The Libertarian Party of Alabama 2013 Convention Brings Home One Key Message for the Movement

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The Libertarian Party of Alabama hosted their 2013 convention on Saturday; a day full of speakers, executive council elections, tabling by liberty minded organizations, and constant conversation regarding the state of this movement.

The LPA’s newest Vice Chair, Aaron Watkins, has one significant first goal he hopes to achieve with the help of the newly elected executive board.  “Over 12,000 people voted for Gary Johnson in the 2012 election,” he said, “we need to find them.” Among the insights and ideas flowing all day, one message was repeated among the keynote speakers and conference attendees: the liberty movement will need to be more empathetic if we hope to grow.

Igor Gembitsky with the Institute of Humane Studies was among the event’s speakers. He spoke of his own personal experiences that brought him into the liberty movement; and of the importance for reaching out to people based on what is personal to them. Speaking with him afterward, he explained further:

“I think the LPA really needs a new vision and strategy…{it] needs to connect with the struggles for freedom that many Alabamians face, such as gay rights, immigrant rights, reform of beer laws, and decriminalization of marijuana. As a first step for example, the LPA should be sponsoring and helping with each of these efforts to become commonly associated with positive social movements in the state.”

The LPA also streamed in founder of Free & Equal, Christina Tobin, via Skype. She spoke to the attendees about the need to revolutionize the two-party system, a revolution that can only come at the hands of the people. Free and & Equal promotes open elections and the liberty to choose candidates that reflect the views of the people – and not just those of the two major parties. Their target audience is primarily the youth, Tobin explained, and the organization really strives to reach them on their terms. To Tobin, that means music. Free and & Equal is hosting a United Way Festival this summer that will feature many prominent musicians, and will be kicking off a bus tour next year.

Two of Thoughts on Liberty‘s writers—Morgan Scarboro and myself—tabled at the event, alongside the Young Americans for Liberty, Alabama Voters for Responsible Animal Legislation, Alliance of the Libertarian Left, and author of The Bull, Matt Weber. We received a warm response from the conference attendees. We had many men asking for our honest opinion as to why there aren’t more women in the movement and many more who told us they revered our objectives as not only a female libertarian blog, but also as one that reflects the views of many different “types” of libertarians. And attendees made certain to stop by our table when word got out about our Fourth of July photo contest!

During his speech, Gembitsky asked if someone in the crowd would take his photograph so he could enter it into our contest. His entry may be strong competition—but if you, lovely reader, would like the chance to win an iPad, simply submit a photo of yourself doing something liberty-loving to contest@thoughtsonliberty.com with a quote that starts with “I love Thoughts on Liberty because….” before June 26.