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.

LPUK Must Appeal to Students on Campus

If we should take one thing from the results of the last election it is this: The youth are now politically motivated and will play a big role in how the next election is decided. If the Libertarian Party is going to succeed electorally then they are going to need to capitalise on this fact and make an active attempt to appeal to the youth of this country.

The party should make a particular effort to engage with university students, as there aren’t many options for (particularly economically) liberal-minded students on campus. This is particularly true as many young Conservatives display socially liberal tendencies when it comes to issues like gay marriage, abortion and the war on drugs. This sets them apart from the more authoritarian traditionalists who have dominated large sections of the party. This means that a libertarian presence on campus who shares not only their beliefs on matters of society and economics could quite possibly dominate right-wing politics on campus. As well as this, a libertarian society would also be able to separate itself from the ‘nasty party’ image and social stigma of the Conservatives while taking up the mantle of promoters of liberty and individualism. This is all before one even considers the possibility of enticing the more libertarian, Blairite elements of the Labour party who may be dissatisfied with the direction Corbyn is taking the party.

In order to achieve this, the party must provide greater resources for libertarian students keen on developing their own branch at their institution. A quick look at many of the other parties will show that they have developed their own youth appeal offensive. However, the libertarian movement is in a unique position because of its ideology. Connections must also be made between societies new and old so that newer societies can connect and learn from older ones like the Hayek society at LSE.

Now is the time to seize this opportunity. If the libertarian movement and the party are to be taken seriously as an electoral force then it must develop its own youth base using its own unique message.

Libertarian Party Election Results

I am pleased to be the first outlet to pull together all the results for the four candidates fielded by the UK’s “Libertarian Party”. LPUK is a party with a unpleasant history, but it has kept going and achieved a new first at Thursdays election by standing 4 candidates.

It has gained the trust of a third wave of activists, the last two waves having been burnt out or culled by former leaders over financial matters. This is remarkable in itself and shows that there is a deep need for political representation of libertarians which this institution continues to benefit from.

My last posts on LPUK had the intention of forcing the old leaders to resign fully their positions, which they have now done, as such LPUK is at least as viable as any other entirely untested party. We have moved, very significantly, from a position of being unable to trust the people involved, to being able to take a gamble on complete strangers. It is regrettable that we are moving forward from such a poor position, but to see candidates standing, receiving votes and beating apparent joke candidates is great.

We must look to verify that the old guard of LPUK leaders are rendered fully powerless. Time must demonstrate also that activists are respected. It would help if they could get a bit more organised, for example, by quickly announcing their results themselves. Individual First seems to be the better organised alternative party, despite not standing candidates.

As for the results, LPUK have scored just under 0.3% in four constituencies. They were last in all meaningful respects, but they have been through the process, gained experience and (I hope) some raw data to work with.

Jonathan Isaby leaves TPA to lead up BrexitCentral

Many of you will know and love the work of the Tax Payers Alliance. Today they have announced they are to be loosing their head Jonathon Isaby who will work at a new Matthew Elliot project titled BrexitCentral.

For the TPA, Andrew Allum writes:

Jonathan leaves the TPA in an extremely strong position. Under his watch, those who spend the money earned by hard-pressed families now must ask themselves “what would the TaxPayers’ Alliance think?” before they sign off any spending decision. I would like to thank Jonathan for his leadership and successful campaigning while with the TPA

For their part Brexit Central are of course happy and are looking forward to getting going:

As Theresa May’s government sets about implementing the historic verdict of the British people at June’s referendum, BrexitCentral will be essential reading for all wanting to follow the twists and turns of the UK’s departure from the European Union. The website, to be launched in September, will be a one-stop shop for news, analysis, comment and insight about the single biggest issue dominating the new Prime Minister’s in-tray, backed up by a vibrant social media presence and a daily e-bulletin.