Liberty League

Welcome to the Liberty League website.

The Liberty League exists for students and professionals committed to the defence of freedom. The Liberty League acts as an organisation and a network for societies across the intellectual and political spectrum, helping to inform, recruit and develop supporters of Liberty.

To find out more about what we do, who we are, and how you can get involved, check out our about page.

“Fantastic talks” and an “excellent weekend”: Freedom Forum 2015 review

It’s been nearly a fortnight since Liberty League’s Freedom Forum 2015 drew to a close. The weekend of March 27th-29th saw approximately 250 students and young professionals descend upon London to discuss pro-liberty ideas, socialise long into the night and listen to fascinating talks from a huge variety of speakers.

Things kicked off on Friday night with a ‘meet and greet’ style drinks session in Minster Exchange. It was a successful icebreaker, as evidenced by the smiling and slightly hungover faces that decorated the main lecture hall for Saturday morning’s Federalist Society keynote panel: ‘The Magna Carta: Birth of Democracy or Historical Fantasy?’.

With the aid of free coffee and some extremely engaging speakers, it wasn’t long before attendees rose above last night’s frivolities and joined in the lively debate taking place in all of Saturday’s sessions. Topics up for discussion included free market feminism and anarchism. It was great to see the #LLFF15 hashtag packed with reactions to speakers and questions.

Sessions focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the ideas behind liberty, as well as training attendees to be more effective advocates of these ideas. Liberty League is always eager to help out students and young professionals with resources, advice and training in this regard. With this in mind, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Saturday ended with conference-goers marching to the Bank of England and launching The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s ‘Generation Screwed’ campaign. After attracting media coverage with the protest, it was off to the pub to kick off another night out in London.

The final day of Freedom Forum saw talks on everything from Bitcoin to animal rights. Overall, it was a fantastic conference. If you couldn’t make it this year, don’t forget to keep an eye out for #LLFF16 and buy a ticket!  You won’t regret it:

Freedom Forum is only possible due to the generosity of our sponsors and partners. We at Liberty League would like to thank them for their help. Visit their websites by following the ‘Sponsors’ link on the Freedom Forum 2015 website.

Freedom Forum is just days away!

Liberty League Freedom Forum 2015 – the UK’s largest gathering of pro-liberty students and young professionals – is nearly upon us. With a packed programme of debates, lectures and workshops, there’s still time to buy tickets starting from £25 (£39 including accommodation)! Taking place in King’s College London from March 27th to March 29th, the conference covers everything liberty-related: from free-market feminism to effective journalism.

As well as the opportunity to hear from leading libertarian speakers on a huge variety of topics, Freedom Forum offers many opportunities to socialise with like-minded students and young professionals. This year, attendees will have the choice to attend one of several fringe events, in addition to evening drinks on Friday and Saturday. #LLFF15 isn’t just about broadening your understanding of liberty. It’s also about forging new friendships in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.

Buy your tickets here, then prepare yourself for an awesome conference!

Free-market student activism exists across the United Kingdom

Welcome to our third update of this academic year! UK students might be approaching their Christmas holidays, but that hasn’t stopped young libertarian activists from devoting themselves to hosting engaging events and creating new societies.

We’re pleased to have Heriot Watt Libertarian Society as a new member of the Liberty League network, and wish them the best of luck in achieving future growth. If you’re at a university that doesn’t yet have a libertarian or free market society, remember to contact us if you would like assistance in setting one up!

Queen’s University Belfast libertarians have also been busy distributing literature and holding socials; it puts a smile on our faces to know that Northern Ireland has such an active and enthusiastic society. The same goes for Scotland, with Glasgow University Freedom Association hosting the IEA’s Steve Davies in mid-November, as well as an informal discussion on reproductive rights. St Andrew’s Free Market Association also continues to impress, and have collated articles for their upcoming journal.

Students have been in the national spotlight of late, with The Spectator highlighting the rise of student unions’ ‘no platform’ obsession. Brendan O’Neill’s article is a clarion call for the vast swathe of students who care about spirited, open debate and oppose harmful censorship on campus. Those who want to take action should check out Spiked Online’s ‘Down With Campus Censorship’ campaign.

Liberty League is always happy to help out student societies with resources and promotion, so if your society held a particularly successful event or got involved in some campus activism – let us know!

Libertarian student activism is blossoming across the country

LSE Hayek Society increased membership by 50% from last year. Congratulations from us!
LSE Hayek Society increased membership by 50% from last year. Congratulations from us!

Welcome to the second of our regular updates on the UK student liberty movement! The past month has seen societies across the country hold numerous events in the sphere of libertarian politics. Liberty League is always eager to provide help and suggestions for holding such events, so don’t hesitate to get in contact if you’d like any advice.

After getting nearly 70 sign-ups at the start of the academic year, the LSE’s Hayek Society held a well-attended pub discussion courtesy of The TaxPayers’ Alliance. Meanwhile, Rob Winterton from the KCL Libertarian Society told Liberty League of their successes so far:

“The first event, called ‘Bitcoin Explained: Cryptocurrency and The Potential of The Blockchain’ was done by Preston Byrne, research fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, and explained in helpful terms how cryptocurrencies work and what their potential is…The second event, titled ‘The Case Against Compulsory Education’ will be on the 18th of November and will be presented by Mark Pennington, a lecturer at KCL.”

St Andrew’s Free Market Association continue to grow in strength, and maintains a commendably active Facebook presence: sharing their own articles and content other sources. Elsewhere in the North, Durham University Free Market Association hosted the Adam Smith Institute’s Sam Bowman, who delivered a popular talk on open borders and immigration. Many young libertarian activists also attended Forest’s (the pro-smoking lobby group) 35th Anniversary Party in Boisdale Belgravia.

Encouragingly, the aforementioned events also attracted many non-libertarians; we at Liberty League believe that this demonstrates the widening appeal of free market, socially liberal politics to the current generation of students. We only report on a small selection of events, but many other societies have also been extremely active since the beginning of term. Remember – if you’re involved in a libertarian society at university, we’d love to hear from you and promote your activities!

15 Easy Ways To Promote Liberty

This guide is partly inspired by Jeffrey Tucker’s excellent ‘Fifty Things Liberty People Do’, but is specifically aimed at young people and student activists. If you need inspiration, this list of microactions should hopefully help you out!

  1. Start a blog. Writing down your thoughts can help clarify your own beliefs, and sharing blog posts amongst friends can also introduce you to alternative perspectives. You might also persuade some people along the way! WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger are all easy-to-use, powerful and free platforms.
  2. Join related Facebook groups. If you’re studying at university, there may well be a Liberty League-affiliated society that you can join or like on Facebook. There are also many national Facebook groups for young libertarians and classical liberals (such as the Adam Smith Institute’s TNG), as well as single-issue campaign groups.
  3. Hold a pub discussion. Got a few friends who are into politics? Know anyone on campus or in the local community who advocate economic and social freedom? Invite them down to the pub for a chat, and set a specific area for discussion if you like. The informal, relaxed atmosphere fosters healthy debate and a generally fun evening.
  4. Invest in cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, Litecoin, or even the much-loved Dogecoin – the possibilities of stateless digital currency are endless. It pays to support the latest technological innovations, and freedom-fighters should be the first to support such developments.
  5. Watch some videos.
    There are some brilliant libertarian programmes like ‘Penn & Teller’s Bullshit’, ‘The Wire’ and ‘House of Cards’. LearnLiberty has some awesome (and accessible) short videos on various topics. Watching TV shows like Question Time and Free Speech can also help you to hone your views (and see other activists destroy big government arguments if you’re lucky!).
  6. Practice tolerance towards other people’s lifestyle choices. The state loves nothing better than to meddle in individuals’ personal choices. Whether it’s plain packaging, fat taxes or minimum alcohol pricing, you can always find an example of government getting in the way. An important element of freedom is accepting that people make choices about their own lives that we may not agree with. Embrace difference.
  7. Stand up to oppression. At the heart of classical liberal and libertarian activism is hostility to oppression. Don’t be afraid to call out sexism, racism, abuses of corporate power and the iron fist of state intervention in your daily life.
  8. Broaden your experience of the world. The more you experience different lifestyles and cultures first-hand, the less you’ll view them as hostile or alien. Couchsurf, travel and perhaps even try sleeping rough for a night with a homeless charity to better understand people from all walks of life.
  9. Free your personal finances. Be an agent of chance and undermine the bloated, state-subsidised financial sector by participating in crowdfunding. Support competition in banking by supporting start-ups and newer firms like Metro Bank.
  10. Take steps to improve your online privacy. We live in an age of state-snooping that has become completely out of control. Browse the web anonymously with open-source software like Tor, learn how to encrypt your emails and carefully read the privacy conditions when signing up for websites.
  11. Emphasise that libertarianism is not a defence of the rich. If you’ve been an activist for a reasonable length of time, you may well have come across people who think you’re defending the interests of the rich and powerful. We know that this criticism couldn’t be further from the truth, and it’s worth emphasising that freedom helps the least well-off in this country and around the world.
  12. Read a book. Nothing expands your knowledge and provokes new ideas better than a book. There are some great free-market readings lists online if you’re stuck, and also try to read books you think you’re going to disagree with! They’ll help you to better understand arguments against liberty, as well prompting critical reflection.
  13. Embrace the sharing economy. Encourage competition and circumvent harmful state regulations – get a cab with Uber. Undermine the corporate privileges of hotels and book a room using Airbnb. Challenge the state’s love of intellectual property by downloading freeware. The sharing economy is growing, and it’s here to stay.
  14. Volunteer in your local community. Volunteering is a great way of demonstrating libertarians’ commitment to a flourishing civil society, despite government’s attempts to crowd it out of existence. It’s also really fun!
  15. Attend Liberty League Freedom Forum! Our annual conference in London is largest of its kind in the UK for pro-liberty students and young people. Debating politics by day, partying by night. What could be better?

Generation Liberty is alive and well

We at Liberty League were excited to have prominently featured in Rise of the New Libertarians: Meet Britain’s Next Political Generation”: an article for the International Business Times. Chronicling the current generation’s shift towards advocating libertarian and classically liberal politics, author Shane Croucher spoke to Director Anton Howes and Executive Board Member Jennifer Salisbury-Jones. The former emphasised his consequentialist approach to politics, and told the IBT:

“I’m certainly not in favour of freedom if it doesn’t produce good outcomes. I just tend to think that most policies libertarians espouse are the ones that benefit the most people.”

The article discussed broad libertarian trends within Generation Y, highlighting the importance they place upon social and economic freedom:

“They believe more in markets, lower tax and less regulation. They want to make their own decisions, not have the state – an overbearing parent, of sorts – make them on their behalf.”

Often, young people are thought to be far more politically inactive. But this is not the case! Scepticism of party politics has not translated into general apathy – far from it. Increasingly, tech-savvy Generation Y are shunning inflexible party manifestos in favour of single-issue campaigning and enacting change from outside the confines of the state:

“The internet and new social technologies, and the fluidity and flexibility they bring, have shaped this change. It’s easy for a generation used to Twitter and Facebook to cluster around a single campaign, send it viral and use the groundswell of publicity and support to strong-arm politicians.”

It’s great to see such positive media coverage for Britain’s flourishing libertarian movement, and we are optimistic that today’s young activists will help change the political landscape of the future. It’s no longer just “eccentric, male, white, radical Tories”; instead, we are a broad Church that welcomes everyone from left-libertarians to market anarchists:

“At the annual Freedom Forum conference held by Liberty League, which brings people together for debates, lectures, training and socialising, Howes says he has seen the makeup of attendees change dramatically since 2011…’non-political, non-partisan, eclectic.'”

We at Liberty League hope to build upon the increasing numbers of young people interested in libertarian politics, ensuring that freedom’s popularity continues to grow. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Britain’s political future.

Freshers’ Fair Successes!

STAFMA Stash
The awesome stash from St Andrew’s Free Market Association.

Welcome to our fortnightly update on the UK student liberty movement! Freshers’ Fairs across the country have seen a new crop of young activists introduced to the Liberty League network of societies, with notable successes in terms of membership and interest. It looks like it’s going to be a busy year for UCL Libertarian Society, who were able to attract more than 200 sign-ups. Remember; Liberty League can provide advice and resources for Freshers’ Fairs, so get in touch!

Meanwhile, Sheffield University’s F. A. Hayek Academic Society also excelled themselves. They distributed around 150 books and gained membership – everyone at Liberty League wishes them a successful year! St Andrew’s Free Market Association’s incredible membership pack also helped secure them an additional 50 members, as well as more than 100 on their mailing list. A special mention must also go to KCL Libertarian Society, who managed to attract non-libertarians through the sheer quality of talks on offer.

Shef Freshers
Activists manning a rather lovely stand at Sheffield University Freshers’ Fair.

We’ve heard positive feedback from many student societies across the UK. It’s heartening to see the passion and dedication of so many liberty-minded students in promoting their ideas about politics and economics. We love to hear news of your society’s success, and are equally happy to provide help and guidance.

Brand new website

To kick off the new term, we’ve rebuilt our website from scratch! We hope you like the new design.

– The Liberty League team

Executive Board Applications

You may not know this, but Liberty League is run entirely by volunteers.

The support we give to student societies, and the running of the annual Liberty League Freedom Forum are all in the hands of our capable Executive Board. Hopefully you’ll have met some of them, like Charlotte Bowyer, Jennifer Salisbury-Jones, Victoria Monro and Jakub Jilek. They all do an immense job in just their spare time – simply because they’re committed to finding and supporting students and young people who are passionate about classical liberal and libertarian ideas. But they also define the vision, direction and strategy of Liberty League for the year ahead.

Every summer, we select new people- particularly current students or recent graduates – to become Executive Board members. It’s how we make sure Liberty League is in touch with current student society leaders, and is able to continue to do its job properly year after year.

We’d love to hear from you! If you think you’ve got what it takes and are interested in joining the team, then please apply using our online form. The deadline for applications is Friday, 22nd August.

I look forward to reading your applications, and welcoming a new wave of liberty-lovers onto the board.

Anton Howes
Director, Liberty League