Please note that the LEC has extended the deadline to nominate people for Defender of Liberty Awards to June 1st and a the Editor added a tentative speaker list to the article, "State Convention June 26-27 at Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant."
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By Scotty Boman, Editor
On Friday April 16th Michigan freedom activists lost a friend: Marvin Surowitz (AKA Marvin-Marvin). In 2000 he was the Libertarian Candidate for the University of Michigan Board of Regents, and before getting involved with the Libertarian Party he was a Democratic candidate for State Representative (District 26 in 1984). While he only ran for office under the Libertarian Party banner once, he was supportive of the Libertarian Party and many of its candidates.
Marvin was outspoken on a number of issues, dear to Libertarians, but the most obvious one was cannabis legalization. He probably attended every single Hash Bash and spoke at most of them. He was also an organizer for NORML. Even though he was only balloted as a Democrat and then as a Libertarian, the party he most identified with was the PARTIE Party. He never got it on the ballot but, like many of his projects, it took on a life of its own and it was core to his love for recreational politics.
His political science classes would feature guest speakers from a variety of different movements and affiliations. I had the honor of being a guest speaker in a couple of his classes.
His daughter, Molly, posted this about him...
Professor Marvin Marvin of the Partie Party (People's Alliance To Reform Transform and Improve Everything) whose projects included the Earth Community-You're Already a Part of It, The Earth Center, The Forrer House, and Temples of the Holy Smoke, just to name a few, left us for a big old party in the sky yesterday. He impacted so many lives with his vision, love and playfulness. May his memory be a blessing to us all. We will be holding a celebration of his life and legacy in August in Detroit, with concerts and speakers, on what would have been his 80th birthday. He always wanted it to be a global holiday...he thought big. He will be buried on 4.20, in a fitting Green Jewish burial. We loved you madly Mad Marvin.
In addition to having a daughter, he was husband to Edith Winter, grandfather of Jeremiah and Joshua Horton, and brother of Arnold (Rebecca) Surowitz. But his family was much larger than this; he treated everyone like family. While many people seem to put on different faces at different places, Marvin ignored those boundaries. He was always the same fun-loving, and out-spoken person wherever he went.
I believe I first met Marvin in the late 1980's at a Community Concert Series, in Detroit. These were open mic events where anyone with a song to play, poem to read, or skit to perform could take the stage. The crowd was an interesting mix of hippies, punks, and anyone else who didn't seem to fall into the mainstream... and Marvin fit right in. My first impression was that he was a a flamboyant hippie with no hair. Of course these are simplistic categories that don't really tell the whole story, and Marvin was better at defining himself than being defined.
He was well known in Detroit's Cass Corridor (That's what they called it before it was called "Midtown"). The Community Concert Series was frequently held in a music school that used to be a funeral home (The one where Harry Houdini was embalmed). While he frequently attended the Concert Series, he had a project of his own called "Earth Community." The Earth Community House looked more like a castle and was also in the Wayne State area. While he was deeply concerned about social causes, he always made sure everyone was having fun. It wasn't until reading his obituary that I learned that he once studied with R. Buckminster Fuller, author of "Spaceship Earth." In hindsight, I believe Fuller may have inspired the slogan he adopted for Earth Community, "You're already a part of it." Just as we are all passengers on Spaceship Earth.
He organized some of the first Erotic Poetry Festivals. These events become an annual Detroit tradition, and this was the first year we didn't have one (Due to COVID-19). I have read at these events since first taking the stage around 1990.
Perhaps one of my fondest memories of Marvin was when we took a road trip to an event called the "Roach Roast" at Rainbow Farms. If it wasn't for Marvin's invitation I would never have experienced it. It was like a scaled down version of Woodstock in Michigan. Naturally Marvin was one of the speakers. We ran into plenty of common friends and made some new friends there. Two of them were Rainbow Farms Founders Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm. A year later Crosslin posthumously received the 2001 Promoter of Liberty Award after an FBI sniper assassinated he and Rohm that Labor Day, during a siege of the property, after they refused to capitulate to asset forfeiture laws. Fortunately, Marvin and I left the 2000 event safely with no idea that tragedy would strike a year later.
Marvin will continue to be missed, loved and remembered. Also, there will likely be a large celebration of his life close to his 80th** Birthday in August.
* I always thought he was at least 10 years younger than that.
Donna Gundle-Krieg, Mancelona Township Trustee
This is the fourth in a series of articles about "How to Get Elected as a Libertarian." This article focuses on how to effectively use media and social media in your campaign.
In summary, having effective and organized media campaigns is extremely important for Libertarian Candidates who are running for public office. Remember, your job as a candidate is to convince voters to know, like, and trust you. Obviously, you can't meet every voter in person, so you need to use the tools that allow you to communicate with them.
Websites, social media, and traditional media are separate but related areas. You should be active on all these media throughout your entire campaign.
It is important to have an easy way for people to find you on the internet. Having a website is the first step. It 's also good to be able to send your website address to the media.
Your website doesn 't have to be fancy or expensive. GoDaddy is a great place to start, as you can buy your domain name there, and also create your website. You can also create a free website on websites such as Wix.
Of course, the more extensive the website, the better. However, at the very least, your main page should have contact information and information about your background, and why citizens should vote for you.
Ideally your domain name would include your name and position, so that google picks it up. The text throughout your website should include any phrases that your voters might search for on google.
Having one good webpage at an early point in the campaign is more important than taking extra time to build and launch an extensive website. You can add webpages as your campaign progresses, or even add sections such as "events" or "issues." These website pages about issues and events can then be promoted on social media.
Always remember that voters are watching you on your social media, even on your personal pages. It is important to always present the image of a professional person who the voters can relate to.
You can promote your campaign by providing information and statements on your personal pages, whether Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or anywhere else you will find voters. Just don 't overdo it, and be sure you continue to have posts which are not about your campaign. Also, it is always important to show interest in others. Respond to any questions or comments, and engage them in conversations on their page. Social media is two-way. Don 't just use the media to promote yourself!
Neighborhood websites or neighborhood "pages" are also excellent places to introduce yourself to voters. Just be careful not to take over any of these pages, and post according to the rules of the administrators.
The best way I have found to reach voters is to create a separate Facebook page for your candidacy. This allows you to pay a very reasonable rate to reach people outside your circle. Again, the title of the page should include your name and the position. Include links to your website, pictures of you, and information about your candidacy. Build your audience by posting daily. Again, mix news about your stances and candidacy with human interest pictures and stories about the area, meetings, issues, etc.
Invite all your friends to like your candidate page, and tell everyone on your other social media about the new page.
Last but not least, not many people will see your page unless you pay to promote your posts. It is very cost effective to pay for Facebook ads, as they are a fraction of the cost of other media. You have to jump through Facebook 's hoops to be approved as an advertiser. However, once you are approved, for just a few dollars you can target people in your area and make sure that they see your messages.
Even if you have a website and social media, it is important to have a traditional media campaign. Even if you don 't read a newspaper, many voters still do, particularly senior citizens who vote at a high rate. The same is true for traditional radio and television stations.
Start by making a complete list of all newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations in the area that you are targeting. Most of these media have websites with contact information, and some even have a special email address where you can send press releases. Add each of these email addresses to your list.
Start out by writing an announcement about your campaign, combined with a decent professional picture. Also, include your website and social media addresses. Email the announcement and picture to each person on your media list. Take the time to write each email personally, rather than copying or blind copying each person.
Each week, think of a newsworthy event and send it to each person on the list. This could be information about events you are attending, things you are doing for the community, or statements that you make about issues in your area.
In summary, while campaigning as a Libertarian, it is vital to use the internet and traditional media to build your presence in the community.
As an elected Libertarian for a Township Trustee in a small rural northern Michigan town, I believe that the Libertarian Party of Michigan should recruit as many qualified, freedom loving candidates as possible to run for similar local roles across the state.
The topic next month will be about political signs. I welcome ideas and questions at any time at email@example.com.
Networking: Attend Community Events / Government Meetings
Organizing Door to Door Campaigns
What Happens After You Get Elected? (could possibly be a series of its own!)