The Question of Freedom of Speech Facing Socialists

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volshok's picture
volshok
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Mar 14 2017 22:15
The Question of Freedom of Speech Facing Socialists

The Question of Freedom of Speech Facing Socialists

What do you think?

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Mar 14 2017 23:38

Pretty awful, it makes a lot of assumptions and seems to leap from one thing to another randomly and at times contradictory.

Its talks at length about the dangers of state censorship, even though the assumed audience isn't really calling for state censorship. The only example discussed doesn't fall under this category.
If anything the blog seems to be the one calling for the intervention of the state.

It also says that Fascist paramiltiarism should be fought against, but seems blind to the role of organising to support that paramilitary movement. It bizarrely references Weimar Germany and Pre Fascist Italy as necessary examples so I can only assume that the author is not aware that both struggles involved extensive use of the disruption of Fascist organisation and propaganda.

I mean you can't have it both ways, eiither language and speech can be a useful bridge in organisation and physical activity, and thus can be opposed. Or language is neutral and not conducive to activity and organisation which is an odd position for someone writing a political blog to take.

It also brings up UC Berkely exposing the authors ignorance.

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Analyses of him as fascist are distorting obscuring the true character of the situation. As long as he is not instigating undeserved violence, his views should be protested and criticized instead of censored.

Milo's speeches involved outing students at the campuses he visited, either Trans students or undocumented students. Doing so deliberately left them vulnerable to assault and reprisal's by fellow students and the authorities. Anyone who defends this guys right to freedom speech is by default also defending his victimising of other students.

Given that this blog portrays the man as being just a provocative right wing personality I'll assume they didn't know that. But even in ignorance the author is contributing to a dangerous sanitation of someone actively provoking violence against others.

Fleur
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Mar 15 2017 00:03

What current advocates of free speech absolutists don't seem to get is the difference between censorship and no platforming or other methods of individuals or groups of individuals telling other individuals to shut the fuck up. The latter is not censorship.

Censorship is specifically a state/government intervention in preventing people from disseminating their ideas, and it is this Rosa Luxemburg and Alexander Berkman was referring to. It is also something Marx was subjected to, his writings and writings of other communists/socialists being banned in various European countries and the possession of such writings being a pretext to imprisonment. It was also at the heart of the Free Speech movement, which Emma Goldman, the Wobs et al were involved in in the US in the early 20th century, a movement whose members were imprisoned, beaten, tortured and even killed by the police.

Censorship was not what was experienced by Milo. That was a large group of people who had had enough of the years of his spewing hate and bigotry, showing up and telling him to fuck off, a few days after one of his supporters had shot a protester earlier on his tour. It didn't actually "censor" him, it just prevented him from talking in one particular place. As for him not advocating violence, he was intending to out undocumented students, not only in that place but livestreaming it. I'm pretty sure that throwing people into the clutches of ICE, risking their safety, that of their families, possibly getting deported, counts as violence. There's more than one kind of violence and punching someone in the face is only one of these things. Milo had been exercising his freedom of speech for years, on ever increasingly large platforms, including network news and the BBC and has orchestrated campaigns terrorizing people, mostly women. No-one has censored him. He was banned from twitter because he broke their posting guidelines, it hardly shut him up though. I don't think a primetime HBO invite really counts as censorship.

Fascists, the alt-right or whatever, have been getting an increasingly large platform in recent years. Do you really not see the correlation between their ever increasing ability to spread their malicious messages and the increasing amount of physical violence perpetrated against minorities? The mainstreaming of these views under the free speech argument has undoubtable emboldened people to assault people, burn mosques, burn black churches, threaten Jewish centres with bombs.

Free speech fights have always been about government repression of ideas. It's not about a person's inalienable right to abuse someone else. If someone starts spouting some kind of bigotry in my direction, I can and I will tell them to sit down and shut the fuck up. That's what happened to Milo. It's just absurd to think you can debate with these people. The trans student who turned up on his tour to disagree with him in person had her life made so miserable by him and his fans she had to drop out of college. Was that him exercising his free speech too?

It's utter liberal claptrap to misuse the concept of censorship to protect these people from the righteous fury of people telling them to shut up. I wondered at the rank hypocrisy of so called leftists who celebrated the anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, later tut tutting at poor little Milo turning tail and running or Richard Spencer getting punched in the face. It's a wonder that the people of the East End didn't just pull up a few chairs and have a nice little debate with Mosley.

It's pretty shitty, imo, to use Luxemburg, Berkman and Marx, all of whom suffered from real censorship and state repression, to defend Milo, Berkman in particular - you do know that he did time for trying to kill someone? I doubt if he would be a shrinking violet when it came to shouting down a speech by a political enemy.

You can't debate these people. Standing up and telling these people to shut up as their hate actually threatens people isn't censorship, it's self-preservation. It would be really nice if everyone were nice to each other but that's not the world we live in. Pick a fucking side.

crossposted with Reddebrek

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Steven.
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Mar 15 2017 00:18

Fleur, with some very slight tweaking that's basically an excellent blog post. What would you think of having that hosted here as an official response to the above article?

Fleur
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Mar 15 2017 00:22

I'd be cool with that smile
I'd have given it more thought and maybe been less sweary if I hadn't just spent 3 hours getting home in a snow storm. Maybe not, I am a very sweary person...

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Steven.
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Mar 15 2017 00:41

Awesome! Well basically if you are okay to tweak it yourself you can just feel free to do so and post up to our library section (if you think you might want to post things like that more regularly then we can set you up with a blog)

Fleur
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Mar 15 2017 00:45

OK, general consensus at work being that we're not bloody going in tomorrow in this weather, so I'll sort it then. I don't have posting rights though, so you might need to OK me.

volshok's picture
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Mar 15 2017 04:41
Quote:
Censorship was not what was experienced by Milo. That was a large group of people who had had enough of the years of his spewing hate and bigotry, showing up and telling him to fuck off, a few days after one of his supporters had shot a protester earlier on his tour. It didn't actually "censor" him, it just prevented him from talking in one particular place.

Protesting is great, telling people to "shut the fuck up" is great—that wasn't argued against. That example was primarily used for pragmatic purposes, to show how preventing people can speaking can backfire and give that person more attention. The point is that violent actions did prevent him from speaking at the university. While the protest was not shut down by the state itself, the rioters who shut down the protesters have the same intention as a state who would censor opinions, but without they state mechanism, they took it into their own hands.

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As for him not advocating violence, he was intending to out undocumented students, not only in that place but livestreaming it.

That is a real concern, but I haven't seen any proof of that, only an unsubstantiated tweet. Do you have proof?

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Fascists, the alt-right or whatever, have been getting an increasingly large platform in recent years. Do you really not see the correlation between their ever increasing ability to spread their malicious messages and the increasing amount of physical violence perpetrated against minorities? The mainstreaming of these views under the free speech argument has undoubtable emboldened people to assault people, burn mosques, burn black churches, threaten Jewish centres with bombs.

If free speech laws haven't been liberalized recently, then there are clearly external factors as to why this spread of ideas has increased: the platform of the internet, scapegoating of minorities, etc. Moreover, censorship of ideas doesn't prevent them from existing. Again, as mentioned in the article, trying to hide opinions can lead them to becoming more well known, and if they are silenced and thus unchallenged then it won't be possible to "[clear] up the lies about fascism and other conservative ideologies instead of letting them scatter among hidden circles."

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Free speech fights have always been about government repression of ideas. It's not about a person's inalienable right to abuse someone else.

But how can you assure that a principle to prohibit some speech won't be manipulated to prohibit anyone else's speech? Additionally, abuse is a difficult concept to define. It could be considered abusive to the KKK member if I insult him for promoting killing of black people, though that doesn't make those views safe from condemnation. "The problem with this is that once the precedent has been set that some views are not allowed to be expressed, then no views are able to be certainly protected. For instance, if it becomes punishable by law to make offensive comments about a specific group of people, how long would it take for it to become punishable to criticize the actions of the state of Israel, which aren’t comments made out of bigotry, but necessary criticisms of repressive actions of a regime? Additionally, if the premise for illegality of an action is individuals being offended, a similar case could be made for someone claiming to be offended by homosexuality " [If you are not referring a legal system of censorship, replace laws with direct action].

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If someone starts spouting some kind of bigotry in my direction, I can and I will tell them to sit down and shut the fuck up. That's what happened to Milo.It's just absurd to think you can debate with these people.

Actually, convincing Milo or whoever to change their mind isn't that important. What's more important is changing the mind of people listening to the debate.

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The trans student who turned up on his tour to disagree with him in person had her life made so miserable by him and his fans she had to drop out of college. Was that him exercising his free speech too?

He treated her terribly, and I agree that that's awful. But are you saying random people should have the right to be violent against him because he says things that are offensive? You also can verbally harass Milo if you'd like (not that it seems to be an efficient tactic). Also, people don't have to debate him in person of course. I can see how it would be understandable to not allow him from giving a speech on campus, but not justified to use violence to prevent him from speaking in general, though it should be extremely disapproved of and criticized.

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I wondered at the rank hypocrisy of so called leftists who celebrated the anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, later tut tutting at poor little Milo turning tail and running or Richard Spencer getting punched in the face. It's a wonder that the people of the East End didn't just pull up a few chairs and have a nice little debate with Mosley.

Mosley and his gang were a paramilitary fascist group threatening the working class. As mentioned in the article, violence against paramilitary groups is appropriate—the British Union of Fascists were a military enemy, not merely an ideological enemy.

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It's pretty shitty, imo, to use Luxemburg, Berkman and Marx, all of whom suffered from real censorship and state repression, to defend Milo

Why? It's under the same principle. If Luxemburg was prevented from giving a speech every time she tried to, I would be very critical of the silencing. In actuality, I'm not defending Milo's opinions in any way, but criticizing the motive to try to prevent him from being able to speak. As a final question, do you think a vigilante gang shutting someone's speech down is different in principle from the state doing it?

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Reddebrek
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Mar 15 2017 14:07
volshok wrote:
Protesting is great, telling people to "shut the fuck up" is great—that wasn't argued against. That example was primarily used for pragmatic purposes, to show how preventing people can speaking can backfire and give that person more attention. The point is that violent actions did prevent him from speaking at the university. While the protest was not shut down by the state itself, the rioters who shut down the protesters have the same intention as a state who would censor opinions, but without they state mechanism, they took it into their own hands.

So protesting is great, except for the times when it accomplishes its goal? This is some pure unadulterated liberalism here.

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That is a real concern, but I haven't seen any proof of that, only an unsubstantiated tweet. Do you have proof?

Ahem, yeah actually there was it was in the first reply to you.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/uc-berkely-protests-milo-yiannopoulos-publicly-name-undocumented-students-cancelled-talk-illegals-a7561321.html

There's also time he identified and outed a Trans student at a previous event.

https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/trans-student-harassed-by-milo-yiannopoulos-speaks-out

I notice despite your claims of concern you don't have any practical solutions. From the article you wrote you seem to be in favour of the peaceful and lets face it symbolic protest. But that model wouldn't do anything to stop Milo or any other speaker from outing trans or undocumented students. So your concern is meaningless is actually quite offensive and pompous.

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If free speech laws haven't been liberalized recently, then there are clearly external factors as to why this spread of ideas has increased: the platform of the internet, scapegoating of minorities, etc. Moreover, censorship of ideas doesn't prevent them from existing. Again, as mentioned in the article, trying to hide opinions can lead them to becoming more well known, and if they are silenced and thus unchallenged then it won't be possible to "[clear] up the lies about fascism and other conservative ideologies instead of letting them scatter among hidden circles."

You aren't reading what Fleur and I have said at all, your still replying to strawman state you've constructed in your own head. What you've just described isn't no platforming, its very easy to attack and dispute an ideological position without giving someone a platform to advocate and recruit in the process.

Do you also think its terrible that documentaries about the Nazi's don't have the last living members of the Third Reich or their modern advocates chiming in to defend the necessity of the holocaust?

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But how can you assure that a principle to prohibit some speech won't be manipulated to prohibit anyone else's speech?

Well its quite simple really, direct action anti fascist groups don't have the reach or the power to do what your saying here. Again you've immediately ignored what Fleurs been saying to slither back to moaning about the state.

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Additionally, abuse is a difficult concept to define. It could be considered abusive to the KKK member if I insult him for promoting killing of black people, though that doesn't make those views safe from condemnation. "The problem with this is that once the precedent has been set that some views are not allowed to be expressed, then no views are able to be certainly protected. For instance, if it becomes punishable by law to make offensive comments about a specific group of people, how long would it take for it to become punishable to criticize the actions of the state of Israel, which aren’t comments made out of bigotry, but necessary criticisms of repressive actions of a regime? Additionally, if the premise for illegality of an action is individuals being offended, a similar case could be made for someone claiming to be offended by homosexuality " [If you are not referring a legal system of censorship, replace laws with direct action].

Well no see that doesn't actually work. A direct action group doesn't have the power and reach of the state so your word replacement game is frankly dishonest.

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Actually, convincing Milo or whoever to change their mind isn't that important. What's more important is changing the mind of people listening to the debate.

Errr, that isn't really a difference so Fleurs point still stands, just replace Milo with Milo's audience and you get the same thing.

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He treated her terribly, and I agree that that's awful. But are you saying random people should have the right to be violent against him because he says things that are offensive? You also can verbally harass Milo if you'd like (not that it seems to be an efficient tactic). Also, people don't have to debate him in person of course. I can see how it would be understandable to not allow him from giving a speech on campus, but not justified to use violence to prevent him from speaking in general, though it should be extremely disapproved of and criticized.

Jesus, this is disgusting. Spare us your crocodile tears, your perfectly fine with what Milo did, because you hate the alternative far more. You have no response to this kind of threatening and harassment. On the contrary your liberal ideology (lets call a spade a spade) if taken to heart would make attacks like this far more common and easier to do. Because any alternative that could stop such acts would infringe on your sacred calf of freedom of speech.

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Mosley and his gang were a paramilitary fascist group threatening the working class. As mentioned in the article, violence against paramilitary groups is appropriate—the British Union of Fascists were a military enemy, not merely an ideological enemy.

Errr. Fighting against Mosley involved turning up to his meetings and party offices and disrupting them through force. Again your being ridiculously arbitrary to salvage your position. Mosely couldn't have assembled that paramilitary force without speeches, propaganda and political organisation.

What your advocating here is simply stupid and self defeating. Its only okay to fight a militant reactionary group after reached a certain size and threat level, and not before. That's not a principle that's a split hair

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Why? It's under the same principle. If Luxemburg was prevented from giving a speech every time she tried to,

You know in the Kingdom of Poland Rosa once strongarmed a party newspaper to follow the political line she favoured by brandishing a pistol at the editor, and packing the printing press with armed supporters. Rosa was complaining about the state in your quotation not political formations, she had a history of advocating force when she believed it was in the best interest of socialism.

Same with Berkman, the guy who was all for force when it seemed beneficial. And Karl Marx in his studies of revolutionary moments often chastised liberal moderation in regards to allowing enemy voices to spread disinformation and leak secrets to the reaction. None of them agree with you, they were all in favour of attacking reaction in what ever way seemed the most advantageous at the time.

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I would be very critical of the silencing. In actuality, I'm not defending Milo's opinions in any way, but criticizing the motive to try to prevent him from being able to speak. As a final question, do you think a vigilante gang shutting someone's speech down is different in principle from the state doing it?

Sniping at effective opposition and doing nothing to help the victims is supporting Milo. Your just arbitrarily distancing yourself from that because the rubbing of shoulders with him makes you uncomfortable. And if you really have to ask that last question, then you really haven't been reading what we've written to you.

Fleur
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Mar 15 2017 15:30
Quote:
While the protest was not shut down by the state itself, the rioters who shut down the protesters have the same intention as a state who would censor opinions, but without they state mechanism, they took it into their own hands.

Again, you are confusing censorship with individuals taking action to shut down a bigot. He was not subject to any of the repression that comes with censorship. He was not arrested, beaten or abused by the police (indeed they were protecting him.) He was not prevented in any way from continuing to express his opinions, he was invited onto Bill Mayer’s dog turd of a show the next week. He was just prevented from speaking in a particular place by people who didn’t want him to speak. It’s no different from when I tell the Mormons to go away when they are bothering me on my doorstep. They haven’t got an inalienable right to spread their opinions in places where they are not wanted and if they weren’t generally a polite bunch of people who understand this, I would have no qualms about kicking them off my steps if they refused to shut up and go away.

Free speech absolutists are constantly hiding behind the First Amendment, misinterpreting it as the absolute right to freedom of speech by anyone in any place. This is the actual First Amendment (my bold)-

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It doesn’t apply to individuals abusing marginalised groups.

Do I have proof that Milo was planning on naming undocumented students? Do I need it? Are we expected to wait until harm has been done, when we have reasonable suspicion that harm was going to be done? It makes things very convenient to be able to retroactively condemn someone’s actions which happened as a consequence of you refusing to sully yourself because you were dogmatically sticking to a point of principle. People matter more than abstract concepts and sometimes you have to get down off your high horse of lofty principles in order to protect people. In Milo’s case, there was every reasonable suspicion that he would be naming people because it is his M.O. He’s done it before, on multiple times to multiple people. This time there was a chance that people were going to suffer considerable harm. If your point of principle is worth more than the people who would have immigration knocking down their doors, being carted off to be incarcerated and eventually deported, then your principle isn’t worth a dime.

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Moreover, censorship of ideas doesn't prevent them from existing.

Again, this is not censorship. No-one is censoring these ideas. Reactionary voices are whingeing all the time (and you’re falling for it) about having their free speech impinged upon and being censored, when their opponents use their collective voices (and yes, sometimes violence) to shut them down but the reality is they still have access to a whole range of means of expressions and platforms, including the mainstream media, and they use it. In the name of free speech they are able to spread their messages and increase their support. Very little mainstream concern is given to the victims of their bigotry, liberals feeling that their Je suis Milo, misquoting Voltaire etc nonsense and their steadfast support of the principle of free speech is more important than the people it actively harms. You could be fined up to $5000 for crossing the border into the US with a Kinder Egg because of the hypothetical harm it could do to a hypothetical child but but the actual harm caused by, for example, the transphobic bigotry of these people, the real psychological violence perpetrated upon trans people and the real physical violence perpetrated against them, is not as important as the principle of free speech. Sometimes you have to get out of your principled bubble and protect people. How much more polite debate do you want? They already get a fuck ton of it. If Milo hadn’t already had a huge media presence before, Including hobnobbing with Donald Trump, he wouldn’t have had the funds for the US tour. Your google graph means nothing. It just indicates he was in the news those two days.

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Mosley and his gang were a paramilitary fascist group threatening the working class. As mentioned in the article, violence against paramilitary groups is appropriate—the British Union of Fascists were a military enemy, not merely an ideological enemy.

You’re talking ahistorical nonsense here. The BUF were not a paramilitary group. The SA was a paramilitary group, as were the Italian Blackshirts, the Freikorps, the Tonton Macoute. Mosley was a failed politician aristocrat, who had his followers wear black to emulate the oh so stylish Italians. They were not a militia, armed or otherwise and they fulfilled none of the criteria necessary to be classed as a paramilitary organisation. My partner’s grandmother was at the Battle of Cable Street, and she was most definitely not a person to be trifled with. The idea of her, an actual communist fighting actual fascists having a nice polite debate with them is really, really funny. It’s also a damned insult to the people who have stood their ground and fought these fuckers, even if they lost. You could probably do with reading a little bit of history of how previous generations of comrades fought fascists. Hint, it was only the liberals who thought you could overcome them with dialogue. You could try this one for starters.
http://libcom.org/history/beating-fascists-german-communists-political-violence-1929-1933-eve-rosenhaft

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It's pretty shitty, imo, to use Luxemburg, Berkman and Marx, all of whom suffered from real censorship and state repression, to defend Milo
Why? It's under the same principle. If Luxemburg was prevented from giving a speech every time she tried to, I would be very critical of the silencing.

You genuinely don’t understand, do you? Rosa Luxemburg was actually silenced. By a bullet to the head, having been tortured, by people whose opinions you wish to protect by the principle of free speech.
Given that you are confused about what censorship is, let me clarify that I do not support censorship, that being the state prohibition of ideas. What you are calling censorship is not censorship. It is the freedom to protect yourself, your community and others from what which will undoubtably do them harm - and don’t ask me to provide proof of that harm, just open a history book. You can disappear down a rabbit hole of theory, you can even misappropriate dead communist’s words to back up your theory but this isn’t a stupid high school debate on the value of principles, it’s a goddamned war. Pick a side.

edit: also crossposted with reddebrek

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Juan Conatz
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Mar 15 2017 15:52
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But how can you assure that a principle to prohibit some speech won't be manipulated to prohibit anyone else's speech?

This 'slippery slope' argument is really common. I think it is very American, too. Numerous European countries (as good as an example of liberal democracy as the U.S.) have laws prohibiting Holocaust denial and various displays of fascist symbols. Some of them have even outright banned parties they saw as too connected to fascism.

In any case, as has been pointed out by other posters, there's a difference between the state doing something and a loose coalition of people doing something.

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Soapy
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Mar 15 2017 16:56

I think the the idea that we are in a "goddamned war" with fascists is comforting but misleading. We can shut down fascist events, art exhibits, protests etc because fascists orgs are weak. Of course we all know the real violence comes from capital and the state, and there's not much we can do about it in the present state of things.

Fleur
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Mar 15 2017 17:55

Quite frankly there is bugger all we can do with the violence which comes from capital or the state and I don't have a shred of hope any more that there is going to be a time in the future when we can but is not the violence perpetrated by fascist groups and sympathisers not "real violence" too? Is there a sliding scale in place? I would have thought that using our voices, and those who are bigger, fitter and stronger than me, their physical force, to oppose people who espouse violence against vulnerable people is important too? If nothing else, it's a demonstration of solidarity.

prinkyn
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Mar 16 2017 22:02

Given that libcom posted posted Fleur's anti-Marxist polemic here as an article, I've (not the original author of this thread) replied to it here:

libcom.org posts anti-Marxist polemic

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Reddebrek
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Mar 16 2017 22:50
prinkyn wrote:
Given that libcom posted posted Fleur's anti-Marxist polemic here as an article, I've (not the original author of this thread) replied to it here:

libcom.org posts anti-Marxist polemic

You sure your not the original author? Your taking this extremely personally.

Oh and btw, the article did help finish the last squares in this bingo card I made,

ajjohnstone
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Mar 16 2017 23:01

The point really is how successful and effective is closing down debate and free speech.

From Wiki

Quote:
Mosley remained popular as late as summer 1939. His Britain First rally at the Earls Court Exhibition Hall on July 16th, 1939, 'was then, and remains now, the biggest indoor political rally ever held in Britain'.

By 1939, total BUF membership was probably approaching 20,000, while the CPGB's was 18,000
Outside and external events not the protests stopped his movement.

And i hate the idea that we somehow contribute to the impression that the right-wing are victims and not perpetrators

Fleur
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Mar 16 2017 23:04

You actually read any Marx?

ajjohnstone
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Mar 17 2017 00:10
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You actually read any Marx?

If directed at me, Yes, a little. Not sure i have ever met anyone who has read every word he wrote.If not these quotes from Marx are still apt.

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Keep in mind that you could not enjoy the advantages of a free press without tolerating its inconveniences.
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"It goes without saying we would have made objections no less earnestly against banning the Elberfelder Zeitung, the Hamburger Correspondent, and the Koblentz Rhein-und-Moselzeitung [conservative-monarchist-clerical newspapers]"
Fleur
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Mar 17 2017 00:43

ajjohnstone:

No, not you. I was asking the author of the piece, the curiously anti-violence Marxist.

radicalgraffiti
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Mar 17 2017 02:16
volshok wrote:
Quote:
Free speech fights have always been about government repression of ideas. It's not about a person's inalienable right to abuse someone else.

But how can you assure that a principle to prohibit some speech won't be manipulated to prohibit anyone else's speech? Additionally, abuse is a difficult concept to define. It could be considered abusive to the KKK member if I insult him for promoting killing of black people, though that doesn't make those views safe from condemnation. "The problem with this is that once the precedent has been set that some views are not allowed to be expressed, then no views are able to be certainly protected. For instance, if it becomes punishable by law to make offensive comments about a specific group of people, how long would it take for it to become punishable to criticize the actions of the state of Israel, which aren’t comments made out of bigotry, but necessary criticisms of repressive actions of a regime? Additionally, if the premise for illegality of an action is individuals being offended, a similar case could be made for someone claiming to be offended by homosexuality " [If you are not referring a legal system of censorship, replace laws with direct action].

so your saying that you think that anti fascist groups, defence groups organised by LBGT people and POC will turn around and start attacking people based on their sexuality or race if they successfully prevent fascist holding meetings to organise hate campaigns.

and yes i not your mischaracterization of the issue as people being offended, it not, this is about on going fascist organisation campaigns, already people radicalised by people like milo on teh internet have killed people, it will get worse if they are able to get together in large groups of like minded people in real life

Scallywag
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Mar 30 2017 02:21

I don't agree with Noam Chomsky's position in this video, but thought it's worth considering in this thread. In this video Chomsky rejects no platforming in universities and says students who are upset about something could stay away.

https://youtu.be/70ARPruhGtw

Again I strongly disagree with that, but it is maybe worth thinking that if the tables were turned and anarchist views were strongly not welcomed in universities and students actively organised to shut us down and prevent a platform for us then what would our response be. Wouldn't we now be the ones winging that our views are marginalised, and that there is no allowance for critical or dissenting views?

I guess the argument we can make here is that unlike those using free speech to advance racism, sexism, transphobia and so on our views are not violent.

Again though I am just playing devil's advocate here. Just interested in response's to this.

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Reddebrek
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Mar 30 2017 04:44

The response is that this an extremely naïve view of what speech is and can achieve.
http://libcom.org/blog/words-can-cut-deep-speech-violence-28032017

Staying away will not do anything to protect you from a reactionary stirring up trouble. We know this, when racists are free to give speeches attacks on minorities go up. When homophobes give rallies on universities the local LGBT chapter reports increased harassment.

Chomsky knows this, he's even written lengthy essays on places where radical right politicians would give speeches attacking people, and then those people would be abducted, tortured and murdered.

This is liberal utopianism, speech isn't neutral, nor is its power equally distributed, so any argument that takes that view shouldn't be given the time of day especially when cloaked in fake radicalism.

zugzwang
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Mar 30 2017 05:30

Maybe Chomsky was talking about his experience and protection for him to speak at universities and not shutting down his events? (Maybe he's talking about left-wing speakers? I remember there was this one time where Chris Hedges was booed on-stage while he was giving a speech at a graduation ceremony and needed police protection, if that's a good example of what Chomsky's getting at.) I don't know; someone should ask him his views on people like Milo being no-platformed and prevented from speaking by people showing up and shutting down his events. I more inclined to agree with Red that it does nobody any good to pretend that these right-wingers are not causing harm to others, just because they're talking on a stage and not overtly attacking someone. (The outing of people needs to be stopped and should not be protected as free speech. And if they're going to allow him to do that, then the people themselves should take action.)

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Mar 30 2017 08:08

I'll throw in my two cents.

So let's say you're a non-political guy in a university, and someone invites you to see a speach by Milo. You go there and on the way you read some of his opinions, basically he says feminism is cancer, islam is terrible, and bla bla bla; you don't really agree with him, but you figure "hey I'll hear him out."

You get there and you see outside a bunch of People yelling "fascist" "nazi" or something like that, when Milo starts to give his speach, protestors get up and try and shut it Down.

When he goes home what impression do you think this guy will have?

1. Those guys are Dicks.
2. No one challenged his ideas, they just called him a fascist.
3. Maybe he's on to something.

What if, on the other hand, they let him have his speach; chances are at the end some People will like him, and reasonable People would think "this guy is a Dick".

Or even better they Challenge his ideas intellectually and engage him ... I GUARANTEE you Milo is not intellectually capable of taking on a well thought through leftist, and he'd end up just looking like an idiot.

There is nothing that gives Milo more Power than People just yelling "fascist" at him, he loves to market himself as a "Dangerous thinker" willing to communicate Dangerous truths that the "left" don't want you to hear, but they don't have any arguements against so they just try and Control speach.

that's his marketing Message, he says over the top stupid Things in order to get a reaction that ends up feeding his popularity.

As soon as the left doesn't react to his nonsense, and actually engages with what he says intellectually and exposes him for being the tool that he is, he sinks to obscurity.

This is what I like about Chomsky; when he engages right wingers he doesn't yell at them, he doesn't Call them fascists, he calmly formulates arguments and dismantles their positions; almost always when they are done the right wingers are getting in a hissy fit because their ideas have been exposed as vacous and Chomsky is calm and collected.

DevastateTheAvenues
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Mar 30 2017 08:57

The problem with this view is that it imagines the nebulous someone-on-the-fence as the only relevant person that is affected by these particular speech acts and that the only outcome is that this someone is convinced one way or the other. It leaves out those who, as Fleur and Reddebrek pointed out in their blog posts, are put at risk by the speech acts of those like Milo Yiannassholish or the fash. I am convinced that those who are vulnerable to the actual threat posed by these speech acts are more important than hypothetical fence-sitters.

It also finds it unimaginable that the mobilization against fascist or reactionary speech can have effects other than repelling this fence-sitter. It doesn't allow for the possibility that those who are already opposed to Yiannassholish or the fash could become convinced by a communist movement that actually sticks up for the people it says it will defend, unlike the wishy-washy liberals who speech as some sacred act above the actual lives of people. It doesn't understand that these mobilizations can be part of the very stuff it takes to actually build communism, that these are the practical situations in which sections of the working class might develop their consciousness and refine the tactics of mass politics. And, I think most crucially, it thinks of fascist or reactionary speech, and the militant response against it, in an isolated way and not as part of the ongoing history of class struggle. It doesn't understand that violence has already preceded and will proceed from reactionary speech; and that mobilizations against such speech might not just be a bunch of lefties cropping up, but might be people taking their own defense into their own hands.

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Mar 30 2017 09:09

Who are at risk by those Speech acts?

What puts People at risk is if those ideas communicated by those speach acts gain legitimacy in Peoples minds, and People decide to act on them.

What midigates that risk is revealing those ideas as being vacous.

By just yelling these guys Down you ignore why these ideas become popular, why People are symapthetic to them and you ignore what they effects are of not engaging With them.

Speech doesn't hurt People, what hurts People is a left that thinks its more important to Call People out and Call them names rather than actually engage ideas, reveal them as fallacious, and provide an alternative vision/narrative.

No one should be afraid of Speech, I am a free Speech purist because I believe in my ideology and the correctness of what I stand for.

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Serge Forward
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Mar 30 2017 09:25

I don't like the term "no platform". I think everyone can have a platform but some of them just need overturning by an angry radical mob. There's been some really stupid stuff though like attempts to no platform Maryam Namazie. I think what happened with Milo Yiannopoulos gig was fucking ace though. Rommon, I shouldn't worry too much about the "bigot-curious" outsider checking things out and getting upset. I suspect 99.99% of those who attend Milo events are first class arsewipes.

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Mar 30 2017 09:58
Serge Forward wrote:
Rommon, I shouldn't worry too much about the "bigot-curious" outsider checking things out and getting upset. I suspect 99.99% of those who attend Milo events are first class arsewipes.

They aren't. This is the problem With both the actual left, and the so-called moderete neo-liberal "left", they dismiss many working class People as just racist or sexist or whatever and don't engage them.

I've spoken to a lot of those People. Often all they have is a strawman of the left, they basically think the left are a bunch of authoritarian nihilists who think every white male is evil. Generally they are People who want some sort of community, and idiots like Milo provide them With ... not a community, but an enemy, i.e. the "liberal elite". Most of these People are not "bigots" perse, they start out as People who want to have a community, a culture, something to belong to, and end up being bigots by falling into this bizzare neo-fascism of People like Milo.

If all you're doing is yelling them Down and calling them names (which frankly almost have no meaning anymore), not only will those People be more tied to the neo-fascist movements, those movements will gain more sympathy.

One of the dumbest Things i hear liberals say is "oh that's the white working class, and demographics are Destiny" ... I'm sorry, the Next "white working class" will be the hispanic working class, or the black working class, or any working class Group. All the fascists need to do is pretend to be defending their culture and community against some enemy, and as long as the left doesn't engage them; the fascists will win. This is already happening in europe, where some old immigrant Groups (second Third generation immigrants) are supporting neo-fascist parties against "Cultural liberals" and new immigrant Groups.

why? Becuase the liberal-left doesn't talk to them about the Things that matter to them, they just Call other People fascists.

If you shut Down a guy like Milo what does that accomplish? it gains him more sympathy, his ideas seem more credible, and it makes the left look like they can't deal With his ideas on an intellectual Level and thus must resort to "shutting Things Down."

I know he's just a social democrat, but recently Bernie Sanders went Down to West Virginia and talked to a bunch of trump supporters about Things they care about, economic Security, Healthcare, Schools and drug addiction: they gave him a standing ovation - People who voted for trump. That should be a wakeup Call.

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Mar 30 2017 10:09

The REAL speeches that the left should be paying attention too are the Wall Street lectures and economics confrences where neo-liberal and capitalist ideology is pushes ... This is where the rulers of the world actually do their damage.

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Reddebrek
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Mar 30 2017 10:13
Rommon wrote:
Who are at risk by those Speech acts?

The marginalized in society,
http://libcom.org/blog/words-can-cut-deep-speech-violence-28032017

Quote:
What puts People at risk is if those ideas communicated by those speach acts gain legitimacy in Peoples minds, and People decide to act on them.

Indeed, and they get popularity and greater acceptance when advocates for those views have the power and potential to popularize them further.

Quote:
What midigates that risk is revealing those ideas as being vacous.

You know that's impossible to prove right? And that mitigate doesn't mean remove? Or is this an admission that some victimization and violence is worth the price of your own ideals being accepted by society. You got a ratio to work off or something?

Quote:
By just yelling these guys Down you ignore why these ideas become popular, why People are symapthetic to them and you ignore what they effects are of not engaging With them.

Strawman, no platforming isn't "shouting people down" that's more a feature of symbolic protests advocated by liberal activism. Effective no platforming means active disruption and shutting down the reactionaries attempts to organize and propagandize.

Quote:
Speech doesn't hurt People, what hurts People is a left that thinks its more important to Call People out and Call them names rather than actually engage ideas, reveal them as fallacious, and provide an alternative vision/narrative.

This is simply objectively wrong. You've been given many examples of how speech can be a form of violence up to and including death. Your just ignoring this and restating your beliefs in an attempt to shout down contrary reality.

Quote:
No one should be afraid of Speech, I am a free Speech purist because I believe in my ideology and the correctness of what I stand for.

Again this is just the recitation of your chosen dogma, this is the world how you wish it to be, not how it is.

Its also incredibly pompous, and actively insulting, as someone who has reason to fear the speech of others you are not a friend or an ally, you've chosen the side of my oppressors. Good job "Leftist"

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Serge Forward
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Mar 30 2017 10:23

I take your point about many working class people seeing the left as anti-working class. Unfortunately, they're right as there is a strong anti (white) working class current in the more liberal left. But seriously mate, If someone is stupid enough to turn up on spec to a Milo gig, then they really need to get their head out their arse. I don't buy the old "it makes them fall into fascism" line. This is just liberal left nonsense. If they're at a Milo gig then they're already more than half way there. If anyone decides to join the fash, they have to put some effort into it and it won't be because some bigoted twat gets his meeting shut down... or because some passive attendee gets a slap.