Monday, 19 March 2018

Free Speech and Cheap Bigots

 by Christopher Draper

ANARCHIST beat-poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti warned us that, “Freedom of speech is always under attack by Fascist mentality” and last week (5.3.2018) a gang of masked, black-clad thugs calling themselves London Antifa smashed their way into a meeting at Kings College London in a coordinated, violent, attack on “Free Speech”.  

With perverse irony, “FREEDOM” an erstwhile anarchist website celebrated this exhibition of “fascist mentality”; “Well done to London Antifa for taking action against one of (sic) major universities assisting an alt-right speaker in spreading hateful propaganda.”

The New Authoritarians
Fascist-minded “No-Platformers” claim a unilateral ability and right to distinguish “Free speech from Hate-speech” but there is no distinction to be made. 

As George Orwell said, “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” - regardless of how hate-filled the speaker may be. Noam Chomsky advises, “If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise we do not believe in it at all.

Hate Speech” is the modern equivalent of “Blasphemy”.  In 1697 Thomas Aikenhead was the last man in Britain executed for Blasphemy.  In the 19th century the editor, printer and publisher of The Freethinker were all imprisoned for Blasphemy and as late as 1977, according to the trial judge, “It was touch and go” whether Dennis Lemon, the editor of Gay News, would be imprisoned for Blasphemy (he was fined £1000 and given a suspended prison sentence). 
When the British State finally abolished the crime of Blasphemy in 2008 “direct-action” bigots eagerly adopted the abandoned role of punishing those deemed to “speak the unspeakable”.  All around us Commissars now claim the right to control what is expressed even in university halls and anarchist bookfairs.  Where the State formerly identified accusers and offered the prosecuted an opportunity of “due process” and an argued defence the new authoritarians operate in the dark, anonymous, masked and unreasoned. These new arbiters of the new Blasphemy don’t debate they assert and attack.

Free Speech - the Bedrock of Liberty
Northern Voices considers dissent inevitable, healthy and to be welcomed. We are happy to debate FREE SPEECH with anyone in any public forum but the authoritarians don’t respect reason.  Bans, censorship, blacklisting and physical attacks are their modus operandi.  Indulging in such antics lost the organisers of the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair their former booking at the “Peoples’ History Museum” and seems likely to lose their current venue, The Partisan, the financial support of local trade unions. 
Violent suppression of Free Speech caused the organisers of the 2017 London Anarchist Bookfair to abandon plans for a 2018 event.  The vandals have kicked open the gates and are rampaging amongst us.  Whilst FREEDOM applauds Antifa attacks on Free Speech and publishes books like “BEATING THE FASCISTS” its Board of Management (David Goodway, Peter Marshall, Ernest Rodker et al) timorously cower behind the barricades.  It’s time for all decent minded folk to come out of the closet and stand up for FREE SPEECH.



Zofia Brom said...

Glad people read Freedom: I for once can not be arsed to read Northern Voices, even when they land in my inbox. But, congratulations to NV for proving that me nick- naming them "leftist The Sun" was correct.

bammy said...

Bless you Zofia; I hope nobody blacklists you!

Zofia Brom said...

Brian the reason why people find you annoying (to say the least) is that you are a troll and a cop grass, plus you harras and doxx people online. I wouldn't call it blacklisting.

Les May said...

This is a good article.

bammy said...

Dear Zofia,

Who sent you. God? Prince Kropotkin would be proud of your sparkling utterances and great intellect!


Zofia Brom said...

Stop emailing Freedom: nobody cares what you shitty blog has to say about us.


Zofia Brom said...

Lol, I couldn't care less what you think about me, or anything else for that matter.