Can we discuss ANTIFA, Nazis and free speech?

(146 Posts)
AssignedPerfectAtBirth Sat 26-Aug-17 14:26:03

I am somewhat confused about Antifa and their recent activism, particularly in Charlottesville. On the one hand I do believe that there is a line to be drawn somewhere in the case of Nazi activism. But I am struggling with the use of violence. I know the Anti-Facist League has existed in the UK for many years, but they were very much on the periphery. Am I right in thinking that such movements are relatively new in the US?

Should Nazis and white supremacists ever have a right to organise, march, make speeches or should they be battered off the streets? Where does the right of free speech end?

I have some issues with Antifa. The debate is so polarised and many rightwingers are being tossed into the same pot as white supremacists and Nazis by some of the MSM, which can't be a good thing.

Thoughts anyone?

OP’s posts: |
SilverySurfer Sat 26-Aug-17 16:15:29

I am a Conservative voter but think nazis and white supremacists are abhorrent. Having said that, at least the scum who participate in these marches can be seen and identified and banning them won't change their beliefs. I'm also a strong believer in freedom of speech and if you 'battered them off the streets' someone else will object to other groups such as far left or LGBT groups wanting them battered off the streets so it's a slippery slope.

I also agree with you that rightwingers being tossed into the same pot as white supremacists and Nazis by some of the MSM, is obvioujsly bad.

I know the predominant view on MN is left wing, quite strongly so, and many posters love to portray Conservatives as baby eating monsters but I know no-one who has anything but hatred and contempt for nazis and white supremacists.

AssignedPerfectAtBirth Sat 26-Aug-17 16:27:30

Yes it's the battering off streets that I struggle with. Especially as punching TERFs seems to be acceptable as 'punching Nazis' is and it all comes from the far left.

The sight of the armed white supremacists at Charlottesville was terrifying and need to be challenged though. I wonder if there is ever a need for armed combat in our streets

OP’s posts: |
AssignedPerfectAtBirth Sat 26-Aug-17 16:54:37

This thread disappeared from the board and from my 'I'm on'- just testing to see if it comes up in active

OP’s posts: |
AssignedPerfectAtBirth Sat 26-Aug-17 18:28:35

This is interesting

OP’s posts: |
EddieHay81 Mon 28-Aug-17 16:49:10

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

prh47bridge Mon 28-Aug-17 21:41:51

Given the record of James O'Keefe (the man behind Project Veritas), including repeated instances of editing videos to misrepresent the context of conversations and the responses, giving the impression that people said or did things they did not, I would not regard anything from Project Veritas as the full truth. It is frequently not even a partial truth.


EddieHay81 Mon 28-Aug-17 22:40:54

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

prh47bridge Mon 28-Aug-17 23:06:22

I am from the centre right but I don't have any time for O'Keefe. You really don't have to look hard to find examples of his mendacity. For example, you cite ACORN as being exposed by Veritas. The truth is that Veritas told a pack of lies and exposed nothing. The California State Attorney General's Office found that O'Keefe had misrepresented the actions of ACORN workers in California and no laws had been broken. The Government Accountability Office found that ACORN had managed its federal funds appropriately. O'Keefe apologised to one of the workers publicly and paid $100,000 to the worker in compensation.

That is just one example. There are many more. You choose to believe O'Keefe because he is right wing and you clearly despise the left. You would therefore probably disregard any evidence against him as being a smear from the left, just as some on the left disregard any evidence against, say, Michael Moore as a smear from the right. I have no time for either Moore or O'Keefe.

ReanimatedSGB Tue 29-Aug-17 23:32:39

I found this interesting piece on the subject the other day.

There certainly are some nasty, thuggish, self-righteous bellends who are going to be drawn to antifa rather than neo-nazism - a few decades ago, whether zit-faced school bullies went into the BNP or the Anti-Nazi League seems to have depended whose leaflet they got first.
But something has to be done about the absolutely poisonous mix of white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia we have at the moment.

MrsT2007 Tue 29-Aug-17 23:34:17

The far left and far right often are closer than you think.

Google horseshoe theory...

MadgeMidgerson Tue 29-Aug-17 23:39:03

freedom of speech does not mean that you are entitled to a platform, only tht you may not be prosecuted for opinions

even this is subject to limit; if your speech is ultimately an incitement to violence then this may well be criminal

It's pretty straightforward, I should think.

OCSockOrphanage Wed 30-Aug-17 16:05:40

The Atlantic Monthly's September issue is devoted to the general topic Why America Went Haywire. One article is about the rise of the violent Left. You should find it here.

Anatidae Wed 30-Aug-17 16:18:37

This is actually a really interesting question. Because freedom of speech does mean allowing things you may find repugnant to be said .

The USA has codified free speech more than the uk, by the way.

Article 19 of the UDHR:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; yet not every one receives it. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

According to general definition, Freedom of speech is the right to articulate one's opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction.

So where does that leave us when people say terrible things? People like westboro baptist church? They have a right to free speech, but what they preach is pretty awful.

I suppose it comes down to either you have free speech for all or someone has to decide which bits are 'ok.' And that's a slippery slope.

We already have laws that prohibit incitement to hatred - is that enough? How do we deal with opinions that people have the right to hold but we find repugnant?

I dont think there are any easy answers here. Perhaps peaceful protest? There are groups that go around with giant very camp angel wings to screen grieving families from Westboro at funerals - I think that's a fantastic response. I don't think violence from the right should be met with violence - it should be met with humour, pisstaking, peaceful protest, and the law being applied wherever that free speech turns into hate speech.

ReanimatedSGB Wed 30-Aug-17 16:20:01

That's an interesting and worrying article. My political views have (apparently unusually) moved more to the left the older I get (though this could be partly to do with the rest of the world moving further to the right) but I have always known a lot of leftwing people, most of whom are OK. But there has always been a certain tendency on the left (which is of course mirrored on the right) of an aggressive, bullying self-righteousness which actually seeks out opportunities to break stuff and beat people in support of a 'just' cause.

Though the fact remains that, at present, most if not all of the street violence that has severely hurt or killed people has been perpetrated by the far right, not the far left. Antifa seem to be more about noise, mess and 'fighting talk' than actually stabbing people, or ramming ars into them, for instance.

ReanimatedSGB Wed 30-Aug-17 16:20:35

ramming cars

ReanimatedSGB Wed 30-Aug-17 16:21:38

The only report of someone being stabbed 'by antifa' so far has already been found to be a load of old cock - the bloke knifed HIMSELF then went crying to the press.

MadgeMidgerson Wed 30-Aug-17 16:33:20

there is a massive difference between, for example
'Group x are sinful'

and 'group x must be eliminated for the safety of the nation'


AcrossthePond55 Wed 30-Aug-17 18:16:51

There are violent extremists on both sides of the spectrum. Both are repugnant. There are also people who show up with the express intent of committing violence for its own sake, for looting purposes, and/or to incite the 'other side' to violence or to portray themselves as members of the 'other side' whilst committing violence.

Freedom of speech in the US Constitution is a guarantee that the government will not persecute or imprison someone for speaking out against it. A right that appears to be eroding under the present administration. It does NOT give one the right to directly incite violence or speak words with the intent to incite others to violence.

7Days Wed 30-Aug-17 19:29:32

It's important to distinguish between the right to free speech, free from government censure and the right to free speech, free from societal sanction. I think you conflated the two Antitidae and they are not the same thing at all.
The second is unworkable and rightly so.
Societal sanction is all we have against repugnant opinions.
Yeah, say whatever hateful thing you like, but I can disapprove and tell you so.

OCSockOrphanage Wed 30-Aug-17 20:05:45

In days gone by, when I lived in the US, there was a media fairness doctrine. There had to be the opportunity for rebuttal by the opposing view. It was lifted (I think) in about 1997 (feel free to correct) and it is since then that Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and worse have emerged.

I come at politics from the view that if it ain't broke you don't try to fix it, which makes me, in the UK, a one nation Tory and in the US on the line between Republican and Democrat, as the boundaries were drawn in the 1980s. I don't have any issue at all with the politics of gender, race or disability, or religion; whatever floats your boat. Just don't expect your preferences to be subsidised.

OCSockOrphanage Wed 30-Aug-17 20:10:04

I do realise that disability is not a preference and that disabled people may need additional help. That was inexcusable and I apologise for hasty words.

Ttbb Wed 30-Aug-17 20:12:04

The law is pretty clear on this. Unless you are inviting violence you have the right to say what you want and I agree. Silencing these thoughts will not defeat them, only exposing their sheer idiocy will. Unfortunately the majority of the population is too poorly educated to understand rational arguments. The war against hatred is not in censorship but in fighting for improved curriculums so that all children receive a proper education.

AssignedPerfectAtBirth Wed 30-Aug-17 20:17:17

Was O'Keefe referenced in the deleted posts? Can someone advise what is missing without the presumable offensive content

OP’s posts: |
CheerfulYank Wed 30-Aug-17 20:18:20

I think the Nazis have a right to speak, even though I find them disgusting.

As a TERF I'm terrified of eventually living in a country where I can't say that it's wrong to transition children. Ake Green preached against homosexuality in Sweden and was prosecuted for it. I don't agree with him in the slightest and I'm sure he's a hateful man, but AFAIK he did not call for gay people to be harmed.

Was it Voltaire who said we either believe in free speech for everyone or we don't believe in it at all?

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in