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Riots in Luton and media apologism for fascist violence

Smiffy | 26.05.2009 12:07 | Anti-racism | Repression | Social Struggles | Liverpool


A couple of days ago, "up to 400 people set off on a planned peaceful protest" in Luton, in opposition to "demonstrations at an Armed Forces homecoming parade earlier this year," according to BBC News. However, despite the professed "peaceful" intent, "nine men were arrested" after "an Asian man was assaulted, a shop window was smashed and several cars were damaged in the town centre."

Ostensibly, these events were part of a counter-protest, in response to a protest by British Muslims took place during a homecoming parade by the Royal Anglian Regiment. At the time, I argued that "the narrowness of debate and the extreme readiness to advocate suppression of speech when discussing this issue has highlighted a serious deficit in our democracy" and that "if this is a democracy, then the absolute right to protest anything and to say anything - even if it is offensive, ignorant, or wrong - should be a basic, universal benchmark."

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You are in the wrong place

26.05.2009 14:01

for expressing such sentiments.

This site is infested with people who see nothing wrong with the odd punch up or other unpleasantness to stop people expressing their opinions. They usually call themselves anti-fascists and they seek to protect the gullible and impressionable like you and me from hearing political opinions we shouldn't be allowed to hear for fear we might vote or act incorrectly.

So your opinion that everyone has 'the absolute right to protest anything and to say anything - even if it is offensive, ignorant, or wrong' is not a view widely held by many Indymedia contributors.


Re: You are in the wrong place

26.05.2009 15:55

Hi Pete,

Indymedia is inclusive as far as these editorial guidelines:-

People with a variety of differing opinions are accommodated here.

During the 80s and early 90s some areas of Britain were no-go areas for black and asian people. Elderly people were beaten up, and young defenceless children were threatened and held at knife point. This was part of a fascist campaign to terrorise non-whites out of Britain. The police, being a racist organisation did little to prevent these attacks, so entire communities were left the victims of an extreme campaign of violence.

Gladly, we live in a more tolerant society nowadays. So, does it ever occur to you how we got to this point?

After these communities realised that the police were antagonistic to their plight, they had one option left, and that was to defend themselves. Asian people and black people organising in their communities were joined by white anti-fascists to remove the violent fascist threat by force. Of course, this involved systematically identifying, hunting down, and kicking the shit out of every fascist gang on a repeated basis until they did not dare walk the streets again. Pubs which were no-go areas for non-whites were also targeted.

And after a few years it had worked. This is an example of British people's history where liberal hand-wringing did not change anything, but Direct Action did.

As you are probably aware, the BNP are not a peace loving organisation, but one which intends to spread a message of intolerance, distrust, and hatred. They attempt to achieve this by disseminating blatant lies and misinformation. Their true intentions are to remove all non-white people from the UK to achieve racial purity. Clearly, it would be political suicide to openly voice these opinions so they disguise their opinions using terms such as "voluntary repatriation" (forced deportation) and agitate to whip up intolerance of Muslims (their latest nemesis) or anyone else they don't like (people who are gay, asylum seekers etc).

So, now that we have established that the BNP are a fascist organisation, how about we move on to how to defend freedom of speech?

Well, people are divided here. Some people think that the best way to protect freedom of speech is to tolerate it in all it's forms. Some people believe that the best way to protect freedom of speech is to have a "no platform" stance against those who would deprive others of freedom of speech if they had the power to. There are academic arguments for both points of view.

This stance means disrupting fascists in promoting their organisations through protest, heckling, counter-propaganda, and violence against key activists. Justification for this ideology is bolstered by research which shows racist violence has increased in communities where the BNP have gained political influence, and that the BNP have a crypto-fascist hidden agenda to encourage violence in all it's forms against non-whites. Note that there is a distinct difference between believing that the state should restrict freedom of speech for fascists, and the "no platform" stance which believes that communities should stand up to fascists. Most of the latter (communities advocating "no platform" through direct democracy) would not support the former (outlawing freedom of speech). In this light "no platform" is about defending minorities from future violence and defending freedom of speech.


No platform

26.05.2009 16:50

Your 'No Platform' policy sounds marvellous. But what if someone decides that you should have 'No Platform' for your beliefs merely because they don't agree with them? You could hardly complain could you?

Or are self-appointed kind, concerned, community spirited people like you in charge of who gets a Platform and who gets No Platform?

Until 'anti-fascists' stop all attempts to deny others free speech they should keep quiet about all their silly sixth form theories about why they are denied it.



26.05.2009 18:51

Fascism is opposed to free speech. Tell me one fascist state with doesn't deny peoples rights. And before you start, I will also lump in the fake communist states of USSR, Cuba and China.

If the CPGB - ML (communist party of great britain - marxist-leninist) were gaining power then anarchists will also be attacking them like we did when the bolsheviks took state power in Russia.

Against Sharia, Fascism and Nationalism! All the same load of anti-working class shit!

An Anarchist of London

I agree...

26.05.2009 19:24

...entirely with anonymous.

Pete, as an active militant anti-fascist, and anarchist I have no illusions about the fact that I have enemies who would do me harm. And neither should any activist, non-violent or otherwise.

There is a difference between freedom of speech (saying whatever you like), and organising the actual oppression of other people (fascism).

If people want to spout off ill-informed, bigoted, half-baked nonsense or if people want to show off or laud it over everyone, fine. Even if you want to sit around in the pub telling the world how much you hate this or that minority group because if they weren't in the country there'd be no problems*, you won't encounter organised resistance from anti-fascists.
However if you form an organisation and arrange meetings, formulate plans and take action to subjugate, oppress and expel certain groups whilst simultaneously trying to consolidate all of public and private life under your dictation you bet you will meet violent resistance.

One is free speech the other is organising oppression.

*I don't know who the BNP etc thought caused all the problems in this country prior to say 1950. There were some pretty turbulent economic and social problems in the middle ages for example. I guess that ultimately they would blame the working class.


Re: No platform

26.05.2009 20:03

Hi Pete,

"But what if someone decides that you should have 'No Platform' for your beliefs merely because they don't agree with them? You could hardly complain could you?"

Depriving fascists of the oxygen of publicity and disrupting their organising is the best way of preventing racist violence and preserving the freedom of speech for everyone as fascists wish to put an end to the freedom of speech for people who do not agree with them.

"No Platform" is a good example of the lesser of two evils. In the same way it may be necessary to shoot a deranged gunman to preserve the lives of others, it is sometimes necessary to restrict one person's freedom of speech in order to preserve the freedom of speech (and safety) of others.

So, to answer your question, anti-fascists are defending themselves and others from extremists, and the harm they cause is far less than the harm which would be caused if fascists gain power. We have history to testify to that. One reason why fascism did not spread to England prior to WW2 was because brave men and women opposed the black-shirts tooth and nail:-

"Or are self-appointed kind, concerned, community spirited people like you in charge of who gets a Platform and who gets No Platform?"


Seemingly the idea of communities organising and taking control of their own lives to achieve positive ends, instead of relying on the state to take actions and make decisions worries you. People in a community organising together is the purest form of democracy, a far cry ticking a box every 5 years for two parties which represent the interests of the few (the rich)..

..which brings me on to another important point. Ultimately fascism is the perfect tool of social control for the haves to control the have-nots. 90% of the wealth is owned by 10% of the people in our country. This absurd wealth disparity has been the status quo for generations, and has grown significantly worse in the past two decades. The doctrines of fascism centre around blaming the wrong people for the cause of their woes; housing shortages, lack of jobs, crime, poverty, all blamed on immigrants and asylum seekers. There is enough wealth to serve everyone's needs, it is simply in the wrong hands. If all the people who subscribe to fascist ideology or support the BNP were to organise in their workplaces and take the power back, they ruling class would have a real fight on their hands, and more hard-won freedoms and equality would be gained.



27.05.2009 19:14

Acticle quote::
"if this is a democracy, then the absolute right to protest anything and to say anything - even if it is offensive, ignorant, or wrong - should be a basic, universal benchmark.""

Well talk about trying to have your cake and eat it. There are plenty of posters on Indymedia who advocate that this is not so. Usually if you make a remark about immigration it is met with a fuk-off-you-git type comment.

But suddenly then the shoe is on the other foot, its all ..... freedom of speech!!



Pete the wishy washy liberal

27.05.2009 20:43

Authoritarian wannabes like the BNP love wishy washy liberals like you Pete.

They will cry free speech when it suits them but once they gain power they will crush people like you ruthlessly. You can't let them get a toehold into power. They need to be attacked without mercy while they are still relatively weak. Just look at the history books for how important this is.

They aren't just people who sit around philosophizing about politics, they are a very real physical threat. They should be attacked just for being who they are, never mind for what they say.