Monday, December 15, 2008

Know Your Third Parties: Part 8 - the Boston Tea Party

No, we're not grossly confused about the Boston Tea Party of the history textbooks - the pre-Revolution act of civil disobedience in the Boston harbor - the Boston Tea Party we're examining today is a real American political party.

Founded in 2006 by displeased Libertarian Party members, the Boston Tea Party is a party of libertarian ideology. They split from the mother party over disagreements about the party platform - namely the deletion of a large number of specific policy points - at the Oregon convention in 2006.

The Party's slogan - as read on their website - is "Time to Party Like it's 1773!"

Members: 746

Members Holding Office: At least 2 (both local and non-partisan)


Following the annual Libertarian Party convention in Portland in 2006, several members, led by Thomas Knapp, left to found the Boston Tea Party.

By October of 2008, the party had grown to about 500 members with 12 state affiliates. At their national convention they nominated Charles Jay (picture below) as their first Presidential candidate. Jay went on to receive 2,346 votes nationally, appearing on three state ballots and earning approved write-in status in ten other states. They also won two local elections for the November 4 election.

The party saw dramatic growth after the Libertarian Party nominated former Republican Congressman Bob Barr as their Presidential candidate. Many Libertarians felt Barr was an inappropriate selection due to his past conservative stance on social issues.

The Boston Tea Party has practiced "cross-nominating" for elections, in which the party endorses candidates from other parties (often the Libertarian Party) when it does not have one of its own members running for the seat.

On the Issues:

Overall, the Boston Tea Party is almost indistinguishable from the Libertarian Party in terms of ideology. Their platform is very simple, but is supplemented with an annual program and several party resolutions.

According to the platform, "The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose."

Among their more unique policy positions, they advocate an audit of the Federal Reserve and immediate withdrawal of forces from almost all military bases overseas. They are also especially concerned about the country transforming into a police state.

Final Thoughts

The Boston Tea Party has managed to be somewhat successful in the past two years, but is unlikely to make any more of an impact in the future. It is more likely that the Libertarian Party will try to correct the splinter and bring this faction back into their organization.

Whether the Libertarian Party succeeds in doing so, nonetheless, will probably be irrelevant to how little impact the Boston Tea Party can be expected to make. Overall, it seems they will be little more than a footnote on the Libertarian movement.

Coming Thursday - American Nazis.

No comments: