Parishioners and missionaries

Michael,

  Thanks... let me try to expand on the distinction between attracting
members and attracting activists. Belonging to a community of the
faithful, and being a solid, upstanding member of that community while
enjoying the privileges of belonging, is not the same thing as going
out and fighting for the faith. It's good to have parishioners, but
missionaries are the ones who make a religious movement grow. They tend
to be more idealistic and radical than parishioners, and simply taking
part in the quiet community life of a small group of their spiritual
brethren does not hold much appeal for them. They will be more excited
by an organization that gives them the opportunity and the tools to go
out and take on a challenge, to actively fight battles for the cause
they believe in.

  As libertarians, we live in the midst of people who are spiritually
ignorant of the path of non-aggression. We know our doctrine is sound,
and that if we can enlighten people, they will flock to us. Build it
and they will come. But are we building a mission, or a convent? Are we
trying to attract missionaries, or monks and nuns? Now you wouldn't be
mystified by the difference between attracting monks and missionaries,
would you? The Free State Project, for example, is a missionary
campaign -- not a retreat to Galt's Gulch. I think our mission calls
for missionaries, and therefore we must focus on stirring up passions,
creating campaigns, and enlisting volunteers. Give people the chance to
fight on the front lines with the feeling that they have a group behind
them which sees fighting on the front lines -- not debating how many
angels will fit on the head of a pin -- as its primary purpose.

Yours in liberty,
        <<< Starchild >>>

Starchild,

I liked your proposal for action at our monthly meetings. We've never
done it before and it certainly seems worth experimenting with.

However, I'm still mystified about the distinction you're making
between soliciting members and soliciting activists. It seems to me
the activities to do each would be the same.

Best, Michael

From: "Starchild" <sfdreamer@earthlink.net>
To: <lpsf-activists@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 6:47 PM
Subject: Re: [lpsf-activists] Agenda Item (1/8/05)

Michael,

Thanks for suggesting this. It occurred to me after our meeting
Saturday that we never actually selected a person or an activity for
the January meeting after adopting the idea. Writing letters on the
gun
ban topic sounds like a great activity choice for next month.

<<< Starchild >>>

Agenda Item (1/8/05)

Action Item (15 minutes)
Write letters to the editor decrying the proposed SF gun ban.

Best, Michael

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In response to Michael Edelstein's request, here are a few more
thoughts on the difference between attracting members and attracting
activists. Michael said he felt the "activities" to attract each would
be the same. I think perhaps this is part of what was throwing me. The
issue for us right now is not *which* activities we have, but simply
that we *have* activities as opposed to not having them. Based on our
past experience, I do not think we can take this for granted. Let me
also clarify that when I speak of "activities," I mean activities which
invite activist participation. Arranging to have professional
telemarketers call registered Libertarians would not fall under this
category, but calling them ourselves would.

  Members are people who give financial or moral support to an
organization by joining it. They may be motivated by a desire to help
the organization achieve its goals, by a desire to belong to the group,
by a desire to have the material benefits conferred by membership, or
by some combination of these things. They are *not* necessarily people
who want to do any *work* for the organization!

  Many political groups are membership-only. For example, you can become
a "member" of the Independent Institute (see
http://www.independent.org/membership/ ). The institute does not have
activists or engage in activism as far as I am aware. It is a small
group of people performing specialized functions -- writing, research,
web support, etc.

  A political party is not a small group of people performing
specialized functions. At the very least, the goal is to get as many
members of the public as possible to do the active work of voting for
its candidates. Really we want people to do much more than that. We
want them to be *active* on behalf of our party. We want people who
will join us on April 15 for the income tax protests, who will march in
the Pride Parade with us, who will staff outreach tables, who will
write letters to the editor mentioning the party and its candidates,
who will organize parties and events, etc.

  The Libertarian Party involves way more people than any other
libertarian organization. Because activism usually involves people
being in geographical proximity to each other, the LP's size puts it in
a unique position in the movement to create an *activist* organization
that gets the masses working for liberty. People willing to belong as
members or supporters have lots of libertarian groups to choose from.
But what other libertarian group has a mission that seeks mass
involvement and has enough supporters living in San Francisco to
effectively build an *active* local organization? The only one I can
think of is the Pink Pistols, and they're (a) not explicitly
libertarian, and (b) apparently still trying to get organized locally.

  Most libertarian groups do not have the luxury of being more than a
small group of active specialists with a larger, passive group of
members or supporters. We do. I think we should take advantage of it by
primarily seeking activists, not members.

Yours in liberty,
          <<< Starchild >>>

Michael,

  Thanks... let me try to expand on the distinction between attracting
members and attracting activists. Belonging to a community of the
faithful, and being a solid, upstanding member of that community while
enjoying the privileges of belonging, is not the same thing as going
out and fighting for the faith. It's good to have parishioners, but
missionaries are the ones who make a religious movement grow. They
tend to be more idealistic and radical than parishioners, and simply
taking part in the quiet community life of a small group of their
spiritual brethren does not hold much appeal for them. They will be
more excited by an organization that gives them the opportunity and
the tools to go out and take on a challenge, to actively fight battles
for the cause they believe in.

  As libertarians, we live in the midst of people who are spiritually
ignorant of the path of non-aggression. We know our doctrine is sound,
and that if we can enlighten people, they will flock to us. Build it
and they will come. But are we building a mission, or a convent? Are
we trying to attract missionaries, or monks and nuns? Now you wouldn't
be mystified by the difference between attracting monks and
missionaries, would you? The Free State Project, for example, is a
missionary campaign -- not a retreat to Galt's Gulch. I think our
mission calls for missionaries, and therefore we must focus on
stirring up passions, creating campaigns, and enlisting volunteers.
Give people the chance to fight on the front lines with the feeling
that they have a group behind them which sees fighting on the front
lines -- not debating how many angels will fit on the head of a pin --
as its primary purpose.

Yours in liberty,
        <<< Starchild >>>

Starchild,

I liked your proposal for action at our monthly meetings. We've never
done it before and it certainly seems worth experimenting with.

However, I'm still mystified about the distinction you're making
between soliciting members and soliciting activists. It seems to me
the activities to do each would be the same.

Best, Michael

From: "Starchild" <sfdreamer@earthlink.net>
To: <lpsf-activists@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2004 6:47 PM
Subject: Re: [lpsf-activists] Agenda Item (1/8/05)

Michael,

Thanks for suggesting this. It occurred to me after our meeting
Saturday that we never actually selected a person or an activity for
the January meeting after adopting the idea. Writing letters on the
gun
ban topic sounds like a great activity choice for next month.

<<< Starchild >>>

Agenda Item (1/8/05)

Action Item (15 minutes)
Write letters to the editor decrying the proposed SF gun ban.

Best, Michael

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    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lpsf-activists/

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
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