinity Groups. When Democrats and Republicans run for office, they get support from hordes of affinity groups, each pretending to speak for an issue but in reality working for a political party. I am referring equally to the pro-choice group that endorses pro-life Democrats over pro-choice candidates of other parties and to the pro-Second Amendment action group that endorses gun-grabbing Republicans over pro-Bill-of-Rights candidates of other parties. Those groups may pretend to support us on the issues, but they are not our friends and are not on our side. We need to replace them with pro-Liberty affinity groups that support Libertarians.

For political victory, the Libertarian movement needs its own affinity groups, groups that support Libertarian candidates and points of view. If the Microbrewery Trade Association routinely tilts Democratic, we should launch a Samuel Adams Society and Brewers Club to lead members to Libertarian thinking. The National Party can’t be too obvious about setting up affinity groups itself, not if those groups are to be credible. The National Party can find individual Libertarians with the right interests, incite them to create a Libertarian affinity group, and provide nurture and support to get the group off the ground. New Path’s Liberty for America magazine is already leading the way, publicizing groups like Outright Libertarians and the Ladies of Liberty Alliance.

That’s ten activities for the LNC to perform. The National Convention is required by the bylaws. There are also six Important Activities and three Worthwhile Activities. Those Important Activities are all things the LNC could do to justify their existence, so between all these Important Activities there is someplace a Mission Critical Activity.

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  1. George Phillies George Phillies May 6, 2010

    And what should we do to advance the National Convention that the members have directed be held? Minimizing the total cost to the members comes to mind. See that travel costs are low. Check actual air fares; airline hubs depending on issues are sometimes very expensive. Check parking fees. Giant aged hotels in the urban center, renovated or not, a $40 cab ride from the airport with internet at $15 a day and very few local restaurants, are not obviously optimal. A convention committee with people having a range of financial strengths, especially people who have attended many conventions and have some idea what to notice, might help. Polling the membership now about weekends might be good. I encounter member after member who told me they were not going because Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends are pre-reserved for family events, but that some other weekend in May or early June would have been just fine.

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