Part 1 of 2: Time for a ‘paradigm shift’ in grand strategy?
by Brian Wright (Part 2 here)
On the night before the recent election, I’m watching the alternative debates on FreeandEqual.org. The site streams the verbal contest between presidential candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Green Party, only it isn’t much of a contest. The topic is foreign policy, focusing primarily on peace and civil liberties, their positions virtually identical: yes and yes. [Dr. Stein, IMHO, has the greater civil libertarian street credit, having been arrested and held for a day by police for taking part in an Occupy Wall Street protest.]
I remember thinking, “These two are on the same side, the side of the people: Neither accepts war and tyranny. They’re against the American Empire and police state, its war crimes, torture, indefinite detention w/o trial, drug prohibition, the Patriot Act, TSA, Homeland Security, warrantless searches and seizures… and, based on other debates: bailouts for corporate criminals or pepper-spraying grandma.” It then occurs to me that virtually every American is against war and tyranny, while virtually every elected Republican and Democrat likes them. [Yes, I know Stein is an airhead on economics (and sadly probably gun freedom), but that’s not to my point right now.]
Then the obvious question: Would a common-sense, big-tent American political party—standing uncompromisingly for peace, freedom, open government, and the Constitution—attract a majority of voters? Hold that thought.
Back at the Ranch:
Best Thinking, Current Libertarian Style
The Libertarian Party of Michigan, in which I have assumed a leading role, off and on, from its inception, holds an annual Liberty Festival (LibertyFest or Libfest) to celebrate leading activists. The banquet speaker this year is Dr. Mary Ruwart, author of Healing our World and sterling icon of principled, compassionate libertarianism within the national Libertarian party. The title of her talk is similar to my column: “Taking the LP to the Next Level.”
Part of my reason for attending tonight is the hope that Dr. Ruwart will articulate some new and exciting strategy for achieving SUCCESS, which I persist in interpreting the old-fashioned way: winning elections. Alas, even straining to hear between the lines, I grasp the essential message tonight as the perennial message for died-in-the-wool party faithful: “Stay the course. Don’t give up your principles. Build coalitions. Focus on the local community; be alert to opportunities for spreading the ideas. If you don’t win votes, win hearts and minds.”
The general consensus among the Party hierarchy—the wholly decent and dedicated ‘true believers’ who keep the wheels turning—is 2012 was a banner election: Gary Johnson got a record number of votes (1,272,105), in seven nonpartisan state board races candidates received more than a million votes, LP candidate votes were the ‘margin of victory’ in half a dozen races nationwide, and ballot status was retained in 30 states. In Michigan our US House and state house candidate averages went from ~1.8% (2008) to 2.3% (2012) and from ~2.5% (2008) to ~3.5% (2012), respectively. Further, the Establishment campaigns outspent Libertarian and other third party campaigns several hundred to one.
AND… we were ruthlessly and thoroughly crushed again.
Sorry, Mary (et al), unless the ranch makes some BIG changes, SOON—a different direction rather than a next step—this grizzled old cowboy has entered his last rodeo for the Bar-L. He’s tired of (sole event sponsor) Federales, Inc. always shuffling us Ls off to our obscured manure-pounding endurance contests… or, when occasionally set free into the arena, hobbling us for Brahma Bull gore practice.
We Just Don’t Have the Time
Let’s look at a representative aggregate of LP election results data and do some extrapolation/speculation. All I’ve done in the chart below is to plot by year three basic functions: 1) the state representative vote average (in Michigan, 1984-2012), 2) the US representative vote average (in Michigan, 1984-2012), and 3) the published percentage of votes for the LP presidential candidate for the previous 40 years. The chart below—though the Michigan candidate averages are +/- a quarter percent—gives you a feel for realistic prospects.
Keep in mind, Gary Johnson is probably the best presidential candidate—the best and most qualified candidate, period—that the LP has ever fielded. His coattails are long and strong. Even with a presumed continuation of his positive vote influence, the wildest best-case linear extrapolation of the LP presidential vote puts the LP at 2.2% in 2020, with the corresponding best-case Michigan rep result at 5.5%. Yes, a 5%+ number for a third party suggests margin-of-victory and major-party threshold status. But it’s a) wildly optimistic and b) EIGHT YEARS AWAY!
Our country enters 2013 with the Establishment War and Tyranny Duopoly (Duop) in full control, a truly horrific gang of the most vicious criminals, whose stated official policies are:
- mass expropriation
- mass incarceration
- mass torture
- mass murder
… of anyone and everyone, here or there, on the planet. [The killer drones are comin’ home, baby!] According to published plans and projects of Cartel-Americano, a democratic (not to mention, unhacked) election in 2016 is only a faint possibility; in 2020, it will be a miracle. Let me remind the reader that El Presidente claims the authority to kidnap anyone he wants… and Congress overwhelmingly passed the measure to give him that power.
Basically, with all the deep and imminent threats posed by the American megastate to our very lives—e.g. the varied crimes of state, some hidden, others blatant, that I refer to in my Truth Torpedo—the Libertarian Party will be ‘irrelevant to the experiment’ if it continues business as usual. It may be too late already, even if it steps up. The days of gathering kindred minds and building affiliates, rallying volunteers, running ignored campaigns, doing the elections paperwork, holding meetings, and staying positive about peanuts… are gone… if we want to live… and win.
Blueprint for ‘LP’ Victory Soon—Starter Notions
Keep in mind we have a winner-take-all, two-party addiction barrier. In the privacy of the voting booth, even if a person claims (or polls) to like the Libertarian best, few will want to ‘waste their vote’ for someone who has no chance to win. The only way to play the two-party system game, and win, is to run candidates who are perceivable likely winners… who poll 33% to 50% right out of the chute. How can the Libertarians have such candidates?
‘Libertarians’ can’t. But a generic ‘Peace and Freedom’ party can. How?
At this point, I’m going to transcribe an email message I sent to a ‘common sense’-oriented friend. John shares my sentiments about civil liberties and peace and listens when I describe the crimes of the two-party pathocracy. In fact, he’s one who suggested in the early 2000s that America needed a simple truth and common sense party. Here’s my first shot:
I’m giving serious thought to launching or otherwise creating a national ‘lowest-common-denominator’ political party. I remember you had mentioned on several occasions that having a common sense people’s party would be a good way to go, and a good way to end the Republican and Democrat duopoly (duop) set up to maintain the 1%. What do you think the main planks should be? I can think of half a dozen:
- Civil liberties
- Transparency and full disclosure
- The Constitution
- Protection of natural resources
- Removal (or at least substantial reduction) of corporate power
Specifically, everyone in my new party supports at least half of the following as a lowest common denominator:
- an end to the US military empire, withdrawing from all overseas bases within four years, negotiated elimination of all nuclear weapons and WMD technology from all countries with adequate oversight and enforcement to prevent offensive mass weapons manufacture planetwide
- an immediate end to the War on Drugs
- repeal of the Patriot Act, Homeland Security Department, and the TSA (to name but three agencies of pure scum-tyranny)
- separation of the federal government and privileged corporate entities from the health care business, with the encouragement of cooperative community and business relationships under voluntary standards and procedures
- an end to torture: shutting down Guantanamo, closing US-torture prisons overseas, immediate US withdrawal from all its occupied territories, and ending the atrocity of rendition
- full disclosure and abolition of all black programs, coordinated with other black-program nations, returning all useful technology to the people
- investigation and prosecution of all American officials (and allies) who authorized or inflicted torture
- investigation and prosecution of all American officials (and allies) who planned and carried out the attacks of 9/11/2001
- investigation and prosecution of all American officials (and allies) who authorized or inflicted war crimes; war crimes include the initiation of aggression based on knowingly false information
- investigation and prosecution of all American officials (and allies) who stole wealth duly appropriated by the government for other uses or who stole wealth in general from the people by means of government authority
- an end to atmospheric geoengineering programs for military or civilian use and a full audit of the programs currently being conducted that poison the atmosphere of Western countries and their populations
- repeal of the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2011, repeal of the ban on civilian protest of government officials, repeal of all laws making it a crime to inform on criminal activities of the state
- an end to treating corporations as people with the same rights as individuals under the Constitution; all federal corporate privilege will be eliminated and any private businesses existing as corporations shall have all such state privilege removed within four years;
- a declaratory judgment, followed by federal enabling statute that affirms the 2d Amendment, that no city ordinance or state law may deprive American citizens of the right to keep and bear arms, and that such statutory restrictions on private use of firearms are hereby null and void
- an end to the Federal Reserve Banking System by simply acknowledging its unconstitutionality and rapid transition to a fully private and voluntary money and banking system
- release of all federal prisoners whose crimes have no corpus delicti, that is no victim or harm caused to another human being; all such federal prisoners shall have their criminal records expunged; similar release and expungement for nonaggressive state ‘crimes’ shall be officially encouraged
- separation of the federal state and economy
- separation of the federal state and education
- an end to forced vaccinations
- abolition of the CIA and the NSA and all systems of surveillance or control of the American people
- an end to all application of the federal income tax as a direct tax
The items I’ve listed in red are from my purely libertarian positions and probably will need to be scaled back or removed to be acceptable to a wide coalition. But some, like #14 about guns, will be fundamentally non-negotiable at the Constitutional level. We may simply apply the 2d amendment at the federal law level.
Anyway, you see what I’m driving at here. The blue 13 planks seem to me to be complete majority planks. There will be a handful of others or substitutions applying to 1% privilege, which we will be removing. What do you think? Can we get a solid majority, beat the Republicans and Democrats for federal positions in the next election? Who is your dream presidential candidate for 2016?
So that’s what I have recorded in the first iteration of the column. Consider this Part 1 of a two-parter. I also have in mind some scaling back and refinement to the Dear John solution, along with a tentative process for the LP to be the primary organization to seed or transform itself into this new Peace and Freedom Party… or whatever the name may be.
[A major bone for the traditionalists among the LP party faithful: Let’s suppose the consensus becomes that we of the current LP seed a name change and radical shift of platform priorities, then we open the tent to all the Green and Peace party types who accept Constitutional limits on federal power. That changes the composition of who ‘we’ are, because ‘we’ becomes a bigger and new ‘WE’. Those of us who have shepherded the party from its David Nolan infancy need to realize that the history and tradition will not be lost; the archives are full, newsletters describe our recurring (glorious yet mostly futile) struggles, going forward we classic Libertarians may still carve a distinct niche in the new organization as a caucus… indeed the founding caucus. The other smaller sandbox parties can create their caucuses, too. The new way is about uniting to conquer the perverse two-party barrier to commonsense, decent political candidates and office holders of varying—yet wholly peace-and-freedom—perspectives.]
The devil is in the details. There are several options to consider. [Part 2 here. Please leave a Reply/comment. Success will not happen without input of those who also see the need for fundamental change, both within and outside the Libertarian Party.]
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