CORTLAND, N.Y. — As the Black Lives Matter movement here looks to turn its public support into political momentum, local libertarians are making a late push to align themselves with the movement that nationally was sparked by youth activism. The Libertarian Party in Cortland County — or the group of people trying to form it — has been slow to publicize its support for Black Lives Matter. At the center of this is state Assembly candidate Matthew McIntyre, who has actively reached out to the leaders of Black Lives Matter organizers in Cortland. He sees systemic police brutality against Black residents as a product of government overreach, the free market as an avenue for leveling the playing field and recent Black Lives Matters protests cut from the same cloth as “Reopen New York” protests, which Libertarians supported.
Many libertarians, including McIntyre, advocate for the decriminalization of nonviolent, victimless drug offenses and an end to the war on drugs. They also call for less government regulation on business, particularly business licensing.
Black Lives Matter organizers here are concerned about whether the libertarian support will be genuine in the long term, after the spotlight on protests and police reforms dims. Melissa Kiser and Steve Williams, two organizers of Black Lives Matter in Cortland, have spent the past few weeks educating themselves on libertarianism, how their views align and if a partnership will result in what Williams calls “piggyback protesting” — when movements and organizations use momentum from Black Lives Matter to advance their own agendas.
It’s a concern that national leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have about the Democratic Party.