Last month, EveryJoe brought you the story of Lauren Southern, the Libertarian candidate and correspondent for The Rebel who made waves in radical social justice communities for questioning the existence of rape culture in the West at a Vancouver SlutWalk. Southern interviewed several people, and at one point held up a sign that read: “There is no rape culture in the West.” The sign was destroyed by an attendee and her cameraman physically assaulted.
Organizers of the SlutWalk encouraged people to write letters to the Libertarian party following the event, imploring them to drop Southern as a candidate. They accused her of “infiltrating the pre-march ceremonies by posing as impartial members of the press,” harassing participants, and retraumatizing sexual assault survivors with her “insensitive actions.”
Tim Moen, the leader of the Libertarian party, allegedly defended Southern following the release of her report, refusing to cave to pressure from Vice President for Political Action Mark Burnison, Party President Rehan Bassoni, and Vice President for Communication David Clement. In spite of Moen’s best efforts to diffuse the situation, Burnison, Bassoni, and Clement – all of whom have “accepted the 3rd wave feminist notion of rape culture” according to Southern – waited for their next opportunity, seemingly monitoring her social media activities closely.
Last week Southern shared a video by Paul Joseph Watson, entitled “The Truth About Trans-Everything,” which poked fun at extreme identity politics. “Not my style of comedy, however PJW asked me to signal boost for him, and it was relevant to the recent Rachel Dolezal incident. I don’t believe they were truly offended by the video, but were waiting for an opportunity to remove me,” she explained. The three men pointed to Southern’s sharing of this video as proof of her “transphobia.”
Southern shared messages with me from a conversation with Burnison. “I will not approve candidates who question people’s decisions to change genders… I know that’s not what you’re trying to do, but we have to consider this from the public’s POV. Libertarians don’t have to be tolerant or considerate, but Libertarian candidates do.” After a brief exchange, Burnison informed Southern that her candidacy was in question, and that she would have to contact the Party President in order to discuss her standing.
He also informed her that she would have to apologize, cease her association with The Rebel, and stop her anti-feminist speech, although he twice acknowledged he “couldn’t ask her to do that.” The next day, Burnison asked Southern to remove “Libertarian Candidate” from her Twitter bio.
Despite large levels of support, Southern soon discovered that her candidacy page had been removed, quietly, with no announcement or explanation offered to the public or other party members.
Following silence from the party in regards to her removal as a candidate, Southern decided to make a statement on her own.
“My candidacy has been taken away by the leadership. I do not agree with the grounds they removed it on,” Southern wrote on the party’s private Facebook group page. “I shared a satirical video about trans-everything on twitter which I deleted soon after because a party member was offended. I later found out my profile had been removed from the website and I was no longer a candidate.”
“Either everything is open to satire or nothing is. I believe there has been some pandering to certain groups, and if I had posted a satirical video poking fun at the radically religious, T.V. show hosts, blonde girls etc. the same actions would not have been taken. As a Libertarian, I obviously support the rights of every group and have many friends in every group. Whether it be religious, LGBTQ, left wing, right wing, rich, poor, big, small. Comedy and satire include exaggeration and stereotypes of all these groups.”
The sudden announcement of the removal of Southern’s candidacy caused an immediate and identifiable rift in the party as a whole. Many took issue with the reason Southern was removed.
After “about an hour” of people demanding an explanation, Moen posted a response, taking full responsibility for the decision to remove Southern as a candidate. “I am the one who has to sign off on candidates as per Elections Canada rules. No she was not dismissed because she made a tweet that made fun of transgender people, although that was the final straw that in my mind left me no choice.”
“This organization has specific mission and a specific strategy,” Moen continued. “The mission is to advance liberty and the strategy is to connect hearts and minds to the message of liberty and achieve a 10% tipping point of people that have an unshakeable belief and fire for liberty…that strategy is what is going to get us freedom, not winning popularity contests, not having a bunch of fans. This strategy requires message discipline, training, communication and organization with others.”
Moen then went on to question whether or not Southern “buys into” the Libertarian party’s mission. He did, however, offer an ultimatum.
“I offered Lauren a way back to candidacy. It simply requires a talk with us so we can be sure that she buys into the mission and strategy and that she is willing to work with us. I’m sure there is a way forward here. I’ve dropped the ball in the fact that I don’t know if the party vision was clearly laid out to Lauren and that is why I’d like to have the convo… At any rate I think Lauren could be an excellent candidate. She is smart, talented and articulate. She is also very popular and could get quite a few votes, maybe more than any other candidate. Hopefully we can work this out. If not I wish her luck with her endeavours.”
Southern refused the offer “because the requirements were I make an apology for doing nothing wrong and agree to be politically correct.”
Richard Heathen, a Regional Coordinator in Victoria, called for the “immediate and unconditional restoration” of Southern’s candidacy.
“The party should not alienate people who are extremely socially liberal, just like it should not alienate people who are socially conservative,” Heathen wrote. “Because of serious disagreements within the Party, the Party’s outreach, activism and platform should focus on issues where all members stand united; repealing drug prohibition, firearms rights, property rights and economics. That’s it. Members and candidates also need the freedom to voice their opinions as loudly as they see fit outside the confines of the party, with the clear understanding that the Libertarian Party of Canada does not endorse any views outside that of the official party platform. Many of us were drawn to and became active in the Libertarian Party of Canada because we are already outspoken advocates of liberty. To demand candidates moderate and conform into some homogenous collective or discontinue their efforts in the name of ‘winning hearts and minds’ is wrong headed, and I promise you, will end in disaster for this party.”
“Whether we are anti-feminists, 9/11 truthers, LGBT activists, pro-feminists or active voices on numerous other issues, we need to embrace our diversity, focus on where we agree, and avoid the temptation to engage in the same political games that the other parties play. There are enough political parties out there who pander to the middle, it’s time for an authentic party whose members embrace their diversity of opinion and lifestyle.”
When people began defending Southern, one candidate posted to the private Facebook page for the Libertarian party: “I’m fed up. If you are against feminism I hope you get raped 1000x by a serrated elephant dick then burn at the stake. Fuck you all. Peace.” The candidate appears to have removed himself since posting this.
On July 3rd, Breitbart also covered the situation regarding Southern’s candidacy suspension. The original title of the article, by Allum Bokhari (disclosure: I consider Allum a friend) with the title “Canadian Libertarians in Revolt After Party Leadership Suspends Anti-Feminist Candidate Lauren Southern.”
The Party President’s girlfriend then posted a Photoshopped screenshot of the article (with an altered headline) to the private Facebook page.
In summary: A Canadian political party managed to have an incredibly popular candidate. A small group of people got mad at aforementioned candidate because she had the wrong personal opinions, and the party decided to drop that candidate. This caused a massive internal rift, leading to self-proclaimed feminists sexually harassing her.
Liz Finnegan is a soulless ginger with no political leanings. Pun enthusiast. Self-proclaimed “World’s Okayest Person.” Retro gaming contributor for The Escapist.
Editor’s Note: The derogatory Photoshop by the Party President’s girlfriend was deleted once people began pointing to their relationship. The author of this article was added to the private group and noticed discussion of it. Minor changes have been made to direct quotes solely for the purpose of correcting spelling and grammar errors.
The images below are provided for confirmation that Brigitte Hanna is in a relationship with the Party’s President:
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