Please don't raise LP dues


  You seem to have been listening to Aaron Starr too much. What's this
slight-of-hand with the numbers? The claim that a $50 membership level
does not represent a dues increase because the pre-Unified Membership
Plan cost was similar is highly misleading. Under the proposed dues
increase, $50 would be the *minimum* payment amount, whereas pre-UMP
people had the option to pay only $25 by joining at one level and not
the other. Furthermore, part of the trade-off of joining UMP, which was
generally seen as a negative at the time of joining, was that it
required California Libertarians giving up a certain amount of
financial independence to the national office as a condition of
participating in their plan. The LPC would not be getting this
independence back under your proposed dues increase, so to look only at
the cost of membership is really comparing apples and oranges.

  And who are the members of this "large group" of people you say
believe that membership numbers will go up if the price of membership
is increased to $50 a year? I'd like some names! The only reason we'd
be likely to sell more membership is a temporary spike of people trying
to beat the price increase. When it came time to renew, I predict we'd
lose members in droves. Not to mention they'll be harder to get in the
future, and more skewed toward attracting only the wealthy.

  You say $25 doesn't cover the cost of recruiting a member. That very
much depends how the member is recruited. It's true that renting
non-movement (usually conservative) lists and sending out direct mail
to those lists is expensive, and has not always paid for itself.

   Using wording like "$__ a month isn't that much money," or "Only
pennies a day!" are how businesses sometimes advertise in order to make
people focus on these low numbers instead of the total or longer-term
cost. One could just as legitimately state it the other way by saying
that the LP would be asking its members to contribute $200 each every
presidential election cycle.

  If you say national has already cut its operations to the bone, let's
see the numbers. Office rental, staff salaries, and exactly what work
tasks those salaries are compensating. Remember, it was only last year
that we were paying a generous 5-figure salary to a "marketing
director" whose top conclusion was that we need to get rid of the name
"Libertarian Party." I have yet to hear anybody in the national
leadership acknowledge that this was a total and complete waste of our

  Finally, much as I get the impression that some of our leadership
secretly wishes we were a for-profit operation of people working in
cubicles and wearing suits and ties, the LP is not a business.
Membership in the Libertarian Party is not a product. The LPC Executive
Committee is not a Board of Directors. Using corporate metaphors for
what we do is only going to turn a lot of young and idealistic people
who are mistrustful of corporations off to our cause. I am not in this
to make money or "sell" a "product." I am in it to move society toward

For liberty,
                <<< Starchild >>>

Dear Kelley,

Thank you for your well thought out and intentioned sentiments.

To address your points, first of all the LNC has cut the LPHQ staff
drastically over the past several years and in fact just fired several
more people, including Ron Crickenberger. There's not much more
left to cut without closing up entirely.

As far as the actual cost of the membership, it costs far more than
to recruit a member, much less maintain one. As well, we have to
that under UMP, each state LP gets the lions share of the dues, not
The LP is a business and membership in it is a product. We cannot
continue to sell this product for less that its cost and stay in

If we lose 10% of our members, when the dues go up to $50.00 a month,
we have an increase in revenue of 80%. And, most people don't think
we'll lose that many. In fact, a large group feels that we will
sell MORE membership as the perceived value goes up.

One more thing. Before UMP, LPCa membership was $25.00 and national
LP membership was also $25.00 for a total of $50.00. This was years
To set the dues at $50.00 is not an increase, but in reality just a
the original price of dual membership.

Four dollars a month just isn't that much money to ask for.
I respect your viewpoint and the LPCa Executive Committee carefully
considered it when we voted to support an increase. We're a private
organization and we have to stay solvent to be involved in politics.

Thanks again for your concern and involvement.


Bruce Cohen
LPCa Executive Committee (Board of Directors)

PS I answer all my e-mail so, always feel free to write me about this
or any
other concern.

From: "Kelly Simpson" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 3:35 PM
Subject: [lpsf-discuss] [Fwd: Please don't raise LP dues]

I just sent the message below to the members of the Libertarian
Committee. I got their email addresses from this Web page:

According to the August 2003 LP News, they will be voting on whether
increase dues at their meeting on September 13-14.

The talk of raising dues got me to write about something I've been
meaning to write about for a long time: the tendency of the LPHQ staff
to take on too many projects, especially ballot access in difficult



Subject: Please don't raise LP dues
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 15:14:45 -0700
From: Kelly Simpson <>

Dear LNC members,

Please don't raise the LP membership dues.

In my opinion, the disadvantages of raising dues (especially the loss
good members and potential members who are unable or unwilling to pay
the dues) far outweigh the possibility of increased revenue.

If the national LP cannot meet its basic expenses with $25 dues, it
should cut those expenses.

The LPHQ staff could move into a cheaper office and do only the tasks
that they are in a better position to do than the state and local
affiliates: answer inquiries, forward inquiries to the relevant local
affiliates, coordinate projects that involve *multiple* LP affiliates
(such as the national convention), publish the LP News and some basic
brochures, maintain the Web site, and communicate with the media about
issues and LP activities. (In his fundraising letter, Joe Seehusen
claimed that the LP can't afford to fax press releases. That reminds
of supporters of school bonds who claim that teachers will have to be
let go and children won't have books if the bond doesn't pass. They
don't mention the possibility of reducing the scope of administrators'
jobs or moving them into cheaper offices.)

It's possible that the LPHQ staff are not in a better position than
state and local affiliates to handle ballot access and candidate
training. Even if they are, they should not spend any time on those
tasks until the national LP has been paid in advance for their time
an account funded by special donations for those projects.

Thanks for your attention, and thanks for the time you give to the LP!


Ms. Kelly Russell Simpson
LP of San Francisco

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