This post gives an overall summary of the happenings at the New York Libertarian convention, which took place this past Saturday, and the FSP recruiting effort at the event.
Tom Ruks arranged an advertising table for the FSP right in front of the main speaking room, and gave me the responsibility of speaking to anyone whose interest was piqued by the FSP. I brought along printouts of the FSP gun brochure, the Statement of Intent, and the First Annual Porcupine Fest. Aiding me in the recruiting effort was Ward (don't know his last name) from Kearney, NJ.
The convention was organized by having a speaker speak every half-an-hour or so. Some of the noteworthy speakers were Gary Nolan, Aaron Russo, the spokeswoman from Pink Pistols, and the editorial manager of antiwar.com, Justin Raimondo. You can see Justin's speech at this address
People were regularly coming up to the table and seem quite interested in the FSP. Many had heard of it, and there were many members there. I convinced one guy to sign up (it didn't take much convincing actually), and about a dozen people, who weren't members, took the Statement of Intent. I spoke to a number of people who weren't members yet to see why they were hesitant in signing up. The main reasons I heard were: 1) they didn't think 20,000 people would move up to NH when it was time to go; 2) Libertarians, who squabble amongst themselves quite often, would do the same in NH and thus change wouldn't really happen; and 3) their line of work did not exist in NH.
I estimate that there was a good 150 people in attendance at the convention at any one time, including a lot of women. Everyone was friendly and eager to talk to other people in attendance. I believe that I got the message out to a number of people who had never heard of the Free State Project before, and hopefully one or two more people will sign up.
After the business meeting, members of the FSP, and people interested in the FSP, met at the Whaler Bar, which is located in the Jolly Madison hotel. I met a number of new Porcs there that night, and would say that there were around 20-25 people there by the time I left the bar at 10 p.m. Everyone was having a good time, and most of the time people were talking about sports, history, the real estate marketl, and not about NH or the FSP. I thought this was good since it showed that we're all normal people who are interested in a variety of things, but who all share one common purpose: to reduce the amount of government in our lives. I definitely know that I won't mind having the Porcs, whom I met that evening, as neighbors in my new home.
In conclusion, I had a new found hope that the FSP might actually succeed. Tom Ruks and I are going to try other ways of recruiting new members, like by speaking at student libertarian groups at various colleges in New York City. I think we can recruit a number of energetic and intelligent members from the local universities.
And I highly recommend that fellow Porcs attend the local group meetings and get involved with the recruiting effort. It's a rewarding experience to talk to many different people about the FSP (and what good it can do), and perhaps recruit a new member or two.