LP Raises Dues, Keeps Expectations Low

From all over (CoolParty.us, The New Libertarian, Flash of Freedom) comes the news that the Libertarian Party is raising membership dues from $25 to $50 a year simply for the pleasure of having a little card saying you are a member of the Libertarian Party and a monthly newsletter letting you know that the LP HQ has the ability to write press releases. The bad news here is that UMP (Unified Membership Program) payments to the state parties will remain flat (and relatively paltry as it is).

Herein lies the catch-22 for small “L” libertarians who aren’t aware of the internal problems in the LNC: Do you join a party that shows no results or interest in actively promoting libertarianism through advertising or Internet outreach and education? Should you join the party in order to help them raise the funds or become active in the LP to do any of this?

Based on the current leadership, it’s safe to say that any money currently given to them is being wasted and that the extra $25 increase will be wasted as well. I expect results when I give any organization money, and right now there’s no indication that this will be changing for the better anytime soon (perhaps after the next national convention when the state chairs turn the tide against the incumbents and real change can be introduced).

In the meantime, save your money for other organizations who are offering tangible benefits, not just a membership card.

16 Comments
  1. I “became a member” near the end of April so I could be a delegate at the 2004 LNC. I received my card yesterday… I’m sending it back to them with a “no thanks” note explaining why I won’t be renewing my membership.

  2. I just sent a missive to my LNC rep asking that he (a) move to reconsider these motions with a roll-call vote at the next meeting and (b) tell me how he voted and why. The dues increase proposal has been floating for a while, but it’s not acceptable to vote it in with a secret ballot.

    I would encourage those of you who are upset not to leave the Party just yet. Maintain your membership and do what is necessary to be a delegate to the 2006 National Convention. If you want to change the party, that’s how to do it.

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X

    …may stand for election in ’06…

  3. Mr. X

    I have yet to see the LNC do anything worthy of notice. Why should their incompetance be rewarded with more money?

    However, with that said I do see the value of paying the dues to be a delegate. Maybe with enough caring delegates the idiots could be removed, and the party finally made into something that actually fights for liberty.

    My suggestion is find or start a group with people that care to be ACTIVE, in the sacred name of liberty. Then take over your local government.

    James

  4. Mr. X ,
    They cannot do a motion to reconsider as there is nothing to prove who voted for or against ,a la secret ballot. You would have had to vote for it to reconsider it. If you voted against it your only option would be to consider voting for it using these rules.

  5. They cannot do a motion to reconsider as there is nothing to prove who voted for or against ,a la secret ballot. You would have had to vote for it to reconsider it. If you voted against it your only option would be to consider voting for it using these rules.

    My interpretation would be that the secret ballot would make it out of order for the Chair to question whether the person making the motion to reconsider was in the majority, but since the meeting has adjourned, the motion to reconsider is no longer available.

    What is available are both motions to renew and to rescind, neither of which have a requirement that the maker have voted any particular way previously. Such a motion, with a roll-call vote, would have the same effect as a motion to reconsider would have.

    Yours truly,
    Mr. X

    …bloody Robert…

  6. Stephen,

    You seem to think that merely creating a killer website and blog would make the LP far more successful. That’s amusing.

    Politics requires MONEY. Libertarians don’t get funds by selling government privileges or by taking tax dollars (as Republicans and Democrats do). Thus, LP members must be counted on to do most of the contributing.

    Right now, the LP only has a budget large enough for a tiny operation: a national office, several staffers, a monthly newspaper, and some other minor expenses. If we want the party to do a lot of advertising, many of its members have to donate more than $25 per year (less then 50 cents per week).

    I dare say that anyone who’s serious about liberty–and not living in a cardboard box–shouldn’t have a problem with that.

  7. Comment to post 6,
    $50 is an uneeded expense when you are a college student. College students are a huge asset to a struggling political anything. Students have strange schedules that leave them open to do sign protests at odd times of the day. Sign protests to humiliate legislators or public officials are priceless.Also, one thing that the Lp has done, has not been to focus on mothers and family folk . If you don’t have the women in your family on board your politcal group, shall go nowhere. The Democrats and the Republican know that. Thats why they hammer home the family values issues. Lp must step up to defend our form of family values, right to homeschool, right to get government out of non violent personal relationships, right to afford self-funded healthcare,and right to form your own retirement from your own earnings. Comment 6 obviously thinks that they get their moneys worth from the top down Lp as it stands. My advice is that you can contribute more. But raisng the reapplication to be a member punishes those who stick with the Lp.

  8. I have two comments.

    #1: I am not a member of LP National. I researched whether or not I would be allowed to be a delegate to the next National LP Convention. Here is the relevant section of the LP Bylaws:

    Article 13: Conventions
    Section 3. Delegates
    Paragraph a. Delegates shall be required to be members of either the Party or an affiliate party….

    YMMV but in Massachusetts, you only have to register as a Libertarian with the Office of Elections, and according to LPMA bylaws, that grants you membership to LPMA, an affiliate of the LP National. Ironically enough, I’m not even a “dues-paying member” of the LPMA. I guess I’m a “deadbeat” member or something :) Regardless, I’m eligible to be a delegate.

    #2: I would rather give an extra $50 per year to the Institute of Justice or EFF or other charitable organization that actually produces results when given money.



  9. Kathryn,

    I’m only 26yo. I joined the LP when I was a poor college student, and I can tell you that I spent at least $50 a MONTH on beer (as all college students who go out to bars or clubs on the weekend do). Of course, your money is yours to do with what you wish. But we’re talking about another 50 cents a week! If an LP member, student or not, thinks it’s outrageous to pay that cost so that the party of peace and freedom can do more than simply overcome expensive ballot-access laws, produce and distribute a newspaper, and have a national office with people working in it, then I don’t think he or she takes liberty seriously at all.

  10. Quoth “Jonathan” —

    You seem to think that merely creating a killer website and blog would make the LP far more successful. That?Äôs amusing.

    I’ve only known Mr. VanDyke since last summer’s Badnarik campaign, but I can assure you that your description of his thought process is inaccurate. “A killer website and a blog” are just minimal projects which an organization the size of, and with the revenues of, the LP should be able to field as a matter of course (and which would enhance those revenues). The fact that it can’t do those minimal things — or even keep track of its membership database without imploding every few years, blaming it all on the old software, and blowing $100k or more on a new package that will “fix everything” until, of course, it proves useless — are symptoms, not causes.

    Politics requires MONEY

    You’re absolutely right. And the way to raise money for politics is to get effective at doing politics. The LP’s leadership has, for years, mistaken the end for the means. It continues to think that political effectiveness will magically happen if it can just raise more money. In fact, it is the money which will start magically appearing if the LP starts doing effective politics.

    I’ve heard too many people, too many times, make dire predictions that the LP has reached the end of its rope and will shortly jerk a few times, turn blue and expire, to fall into that trap myself. The LP may survive this most recent fit of stupidity. Whether it deserves to or not is another question entirely.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  11. Sorry about the above — I brain-farted on the use of the block quote tag. The particular parts of Jonathan’s comment to which I am responding should, however, be reasonably obvious.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

    [ed- fixed, blockquote cite=”” doesn’t seem to work in WP 1.2, so I guess don’t use it]

  12. Membership in the LPMA

    To join the LP of Massachusetts as recognized by the National Party, you must sign the loyalty oath and pay dues to national (separate payment to the state does not work; the LPMA state organization is in UMP). The LPMA does not care how you register from the standpoint of making you a member, though registered LP voters who appear at the state convention while we were a major party could probably vote. Many LPMA members (about half) are not registered as Libertarians.

  13. Re: needing money to publish a monthly newspaper. Sorry, but every Libertarian worth his salt that I knew in 1988-92 when I was involved with the LP had email, often through a Fidonet BBS in those days but they still had it. At the time anyway, it was a party heavy on tech geeks. Why on earth should such a creature be spending money to send its members a print newspaper every month? If money is such an issue, cut the newspaper and stay in touch with members online. For that matter, drop the membership card – set it up so that anyone who feels the absolute need to have an LP membership card can download a Word template and roll their own. Then instead of mailing your members once a month with a newsletter, you can direct mail NEW voters every month with a postcard on an issue and an invitation to go onlin for more information. Yeah, it takes money to reach new voters and that is exactly why when funds are limited you shouldn’t be wasting them on paper and postage for contacting your own members.

  14. Tom,

    Thanks for the comment. You say, “it is the money which will start magically appearing if the LP starts doing effective politics.”

    Can you define “doing effective politics” in this context?

    A political party fields and funds candidates who share a view of government–that’s its purpose. The competitiveness of its top candidates (those running for state or federal partisan offices) largely depends on their budgets. No money, no results.

    In fact, I’m amazed at what the party HAS been able to achieve over the years with such limited means. We can endlessly debate the merit of this expense or that one, of course. But I really think that’s missing the forest for the trees.

  15. I can leave a tabloid in the local coffee house. I can’t leave an email. Push and Pull marketing are independent. It may someday be possible for people to print things of LP News quality, but not yet, and (at around 1 cent a page) probably not as cheaply. If you shut down the apper newsletter and the card, people will be getting _Nothing_ for their dues.

    And voting in secret explains how defensible the National Committee thought their decisions were.

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