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How we can Rescue Liberty Forum 2011

The Free State Project canceled its 2011 Liberty Forum. Here’s a concept on how to rescue it.

The Free State Project has canceled (here’s why) its nationally popular libertarian conference, the Liberty Forum. I’m shocked and worried. I’ve been to Liberty Forum twice. Libertarians from across the country gather not only to hear the renowned speakers but also to recharge their batteries. It takes a lot of battery-charging for libertarian activists to maintain their optimism and drive! Being a liberty activist is a difficult, uphill battle. We need all the mutual aid we can get.

We must rescue this. Without the Liberty Forum, there is a gaping hole in ability of liberty activists nationwide to continue with their missions. Now, more than ever, as decades of state financial plunder catches up with the world, it is critical that liberty activists maintain high morale and sizable surpluses in their intellectual ammunition boxes.

We can rescue this. We can do it according to our very own libertarian principles. Dozens of us have already been discussing exactly how to do this with reference to the Agora I/O agorist unconference. Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Don’t try to emulate the existing Liberty Forum model of big name speakers on a podium talking to big audiences in a fancy hotel whose participation and travel fees have been comped.
  2. Make it an unconference. Minimal advance top-down planning goes into an unconference. When people arrive, they self-organize lists of topics and presenters. Individuals, who probably prepared ahead of time, step forward to give talks, often multiple competing ones at the same time, like Liberty Forum.
  3. Innovative conversation tactics such as fishbowls, birds of a feather, lightning talks and open space technology can be used to keep things dynamic.
  4. There can be a mix of decentralized organization and more traditional pre-planned speakers as needed.
  5. Copy Curtis’ PorcFest Agorist Cooperative concept instead of the traditional vendor room concept.
  6. Take even more inspiration from PorcFest. It is a winning model.
  7. Ask individuals for donations to cover costs. Ask organizations for sponsorships in return for innovative advertising.
  8. Keep the cost of attending low, less than $50 in entrance fees.
  9. Find a cheaper hotel, or explore alternate meeting and lodging spaces.
  10. Don’t assume it has to to stay in Nashua, NH. Manchester or even Boston might be better locations.

My suggested plan of action is:

  • Toss out all assumptions.
  • Self-identify those interested in making the event happen.
  • Assemble in a dedicated conversation space, such as a mailing list.
  • Share our assets, ideas, useful connections and experience.
  • Make decisions and make it happen.

We can take these lemons and give Liberty Forum a free market upgrade! Who’s in?

By George Donnelly

I'm building a tribe of radical libertarians to voluntarize the world by 2064. Join me.

23 replies on “How we can Rescue Liberty Forum 2011”

Alot of what I can commit to, even in my personal life, is waiting on my Jan 10th trial in Greenfield, MA. So I’ll contribute my ideas and advice for the moment.

After my kangaroo trail, assuming I’m not put in a cage, I’ll see where I can fit in.

Really looking forward to this, hopefully someone attempts to document the process.

This is a bummer! I hadn’t heard this was canceled until just now.

I’ve only been actively doing libertarian activism for a few years but I’m already pretty sick of wearing a suit and going to conferences. I know a pretty solid chunk of libertarian theory and strategy and now I’m more looking forward to fun events like Porcfest or practical information to keep myself and my fellow activists prosperous and out of cages.

This is why I so liked the ideas for an unconference and practical sessions being planned at the Agorist I/O. I was primarily going to Liberty Forum to see old friends, not to see a bunch of speakers saying things I basically already know. Hopefully the new model supersedes the old.

What a shame. I have people coming to stay for a week before and after the conference from as far as CA to Puerto Rico who have been anarchists for a long time but waited for me to jump in before they tested the waters here. Not sure what to say to them…I would love to be able to offer and alternative.

These ideas sound a lot more fun than the original. The social and networking opportunities are always the best part of any libertarian conference. Why bog it down with speeches and a high cost?

I’ll add some outdoor activities and call it a winter vacation.

I would love to try and make whatever can be planned! Travel is the issue with me :( I’m in SC and it’s really hard to make events in NH and the midwest or Texas… I’ll be watching for more info for sure.

I read this article twice. You beat around the bush and don’t really give us a straight answer as to why exactly the Liberty Forum was canceled. However you give vague clues which lead me to assume the forum was canceled because not enough advance tickets were sold because the forum is too expensive for many people to attend. Am I right, or did I overlook something?

In any case, George, I think you have some great ideas.

Boston? a better location? are you serious? Have you ever been to MA?

I’m pretty sure by definition, a Free State Project event has to be in NH.

As far as Boston liberty events, the Massachusetts Liberty Preservation Association (MassLPA) had a pretty good event called the “Boston Tea Party” at Fanuel hall. They had G Edward Griffin, Peter Schiff, and Gary Johnson. Just to name some of the big names.
and admission was only $25! (I think, I couldn’t make it this year, but in the past it was low like $20 or less)

It’s a real bummer that it was cancelled, but I hope that it can still be reconstituted somehow. I think a NH locus is essential, however.

I’d be willing to speak, and would make it affordable to have me there.
If not a speaker, I’d probably attend anyway! Such a great group of people.

Thanks, George, for spearheading this.


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