The Mission, Purpose And Centralized Focus Of The Libertarian Party
                                            Passed in Convention April 5, 1997

Resolution To Express The Opinion Of The Assembled Delegates Of The Libertarian Party Of Pennsylvania Regarding The Mission, Purpose, And Centralized Focus Of The Libertarian National Committee


WHEREAS, the Libertarian Party has benefited from years of dedicated, tireless, hard work by hundreds of activists, candidates and party officers who have served the cause of individual liberty at the national level for 20 years, and;

WHEREAS, the Libertarian Party has benefited from the millions of dollars donated to the national Libertarian Party by generous Libertarians across the country, and;

WHEREAS, all persons who have represented the Libertarian Party as candidates for president and vice president over the last 20 years should be commended for their contributions to the cause of liberty, and;

WHEREAS, the National Libertarian Party has grown from approximately 10,000 members in 1980 to approximately 22,000 members in 1996, and;

WHEREAS, the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania is grateful to all the individuals over the years who have made the above happen, and;


WHEREAS, despite all of the above, the Libertarian Party is not growing fast enough to make a difference in furthering the cause of individual liberty and limiting the size of government; according to Campaigns and Elections magazine, there are 542 federal elected offices (of which the Libertarian Party has never held any), there are 18,828 state elected offices (of which the Libertarian Party no longer holds any), and there are 493,830 local elected offices; the Libertarian Party cannot yet claim 200 appointed and elected officials, combined (less than four one-hundredths of one percent (.04%); we are still a tiny fraction of the size of the two major parties--in terms of registered voters, candidates running, votes cast for Libertarian candidates, number of contributors or members, and;

WHEREAS, the purpose of a political party is to change government policy by having Libertarians win elections and participate in political initiatives, and;

WHEREAS, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate in 1996 was the first candidate in our history to come in 5th in the presidential race, behind Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Ross Perot, and Ralph Nader--this fact being no relation to the excellent quality of our candidates, and;

WHEREAS, the Libertarian Party suffers justifiable derision from outsiders when its presidential candidates insist they really have a chance to win the election, and when its candidate consistently receives less than 1% of the popular vote, and;

WHEREAS, voters are reluctant to vote for a candidate (or a party) who has not developed a track record in political office, and a realistic place for Libertarians to develop such a track record is in local, county and state office, and;

WHEREAS, the national news media will not follow our presidential and vice-presidential candidates around the country, but local and regional media will turn out for local appearances by third party presidential candidates when those appearances are well-attended by local Libertarian Party candidates, and;

WHEREAS, the top of the Libertarian Party ticket did universally better in those jurisdictions where other Libertarians appeared on the ballot and where state and local parties were active; from the active Libertarian Party in Arizona delivering the highest percentage of any state; to the metropolitan Philadelphia area reflecting local party activity in those counties; to Dane County, Wisconsin where Libertarian Party candidates appeared on the ballot in numbers to match the Republican Party; and in virtually every other region in the country, a reverse coattails effect clearly helped raise the presidential vote totals to a higher level that the previous campaign, and;

WHEREAS, the resources of Libertarian Party members across the nation will be most effective if targeted carefully in the most promising local races, and;

WHEREAS, the best and cheapest way to obtain ballot status for the presidential campaign in all 50 states is to have hundreds of candidates in each state, and thousands of local activists in each state gather the signatures--not for a centralized ballot access effort to mail numerous fund-raising appeals to local party members to raise millions of dollars to pay for hired signature gatherers, and;


WHEREAS, people need to learn to walk (locally) before they can run (nationally), and;

WHEREAS, all politics is local, and;

WHEREAS, Libertarians advocate for society at large, free market, customer-oriented systems and decentralized organizations in which many dispersed and diverse individuals try out various methods to reach the varied goals desired by individuals; markets reward and encourage success, and markets emphasize performance and merit, and;

WHEREAS, Libertarians repudiate for society at large, problem solving techniques which rely on central planning, bureaucracy, hierarchies and top-down decision-making; and centralized organizations encourage internal politics and in-fighting, and reward effort and process rather than results, and;

WHEREAS, Libertarians should practice what they preach, and;

WHEREAS, nothing in this resolution would prevent individual Libertarians and others from giving all or part of their money and resources to national party activities, to presidential campaigns and to centralized ballot drives.

1. The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania strongly recommends to the Libertarian National Committee that it change its mission to be more of a service-oriented organization whose primary purpose it is to aid state and local parties by such activities as:
(a) Acting as a national clearinghouse for assistance and advice on: policy ideas, outreach materials, campaigns for office, single-issue campaigns, and administrative and organizational problems, and the like;

(b) Focusing media attention on local parties and local candidates whenever possible, and otherwise supporting state and local party outreach activities;

(c) Obtaining financing to the greatest extent possible by revenue derived from selling the above services to state and local Libertarian Parties and other groups, and limiting general fundraising appeals to local party members to the greatest extent possible;

(d) And by assembling a committee to draft a plan before January 1, 1998 outlining how it can restructure itself and change its mission and activities as described above. The plan should describe how officers and employees of the national party should receive recognition and compensation based on how well they succeed in assisting state and local parties and implementing the goals of the plan. The plan should be reviewed and updated at least every two years.

2. The proper role of presidential candidacies in the Libertarian Party should be changed to the following: (a) To promote the grassroots development of state, county and local Libertarian Party organizations by using the presidential campaign as a recruiting device, and by encouraging and assisting in the training of Libertarian candidates and leaders at these levels;

(b) To draw attention to Libertarian candidates for lower-level office--particularly those with the best chances of reflecting well on the Libertarian Party, with respect to both their campaigns and their ultimate service in office;

(c) To communicate the Libertarian message as effectively as possible especially regarding national issues of the day;

(d) And to de-emphasize getting on the ballot in all 50 states unless ballot status can be obtained by signatures gathered by state and local candidates, by volunteer activists and/or by hired signature gatherers paid for by state and local party funds.

3. The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania lead by example by immediately developing and implementing a similar plan within Pennsylvania: that is, being a service-oriented organization to the county and local groups within Pennsylvania, and focusing any statewide campaigns on building county and local organizations.