Note: A version of this article was originally written for the LNC meeting scheduled Feb. 6, 2022 inquiring about the status of LAMA (the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts). Portions of it were also read at the LAMA meeting on Feb. 7, 2022. It has now been edited to remove details specific to that meeting and to add developments since then.
Some background: On Dec. 19, 2021, the LAMA State Committee was presented with a petition signed by some members to call a special convention with the purpose of electing a new State Committee. The petition was found to have no validity since its stated agenda went against the Association's constitution and bylaws. Statements have been made by former Chairwoman Ashley Shade and our Treasurer Cris Crawford which detail the reasoning behind the invalidity of the petition, so I will not address them here. Every member of the State Committee (that didn’t sign the petition) agrees with the reasoning behind denying the petition.
A few weeks later on Jan. 10, 2022 the State Committee voted to expel all the members who signed the petition. Again, the statements by former Chairwoman Ashley Shade and Treasurer Cris Crawford cover the reasoning behind this action, but one of the most cited aspects of the decision is that the petition was organized by a controversial PAC calling themselves the “Mises Caucus” who has stated their goal is “taking over” the Libertarian Party.
An LNC meeting on Feb. 6 was organized to question LAMA and gather information about the petition and expulsion. A follow up meeting was scheduled for Feb. 13, 2022 but this never occurred. This document is an extension of an opening statement that was supposed to be delivered at that second meeting detailing the timeline of events that led up to the situations in question.
I have been asked by some people as to how we got here to this series of events and how the Mises Caucus’s actions brought this all about.
Near the beginning of September the Massachusetts Mises Caucus Twitter account got in an argument with the Libertarian Party of Texas Twitter account.
LP Texas said:
"The Confederates were evil actually".
The Massachusetts Mises Caucus account then argued against that statement over multiple tweets finally ending with:
"Were the lives of the slaves materially different after their freedom?"
The Massachusetts Mises Caucuses tweets about LP Texas went viral, and various LAMA state committee members were then tagged around social media asking, “what's up with Massachusetts?” Specifically, one of the few elected Libertarians in our state, Wade Hasty (Selectman from Williamstown), publicly called on the LAMA State Committee to address the MA Mises Caucus’ tweets.
The LPMA account then tweeted a simple phrase we believe in wholeheartedly and consider it an important component of libertarianism:
"White supremacy and liberty are two unaligned ideologies."
The Massachusetts Mises Caucus Twitter account then responded to our simple statement of principle by using a blatant racial slur to describe the entire state committee.
"Let us clarify that we in no way want to enslave anybody. Especially not the rootless cosmopolitans in LP Massachusetts."
That phrase, "rootless cosmopolitans", for those who may be unfamiliar, is an anti-Jewish slur originating in the Soviet Union. Stalin's final reign of terror was explicitly "anti-cosmopolitan" and specifically targeted Jews.
The MA Mises Caucus then tweeted a picture of a person blowing a dog whistle with the caption "Us. Every day." admitting that their statements are a “dog whistle”: a statement designed to appear innocuous to some, but are specifically designed to be heard and understood by racists.
They then began a campaign where the Massachusetts Mises Caucus's Twitter actively engaged with every account who either responded approvingly to their tweets or negatively to our's condemning racism, telling them to join them and help take over the Libertarian Party.
All of this was shared and retweeted by a member of the state party with some extra inflammatory language added. When that member was confronted, she said she had no intention of stopping and would do it all again. A vote for her expulsion was proposed by a member of the State Committee and she was expelled from the party by a vote of 8-1 in favor.
A certain subset of membership wasn't happy that the State Committee booted a member, even one who was very publicly disruptive both on social media and in official LAMA meetings and channels. So one of the State Committee members proposed a code of conduct that would lay out the conditions by which a member could be expelled.
Well, turns out, they really didn't like that either. There were a few open state committee meetings where everyone gave their input, and after much deliberation, a vastly gutted code of conduct was passed instead of the original proposal.
Then a couple weeks later, the petition was submitted to the State Committee. This petition was a call for a convention with the intention of replacing the existing State Committee. The petition was found invalid by our then chair, Ashley Shade, as documented in her statement to the LNC. The short version is that State Committee members can only be elected at regularly scheduled conventions and since the agenda for the petition did not include an item for amending the constitution to allow a special convention to elect a new State Committee instead, it has no valid agenda and therefore is invalid as a whole.
The petition was clearly led by the Mises Caucus, for it was submitted to the State Committee by the people listed on the Mises Caucus website as being their state coordinators, and the first name of every page was a known member of this "caucus".
Some of the State Committee members thought that this was the final straw at trying to undermine the work we do, and so proposed a motion for all petitioners to be expelled from the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts and their dues refunded. This vote then passed by a vote of 6 yeses, 1 no, and 2 non-responses (presumably due to technical difficulties on the call).
That’s how we got here.
Now, for some clarifications to all that:
Do we believe everyone who signed the petition is a member/supporter of the Mises Caucus or a racist? Clearly not. From our phone interviews with some of them after the fact, some had no idea what was going on. Additionally, a couple of the signers are people we have worked with in the past and respected and find it very regrettable they got caught up in this.
However, the argument presented before the State Committee was that even if the signers were ill-informed participants, they still engaged in an action specifically designed to harm the party through ejecting the State Committee so as to help the Massachusetts Mises Caucus recruit racists.
To put it in a shorter form:
Do I believe that every member of the Mises Caucus of Massachusetts is racist? I have no idea, but it's possible they are not.
Do I believe that members of the Mises Caucus of Massachusetts were using racism as a recruiting tool? Yes. Obviously, because there is clear public evidence of them doing so.
Since all the above was written a few new developments have occurred.
On Feb. 7, 2022 the State Committee had a meeting with members where the most prominent agenda item was what to do going forward from all of this. A proposal resolution was given to us from the Worcester County local affiliate asking for negotiations between the petitioners and the LAMA State Committee. The discussion got heated at times, but at the end of it, the State Committee voted to endorse and approve the proposal and a neutral third party was proposed.
The State Committee then selected two members to lead our “delegation” for the negotiations. However, when our negotiators contacted them on Feb. 10, we were told that they have now rejected the proposal and will no longer talk to us.
This now brings everyone up to date.
In summation, here is a short version of the above sequence of events
- The Mises Caucus was racist on Twitter
- A member was expelled for antagonizing the State Committee using Mises Caucus material
- A code of conduct was proposed to make the criteria for expulsion explicit
- In response, a Mises Caucus-organized petition was submitted to replace the State Committee
- The petition was ruled invalid and members who signed the petition were expelled
- A plan for potential reconciliation was later proposed and agreed to
- …and the petitioners then rejected it
All of the above is publicly verifiable with some effort. Additionally, the State Committee has screenshots and documentation of everything mentioned above.
We all hope this clears up what’s been going on.
Update (October 2022) - removed "the legally-recognized Massachusetts state affiliate for the Libertarian Party" reference, which was true at the time of this blog post, but has since changed with the April 23, 2022 State Committee voting to disaffiliate from the National Libertarian Party and the Libertarian National Committee.