Motion: Amend LPF Bylaws Article 2, Section 6

At this point, there are sixteen motions being proposed as floor motions for the 2018 Annual Convention.  I may have posted most of my motions a while ago, but there are a bunch now showing up.  I’m planning on reviewing and posting on as many of these motions as I can before the convention.  All of these blog posts will be tagged LPF2018, so if you want to look at my thoughts on those motions, just click on the LPF2018 tag on the right side of the page or the bottom of this post.

Ryan Ramsey is a member of the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Florida, sitting in the Region 4 Representative position, representing Hamilton, Suwanee, Lafayette, Dixie, Gilchrist, Columbia, Union, Bradford,  and Alachua counties.  He has proposed several changes to the Governing Documents of the Libertarian Party of Florida.  This is his only proposed change to the Bylaws.

Type: Bylaw
Title: Amend LPF Bylaws Article 2, Section 6
Article: ARTICLE II Membership
Section & Subsection (if applicable): Section 6
Text:

I move to amend the current language of the LPF Bylaws, Article 2, Section 6, which currently read:

Section 6.
Any member of the Libertarian Party of Florida, or member of the Executive Committee, may be suspended by two-third vote of the executive committee for violation of the Non-Aggression oath. Upon suspension of a member of the party or a member of the Executive Committee, the officer or member may appeal the suspension in writing within 30 days. If no appeal is made by the suspended officer or member, they shall be removed from office, and have their membership revoked, upon expiration of the 30 day appeal period. If an appeal is made, the executive committee shall review the appeal and vote upon removal at the next regularly scheduled executive committee meeting. A three-fourths vote will be required to remove the appealing suspended officer or member. Should the vote fail, the suspension will be lifted and membership and/or Executive Committee status shall be fully restored. Should the three-fourths vote pass, membership shall be revoked for a period of one year, at which time the member shall be eligible to reapply for membership as defined in Article 2 of the Constitution, or by majority vote of the delegation at the next annual meeting. After a member has been reinstated, should that individual’s membership be revoked as outlined above a second time, the revocation shall become permanent, and that individual will no longer be eligible for membership in the LPF.

I move to replace this language with the following:

Article 2 , Section 6:

Any member of the Libertarian Party of Florida, or member of the Executive Committee, may be suspended by two-third vote of the executive committee for commission of an act of unlawful violence not related to mutual combat, and property crimes such as theft and vandalism. In the case of an arrest members shall be innocent until proven guilty. Upon suspension of a member of the party or a member of the Executive Committee, the officer or member may appeal the suspension in writing within 30 days. If no appeal is made by the suspended officer or member, they shall be removed from office, and have their membership revoked, upon expiration of the 30 day appeal period. If an appeal is made, the executive committee shall review the appeal and vote upon removal at the next regularly scheduled executive committee meeting. A three-fourths vote will be required to remove the appealing suspended officer or member. Should the vote fail, the suspension will be lifted and membership and/or Executive Committee status shall be fully restored. Should the three-fourths vote pass, membership shall be revoked for a period of one year, at which time the member shall be eligible to reapply for membership as defined in Article 2 of the Constitution, or by majority vote of the delegation at the next annual meeting.

First, a minor complaint.  It would really be useful if the Title of the Motion actually addressed the meat of the issue, not just referencing the part of the document being changed.

In order to get a better handle on what’s being changed, and what (if anything) is being left alone, I’m going to reformat the motion with strikeouts and underlines.

[Note: I’ve edited my post.  When I did the comparison of before and afterward, I used the text in the motion, which didn’t include the entire text of Section 6.  One of the things I thought Ryan had changed had not actually changed; it was already there.  So the following has been corrected to remove discussion of something that didn’t change.]

Any member of the Libertarian Party of Florida, or member of the Executive Committee, may be suspended by two-third vote of the executive committee for violation of the Non-Aggression oath commission of an act of unlawful violence not related to mutual combat, and property crimes such as theft and vandalism. In the case of an arrest members shall be innocent until proven guilty. Upon suspension of a member of the party or a member of the Executive Committee, the officer or member may appeal the suspension in writing within 30 days. If no appeal is made by the suspended officer or member, they shall be removed from office, and have their membership revoked, upon expiration of the 30 day appeal period. If an appeal is made, the executive committee shall review the appeal and vote upon removal at the next regularly scheduled executive committee meeting. A three-fourths vote will be required to remove the appealing suspended officer or member. Should the vote fail, the suspension will be lifted and membership and/or Executive Committee status shall be fully restored. Should the three-fourths vote pass, membership shall be revoked for a period of one year, at which time the member shall be eligible to reapply for membership as defined in Article 2 of the Constitution, or by majority vote of the delegation at the next annual meeting. After a member has been reinstated, should that individual’s membership be revoked as outlined above a second time, the revocation shall become permanent, and that individual will no longer be eligible for membership in the LPF.

Unless my comparison is incorrect, this motion replaces the Non Aggression oath with a much different cause for removing someone from the party.  I’m not thrilled with this change, so I’d have to vote no.

To start with, you’d need to know which Non Aggression Oath is being referenced.  I’ve seen references to the Non Aggression Oath as being equivalent to a Ghandian vow of non-violence.  A much narrower view is the oath promulgated by the Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Party of Florida:

I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.

If you look at the oath, it in no way disallows the initiation of force.  It only disallows it as a means of achieving political or social goals.  If you want to beat up on your neighbor because he blows the leaves onto your yard, you are not violating the Non Aggression Oath.  You may be an ass.  You may be excessively violent.  You may be charged and convicted with a crime.  But you haven’t violated the Non Aggression Oath.

What Ryan has proposed includes dropping the advocacy of force as grounds for removal from the party.  So as long as you don’t swing, but you convince your neighbor to swing, then you’re not violating the amended Non Aggression Oath.  Under this same reasoning (and carried to a ridiculous extreme), since Hitler didn’t actually personally kill any Jews, then he couldn’t be guilty of violating the amended oath.  (I am not an expert on Hitler’s life.  It is possible that he actually did personally kill some Jews.  If so, replace “Hitler” with some other horrible person who is responsible for killing a bunch of people without getting his hands dirty.)

On the other hand, he expands the grounds by allowing violation of law as grounds for expulsion.  The oath is very limited to violence as a means of achieving political or social goals.  It doesn’t, as presently worded, include such crimes as vehicular manslaughter and other such crimes.  Ryan’s expansion also includes graffiti and other crimes as grounds for expulsion.  These grounds are, in my mind, beyond the scope of the party and should not be used as grounds to remove an individual.

(Also, if the anarchist wing of the libertarian movement have their way and there is no government, then there is no law to be found guilty of.)

(I’m not going to comment on the mutual combat clause.  It’s there, but I’m not even sure how to start talking about it.  So I’ll just leave it alone.)

I can’t support this motion.

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2 thoughts on “Motion: Amend LPF Bylaws Article 2, Section 6

  1. The current system is what allows for permanent expulsion, it remained unchanged.

    https://docs.lpf.org/bylaws/
    You make a great point. Of we are promoting restoring voting and other civil rights to those who completed their sentences and parole, we shouldn’t be permanently expelling members either. Lets collaborate on changing that.

    The main purpose of the bylaw motion is to end the EC role as trial court to settle personal disputes, and move beyond the petty motions that waste time and divide us.

    The only time I know a member was ever actually suspended was a few years ago when Char Lez Braden was suspended for an email hack on Adrian Wyllie, unfortunately I am having trouble finding the minutes. As I understand it, he hacked Wyllie and sent out emails that appeared to come from Wyllie and cast him in some sort of bad light. So there was malice and I think it violated laws, although no legal case was ever brought that I know of.

    In any case the endless use of edited and out of context screen shots and arguing over alleged insinuations has been an enormous distraction for the party.

    This Bylaw reform still preserves the real spirit and purpose of the NAP. It allows us to remove members for actually using force. There are laws against electronic threats, so actual threats that are prosecuted would subject the perpetrator to this as well. But the nonsense would end and we would fall more in line with how the big parties do things. Dress for the job we want.

    The big parties have an extensive legal process to remove members that involves mediation and a lot of due process, none of which happens on the party EC.

    Rather than go there I think we just tweak this to be able to remove real NAP violators, without giving a few EC members the tools to punish people they don’t like over ambiguous BS, and forcing us to be trial judges when we should be focused on growing the party.

    As we grow, we stand to become factionalized and ineffective the bigger the tent gets, so tis is a preventative measure.

    This laguage is a lot different than my original idea. It represents a compromise to those who feared taking away too much ability to discipline.

    Greg Peele, Philip Cadorette, and Brandi Hicks were all part of the edits that created the current language.

    I am absolutely amenable to edits that keep the intent of confining the EC role in removing members to actions, and not hyperbole and out of context words. Imagine a member in a heavy metal band with violent lyrics, there’s endless ways to abuse the current system and we’d seen a lot of it. The NAP is becoming ridiculed because of the abuse, so this actually is a way to protect that spirit.

    In regards to the social or political goals language, and the criminal stuff, I think its a remnant of the original motion, which put the onerous on courts of law decide whether a violent crime or property crime occurred.
    You can’t vote in jail, and when you’re out and voter eligible you should be restored, which was pretty much the original motion paraphrased.

    The rules Chair seemed to think the concept was good but there would be limited support for taking all disciplinary ability away from the party right now, so we came up with a compromise position.

    I am also willing to collaborate to edit this to create consensus if we can keep the original spirit there, which is to stop spending so much time being each other’s judge and jury over social media words and other buffoonery.

    Like

  2. On the mutual combat clause, I see a hack where guys who have a charity boxing match or agree to settle their differences in pugilism could be accused of a NAP violation. Just another protection against personal beefs becoming party beefs.

    I think duelling or mutually agreed combat fall outside of the NAP, but since duelling is illegal I did not note it.

    My experience has been that often after a good fisticuffs men can become friends. I see fundraising parameters to channel our disagreements into money. Who wouldn’t have paid to see Augustus and Stanton, or Franklin Perez and Adrian box? So I want it explicitly protected. It only applies of both parties are willing participants, so its very Libertarian.

    Like

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