The South Carolina Libertarian Party (SCLP) executive committee recently voted 8-1 to reject NLP Vice Chair Arvin Vohra as their representative in the LNC, to censure him for his comments regarding veterans and active soldiers, called for his immediate resignation, and, in the event he does not resign, called on the LNC to remove him before their next scheduled meeting.
I spoke with three individuals within the SCLP about the issue: executive committee member and the single dissenting vote on the resolution C. James Brandmair, Greenville County Chair and Marine combat veteran Matt Wavle, and SCLP member J. Harper Sharp. All disagreed with the resolution and attempted to offer language changes to soften the tone of the resolution and remove language asking for Mr. Vohra to resign, but none were passed.
When I asked Mr. Brandmair why he was the single dissent to the resolution because he has seen Vohra do more good than harm.
“This may have just been a mistake and we all make mistakes. [Arvin] is doing what he thinks is best for the Libertarian Party, as we all do.”
Mr. Brandmair, an anarchist and member of the Radical Caucus of the Libertarian Party, believes that while Arvin’s unique method of crafting arguments for maximum controversy may cool the passions of some moderate Libertarians and minarchists, his articulation of anarchist positions serve to “educate and open the eyes of many that the mission of the military has been corrupted and that the people should take accountability for that. It’s our responsibility to turn that around by voting and speaking our minds.”
Greenville County Chair Matt Wavle traveled an hour and a half to attend the meeting in Columbia, SC where the resolution was passed. While not a member of the executive committee, Mr. Wavle spoke at the meeting against the resolution. “The desire to censure someone for speaking their mind is something that belongs in the Republican or Democratic parties, but never in the Libertarian Party,” Mr. Wavle said. “We win by presenting a better option, a better solution. What we did in that resolution was an attempt to silence a voice we disagreed with.”
Mr. Wavle was clear that when he says “we”, he uses the term loosely.
“This decision was far from unanimous within the state party. I spoke against this resolution because people don’t have the right to be unoffended. The Libertarian Party is great because we have diverse opinions. As a 12-year combat veteran in marine corps, silencing opinions is something I can’t support. I’ll stand against it every time. How can we even communicate if everyone needs a safe space?”
J. Harper Sharp, a new Libertarian, attending the meeting as well. It was his first state meeting and attended not just because he was interested in the process, but also because C. James Brandmair is a friend and Libertarian mentor.
“The decision was to reject Arvin’s representation of South Carolina. South Carolina is not a member of any region, so the representative duty falls to the Vice Chair. Furthermore, the state decided to push national to remove [Arvin] from his national position. I don’t think that’s what we should be doing. I don’t agree.”
In response to the resolution, Arvin Vohra said, “The fact that not a single state, and not the LNC, have put out resolutions opposing military policy says enough about where they are. They believe it’s their job, and mine, to pander. They are wrong. Our job is to fight the government, including the enforcement and propaganda arms.”
When reached for comment, State Chair of the SCLP declined to expand on the cover letter attached to the resolution. Both the cover letter and resolution can be found here.