Hit & Run

Libertarians and Greens: Room for Alliance?

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The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik and Green candidate David Cobb are finding much in common:

During the first break in their live radio forum broadcast Friday afternoon from a Metairie studio, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate turned to his Green Party counterpart and invited him -- politely and sincerely -- to an antiwar rally that night.

Later, during another break, Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian, told David Cobb, the Green, "I keep liking you more and more."
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In New Orleans for different reasons -- Badnarik for the Libertarian state convention today and Cobb on a campaign swing through the South -- the two men know they have more in common with each other than they do with Democrats or Republicans.

They are against the Bush administration's Patriot Act. They are against the war on drugs. They want to bring the troops home from Iraq and they both want to change the political system that, for the most part, excludes minor parties like their own.

This comes on the heels of longtime libertarian activist Donald Meinshausen's call for the P.R. and movement-building value of a series of LP/Green (and Constitution Party and Nader, if they are on enough ballots to win) debates on college campuses. An excerpt:

The Greens recently have forgone Nader, a candidate with power, media recognition and money. They have instead chosen a return to grassroots identity in David Cobb. Libertarians can identify with this. In the Greens we can find a group that eschews Marxism and establishment liberalism with a basic value of decentralization of power. In the Greens we can therefore find an honorable opposition that will fit in with the need to find a positive dialectic at the top of the political spectrum. Since the Greens are being savagely attacked as spoilers by the liberals I believe that the Greens will find a growing respect for us as we offer a principled, efficient and friendly contrast to their views that will give them increased exposure. These good experiences may well mean interesting initiatives with us in the future. After gaining experience with the Greens in organizing these events, I expect to see joint projects to pass laws and referenda supporting instant run-off voting, medical marijuana, anti-war and anti-draft positions and anti-corporate welfare projects such as stadium socialism. And if the Buchanan and Nader forces wish to support such actions, so much the better.

So far I have received much grassroots support for this idea from both Greens and Libertarians. Remember, this is not an amalgamation but a principled alliance for a series of single issues.

It's hard to say beforehand--or even, for that matter, after the fact--how such opportunities to spread ideas before audiences potentially both hostile and receptive will pan out. But it seems to me it promises to reach out to a wider variety of people and create more opportunites to energize single-issue public campaigns on libertarian themes than more traditional LP speechifying. At the very least, as the Times-Picayune story's very existence indicates, it provides a media hook that lots of publications might find harder to resist than either pure Green or pure Libertarian events.