CALIFORNIA LP CONVENTION
On the weekend of February 14-17 in Santa Monica the Libertarian Party of California held its Third Annual Convention with about 150 people attending. In addition to the general sessions which dealt with the Platform and the Constitution and Bylaws, a number of panels and special events were held.
On Friday night veteran campaigners Dave Bergland, Karl Bray, William C. White, John Hospers and Bill Susel held a panel discussing their experiences in the 1974 elections and the prospects and opportunities for the LP in 1976. (And following the panel was an unscheduled Valentine's Day treat—the wedding of Dave Bergland and Nichole Norman with Universal Life minister Hank Hohenstein officiating.)
Saturday opened with a very well attended seminar on Libertarian Feminism featuring REASON editor Lynn Kinsky, Susan Love Brown, and Ranette Daniels presenting the case for feminism being very much a libertarian issue. Ms. Kinsky suggested the formation of a Women's Caucus within the LP to encourage communication between libertarian women and to deal with political issues specifically affecting women (anyone wishing further information should contact Ms. Kinsky c/o REASON).
Following the seminar was a luncheon featuring a talk by the author of Land Use Without Zoning, Bernard Siegan, and then after a short break Dr. John Hospers gave the opening speech for the first general convention session.
Sunday brought the highlight of the convention—the evening banquet, which featured a talk by Roger Lea MacBride on "The Future of Liberty" and a speech by Dr. Murray Rothbard on "The Need for Political Action" (to be published in the next issue of REASON). Roger MacBride galvanized the audience by making formal what has been talked about for a while—he announced his candidacy for the national LP Presidential nomination!
The convention wound up on Monday with the election of officers: Bill West-miller is the new state chairman, Susan Love Brown is the southern vice chairman, Ray Cunningham is the northern vice chairman, Ed Wolford is the new state secretary, and Dan Wiener is the new treasurer.
Anyone wishing further information on the Libertarian Party of California should write to the LPC at P.O. Box 71383, Los Angeles, CA 90071.
SANTA BARBARA RESULTS
The results of the libertarian campaign for School Board in Santa Barbara, California [see "Frontlines," March 1975] were a little disappointing, but the usual excuse of lack of voter information cannot be given. Lynn Kinsky, editor of REASON, and Ruth Hammond Sutton, REASON office manager, placed 12th and 14th respectively in a field of 18. Kinsky received 3,523 votes for 9.3 percent of the vote (this was for three seats, so percentages indicate number of votes divided by total voters voting), and Sutton received 3,070 votes for 8.1 percent. The candidates having attended about 50 public forums, distributed 10,000 leaflets, and spent $1000 on newspaper advertising, everyone in Santa Barbara was talking about "the libertarians." When introduced to the candidates, people often said, "Oh, you're the ones that want to abolish public education." Nonetheless, Kinsky and Sutton received a lot of support from community and political leaders from both the right and left. While getting endorsements from many prominent conservatives, and getting many of their votes from conservative areas, one of their highest vote-areas was Isla Vista, a small community near the University of California Santa Barbara campus which gained notoriety in 1970 for the burning of their local Bank of America, and where the political spectrum ranges from liberal to Marxist. Kinsky placed 5th with 12.5 percent and Sutton placed 8th with 8 percent, while most of the active candidates only got a few percentage points. Also, Robert Raffealli, Isla Vista resident and U.C.S.B. Society for Individual Liberty co-founder, running for the Community College Board, received 6,639 votes for 20.9 percent overall in a two way race, and received 46 percent in Isla Vista. His ballot occupation was "Libertarian Writer."
The result of this campaign was that people were exposed to libertarian ideas, applied to local issues, and, while many balked, many also responded. The Santa Barbara libertarians, rapidly growing in numbers, intend to keep active in community affairs. Libertarianism has become a respected force in Santa Barbara politics. For further information please contact the Santa Barbara LP at 294 Via El Encantador, Santa Barbara, CA 93111; phone 805-964-4310, or 964-4131.
Dave Merrick, Libertarian Party member, ran for the Santa Cruz, California City Council and received 1819 votes in a 12-way race for 4 seats, placing 9th with about 18 percent of the vote. Merrick ran for County Supervisor a year ago and his total and percentage then was about one-third that of this campaign, indicating growing respectability for libertarianism and a lot of work by Santa Cruz libertarians.
June Genis, running for the Palo Alto, California School Board received about 500 votes for three percent, placing fourth in a four-way race. Her campaign was marred by the inactivity of local libertarians until the last week of the campaign, when a few thousand leaflets were distributed.
Saul Rackauskas, LP regional vice-chairman running for the Community College Board in Ventura Country, California, received 4,582 votes for 19.1 percent in a three-way race for one seat.
"Will You Survive Anarchy?" will be the theme of Countercon II, the second conference on "counter-economics," to be held over Memorial Day Weekend (May 23-26) at Camp Mowhawk in Cheshire, Massachusetts. (Attendance is expected to be several times the 25 scholars and businesspeople who attended Countercon I in October.) Counter-economics examines how goods and services can be freely traded in spite of governmental prohibitions, protectionism, and economic distortions, and advocates of the counter-economy believe that this network of "underground" enterprises could in fact become the only organized economy, should the aboveground economy collapse due to government interventions or whatever. Believing that anarchy—in a very real sense—will result if the vast array of government supports suddenly collapses counter-economists are trying to organize as many alternative enterprises as possible, everything from postal systems to arbitration services.
Among the speakers at Countercon II will be Robert LeFevre, Charles Curley, Dennis Turner, Sam Konkin, Abby Goldsmith, and Ken Kalcheim. For further information on the conference please contact J. Neil Schulman, 180 West End Avenue, Apt. 7C, New York, NY 10023 or phone 212-595-9143.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Frontlines".