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The Obama administration recently announced a plan to give $263 million to local law enforcement, which is somewhat concerning considering how this intrusion of the federal government may affect local governments. There may be a silver lining in this plan as $75 million will go to providing officers with body cameras. This is interesting to say the least as many people have been calling for this move to make the police more accountable. Yet while body cameras may prove to be a good tool to keep the police accountable, what the rest of this money will go to is not quite clear.

Immediately you’d see that amount, $75 million, and think that it’s a lot of money being allocated for body cameras. In reality, that money will only go to fund 50,000 body cams, which translates to about $1500 per camera. A quick Google search finds that even the most expensive law enforcement grade cameras are only about $700. This begs the question, where is the rest of this money going? Perhaps I am missing out on some of the nuances of body cameras (I doubt I’m missing out on $800 worth of them) or perhaps, as one Tumblr user joked, “the rest of the money will go to the guy paid to erase the footage.”

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Bradley ManningThe day we are born, the state places us in a gender prison and locks the door. Through its mandated forms of documentation – birth certificates, immunization records, social security cards, state IDs and driver licenses, it moves us from one cell to another our entire lives. It tells us what our “legal” name is, it loses its mind if we move without telling it, and if we grow into a gender identity other than the one it has assigned us – well, that’s just not permissible.

You can actually get in trouble for that. If you use the wrong restroom, if you’re caught driving while trans* and not identifiable by your license, if you mark paperwork with new information without paying the ransom – that’s a crime. And when the state finds out, it will lock you in a cage with others of the wrong gender who might rape or murder you (or even do that itself)  – all because “legal gender.”

Do you share my opinion that the organization called “the state” should be limited to its proper role? Because this is both a memorial post and a call to action. As chair of the LGBT caucus in the Libertarian Party – Outright Libertarians – I have been blessed with the opportunity to challenge the empire and its police and surveillance state while our siblings on the left have been lulled to sleep.

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This post is part of SFL’s Student Spotlight blog series in which we honor the best and brightest student activists in our network by highlighting the top student, group, and event of the week and share their accomplishments to inspire other leaders to step up their game in advancing the cause of liberty.

970054_10152925526650411_1848340010_nCongratulations to SFL’s student of the week, Marcelo Arteaga! He is a Local Coordinator of EsLibertad in México, and a Campus Coordinator at George Washington University. As a libertarian student, Marcelo has faced a lot of challenges in GWU, but his last attempt to share libertarian ideas was amazing! He gave away 1000 libertarian books! Learn more about it in his own words:

The greatest challenge of promoting libertarian ideas at the GWU campus is actually summoning enough courage to engage students, since the majority of them are partisans of either the College Democrats or Republicans. After a couple of bad experiences, I decided to promote liberty through the old fashion way of communicating ideas: pamphleteering.  I had tried doing this before at our tabling events and it wasn’t successful because the only people who stopped by were usually libertarians. In order to reach a broader audience, I decided to provide free books, stickers and pamphlets in the large lecture halls of the university.1000libros

To organize this, I talked to SFL’s Director of Leadership, Talent, & Activism, Clint Townsend, and secured 1000 SFL books, a lot of promotional items, and printed over 1000 pamphlets! The pamphlet briefly explained the purpose of our student group, broader libertarianism, and what social and economic issues libertarianism advocates for.

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Elizabeth Tate is a Campus Coordinator.

I came into a college a pretty naïve kid. I was fiercely independent from being unschooled, angry about oppression and injustice, and my outlets for these feelings weren’t always the most positive. As recently as the beginning of sophomore year, I was not a very effective activist. I snapped easily, could be downright mean in conversation, and wasn’t willing to meet people where they were. I was pretty much a stereotype of an angry, useless, radical college student.

Sometime by the end of the semester, I’d sort of moved on from my angry radical friend group to people who were actually working towards positive change. I’d been invited to a blooming Students For a Stateless Society chapter, done some more reading, and had started to lose some of my unproductive anger in favor of real passion. I started searching for ways to make change, instead of just yelling about what was wrong. A friend gave me a copy of Libertarian Feminism: Can This Marriage Be Saved? and I started to associate my feminism with my growing libertarianism. The change had begun.

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You’ve just ended a semester of fighting the good fight for liberty. Maybe your family thinks the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Federal Reserve, or police brutality are good topics for dinner conversation. Maybe they don’t. Either way, the holidays are approaching, and now that the Black Friday internet hubbub is going to be replaced with the “War on Christmas” drivel, you’d best be prepared to re-enter non-libertarian society. Here are some tips to make the holiday season a little more bearable:

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