Signal Intelligence About The LP

Loading Table of Contents...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Radicals Unveil Restore04 Platform Petition

A Platform-related "Restore04 effort" was first mentioned on the LPradicals forum on Nov 26, and was today unveiled at (a domain registered Nov 14). It was announced in an email from LP founder David Nolan, and the initial 23 signers include many other prominent LP radicals, including presidential candidates Steve Kubby and Christine Smith and 1984 nominee David Bergland. One LNC member (Angela Keaton) and two PlatCom alternates (Rob Power and Morey Straus) are early signers, but no other LNC members and no voting members of the PlatCom are listed. [2007-12-30: Illinois PlatCom rep Val Vetter has now joined Keaton as a signer.]

The site describes itself as a Restoration Caucus "seeking to restore the Libertarian Party's 2004 Platform as the basis for our 2008 Platform", and invites LP members to sign an online petition to the Platform Committee. The site says "a message will automatically be sent to the Platform Committee informing them that you support Restore '04!", but so far no such messages have reached this PlatCom member, either personally or via the official address. The petition says:
As a member of the Libertarian Party I hereby petition the 2008 Platform Committee to restore as much of the 2004 Platform as it can. In making this request, I am not saying that every word in every plank of the 2004 Platform was perfect and should be retained intact, exactly as it was worded at the end of the 2004 Convention.

However, I am concerned that a small number of overzealous reformers, voting at an unusually small national convention, was able to remove the great majority of a document that evolved over three decades and incorporated the thinking of thousands of dedicated Libertarians. The 2006 convention was less than half the size of the 2004 convention, and was not representative of the party membership at large. The irresponsible vote to destroy most of our platform was a great disservice to our Party, and should be undone as much as possible.

For this reason I urge the members of the Platform Committee to vote to revert to the 2004 Platform as the basis for any changes to be submitted to the delegates in Denver. Some changes and additions are no doubt necessary, but there simply will not be time to construct, refine and adopt a comprehensive platform starting with the shriveled 2006 version.

Furthermore, I urge the Platform Committee and the delegates to the 2008 Convention to base their platform recommendations and votes on the enduring principles of our Party, as stated in the Statement of Principles and affirmed in the statement we each signed upon joining this Party, renouncing the initiation of force.

At this crucial time in history, where our lives and liberties are threatened by both of the old-line parties, it is imperative that the Libertarian Party offer a clear, uncompromising alternative to the politics of statism. Our message must be what it has always been: a clear statement of support for the principles of self-ownership and self-determination. Tepid calls for "less" of various statist incursions on our lives and property should be left to the Republicans and Democrats. When Ron Paul, seeking the nomination of the Republican Party, is calling for the elimination of the Federal Reserve system and repeal of the Federal personal income tax, can we do any less?

If the Platform Committee ignores its responsibilities and presents a report to the convention that does not substantially reverse the damage done in 2006, I will support a move on the convention floor to reject that report and revert to the 2004 Platform as the starting point for the 2008 Platform.
The petition authors seem unaware of the effort on the Platform Committee to restore a comprehensive Platform using the best language of past Platforms to "describe what the Bylaws mean by 'a libertarian direction' in public policy, by stating for each issue a timeless principle that is consistent with both incremental reform and radical ultimate goals". This "Greatest Hits" draft is the only complete platform draft currently under active consideration by PlatCom.

Meanwhile, LP radical and Kubby communications director Tom Knapp is pushing a new version of his World's Smallest Political Platform, a flawed (according to Knapp) version of which was irrevocably and permanently adopted by Knapp's (moribund?) Boston Tea Party. The WSPP states in full: "[Name of organization] supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope or power of government at any level or for any purpose." I've criticized the WSPP not only for its brevity but also for ruling out many of the proposals for decentralization and defederalization that are supported by lots of libertarians both moderate and radical.

The LP convention rule requiring 2/3 approval for Platform additions or edits (while allowing plank deletion with a mere majority vote) will make it very difficult for these Platform revanchists to restore all of the laundry lists and extremist eccentricities of the Squyres-format 2004 Platform. The two key questions will be 1) whether a PlatCom majority develops around the Greatest Hits draft, and 2) whether the convention adopts the Bylaws Committee's proposed rule that the PlatCom's recommendations get an up-or-down vote before any amendments.

No comments: