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Operating Culture

Based on a similar document in the book  “Swarmwise, the Tactical Manual to Changing the World” by Rick Falkvinge, modified by Trevor Watkins.

This document describes the culture within which members of LiPSA will operate.

Only the Exco speaks on behalf of the Party. The executive committee of the party is elected at the Annual Genera Meeting of the party. This is the only body authorised to speak on behalf of the party itself, in press releases, in public interviews, etc.

We make decisions. We aren’t afraid to try out new things, new ways to shape opinion and drive the public debate. We make decisions without asking anybody’s permission, and we stand for them. Sometimes, things go wrong. It’s always okay to make a mistake in the Libertarian Party, as long as one is capable of learning from that mistake. Here’s where the famous “1-2-3-go-for-it rule” comes into play: if three self-identified Libertarians are in agreement that some kind of activism is beneficial to the party, they have authority to act in the party’s interests. They may even be reimbursed for expenses related to such activism, as long as it is reasonable (wood sticks, glue, and paint are reasonable; computer equipment and plane tickets are not).

We are courageous. If something goes horribly wrong, we deal with it then, and only then. We are never nervous in advance. Everything can go wrong, and everything can go right. We are allowed to do the wrong thing, because otherwise, we can never do the right thing either.

We advance one another. We depend on our cohesion. It is just as much an achievement to show solitary brilliance in results as it is to advance other activists or officers.

We communicate with each other. Members do not operate alone or in secret. They share ideas, activities, decisions with each other and with LiPSA exco using the myriad communication facilities available on the web.

We trust one another. We know that each and every one of us wants the best for the Libertarian Party.

We take initiatives and respect those of others. The person who takes an initiative gets it right most of the time. We avoid criticizing the initiatives of others, for those who take initiatives do something for the party. If we think the initiative is pulling the party in the wrong direction, we compensate by taking an initiative of our own more in line with our own ideals. If we see something we dislike, we respond by making and spreading something we like, instead of pointing out what we dislike.

We need diversity in our activism and strive for it.

We respect knowledge. In discussing a subject, any subject, hard measured data is preferable. Second preference goes to a person with experience in the subject. Knowing and having experience take precedence before thinking and feeling, and hard data takes precedence before knowing.

We respect the time of others and the focus of the organization.

If we dislike some activity or some decision, we discuss, we argue, we disagree, and/or we start an initiative of our own that we prefer. On the other hand, starting or supporting an emotional conflict with a negative focus, and seeking support  for such a line of conflict, harms the organization as a whole and drains focus, energy, and enthusiasm from the external, opinion-shaping activities. Instead, we respect the time and focus of our co-activists, and the focus of the organization.

When we see the embryo of an internal conflict, we dampen it by encouraging positive communication. When we see something we dislike, we produce and distribute something we like.

We work actively to spread love and respect, and to dampen aggression and distrust. We communicate positively. If we see a decision we dislike, we make our point about why we dislike it without provoking angry feelings, or, better yet, we explain why an alternative would be better. We campaign outwards and cohesively, not inwards and divisively. Again, we communicate positively.

We act with dignity. We’re always showing respect in our shaping of public opinion: respect toward each other, toward newcomers, and toward our adversaries. We act with courtesy, calm, and respect for the facts, both on and off the record. In particular, we’re never disrespectful against our co-activists (one of the few things that officers in the Libertarian Party will have zero tolerance for).

We aim to be in parliament. We behave like the parliamentary party that we are.

We are long term. We intend to contest  the  2014 and 2019 elections, so our work is long term. As in “on a time span of several years.” The time span between elections, five years, is practically a geological era for many of us net activists.

We represent ourselves. The Libertarian Party depends on a diversity of voices. None of us represents the Libertarian Party on blogs and similar: we’re a multitude of individuals that are self-identified Libertarians. This diversity gives us our base for activism, and multiple role models build a broader recruitment and inspiration base for activism. Internally, we’re also just ourselves, and never claim to speak for a larger group: if our ideas get traction, that’s enough; if they don’t get traction, the number of people agreeing with those ideas is irrelevant.