This not about free speech. This is simply self-defence.

  • Posted on: 14 July 2018
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

The far-right have developed a concern for civil-liberties over the last few years and would have you believe that they are the true defenders of freedom. Don’t be fooled, there is a huge chasm between their rhetoric and the reality. Their call for freedom of speech would quickly change if they ever got a chance of power, and they would quickly remove that right from those they perceive as their enemies.

Here in New Zealand there has been some sympathy for the cancelling of an event by Canadians Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, who have built a reputation for making controversial, racist statements, and had been due to appear next month at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland. The Auckland City Council, which owns the venue, pulled the plug on the event, due to “security concerns” involving the “health and safety” of the presenters, staff and patrons of the event, following protests made to the Centre and elsewhere.

In response a planned event, initially in support of the imprisoned English far-right mouthpiece Tommy Robinson, has morphed into a general free speech rally to be held this Saturday 12.00 at the Parliament Buildings in Wellington, with concurrent events being planned for Auckland (Aotea Square) and Christchurch (Entertainment Triangle, North Hagley Park).

As anarchists, we have never had anything but support for freedom of speech for the reason that in an anarchist vision of society, neither the state nor any other institution should be able to determine what we can and cannot say. Additionally, as a revolutionary minority frequently targeted for repression, anarchists worldwide have consistently had speeches, newspapers, websites, and marches attacked, and individuals throughout history, and up to today, have been imprisoned and killed.

Despite this, we will not stand idly by when speech is used to threaten and cause harm to others, or when it reinforces hierarchies and injustices. In this situation, we will not shy away from confronting it in the same way we would confront any other kind of abuse or oppression.

Recently we were accused of drawing attention to Southern and Molyneux when we mentioned their banning, but ignoring them will not make them go away. Allowing the far-right to gather unhindered run the risk of them growing in popularity and influence. Richard Spencer, the prominent far-right activist in the USA, stated earlier this year that he has had to rethink his public events after a number of actions by anti-fascist protestors throughout the USA. This speaks volumes as to the importance of keeping the pressure on the far right.

Others have told us that we should let the right speak, and engage them in debate to expose the poverty of their ideas. We would argue though that it is not the quality of ideas that make people support them (you only have to look at many comments in social media made by right-wing supporters to see how much thinking goes on), but it is the chance to wield power over others in society that make them so attractive to their followers. Again this is the reason we cannot let them gather, in ever-larger numbers, without protest.

Of course, the most common objection to a no-platform stance for the right is the belief that free speech is an essential right for everyone. As we said at the beginning of this statement we are not against free speech. We oppose the far-right because of what they do, or because of what their words lead others to do. Giving them a platform to speak opens the door to their supporters feeling justified to do physical harm to other people. Public speech promoting ideologies of hate, whether or not you consider it violent on its own, always complements and correlates with violent actions. Just two examples include Darren Osbourne who crashed his van into a group of worshippers outside a London mosque, was a follower of far-right websites and twitter feeds, including those from Tommy Robinson; and again in the UK, the murderer of MP Jo Cox, Thomas Mair, had a large collection of fascist literature and shouted “Britain First”, the name of a British fascist organisation, when he committed his murder.

If you care about free speech then it is essential to mobilise against those that would take it away, but we must stress that we won’t do this by appealing to the state to decide who can and who can’t speak. One day we could find the rules being used against us. Instead, we call for this action to take the form of self-organisation and self-defence through our own organisations.

This not about free speech. This is simply self-defence.

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement



"Their call for freedom of speech would quickly change if they ever got a chance of power, and they would quickly remove that right from those they perceive as their enemies."

sounds quite a bit like the left these days, at least in the u.s.

"or when it reinforces hierarchies"

that's not a slippery slope, is it?

Which is not the case from rightards like Molyneux and Southern. The hate is already in the air, deplatforming is basically a wack-a-mole game that does not deal with the underlying issue and potentially makes things worse by making them look like underdogs.

There's also the fact that this deplatform rubbish goes back to Marcuse and the Marxists who represented the worse of power holding ideologies in history. The inevitable issue with deplatforming is that others views get dragged into the disallowed tag. In the long run this is not good for anarchists. The question is never asked who does the deplatforming and in the name of protecting what. It's basically a societal protection defense scheme that anarchists should have no part of.

Huh I guess it’s just a coincidence that you use ableist language while saying murderous fash should be able to gather unobstructed. Cool story.

We live in a physical world buddy, being able is part of the equation. This does not mean strong ideal body fetishism. Much of who you want to obstruct are not murderous this obviously includes Molyneux and Southern.

As much as I despise them, I am more concerned about the humanist universalist function that antifa serves which WILL create deplatforming apparatuses in the future that will go after preferable forces that come after this fascist reactionary malaise that currently exists which is only temporary in the grand scheme of things. I can imagine that future anti-machineological anarchic tendencies against world society will be the targets of the deplatform logic being enforced today.

Anti-fascism is not endogenous to anarchism, it's a function of universalist humanism that has the building and defending of a world society in its mind.

What the hell is the "ableist language" in his post? The reference to "dragged"? I am honestly baffled, and this just reads as an aborted SJW attempt at taking down Sir E's sensible post.

Also, guess what? The world is ableist. Evolution is ableist. Ability matters. Smarter people are listened to more. Stronger people can fight better. More sensitive and empathetic people have better relationships. More articulate people are listened to more.

None of this means that disabled people should be disregarded or left behind, because empathy and mutuality are good values and any disabled person has any number of abilities to offer - but those people will be included in social networks by being helped more according to their disabilities, and they need to be helped more - - - because the world, evolution, and human sociality is inherently shaped by differences in ability, i.e., the "ableism" you decry, which is just a crackpot SJW invention and a bankrupt concept.

That’s a whole lotta text to justify calling someone a “tard” bruh

"As we said at the beginning of this statement we are not against free speech. We oppose the far-right because of what they do, or because of what their words lead others to do."

All speech is related to action - speech itself is action, which is oriented toward coordinating, encouraging, discouraging, or modifying action. You are against certain kinds of speech because of its relationship to certain kinds of action. So, yes, you are against free speech, and you should be honest about it.

The funny thing about all of these Marcusean anarcho-Marxists is that their opposition to free speech reveals a deep pessimism about the masses that they claim to be advocating and activist-ing for. We cannot let the peasants hear these dangerous right-wing ideas because then they may start believing and acting on them! We must prevent the proletariat from hearing about race realism and anti-immigration ideas because they will embrace them! Well, if your precious masses are so vulnerable, gullible, pliable, and so forth (which they must be if they are going to take up your foolish anarcho-commie ideas), isn't that a powerful argument *against* mass society? Doesn't it reveal that mass society is a volatile, oppressive bunch of nonsense, because no one can really tolerate mass society unless they become a(n anarcho-commie, alt-right, or whatever) demagogue who seizes mass society and turns it to their will? Isn't it an incredibly impoverished idea of freedom to suggest that your supposed commie-freedom is only achievable and preservable by *denying* people access to certain ideas? As a great computer game once said, "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart, he dreams himself your master." Isn't this, therefore, actually an implicit argument for anti-civ anarchism, which would allow for Dunbar's Number-sized communities that could each have their own norms?

Maybe. But I think you're not acknowledging a couple common analyses anarchists share:

1. people in this society are trained for submission. From the family, to school, to work, people are trained not to think for themselves. To be skeptical of peoples' abilities to do so, specifically in this kind of society we are in, is being realistic. It doesn't say anything about anyone's opinions of what people are capable of, or their nature, of mass society, or any of those difficult things to parse out. I could imagine a mass society where people are not so easily duped and gullible. Why do your conclusions come out against mass society? I'm not trying to defend that idea, "mass society," I just don't understand why you're so quick to rush to that idea.

2. people have shitty lives, and look to lash out where they can. since there are all these abstract systems of power like race, gender, class, etc, it's much easier for miserable people to strike down on the hierarchies, rather than up.

Taking those two things into consideration, it seems reasonable to fear that alt-right ideas could make headway with people. And I don't see where you make this leap regarding mass society.

To be clear, I sympathize with anti-activist ideas, and find this antifa moment we're in very frustrating. I just don't agree with your conclusion that peoples' gullibility necessarily says anything about their ability to be reasonable in mass society.

I am Fauvenoir and I wholeheartedly approve this comment!

...for the exception that mass-based social relationships are by themselves vectors of mass-idiocy, and rely also on a suspension of rationality and free-thinking. Example: Fedbook.

The bad idea here is keeping humanistic universalist power apparatuses alive. This is the issue. You don't think that future Kaczynskian types who are not necessarily murderers will be targeted by the anti-fascist universlist enforcement schemes based on the enforcement of today? This is essentially the story of progressivism and how power forms associated with it played a role in putting down the 1968 counter culture.

I'm not sure your narrative of this story reflects any history. The '60s counterrculture was killed by a few things, namely drugs and actual assassination/intoxication of its celebrities. Hippie superstar Tim Leary turned out to be one of the biggest traitors to his generation, next to (lol) Jane Fonda, as he wss basically a marketing agent for one of the first drug lords in the U.S.. Then you had the problematic double-edged sword of radical people like James C. Scott, or shittier versions like Bill Ayers, who went headfirst into social entrysim of academia only to gain high positions within what became a crooked, elitist system.

Bu the democratic statist Rawlsian recuperation was well understood and fought against; politicians were despised by the youth and its cultural anti-heroes. All that survived this failed, infantile counterculture is its offshoot the punk, rocker and queer subcultures. We know what happened to them through the '80s and '90s.

So was universalism the core problem, and why/how?

And then here's the question of what you'd be opposing to universalism.... More identity politics? The bioregionalist stunt? It's fucked to say that in the '60s the power apparastuses were humanistically universalist, since it was the era of the wildest and fiercest nationalist movements, among neofascist dictatorships, mainly through the natiional liberation tendency. It was seemingly very hard, back then, to think truly beyond the mental enclaves of national identity, no matter how the national liberation movements were part of wider pan-ethnic and/or ideological movements under the rug. But their field of struggle was strictly nationalist. There most likely were a few anti-nationalist anarchistic people in, say, Quebec back in the '70s, but I guess their voices weren't being heard much or they were obviously not understood by the nationalist sheeple.

What you mentioned was part of it but broadly it was just wear and tear and the lack of a social revolution payoff at the end. There were other figures such as Paul Goodman who still hold up pretty well from that period. Not everyone was intoxicated to the point of being addiction, the repressive measures against the CC were born out of a state that was mixing in welfare warfare new dealing. The drug laws that greatly hurt the cc were born out of the progressive epoch. Thaddeus Russell is pretty good at pointing this out. What ironically happens is down the road reactionaries use apparatuses and laws that were created by progressives.

More broadly humanist universalism plays a role in the growth of modern state and power. National liberation of the 3rd worldist variety tends to broadly embrace humanist and narrow universalist principles.

In terms of what I prefer, I would prefer to see a multi plural regional approach to human affairs. That's the best way to diffuse power in the geopolitical realm of reality.

"race realism"=nazi detected

Can't tell if trolling, but it's clear they were attacking the idea that people are unable to reject ideas like race realism without benevolent antifa deplatforming shitty ideas.

the poster who used that fascist term (rebranding "racism" with a term implying racist theories are correct or "real(istic)"; i.e., a classic alt-right forced meme style rhetorical tactic) without scare quotes or any apparent irony about it was at best attacking a really flawed straw man version of antifascism ("let the masses decide" is liberal democracy not anarchism anyway...), so badly flawed that it looks to me more like bad faith. sadly i know that's not uncommon here; it's almost like defense of "free speech" for fascists by people who are "not fascists" is as popular on @news as it is on fox news

My sympathies are strained when MPs are lamented. Government shills are the clockwork that create whoppers like Thomas Mair. The rules are already against you. The parameters of mediation and appeal shit out ambivalence and violence left, right and centre. There's no need to look at twitter to know when the fascistic crap's gonna buy a plane ticket and fly-in when there's enough of the business end on your islands already with names and addresses. You are living down the road from a fascistic arsehole. Imagine what you could do when you're all alone, masked up, in the dark. No communique, no disclosure; just some tool having a terrible night like his good pal tomorrow. Company's nice, but don't rely on it.

I agree people are being followers of relations too much and they gotta learn to be more self-reliant. There's a balance that can be renegotiated or rethought between the disconnection yet impredictability of lone gunmen offensive, and someone having your back, at the expense of not agreeing with you.

Nobody believes in free speech. Nobody. No, not even you.

And by 'free speech' I mean the way that phrase is meant and said by most English speaking people. I mean free speech in the true sense of that word 'free' unopposed, absolute, buck-stopping, speech without consequences. After all, if there are consequences, then it's not free speech. It means someone is imposing their consequences on you for your speech. What is free speech, if it doesn't mean freedom from consequences? What is free speech free from?

But nobody actually deep down inside believes in freedom of speech. If I insult your girlfriend (or your mom, or someone you love) in front of you, call her all kinds of nasty names or racial slurs, you are going to want to punch me. Or even if you're a strict pacifist Buddhist, you'll want to tell me to leave, or do something negative to me as a result of my rudeness. There will be consequences to my speech. People who think they believe in freedom of speech always claim that words and ideas are sacred and that we should tolerate views we don't like. But of course nobody really lives their lives this way. It's an idealistic utopian principle that no one could ever live up to.

The reality is we all place at least some limits on free speech, whether personally, or socially. Every human society that has ever existed has placed some limits on what's acceptable to say. We all draw the line somewhere for what we are willing and not willing to put up with. For some, the line gets drawn at hate speech, for others, it's violent threats, and for a few it's anything goes except for the proverbial shouting fire in a crowded theater (which is a myth, incidentally). Everyone has a limit. To think otherwise is silly. If you rudely insult my girlfriend, mother, relative, dog, or me, and do it maliciously (not jokingly) I'm going to impose consequences on you. Anyone would. And you don't get to weasel out of it by saying: "Well, I don't mean speech in those kinds of contexts". Yes, you do, speech is speech. If you are categorizing speech into what kinds of contexts you are going to tolerate it in, then that is already placing limits on speech.

So the question is never: Do you believe in freedom of speech, or don't you? It's: where do you draw your line for freedom of speech?

Your scenario is a disanalogy - no, most people won't tolerate being directly insulted to their faces because it is an insult to their or their loved ones' honor. This is *very* different from what most people mean when they say they believe in and support freedom of speech, usually understood as a belief that political/philosophical/ethical speech of any kind or nearly any kind ought to be able to be aired in some sort of 'public square' (whether a real, physical place or through various open-submission media), where it can be relatively freely listened to or ignored by individuals as they choose. Arguments against freedom of speech often invoke these disanalogous scenarios, like Bowman's - e.g., "Oh, you believe in muh freeze peach, huh? So I can come into your living room and tell you how dumb you are while you try to eat dinner?" Again, no - this is harassment and home invasion, but I think you ought to be able to say how dumb I am in 'the public square' as much as you want.

I think Southern and Molyneux are charlatans and provocateurs, but I am less-than-jazzed at this move to use State authority to deplatform them. The alt-right are being deplatformed all over the place, including on social networks and financial services like Patreon and PayPal, and I think it is a highly disconcerting precedent. As much as the U.S. is an authoritarian hellhole, there is still 'freer', if you will, speech allowed here than in many other States, past and present (just look at China and Saudi Arabia, for example) - now even that is going away, and it is going away with social justice ideology, for the same reasons that we needed it to be Nixon who could open up relations with China.

I don't know Nyarlathotep, this concept of "honor" is a pride/ego outgrowth of cultural construct where status is prominent. Sure there are elements of natural space involved, one does not like to have a person screaming foul language just 2 inches from ones face, but if they are on the other side of the street its ok, and then hand gestures usually take over when the distance makes screaming tiresome, or the rifle, letting a gun do the speaking is the height of rudeness even for a nihilist, but I digress.
I have had people swear and abuse me and I just laugh, recalling ' sticks and stones may break my bones, but words,,,,,' Yes, pride is a strange attitude for the existential nihilist to embrace.
And so, I don't specifically select continents or nations to delineate conditions or expressions of free speech, I am like the alien duck flying outside the stadium looking in, words like water roll off my back, I am above pride or insult.

To Nyarlathotep,
"Your scenario is a disanalogy..."

No it isn't. Here's why....

The line between what's political/philosophical and what's personal is arbitrary and often blurry. If you insulted and berated my wife because she is say, an immigrant/refugee, or just a person of color, and put posters up saying she should be deported, would that be a personal or a political form of expression? Obviously it would be both. And I wouldn't care about the nuances, I would want to do something about your 'right' to say such things, either to me, or in public. Spreading hate or insulting someone publicly or privately, whether it is politically motivated or personally motivated, is a distinction without a difference. This is precisely why hate speech is so contested, because it is at once both personal and political.

Like I said, everyone draws their own lines somewhere, because everyone draws lines. And all societies do it. Everyone and every society (including anarchist hunter gatherer societies) has a point at which they no longer tolerate certain speech, whatever motivates that speech.

"After all, if there are consequences, then it's not free speech. "

are you fucking kidding? there are consequences for everything. if the lack of consequences is how you define freedom, you must live a rather enslaved, subservient life. if i insult your girlfriend, and you want to punch me for it, GO FOR IT! i am free to say what the fuck i want, and you are free to do what the fuck you want as a "consequence". THAT is freedom.

you think free == unopposed? wow.

Another poster here. Freedom of speech is being able to tell the world you love talking dirty to your mom when you're making love to her. In other words, a society cannot exist with freedom of speech. Some temporary immoral or amoral gatherings occur which eventually disintegrate from infighting, aggressive offensive behavior and literal anarchy. Order requires rules and regulations concerning self-expression or else one is punished..

I would have to disagree with you that a society cannot exist without FOS. Once can say any thing if expressed as a creative script, whether a poem, play, movie, stand up comedy, or satire. That is why the arts act as a cathartic social purging apparatus, so in a way, it's only the philistines who throw rocks and smash windows in the social theatre.

Not sure I really got that allegory about motherfucking tho.

That morality, ethics, and the common standard of decency within any given culture determine what can be said outside the private domain. By using the act of having sexual intercourse with ones mother as the benchmark by which to measure a society's degree of morality, the poster was making an example of this heinous act.

Heinous act? How so SJW? Nothing wrong with having sex with someone you love.

Okaaayyy... So then what's wrong with fucking your kids, right? Gtfo, [A].

Joooooke. Ever heard of black humor, Or that racist?

I ask this the same way that Stirner asks the freedom loving 19th century liberal 'what's wrong with fucking your sister'.

THERE IS NO RIGHT AND WRONG OF COURSE. There's only existential human disgusts(Jonathan Heidt) and hardware/software compatibility end of story. An anarch-egoist-anarchy orientation simply lets these things emergently sort themselves out. Killing and stealing will probably never be programmable but again that is down to a human hardware/software correspond configuration problem.

As the channers say, stop being a moralfag.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Here's your argument:
A Chinese citizen wants to openly berate and criticize the Chinese government. They should go ahead, because they're free to do so. But there are consequences if they do.

You call that freedom? wow.

I think folks are getting wrapped up in a bunch of abstractions that don't have to do with the op.

I am pretty sure, just based on their name, that I have little in common with the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement but the arguments people are putting forth in opposition to this seem vapid, tbh. I don't know the politics of NZ, so I don't really feel like I have place to say if their chosen point of contestation is worthwhile or not, but to assume that the assertion of right to speech sans any conflict or reaction is the baseline for free speech seems... well, stupid. Sometimes the things you say have consequences. Sometimes that is being fired from your job, sometimes that is arrest, sometimes that is people wanting to fight you in the street. Free speech clauses refer to one of those things and not the others, and the one that they apply to shouldn't matter much to anarchists anyway. I don't see AWSM claiming that the New Zealand state is actually respecting freedom of speech, but responding to our (shared) enemies who use free speech as a canard to obscure actual objections to the content of their political agenda.

Certainly China, and the USA, and Russia, and pretty muych everywhere I've been (I've never been to NZ, but I have suspicions...) don't actually respect freedom of speech. Yes, you can't criticize the state without expecting varying degrees of repression, but nowhere is that a factor in this post.

That said, I don't disagree that the trend towards no-platforming extending beyond our explicit enemies (or our explicit enemies being expansive to include "people I don't like too much" is dangerous and starts to slide (dare I say creep?) in to authoritarian politics.

NZ banned the entrance of nuclear powered USA ships into its waters. I think you're looking at a unique regional cultural phenonmena there.

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