Mike Avi 2

Mike Avi

Recruiter at Students For Liberty

12/6/19, 10:33 AM

JE: Finished reading the book. “Radicals for Capitalism” thanks for recommending it

MA: Absolutely! Great book!

JE: Who knew about the personalities! I guess many libertarians would love to work full time for liberty. You have found a way… that is so great!

MA: Yep the movement is expanding incredibly quickly and Gen Z is the most libertarian generation ever

JE: wow! How did you do it? Did you make it your goal?

MA: It sort of happened by accident. I was a very involved volunteer and as the org grew,  they needed more staff. I just kinda decided to keep going even after I graduated last year, so now it’s my job.

JE: You just graduated last year?

MA: May 2018

JE: Congratulations what is your degree in?

MA:I doubled in Economics and Portuguese

JE: You speak Portuguese?

MA: Yep I coordinate with our Brazilian team regularly

JE: Wow! What do you think of Brazil as a country?

MA: Great place and great people. They have their bumps in the road, but one of the best places in the world imo, save America; if we don’t save America, Brazil may be an option.

JE: They have plenty of water! southern hemisphere… if the shit ever hits the fan.

MA: Brazil would be top pick for me hands down. They know political instability well and muddle through without losing stride. Uruguay, New Zealand, and Indonesia are pretty cool too though

JE: Trying to think of that guy who is really big on Brazil….

MA: Julio Lins? Giuseppe Riesgo? Sam Teixeira?

JE: No, some american libertarian…. “Brazil Is the New America: How Brazil Offers Upward Mobility in a Collapsing World” by James Dale Davidson  

MA: It’s funny because Brazilians joke about how they’re the most American country outside of America. They have a word for it: Americanizado They are having a lot of libertarian growth there too. Yep, we have 500 SFL chapters there with 1500 leaders. Unlike here, nearly every university and college has a chapter – even in the Amazon.

JE: What do you think of… novo? or libertarios?

MA: Novo de que? Libertarios means libertarians

JE: http://libertarios.org.br/; http://novo.org.br/; Do you think any of the secession movements will gain ground? Ceara, Riograndense Republic, Pernambuco, US of Northeast, South Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo?

MA: O sul é o meu país? Not anytime soon.

JE: I would like to do something for freedom… but I don’t know what… I think of that book “crush it” are you familiar?

MA: I haven’t read it but it’s a sales technique book right?

JE: What I think when I read it…. I could start a blog or web site… all it takes is time and passion…. same with a youtube channel. I am retired… with a small pension….

JE: What kinds of skill sets do you have?

MA: That is where I fall down: I was a freelance writer… for business journals, taught as a substitute teacher, worked at the Riverside Public Library, doing public programs, book groups, author events, film series, concerts, was a concert promoter in the 1980’s.

but it is hard to find my passion sometimes, I am not hungry anymore.

MA: Sounds like you have a number of different skill sets! You could write articles for newspapers or news sites, you could start a local libertarian meet-up group, you could focus on event planning, or you could focus on direct action/activism.

JE: I want to work with defacto nations, unrepresented peoples, and secession movements…

MA: Ah, that’s pretty niche. Where are you located?

JE: Yes, maybe too niche. Bryan Texas.

MA: Oh, nice – you’re by Texas A&M

JE: yes, sir

MA: We’re sending staff there in early February to recruit

JE: and I know the aggie libertarians advisor

MA: Well… there aren’t many tribes left in your area at this point. But Oklahoma has a lot of native activism that might be appealing.

JE: but they are YAF affiliated

MA: Is aggie libertarians still active?

JE: not much

MA: Ohhh…. yeah…. YAF is Reaganite. Not really our brand here at SFL.

JE: They have one contact person, but my friend is retiring and looking for someone to take over as advisor. I really like what you are doing with SFL… I wish there was a similar organization for old farts.

MA: Maybe that’s what you could do. Most non-students either do LP or Liberty On The Rocks, but the LP is a party and LOTR is basically a drinking group.

It would actually be cool to see the SFL model applied to an org for older volunteers. Local Coordinators who take on personal projects, make libertarian art, perform community service, host chapter meetings to discuss ideas, and do activism events, separate from party activity.

Your biggest hurdle would be freedom of association. How do you keep out weird/creepy people or toxic personalities? At SFL, we interview all volunteer candidates for our leadership team.

JE: yes, I resigned as county chair here…. we had people in our meetings but it was like herding cats

MA: That’s one of the struggles of an LP model – it requires herding.

JE: and I don’t think I have the charisma and leadership qualities you look for. More of a plow horse than a show horse. I made a list of organizations and prioritized them.and a list of possible new countries.

My thought is two- three fold…Helping these organizations find best practices…Helping them use non-violent means and planting the libertarian ideas… and the more countries there are… the more competition between them.

MA: Well, in SFL just under half of our students don’t run a group. We have a lot of people in non-traditional roles. Maybe if I give you some examples of leaders, it will help give you ideas of things you could do.

1. For the past two years, someone at University of Georgia has been travelling to campuses to give presentations on his doctoral research. He focuses on a libertarian analysis of early 20th century presidential administrations up to FDR.

2. One person at Carleton College in Ottawa creates online reading repositories for students and has been working with leaders in other countries to translate English-language libertarian books into other languages.

3. Another at Utah Valley University in Provo worked with friends in the Bitcoin industry to develop an app that uses blockchain encryption technology for voting systems. His county loved the idea so they’re using it and now he’s lobbying for rank-choice voting systems to be implemented.

4. One at Tulane University in New Orleans founded his own think tank with the help of some professors. They focus on libertarian approaches to poverty relief in the local area.

5. One at Florida International University in Miami coordinates the delivery of resources to youth refugees of communist countries with groups like Venezolanos Perseguidos Politicos Exilio as well as Sociedad Bastiat de Venezuela.

6. One at the University of Central Florida in Orlando runs food drives. His main technique is to pose a question to the greater student body: which political ideology is the most giving?

7. A student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton hosted a fundraising event for a project he was coordinating to deliver food and medicine to people in Venezuela affected by the political upheaval in the country.

8. Another at Capital University in Columbus, OH always had a passion for filmmaking and libertarianism. The two passions met when she joined Emerging Order as a production assistant to create entertainment pieces like the Keynes vs. Hayek rap battle. She’s working on the sequel now: Mises vs. Marx rap battle.

9. A person at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks spent most of last year focused on high-intensity end-the-drug-war activism, most of which funneled heavily into media hit generation. He alone got 54 media hits in local papers and several national online news sites.

10. A couple at the University of Florida in Gainesville were both artistically inclined, but felt that libertarian artists weren’t given many venue opportunities, so that opened the seasonal Ama-gi art show in DC at the Marriott Wardman park hotel during LibertyCon.

JE: wow that is all so exciting, I watched that rap battle.

MA: Yeah, Jessi is honestly one of the coolest people – very smart woman

JE: Are all these ppl SFL alumni? alum?

MA: 2, 8, and 10 are alumni – the rest are currently still undergraduate students. All of them work in the movement in their careers.

JE: Did I ask you about a libertarian non-profit incubator?

The Atlas Network does research incubation and the Charles Koch Institute is the largest non-profit incubator in the movement. Both have their pros and cons.

JE: Tell me about them?

MA: So there are a few different incubators that exist in the movement today depending on what people are interested in doing.

If you work in research, the Atlas Network is the way to go. They operate nearly 500 think tanks in over 100 countries on all six continents. Atlas is pretty exclusive, despite what their size tells you. 

They’re very particular about the way partner organizations secure funding and what kinds of ideas are represented. You might say they’re guardedly libertarian, unlike other networks like the State Policy network which often see considerable neoconservative influence at the local level.

If you’re interested in grassroots organizing, Stand Together (KFF) and all of its subsidiaries are the most influential incubator around. The Koch Foundation does everything from educational nonprofits like Charles Koch Institute to grassroots activism like Americans For Prosperity to political activity like the American Legislative Exchange Council to volunteerism/charity like ACTS Housing and Youth With Faces.

Students For Liberty is also starting to become a small incubator for students. We partnered with several organizations to provide grants for students to start their own think tanks, non-profits, and news/media organizations. Last year, our leaders founded 41 different organizations worldwide.

JE: wow,  what would you do in my shoes? I am often more of a dreamer than a doer… like to have a lot of support and direction.

MA: I went from mostly reading to becoming an activist after I went to my first LibertyCon in DC. It’s 3000 student and alumni activists from around the world who meet to learn about the latest ideas and successes. We meet every year and this year is going to be pretty big. It’s in April – I definitely recommend checking it out. For me, it kind of inspired me and, after doing simple projects for a year, I found I had a skill for recruitment and talent ID.

JE: Libertycon sounds like fun

MA: Support comes from the network imo. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and strive to give them the support you need. It becomes reciprocal and you learn a lot in the process.

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