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How To Have a Libertarian Party

based on a workshop presentation by Perry Willis *
at Success '97 (notes taken by Stacy Van Oast)

*Perry Willis is presently writing a 100+ page book on this subject which should be available after September, 1997.

A frequent complaint Libertarians have is that nobody will do anything. And how can a political party grow and educate people and recruit and elect candidates and raise money, if no one is willing to do anything.

The question then becomes, how can we, as activists and doers, motivate and organize others to do something?

Perry Willis, now the national LP's Director of Communications, had tremendous success with this method of doing just that while involved with the San Diego LP.
  1. The basic organization must be in place first. The organization must have an accurate database and an idea of it's purpose and goals (see notes on developing mission statements). There must also be several people committed to success.
  2. Hold a monthly party:
    • Send out invitations to all members and inquiries
    • Call people and invite them, encouraging them to attend
    • Hold the party at someone's house
    • Ask everyone to bring a dish to pass and perhaps even beverages
    • Rotate the location of the party every month
  3. What to have at the party:
    • Have everyone wear nametags
    • Have a bulletin board of projects, with envelopes containing the "recipes" for completing the job (example: Want to research flea markets to have outreach booths at? Label an envelope "Flea Market Research" and enclose step-by-step instructions: 1) get a pen and paper; 2) look under "flea markets" in county-wide yellow pages; 3) call flea markets and ask the following questions; etc)
  4. What to do at the party:
    • Go around the room allowing everyone to introduce themselves
    • Make presentation describing what you're doing (what the bulletin board is all about)
      • you want LP to be everywhere
      • read contents of one envelope as an example
      • read off titles of all envelopes
      • invite people to select a project sometime during the night
      • tell them how: take the recipe for the project they want out of the envelope, put their name and phone number on envelope, and replace the envelope
      • periodically announce names of people and the projects they've taken
      • provide envelopes for donations only (newsletter funding, OPH booth funding, general fund, etc)
    • Ask people to sign a sheet if they're interested in hearing a Libertarian 101 lecture, and to note the number of people they think they could bring. Don't hold the 101 until you have 50 potential attendess on the list.
This way, people decide for themselves what to; they're self-motivated. And the projects are spelled out very simply and directly. It is important that the projects be small enough to handle fairly easily.

The projects will start to build on each other: once someone does the research on flea markets, you can have project envelopes asking people to set up booths.

A volunteer coordinator can follow up by calling the people who have taken recipes. Someone should keep track of who's supposed to be doing what and what's getting done.

The board should still meet regularly and separately to set goals, measure the success of the affiliate in reaching those goals, and determine strategy (decide on projects that will help them achieve goals). Don't do projects that aren't achieving your goals.

Sounds like a great way to have fun, socialize with other great-minded individuals, and grow the party! Nobody can complain that things aren't getting done, or blame the party's lack of success and growth on anything - except themselves! Maybe it's time to lighten up and have a party!

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