The late Dr. Ralph Swanson, in his study, helped lead abolition of thousands of problem statutes–and says “Get to Work”!
NOTE: We always keep your name confidential and never share d-bases. Just send us the news story evidencing the influence of the Reform or your good work. We do appreciate occasional photos of coalitions activity.
LI lead activists are presently working on a variety of efforts to position model groups pushing for comprehensive change especially via direct democracy, along with publicizing groups worthy of imitation and adaptation from local public interest attorney firms to local watchdogs. Here’re 2 how-to’s: E-lobbying on measures and developing initiatives.
- E-lobbying on measures…
This can be done by you, family or a team of friends.
- Check out upcoming measures that affect rights via web or contact with the clerk. Use our rating system to help prioritize…and also rate legislators 1 to 3 based on receptivity for future reference…OR look at current problem statutes and target for attention, beginning with those obviously obsolete or redundant, or already have some momentum of dissatisfaction–or also get ideas here for proposals such as more transparency…
- Contact legislators (council, policymakers, etc. ) pro- or con- by e-mail, phone, or letter. Be positive and short, to the point. Understand from their point of view to better see what voluntary options might be helpful. Use the term Libertarian where possible. Send an e-comment or letter to local media to drum up interest. If you have a small group, meet with local media and offer to keep them informed. Links to alternatives or scientific or other studies help. Often a few calls from different people will do the trick. Whatever the outcome, follow up with a’ thank you’ call or e-mail for their interest to everyone.
- Let us know of major wins (or simply alert us to the story and we’ll start following it). Do not be discouraged by failure: LI Lib fans don’t think that way…remember you’re getting a viewpoint out that wasn’t part of the mix until you called, and simply continue on the issue until you get results. An advanced technique is for the call team to visit legislators periodically to let them know your commitment.
Be cool, calm, collect–In considering issues, look at the top 3 that concern you. Leave the top one for others for whom it is a secondary priority to push as you may be too upset to sound credible and balanced. Never discuss conspiracies or attack people personally or as malefactors…today’s adversary is to-morrow’s ally; passion is one thing, sounding enraged another.
- Developing initiatives…
This grows slowly but if nothing else you will develop valuable networks and discover initiatives that already have support and just need a bit more focus that you can provide foir success.
Example of one under way for inspiration: The pilot Florida project has been holding informationals on the overall concept and amendment proposals using the article below to drum up interest, get attendee feedback on language and areas of support, and develop alliances via coalitions and citizen summits. In several other states ‘radical’ elements are being tested out for initiative acceptability and critique.
The effort will move on to a pilot PAC and support group when there is sufficient momentum and an upodated version of the Gilson Libertarian refgorm is circulated for the purpose. The –while open to support by candidates– focuses on democratic and juridic dialogue and so direct pressure from the people. This sidesteps many problems that may effect political officials.
LI fans are welcome to use the current materials to hold brainstorms and generate local interest in their own programs, and develop a to-do list, including autonomous call-team or more formal structure inspiration.
2009–(Update of previous story) Pierson & St Petersburg, Florida–Grand Old Man and crusty Libertarian leader Ralph Swanson says he has finished research on several potential Libertarian interest amendments to advance libertarian concepts while building the Libertarian-oriented contact list from the petition signers, to build Libertarian interest and community.
The research builds on a yet unpublished international platform designed by Libertarians Michael Gilson and Milton Friedman he helped oversee with the Advisory Board of the Libertarian International Organization. He stepped down to write his memoirs as the Board Chair earlier…
A PAC FOR CHANGE
A legislative PAC to focus on MMP, Medical Marihuana, Real Estate tax abolition, and encouraging “Voluntary Cities” and enhanced localism is underway to carry out the plan. The PAC will focus initially on training and networking to promote volunteer petitioners and legislative understanding. “In Florida, when an initiative is making progress, legislators will often just go ahead and make it law.” In addition, he says, structural changes such as allowing carbon-copy signatures of multiple petitions are being discussed with other groups.
Swanson is credited in the activist community for a project purging 50,000 laws from US lawbooks and being a driving force behind both the very existence of the Florida Initiative, and Revision 11, and initiative which brought ballot fairness to Florida (earlier article below) and allowed third parties to function. He asl lso did work in the abolition of the income tax efforts and expanding the Homestead real estate exemption.
In Florida today, initiatives are approximately 75% with a favorable Libertarian rating or helped on by Libertarian activists by his estimate. To aid that process, the PAC will rate initiatives on Libertarian interest.
LIBERTARIANISM VIA DIRECT DEMOCRACY
These proposals include study of introducing a:
- 1% Differential MMP (mixed member proportional) proportional representation into Florida legislative elections (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6228676/) of 30 seats applicable to current election as was introduced successfuly by Libertarians in New Zealand, resulting in several legislative seats. MMP is like at-large or bonus seata by political party. With 16% of the legislative vote in the 2002 election, it would have meant Libertarians would have had 4 seats.
- A proportional Electoral College representationby party vote for any State -wide office of over 3% along the lines of States such as Maine;
- A policy to replace all taxation and create a guaranteed income with voluntarily funded permanent fund endowments as Libertarians introduced in Alaska (see https://www.pfd.state.ak.us/) with doubling of public service salaries and a universal medical and first-home buyer benefit; an anti-corporate welfare measure;
- A policy for phase in of democratization (public non-governmental trusts) and privatization of public agencies;
- Restoration of 12 person, fully informed juries;
- A low-cost credit by examinationor thesis college degree in Florida, similar to Excelsior College in New York or the University of London;
- A policy to reduce all ballot requirements to $25 or a petition of 1000 voters as is done in Virginia but with ballot recognition;
- A policy to allow local creation of exception and enterprise zones for any law not affecting minors under 16 or as emancipated by a court in any electoral prcinct among those in the precinct or invitees (“Nevada Rules”);
- A policy promoting a private-enterprise spaceport (as in New Mexico);
- A policy allowing churches and cultural groups to set up non-profit mutual insurance for any purpose with minimal regulation;
- A policy removing Eminent Domain;
- A policy creation or removal of red tape of a SafeEmbryohumane protection voluntarily-funded endowment to freeze and revive removed embryos along lines as as has long been advocated by Libertarians such as Michael Gilson and Walter Block;
- Legalization of extended civil unionsof up to 6 people without regard to sex, along lines advocated by Robert Heinlein;
- Legalization of gay status;
- Expansion of the recent legislation harboring insurance co-ops by religious groups to simplify “the major block to true free enterprise: the ambiguous legal status of co-operatives”
- A medical marihuanainitiative;
- Universal drug decriminalization with lay volunteer community boards to mentor addicts as has been working in Portugal;
- A policy of ending punishments, large fines, and forfeitures to effect public policy of rehabilitation: ending the death penalty, abolishing prisons, and replacing with aggressive rehabilitation in 5 years as is underway in Spain and Norway;
- Allow e-signing of all proposed Constitutional Amendments at the SOE site, and carbon copy signatures of multiple petitions.
Swanson has done surveys discovering that these ideas enjoy at least 15% support and many majority support. He has been talking to legislators and feels that by even seeking these Amendments, legislators will in many cases take direct action. In addition, he feels the effort will also advance the Libertarian agenda by example nationwide. His plan is after further consultations to create a PAC to advance the Amendments and develop coalitions, a website to attract petitioners and supporters, and also promote public discussion and information on the agenda.
A LONG CAREER
Swanson, a retired engineering consultant who has a Doctorate in Religion and an MBA, has been active in Libertarian causes for decades, at one point reviving the State GOP in the 1940’s after “a vicious internal struggle” into a Civil Rights defender. He feels this will prove the capstone in a career where he counted as friends John Kennedy, Boris Yeltsin, Ronald Reagan, and Martin Luther King and helped them find “their inner Libertarian,” he laughs.
He also feels this will greatly increase Libertarian supporters and consitituency.”It will kill three birds with one stone: develop a constituency, drive change, and help candidates build networks to win or become centers of activism. ”
“We’ve spent the last few years building a base, demonstration projects, and essential political skills. We can get amendments passed against tough opposition. We get people elected. We get calls for Libertarians to be appointed from even Republicans and Democrats. The Governor asks us for policy backgrounders.We rallied people and put Civil Unions on the map. We led or assisted campaigns that reduced taxes, created the Amendment by initiative process in the first place, a stable homestead exemption, stopped abuse of juveniles in the reform schools with the PAR program, and more.
“I suggest that our candidates leverage their efforts in future years and go out there with these Amendments along with their petitions to run. Time to push for major change. No more, yes, we can. Yes, we will,” said Swanson, who also co-founded the Florida movement.
“How will this go? In 1970 even the gays thought Libertarians were nuts talking about Civil Unions. Yet here we are,” he says.