One of the Libertarian Party’s national leaders, former LNC regional representative (who has just been forced off the committee by the state chairs of his region) and Mises Caucus (MC) member Miguel Duque, has had a big falling out with his former allies that is likely to have big repercussions for the 2024 convention. He has released a huge batch of private communications among national leaders, which have been posted online here (Angela McArdle is the national chair and Miguel evidently feels betrayed by her, hence the title):
I’m well aware that there’s always been back-channel political intrigue in the LP, as is the case with virtually every political party and grassroots movement, but I’m a bit stunned and disgusted by the sheer level of machiavellian scheming, coldly political calculation, and backbiting revealed here. Few if any of those involved, including Miguel, come out looking great in my opinion. Which is a real shame, because many of these folks are obviously savvy people whose talents and energy could be usefully employed going after the State and advancing liberty.
Since last year if not before, the party was already divided by major rifts between the MC, which “took over” at the May 2022 national convention in Reno by sweeping most of the elections for leadership posts, and its critics, some of whom have quit the party and withheld financial support, while others have attempted to break away from national and form dissident state or other organizations. There are big fights in too many states for me to keep track of. These latest revelations will almost certainly add fuel to the fire and further distract Libertarians from the real challenges before us.
Yet I think transparency is a vital part of the solution, and that it’s better for members to know what’s going on behind the scenes than not, unsavory as many the details of the sausage-making are. Especially if you plan to attend next year’s state or national convention. The conspiratorial secrecy – Mises Caucus members on the LNC, including the national chair, having their own private Discord channel where they routinely traded malicious digs at others on the LNC as well as non-LNC party members, along with discussing proposed motions and such in a clear contravention of the Bylaws requirement for the party’s business to be conducted in public with very specific exceptions – is a major factor in this mess.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that, after reading through all the documents, I’m not finding any big anti-libertarian conspiracy, such as an effort to help Trump or the Republicans, as some have alleged about the Mises Caucus, or to undermine libertarian ideology. Mostly it just seems like a bunch of individuals who are entirely too focused on trolling, plotting, being “edgy” on social media and elsewhere, and “inside baseball” – in many cases behaving a lot like “mean girls,” as one of the players candidly remarked in a private message to the chair.
I’m not sure whether the leaked material will result in the MC leadership, or at least many of the current office-holders being voted out at the next convention, but that seems quite likely. If so, they will, as some of them again seem to have privately acknowledged, largely have themselves to blame.
Unfortunately, even a complete housecleaning will not automatically solve the party’s fundamental underlying governance problems, which long predate the caucus. Without major cultural and structural changes, it’s hard to see how this kind of divisiveness at the top levels if not throughout the party won’t just play out again in the future, as it has in the past. I’m only thankful that – regrettably offensive and tone-def “shock" messaging on some of the social media accounts aside – the LP’s basic commitment to libertarianism does not seem to me to be on the line at this time.
Anyway, you can read more details, articles, and commentary on all this by site proprietor George Phillies and others at Third Party Watch (https://thirdpartywatch.com/). As well as a piece I wrote a couple months ago that is published there, briefly analyzing the causes of the divisions in the party, and recommending we not throw in the towel – positions I still stand by:
I may write another piece there in the coming days on some specific ideas for structural and cultural reforms that, whatever the outcomes of internal power struggles, I think could help keep the LP focused on what matters, and reduce the kind of nastiness that has become far too dominant and is taking far too much time and energy away from the fight for freedom. Or maybe just post in the reader comments there, or both.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
Chair, Libertarian Party of San Francisco