Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Tennessee Libertarian Party Convention

NEWEST LPTN OFFICERS: (L-R) Izaak Standridge, Vice Chairman; John Sebastian, Chairman; Ray Ledford, Secretary; J.R. Enfield, Treasurer.

"A flourishing libertarian movement, a lifelong dedication to liberty can only be grounded on a passion for justice."
Murray Rothbard, Egalitarianism As a Revolt Against Nature

I attended the 2009 Tennessee Libertarian Party Convention on Saturday, April 25 at the Best Western Inn off N. Peters Road in Knoxville, Tennessee.

We had around 40 people in attendance including representatives from Maryville College, East Tennessee State University as well as several other local colleges in addition to long-time activists.

The morning session dealt mostly with business such as amending the party by-laws, going over the treasurer's report and electing new officers.

During the afternoon, we heard from a variety of speakers.

The first one to speak was Matthew Jeffers. Matthew is a former Army veteran, student at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and co-founder of the Students of American Liberty. He talked about his time in the military and how he transitioned from being just another soldier who followed orders to being a full-fledged activist for liberty. He commented he was frustrated with George W. Bush, the neo-cons and the general direction of the country. His transition started when he came across a sign on the ETSU campus a few years ago that said "Google Ron Paul".

Allan Wallace, secretary of the Knox County affiliate of the Libertarian Party and co-founder of Outright Libertarians spoke next about his time as a political activist and the importance of advocacy groups that share common themes with the Libertarian Party as well as discrimination that occurs against bi-sexuals, gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals.

Fred Childress, co-founder of the Tennessee Liberty Alliance spoke about his time as a political activist in Oak Ridge with his most recent cause being against RedFlex cameras.

R. Lee Wrights, a long-time political activist and editor/publisher of Liberty For All talked about the recent fight going on within the Libertarian Party particularly as it pertains to Libertarian National Committee. He expressed dismay over his removal from the committee over the "expiration" of his membership. Technically, his wife paid for his membership on her credit card, but supposedly Federal election law says that another person can't pay for your membership in a political party. He chalks it up to a difference of personalities between him and another member on the committee and that this argument is hog-wash.

Angela Keaton, Development Director of spoke about Anti War's reason for being and mentioned that the mainstream media generally only reports on a sanitized version of war particularly in the Middle East.

Ernest Hancock was the keynote speaker. He spoke for several hours about his transition over the course of his life from the events of his childhood like the Vietnam War, Watergate, to the 1988 election cycle when he first started to understand the bigger picture of how the world works. He followed through with the central question: "How Many Minds Can We Free?" particularly as it relates to younger people being involved in political activism.

He expressed his dismay about how the Libertarian Party particularly at the top had not figured out that the top-down approach is not effective and that liberty has no central planning committee therefore, it is best to let people on the ground determine how to run things.

The meeting concluded around 7 p.m. and the rest of the night was essentially social event. I left around 8 p.m. since I had been up since 5 a.m. and looking forward to getting some sleep.

If you are on Facebook, more pictures can be viewed here.


Keaton said...

Great write up. So glad we met. Thanks for all you do for peace.

LPMNDC said...

I have posted pictures at Nice write up Chris.