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Michigan – On February 1st, the liberty movement lost a devoted writer, activist, philosopher and leader. Brian R. Wright succumbed to Kidney disease; a disease had previously claimed his mother. Also his brother and father had passed away in their early 50’s. He is survived by his former wife, and long-time friend Rose Wright. He is also survived by his close friends Randy and Diane Szabla along with many others.
Brian was a creative writer who authored dozens of books on philosophy and alternative political thought. He spent several years as a Webmaster and Newsletter Editor with the Libertarian Party of Michigan. Long-time member Jerry Bloom commented, "He was a good guy and will be missed" He has been a liberty activist most of his life and was a founding member of the Libertarian Party of Michigan. He is the author of several books. While his deteriorating health took a toll on his intrepid commentary, his blog and website are still up for now:
Born in Kalamazoo Michigan in 1949, he grew up near Kansas City, and later his family moved to Oklahoma City. He discovered seminal libertarian writings, in a bookmobile, which inspired him to join Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential campaign. Around 1968 he moved to Detroit and earned his BSME from Wayne State University around 1971, at which point he became a passionate voice for Ayn Rand’s artistic vision of heroic individualism.
Brian was a founding member of the Libertarian Party of Michigan. As part of the “The Libertarian Party of Michigan Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Project,” He wrote about his involvement in the 1971, when the Libertarian Party was formed. There were a couple different gatherings that year. The most frequently referenced event was a party, that Summer, in Taylor Michigan at the home of Katheryn Augustin and Pete McAlpine. Brian was there, and he was also at Oak Park the home of Sam Harris. Randy Szabla recalls seeing him there along with Johnny and Diane Garner. He recalls that, “there were very few people at the Oak Park meeting where people were excited about starting the party.” Katheryn Augustin described him as a
… lifelong advocate for freedom--political, economic and personal. Supporter of like-minded persons ( both in and outside the party). Searching for answers to liberate everyone from the elite, and power control freaks. A tireless writer and communicator.His friend and former wife Rose Wright noted,
I mourn and will miss him forever. (besides my father) Brian was the most honest man I’ve ever known, passionately dedicated to the cause of liberty above all else.
He was Editor of the Michigan Libertarian from 1979 through 1981. Then he became state Chair from 1982 to 1984. Then he stepped up to Edit the Newsletter, again, in 2009 where he and out-going editor Greg Stempfle over-saw and facilitated the transition from a hard-copy to virtual Newsletter format. This work also ended the need for the separate publication of LPMOnline, which was created by the late Greg Dirasian. Brian continued producing, and often writing for, the virtual version of the Michigan Libertarian through 2013, when he stepped down from that roll.
Since 2004, Brian looked at other options for achieving liberty in our time, including participation in the Free State Project. In 2008 he returned to Michigan and stepped up to the task of further developing a new website.
Brian served as Webmaster before and during his service as Newsletter Editor. After the departure of Greg Dirasian, who had designed the earlier lpmich.org website, the Party needed to develop an all new website in 2007. Brian served as Webmaster for the Sharepoint based website, then in 2013 he and Scotty Boman transferred all of the legacy content into a Wordpress site. This was the last time such a large migration of content was initiated; the site created in 2013 now serves as the platform of the Libertarian Party of Michigan Historical Archives.
Brian ran for office at least 8 times under the Libertarian banner. I n 1982 and 1986 he ran for Secretary of State. In 1980 and 1982 he was a United States House of Representatives candidate. He ran to serve in the Michigan House in 1984.
Brian made plans for the end of his life. At one time he was a member of the Cryonics Institute, however he later decided to live on through others. He wanted for himself the same arrangement he made a decade earlier for his mom at Farmington Hills Generations, where following cremation he instead opted to hold a later private memorial service for her.
Rose Wright said,
In terms of an ‘afterlife’ he always admired his dad for donating his body to the Michigan State University Medical School. So he too offered whatever organs might benefit future users, in his case The Gift of Life asked only for his eyes. He'd have loved the symbolism. More sentimentally, he got surprising comfort from my oft repeated metaphor "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
Those who wish to honor Brian can donate to Gift of Life here: https://giftoflifemichigan.org/become-a-donor
Sent: 02/02/2023 8:51 AM EST
I am sure many of you have become aware of the LPM Executive Committee meeting that took place the evening of January 31, 2023. The reason this meeting took place is because many of the officers elected on July 9, 2022 learned that our party has recently been operating in a manner that is inappropriate given our status as a Michigan Nonprofit Corporation. The resultant actions that took place after the Judicial Committee released its report regarding Mr. Chadderdon's appeal of the July 9 Convention, have been found to be unauthorized, and void.
This obviously lends itself to confusion and difficulty as we navigate through the decisions that must be made to rectify the actions that followed the Judicial Committee’s decision.
There are several questions at hand. This letter hopes to address each of those questions.
Certainly, many asked the question, “What does the Judicial Committee report mean?” While some took it to mean that the board of the Libertarian Party of Michigan was reverted to its form before the July 9th Convention, there are two main issues with that.
First, the Libertarian Party of Michigan is a membership organization, and it is not possible for a committee to remove a member of its board that was elected by vote of the members. There is not authorization in our bylaws for that. There is no authorization within Robert’s Rules of Order to accomplish that. And perhaps most importantly, the Nonprofit Corporation Act 162 of 1982 specifically authorizes only the members to have the authority to remove a member of the board that was elected by the members. The Act does allow bylaws to specify other methods, but our bylaws do not provide authority to any Committee to remove member-elected board members.
Second, the Libertarian Party of Michigan has never authorized the Judicial Committee or any other committee to overrule the actions of its members as represented by its delegates at convention. The members of this party have the ultimate authority, and that authority is vested in its delegates to all Conventions of the Libertarian Party of Michigan.
Therefore, we are now taking actions to rectify the inappropriate, and unauthorized actions of certain members that took place following the Judicial Committee report.
What should have occurred, following the Judicial Committee report, would have been for the Executive Committee to call a Special Convention, for the purpose of allowing the members to act on the Judicial Committee report. Given the confusion surrounding the Judicial Committee’s report, we did not call an Executive Committee meeting to take this action because unfortunately, we didn’t properly understand our responsibilities. After seeking legal counsel, and the advice of many long-standing members in the party to understand further the precedence, we now understand what the appropriate action would have been.
The impact of the Judicial Committee report is to the offer guidance to the Executive Committee and members on how to proceed to better align with the bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Michigan per their interpretation and reporting on specific cases.
Since the Judicial Committee report ruled that the bylaws were violated at the convention in July, it would be incumbent upon the Executive Committee to seek the rectify such violations in a manner that preserves the integrity of the party, allows the members to assert their rights, and maintains the appropriate functioning of the party until any bylaw violations can be appropriately rectified.
However, the Judicial Committee has no authority to overrule the delegates of a convention body. Therefore, should the Executive Committee believe that the Judicial Committee is overstepping its authority, it is incumbent upon the Executive Committee to assert the rights of its members in opposition to the Judicial Committee if necessary.
In addition to being the state affiliate of the Libertarian Party in Michigan, the LPM is also incorporated as a Nonprofit Corporation in the State of Michigan and is bound by the laws governing such organizations. The members of the LPM Executive Committee are legally the directors of the corporation. Only the directors of the corporation can act on behalf of the corporation. Members of the Judicial Committee are not directors of the corporation.
According to the Michigan NONPROFIT CORPORATION ACT 162 of 1982, the Judicial Committee does not have the authority to remove an officer elected by the members of the organization.
450.2535 Removal of officer; suspension of authority to act; contract rights; resignation of officer; notice. Sec. 535. (1) An officer elected or appointed by the board may be removed by the board with or without cause. An officer elected by the shareholders or members may be removed, with or without cause, only by vote of the shareholders or members. The authority of the officer to act as an officer may be suspended by the board for cause.
The Executive Committee has, as prescribed in our bylaws, authorized and issued a Call to our Regular Convention for April 1, 2023 at the Hilton Garden Inn at 633 North Canal Road in Lansing, MI for party members to elect all officers and choose the party's direction. A call was sent for volunteers for a bylaws committee that will address issues in our bylaws that have left the LPM open to the conflicts that we have seen over the past several months. The LPM is committed to fully supporting the efforts underway by several dedicated volunteers targeting opportunities and recruiting Libertarian candidates to win local elections in 2023.
We request that all parties respect the right and authority of the members of the LPM to proceed with the convention on April 1 in Lansing to decide on the leadership and the business of the party.
Chair - Joe Brungardt
First Vice Chair - Mike Saliba
Second Vice Chair - Mary Buzuma
Secretary - Daniel Ziemba
Treasurer - Vacant
District 1 - Ryan Roberts
District 2 - Vacant
District 3 - Jordan Martin
District 4 - Rick Thelen
District 5 - Dave Canny
District 6 - Rafael Wolf
District 7 - Brian Ellison
District 8 - Jon Elgas
District 9 - Greg Stempfle
District 10 - Kyle McCauley
District 11 - Bruce Jaquays
District 12 - Daniel Muehl-Miller
District 13 - Jami Van Alstine
District 14 - Scotty Boman
If you have concerns, I encourage you to speak with your District Representative. You are certainly welcome to reach out to any member of the board, but your District Representative is responsible for taking up your concerns and speaking on your behalf to the board at any of its meetings.
Thank you for being a member of the Libertarian Party of Michigan. And look to upcoming announcements and information as it relates to the discoveries outlined here, and the appropriate actions to be taken looking forward.