Fascism is different

Submitted by Matthew on 5 December, 2012 - 12:41

Jon D. White of the SPGB is right that socialists should be staunch advocates of freedom of political expression, organisation, and free speech in general — even for our political opponents.

We oppose state bans and official “censorship”, even of fascist groups, but why should we be obliged to support publications controlled by our unions (student unions or trade unions) giving fascists publicity through interviews?

White’s letter (“Wrong on free speech”, Solidarity 266) misses the point about the unique character of fascism as a political form.

Our opposition to giving fascists a political platform or allowing them space to organise is not about “censorship”, it is about understanding that violent hostility to democratic and labour movement organisation is built into fascism’s political DNA.

It is not simply a particularly unpleasant form of right-wing politics, but a special political form which grows by systematically eliminating the pockets of working-class and oppressed people’s democracy — unions, LGBT organisation, Black organisation, etc. — carved out of capitalism. Any level of fascist organisation – even an interview in a student newspaper — represents an embryonic threat to ethnic minority people, LGBT people, and labour movement and socialist organisation.

There’s a big difference between supporting anti-democratic bans and censorship and refusing to allow our campuses, workplaces, communities — or, in this case, our SU publications — being used as platforms for fascist organisation.

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