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Re: [ox-en] Nazi in Debian Alert

On Sat, Jan 24, 2004 at 01:33:50AM [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED], Paul Bowman wrote:
Or to put it another way. Practice is the final test of theory, it's the 
_practice_ of racism and fascism that we anti-fascists fight, not the 
inane garbage that passes for "theory" amongst these fuckwits. It's not 
their freedom of speech we want to take away, but their freedom to 
organise, agitate and propagandize given that their aim is to take away 
the freedom of speech and life of their fellow human beings.

Surely you mean as well as?

How far do you take that? It sounds... not so much _ominous_, just
potentially alienating to "ordinary people". Now hear me out!
For instance, I've heard of cases where US student activists have
"confiscated"/ripped-up all the copies of their uni's student newspaper
because of it printing an article critical of affirmative action or
something like that.

Now fair enough the articles in question may in fact have been based
around racist assumptions, or they may not, I don't know. I don't think
they contained explicit, blatant racial slurs, or the activists
would surely have said so.

But it then gives the impression to yer typical bod that affirmative
action is some kind of thing you can't disagree with or these activists
might come and intimidate you. Either that, or it gives the impression
that those activists are out of touch loonies.

And it's clearly not the case that any discussion of the level or
existence of affirmative action is by definition fascist, obviously.
But on the other hand, obviously affirmative action is something racists
will attack in order to try and appear "moderate".

So I think there _are_ grey areas like that.

And therefore my perspective would be that I would not take "direct 
action" like (I apologise for the tame-sounding examples ;-)
 picketing or shouting down against someone unless I was
convinced that they were a real hard-core racist, or a fascist.
Because if you come down too hard on the stuff which is perceived
as gray area - unless you can show people that the person saying it
is actually provably a right hard-core racist scumbag - you end up
coming off as totalitarian in outlook. (Which is probably kind of
where Stefan is coming from, I suspect, given that he's not actually
opposed to criminalising racial hate-mongering.)

As for freedom of speech, it doesn't sound good to say "I want to take
away their freedom of speech to say certain things, i.e. incitements to
racial/ethnic hatred", but that's basically what both you and Stefan
said above, right? I'm leaning towards agreeing with you on that, although of
course there is the old counter-argument that it's best to get all these vile
slurs out in the open so they can be shown to be false, rather than
just whispered in secret.

It's obviously a matter of definition, like where very very few people
actually think fraud is valid "free speech" in the US constitution sense,
and I hate time wasting arguments where the whole debate consists of people
talking past each other, and meaning different things by a word (#1 example:
arguments about "communism"). But all the same there is again another point
where people can become alienated from anti-fascists, because
I think a lot of people, especially Americans, think of racist junk
as falling under free speech. And if you aren't clear about what
you mean, they can be like "I sort of agree but he's too extreme"
because they haven't understood where you're coming from.


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