MacArthur Versus Hooverville

Originally published on Third Party Watch on Saturday June 3, 2023

You may or may not remember reading about the Hoovervilles.  Ad-hoc camps in several cities, most notable outside of the District of Columbia, put together by former servicemen who came – peacefully – to demand their back pay from World War I that the government had deferred and held hostage.  There was a depression ongoing in our country, and these were desperate people.  But they were peaceful.

They built a temporary town, complete with roads.  They marched peacefully and hoped the government would react.

It did. MacArthur, Patton and a few tanks, and even some minor underling named Eisenhower (who history now records as being opposed) went in and mowed them down.  Fortunately, only a few people were killed, but they were disbanded and sent home.  Hoover got rid of Hooverville.

The Libertarian Party has its own Hoover, and they have sent in the troops.  Guns have been replaced by lawyers and lawsuits, but the effect is the same.  Rebellion has been quashed – for now.

While I commend those with the courage to stand their ground, the political tanks are rolling right at them.  No candidates last year in California in their largest county?  Someone mentioned that a few days ago in a comment.  Wow.  Political tanks have been rolling.

I’ve said this before, and I certainly mean it, when I wish activists like Starchild luck in rescuing their party.  The sad history of political organizations in this country would indicate that the LP is in the middle of a shift in philosophy – not a good one – and it is not going to be easy to fix.

As was very correctly pointed out by another former party member, the real goal of a political party is to run candidates for office.  To influence the political process.  A huge part of that is getting out into the public and talking about your message.  I agree.  However, when that message keeps changing – seriously they wiped out the abortion plank? – and the leadership fiddles while Rome burns, how do you even get people willing to run?  Well you don’t seem to in California and some other states.  Patton has been there.

The technical arguments that Starchild put forth about why people aren’t getting involved and left vs right is not the whole story.  While he credits the caucus in power as being a factor, I believe he overlooked the most crucial point:  their leadership is in it not just for the sake of power, but also with the mission of destroying a party that opposes their demi-god – a certain former president.

I have talked to some of these caucus members.  They use the phrase MAGA.  They love tRump (please do not change how I spell his name!).  They are not what Libertarians would consider sane people.

In 2023, a party that has always been factional has become even more so.  As Starchild said, left vs right.  The biggest damage caused by this internal fighting is what some would call the “brain drain”.  A lot of good people around the country have been forced out.  Institutional knowledge is not just going through age attrition, but through the loss of dedicated and honorable people.  To quote Dr Feldman, “…that no pain, no gain, get those petitions signed in rain, libertarian…”.  Those are who you are losing.

Just so no one thinks this is sour grapes on my part, I do not feel I was forced out of the party.  I left three years ago for reasons completely unrelated to this takeover.  In my opinion, the party was still strong.  It was still focused on the core beliefs. 


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