Parishioners and missionaries

David,

  The Libertarian Party's mission statement agrees with you in
identifying electing Libertarian candidates as the main goal of the
party (see http://www.lp.org/services/clh/lp-mission.html ), and I
would expect this to normally be our top activity, but personally I
believe the party ought to have a broader goal -- achieving freedom for
everyone. The party platform (see
http://www.lp.org/issues/platform/platform_all.html) states it well:

"As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all
individuals are sovereign over their own lives, and no one is forced
to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others."

  In the Costco thread, I was encouraging Libertarians to take action as
individuals, not saying the LPSF should take a stand. Although if we as
a group can accomplish something that helps the cause of liberty at a
negligible cost to our other activities, I can't see the harm in that...

Yours in liberty,
        <<< Starchild >>>

Starchild - Thanks for sending this out and clarifying
your position. I agree whole heartedly that having
more activities will attract new members faster than
efforts focused on attracting new members. I think
this applies to just about any non-profit organization
trying to grow it's membership base. (sans government)

I am also glad that you mentioned the main goal of the
party being that of electing Libertarian candidates to
office. I think it's easy to get lost in all these
ancillary 'activist' activities and lose sight of the
prime directive. I think this is the main
distinguishing factor that separates the LP from other
freedom oriented organizations. For example, the goals
of 'Move On' vs. the Democratic party.

However, I am still a bit confused by your thoughts in
the Costco gun ban thread where you suggested the lpsf
should champion a whole host of individual rights
oriented initiatives - as general advocates of
freedom. In light of the agreed charted of the LP,
wouldn't you think that orgs such as ISIL and the ACLU
might be a better fit to head up these causes?

cheers,

David

  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 >>>

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