Liberty Union Party
|Founded||June 1, 1970|
|Political position||Left-wing to far-left|
|Colors||Lime (Black sometimes used as well)|
0 / 6
|Seats in the State Senate|
0 / 30
|Seats in the State House|
0 / 150
0 / 14
|Elected County Judges|
0 / 42
0 / 8
|Seats on the Burlington City Council|
0 / 12
|Other elected offices||3 (2017)|
The Liberty Union party (LUP) was formed to contest the Vermont elections of 1970. In 1971, People's Party was formed as a national umbrella party for various Socialist-oriented state parties including the LUP.
Bernie Sanders, who would go on to become the longest-serving Independent Senator and a 2016 and 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, joined Liberty Union in 1971. Sanders was a candidate for several offices on their ticket before deciding to run as an independent. At the first Party meeting he attended, in 1971, Sanders was nominated to be the Party's Senate candidate in the January 1972 special election; he placed third with 2% of the vote. Sanders was the party's candidate for Vermont governor in 1976 where he received 6.1% of the vote, still the best result for any LUP candidate for governor. At the time of his resignation from the party in October 1977, he was party chairman. Sanders quit due to the inactivity of the party between elections.
In 1976, the party's Vermont lieutenant governor candidate John Franco took enough votes to force the election to the Vermont General Assembly's House. The party also lost the outspoken members, Nancy Kaufman and Marth Abbott before the 1978 election cycle. Despite Liberty Union co-founder, Peter Diamondstone, appearing biennially on the ballot from 1970 through 2016, none of the party's candidates were elected during that period.
In local Vermont town elections in 2009 a Liberty Union and Vermont Progressive Party endorsed candidate, David Van Deusen, won a contested race for a seat on the Moretown Select Board. Van Deusen, at the time a District Vice President of the Vermont AFL-CIO active within US Labor Against The War, and cofounder of the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective, also received the backing of organized labor. This victory represented an electoral high water mark for the Liberty Union Party (previous Liberty Union wins included a Representational Town Meeting Delegate in Brattleboro, and a single Justice of the Peace position some decades earlier). In 2010 Van Deusen again ran and again won a contested seat on the Moretown Select Board. Again he was endorsed by the Liberty Union, the Progressives, the Socialist Party USA, and organized labor. In this election Van Deusen was the top vote-getter among four Select Board candidates (three candidates, including Van Deusen running for two one year seats, and one candidate running as a write-in for one open three-year seat). In 2011 Van Deusen did not seek re-election to the Select Board. In this election he ran for First Constable of Moretown (a position he held in 2007). While Van Deusen won the election, he did not seek the endorsement of the Liberty Union Party. This time he had the endorsement of the local Progressive Party alone. During Van Deusen's two terms on the Moretown Select Board, he was able to win "livable wages" for all non-elected town employees, doubled property tax relief for disabled military veterans (through a Town Meeting article), successfully advocated for the use of the Town Hall for a free weekly children's play group, made strides in opening up the local democratic process to all town residents, and publicly supported a Vermont run single-payer healthcare system.
In 2012, the party once again re-qualified for major party status as a result of a 13.1% showing for Liberty Union candidate Mary Alice Herbert in the election for Vermont Secretary of State against Democrat Jim Condos.
In 2014, the party re-qualified for major party status yet again as a result of a 10.32% showing for Liberty Union candidate Mary Alice Herbert in the election for Vermont Secretary of State. In the race for Treasurer Murray Ngoima received 8.3% of the vote. For Attorney General the LU candidate, Rosemary Jackowski, received 3.94% of the vote. In VT State Senate races, Ben Bosley won 13.91% of the vote for Grand Isle district. In the Windham County Senate contest, Jerry Levy & Aaron Diamondstone won on 5% & 4.63% of the ballots.
In the 2016 Vermont gubernatorial election, former Red Sox pitcher Bill "Spaceman" Lee ran as the Liberty Union’s candidate for Governor. Lee supported single payer healthcare and ran far to the left of the Democratic Party while at the same time remaining an advocate for the right of Vermonters to own firearms. Lee received 2.78% of the vote, which was the highest vote for a LUP candidate for governor since 1978.
In other 2016 races, Murray Ngoima received 3.89% of the vote for Treasurer, Mary Alice Herbert 9.72% for Secretary of State, Marina Brown 4.71% for Auditor and Rosemarie Jackowski 3.70% for Attorney General. For US Congress, Erica Clawson received 9.18% of the vote. Liberty Union Party co-founder, Peter Diamondstone received 1.01% of the vote for US Senate. Diamondstone, on the Vermont Public Radio senatorial debate, stated that while the Liberty Union Party is a non-violent party, it is important for Vermonters to retain the right to possess firearms. Diamondstone further clarified that such firearms, in the hands of the people, is important as it may become necessary for the citizens to revolt in order to overthrow the capitalist order (and replace it with a socialist society).
Over the years, it has selected various Presidential candidates from several national leftist political parties. For the 1971 and 1976 elections, the LUP was a member of the national People's Party, thus the People's presidential candidates were the LUP's. In 1980, 1988, 1996, and 2000 it endorsed the Socialist Party USA's candidates. Mary Alice Herbert, the party's 2006 candidate for Lieutenant Governor, was the Vice Presidential candidate of the Socialist Party USA in 2004. However, due to conflicts with her running mate, Walt Brown, the LUP gave its ballot line to Workers World Party candidates John Parker and Teresa Gutierrez. In 2008, the Socialist Party's presidential candidate, Brian Moore, was the only candidate to collect the 1,000 signatures required to participate in the Liberty Union Party's presidential primary. The primary election is binding, so Moore and his running mate Stewart Alexander were the Liberty Union nominees in the November general election.
|1972||Benjamin Spock||People's Party||1,010 (0.54%)|
|1976||Margaret Wright||People's Party||No ballot access|
|1980||David McReynolds||Socialist Party USA||136 (0.06%)|
|1984||Dennis Serrette||New Alliance Party||323 (0.14%)|
|1988||Willa Kenoyer||Socialist Party USA||142 (0.06%)|
|1992||Lenora Fulani||New Alliance Party||429 (0.15%)|
|1996||Mary Cal Hollis||Socialist Party USA||292 (0.11%)|
|2000||David McReynolds||Socialist Party USA||161 (0.05%)|
|2004||John Parker||Workers World Party||265 (0.08%)|
|2008||Brian Moore||Socialist Party USA||141 (0.05%)|
|2012||Stewart Alexander||Socialist Party USA||No ballot access|
|2016||Gloria La Riva||Party for Socialism and Liberation||327 (0.10%)|
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- "Respectable Showing for Liberty Union Socialists in 2014 Vermont Election". libertyunionparty.org. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- Will Bernie Sanders Win By Losing? - WBUR
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The Socialist-oriented People's party was founded in 1971 and is an umbrella name for such groups as ... Vermont Liberty Union.
- Sanders, Bernie (1998-09-17). Outsider in the House: A Political Autobiography. Verso. pp. 12-21 et seq. ISBN 9781859841778.
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- "Vermont AFL-CIO Calls on Workers to Support West Coast Work Stoppage Against War". Vermont AFL-CIO. April 16, 2008.
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- "Vermont Liberty Union/Progressives Win in Moretown". Independent Political Report. March 3, 2010.
- "Vt Towns Consider Boosting Benefits For Disabled Vets". WCAX. March 2, 2010.
- "Take The Day Off May 1" (PDF). David Van Deusen. Montpelier Bridge. April 23, 2010.
- "Liberty Union regains major party status". VTDigger. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
- SPACEMAN: Of Roadkill & Governors, 2016. http://news.infoshop.org/sports/interview-bill-spaceman-lee
- "Vermont Presidential Primaries", Ballot Access News, 21 January 2008 (accessed 22 January 2008).
- "Liberty Union Presidential Primary", Ballot Access News, 20 January 2008 (accessed 22 January 2008).
- Bernie Sanders, Outsider in the House, Verso: 1998; pp. 12-21 et seq.
- Eric Pace. "Benjamin Spock, World's Pediatrician, Dies at 94", The New York Times, March 17, 1998