Facebook purges libertarian(ish) accounts

Libertarians, mostly Americans, on Facebook are frantically working through the details of a mass ban of Facebook Pages maintained by organisations in the libertarian-conservative part of the spectrum.

One user posted this “working list” of affected accounts to another libertarian’s wall:

The Free Thought Project – 3.1 million fans
The Anti-Media – 2.1 million fans
Police the Police – 1.9 million fans
Cop Block
Filming Cops
Policing the Police
Cop Logic
Rachel Blevins
End the Drug War
V is For Voluntary
TheAnonNews
Legalizing Cannabis Hemp
End the War on Drugs
Anonymous News
Get Involved, You Live Here
Dan Dicks – 350,000 fans
Political Junkie News Media – 300,000 fans
Murica Today – 180,000 fans
Choice & Truth – 2.9 million fans
You won’t see this on TV – 172,000 fans
Modern Slavery Hilarious Vines – 129,000 fans
Fuck the Government – 168,000 fans
Punk Rock Libertarians – 190,000 fans

Also blocked were Peaceful Anarchism, Liberty One and The Truth Is Viral.

I am not personally subscribed to these pages, I am not vouching for them or identifying them as libertarian or as anything else. I prefer to limit my consumption of social media, but I have certainly heard of many of them.

Some sound a bit bonkers, others seem to have been doing important work which anyone should recognise as valuable in a democracy. It is possible Facebook has some evidence that they were up to something? There seems to be an issue with pages being “forced” to spam for reasons related to Facebooks algorithms.

I’m asking you a question: have you been tuning into these pages and what do you think is going on? Are some of these legit targets based on some criteria of public safety that you feel is valid? Or are they legitimately operated venues of dissenting opinion which is being squashed?

Why I’m Backing the West Lynn Ferry Crowdfunder

The appeal reads:

The historic West Lynn ferry is in danger. The present owner cannot run it for another winter and needs to sell the business or shut down and sell his boats. If that happens we may not be able to start a new ferry for years, if ever.

I know the words well because I was involved with writing them. I met Ben Ellis the prospective buyer of West Lynn Ferry, a going concern, in the King William pub in Terrington and helped him finish off his page on crowdfunder.co.uk, his selected platform.

The ferry is an established commuter route into from rural West Lynn into Kings Lynn and is a helpful option for all manner of errands, such as visiting the library or shopping in town. Taking the ferry comes with free parking and cuts out all of the traffic on the long route round the other way. But the owner has joint issues and wants to finance a lifestyle change and take on less demanding work.

After 17 years invested in the ferry, which probably did not help his joints, he will be rightly determined to sell up or asset strip the business. He has been trying to sell the business for 18 months and although this summer is lovely, he is not looking forward to yet another winter of running services every 20 minutes. The ferry needs a particular set of skills to run and Ben Ellis is the only buyer to have come forward, but Ben does not yet have all of the £65,000 price tag.

Ben has various offers of finance, all of them unreliable and all of them with strings attached. He can’t proceed to buy the ferry if he doesn’t know he can make it work. On top of landing those prospective investors, his challenge is doing it without crippling the business with debt. Asking for gifts from his community – a helping hand in this otherwise private endeavour – makes sense.

Of course, there is a chance that the money will be handed over and the ferry will still end up closing. Plenty can still go wrong. Yet for the people in Terrington, Clenchwarton and West Lynn sharing a little of that risk with Ben has a better chance of keeping their ferry running.

For the wider community, and in particular for libertarians and conservatives, it is a chance to demonstrate that we are committed to practising what we preach. It does not matter that we come from London and have all the ferries and tunnels we need for ourselves. If we believe that public services can be provided by private enterprises then we have a responsibility to lead by example and support them when they falter.

You won’t find my donation on crowdfunder. He had my money before his page existed, but it is already very late. We have here a real example of the world working they way we want it to. The time to step up and get involved is past due.

Dose of Liberty Ep 04 – Guns and Activism

The podcast brings Jordan Lee, Tammy, Bruno and Libertarian Home founder Simon Gibbs, discussing the very current topic of Gun Rights, given the recent mass shooting in Parkland Florida, and debating different aspects of self-defence, statistics related to guns and implications of stricter laws. Private VS Public Schools stats also come into discussion, is the schooling system failing students ?

In the second part of the podcast, the Libertarian movement in the UK is brought into focus with ideas and suggestions on how to improve the visibility, cohesion and size of the British pro-freedom advocacy group.

Suggestions and questions for the next Podcasts are welcome! Please share and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

How can we be confident in LPUK?

I have recently checked in with the state of LPUK. It is helpful there seem to be more LPUK members coming to London now and so face to face conversations are possible, indeed the Dose of Liberty team invited the Kent coordinator to speak after meeting at London events. It is also speaks very well of the state of libertarianism in the country that volunteers continue to put themselves in harms way to try and make progress in building institutional libertarianism. I hope that they do so from an informed stand point.

The money that went missing, is still gone, as far as I know. I have not checked up the accounts and do not intend to do so again. It is more fruitful to consider a simple rational question “that was six years ago, isn’t that in the past?”

This is a reasonable question. Six years is a very long time, finding out what happened to £4,000 is not economically useful in itself. Although at one point it was more than four times revenues it becomes an ever smaller fraction of the party’s total revenue. The money could be earned again. Better to move on, no?

Well, yes and no.

On the yes side, it would be more useful to be engaged again with LPUK and offering advice and supportive criticism. Parties need non-party spaces for frank conversations to take place, both in public and in private. Our recent coverage shows that can happen, and it has been received warmly, but it should happen more.

On the other hand, activists need to consider whether helping a party earn the same money a second time is a useful pursuit and whether there is a danger of having to earn that money again a third or fourth time. Is current revenue in safe hands? Is the effort invested now an efficient use of time? If one tries to make the party accountable in future how will one be treated? Is it better to concentrate on doing something else first, or join another party?

I think there should be two tests for that:

  1. The personalities responsible for the mislaid money no longer run the party.
  2. The party has acknowledged the problem and provided as much transparency as possible (one bank balance figure would be enough)

These are very simple tests for an institution to pass and there are few good reasons why an institution that has failed badly in the past should not seek to get through them. My suspicion is that the senior leadership do not have much regard for the experiences activists have when helping the party. I also suspect that waiting it out is a deliberate strategy to avoid personal embarrassment. Every person in the country is poorer, sicker and less free while the leadership waits.

Let us consider if the tests have been passed:

1. The personalities responsible for the mislaid money no longer run the party.

False. The person who oversaw the problem as treasurer and leader and who personally withheld the financial records from the NCC is still the chairman of the party. He is visibly running things and doing so more than the official leader. He’s even put his name above that of the leader in the NCC listing. Adam Brown ought to be wondering if he has let himself be used as a fig leaf.

2. The party has acknowledged the problem

I would have expected to have been contacted. That has not happened. They have had six years to issue this acknowledgement.

I suppose it is possible in theory that a statement was made to the public in some obscure place without being brought to my attention, it is not as if I have been looking closely, but I doubt it. I look forward to this changing.

While the party fails to address these two tests I recommend libertarian activists spend as little time as possible on the institution.