Dallas Accord

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The Dallas Accord was an implicit agreement made at the 1974 Libertarian National Convention to compromise between the larger minarchist and smaller anarcho-capitalist factions by adopting a platform that explicitly did not say whether it was desirable for the state to exist.[1][2][3]

The purpose of the Dallas Accord was to make the Libertarian Party of the United States a "big tent" that would welcome more ideologically diverse groups of people interested in reducing the size of government. Therefore, the 1974 platform focused on statements arguing for getting government out of various activities, and used phrases such as "where governments exist they must not violate the rights of any individual" It was agreed that the topic of anarchism would not even be on the table for discussion until a limited government were achieved.[3][4]

During the following years the number of anarchists in the party dropped by about half and more conservative-oriented and constitutionalist members joined.[3][5] During the 2006 Libertarian National Convention delegates deleted a large portion of the very detailed platform. They added the phrase "Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property."[6] This development has been described as the "Portland Massacre". Some took this as meaning the Dallas Accord was dead.[3] Delegates tried in 2008 to restore the platform, without success. Anarchists do continue to work in the party and run for office,[5] and the activity of the anarchists in the Party is on the upswing with the formalization of the LPRadicals. Anarchist philosophies of no monopolist government still are supported by planks of the party platform, one of which describes the "right to alter or abolish government" and another which states that "Our silence about any other particular government law, regulation, ordinance, directive, edict, control, regulatory agency, activity, or machination should not be construed to imply approval."[6] Additionally, others point out that despite any changing language in the planks, the Dallas Accord is impossible to abrogate without amending the Libertarian Party's Statement of Principles which is required by the Bylaws as part of the Platform as two changes explicitly acknowledging anarchist thought were placed into that document at the 1974 Libertarian Party National Convention.[7]

Whether or not such an agreement remains in effect, and if so whether or not it should, or what limits it places on the party's public statements or candidates, all remain disputed. [8][9] The party's Statement of Principles also states support for "the prohibition of the initiation of physical force against others," and "the prohibition of robbery, trespass, fraud, and misrepresentation." The platform states in its Criminal Justice plank, that "[t]he prescribed role of government is to protect the rights of every individual including the right to life, liberty and property."[10]


  1. ^ Mike Hihn, "The Dallas Accord, Minarchists, and why our members sign a pledge", Washington State Libertarian Party, August 2009.
  2. ^ Paul Gottfried, The conservative movement: Social movements past and present , Twayne Publishers, 1993, p. 46.
  3. ^ a b c d Less Antman, The Dallas Accord is Dead, Lew Rockwell.com, May 12, 2008.
  4. ^ Carl Watner and Paul Bilzi, [www.voluntaryist.com/backissues/011.pdf "What's Next in the Pursuit of Liberty"], "The Voluntaryist", November 1984; see also Murray Rothbard reply letter posted by then-The Voluntaryist editor Wendy McElroy at her web site.
  5. ^ a b Knapp, Thomas, "Time for a new Dallas Accord?", Rational Review.
  6. ^ a b Libertarian Party platform.
  7. ^ "Got Dallas Accord?". Statement of Principles of the Libertarian Party Facebook Page. January 24, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2016. 
  8. ^ http://independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/08/libertarian-party-debate-asymmetry-and-the-dallas-accord/
  9. ^ https://www.lewrockwell.com/2008/05/less-antman/the-dallas-accord-is-dead/
  10. ^ https://www.lp.org/platform/