There has been a lot of discussion about the speakers participating in the Rage Against the War Machine rally taking place on February 19 in DC.
The Libertarian Party is a sponsor of the Rage Against the War Machine event, which was organized by a separate entity of the same name. The organization is a product of a partnership between Nick Brana, Chair of the People’s Party, our own Chair Angela McArdle, and many volunteers involved with both parties. Both leaders separately invited speakers from within their own political spheres. Each leader was expected to vet their own invitees.
The Libertarian Party is not the organizer of the speaker list, but an early sponsor of what promises to be the largest anti-war event in recent history. We were excited to put our support behind this event and the message it would carry because of our strong opposition to war and the military-industrial complex which perpetuates it.
Recently, it’s come to our attention that a few speakers have made statements in direct opposition to the core thesis of the event.
Let us be clear.
We oppose all wars.
We oppose all states who initiate them.
We are not pro-Putin. We are not pro-Russia.
We oppose Russia’s invasion and any initiation of force.
The threat of nuclear devastation is higher than it’s been for decades, and the war in Ukraine has led to horrifying death, harm, and destruction for thousands of innocents. War is simply mass murder writ large, and the party’s opposition to these crimes has never been in question.
Any speaker advocating for the contrary does not align with our values. Furthermore, we want to affirm to our members that this experience has taught us an important lesson in how to thoroughly vet collaborators.
Scott Ritter is not a Libertarian, and we would prefer that he stay home from the rally as he originally proposed when event coordinators first confronted him about his criminal history. Libertarians hold as sacrosanct the rights of children to be free from abuse; his criminal convictions are despicable and contradict our values. In addition to his crimes, over the weekend he declared that he is not anti-war which directly contradicts the purpose of the rally. We think this event would be more successful without his involvement, and your support for true anti-war activists will ensure their message is elevated to ring loudest and clearest in Washington.
Angela has worked hard to recruit voices we can be proud to share an anti-war stage with: Tulsi Gabbard, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and so many others will now be joining us in DC, and we encourage you to do so as well.
We have an enormous opportunity to build a groundswell of opposition to the war machine. Let’s not waste it.
This weekend, the Libertarian National Committee heard public comments and our Chair hosted a Q&A with state party leadership. We also want to extend an invitation to our members to provide input and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First, if you want to hear from anti-war activists at future events let us know. We want to reignite the anti-war movement in this country both at this event and beyond. Additionally, if there are any other speakers you’d like the event coordinators to invite, please reach out to Rage Against War.
Second, the premise of single-issue coalitions is that we don’t agree on everything, but we agree on something important. This event has presented a great opportunity to try this strategy and learn as we go. If you have any feedback on how the freedom movement should build partnerships–and with whom–moving forward, we want to hear from you.
We welcome any ideas in pursuit of becoming a more effective party.