Aaron Russo Update: Movie release notes and he’s not dropping the Libertarian Party

When I woke up, my inbox was filled with messages with this subject line: “Russo abondons LP” which contained this link. The title reads: “Aaron Russo Calls for People to Run for Office as IAPs.” It seems that every LP member with a Yahoo Groups account is speculating why Russo left the LP — and e-mailed their speculation to me. From the linked article:

The Independent American Party of Nevada is spreading the word about America, From Freedom to Fascism. The party has been fighting this move toward Fascism for 40 years. The State Chairman, Christopher Hansen, has made a pledge that Independent American Party Candidates in 2006 will be encouraging people to promote and see my movie.

Together we can make this film the SPARK that starts the peaceful revolution that we all want! This will create the most meaningful controversy of the 2006 election. The news media will be talking about it because the candidates will be talking about it and that means theaters will want to show it, and Americans will want to see it.

We finally have the tool we need to create the necessary changes to free America. We can win.

This is your chance to make a REAL difference. Register to vote in the upcoming elections. Stop voting Republican and Democrat. VOTE FOR FREEDOM. Consider Independent American Party candidates and all 3rd party candidates that believe in the constitution as realized by our founding fathers.

Consider running for a local office yourself and tell people you are running to promote this important film that can Wake Up Americans to the truth of what has happened to our once great country.

Running for office is not difficult. Running for office is not expensive.

With help from the Independent American Party, a little training and a few press releases you can spread the word because YOU ARE NEWS when running for political office.

I was tempted to start responding that Russo didn’t dump the LP by encouraging people to “consider Independent American Party candidates and all 3rd party candidates that believe in the constitution as realized by our founding fathers;” the closing point of his movie is quite clear: “Stop being a good Democrat. Stop being a good Republican. Start being a good American.” The movie is about promoting freedom, not the LP.

Instead of debating this point endlessly on LP Yahoo Groups (endless debates of minor nuances is what a lot of Libertarians do instead of accomplishing something which actually promotes freedom), I just picked up the phone and gave Aaron a call. According the Russo, the reality is just how I perceived it: Russo will support any constitutionally based independent candidate or political party. In other words, he’s supported Ron Paul as a Republican, Michael Badnarik as a Libertarian and would support any reasonable independent or third party candidate for other races. This includes, but is not limited to, Libertarians.

He added something. The Independent American Party of Nevada is helping to promote his film, and their candidates will be using it as part of their campaigns. Aside from the event I helped to host (it would not have happened without me), the LP has done nothing to help promote the film. Not even an article at LP News or a national e-mail alert for one of their celebrated former presidential candidates. To quote Janet Jackson, “What have you done for me lately?”

Aaron clearly qualified the issue by saying, “I haven’t dropped the Libertarian Party!” Like me, he’ll support any freedom candidate, no matter the party. While this may irritate those of you who prefer promoting a party name to the exclusion of winning campaigns or issues, both he and I prefer action to another 35 years of mental masturbation.

I’d been planning to provide an update about the movie for a few days, but left my notes behind while traveling the other day. What I recall from our talk (and related conversation with his post-production/distribution company) is that they are planning a general theater release for late July. I recall that the date was July 20th, but I’m not absolutely sure. They hope to open in New York, move to Hollywood, then release the film in theaters across the country. In my opinion, the timing is great as it’s in the heat of election season.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. I don’t see anything wrong with any Libertarian supporting another party’s candidates when they’re working towards Liberty.

    But as a note; I tried to get Russo’s film shown in conjunction with the LPGeorgia Convention – but was passed on… so some in the LP have tried to do something to promote his film, which our former state chair said was great when he saw it.

  2. Trevor — I recall that it already was shown in Atlanta, long before the LP convention.

  3. Sorry to be anal about this, but in Aaron’s quote at the top of the Freedom to Fascism homepage, they’ve mis-spelled “boundaries”.

    Stephen, perhaps you could pass this along to the appropriate person? Attention to the small details enhances the appearance of professionalism.

  4. It is a real disgrace that the Libertarian Party hasn’t done enough to promote Russo’s film. I will do everything I can to promote the film even if other Libertarian Party members prefer to sit on their ass engaging in mental masterbation sessions.

  5. Stephen,

    It’s no big deal. I know their first showing in Atlanta went well but was a little thrown together because of theatre reservations, etc. When I got in touch with the people who were doing the event in Atlanta I was told they’d certainly love to do a second one but after original contact I was never contacted again and my efforts to again contact them failed.

    Again, no big deal, but that was a Libertarian group trying to get Russo’s film screened.

  6. Robert: freedomtofascism.com has several typos and grammar errors on their donations page as well.

  7. I saw it in a screening in Los Angeles because of an e-mail from the Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County.

  8. In Pennsylvania we had a viewing of Russo’s film at our state convention. Some Libertarians were so moved by it that they setup a few movie viewings for tax day. In addition they were trying to organize a nationally coordinated tax day viewing leveraging state and local Libertarian Party activists. Russo said no — apparently because it would jeopardize his ability to enter it into film festivals.

    So I find the implicit allegation that LP members aren’t supporting his film as much as the American Independent Party unconvincing.

  9. I just had to come back to add:

    The LP of California has exactly one paid employee. I’ll bet most have fewer. That means virtually all actions members take are done on a volunteer basis.

    There is no justification to say “they” haven’t done enough. “They” are “we.”

  10. Aaron Russo, and this film are great, as a few have noted. The rest of this conversation brilliantly summarizes the effectivness of the LP as a whole.

  11. i am only permitted to do one free screening per city, otherwise the theatres in that city will not play the movie when it is released.

    i will support any candidate that stands for liberty, from whatever party.

    the reason for the errors on the site is it is a new site going up and was not proofchecked and was not supposed to be seen by the public yet.

    i must also say (not in anger,but disapointment) the lp has done almost nothing to spread the word of this film. not even an article in the lp paper.

    but, i have come to expect that…. unfortunately.

    how many of you have actually even bothered to spread the link to the site to their lists.?

    “all your freedoms,all the time”


  12. Aaron,

    Please take the following with respect, as I do not mean it as an insult or anything such as that.

    Have you sent an article to LP News about your movie or spoken with Daniel Cloud, LP News Editor about screening it himself?

    When your movie came to Atlanta, I did my best to inform our membership of it… however; I was not contacted by anyone representing you until about a week before it was supposed to show, because there had been no theatre reserved.

    Our former state Chairman viewed the movie and said it was excellent, I’m sorry I didn’t see it, but hope I have the pleasure of paying $9 to see it in a theatre soon.

    I do believe that the Libertarian Party and our state affiliates should help promote your movie… but sometimes you have to take the initiative to get that to happen. As an employee of a state affiliate, I am busy every second of my day keeping the party going and don’t have time for extra things unless someone approaches me about an issue.

  13. The LP of Colorado (no paid employees; all volunteers) put the word out on its blog.

    I heard attendance and reaction was good. Unfortunately I was unable to attend that free screening. I am looking forward to the commercial release.

  14. Aaron,

    I know how you feel. State LPs have been great to my show, Free Talk Live, but National has been a consistent disappointment.

    I offered them two separate appearances on national radio, and they twice refused to even send out an email announcing their appearance. Like they do for every other anti-liberty radio show they appear on. Therefore, no airtime for them! Too bad. I’m awaiting new blood before I bother approaching them with any further opportunities.

    We’ve seen your film and promoted it on the air, and I’d love to have you come on and talk about it. I hope you’ll get in touch with me at ian at freetalklive.com.


  15. Trevor,

    Being busy in support of Liberty is commendable, and you have my thanks. Working to maintain, reclaim and enhance Liberty is what the LP is about.

    It’s what Aaron Russo is about, hence his film. Getting people to see that film advances Liberty. That is not an extra thing. It is the only reason for the LP, the only essential work.

    A few of these free screeings turn-out more foot-stomping, screaming fans of Liberty than any Libertarian National convention ever has accomplished, to note just one benefit.

    I can tolerate the LP, just barely, as long as I can cling to the notion that it is not about keeping itself going.

  16. Maybe I should clarify. In general, state LPs have been supportive and I learned some more from some of the comments. Comparing the support of national to other organizations, like We the People, for example, is like comparing a grape to a watermelon.

  17. I promoted and attended the Austin, Texas viewing as did many other Austin area Libertarians. Former LNC Chair Geoff Neale and his wife Nancy Neale attended (and also had lunch with Aaron the day after). I believe Michael Badnarik and some of his staff definitely attended. It was a standing room only crowd. I invited Aaron to appear on the Travis County Libertarian cable access TV show but he declined for personal reasons. Instead, long-time Libertarian activist Gary Johnson hosted guest Bob Shulz of We the People who hosted the movie in Austin for Aaron.

    Austin area Libertarians came out in full force for the Russo film and I think most of them enjoyed it.

  18. I was just at an IAP of Nevada event featuring Congressman Ron Paul last night. Got to get my picture taken with the Congressman, and take several other great pictures of him. I only attended that part of the IAP’s convention – i.e., the Ron Paul dinner portion. I had an idea what to expect from the party, since I noticed that Chris Simcox (of the “Minutement” extremists) is speaking tonight. However, I wasn’t prepared for how bad the IAP is. I speak from a unique background, since I served on Pat Buchanan’s steering committee for his 2000 campaign, and even chauffeured him when he came into my former home state of Minnesota. I once belonged to the immigration control movement. I ran for City Council in 2002 in a city in Minnesota, and I was dually endorsed by both the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party (which is what the IAP is an affiliate of). I have, however, came to change my views on immigration control. Rather than plagiarize myself, I will post a link………

  19. to a previous commentary of mine: http://www.webcommentary.com/asp/ShowArticle.asp?id=andersonm&date=050728

    That commentary explains part of the reason why I changed my views on this issue. What I wasn’t prepared at the IAP event last night was the outright hatred and hostility for Mexican immigrants. Not only that, these IAP members unashamedly advocate building a wall along the border. If you check out websites associated with the “Minutement” movement, they openly advocate building fences on the southern and northern borders of the U.S. See: http://www.weneedafence.com. When I tried to explain to some of the IAP members there how I once agreed with their position on immigration control, but due to the travel restrictions already put in place by the federal government (e.g., the no-fly list), I have changed my position, since a wall could very well be used to trap us, I was literally yelled at. Most interestingly, it was the older LADIES that yelled at me, while the men……

  20. were more diplomatic, and one of them even had to temper one of the ladies in her response to me. I brought up one historical example of the Berlin Wall. Their response was that the wall they want would be used to keep people out, while the Berlin Wall was used to trap people in. I responded by saying that that is my WHOLE POINT! The government can use walls and its federal agents to TRAP US IN! I then asked them point blank how they can trust this government with such a fence, to which they never answered. I find it very peculiar that these same people I was debating with devoted a lot of talk to bad-mouthing Bush, for being so complicit in providing amnesty to illegal aliens and not doing anything at the border. This prompts a question: if Bush isn’t doing anything to curtail illegal immigration now, why should we believe that he would use a border fence for that purpose? Which then prompts another question: why should believe that a border fence would be used for anything..

  21. OTHER than trapping us in?

    From what I got out of the event last night is that Congressman Ron Paul is great (which I have known for a long time), and Ron Paul even made sure to note that he doesn’t share their views on immigration control (e.g., fence building, etc.), and the overriding issue of IAP members is IMMIGRATON CONTROL, scapegoating immigrants as the source of our economic problems, and getting a fence built along the southern border, and even some IAP members advocated using illegal alien labor to get this fence built with evil grins on their faces while they were calling for this. I do not see what any freedom-loving American could find good about the IAP, when building a fence along the border is their MAIN issue. While they may take some good positions on other issues, don’t forget that rat poison is 95% good, to get the rat to consume it. That 5% poison is the killer, and that is the IAP. I now realize, since I am into liberty, and I recognize that the STATE…..

  22. Illegal immigration from Mexico has increased sevenfold since, and as a direct consequence of, the institution of NAFTA — the ultimate in governmental market meddling. (If you disagree, you haven’t read it; just because it’s called “free” doesn’t mean it is free.)