Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Purposes of the Libertarian National Committee ...

... do not extend to resolving ideological/factional disputes within the Libertarian Party, or to censuring the ideological/factional opponents of the LNC's members.

Thankfully, a recent attempt to abusively employ the LNC's public policy resolution authority to do those two things seems to have failed (the email ballot doesn't close until August 22, but more than 1/4th of the LNC has already voted no and the vote is running 10-5 against with a 3/4th threshold for adoption).

The obvious target of the resolution was the Libertarian Socialist Caucus. Think what you will of them, they do exist, they are part of the Libertarian Party, and at the party's recent national convention their endorsed chair candidate collected enough delegate support tokens to participate in the formal debate and their endorsed vice-chair candidate made it past the first ballot.

I do not label myself a "libertarian socialist," but there is such a thing, and people to whom that label is applicable have been activists in the party since long before I came along (1996), let alone since fairly recently arrived party activists like Caryn Ann Harlos (the "have the LNC grind my ideological ax" sponsor of the resolution) and Joshua Smith (the "have the LNC censure my ideological/factional opponents" sponsor of the resolution) ran for and won election to the LNC.

In fact, there have probably been "libertarian socialists," broadly defined, in the party since its founding in 1971 or shortly after.

The late Karl Hess, who edited the party's newspaper for four years, was also a member of Students for a Democratic Society and the Industrial Workers of the World.

Bruce Baechler, recipient of the party's 2002 Thomas Paine Award, was also a Wobbly.

There's always been a noticeable Georgist/geoist tendency, usually not expressing as organized faction, in the party. Georgists/geoists disagree with the theory of property in land that most other party members accept. And that's okay.

Article 4, Section 1 of the party's bylaws is clear, unambiguous, and dispositive: "Members of the Party shall be those persons who have certified in writing that they oppose the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals."

We get to disagree (and have done so loudly for nigh on 50 years) on what that means -- on what constitutes initiation force and why, including but not limited to debating questions relating to what might constitute or not constitute a rightful property claim. And it's not the LNC's job to intervene in such arguments.

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