Last night, the Libertarian Party of Florida’s Executive Committee held a conference call, which both Stephanie (Founder, Editor – FedUpUSA) and I (Webmaster, Editor – FedUpUSA) attended. As members of Michigan’s Libertarian Party, we were very interested in how the meeting was conducted, The LPF’s procedures for the meeting, and the meeting’s content.
Toward the end of the telephone conference, an item came up for discussion and vote that grabbed our attention, and it should be of concern to Libertarians everywhere.
This item was brought forward by the Executive Committee Member-At-Large 2 of the Libertarian Party of Florida – Mr. Karl Denninger, and it referenced an on-going issue with the LPF’s public media policies.
The LPF maintains an “open and public” Facebook discussion page, which is intended to be a censorship-free vehicle to facilitate public discussion of all topics of interest to Libertarians. Since it is a public forum, it is moderated by the LPF, and its entire Executive Committee has both reading and posting privileges on the page.
Earlier this summer, EC2 Denninger had several of his posts removed from this “censorship-free” discussion page, all of which he believed bore directly on Libertarian Principles and political matters. No explanation was given for the removal of these postings, and they were removed after he had been assured of the lack of censorship on this discussion page. It is pertinent to note that none of the posts made by Mr. Denninger were of an ‘unprofessional’ nature; he posted articles of which he was the author, commenting on mathematics and economic data, which often times was in direct conflict with current political rhetoric coming from all Parties.
Seeking redress for this grievance, EC2 Denninger contacted the LPF’s Chairman, Adrian Wyllie on both the 23rd and the 27th of August. The first contact generated no response at all, but Chairman Wyllie replied to EC2 Denninger’s second request with the following:
“If posted on the LPF group page, it should not have been removed. That is an open forum for LPF members to voice their individual opinions. No censorship should take place there. Having said that, I am not going to launch an investigation into which administrator (assuming it wasn’t a technical glitch) removed the post. I will take no action on this whatsoever.”
The Chairman had expressed complete disinterest in this issue, offered no solution to the situation, and was intent on keeping the identity of the discussion page administrator that removed EC2 Denninger’s posts a secret, if it was known to him at that time.
In response, EC2 Denninger filed a motion for the September 9th Executive Committee Meeting that, if adopted, would have made censorship in public discussion areas controlled by the LPF a violation of formal EC policy. This motion would also have required any future deletions to be logged in some manner (if the platform in use did not keep such records automatically) which would allow any member of the EC to internally review such occurrences at any time, and identify the offending administrator in order to prevent them from censoring the platform again.
Chairman Wyllie responded by saying that the motion would not be heard, unilaterally exerting authority over the EC meeting agenda.
In response to having filed that motion, EC2 Denninger was removed from the LPF’s public Facebook group entirely, and was prevented from seeing or joining the page again without any notice.
EC Meeting – September 9th, 2012
Chairman Wyllie accepted full responsibility for all actions related to this issue, including the blackballing of EC2 Denninger and the removal of his posts. In response, EC2 Denninger filed a motion for Censure of The Chair (EC120902) which was heard, discussed, voted on, and failed during the Executive Committee’s September 9th meeting.
During and after the meeting, we and EC2 Denninger learned that some nine individuals (as yet unidentified) have administrative access to the Facebook Discussion Page, and Chairman Wyllie stated that any future motions on this issue would be deemed frivolous (he used the word three times in reference to this issue) and would not be docketed for consideration.
Stephanie and I were absolutely floored. We had thought that the Libertarian Party, in Florida and elsewhere, was the “Party of Liberty”. We believed that this included the right to freedom of speech enumerated in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. When we joined the Party here in Michigan, it was because we believed we were joining a group dedicated to personal Liberty and the Rule of Law. It appears that those in Florida may be mistaken if they have such beliefs and expectations of the Libertarian Party of Florida.
Ironically, while simultaneously courting Rep. Ron Paul’s supporters, the Libertarian Party in Florida seems to be behaving in a manner consistent with the behavior of the Republican Party during their national convention two weeks ago, which had so disenfranchised them. This behavior by the LPF is in direct conflict with the LP’s stated purpose, policies, and goals. This egregious hypocrisy was so appalling that we could scarcely believe we were listening to a group of Libertarians at all, let alone the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party for an entire State.
The Libertarian Party is supposed to be above such cronyistic, elitist policies and conduct. The Libertarian Party is supposed to be transparent and apply its Bylaws, Standing Rules and policies consistently toward all, and should honor parliamentary procedure, the delegation of power, and their obligations to their entire membership. In that light, EC2 Denninger petitioned to correct inconsistencies in the Party’s Governing Documents as Chairman of the Governing Documents committee, seeking to elucidate these Rules, as they are the foundation on which everything else regarding the Party rests.
Missing the point entirely, and seeking to further side-step and bury this issue, Chairman Wyllie responded with this comment:
“The simple fact is that I just don’t care enough to devote any LPF resources to it.
Have a bit of perspective here. You’re complaining about a link to your web page that was deleted from a Facebook page. It’s not exactly grand jury material.”
This belittling remark demonstrated Chairman Wyllie’s complete disregard for integrity and the Rule of Law, and seemed to promote acts of censorship within the Party, which were not evenly applied to all of its members, having pushed formal policy aside, at his sole behest.
This is not the principled behavior of Libertarians, but is very consistent with the arbitrary behavior of dictators, elitists and cronies – the very behaviors the Libertarian Party was founded to oppose!
Having voted down EC2 Denninger’s motion, the Libertarian Party of Florida’s Executive Committee members, publicly and for-the-record, have demonstrated support for such practices, and are now complicit in perpetuating them.
To The Membership of the Libertarian Party of Florida
Will you tolerate such outrageous “representation” in your own Party? Are you willing to endorse your Executive Committee’s capricious, dictatorial actions? Do these petty authoritarians truly represent your wishes, or the stated goals of the Libertarian Party? Is it acceptable that any branch of the Libertarian Party engage in censorship, effectively obliterating freedom of speech? If your answer to these questions is “no,” then the time to act is NOW. Remove these oligarchs from their posts and replace them with TRUE Libertarians, before your Party becomes irrelevant.
Randy – FedUpUSA