[ca-liberty] Re: [LPC County Officers] Summary of 8/5/2006 Executive Committee meeting


  Where to start, indeed! You just don't get it on many levels. But let's get at least one thing straight: This is not and never has been about my own personal ability to afford going to the conventions. Since I've been active in the party starting in 1992, I've been to all but two LPC conventions. If I won the lottery and became a multi-millionaire tomorrow, I would still be making the exact same points, and they would be neither more nor less valid than they are now. This is not about me, and I am not the only one who recognizes the elitism. I presume that's why we were never allowed a straight up-or-down vote on floor fees at the last convention, even though Aaron Starr agreed in advance to put the issue on the agenda. Even among a self-selected crowd of people who could afford to come to a hotel convention, the outcome was still deemed too uncertain to risk letting the delegates decide.

  And who said anything about not wanting the conventions to be special events? Is it your opinion that something can't be special unless you're spending a lot of money on it? Or unless you're wearing a tux? I want our conventions to be outstanding, inspirational, memorable, and fun. One of the reasons that I always dress up for our conventions is because they *are* special events, and I treat them as such. I don't go to the trouble to wear elaborate, creative outfits to our local county meetings.

  You want uplifting and enthusiasm-generating? Let's imagine a survey of LP members: What would be a bigger morale-booster at our next convention -- seeing everyone dressed in suits and tuxedos, or seeing a bunch of new Libertarian faces and greater numbers of people in attendance?

  Or how about a question for libertarians who *don't* attend LPC conventions: Which of the following changes would make you more likely to attend the next Libertarian Party of California convention: (A) Requiring attendees to dress in formal wear, or (B) Holding the event at a venue with more affordable lodging and eliminating the planned $99 "registration fee?"

  You accuse me of just blaming and not coming up with solutions. The fact is I have come up with a solution -- moving our conventions out of the hotels. You may think it's a poor solution, and you're entitled to your opinion, but please don't say I haven't come up with any solutions just because the proposed solution does not meet your standards.

  You disparage the idea of holding a convention poolside at a Motel 6, or in a tent in a parking lot (not that either of those strawman scenarios are the likely alternatives to the status quo). But to apply your pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps mentality, even an event such as that would not be "out of reach for anyone truly interested in attending." I paraphrase: "If you really want to participate, then start learning to rough it!" How does that strike you?

  You say you "never have had sympathy with the self-centered notion that something is expensive just because I don't happen to be able to afford it." Good grief. Are you trying to channel Marie Antoinette? What about the equally self-centered and even more callous notion that something is affordable for others just because *you* can afford it? You would have us accept it as OK to demand that people plan and save for months in advance in order to participate, but not OK to demand that people forego some of their accustomed luxury for a weekend in order to participate?

  Finally you say, "No organism grows that must continually acquiesce to it's weakest link, and lowest common denominator." My response is that no organization striving to be a voice of the people will succeed by taking a condescending attitude that people of lesser financial means are the "weakest link" or the "lowest common denominator." I know you've run for office before. If you have any political sense, you would be deeply embarrassed to put such sentiments on your campaign website. Doesn't that tell you anything?

Toward liberty,
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I agree.

When I was at the last convention, I found it immensely enjoyable, but not because of the ritzy hotel. I loved meeting all of the passionate, intelligent people who shared similar ideas. it got me invigorated to get me involved in the libertarian movment again after several years of feeling uneasy about a political cause I never previously felt fully a part of.

I would far rather have met more and varied people that to have enjoyed Hilton amenities. And personally I found the fancy formal dinner to be the one night of the convention which struck me as dreary, stilted and dreadfully dull. I might have enjoyed it if I’d been less tired and had the time to dress up and show off my new wardrobe, but even that would feel more like work than sharing idealism.

I don’t think you realise that these formalities are not just expensive, but alienating to whole classes of people. I felt like Leonardo diCaprio in Titanic staring at the silverware. (fortunately no one else finished their parfaits so I got lots of free desserts out of it) And the alienation is not just economic but cultural. Or is the LP planning on hosting a traditional Mexican or Chinese dinner next year? To be honest, I had not been to so white an event since coming out to San Francisco. Do you think these sort of touches have anything to do with the fact there was hardly a single non-white person at the entire convention?

The LP hosts its convention according to the cultural rules of the successful, powerful, and mainstream. As a result the movement attracts and promotes successful, powerful, and mainstream people all out of proportion to their proportion among people of libertarian sentiments. I know lots of sex workers, for instance, who lean libertarian. I know one African-American Pagan sex worker who was a fan of Ayn Rand. Guess what, they have no use for the movement as it is. I wonder why that could be.

I think many in the established party like holding conventions in ways that exclude riff-raff like us. Strange. I thought we were fighting for everyone’s individual rights, including the riff raff. I also thought the libertarian movement need all the support it could get.

But maybe some libertarians like a social club with tableware and no riff raff more than they do acheiving liberty. Well, to each their own priorities, mei amici.

love and strife,

Lady Aster


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