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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Free Speech and Fascism
A response from Circle Ansuz to critics and detractors who accuse us of not respecting freedom of speech by calling for the shut down of Counter Currents Publishing.
There are many who, in the wake of our recent action in San Francisco, have accused Circle Ansuz of being anti-free speech. This is the furthest thing from the truth. As one would expect from a group of anarchists, we LOVE freedom of speech. Many of the great fights to protect and enhance free speech rights in the United States, for example, were spearheaded by anarchists and labor radicals like Emma Goldman and Big Bill Haywood. The freedom to speak one’s mind without fear of official retribution is essential for the creation of a free, just society.
So in light of that, how can any group which claims to love free speech demand the shutdown of a publishing house, a key element in the dissemination of speech and ideas? Some argue this is an act of censorship. By muzzling an organization we disagree with or oppose, they argue, we are no better than the people we claim to fight. In their rush to condemn our actions the proponents of this position have missed the larger point.
Counter-Currents Publishing, and the organizations they support, are not seeking free, open discourse. For all their posturing the fact is Counter-Currents and their supporters are advancing an ideology which is inherently opposed to the letter and spirit of free speech and human rights. Regardless of how they package and repackage their nakedly fascist, white supremacist agenda, the ideologies they promote all share the same core objective: the complete subjugation and subordination of everything they consider to be inferior to them, whether that is marked by ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or nationality. This is justified by claiming “inferiors” are somehow less human in some key element than the members of the so-called “Master Race”. Whether they believe in forced resettlement and segregation, the revival of systems like apartheid and Jim Crow, or outright genocide, the key assumption behind neo-Nazism, neo-fascism, and radical traditionalism is that other human beings are naturally inferior. This means they are not entitled to the same protections and rights, including the right to live, as their “natural” superiors.
Such a belief is inherently at odds with the core assumptions of natural rights theory. The key to natural rights is the belief that all human beings are endowed with certain, inalienable rights. These rights are granted not by the grace of gods, kings, or States. They are a part of every living thing, just as vital to their existence and humanity as their lungs and heart. Claiming some people’s alleged superiority over others gives them the privilege to deny any people these essential elements of their being directly contradicts the core assumptions of human rights and the natural order.
The ideas alone are reprehensible. What makes them far worse is that they are backed up by a long history of brutal, violent action. Every fascist and Nazi movement around the world has used violence against their enemies, whether they are political opponents or doctrinally dictated foes. During the rise of fascism in Europe in the 20s and 30s, fascists and Nazis were infamous for organizing party militias who would be used to forcefully break up the rallies, meetings, and events held by their political opponents. When they made their grabs for power they did so using force, threats, and blackmail and only co-operated with the democratic process when it could be used to their advantage.
Modern fascist and Nazi groups are no different. The history of modern neo-Nazi groups is one that is marked by the repeated use of violence against their opponents, both real and perceived. Ranging from physical assaults to organized street gangs and assassinations, followers of neo-Nazi and fascist causes act on their violent rhetoric with frightening frequency and fervor. Their eagerness to use force against internal opponents as well as external enemies serves to drive home the point; fascist rhetoric and ideology actively dehumanizes other people while demanding violent action. The dissemination of their materials is intended to assist in organizing a stronger, more effective movement that is capable of making their nightmarish vision reality.
The violence of fascist, supremacist, and segregationist ideologies is not surprising when you consider their philosophical foundations. At the heart of fascist ideology is a particularly vicious form of social Darwinism. They argue that intense life-or-death competition is the sole driving force behind nature, evolution, history, and society. Those who conquer and enslave others are those who survive, grow, and prosper. Any who fail are crushed by the “superior” person, culture, “race”, or species. These flawed assumptions forget that any society which ignores the importance of co-operation and mutual assistance, as best articulated by Peter Kropotkin in Mutual Aid, will not long endure. Without these working principles the protection and cultivation of the natural rights of the people is impossible.
Fascist ideologies, when considered in context with the words and actions of their adherents, are antithetical to the existence of any society based on natural rights. Allowing such groups to organize, mobilize, and disseminate their ideas unhindered and unchallenged on the grounds of preserving their free speech ensures the free speech of all people is threatened. We, as an anti-fascist group, stand unequivocally opposed to any attempts by white supremacist, separatist, and racist groups to organize and disseminate their ideas. Their activities pose a clear and present danger to the survival of freedom of speech and our natural rights as a whole. On this issue there can be no compromise, no moderation, no negotiation, and there will be no surrender.