Tips for Libertarian Activists

Catalog of Manuals

Last updated 1995-09-30 by Tom Isenberg

Here is a list of how-to manuals that I've collected over the years. They all look pretty good, but I haven't studied them enough to give reviews.

(Editor's note: This is a snapshot from 1995, so there are undoubtedly others. This is only a starting point to know what types of manuals to look for.)


Become a Candidate, 1994, 360pp.

Developed by the National Association of Home Builders. Topics include: Before You Decide to Seek Office, Campaign Planning, Recruiting and Using Volunteers, Candidate Fundraising, Direct Mail, TV ads, Avoiding Pitfalls, and Get Out the Vote.

Libertarian Political Action: Advice on Effective Campaigning, Chris Hocker, 1982, 64 pp.

Developed by the National LP to update the earlier "Political Action Bulletins" manual used by hundreds of LP campaigns between 1978 and 1981. Topics include: Basic Points of Campaigning, Campaign Theme, Budget, Fundraising, Voting Analysis, Reaching the Voter in Person, Facing the Public, Candidate Brochure, News Releases, Direct Mail Campaigning, Direct Mail Fundraising, Media Advertising, Posters and Billboards, Gingerbread, and Organizing a Petition Drive.

Post Campaign Analysis, Scott Kjar, 1994, 30pp.

A post-mortem report on Kjar's 1994 LP campaign for Nevada State Assembly District 41. Topics include: Ideas, Time, Labor, Raising Money, District Analysis, Opponents, Issues, Campaign Plan, Chronology of Events, Media Coverage, and Conclusions.

Republican Campaign Seminar, 1993, 80pp.

Official manual and seminar notes, geared towards new candidates running for State House. Topics include: Planning, Draft Budget, Fund-Raising Schedule, Volunteer Recruitment, Doorbelling, Campaign Theme, Fundraising, Name Identification, Campaign Strategy, Voter Turnout, and Media Interview Techniques.

Campus Organizing

College Libertarian Handbook 1993-1994, Joseph Knight, 1993, 40pp.

Published by the national LP. Topics include: Guidelines for Student Organizers and Organizing Committees, Membership and Recruitment, Publicity and Public Relations, Literature Distribution, Speakers and Forums, Campus Libertarian Newspaper, Discussion Groups, Editorialization, How to Start a College Libertarian Club, Use of the Campus Survey Technique, Tactical Tools and Training Materials, and Campus Status Report.

Community Organizational Manual, Young Americans for Freedom, 1979?, 12pp.

Topics include: Committee-of-One Projects, Contacting Your First Members, Pre-Planning, Planning the First Meeting, Membership Recruitment, Projects, The National Office-How Can We Help?, Chapter Chairmen and Keys to Effective Leadership, Ongoing Projects, The YAF Structure, Model By-Laws, and Model Constitution.

SLS Organizing Manual, Dennis Auerbach, 1981, 34pp.

Published by Students for a Libertarian Society. Topics include: Mainstream Politics vs. Campus Radicalism, The State of the College Campus, Getting Started, Literature Table, Organizational Meeting, Fundraising, Initial Projects, Discussion Groups, High School Organizing, Speaking Events, Rallies, Manner of Presentation, Designing of a Flyer, News Releases and Advances, News Conferences, Coalitions, Publishing a Newsletter, Heroic Deeds of SLS Chapters, About the Libertarian Movement, and Appendix of Sample Documents.

Party Organizing

Bibliographies, compiled by Mary Gingell and Bill Evers, 1989, 12pp.

Developed by the LP NatCom, these bibliographies list old LP manuals (and where to get them) and books available at libraries. Lists include: Vintage LP Publications, California Activist Reprints, Local Political Action, Managing Volunteer Organizations, Fundraising, and Leadership.

Blueprint for Libertarian Activists, Kent Guida, 1981, 48pp.

Published by Kent Guida as part of his campaign for chairman of the national LP and distributed to delegates to the 1981 LP convention in Denver. "The purpose of [this manual] is to illustrate through actual examples how LP activists at all levels can accomplish their goals successfully." Topics include: Party Development, Keeping it Going, Internal Communications, Recruiting and Developing Libertarian Candidates, Getting on the Ballat, Reaching the News Media, Speakers Bureaus, and Fundraising.

How to Organize: LPWS Guide to Political Action, Tom Tanaka, 1992, 46pp.

Published by the Washington State LP. Topics include: Why Organize, Getting Started, Activities, Organizing Troubles, Party Documents, and Sample Charter.

Organizing Local Chapters of the Washington LP, 1981, 14pp.

Published by the Washington State LP. Topics include: Why Organize, How to Organize Your First Meetings, Activities and Keeping it Together, What to Do When Troubles Arrive, and Sample Charter.

Running a Libertarian Convention, Barbara and Michael Kessler, 1982, 20pp.

Published by the national LP, this is a report on how the 1981 NYLP State Convention was organized. Topics include: Why Hold a State Convention?, Where to Hold Your Convention, Convention Jobs, Convention Timetable, Getting Speakers, Films, Scheduling Events, Keeping Trace of Income and Expenditures, Setting Prices, Convention Publicity, Convention Flier, Mailing, Convention Book, College Publicity, Press Relations, Work Sessions, Mailing, Putting Together Registration Packets, Convention Day Nuts and Bolts, Friday Cocktail Party, Equipment Needed at Registration Desk, Registration Schedule, Check-In Process, Fundraising, Cocktail Parties, Additional Jobs During Convention, Booths, Awards, Raffle, and Sample Budget.

Speakers Bureau

Speakers Bureau Notebook, Marion Williams, 1981, 190pp.

Published by the Libertarian Speakers Bureau, a project of the national LP. Topics include: State Coordinator Responsibilities, Local Coordinator Responsibilities, Contacting Organizations, Coordinating Engagements, Sample Speeches, Publicity, Research, and Speaker Training.

Strategy and Tactics

Strategies for a Libertarian Victory, Murray N. Rothbard, 1982, 8pp.

An updated essay reprinted by the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus which originally appeared in "Libertarian Review" (August 1978.)