Sunday, June 13, 2021

Ah, the Old "Two Organizations Claiming to be the REAL Libertarian Party of [Insert State Here]" Conundrum

Not the first time it's happened. Two that come to mind are the Libertarian Party of Arizona circa 2000 and the Libertarian Party of Oregon circa 2010-????.

Now it's happening in New Hampshire.

The very short version, and while I'm not going to pretend to be unbiased, my position is not what you'd probably assume:

  • Recently, the Libertarian Party Mises Caucus "took over" the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, winning most of the seats on that party's executive committee (the exception being the chair, Jilletta Jarvis).
  • The new Mises-dominated executive committee promptly began implementing the LPMC-endorsed "messaging strategy" of trying to consolidate Dank Meme Fandom into a viable political base. It also began purging its opponents.
  • Yesterday, citing alleged bylaws lawlessness on the part of that executive committee, Jarvis announced a new organization, claiming to be the "real" LPNH, with a new executive committee and interim bylaws (based on the "constructive resignations" of the allegedly lawless previous executive committee members) pending a convention.
  • There are claims, which seem at first blush to be credible, that Libertarian National Committee chair Joe Bishop-Henchman knew of, and intentionally aided, Jarvis's plan.
  • Naturally, those allegedly "constructively resigned" executive committee members claim that their organization is the "real" LPNH.
  • Vis a vis party assets, the Jarvis group has control of the party web site, social media accounts, and some physical property that was relocated from an LPNH-rented storage unit as the aforementioned events unfolded; that organization, supported by a letter from Bishop-Henchman, has probably filed for official party / ballot line recognition by New Hampshire's secretary of state. The Mises group has the party's bank account, and is operating from alternative web and social media accounts.
So, what do I think about all this?

Well, my sympathies are with the Jarvis organization, but I'm a process guy and from where I'm sitting it doesn't look like that organization did everything According to Hoyle. I consider that important.

On the other hand, there are occasional "we must burn the village in order to save it" situations. Whether this is such a situation is, at the moment, an open question.

The Libertarian National Committee has no choice but to become involved, if for no other reason than that the two entities claiming to be the "real" New Hampshire affiliate will both presumably send delegations to the 2022 national convention.

In the past, the LNC has done a piss-poor job of handling such situations. In Arizona, they disaffiliated the state party, held a mail ballot among national party members in the state as to which claimant to re-affiliate, and ended up losing the 2000 Libertarian Party presidential ballot line to the losing group. In Oregon, we went through several years of competing delegations showing up at national conventions demanding to be seated. And so on, and so forth.

I don't envy the LNC's job on this one.

I do have something of a personal interest here. I'm an LPNH member and have previously been a New Hampshire delegate to the national convention. My dues aren't current. They will not become current so long as the Mises Caucus runs the "real" LPNH. But I'm not yet convinced that the Jarvis group is the "real" LPNH, and won't be sending them money until I am convinced.

At the moment, it looks to me like the bad guys have the procedural right of things and the good guys don't. I could be wrong on that. Or it's possible that, as in Oregon, there is no procedural right and that I just have to pick between the good guys and the bad guys. In which case I'll pick the good guys.

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