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Libertarian women’s history month: Sharon Presley

31 Mar

Sharon Presley (March 23 1943 – ), is a libertarian feminist, writer, activist, and retired lecturer in psychology, who co-founded the Association of Libertarian Feminists.

Presley received a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.A. in psychology from San Francisco State. In 1981, she received a Ph.D. in social psychology from City University of New York, where she was a protege of Stanley Milgram, who famously researched obedience and resistance to authority.

Between 1982 and her retirement in 2009, she had a succession of instructor, adjunct, and visiting, positions at thirteen different schools, most recently California State University, East Bay where she was a lecturer. According to Rebecca Klatch, much of Presley’s research focuses on “issues of power, obedience, and resistance to authority.”
Presley was apolitical until she read Ayn Rand at the age of nineteen. She was radicalized when her boyfriend, who was leader of the Alliance of Libertarian Activists, was arrested in Berkeley, California. She joined Young Americans for Freedom, the Free Speech Movement, Students Opposed to Conscription, and the Alliance of Libertarian Anarchists (“ALA”).  I think I first met her at a Libertarian Party or Ed Clark for President event around 1980
On Saturday, March 4, 1972, civil engineer John Muller and graduate student Sharon Presley opened a small bookshop in a storefront on Mercer Street in Greenwich Village.  At the opening of Laissez Faire Books were some of the leading libertarian luminaries of the day including Murray Rothbard, Roy Childs and Jerome Tuccille.  (I actually finally made it there in the early 80s, and it was thrilling that it existed.)
From the beginning the goal of Laissez Faire Books was to create a one-stop place to shop for everything libertarian. That included books ranging from Menger’s Principles of Economics to Mencken’s Treatise on the Gods to Steve Ditko’s underground “Mr. A” comics whose hero reflected the influence of Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy.  In those pre-internet days, the Laissez Faire Books catalog, along with reason magazine and The Freeman, were the lifelines that kept libertarians in contact with each other.

Laissez Faire Books  morphed into something more than a bookstore. It became a marketplace of ideas for libertarians who had no other venues to discuss social and political issues of the day. With lectures, films, and book signings it became the 20th century version of the ancient Greek agora. The store was later sold to Andrea Millen Rich, and subsequently other owners, and still exists today as a mail order book service.)

In the mid-1970s, Presley became the national coordinator for the Association of Libertarian Feminists. She currently is executive director of the group.  She wrote an early libertarian feminist pamphlet in the 70s with reason editor Lynn Kinsky entitled Government is Women’s Enemy.  She speaks often at libertarian events like Libertopia, the annual west coast festival, where she was given a lifetime achievement award in 2011.  (I was happy to introduce her, though I wished I had had more time to prepare some remarks.)

Presley’s research has included 19th and early 20th century libertarian feminists (especially individualist anarchists) and questioning authority, especially expert opinion.  She edited an anthology on anarchist feminist Voltairine de Cleyre.
Presley said in 2013 that libertarian feminism is not different from mainstream feminism except in the unwillingness of libertarians to resort to government solutions to social problems. She said she prefers “a hand up” from private sources such as mutual aid societies “rather than a handout” from government. She said in 1980 that libertarian feminists “don’t believe in seeking government solutions to women’s problems”.
Presley rejects the view that transgender women are not women, or that they should not take part in the feminist dialogue and says that transgender people should be judged on their merits, like other people. She said, “Depending on distant bureaucracies run by white men who have no understanding has been problematic for women; there is no reason to assume that trans people will be any better served by those bureaucracies.”
Presley believes that the government should not subsidize abortion for the poor, nor make any laws limiting or banning abortion; she maintains that abortion should be available as a choice. Likewise, she believes that birth control pills should not be subject to government subsidy or restriction.
Presley says that the government should not make any laws regarding prostitution. She also says that the customers of prostitutes should not be prosecuted. In this regard, Presley differs from feminists who wish to restrict prostitution. She says that, despite the general agreement among feminists that violent pornography is degrading to women, that there should be no government laws limiting such pornography, which she describes as a symptom of a societal problem. Instead, she suggests that the problem’s cause should be identified and treated with education.  She disagrees with Susan Brownmiller that anti-obscenity laws would solve the problem.

Presley defended feminism against its critics in reason:  “Both liberal and libertarian feminists define feminism in similar terms and include men in their groups. One liberal feminist organization that’s been around since 1995 writes, for example, that “In the most basic sense, feminism is exactly what the dictionary says it is: the movement for social, political, and economic equality of men and women.” In regard to males, they write ‘After all, equality is a balance between the male and female with the intention of liberating the individual.’ 

“Some myths about feminists, including that they are anti-male, are humorously debunked by a male feminist here.

“The majority of women who vote now define themselves as “feminist.” According to my calculations based on several census reports from 2010, that’s over 32 million women. Isn’t it really a bit much to believe that all those women (except the conservatives) are man-hating and irrational?”

Presley’s self-help book, Standing Up to Experts and Authorities: How to Avoid Being Intimidated, Manipulated, and Abused, came out in 2010. In the first chapter she cites scholarly studies to describe how people may unknowingly disengage their critical thinking in the face of apparent authority. This reaction masks the possibility that the authority’s assertions may be challenged. Presley continues by giving the reader pointers on how to overcome their initial reaction and regain a calm and assertive footing.

On the very active FaceBook page for the Association of Libertarian Feminists, Presley organizes her activists to oppose sexism inside the libertarian movement, according to her stated belief that: “The question of why there are not more equal numbers of men and women in the libertarian movement is not new. The late Joan Kennedy Taylor wrote about it in 1999. Since then, both formally and informally, others have asked the same question. A recent attempt to answer this question was by Pamela Stubbart in her essay “Why Aren’t More Women Libertarians?”Unlike Taylor, Stubbart thinks that male hostility toward women is not the problem. She, in fact, writes that the problem of libertarian men being “unfriendly” toward women “seems largely exaggerated (especially due to availability bias).” However, what Stubbart has observed is not typical.  Both in my position as Executive Director of the Association of Libertarian Feminists (ALF) and in just general activism, I have been hearing stories of women ignored, hit on, or otherwise ill-treated for many years.”

Angela Keaton on gender and statism

20 Oct

Protest Obama – Libertarian calendar for August

31 Aug
August 31
Washington DC 
and everywhere

The White House/Lafayette Park

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CAIRO: & &

  • ******************************************************************************************************
    August 31-September 2
    San Diego, CA

    Town and Country Resort
    All day/all night

    Disgust your inner Objectivist!  Smoke pot with anarchists under beautiful weather while abjuring electoral activity at Libertopia 2013.

    *************************************** August 31
    Fredericksburg, MD

    Fredericksburg Impeach Obama Overpass Rally

    • Overpass adjacent to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center on Spotsylvania Avenue
    • The overpass off Exit 126 closest to Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center hospital needs our exposure!

    Libertopia wants you

    23 Apr

    Announcing New Venue and New Dates for Libertopia 2013

    Libertopians have spoken and the event planning staff has listened. Your feedback has directly resulted in expanding Libertopia from its conference like beginnings to the collaborative and interactive festival it was always envisioned to be. To help with the advancement and to facilitate more opportunities for networking and participation, Libertopia 2013 has moved to the Town & Country Resort and Conference Center in Mission Valley, San Diego. In addition to the change in venue, Libertopia 2013 is being held over Labor Day weekend from August 30 through September 2.
    Town and Country Gazebo
    The Town & Country Resort and Conference Center is the largest private convention center in San Diego. This family-owned resort is centrally located in the heart of San Diego’s commerce and natural beauty, minutes from its energetic downtown, and near the idyllic calm of the beaches. Town & Country is offering a fantastic room rate of $109 per night, which is a rate you will not find for resort-level accommodations.
    Previous years’ host, Humphrey’s by the Bay, was nothing short of stellar, but as Libertopia matures and expands in reach, it continues to need new space to accommodate its breadth and scope. This year, more time and space is devoted to interpersonal, hands-on, workshop-style events and this resort enables us to hold all of our functions indoors.
    In addition, the resort includes five choices to match any mood for food! Enjoy a fine dining experience in a formal atmosphere. Or perhaps you’d prefer a steakhouse complete with a piano bar to sing the night away. For more relaxed dining, maybe you’d like to have a beer and pizza while watching TV or shooting pool at the resort’s sports bar venue. A full-size deli is also available to meet your casual meal and snack desires. And if that’s not enough, the resort also provides a poolside snack bar.
    Town and Country Pool
    The Town and Country resort is a great spot to learn, share and interact with fellow freedom lovers of all shapes and sizes. Join us for Libertopia 2013 and get a glimpse of the world we will help create after the state. It’s time for all of us to Live Free… and Prosper.
    Libertopia 2013 is poised to be better than ever this year with its new venue and its fresh focus, to include an even better early-bird membership special and new village concept! Visit us on our website andLike us on our Facebook page for more information.
    Libertopia 2013


    Aug. 30–Sept. 2, 2013


    Libertopia 2013 focuses on ways you can increase freedom and happiness in your daily interactions with others, particularly amongst your own family and friends. Come and learn more about topics that matter in your daily life, such as how to resolve conflicts, how to raise a child through peaceful parenting, how to start your own business. In short, how to live free in an unfree world.
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    Libertopia – San Diego – October

    23 Aug

    Tentative Schedule*

    Thursday October 20
    5pm-8pm – Preregistration

    Location To Be Announced
    8pm – Sponsor party

    Lysander Spooner Room
    10:30pm-midnight – Film “Star Trek: Of Gods and Men”

    Friday October 21 
    Libertopia Hospitality Room (behind the stage)
    8am-10am – Registration

    Garden Green
    9am-9:45 – Emily Richards – Yoga workshop
    10am-noon – Kid’s Zone
    2pm-6pm – Kid’s Zone

    Main Stage
    10am-10:45am – Stefan Molyneux – Welcome to Libertopia
    11am-11:45am – Butler Shaffer – The Desire for Liberty Is Not Rational
    During lunch from noon to 2pm:
    noon- 1pm – Live music
    1pm-1:30pm – open mic
    1:30pm-2pm – comedy
    2pm-2:45pm – Sharon Presley – How Government Harms Women – book signing at 2:45 in exhibitor area.
    3pm-3:45 – Spencer MacCallum – A Skeptic’s View of Defensive Force
    4pm-4:45 – Brian Doherty – Libertarians and the American Right – book signing at 4:45 in exhibitor area.
    5pm-5:45 – Michael Strong – Creating a Free Future for All by Creating Free Cities Now.
    6pm-8pm – dinner break – Join Us at the Bali Hai Restaurant – Make your reservation early (619) 222 -1181
    8pm-9:30pm – “Fool For A Client” with Mark Whitney
    9:30pm-10:30pm – Voluntaryist videos

    Lysander Spooner Room
    11am-11:45am – Sheldon Richman – The Articles of Confederation versus the US Constitution.
    2pm-2:45pm – Jim Peron – How to Talk to The Left – book signing at 2:45 in exhibitor area.
    3pm-3:45pm – Paul Lemberg – Freedom and Entrepreneurship: Is Running Your Own Business the Only Path to Self-determination?
    4pm-4:45pm – Bill Rounds – How to Vanish
    5pm-5:45pm – Angela Keaton – Come Home America!
    10:30pm-midnight – Film “Libertopia

    John Galt Room
    11am-11:45am – Entertainment panel – Scott Beiser, Robert Anthony Peters, Larken Rose,  J. Neil Schulman
    2pm -2:45pm – Carla Gericke – Liberty is Moving: Why the Free State Project’s Goal of Concentrating Activists in New Hampshire Is Working.
    3pm-3:45pm – Lawrence Samuels – The Importance of Chaology & Swarm Intelligence to Liberty.
    4pm-4:45pm – Desiree Dudley – Freedom to Innovate: A Necessity of Progress.
    5pm-5:45pm – Perry Mason and Jonathan Logan – The Trans-National Vanguard and the Rise of Crypto-Tribes.

    Robert LeFevre Room

    11am-11:45am – Stacy Litz – The Future of the Student Movement for Liberty
    2pm-2:45pm – Fred Stitt and Penny Burbank – Advances in world-wide libertarian outreach through social media
    3pm-3:45pm – Marlene Damon – “You Can’t Not Communicate”
    4pm-4:45pm – Paul Rosenberg – Digital Currencies & The New Economy
    5pm-5:45pm – Tarrin Lupo – Tips for Self-Publishing.  How an indie author and liberty activist’s book became #1 on Amazon without copyright protection.

    Ludwig Von Mises Room
    11am-11:45am – Bruce Rottman – Challenges to Freedom: Ancient, Modern, and Future.
    2pm-2:45pm – Bruce Rottman – Defending the Free Society: Two Approaches (Rights and Utility).
    3pm-3:45pm – Robert Anthony Peters – The Revolution WILL be Televised: How Art and Culture are Necessary for the Freedom Movement.
    4pm-4:45pm – Zaira Dynia – Women and the Agorist Family
    5pm-5:45pm – John Rafanello – Living Free and Happy in an Unfree World

    Saturday October 22

    Backstage Room/Libertopia Hospitality Room (behind the stage)
    8am-10am – Last Chance Registration

    Garden Green

    8am-8:45am – Marc Stevens – fitness workshop
    9am-noon – Kid’s Zone
    2pm-6pm – Kid’s Zone

    Main Stage
    9am-9:45am – J. Neil Schulman – Brother, Can You Spare a Million Bucks?
    10am-10:45am – Gary Chartier – Your Most Important Contribution to the Cause of Freedom – book signing at 10:45 in exhibitor area.
    11am-11:45am – Larken Rose – Seeing the Future – book signing at 11:45 in exhibitor area.
    During lunch from noon to 2pm:
    noon – Live music
    1pm – 1:30pm – open mic
    1:30pm – 2pm – comedy
    2pm-2:45pm – Marc Stevens – Effective Damage Control
    3pm-3:45pm – David Friedman – Should We Abolish the Criminal Law?
    4pm-4:45pm – Jay Stuart Snelson – Win-Win Theory on the Unification of Science, Economics, and Religion.
    5pm-5:45pm – Meet the A Team open forum discussion – Gary Chartier, David Friedman, Roderick Long, and Sheldon Richman.
    6pm-8pm – dinner break – Join Us at the Humphrey’s Restaurant – Make your reservations early (619) 378-4281.
    8pm-10:30pm – Anarchy in San Diego concert

    Lysander Spooner Room

    9am-9:45am – Ryan William Nohea Garcia – Seasteading
    10am-10:45am – Roderick Long – Libertarianism and Class Struggle
    3pm-3:45pm – Tom Bell – White Flag, Black Flag, and In Between
    4pm-4:45pm – Jeff Berwick – The Road to Free Market Money and Banking
    5pm-5:45pm – Peter Bos – The Road to Freedom: The Demise of the Nation-State
    10:30pm-midnight – Film “V for Vendetta”

    John Galt Room
    9am-9:45am – Education panel – Debbie Harbeseon, Joey Hill, Bruce Rottman, Fred Stitt, and Erika Perkins.
    10am-10:45am – Entrepreneurship panel – Jeff Berwick, Tom Garrett, Paul Lemberg, and Paul Rosenberg.
    3pm-3:45pm – Debbie Harbeson – The Five Principles of Unschooling
    4pm-4:45pm – Anthony Gregory – The Case for Abolishing the Police
    5pm-5:45pm -Bill Buppert – Private Security and the Post-State World: The Virtue of Voluntary Defense.

    Robert LeFevre Room

    9am-9:45am – Adam Summers – Applying Free-Market Economics to State and National Problems.
    10am-10:45am – Michael Cindrich – Marijuana Prohibition And Its Costs to Society
    3pm-3:45pm – Barry Schwartz – Economics and Kepler’s Angels: Defending the Law of Marginal Utilities.
    4pm-4:45pm – Fred Stitt – Problems and Solutions in Freedom-focused Higher Education.
    5pm-5:45pm – Chelsea Krafve – The Student Movement for Liberty

    Ludwig Von Mises Room

    9am-9:45am – Scott Bieser – Pondering Intellectual Property
    10am-10:45am – Bruce Rottman – Unemployment: A Crusoe Simulation
    3pm-3:45pm – Bruce Rottman – A History of Money
    4pm-4:45pm – Sharon Presley – A Critical Thinking Workshop for Libertarians
    5pm-5:45pm – Bruce Rottman – Making Responsible Choices

    Sunday October 23

    Garden Green

    8am-8:45am – Barry Schwartz – Aikido Workshop
    10am-noon – Kid’s Zone
    2pm-6pm – Kid’s Zone

    Main Stage
    9am-9:45am – David Friedman – Legal Systems Very Different From Ours
    10am-10:45am – Declaration of Independence presentation – Sky Conway and Gary Chartier.
    11am-11:45am – Meet the A Team open forum discussion – Stefan Molyneux, Larken Rose, Butler Shaffer, and Marc Stevens.
    noon-2pm – lunch break
    2pm-2:45pm – Global Strategies to Get to Libertopia – Peter Bos, Ryan William Nohea Garcia, and Michael Strong.
    3pm-3:45pm – Individual Strategies to Get to Libertopia – Panelists to be announced
    4pm-4:45pm – Stefan Molyneux – The Future Will Be Nothing like the Past!

    Marina Ballroom

    Noon-2pm – Sovereign Awards Banquet


    There is a plethera of activities at Libertopia so check this section often as we update it.

    Libertopia Signature Events
    Sovereign Awards
    Friday night Banquet at the Bali Hai
    buy your tickets he re (Link)
    “Anarchy in San Diego”
    Saturday night Concert
    The best and the brightest minds.

    Over 30 Speakers




    Anarchist All-Stars take on the tough questions

    Open Mic

    Sign up to get your 5 minutes on Stage. Please no politicians or despots (same difference)

    Rothbard Band performing at Libertopia

    Hailing from the Alamo city in Texas, Rothbard is a rock band that strives to advance the message of liberty with thoughtful and creative music. Their repertoire consists of carefully selected covers integrated with originals that lament such absurdities as “Helicopter Ben” and “Too Big to Fail” welfare queens while other songs offer a full throated defense of freedom and give props to Ron Paul whose 2008 presidential campaign is largely responsible for inspiring lead singer David White to educate himself and others on the principles of liberty and start the band in the first place.
    Participatory Art
    Sign up to create a participatory artwork to share with our community

    Body Art Contest

    Free Zones/Themed Areas
    Create a cool themed communities.

    Sign up here << (LINK coming soon!)

    Bring your boat and enjoy Libertopia!
    Meet Ups..hobbies…private group meetings
    Sign up for private get togethers. Groups of max 20.
    Trading Man
    Pay homage to Libertopia‘s icon. Make a winning bid and take him home as reminder of a most excellent weekend
    Libertopia Announces Special Program for Teens‏
    Bruce RottmanBruce Rottman, Humanities teacher at Providence Hall and lecturer for the Foundation for Economic Education, will be presenting a special educational program for teens at Libertopia 2011.
    High School
    Challenges to Freedom: Ancient, Modern, and Future
    What challenges to a free society do we face? This session explores the roots of statism, different ways of thinking about rights, and the confusion about “social justice.” We will also discuss the short video, “Lilliputian Liberty.”
    Defending the Free Society:
    Two Approaches (Rights and Utility) What are the best ways to defend voluntaryism? This session explores both utilitarian and rights-based arguments. We will also discuss the video “George Ought to Help.”
    Grades 7–up
    Unemployment: A Crusoe Simulation
    What is unemployment, and where does it come from? Do government programs or wars reduce unemployment? Using a “Crusoe economics” simulation, this session shows why government programs not only don’t solve unemployment, but in fact make it worse. A History of Money What is money, and where did it come from? This session explores the history of money and government’s intervention with money. Comes with free money! (Unfortunately, it isn’t worth much, since it’s government money).
    Final Talk: All Ages
    Making Responsible Choices
    Liberty necessitates responsible choices; we will examine what our responsibilities are in a free (and not so free) society. We will also discuss the short videos “We’re the Government, and You’re Not ” and “The Philosophy of Liberty.”
    Reminder: All individuals under the age of 18 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult member. Please let us know the names of your children that will be attending. We will also have games and crafts and other activities for kids.
     Great f