Libertarian State Leadership Alliance

Letters on Libertarian Strategy

Upon Strategic Planning

Fellow Libertarians!

Strategic Planning is not a new idea.

Businessmen have been doing it for millenia. The Hellenic philosopher Archimedes, challenged 'if you're so smart, why aren't you rich', is said to have used strategic planning: He anticipated an excellent olive harvest and used out-of-season options trading to corner the market on olive presses, thereby becoming wealthy.

We are not a newborn, fledgling political party. We are 28 years old. 28 years after their births, America's other great political parties---Federalist, Democratic, Whig, and Republican---had all elected Congressmen, Senators, and Presidents.

Why should we not have a long record of strategic planning, strategic thought, and strategic analysis?

We are the party of capitalism. How can we affect to be ignorant of a process known to every serious merchant, from the automobile magnate balancing between profit and business share --- to the donut magnate contemplating a cappuchino machine next to the percolator?

There are many tasks we can ask or expect or demand of our Party's elected leadership. Some are more fundamental than others. Some are more attainable than others. None is more basic than the ability of leaders to set forth a coherent strategic vision for our party, to identify a path for realizing that vision, to implement that path, and to improve that path based on practical experience.

Our Party's history includes some very different strategic visions. To see them, we need go no further than statements emanating from past candidates for National Chair. Consider the strategic images presented by Kent Guida (National Chair candidate, 1981) and David Bergland (National Chair candidate, 1998) in their campaign literature. (Both documents are on the web at www.lp2000.com.) I'm not going to argue whose vision was better. I'm only going to contrast the strategic visions. I'll show that our Libertarian Party has long had a sense of strategy and tactics. I'll show that historically we have had very different strategies proposed to us. What did these two candidates propose?

In his 1981 document, Kent Guida identified "...the key element in the success of the Libertarian Party is the individual activist who (will) help the party grow and succeed..." Guida demonstrated the sort of activities he would perform as National Chair. He compiled a "Blueprint for Libertarian Activists" sharing experiences of Libertarians from coast to coast. Core issues were:

In his 1998 letter, David Bergland proposed a series of actions that he would perform, actions targeted at 'making us a Party too big to ignore', including:

Note the dramatic difference in strategic visions. One candidate focused on individual activists and helping them to build a solid national base for the Party. The other focused on the Washington headquarters, Washington staff, and the national party's membership and operation. There can be no doubt: historically, we have been presented with a range of alternative strategic visions.

A third strategic vision is enunciated in the Clean Slate Action Program's "Stand Up for Liberty!", available on the web at http://www.cmlc.org, and as an eBook at http://3mpub.com

George Phillies

The Clean Slate Action Program Committee
Read "Stand Up for Liberty!"
http://www.cmlc.org -- .html version
http://3mpub.com -- eBook now available

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