At the Youth Conference
by Sam Konkin
we came, we saw, we converted
Pleasantly surprised by the 75 degree weather we encountered arriving at Denver’s airport, far higher than predicted, we continue by a long bus ride to Estes Park, Colorado. After the first night, we awoke to heavy snowfall and deficient plumbing. Nature was foreshadowing an allegory of the White House Conference on Youth.
From April 18 to April 22, budding young establishmentarians, reform-tripping on parliamentary procedure, and a few free-loading radicals condensed from around the world to Estes Park, the new mecca for Meeting Freaks. Several invitations to the Conference were passed along the spectrum from conservative to less conservative libertarians; most invitations were ultimately turned down. Final judgement as to who should receive the applications for invitations ended in the hands of Society for Individual Liberty / California Libertarian Alliance axis leadership, and led to complaints by Eastern RLA of exclusion. Nevertheless, all three libertarians who swallowed their repugnance of attending a purely statist function, (not to mention repugnance of the food served there) were RLA’ers and openly wore black flag buttons. Besides myself, Ron Kimberling of California and Marshall Beerwinkle of Texas were present. Two more left anarchists. Sissy Kelly of D.C. and Joost van Nimis (International Delegate who attended Dartmouth) put on RLA buttons during the Conference. All were on different task forces.
At first a libertarian caucus was considered and rudimentary efforts were made to create it. To our surprise, the formation of an Anarchist Caucus was announced, and so, the RLA’ers trudged through the snow to the outlying cabin where the meeting was to be held. The meeting was called by a press delegate of a University of California paper, and attended by Village Voice and Rolling Stone reporters. No concrete proposals emerged from the ten people there, but much joyful chemistry was in evidence; nor did anyone stay around for the Free Enterprise Caucus that was to follow in that cabin. Most of the group broke off to attend the Press Conference where the aforementioned chemistry acted as a crap-repellent. Those interested in the details of the Press Conference can contact Ron Kimberling, c/o CLA, Box 572, Santa Ana, Cal. RLA attendance of the Task Force meetings with the exception of two converts, was poor, but coffeehouse attendance, where acid rock light shows were held, was excellent.
The libertarian delegates spent most of their time with delegates interested in libertarianism. Some libertarian influence was exhibited in the Preamble and Report of the draft Task Force. The Drug Task Force advocated legalization and regulation of marijuana, and the right to use other drugs coupled with increased persecution of dealers, split libertarian ranks. I made my only address to the Assembly: an impassioned attack on regulations and control. The remaining libertarians felt their personal safety from arrest was more important than battling for principle, and quietly voted for the Report. No other measure evoked action by RLA at the Conference, and voting was split on other issues. On example of this was the Vietnam recommendation demanding complete American withdrawal but massive US aid in “reparations” which I felt was continuing Imperialism in a more “accepted” guise. Fortunately another decade must pass before the State will hold another White House Co-opt of Youth.
The Abolitionist / A Publication of the Radical Libertarian Alliance
Volume II Number 3 / June, 1971