In April 2009, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation invited me on behalf of the Liberal Center Katalaksija (www.katalaksija.com) to attend the 2009 Liberty Forum in Los Angeles, USA. This trip was for me not just the opportunity to meet like-minded people and organizations from all over the world--which in itself is not a little thing--but even more importantly to work with my friend and colleague Tanja Stumberger from the Cato Institute on our joint project Liberty Seminars.
Both being originally from the same region, although from different countries and with different libertarian organizations but with similar past and problems in home countries, our idea was to convey to our friends at the Atlas meeting that the fall of Berlin Wall in Eastern Europe did not mean the end of communism, collectivism and various masked versions of socialisms in our respective countries. Since the attention of the general public and policy makers in Western Europe and the United States is mainly directed toward other--for common opinion and reasons--more troubled parts of the world, our basic idea was to show our libertarian friends from all over the world that struggle for liberty in Eastern Europe and the Balkans is far from being accomplished, rather something that is still at the beginning stage and needs urgent attention of liberty-pursuing people.
Aleksandar Novakovic, Tanja Stumberger and Borut Prah
The Atlas event gave us a perfect opportunity to do add value to our join project Liberty Seminars in Slovenia. Not only did we manage to explain the needs and urgency of "turning the focus" back on Eastern Europe and the Balkans, but we also learned a lot in terms of how to organize our project, how to make it be successful, how to fundraise, how to build relationships with media, etc.
For that purpose, the lectures and discussions at the Liberty Forum were precious for us, for they accentuated the importance of networking, social skills, modern means of communication, etc. The event clear message was that it is not enough to have a firm will and clear idea to change things, but also that practical techniques, strategies and knowledge are needed as well to achieve that goal. Unlike socialists, who are always trying to compensate deficits of its own ideology through obsessive and persistent social engagement (and molestation), libertarians have no doubts in the correctness of their insights. At the same time, libertarians believe that talking about the truth openly automatically means that truth will prevail. But that is not the case. Very often false, wrong and even fatal ideas and conceits prevail just because they are supported by good organizational techniques and skills. (Hayek) It is time that we libertarians become more organized, and Atlas acknowledged this necessity.
Aleksandar Novakovic with Alejandro Chafuen, the president of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.
Lastly, apart from this technical and organizational aspect that proved very useful, what was my greatest personal benefit was that I went back home with more determination and hope in the Liberty Seminars project and the future of liberty in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The Atlas staff as well as participants of the 2009 Liberty Forum showed great understanding and excitement for our project and offered us every kind of support it is in their power. Support like this is very important and crutial, since there are only a few libertarian organizations in the Balkans who fight for individual liberty and free society. While the Liberty Seminars are for now the only event of this kind and with this kind of mission in the region.