Libertarian Party of Michigan suspends membership of James Weeks II for two years, disavows Sheriff campaign

hqdefault (1)Resolution passed 7-2 by the LPM Executive Committee:

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This motion is being made as a consequence for his actions at the LP National Convention. During his nomination speech for chair of the LPUSA, Mr. Weeks inappropriately disrobed on stage in front of a nationally televised C-SPAN audience.

This motion is being made for the following reasons:
· The incident reflected poorly on the public image of the Libertarian party

· The incident was unprofessional for a political organization seeking to influence an upcoming election and gain credibility with the voting public

· The incident has been cited by at least one member as a reason to relinquish affiliation with the LP of Michigan

· The incident has been officially rebuked via resolution by at least one other state level Libertarian Party (Ohio)

This suspension will ban Mr. Weeks from participation as an LPM member in any LPM events, functions, or candidacies until May 29, 2018. In addition, the LP of Michigan disassociates itself from the James Weeks II for Sheriff campaign for 2016. Furthermore, the Michigan Libertarian Executive Committee requests that Mr. Weeks author a letter of apology for his actions addressed to both the LPUSA & LPM.

34 thoughts on “Libertarian Party of Michigan suspends membership of James Weeks II for two years, disavows Sheriff campaign

  1. Catherine Petro

    Good. He brought an onslaught of international negative attention and ridicule to the convention exactly when the Libertarian Party needed to put on its most professional and responsible appearance. Just google James Weeks Libertarian or Libertarian Convention Strip and you’ll see countless negative articles from around the world.

  2. Joe Wendt

    This is stupid, they’re suspending a guy who did not violate NAP, and who’s only crime is to make a fool of himself. James Weeks does not deserve a suspension.

  3. Krzysztof Lesiak

    June 12, 2016

    James Weeks II

    Chair

    Libertarian Party of Livingston County

    810-422-8769

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    My Suspension from the Libertarian Party of Michigan

    Today I, James Weeks II, was informed of my suspension from the Libertarian Party of Michigan(LPM) for a term of two years. This was voted on by the Libertarian Executive Committee(LEC) of the LPM on their June 12th 2016 meeting. The reasoning behind this suspension is their disapproval of my use of free expression in lieu of a speech during my run for Libertarian Party chair at the national convention. Many have came out in support of free expression, such as John McAfee, who was a candidate for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party, who had this to say:

    “When James Weeks stripped at the LP Convention last Sunday there were widespread boo’s and general disapproval of Mr. Week’s exuberance. Rather than enjoying a respite from the grey blandness of the convention, people were muttering that the world would think that Libertarians were fools. Well, if we care about such tivialities, then we are indeed fools.

    “For me, I was far more ashamed of those who turned their heads in disgust than by anything Mr. Weeks did.”

    I have even received hand written snail mail letters in support of what I did, such as from Richard Winger, a long time and well respected libertarian and publisher of Ballot Access News who wrote:

    “I approve of your dance at the LP Convention. So many other political party meeting & rallies are dominated by anger. The LP had some anger too, but you took the spotlight off our anger and presented the LP as a happy bunch.”

    Some have complained that what I did should have been explained, that my intentions should have been stated, the message I wanted to get out spoon fed to them. I disagree, performance art, in my humble opinion, should be left up to interpretation. I have explained to some in the media what the message I wanted to get out was, and from what influenced the performance was derived, but I only did that because I was asked as unlike some politicians I believe answering the questions I am being asked. I’ve seen some wonderful interpretations from people posting on Facebook, some very accurate to what the message I wanted to deliver and some very far off.

    While the LPM wants to focus on the negative and continue the very anger that Mr. Winger was referring to, now directed at me, I seek to bring levity and fun to the political process that is so rife with boredom and not to mention corruption. The precedent set by the decision of the LEC to suspend my membership will echo through all of the party, it send a clear message that the LPM is not the inclusive party it claims to be, that if methods are used which, while they do not violate the non-aggression principle, are found to be offensive by some it is grounds to show you the door. In the words of the great libertarian Adam Kokesh, “being offended is fucking bullshit.”

    From the LPM Platform Preamble:

    “People have the right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and pursue happiness in whatever manner they choose so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal rights of others. Libertarians welcome the peace, prosperity, and diversity that freedom brings.”

    What I ask is more peaceful than dancing? What I ask brings more happiness than moving oneself to the rhythm of music? Will they argue that one individual dancing interferes with the rights of others?

    To become a member of the Libertarian Party one only has to swear to one thing, the non-aggression principle, which states:

    “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.”

    I do no believe my actions have violated this pledge, I believe the actions of the LEC are far closer to violating this sacred principle than are mine as they have demonstrated beyond all doubt that should peaceful actions be deemed distasteful the peaceful party will be shown the door. This is not libertarianism.

    https://amthirdpartyreport.com/2016/06/12/james-weeks-ii-my-suspension-from-the-libertarian-party-of-michigan/

  4. Matt Cholko

    I guess the LP wants to make sure this issue never goes away.

    Nobody cares about this except Libertarians. It got some play in the media for a few days after it happened. But, that has long since ended. Further, the coverage I saw didn’t appear very negative. To everyone outside the LP, it was just a comedic stunt. Apparently, many of us inside the party have our panties in a bunch.

  5. Jill Pyeatt

    It really does seem to be poor taste to worry about something like this today. I don’t mind that Weeks was publicly chastised (it was an unbelievably stupid this to do), but it’s sort of over with now. Life has gone on.

  6. Darryl W. Perry

    Open Letter to LP Michigan

    To whom it may concern,

    This letter is prompted by the “Motion to suspend James Weeks II from the LP of Michigan for a period of 2 years with a starting date of May 29, 2016” which passed by a vote of 7-2.

    In part, the motion states, “During his nomination speech for chair of the LPUSA, Mr. Weeks inappropriately disrobed on stage in front of a nationally televised C-SPAN audience.”

    I have two questions:
    1) Would it have changed your mind if the incident was not televised?
    2) Do you believe there is a way to “appropriately disrobe on stage”?

    The motion continues, in part, by stating “The incident was unprofessional…”. I agree that Mr. Weeks may have acted in a less than professional manner, though I do not believe that not being professional at all times is a valid reason to remove someone from a party. Many could say that Starchild’s attire was “unprofessional” though I have yet to hear anyone calling for his ouster from the Party. In fact, Starchild won a seat on the LNC. Could it be that no one objected to the clear poncho and speedo worn by Starchild because Starchild is an attractive man? Of course, I don’t expect anyone calling for the ouster of Mr. Weeks to admit to having this double standard.

    The motion also states, “The incident has been cited by at least one member as a reason to relinquish affiliation with the LP of Michigan.” Over the last 17 years that I’ve been a member of the LP, I’ve constantly heard reasons that some people will not join the LP. Sometimes the reason is a certain candidate, other times it’s a platform plank. But I have not yet, until today, seen an executive committee expel a member in order to bring in another member. Further, this action by 7 members of the LPM Executive Committee has now cost the LPM at least one dues paying member, and that brings me to the real reason I write this letter. I, Darryl W. Perry, am – in addition to being a life member of the national LP and a member of the LPNH Executive Committee – a dues paying member of LP Michigan, until today. I formally request the Secretary of the LP Michigan remove my name from the membership roles of the LP Michigan affiliate.

    I thank Jeff Wood & Tiffany Hayden for voting against this motion, and remind those who voted for this motion that the LPM Platform Preamble states, in part: “People have the right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and pursue happiness in whatever manner they choose so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal rights of others. Libertarians welcome the peace, prosperity, and diversity that freedom brings.”

    Whether you agree with the message of the protest by Mr Weeks or not, you should acknowledge his right to “engage in any activity that is peaceful.” And now I engage in an act of peaceful activity and exercise my freedom of association to bid farewell to LP Michigan, and to invite the truly freedom-loving people in Michigan to join thousands of people moving to New Hampshire to “exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty, and property.”

    In Peace, Freedom, Love & Liberty,
    Darryl W. Perry
    2016 candidate for the LP Presidential nomination

  7. Thane Eichenauer

    Matt Cholko comments: “I guess the LP wants to make sure this issue never goes away.”

    Issues that interest, annoy and puzzle people will continue to be topics of interest. James Weeks actions and his words are of interest to me. I am still puzzled at the discrepancy between his reported words of “I’m sorry; It was a dare.” and his words as included in comments above.

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/2016/05/30/libertarian-party-candidate-strips-to-underwear-at-convention/

    In the end I am still chewing over the applicability of this article by Thomas Knapp on the hullabaloo.

    Don’t Look, Ethel! (Really — Just Don’t Look)
    http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/692

  8. Andy

    I was gathering LP ballot access petition signatures today on the sidewalks of Philadelphia, PA, and a couple of people I asked to sign brought up the stripping incident from the recent national convention in Orlando. One of them said, “Are people still going to take the Libertarian Party seriously after that guy stripped at the convention?” I said, “I hope so.” I asked them if they watched the convention on C-SPAN, or if they saw the video on YouTube. They said that they saw the story about the guy stripping on their local TV news. I told them I do not know why he did it, but that it may have been a form of protest. I told them that his name is James Weeks, and now some people are calling him James Cheeks. They both laughed and signed the petition.

  9. Thane Eichenauer

    Andy, I am pleased and impressed that you brought amusement to another relative to James Weeks and the LP. Your talent obviously serves you well.

  10. Be Rational

    So, it seems, Darryl W. Perry doesn’t understand that the LP itself is one of those private, voluntary associations that Libertarians support. The LP of Michigan has the right to suspend Mr. Weeks if they so desire; it is no violation of the NAP if they do so, but an affirmation of the NAP. Likewise, Mr. Perry has the right to resign.

    Mr. Weeks has the right to freedom of speech and expression. The LP has a right to require decorum and set standards at its conventions and events. There is no conflict here. Mr. Weeks violated the standards of a private group and has been suspended. He could have staged his protest in a different location. NAP correctly applied in this case.

  11. Thane Eichenauer

    Be Rational,
    You state, “The LP has a right to require decorum and set standards at its conventions and events.”

    When did James Weeks agree to these standards of decorum? Did he sign a written document? Make a verbal agreement? He may have shocked an annoyed some percentage of the audience as well as irked the people that run the Libertarian Party convention but when was he told dancing on stage in his underwear was prohibited?

  12. Darryl W Perry

    Did Starchild village the rules of decorum when he wore a speedo and a clear rain coat?
    If not, why is that different?
    If so, why has he not been expelled?

  13. Bondurant

    Pathetic actions from my home state.

    I guess you don’t want to upset GOP Lite 2016.

  14. Tony From Long Island

    Some people don’t realize that any political party is just a private club and it’s members are free to suspend or expel any member at will.

    This idiot didn’t have to violate the NAP to violate the idiot principle. Just when the LP was on the cusp of being taken seriously, this moron exercises “free expression.” Well the members of the Michigan LP exercised their free speech to suspend him. It was a great move.

    Oh, Andy, good job deflecting!

  15. George Dance

    I could see asking for either a letter of apology or a suspension; but to suspend him (for two years) and then ask for a letter of apology just looks arrogant and high-handed. Leaving aside whether they have the authority to suspend him at all (don’t they have a Judicial or Ethics Committee in Missouri?), if they did that to me, without my even being present, and then asked me for an apology, all they’d get back would be an FY.

  16. Be Rational

    “When did James Weeks agree to these standards of decorum? Did he sign a written document? Make a verbal agreement?” – Thane Eichenauer, June 13, 2016 at 03:35

    Let’s say an individual joins a group. or is invited to a convention or meeting, or decides to go to attend such an event. Perhaps that individual has never heard of the group’s standards, or has heard them but doesn’t agree, but in any case, the individual attends. In fact, the indivdual attends many such event with no incident, because he or she never violated the standards.

    Suddently, at the event under consideration, this individual goes way past the standards, violates, shocks, embarrasses the group … so the individual is expelled.

    Proper? Yes.

    Does it make any difference that the individual never heard of the rule, or never agreed to follow the rule? No.

    In this case, James Weeks should have known better. He should have known better since the age of 2. His mother and father probably gave him enough instruction on how to behave in society to avoid such a situation. He claims he did it on a dare. Lots of stupidity happens as a result of dares. Such rash behavior is not the end of his life, the LP or the world. But, Mr. Weeks should not be surprised at the outcome. He should have expected as much, or worse.

    *****

    As for me personally, I really couldn’t care less about what he did. I wouldn’t have voted to do anything to Mr. Weeks or even brought the subject up now that the convention is over.

    He shouldn’t have done it, it was embarrassing to the party, but it was just one guy, it means nothing and we have too many important issues to deal with to bother with this act of stupidity which, after all, has already been done, been seen, laughed at, heads shaken, eyes rolled, and was already being forgotten. It may actually have brought additioinal positive attention to the LP.

    The MI LP acted, needlessly, but it’s done. Darryl Perry has responded, like a drama queen, that’s done.

    And, now … We should ALL just forget it.

    The end.

  17. Wes Wagner

    A political party is not an entirely private organization. When you petition for ballot access, voter registration, etc., you cede some of your rights to free association as a matter of law. It is very complicated and difficult to understand law with lots of grey areas, but true none-the-less. Depending on the state in question, the state’s laws, case law in that jurisdiction, etc., you could ironically find the ACLU suing you over something like this.

  18. Wes Wagner

    As a mental exercise, imagine if the Republican Party of New York attempted to “suspend” or “revoke” the membership of Donald Trump because he said racist things and tried to deny him ballot access, or access to meetings — or the right to exercise his rights to vote on party leadership — what would happen?

    The proverbial brown stuff would hit the proverbial spinny thing very fast and very hard because the stakes are high enough and the Republican Party of New York would be the primary party getting buried in a pile.

    The stakes are lower here so it would not come to all of that — instead there will be other natural consequences because the same type/level of violation of egalitarian principles has occurred which has set the leadership at odds with the core of the party’s principles. This will not end well.

  19. Darryl W. Perry

    For those saying that James Weeks violated “standards of decorum”

    Did Starchild violate those “standards of decorum” when he wore a speedo and a clear rain coat?
    If not, why is that different?
    If so, why has he not been expelled?

  20. Be Rational

    Starchild did not stip on stage. He was wearing a swimsuit (outerwear) and a raincoat (outerwear) so his body was covered, although barely. Starchild was just on one side of the line. Weeks was on the other.

  21. Tom Bagwell

    The Libertarian Party of Michigan Executive Committee has become what much of the LP has become, that is an anti libertarian body.

    One of the basic principles of our cause is support of the right of free expression. When James Weeks II stripped at the convention it was met with laughter, cheers, and jeers. It was a purely libertarian moment. It was expressive, funny, and tested the commitment of the party to support of free expression despite many people not appreciating that free expression. It was precisely what what the 1st amendment is about, tolerating speech and/or expression that you may not like. The test has been failed miserably by the LPM.

    Yes, the LPM is a private organization and can set its own rules and standards. However consider this:

    1) At the time James was not representing the LPM in fact he was a convention delegate of another state.

    2) There is no precedent that I am aware of such action by the LEC.

    3) The Bylaws and Robert’s rules don’t seem to support such actions.

    4) The actions of the LEC even if it is correct under the rules are in direct conflict with libertarian principles.

    5) James’ actions did not in any way violate the SOP or the NAP.

    The Libertarian Party is about more than looking like the duopoly parties and trying to be “professional”. It is about BEING LIBERTARIAN, standing on principle and opposing the cult of the omnipotent state. It is NOT about trying to essentially be like the statists we oppose. Also, if you don’t think “crazy” acts of free expression don’t go on ad the duopoly party conventions then you haven’t paid attention. Yet their members are not outcast.

    I was considering upgrading to a life membership in the LPM however the actions of this LEC has made me reconsider that at this point.

    I call on the LEC to reinstate James’ ability to be a member at once. We must be libertarians and stand up for the principles the party supposedly stands for.

    Thank you to Jeff Wood and Tiffany Hayden for being the 2 LEC members who voted against this nonsense.

  22. George Dance

    Tony from LI: “Some people don’t realize that any political party is just a private club and it’s members are free to suspend or expel any member at will.”

    Indeed, the members are free to do that. They’re also free to delegate that power, by adopting a constitution & bylaws and rules of order.

    The question here is: Did the membership ever delegate, to the Executive Committee through the bylaws, any power to suspend members, or discipline them in any way? If not, it was overreach by that body.

    It could be argued that there’s a plenary power to do so; but, since (as Mr. Weeks has informed me) the Michigan LP has a Judicial Committee, any such plenary power would properly belong to that group, which the membership has placed at arms’ length from the Executive.

    Mr. Weeks tells me that he has appealed his suspension to the Judicial Committee, which I hope will take action to reign in the Executive.

  23. Chuck Moulton

    It was a very bad idea to bring more attention to this by beating a dead horse with resolutions and suspensions.

    Weeks violated basic decorum and embarrassed the Libertarian Party. But much more importantly he orchestrated a fraud on the LP and robbed us of precious convention time by pretending he was running for LNC chair to get stage time for his antics.

    I don’t understand why everyone is complaining about his attire and no one is mentioning the much larger issue: the fraud. I was just as angry when Darryl Perry pretended to run for LNC chair in 2010 just so he could get on stage and ask everyone to join the Boston Tea Party. Both were fraud.

  24. Jim

    The suspension doesn’t bring any more attention to the event. The event got attention because it was live on C-SPAN with dozens of other media in attendance. No major media are going to cover the suspension or the appeal.

    The NAP does not guarantee against negative social consequences for unwelcome speech. It guarantees against the initiation of the use of force. Regardless of what the law says, if Weeks appeals to the law and sues the Michigan LP for reinstatement, he would be in violation of the NAP by violating freedom of association.

    FWIW: I watched about 80% of the convention on C-SPAN and only briefly glimpsed Starchild a few times in the background.

  25. Stewart Flood

    “Starchild did not stip on stage.” Incorrect. Starchild came on the stage and was dancing behind him for a brief period. And there were several delegates who came up with money.

    Are all of these people being expelled? Why not? They broke the same rule of “decorum”. It either applies to everyone, or to no one.

    I agree that suspending him and then asking for an apology is a bit over the top. If this had been someone from our state’s delegation I can see a reason to not permit him to be a delegate to future conventions to prevent future acts of impropriety, but I don’t believe suspending his membership accomplishes anything.

    I have also heard that he was actually in another state’s delegation, and was not seated as a delegate from his home state.

  26. Stewart Flood

    And I agree with Chuck. This is the same type of fraud that Perry used in 2010. The affect was certainly far worse. Perry just ranted to the room, which had no CSPAN coverage or other media recording.

  27. Wes Wagner

    Jim

    “Regardless of what the law says, if Weeks appeals to the law and sues the Michigan LP for reinstatement, he would be in violation of the NAP by violating freedom of association.”

    Sigh…. some people just don’t get it. A political party is not a private club. Taking away someone’s rights in a political organization is a violation. Sheesh.

  28. Jim

    Wes – I was not arguing what the law says. I was arguing that enforcing that law is a violation of the NAP. Libertarians don’t believe in positive rights.

  29. Wes Wagner

    Jim

    A purist position on libertarianism would be to not participate in state sanctioned political cartels… but here we are. When you do that you don’t get to pick and choose.

  30. Roger Roots

    Shame on the LP of Michigan. One would expect this from the Republican Party; not the Libertarian Party.

    Funny, mocking, costumes, outfits, demonstrations and skits have been part of political conventions for generations.

    Frankly, the actions of the Michigan LP remind me of Hitler’s decree that women in the Nazi Party must not wear makeup. It was a prissy, puritanical, politically correct, prudish, conformist act of arrogance.

  31. Jose C

    What message was James Weeks giving to the delegates, to Libertarians watching on television, to Americans and those from around the world watching C-SPAN? He has never told us what message he was giving. Those who support what James Weeks did have never mentioned what message they approve of that he was giving. All I here is that James Weeks or I presume any one else can do whatever they want at one our conventions so long they do not use force or violate the rights of others. Is this true?

    If this is true then a delegate can do whatever outrages thing they want without consequence. Someone can give a ten minute speech which includes a five minute adult film and there is nothing that can be done. Someone can give a speech urging C-SPAN viewers to vote for the Republican Party candidate for President and there is nothing that can be done. Someone can go to the stage and wave a Nazi flag and there is nothing that can be done.

    Those supporting James Weeks actions say he was just being outrages, he has the right to be outrages, and who are we to judge? The examples I gave are all outrages acts. If James Weeks can do a strip act then who is to say someone cannot wave a Nazi flag, show an adult film, or urge C-SPAN viewers to vote for the Republican Party candidate for President.

    The Libertarian Party will survive James Weeks outrages stunt as we have survived other outrages acts performed by (fortunately a few) Libertarians. One of our candidates many years ago came out in support of the right of adult men to have sexual relationships with children. We had another candidate who was running for governor in California when asked a question he did not like spit on his interviewer. We had a member attempt to hijack and take over a state party by abusing the judicial process and the Party judicial committee (fortunately he failed).

    So, Mr. Weeks we will survive your outrages stunt and trust me everyone who watched your strip act is poorer for it.

  32. Jim

    Wes – that’s not strictly true. A purist position on libertarianism would only be not to impose any involuntary governance on people. Voluntary government is fine. Even talking about policy that’s not strictly libertarian is fine, as long as it’s just talk. The Libertarian Party can exist and be perfectly in keeping with the NAP, right up until the minute it imposes a law on people that violates the NAP. Whether or not the LP is state sanctioned is irrelevant to the NAP.

  33. Be Rational

    “Starchild did not stip on stage.” Incorrect. Starchild came on the stage and was dancing behind him for a brief period. And there were several delegates who came up with money. – Stewart Flood, June 13, 2016 at 18:04

    Strip …

    Starchild did not strip on stage.

    The corrected quote:

    “Starchild did not STRIP on stage. He was wearing a swimsuit (outerwear) and a raincoat (outerwear) so his body was covered, although barely. Starchild was just on one side of the line. Weeks was on the other.” – Be Rational

    In response to:

    “For those saying that James Weeks violated “standards of decorum”
    Did Starchild violate those “standards of decorum” when he wore a speedo and a clear rain coat?
    If not, why is that different?” – Darryl W. Perry, June 13, 2016

    *******

    To further clarify:

    Starchild stays on the edgy side of proper decorum … AND he IS making a statement that we all understand.

    Mr. Weeks claimed to be running for National Chair of the LP, then did a dance and stripped with NO indication of any statement or purpose, but that he was acting on a dare. His deportment and remaining attire went over a line that Starchild doesn’t cross, and he had no message to deliver to justify his actions. It wasn’t performance art or political speech.

    The Michigan LP acted properly in suspending Mr. Weeks. It would have been better to ignore the whole thing, but it’s done.

    Mr. Weeks should just accept this and use the next two years to think and grow up. Eventually he will come to realize that his suspension is not a disgrace, but his actions were.

    In the future, no one will remember his name, but the stories will be told: … hey, remember that guy who stripped at a National Convention, on national TV, can’t remember his name, but it was really funny, what an idiot, no message, no reason, he just did it, maybe he was auditioning for some stripper-gram job, who knows, got any more beer, hey pass me that bowl …

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