An Open Letter to the Missouri Libertarian Party Membership



    At the Platform Convention on Sunday, the general membership 
overwhelmingly voted to strip myself, Martin Lindstedt, of  seven collected 
proxies in violation of law, custom and Libertarian principles. This action 
also had the effect of disenfranchising seven members of the Missouri 
Libertarian Party.

   The purpose of this open letter is to flesh out my complaint, make 
conclusions concerning the moral and political consequences of this action 
of the MoLP's ruling faction, and make suggestions as to how to remedy this 
situation, make it right and provide for the future.

1. There is an item in the bylaws of the MoLP Constitution regarding 
proxy voting. 
It wasn't noticed at the time, what with Article 6.2's telecommunications 
quorum provision being "interpreted" by the membership to cover 

    In the Bylaws,  Article 2.3 Section A, subsection 2) states that a 
MoLP affiliate can defend against charges of revocation of charter by 
appearing in person or defending by proxy. Quote:
    "If such activities continue despite the warning, the State Committee 
    must notify the affiliate that a vote will be taken on revocation of 
    affiliation and invite them to attend and defend themselves in person 
    or by proxy."

    So if an affiliate can defend themselves against expulsion, a serious 
charge, by using proxy voting, reason would tend to confirm that proxy 
voting can be used to conduct  MoLP Party business.

2. Otherwise there is no law against proxy voting.  
Making up a special rule, suspiciously close to a bill of attainder, to deal 
with an unforeseen situation to the detriment of the person not heretofore 
breaking any rule is contrary to Libertarian principles and common decency. 

3. Proxy voting has precedent.  
    A.    Phillip Horrass stated that proxy voting should not be allowed 
except possibly for Expediting Committee votes at the Platform convention.  
He was very careful to limit it to Expediting Committee matters. In January 
Horrass used a proxy vote to vote against Bill Johnson for Executive 
Director. Now if he really thinks that proxy votes should be banned, for 
what reason should the Expediting Committee meetings be exempt from that 
    The truth is that Horrass makes up rules as he goes along. One minute 
something is legal if it benefits him, next minute it's illegal if it don't. 
The perfect essence of hypocrisy. I don't care how much he had lied in the 
past. The past is the past.  But if this sort of reprehensible behavior 
happens again, I am going to call for a vote of censure as provided for in 
Bylaw Article 1.2 for fraud, misconduct, willful violation of Libertarian 
principles, and for the general good of the MoLP.
    When Horrass used that proxy vote, there was not a single objection by 
anyone to the use of that proxy vote. Most of the people who made no 
objection to Horrass' use of a proxy, namely ExpCom members, were the very 
self-same ones who voted to strip me of my proxies.

   B.   I openly used a proxy vote at the June 10 general membership. The 
proxy voter, Mary Lou Graham, at one time Newton County Committee 
Chairwoman, frequent LP candidate, and present Newton County Committee 
Secretary, made out a written notice giving me the authority to vote in 
her stead. I used that proxy to vote on various matters and win a seat on 
the Expediting Committee.
   There was no complaint made about my use of a proxy in front of 42 paid 
members of the MoLP. This leaves me with the well-founded suspicion that 
the reason that I was stripped of the use of seven proxies on Sunday's 
General Membership Platform Convention by 13 or 14 majority members is 
because I had seven proxies, instead of one or two. I was stripped of 
these votes because the majority was afraid of losing power. They made 
sure that they remained in the majority -- and in power. So much for 
Libertarian principles when it isn't in some "Libertarian's" interests.

    C.  The statement by others that if they had known that if proxies were 
legal they would have collected all manner of them is belied by A and B, 
above. Those people were there in January and June. But leaving that aside, 
just because they didn't know something was possible is no reason to punish 
the more intelligent person who goes ahead and accomplishes it. Such 
reasoning is equivalent to "All the cavemen voted against Og and his unfair 
new invention of fire because if they had known it was possible, they would 
have done it first and best." This is petty-minded nonsense covering a will 
to power.

    D.  All proxies collected by myself were legitimate ones from members 
who have paid their dues. Five were verified by writing and signatures. 
The two from Harold and Kay Sheil were telephoned in to the MoLP chair. 
The one from Bill Johnson came too late to be verified at the Platform 
Convention. That makes seven good proxies, and I stake my word upon them 
being legitimate. 

4. Representative government is in itself an exercise in proxy voting.  In 
a Republic, the voters don't show up themselves for every occasion and 
vote. They elect representatives who are supposed to vote in their 
interests. So all I did by collecting proxies was go to the individual 
voters and convince them that I would vote their interests at the Platform 
convention. They showed their faith in me by giving me their proxy votes. 
This is representative government at its most basic and honest level. The 
MoLP decided that this was not good enough or in their interests, so 
they deliberately interfered with and destroyed a republican form of 
government which had arisen in their ranks.

5. Interference with a contract.  As alluded to above, the seven MoLP 
voters had a verbal and written contract with myself. In consideration for 
their votes, I would represent their positions on the Platform and 
otherwise see to the furtherance of their interests and my own. By 
stripping me of those proxies and in effect disenfranchising the voters, 
the MoLP horned in on a private contract, a power that the state and 
federal governments are forbidden by the U.S. Constitution. This sort of 
behavior sort of puts the lie to the MoLP Constitution.

6. Proxy holder was not allowed to defend himself and his position fully.  
First my right to collect and use proxy votes was disparaged by Mitch 
Moore, a lawyer, who ought to know better. Then Phil Horrass got in his 
dirt. Then I made as eloquent plea as I could for the rights of myself and 
the proxy grantors. Then Eric Harris talked against it, and I asked to 
respond to his criticisms and was told that I was out of order. Then some 
more irrelevant questions were brought up against it. I didn't get a 
chance to fully answer all accusations.
    If this had been a courtroom, it would have been a kangaroo one, with 
the jurors biased and having interests in the matter. The spirit and 
letter of Robert's Rules of Order were deliberately perverted to strip me 
of my proxies, disenfranchise MoLP members and safeguard majority power.

     Political and Moral Conclusions Arising From This Matter       

1. The MoLP is not a state organization, it is a regional one. 
   Two of my proxy voters live in the Joplin area, well over 200 miles 
from Columbia. There was nobody from the Bootheel. By ruling against the 
use of proxy votes and insisting that the general membership must be 
present to vote, this has the general effect of disenfranchising MoLP 
voters in Southwestern and Southeastern Missouri. Who can afford $30-$40 
in gas and eats to vote on a $15 membership? While the center of 
Libertarian political gravity is the I-70 corridor, that should not 
overwhelmingly favor Kansas City, St. Louis, and Columbia to the point 
of exclusion of the rest of the state. If the MoLP wants to favor the 
closer areas and disenfranchise the further ones, then it should call 
itself the I-70 Regional Missouri Libertarian Party, not the MoLP. Proxy 
votes encourage general membership participation in the far regions.

2. By denying past proxy voting, a precedent is set to deny it in the 
  Think of it. The persons who voted against my use of proxies will be 
inclined to vote against them in the future. If they did, then the 
question will be raised as to why it was denied in the past? Because they 
were not smart enough to use it then? 
    Besides, whenever over thirty-five of the general membership shows up, 
it overwhelmingly supported Bill Johnson and his ideas. Then the ExpCom 
just meowed, rolled over and played dead. It is only when they outnumber 
militants by 5-1 that they fight.
    No, majority rule means that they will follow demagogues like Bill 
Johnson. Can't have that. Or proxy voting, which might encourage majority 

3. The MoLP does not represent all the factions and viewpoints of Missouri 
Libertarians, and the ruling faction is making sure that it stays that way.  
   If fact, the MoLP has been deliberately, politically cleansed of the 
militant factions. Denying the use of my seven proxies invalidated the 
wishes of six overtly militant members. There was nobody at the Platform 
Convention who was a militant other than myself. To put it bluntly, one 
Shooter and nineteen Pud-Pullers attended that meeting, and the lone 
Shooter was quickly disarmed of his seven bullets. Let's look at the 
militant line-up.

     Martin Lindstedt, -- Militant, 7th District ExpCom Delegate, Newton 
			  County Chair
     Mary Graham, -- Militant, proxy voter, Newton County Secretary
     Hal Williams, -- Consciencious Objector, proxy voter, Jasper County 
     Thom Taylor, -- Militant, proxy voter, long-time Libertarian
     Coneta Taylor, -- Militant sympathizer, proxy voter, 1992 candidate 
			  142d State Rep.
     Jaime Buzzard, -- Militant sympathizer, proxy voter, Christian County 
     Kay Sheil, -- Militant, proxy voter, former MoLP Chair
     Harold Sheil, -- Militant, proxy voter, former MoLP ExpCom Delegate

   and,  Bill Johnson, -- Militant, proxy voter, former MoLP Executive 
   Director, U.S. Senatorial candidate, 1994. Bill sent me his proxy, but 
it arrived too late to try to use at the meeting.

   All these members are somebodies. Every single one is a member in good 
standing with the Missouri Libertarian Party, regardless of whether they 
resigned or not. Every single one of the above proxy voters served the MoLP 
or continues to serve, even in the face of "moderate" scorn and misconduct. 
Denying them a say and a vote, especially when they are absent to spare the 
ruling faction's egos, is wrong. They were the majority faction of the 
Missouri Libertarian Party until two months ago. Now that they are a 
minority, they still deserve to be heard.

4. Inbreeding and Decay, MoLP Expediting Committee.  
    The majority of the people at the Platform Convention serve on the 
Expediting Committee. There was only one member of the militant faction 
there, and that was myself. I mentioned during the proxy fight the fact 
that I keep seeing that the same old people and hearing the same old 
thoughts. There is no wish to change on the part of the Missouri 
Libertarian Party. The present members wish to remain big frogs in a small 
pond. They lack the political and moral courage to politically compete 
with newcomers and militants. 
    This incestuous arrangement is no accident. The rules have been 
deliberately formed to hinder change and growth. Witness the platform rule 
of 2/3 to add a plank and 1/3 to delete one. It was made so that a 
minority, (which was the debate-clubbers then, Bill Johnson's star on the 
rise at the time) could hinder and obstruct the majority. It was farcical 
that such a rule required only a majority to pass.
    I have heard some ExpCom members relate to me the parliamentary 
tricks, humiliations, and ways that they rid themselves of libertarian 
rivals to power over the years. I listened and thought, "Are they really 
proud of what they have done, or is this a warning for me not to cross 
them?" I can understand the elimination of enemies, but sometimes the best 
way to accomplish this is to make them your friends.
    So where are the militants? In Saint Louis, they formed their own 
Saint Louis Libertarian Party and they refuse to have anything to do with 
the Missouri Libertarian Party. In Kansas City, Kay and Harold Sheil have 
joined the 51st militia, and Harold is going to run as a Republican. Bill 
Johnson is aiding the Senate campaign of an Alabama Libertarian turned 
Republican. In the Joplin area, we are forming county committees and 
carrying on, even though our proxy votes were denied. But still, what is 
there in being a Missouri Libertarian Party member in it for us? The 
Springfield area is split between Shooter and Pud-Puller, however that is 
only in the city itself, and only for a while. The outlying counties are 
militant, especially now that their proxies have been cast aside as 
valueless. What is in MoLP membership for us, the militants?
   The biggest problem with the militant faction's absence in the MoLP is 
the lack of vigor, strength, youth, a fresh outlook on life. Bill Johnson 
got us a lot of votes. The only declared Congressional candidates are Mike 
Harmon, an outside Republican, and myself, a militant. For the rest of the 
ticket, the moderates had to go outside and find Francis Shands. Are not 
any of the rest of the people on the Expediting Committee going to run for 
something next year? If so, are you just going to declare your candidacy 
and have that be it? For someone who wants to write up all the rules, none 
of you want to play the game, much less hardball. 
   I can understand Libertarianism is predominantly attractive to a 
mental aristocracy. However, that does not imply that we should retrench 
in Versailles to decay in peace and hope that the next revolution passes 
us by while we argue as to who is the best Libertarian and who is not!
   If the current Expediting Committee attitude regarding militants and 
militant ideas continues, the MoLP will consist of nothing more than 
15-20 members meeting in a restaurant every month and talking the same 
old talk, planning what they think that are going to do, someday, while 
the whole world passes them by or declines. You can remain big frogs in 
your small pond, which will eventually evaporate. 
    After Sunday's farce of a meeting, I didn't know whether to laugh or 
cry. I am not too angry with most of the ExpCom. I don't think that most 
of them can help themselves. I have made up my mind that I will not 
continue to pile eggs into the decayed basket that is the MoLP ExpCom. I 
will not resign as someone got to talk sense to that bunch. If they want 
to work, fine. But if I must pursue an independent course of action, I 
shall do so, and not submit to ExpCom approval. I urge the same course 
upon anyone who wants to get anything done.

	     Situation Remedy & Future Conclusions.

    The stripping away of seven proxies from myself was an immoral, 
unjust, illegal, and short-sighted act by the MoLP which wronged both 
myself and the eight proxy voters.
    Two of my proxy voters have asked me if it was possible for me to 
initiate a lawsuit against the MoLP for their conduct. I said it was 
indeed possible, and with a high chance of success, but I didn't see 
anything to be gained by such action. I asked both proxies if they wanted 
to initiate a suit because they had been wronged as well, and they said 
no. When you gotta sic the law on somebody, it is doubtful whether you 
can trust them for any faithful performance in the future.

    So what do I want? Let me tell you.
    The Platform Convention was a shambles. People only had 3 months and 
a week to come up with their proposals for a platform. I was the one who 
asked for a platform committee and the only input that I ever received was 
from the Higgins, Bradbury, Givens and Bojarski. But even those people 
didn't have anything in writing. 
    Instead, four minutes of debate was supposed to suffice for adding, 
deleting, and modifying the platform. I called it the mad four minutes. 
Some perfectly awful planks were proposed by people talking from the tops 
of their heads, and the result was chaos. If what was passed is the 
Missouri Libertarian Party Platform, I want no part of it. I will instead 
run on my own platform.
    All this mess must be done over. I will detail my findings and 
suggestions for improvement in a different letter. Concisely stated, what 
will have to be done is for the whole present mess to be scrapped, another 
Platform written in committee by all those who are truly interested, and 
for it to be ratified by a vote of the general membership. And to get a 
true ratification from the general membership, you will either have to 
allow proxy voting at general membership conventions or publish the planks 
in Show Me Freedom and have the membership vote up and down on it, plank 
by plank. We have until May 1996 to get it done. Let's start on it now.

   I voted, and so did my proxies, yes on Jim Givens's continued 
   I voted, and so did my proxies, yes for Jim Higgins's vice-presidency.
   No need to change anything, because both votes carried, regardless.

   I hereby vote, me and my eight proxies, to strip away all planks, good 
or bad from the old platform. I hereby vote, me and my eight proxies, to 
strip away all planks, good or bad, that were enacted into the platform on 
Sunday, September 17, 1995.

   Since only 19 others were there, and some of them did not vote, my 
eight proxies and myself form a bloc of nine votes. Nine united votes 
out of 28 split ones, especially since some of them did not vote, makes 
for the one-third votes necessary to strip any and all planks from the 

   Since it would be best if the current "Platform" was scrapped and for 
the Missouri Libertarian Party to observe and make good on its general 
principles, bylaws, and philosophy; I request and demand that my proxy 
votes be reinstated and the voting results be respected. It will do no 
harm and it will put the MoLP back in the right.

The Future.  
   In the future, the allowance of proxy voting will be absolutely 
necessary.   It is impossible for 12-15 members of the Expediting 
Committee to legitimately claim that they and their machinations are the 
popular will of the members and voters of the Missouri Libertarian Party. 
Sure, by making it so that only the people who have the time, money, and 
determination to attend get to vote, the present factional leadership can 
maintain its control. But its control will be over an increasingly 
sterilized and shrinking domain. Do we really want this to happen?
    Proxy votes will be a matter of trust, and all for the person who 
collects them because the MoLP ExpCom simply doesn't have the 
organizational or planning ability as yet so that proxy voters can write 
down what they are voting for.
     So what will the rules be?
	1) All proxies shall be either in writing, telephone, or e-mail 
          and 	submitted in advance to the Secretary/Chairman so that 
          they can be verified as coming from members in good standing. 
          Notarizing is too expensive and inconvenient.
	2) Proxy fraud will be punished by the expulsion of the 
           perpetrator 	and all proxies collected voided.
	3) Proxies can be general or conditional. If conditional proxies 
	are obtained, they will be read aloud for interpretation before 
	4) Proxy votes cannot be secretly balloted. They must be announced 
	aloud, even though present members are allowed to vote secretly.
	5) There will be no proxy votes allowed from a member who has bought 
	a membership that very same day. This prevents people from coming 
	into a meeting with a checkbook or wad of cash and buying 
        fictitious memberships. The amount of time necessary for a new 
        member to cast a proxy vote will be no shorter than one month or 
        longer than three months.

   So when can we get away from proxies? Not a moment until every single 
item on a Platform, Constitution, or Bylaw is placed in writing and the 
general membership gets informed and had their chance to vote on it in 
either Show Me Freedom or some other forum available to the general 
membership. I don't see that happening, not yet, and probably still not 
in the near future. There is and will be so much left up to the last 
minute, even in a perfectly organized party. The most you can hope for is 
to minimize the need for proxies.


    The MoLP stands at a decision point. If you do not allow proxy 
voting, then the current situation of rule by 12-15 members of the 
Expediting Committee will stand, and there can be no possibility of 
evolutional change, and only a coup will do.
    If the MoLP allows proxy voting and establishes rules to prevent 
proxy fraud, then perhaps the party can grow. The same old bunch of 
moderates might find they can no longer rule without allowing change, 
compromise, input, and independence from the militant faction, but so 
what? I thought Libertarianism was about individual freedom coupled with 
individual responsibility and accountability.
		    --  Martin Lindstedt --
                          September 21, 1995