• THE FREE WOMAN'S SEMINAR
Libertarians have frequently ignored issues and movements dealing with civil liberties and human freedom. The result so far has been that the left has, by default, become largely identified with such inherently libertarian issues as women's liberation, marijuana legalization, gay liberation, civil rights, the free-school movement, Indian rights, etc. Hopefully, libertarians' attitudes are changing: the Libertarian Party of Kentucky recently became the first libertarian organization to devote an entire conference to the issue of women's liberation. Conference organizer Sue Brown reports for Frontlines:
The Free Woman's Seminar, sponsored by the Libertarian Party of Kentucky on November 24, 1973 in Louisville, managed to be a success despite a Thanksgiving parade which cut off access to Stouffer's, rainy weather, the holiday weekend, and a smaller attendance than expected (approximately 50 persons—men and women—fought the difficulties to attend; 100 tickets were sold altogether). Although the majority of the people attending were nonlibertarians, LP people from Ohio and Illinois were present.
The program consisted of a morning session—theme, "The Free Woman and the Free Society"—with Susan Brown (LPK chairman), Bobbi Jahn (biologist and company manager), Kay McAlpine (economics analyst at Ford Motor Co.), Sharon Presley (psychologist), Lyda Lewis (Miss Kentucky 1973), and Tonie Nathan (LP vice-presidential candidate) each giving talks in her specific areas of interest. A lot of good ideas about how women could achieve their goals without resorting to the use of force came out of this session.
Kay McAlpine mentioned, among other things, that large companies might consider establishing day care facilities on a payroll deduction plan and emphasized that often men have the same problems as women in this area if they are widowed or have custody of their children after a divorce. She also mentioned some of the "good" things about working for a large company such as Ford, and attacked some of the myths of the Social Security System, pointing out not only its discriminatory treatment of women, but its ineptitude as a whole. Sharon Presley made some excellent points, paralleling the nonauthoritarian personal relationships which women are seeking with a nonauthoritarian political system. She emphasized the danger of allowing government to dominate our lives and specifically mentioned the danger in supporting government-financed daycare centers (the government system of compulsory education is a breeding ground for such horrors as a forced drug program for hyperactive children). Tonie Nathan dealt with the difference between "liberation", "freedom", and "independence", relating the history of her very liberated mother and her own discovery of independence.
Highlighting the afternoon session was a panel discussion by local women journalists; a lecture and demonstration of Korean Karate by Martin and Bobbi Jahn; a panel discussion on romantic relationships; and workshops on money and investment, romantic relationships, and how government works.
The Romantic Relationships panel and workshop were the most largely attended events of the day with discussion centered around establishing individual autonomy in relationships between people on an intimate level.
The nonlibertarians that attended the seminar seemed pleasantly surprised that so many relevant issues of the women's liberation movement had solutions that they had not previously considered—the compliments were unanimously positive. As usual, the libertarians just enjoyed having an excuse to get together and discuss ideas.
The news media gave the event excellent coverage both before and after the seminar was held. The LOUISVILLE TIMES (daily) did a feature article on the LPK and the seminar, THE COURIER-JOURNAL ran a detailed announcement too. Nathan and Presley appeared on two television shows the Friday before the seminar, and Ms. Nathan did three radio interviews. Two television stations (WAVE, an NBC affiliate, and WKLY, an ABC affiliate) covered the actual seminar. WAVE ended its coverage of the event with the very statement: "The Free Woman's Seminar: a concept way ahead of its time, or too late." Anyone for next year?
• SIL EAST COAST CONFERENCE
Frontlines correspondent, SIL director Dave Walter, reports:
On Saturday, November 17th, 160 libertarians gathered at Drexel University in Philadelphia for Society for Individual Liberty's annual Fall East Coast Conference, with the theme "Toward a New Liberty." A variety of talks and seminars were held, giving something of interest to virtually every libertarian who attended.
Dr. Murray N. Rothbard, honorary chairman of SIL's Academic Advisory Board, led off the conference with an in-depth analysis of the shortage-prone U.S. economy and the governmental interference that led to it. Rothbard observed that many people attribute inflation to greedy businessmen, but he wondered why there was a "quantum leap" in greed in just the last few years if this were true! He rejected rationing of short supply items, of course, in favor of free market pricing policies. Dr. Rothbard noted that some 15% of gas rationing coupons in WWII were counterfeited and suggested that such a black market operation might spring up if rationing is again imposed.
A short discussion, led by Don Ernsberger, SIL director, followed in which the merits of impeachment of President Nixon were discussed. It was generally agreed that libertarians should not seek impeachment because, with Nixon in office, he is basically powerless and cynicism for government and politicians can be further aggravated.
Fran Youngstein, New York Free Libertarian Party candidate for Mayor, gave a report on the recently concluded FLP mayoralty campaign. FLP gathered around 9,000 votes, or more than the four other minority parties combined. Youngstein expressed her appreciation for the financial aid libertarians sent in from all over the country, and concluded that the campaign represented substantial gains in terms of publicity and new sympathizers for the libertarian cause.
After a short lunch break, "The Taxpayer's Revolt" was the focus of a presentation by Ken Kalcheim, chairman of the National Tax Strike Coalition, and John Sotriakis, a law student at St. John's University in New York. Kalcheim discussed the new freedom-of-information act which requires IRS to produce all information gathered on persons accused of tax crimes, and the Daly-Drexeler cases where both taxpayers failed to give any information other than name and address on their tax returns. (Daly was found guilty and placed under psychiatric observation but Drexeler was found innocent of tax evasion on Fifth Amendment grounds.) Sotriakis discussed the rights of taxpayers in IRS investigations.
SIL then presented an award, in absentia, to controversial Philadelphia contractor Leon Altemose [see "Union Terror in the Building Trades," REASON, October 1972]. Altemose has gained national notoriety through construction union attacks on his construction sites that have done over $400,000 damage. Altemose has been fighting the union coercion and has earned the undying hate of their leaders. His lawyer advised him to avoid attending the conference to receive his award because of a new outbreak of site bombings during the preceding week.
Dr. Dom Armentano, economics professor at the University of Hartford and author of THE MYTHS OF ANTITRUST, made his first appearance at a libertarian conference. He discussed the growth of the petroleum industry and attempts to regulate oil and gas production which have led to monopoly laws causing more harm than good. He discussed the two views of business that libertarians hold: the Objectivist view that businessmen are always being set upon by government and the Revisionist view that businessmen are always running to government for help. Dr. Armentano feels that the truth is somewhere in between and that businessmen are basically interested in making a profit at whatever cost to free enterprise principles.
After a break for afternoon seminars on a variety of topics, the conference reconvened with a "Crime without Victims" panel consisting of: Gary Greenberg, former Queens Country assistant District Attorney; Byrna Aronson, administrative assistant with the Greater Philadelphia American Civil Liberties Union; and Jarret Wollstein, former INDIVIDUALIST editor. They discussed everything from marijuana legalization to freedom of speech to sex laws during the hour.
The conference ended with Dr. Rothbard giving "The Case for Optimism". He sees the growth of the libertarian movement and such groups as SIL, Libertarian Party, and REASON magazine as evidence that, while things may get worse, the cause of freedom has a much brighter future than he would have thought ten years ago.
With the success of the conference and the enthusiasm expressed by the attendees, SIL is planning to re-institute the annual Spring conference and will try to hold conferences in other regions of the country.
The Executive Committee of the national Libertarian Party met over the Thanksgiving weekend in Denver. Most of the meeting was devoted to business detail and budget planning. Treasurer Pipp Boyls reported on the numerous proposals currently before Congress which would "reform" campaign spending. It is possible that the LP and other minor parties could be seriously impeded in their efforts to raise campaign financing. This comes (coincidentally) at a time when there is a growing interest in the idea of a third party movement. The Excom indicated it will seek redress in the courts if an unfavorable bill is adopted.
Ed Clark and Bill Westmiller were elected by the national Excom to be Chairmen of the Platform and Constitution and By-Laws committees, respectively. Bob Meier of Chicago was chosen to head the national LP fund raising efforts.
The Texas Libertarian Party will host the 1974 National Convention in Dallas next June. Most state parties will be having conventions of their own during the next several months at which delegates to the Dallas gathering will be selected.
The largest of the state LP parties, California, will be holding its second annual convention on February 16-18, 1974, at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley. Speakers will include Roger MacBride, John Hospers, and Antony Sutton. For further information write to: Kathy Merrick, P.O. Box 1203, Santa Cruz, CA 95061.
The LP of Washington State will hold its annual convention January 26-27, 1974, at the Century House Motor Hotel in Seattle. Speakers will include Roger MacBride, Tonie Nathan, and John Hospers. For further information write to P.O. Box 297, Granite Falls, WA 98252.
The Louisiana LP will hold its convention in New Orleans January 19-20, 1974. John Hospers will be a speaker. For further information write to: Jerry Millett, P.O. Box 2932, Lafayette, LA 70501.
Rampart College is sponsoring a seminar conducted by Harry Browne on You Can Profit From A Monetary Crisis in Chicago (January 26), New York (February 2), Dallas (February 9), San Francisco (February 16), and Denver (February 23). For information contact Rampart College, Box 11407, Santa Ana, CA 92711.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Frontlines".