Don Meinshausen

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Don Meinshausen
Treasurer
Libertarian Party of New Jersey
February 24, 1973—May 18, 1973
Predecessor: Joe Salerno
Successor: Larry Totams
Personal Details
Party: Libertarian Party

Donald "Don" Meinshausen is a Libertarian activist.

Founding of the libertarian movement, Donald Meinshausen, strategies, humor, drugs

Biography

Donald Meinshausen is walking libertarian history. He also has a blog on fr33 agents where he writes on strategy for the tax revolt and the marijuana legalization movement where he has been active for over 40 years. He also writes on spirituality for pagan blogs as well as poetry and songs. He also writes humor skewering the state as well as right and left. He has written in most large libertarian media.

He is favorably mentioned in 4 histories about the 60’s. In Brian Doherty’s book, “Radicals for Capitalism”, which is the history of the libertarian movement; Don has more ink than any libertarian in it that is still alive. He also has an autobiographical article in Liberty Magazine which is called “Present at the Creation”. He has been politically active since the Goldwater era of 1963 and used to be the youngest person at Ayn Rand lectures and anti-war demonstrations.

Meinshausen's first claim to fame is organizing the draft card burning at the 1969 Young Americans for Freedom Convention, which happened in St Louis 40 years ago. This has been noted by many sources as the dramatic beginning of the modern day libertarian movement among many sources. YAF at the time was the training ground for young conservative leadership and that YAF’s theme that year was “Sock it to the Left”. Don showed imagination and courage in staging a dramatic event that would ignite the conservatives into showing themselves as a fascist mob. The burning of the draft card was symbolically like YAF’s symbol, the torch of Liberty. It showed the way to nascent libertarians their future as they split into their own movement.

There is more to Meinshausen's trailblazing and spirit of adventure. While being a member of the libertarian and anarchist caucus of YAF he was also a member of the anarchist caucus of SDS or Students for A Democratic Society. This was the New Left organization of the day and was mostly Marxist Leninist. To this day he has good relations with people with left anarchists and former SDS president Carl Oglesby who has spoken at libertarian events at Don’s request.

Don founded an SDS chapter in Newark, NJ a year after the riots at a community college. He helped put together a coalition of hippies, working class white students and black militants that took over the student government and later took over the administration building. That coalition won its demands of removing the college president and instating a black studies department. Don was subpoenaed by the House Committee on Un-American Activities Committee. He denounced the committee and refused to name names, an event that was noted on TV on CBS News.

During the 70’s and 80’s Don would work with both left and right. He went to anti-war marches and conferences. He organized panels at the Socialist Scholars Conference and tabled there. He met the founders of the Green movement in the early 70’s. He also organized the first LP booth at a Green Party convention and has friends in that group. He went as a delegate to an American Independent Party convention in 1976 and trained some of their petitioners. He worked with left and right tax resistors. In the 70’s in NJ he participated in dozens of anti-tax picketings of politicians homes, businesses and fundraisers. He helped organize a demonstration of 10,000 people against the NJ income tax. He has written that taxpayer organizing is to us what labor unions are to the left in his blog at fr33 agents called “To Create Our Future”

His other writings include works on fund raising, guerilla theater, tip lines to expose the IRS and other great ideas. Even pagan movement leaders call him a source of good ideas. He has had the same relationships with peace and arts groups as well.

He petitioned for the LP from coast to coast getting hundreds of signatures a day. He runs petitioning workshops and has written on the subject for LP News. He did this from 1973 to1988.

He has booked fascinating speakers and events at National LP conventions. Among his friends that he has booked also at comedy clubs, universities, conferences and pagan events are such illuminaries as Karl Hess, Robert Anton Wilson, Carl Oglesby and Timothy Leary.

Don noted that the anti-Soviet underground was funded and organized by black marketeers. He also learned that scientific psychedelic research showed ancient and current use for spiritual, creative and therapeutic purposes. There are also studies showing psychedelics helping creativity in technical and artistic realms. There are papers dealing with entheogens helping with PTSD, alcoholism and drug addictions and other traumas.

So for many years Don made these substances available as a black marketer while he was also active in organizing and speaking at events calling for their legalization. His lists of clients and people he has done drugs with reads like a Who’s Who of the 60’s including Yippee founders and authors Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin He met the actor and writer Spaulding Gray and former Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow who also is a vice president of the Electronic Freedom Foundation. John helped bail out Don when he was busted.

While under house arrest, awaiting sentencing, Don arranged debates between the Green Party and Libertarian Party presidential candidates. These 2004 debates were the most successful innovation for the LP that year. At his sentencing Don denounced the war on drugs. His denunciation as well as his autobiographical sketch was published on the newsstand and on the internet before sentencing despite pleas from his lawyer.

Without snitching he served almost 4 years in prison. This was in county, state and federal prison and in camp, low, medium and high security levels. When asked to talk about drugs in a prison drug education class Don did his first stand up comedy and killed his audience with his humor. He repeated the performance at a Kwanzaa event and was a bard for a Wiccan group and a skald for an Asatru group. He wrote humor, libertarian strategy, fundraising ideas, songs and poetry while in prison. These were written on a prison computer in violation of the prison rules, which makes Don a samizdat writer. His Prison Papers, a sociological look at the drug war was well reviewed by black and Hispanic inmates in for long sentences for dealing in crack, heroin and cocaine.

In prison, he was honored to have income tax rebel Irwin Schiff as a friend and fellow inmate. Don writes for many libertarian media and is looking to start a new, interesting career. He is looking for work, while writing and being interviewed by libertarian media

He has already feon 3 shows with Kimberly Johnson, James Hines and Alex Peterson. For each of these he was on the whole show for a total of over 5 hours. He has lined up even more and has almost 2,000 friends on Facebook.