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Author Topic: Seditious Ramblings  (Read 105184 times)

Friday

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Seditious Ramblings
« on: October 23, 2005, 01:21:02 pm »

FSP Participants, Friends, libertarians, lend me your eyeballs, and let us discuss what is to be done with our beloved FSP.

As has been discussed at great length on this forum and elsewhere, the FSP has “issues”.  :P

The current configuration of the Board of Directors is self-appointed and meets in secret.  The minutes of its meetings are a joke, IMHO. Some Directors and department heads go MIA for months at a time, yet retain access to internal leadership discussion lists, while other very active members are refused admittance.     There hasn’t been a board election since the summer of 2004.   The winner of that election became so disgruntled, for reasons that were never publicly spelled out, that she not only quit the Board, she quit this forum.  Several other Boardmembers and officers have disappeared over the years.  Even public DISCUSSION of BoD elections has been relocated to the Participants Only section, preventing prospective members from being fully informed about the history of an organization that, let’s face it, asks for a rather large dose of personal sacrifice. Calls for even token electoral representation on the Board by members have been denied.  It appears to have analysis paralysis; it has been sitting on over $30,000 in organizational funds for months now, unable to decide whether to spend it on a marketing campaign or a paid employee (resulting in the money being spent on neither).  If I were prone to paranoia, I’d find some of this deeply disturbing. Oh wait… I AM prone to paranoia.   :-\

Exciting and inspiring things are being done by early movers and friends of our cause in New Hampshire.  This is the proof that our concept is feasible, and must be shared with the rest of the world. However, in a vain attempt to comply with IRS registration standards and to adhere to a concept that the FSP is “merely a bus”, and takes absolutely no positions on anything at all, discussion of such things is verboten here.  Several times when an FSP participant has gained media exposure, they have been ignored or publicly disavowed by the organization.  I don’t know about you, but all of this seems extremely counterproductive to me.  What we need is publicity; why do we run away every time we get some?  I’m referring to the Free Town imbroglio, the Outlaw Manicurist, the Unidentified Flying Objector, and now Lauren Canario.  Our spokesperson recently indicated to a newspaper reporter that the FSP has no position on eminent domain. What?!?!? If we can’t even admit that we do have a position on eminent domain (we’re AGAINST it!!!), what the hell do we stand for? What’s the point of joining this organization?  ???

With all due respect to the members of the Board and some members of the Organizers, who have contributed huge amounts of time, energy and money to bringing this outrageous concept into reality, and some of whom have already made the move, they alone do not comprise the FSP.  *I* am the FSP. WE are the FSP.

There’s a growing schism between those who, officially, hold the reins of power over FSP policy, publicity and funds, and those of us who have actually put our lives where our mouths are by moving to New Hampshire and becoming political activists, in some cases at enormous personal cost.  The denizens of the FSP forum, and those of the NH Underground forum, each pretend that the other doesn’t exist (except for a few gadflies  ;) ).  The FSP leadership seems repulsed or frightened by the radicalism expressed on the Underground; yet, as far as I can see, the majority of regular posters there are bonafide FSP early movers, or NH natives friendly to our cause, or FSP participants who seem serious about relocating within the next few years.  The official forum, meanwhile, is dominated by nonmembers engaged in endless discussion that has nothing to do with the FSP.  The early movers who are running for political office (or have already won) post in neither place, and we therefore lose the ability to point to their successes (or noble defeats) as a recruitment tool.

With the recent BoD decision to remove the officially “unofficial” 2006 deadline, while retaining the now utterly arbitrary goal of 20,000 signups, and a new emphasis on encouraging people to move as soon as possible, we must address certain unpleasant realities.  Our Director, President and Media Representative, Amanda Phillips, has recently enrolled in Harvard Law School.  It appears very doubtful that she will relocate before finishing her program. And when she does, she will presumably have a mountain of school debt and will need to find as high-paying a job as possible to work on paying it off.  Do you think she’ll be taking her first post-law school job in New Hampshire… or staying where she is in greater Boston?

Our Chairman of the Board and founder, Jason Sorens, meanwhile, has recently relocated farther away from NH than he was already living. He has purchased a house and obtained a tenure-track teaching job… at a public university.

I’m not trying to slam Amanda and Jason too much; they have both been extremely dedicated to the FSP concept for years, and have dedicated countless hours of their lives in promoting it.  Amanda is well-spoken and charismatic and makes a great spokesperson. The FSP is Jason’s baby.  But I think those of us who comprise the FSP need to ask ourselves: with our recruitment numbers remaining in the toilet for over a year now, and the new direction of the organization, will it help or hurt our chances of success having Amanda and Jason at the helm?  At a bare minimum, I think it is fair to ask for a firm statement of intent to move by such-and-such a date by anyone holding a leadership position.

What is to be done?  I don’t know.  But I do know that the current system is increasingly not just ineffectual, but idiotic.  And I have far too much invested in the FSP to just walk away now.  I know some of you others have as well, or plan on doing so in the near future.  It's time to try something new, preferably with the sanction of the leadership, but without it if need be.

The concept of the FSP will succeed or fail by our actions.  Let’s discuss this, and take action.  I welcome all ideas.  Please post them here, IM me, email me, or call me (I’m in the Porcupine directory).  If you’re *really* paranoid, I’ll even meet you in a crowded pub and remove all my bugged fillings first.   ;D


(This message will also be posted on the Underground forum, for the benefit of those early movers who have become so frustrated with the FSP leadership that they won't even look at this forum anymore.)
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Russell Kanning

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2005, 03:10:17 pm »

I totally agree Sandy.
I will discuss this on the NH Underground forum.
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JasonPSorens

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2005, 03:57:59 pm »

Seditious ramblings can be helpful, Sandy... I don't have the time to read your whole message, but I think I can understand some of the frustration at the way the FSP is going, but I also don't think "FSP leadership" as a whole is to blame - except maybe there's not enough communication. We're doing lots of stuff - sending speakers out, writing articles, running ads, manning tables, selling merchandise, planning the annual festival, and the like - but do people know about that stuff? Probably not many. As far as spending the 30K, we're just trying to make sure we make the best decision. We're definitely going with a PR firm, but we have offers from two different firms and are now working on special projects to try them out. Some decisions take a really, really long time to make - and I admit some decisions take longer than I would like. We're trying to do our due diligence, but all of us also have full-time jobs, so it can take a week or two just between each step of the process. That's inevitable, unless some rich person steps up and funds the position of a full-time administrator.

I really would like to know where we can do better - realistically.
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Dreepa

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2005, 04:45:33 pm »

I really would like to know where we can do better - realistically.

Great post Sandy.


Jason.. we (FSP) fail in that we don't do anything with new members.  After they join that is it.  See ya 5 years after we hit 20K.
How about a welcome letter signed by you and Amanda?  How about a packet full of NH details, websites with job postings, real estate details, news from NH?  How about a free bumper sticker?  How about a phone number for the leader in their area?  How about a letter explaining N number of ways to help the FSP?  How about we teach the new (and probably excited) members how to recruit more members?  If we can energize people we can recruit more.  How about emailing people more frequently?    Hell I got 15 PORCfest spam and I get shit about recruiting.
Hell at the rate we are going we could probably get a personal phone call to each new member by the board.

Another tangent... lots of time/energy goes into planning Porcfest... does the same time/energy go into thinking about how to recruit?  (I mean how many people JOIN because of Porcfest?)


Chris

PS I would volunteer to be the person to assemble kits and then mail them to all new members. 
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FTL_Ian

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2005, 05:09:33 pm »

<applauds Friday>

From Jean Alexander, FSP Signup Analyst:
Quote
Ian and Free Talk Live have brought a steady and consistent stream of
new participants to the Free State Project.  The regular results FTL
brings to our recruiting efforts is greatly appreciated!

The FSP while it certainly deserves Friday's critique, is doing one thing right.  They are sponsoring Free Talk Live to the tune of $500 a month.  If you look in the signup statistics thread, you'll see that we recruited at least 10% of the FSP's signups in July, and increased that to 13% in August.

Free Talk Live is currently the number one recruiter for the Free State Project.

Let's put these excellent statistics in perspective:  Free Talk Live currently is coming up on its first year of syndication.  We've only got 8 affiliates.  But really, that's our Saturday show that has all those 8, our weekday show only has 2.  While one of those two is in Kansas City, it's also a 6 Watt signal during our show, and therefore, not a "player" in the metro.  Realistically, we only have a few thousand listeners, and maybe several thousand on our Saturday show.

Even with a relatively small footprint, we are recruiting 13% of the new FSP signups!!

I only wish the FSP leadership was as excited about this possiblity as we are.  Before I continue, I give major kudos to Bob Hull, Brian Sullivan, and Jean Alexander who have been active supporters of my show amongst the FSP brass.

Unfortunately, I have been told that there are certain members of the FSP leadership that either do not like me or my show.  No one will tell me who my detractors are, nor what exactly their problem is.  So that leads me to speculation:

-Did the detractors think that the money being allocated to Free Talk Live would be wasted?  If so, they surely have been proven wrong by now, and as we grow will continue to be proven wrong.

I have publicly invited the detractors to come talk to me about their issues or objections, and to date, no one has.  The invitation remains open.

The FSP's $500 a month has been a major help in promoting our show.  It accounts for nearly 50% of the measly amount of income we have.  (Our listeners are directly contributing about $675 a month via our AMP program.)  All of this money is going right back out to market our show to more stations and more internet listeners.  No one is collecting a paycheck from Free Talk Live.

The more money we have coming in, the more we can promote our show, the more stations we'll get on board, the more listeners we'll convert into FSP participants.  It's a simple, powerful process.

I promised to not raise rates on the FSP, and I won't.  But I must say, we could do so much more with a little extra.  If the board is too skeptical to increase funding voluntarily, I would like the FSP to consider allowing me to reach out directly to the membership and ask them to contribute to FTL via our AMP program.  I'll only ask them for $3 a month.

We will not sit on the money.  We will spend it to promote our show, because we want to grow.  We want to spread the Liberty message and promote the FSP as far and as wide as possible, as fast as possible.

With our meager budget, we're already:
-Buying ad space in the Talk Radio industry's top publication, "TALKERS" (Radio Program Directors are seeing us in talkers, and hearing our name when I call them personally, and our listeners call them personally.)
-We just signed up with "Talk Shows USA" a promotion group run by an old industry pro, to whom radio program directors turn for advice on what to add to their stations.  He'll be telling them "Free Talk Live".  (This will begin next month.)
-We're running a Google Adwords campaign resulting in hundreds of hits per month.

Months ago I said we were the most potentially powerful and affordable recruiting tool the FSP has ever had.  The numbers have vindicated that claim already, and we have only scratched the surface of the potential that we hold for the FSP.

To the leadership reading this:  Please let me send an email to the FSP Participants and Friends, and ask them to help AMP my show.  A 2% response rate will push our listener contributions over the $1,000 mark.  Also consider acknowledging the value of Free Talk Live, and increasing the FSP's contribution amount towards our show.

To those of you reading this who understand the power of this opportunity for growth, please go now to http://amp.freetalklive.com and read all about our AMP program, then sign up to be an AMPlifier for as little as $3 a month.

We will not disappoint you.



« Last Edit: October 23, 2005, 05:13:22 pm by FTL_Ian »
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artienewport

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2005, 05:36:19 pm »

I don't have the time to read your whole message

But you had time to write a long paragraph?

No wonder this org is in trouble...
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artienewport

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2005, 05:40:10 pm »

Months ago I said we were the most potentially powerful and affordable recruiting tool the FSP has ever had. 

I concur.

While your operation is certainly commercial in nature, and your ultimate aim is a nice paycheck for yourself, I wish the FSP would throw some of that $30k collecting dust in their accounts at you.
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JasonPSorens

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2005, 06:34:29 pm »

Unfortunately, I have been told that there are certain members of the FSP leadership that either do not like me or my show.  No one will tell me who my detractors are, nor what exactly their problem is.  So that leads me to speculation:


Oh, please. Gossip is a killer of organizations. Don't pay attention to whining and whispering and speculating, and don't engage in it. My two cents.
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JasonPSorens

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2005, 07:03:35 pm »

Jason.. we (FSP) fail in that we don't do anything with new members.  After they join that is it.  See ya 5 years after we hit 20K.
How about a welcome letter signed by you and Amanda?  How about a packet full of NH details, websites with job postings, real estate details, news from NH?  How about a free bumper sticker?  How about a phone number for the leader in their area?  How about a letter explaining N number of ways to help the FSP?  How about we teach the new (and probably excited) members how to recruit more members?

We used to send out a packet with all that stuff. I believe (I'm not positive) that program has stopped recently. The Local Greeter program is going again, however.

Quote
PS I would volunteer to be the person to assemble kits and then mail them to all new members. 

Excellent! Please email Varrin at vswearingen@freestateproject.org. You'll be asked to sign an NDA (everyone who gets participant info has to). Thanks!
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RidleyReport

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2005, 07:18:25 pm »

One thing worth making note of is that this FSP sedition thread, posted on the FSP's own forum, is generating only about 25% as much discussion as the same thread posted at NHfree.com

FSP activity is dying with the current leadership in charge.  Those who are in the saddle should, as I requested over six months ago on this forum, submit themselves to election by the members or perhaps just an open vote on the forum.  Anyone registered before today could be allowed to vote.  Not 100% representative but certainly easy and quick.

If you folks in leadership are the best people for the job, you'll do fine in any election.  But as a group you completely lack my confidence, just as surely as New Hampshire has it.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2005, 07:57:18 pm by Dada Orwell »
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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2005, 07:22:38 pm »

jason wrote:

<<but I also don't think "FSP leadership" as a whole is to blame >>

I don't blame the leadership for all the stagnation, I *do* blame you for failing to submit yourselves to election, that is something you have complete control over and you've wilfully failed to heed our requests.

I do think we'd probably be ok just electing board members though and leaving you Jason as Emporer LOL.   Things worked ok when you were the only one in the saddle so I'm suspecting that this would not be harmful.

Very sad to hear about the 30K being misused by being UNUSED. No more donations from me, I give straight to the people who are doing things like Lauren and Russel...people you are sometimes wilfully ignoring on the website.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2005, 07:59:00 pm by Dada Orwell »
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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2005, 08:00:47 pm »

The much more lively and active discussion of this issue can be found on the NHfree.com forum at

http://forum.soulawakenings.com/index.php?topic=2095.0
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kater

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2005, 08:06:52 pm »

We used to send out a packet with all that stuff. I believe (I'm not positive) that program has stopped recently. The Local Greeter program is going again, however.

For my own amusement (and irritation, after reading the asinine thread on the Underground), I feel compelled to point out that I handed that project over to Kat when she moved to New Hampshire.  Gee.
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jeanius

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2005, 08:06:57 pm »

I'm going to have to address these piecemeal.  There's a lot of ground covered in your post Sandy!

With respect to meeting minutes, there are brief by design.  They are first and foremost a corporate legal requirement.  Secondly, the actual conversations leading to decisions generally happen over email and other venues in advance of the actual meeting.  Finally, the conversations are most unhindered if they are private.  If people worry about curbing their discussion due to it being public that could be a bad thing.  

Elections didn't work out very well.  Very few people voted overall which showed an overall lack of interest.  Drawing in people who have shown dedication and good judgment seemed to work best.  

The money *is* being put to use.  As Jason pointed out we're talking to a couple of PR firms and expect to spend the funds that way.  Being slow to spend it is a bit of a problem but we are actively working on that.

Neil and I *have* moved to New Hampshire.  We are pleased to be here.  And while not everyone values my/our contributions to the FSP we care deeply about liberty in our lifetime and have committed thousands of dollars to help achieve it not including our move costs.  

With respect to neutrality ... that's a difficult stance  I know.  The problem is, as much as we all care about liberty, we all care about it differently.  One early issue was the highway cleanup signs.  The fact is , not everyone wants to support the state by cleaning their highways.  Yes, it's a nice piece of roadway advertising and it is generally considered a nice community volunteer effort.  But not everyone feels that way.  Are we helping our enemy?  These issues are not trivial.  Every "position" we could take could be vilified by folks on the other side.  Every time someone does something remotely controversial we hear from people who didn't like it.  

One of the reasons we seem to end up arguing, imo, is that we all have different ideas about how to achieve liberty and how to make FSP work best.  Those ideas are not always in sync ... actually they're rarely in sync.  Somehow there ends up being sniping and complaining.  And, I guess that's the way of many volunteer organizations.  But I continue to put many hours a week into the FSP.  Getting more movers to the Granite State is a worthy goal.

Jean


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JonM

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Re: Seditious Ramblings
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2005, 08:28:32 pm »

What's all that wrong with being vilified now and then?
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