The BNP and free speech


by Sunny
21st August, 2007 at 5:13 am    

I should have said this earlier while the issue was hot but I think it’s worth re-visting anyway. When I first heard that companies had withdrawn advertising from Facebook because of the BNP’s presence, I mis-read that Facebook was allowing the BNP to advertise on it [insert old man jokes here]. But after Katy Newton pointed that out the obvious, I dropped my hurriedly put-together petition and deleted the thread on PP.

And I didn’t start a petition against allowing the BNP on Facebook. I think there is a crucial difference here. Organisations should not give the racist/fascist party any prominence, but that does not mean it should not be allowed to exist on any platform (such as the web or Facebook). I support freedom of speech and expression, except when it is used to propagate hateful lies or incite hatred. So, yes to getting rid of the BNP imagery and general hate-mongering against Muslims. But if the idiots want to sit around discussing the death of “white culture”, then they should be allowed.

On Shiraz Socialist, Voltaire’s Priest explains why he won’t be signing the UAF petition and I agree. He does the explanation bit more elaborately than me.

Ethnic minorities have this habit of seeing red when the BNP is mentioned. This is understandable, but when we set precedents on not allowing freedom of speech, the government usually uses them to silence dissenting opinion of powerless and marginalised groups. We need more freedom of speech and expression, not less! Unite Against Fascism should drop the silly petition and the Guardian should stop giving them publicity.


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  1. Owen Blacker — on 21st August, 2007 at 2:20 pm  

    I couldn’t agree more. Freedom of speech means allowing stupid people to say stupid things, so long as they’re not inciting violence. After all: he best answer to bad speech is *more* free speech opposing it.

    Apart from anything else, it allows us to enjoy the smug feeling of knowing we’re better than them for not silencing fascists when they’d silence us ;o)

  2. Sofia — on 21st August, 2007 at 2:36 pm  

    I suppose I agree in principle..the thing is, look at what is happening in France with the Front Nationale…they have something ridiculous like 15% of the national vote and this in a country that was invaded by the Nazis…I do agree with freedom of speech to the extent mentioned above but along side freedom comes responsibility and without the latter the former becomes a joke. What are politicians doing about their responsibility to tackle the BNP at a local level. I for one do not want to live to see the day where we have a bnp MP…

  3. JT — on 21st August, 2007 at 2:58 pm  

    “I support freedom of speech and expression, except when it is used to propagate hateful lies or incite hatred. So, yes to getting rid of the BNP imagery and general hate-mongering against Muslims.”

    So, actually, you don’t support freedom of speech at all. Who gets to decide what the ‘lies’ are, then? And how do we know they’re lies without hearing all sides of the argument? Can we now censor the harmful lie that ‘diversity is our strength’,as Robert Putnam of Harvard recently showed?

    What if some established facts incite hatred? Shall we tell lies instead? And who has the right to decide what emotions people can feel? Since when has ‘hatred’ been illegal anyway? Clearly you want your government to control what you read and how you feel – I don’t.

    Stop beating around the bush – you simply want to deprive people with views contrary to yours the right to free-speech, and you want to deprive everyone else of their right to hear others’ opinions.

    Clearly ‘multiculturalism’ and basic freedoms are incompatible, so why don’t leftie simpletons like yourself find yourselves a country where you’re protected from such alarming concepts.

    “But if the knuckle-dusters want to sit around discussing the death of “white culture”, then they should be allowed.”

    How breathtakingly generous of you. But why do you enclose the phrase ‘white culture’ in quotation marks? Don’t you believe it exists? (Or does it magically only appear in discussions about slavery or colonialism?) Would you sneeringly refer to black culture the same way? Why shouldn’t white people publicly defend their own culture? And how does a ‘knuckle duster’ discuss anything? Oh wait, you meant a ‘knuckle GRAZER’, but if you want to see some of them I suggest you check the war criminals sitting in parliament, or the overwhelming number of white thugs here:
    http://www.met.police.uk/wanted/

  4. Sofia — on 21st August, 2007 at 3:08 pm  

    JT..blah blah…you’re boring…

  5. Sunny — on 21st August, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

    Who gets to decide what the ‘lies’ are, then?

    The law.

    Can we now censor the harmful lie that ‘diversity is our strength’,as Robert Putnam of Harvard recently showed?

    He didn’t. He is a lot more positive on diversity if you actually read his stuff.

    Since when has ‘hatred’ been illegal anyway?

    When it incites people to kill or hurt others.

    Clearly ‘multiculturalism’ and basic freedoms are incompatible, so why don’t leftie simpletons like yourself find yourselves a country where you’re protected from such alarming concepts.

    No they’re not and I don’t need twats telling me where I should live.

    But why do you enclose the phrase ‘white culture’ in quotation marks? Don’t you believe it exists?

    No, because there’s no definition of it.

  6. Sofia — on 21st August, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

    I think JT needs to tell us brownies and brown loving whities what white culture is…c’mon JT..tell us tell us

  7. ChrisC — on 21st August, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

    I wouldn’t know how to define what “white culture” is.
    But then what exactly is “black culture”?
    I certainly think JT is right in that Sunny would not have put inverted commas around the latter!!

  8. ZinZin — on 21st August, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

    Chris, why not ask your average white supremacist about White Culture? This is the wrong blog to undertake such a task.

    As for black culture? Not sure that exists if you must know culture and race are not linked. If by culture you mean art, music, literature, architecture and dance? I am partial to Japanese literature but not keen on sushi does that mean that I am half white, half Japanese?

    Frankly its bollocks. White culture is a euphemism for white race. End of.

    Chris C, Sunny is defending their right to moan about miscegenation.

  9. Sofia — on 21st August, 2007 at 3:52 pm  

    well also shouldn’t really use the word black when what you mean is African or Caribbean, therefore it shouldn’t be “white” culture, but the culture of caucasians who happen to have a collective way of living often called culture…I think JT missed the bit about responsibility..therefore it isn’t about lying but about using information in a way that won’t incite hatred, regardless of colour etc etc. We all know we can take words out of context in the way we either say them or the context in which we write them. It would not be about censorship but about being responsible about what we say and write. As for deciding what lies are and are not, please JT, do you read what the BNP spouts???? You’d have to be stupid not to see their racist propaganda for what it is.

  10. Jagdeep — on 21st August, 2007 at 4:00 pm  

    JT, the whole point of this post was about defending the BNP’s freedom of speech.

  11. Jagdeep — on 21st August, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

    The best thing to do would be to set up an anti-BNP facebook group, updating it regularly with the truth about the BNP’s fascist and racist roots and ideology, responding to the BNP’s assertions and positions on facebook, subverting and making explicit their creed. A nice way to neuter them. Invite everyone, the members will easily outnumber the fascists, a good opportunity to show them up for the twunts they are.

  12. Sunny — on 21st August, 2007 at 4:07 pm  

    I did in fact put inverted commas around “black culture” when Tony Blair blamed that for gang violence.

    See here:
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/sunny_hundal/2007/05/what_is_white_culture.html

    The idea that black, white or brown cultures are uniform and can be easily defined is silly.

  13. Jagdeep — on 21st August, 2007 at 4:24 pm  

    The idea that black, white or brown cultures are uniform and can be easily defined is silly

    Sure, when spoken of in absolute terms. But you’re not averse to making observations based on personal experience of ‘Asian culture’, for example. So you contradict yourself here.

    For example, Black culture has porous borders and like all cultures is flexible and dynamic and it might be wrong to speak in definitive terms about it, but it would be intellectually incoherent to claim that there are not cultural manifestations and commonalities relating to Black life in the context of the West. The literature of Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, as well as things like Jazz music, the commonality of Black Christianity, are all aspects of a definite Black American culture. British Black culture will encompass things like the Carribean heritage of most Black British people, writers like Andrea Levy, reggae music and Black churches, as just the most obvious aspects of this.

    In short, saying that there is no such thing as ‘Black culture’ or ‘White culture’ is pretty facile. Defending the borders of those cultures too adamantly, or claiming that they cannot be contested, changed or re-interpreted, or claiming them as singular, or trying to assert them as pure and not to be contaminated by ‘outsiders’ is wrong, and that’s where the idea of culture can become difficult and a healthy degree of liberal openness must be encouraged. It’s an ever changing line, and where the line lies is contested in itself. But saying that there is no such thing as ‘*insert ethnic group here* culture’ is ridiculous.

  14. Roger — on 21st August, 2007 at 4:59 pm  

    “Ethnic minorities have this habit of seeing red when the BNP is mentioned.”
    They’re not the only ones actually. However, the whole point of a principle is that it should apply to undeserving cases as well as deserving. It’s very easy to tolerate the tolerable.

  15. Jagdeep — on 21st August, 2007 at 6:21 pm  

    Somebody preserve David’s comment above in a jar of brine to show to future generations.

  16. Ravi Naik — on 21st August, 2007 at 6:30 pm  

    Extreme-right racists have little or no exposure to the democratic process in the US, unlike in Europe. Why?

    I believe it is all about freedom of speech. Under the US constitution, even the most vile racist speech is protected under the law. In a lot of countries in Europe it is censored, and thus the racist ideology has mutated into a more dangerous form.

    In this new form, violence, race, hate, white supremacy are muted. In its place, they go with the victimised image. Instead of talking about “mud races” as their american counterparts, they focus on “immigrants” (wink, wink), instead of saying how they hate other races, they go on a rant against multi-culturism (wink, wink). And then, they like to talk about freedom of speech and how the new visitors who know nothing about “freedom” are taking that away from the indigenous people (the irony of getting lessons about freedom from fascists).

    So I do agree with the opinions stated here. Freedom of speech exposes these bastards as what they are, and censorship makes them only stronger.

  17. Ravi Naik — on 21st August, 2007 at 6:35 pm  

    Why shouldn’t white people publicly defend their own culture?

    Can you tell me one or two aspects of the white culture you would prepared to publically defend?

  18. Olivier — on 21st August, 2007 at 7:10 pm  

    [troll]
    In the Christian religion to comfort our children when it rains we say…”the angels are crying”

    In the Muslim religion they say…”hush child, it is just the tears of the children Mohammed is RAPING” !

  19. Hamed — on 22nd August, 2007 at 9:50 am  

    So reading between the lines Olivier says Mohammed rapes children.

  20. ChrisC — on 22nd August, 2007 at 11:37 am  

    Ravi – Shakespeare and The Archers.
    Though I suppose they might be considered artifacts rather than aspects?

  21. Jai — on 22nd August, 2007 at 1:11 pm  

    It always amuses me when I hear about BNP-types glorifying “culture” and claiming it’s “under attack”. The sheer irony of the fact that they unwittingly sound identical to some of the most conservative and insular Asian uncles and aunties.

    Why shouldn’t white people publicly defend their own culture?

    “Defend” ? Exactly who or what is this ephemeral “culture” under attack from, that results in it allegedly needing to be “defended” ?

  22. Chris Paul — on 22nd August, 2007 at 2:43 pm  

    I am allowing the BNP (or their ilk) to rabbit on quite a bit on my blog at the moment. They weren’t expecting that and as a result they get bolder and bolder and bolder.

    Apparently I should at the front of the queue when the next stabbings are being dished out. Nice people.

    Clearly though I am a UAF supporter they do get things quite wrong from time to time. The SWP cadre. I thought their knee jerk ballerina boycott was a case in point and cued up a couple of blogposts without brepssing the publish button …

  23. Vineet — on 22nd August, 2007 at 8:17 pm  

    Freedom of Speech is a “Fundamental Right”. Agreed. But Sunny, do you know what’s on the other side of that coin?
    “Fundamental Duties”. In fact, these are even incorporated in the Indian Constitution. Before we start demanding our rights, let us look if we have discharged our duties. Sofia is right in pointing towards making the right judgment call between what is more important.
    In this case, the duty to stop any proliferation of racist/fascist ideology.

    And I point out, it is my “Right” and “Duty” to do so.

  24. JT — on 22nd August, 2007 at 8:44 pm  

    I’m actually quite shocked at the drivel on this forum. Does anyone here actually understand what free speech is about? And it’s interesting to hear all this stuff about ‘white supremacists’. The only people I hear using the ‘supremacist’ word are leftists attacking their own pantomime opponents. You all gave up listening years ago. The entire multiculti/anti-white western experiment is tipping over. It’s failed and everyone knows it but you lot.

    Sunny:
    “Who gets to decide what the ‘lies’ are, then?
    The law.”
    So no more need for universities or academic research once ‘the law’ is made? If the ‘law’ said all black people were rapists would that become ‘truth’ with you? If the ‘law’ said there were WMD in Iraq would you believe that too?

    Putnam had no real response to his own findings. After suppressing his own data for several years he could only come up with a few banal statements about some future ‘golden age’. Never mind about the suffering caused until then.

    “Since when has ‘hatred’ been illegal anyway?
    When it incites people to kill or hurt others.”

    We already have laws for language that incites violence etc. Hatred is an emotion – it’s in your head where the law doesn’t belong. Can we outlaw “love music hate racism” campaigns?

    Sunny: “I did in fact put inverted commas around “black culture” when Tony Blair blamed that for gang violence.”
    Come off it, Sunny. You only did that because then it had negative connotations. So are you saying that black/Asian culture has nothing to contribute because it doesn’t exist?

    Sofia: “I do agree with freedom of speech to the extent mentioned above but along side freedom comes responsibility”
    Typical leftie stupidity. You’ve heard this silly argument from the writings of other useful idiots and simply repeated it. You really mean responsiblity to agree with you or go to prison. What constituted ‘responsible speech’ under Nazi rule or the Communists? Don’t you see how standards of ‘responsibilty’ change with the prevailing political fashion?

    “As for deciding what lies are and are not, please JT, do you read what the BNP spouts???? You’d have to be stupid not to see their racist propaganda for what it is.”

    Why don’t you give us some examples, Sofia, direct from the BNP themselves instead of the usual recycled Searchight disinformation that you ingest like textural morphine, from the pens of communists and convicted criminals like Gerry Gable?

    Jai: “It always amuses me when I hear about BNP-types glorifying “culture” and claiming it’s “under attack”.”

    What’s wrong with glorifying culture? Leftists glorify multiculturalism all the time. Oh wait, it’s the ‘white’ bit you don’t like. Actually it IS under attack – how is traditional Cockney London these days?

    Ravi Naik: “Extreme-right racists have little or no exposure to the democratic process in the US, unlike in Europe. Why? I believe it is all about freedom of speech.”

    No, actually it’s because the cost of running an election campaign is utterly prohibitive to anyone without the backing of big business. The USA is more racially segregated than ever, even in their schools. And would you label the numerous, low skilled blacks in the USA ‘white supremacists’ for resenting the influx of cheap labour from Mexico? And your race violence comment is patheric – in the UK by far most racist attacks are against whites.

    Jagdeep:
    “The best thing to do would be to set up an anti-BNP facebook group, updating it regularly with the truth about the BNP’s fascist and racist roots and ideology, responding to the BNP’s assertions and positions on facebook, subverting and making explicit their creed. A nice way to neuter them. Invite everyone, the members will easily outnumber the fascists, a good opportunity to show them up for the twunts they are.”

    In your dreams. You wouldn’t last ten minutes before abandoning legitimate debate for racist/nazi/supremacist slurs. Didn’t you see Griffin destroy Paxman a few years back? Even the UAF and students unions know this which is why they argue for the BNP to be silenced.

    I’m curious, do you think Churchill was a Nazi? I mean, he was concerned at the numbers of immigrants entering Britain in the 1950s and the threat of racial unrest.
    http://politics.guardian.co.uk/politicspast/story/0,,2142099,00.html

  25. Devil's Kitchen — on 22nd August, 2007 at 10:29 pm  

    Once again, Sunny, you have posted something that almost refines and defines the concept of stupidity. What is your point?

    It seems to be that you “support free speech” unless, of course, it is the BNP that are free speechifying.

    When will people like you realise that, whether you like it or not, the BNP get more votes than, for instance, UKIP (of which I am a member) and that you need to understand why people vote for them. Shutting down the debate, as Guardian lackeys like yourself always do, does not help in this regard.

    And whilst you wank on about how much you want to preserve free speech, you only want to allow free speech as long as it is on the views that you find acceptable.

    So, yes to getting rid of the BNP imagery and general hate-mongering against Muslims. But if the idiots want to sit around discussing the death of “white culture”, then they should be allowed.

    Talk about selective.

    You are an idiot. Go away and please, please, stop inflicting your stupidity on the rest of the ‘net.

    DK

  26. Sunny — on 22nd August, 2007 at 11:04 pm  

    for instance, UKIP (of which I am a member) and that you need to understand why people vote for them.

    Because you’re genetically challenged?

    You are an idiot. Go away and please, please, stop inflicting your stupidity on the rest of the ‘net.

    How about this instead. Go back to your little blog where you can scream and bitch and moan and swear for the rest of your sad life, and where people pay you little attention, and you leave others to do their own blogging.

    You keep out of my way and I keep out of yours. Unfortunately for you, I don’t take advice from twats who suffer from Tourettes on whether or not I should be blogging.

  27. Sunny — on 22nd August, 2007 at 11:13 pm  

    JT
    So no more need for universities or academic research once ‘the law’ is made? If the ‘law’ said all black people were rapists would that become ‘truth’ with you? If the ‘law’ said there were WMD in Iraq would you believe that too?

    The law cannot deem any people of a race to be rapists by default any more than it can deem stupid people like you to be locked up in a mental institute as soon as you’re born. Stop making stupid analogies in a failed effort to sound intelligent.

    After suppressing his own data for several years he could only come up with a few banal statements about some future ‘golden age’.

    So first you quote Putnam and then you say he doesn’t know what to say about his own research? Or maybe you didn’t want to read the bit that he’s quite positive on diversity because that bit didn’t fit your agenda?

    We already have laws for language that incites violence etc.

    Exactly, and that’s what I’d like enforced. Facebook has its own policy on now allowing hate speech on its Groups and it will follow its own policy.

    So are you saying that black/Asian culture has nothing to contribute because it doesn’t exist?

    I’m saying there is no homogenous definition for it. You still haven’t defined “white culture” for us.

    What’s wrong with glorifying culture? Leftists glorify multiculturalism all the time.

    You imbecile, multiculturalism is vaguely a form of government policy while culture is how people live. This is a false and stupid comparison, like the rest of your drivel.

    Tell you what, go to Devil Kitchen’s blog. He’ll understand where you’re coming from. Bitch and moan and scream together. Go forth and multiply.

  28. sahil — on 22nd August, 2007 at 11:23 pm  

    Sunny I think you have just proved your point. Clever boy have a beer on me. :D

    PS Nutters I like white skinned people, will you like me as a brown skinned person?

  29. Ravi Naik — on 22nd August, 2007 at 11:46 pm  

    “Ravi – Shakespeare and The Archers.
    Though I suppose they might be considered artifacts rather than aspects?”

    ChrisC, is Shakespeare (or the Archers) under attack from Third World hordes, that you feel it needs defending? When you ask “Why shouldn’t white people publicly defend their own culture?”… you are implying that some people are preventing you from defending Shakespeare, the Archers or any other element of the British culture. It makes little sense. What is going on?

    You see, you made my point. Without realising, you are just following the BNP rethoric of changing the word “race” to “culture” to suddenly make it less disgusting. What you want to do in reality is not defend “white culture”, because honestly there is little that connects British culture to German culture to Italian culture. When you talk about “white” culture you are talking about race. Let’s cut the bullshit, shall we?

  30. Ravi Naik — on 22nd August, 2007 at 11:59 pm  

    No, actually it’s because the cost of running an election campaign is utterly prohibitive to anyone without the backing of big business.

    Still, if they had support from the people, big business would follow. The problem is that racist organizations in the US are incredibly virulent, which makes the BNP look like a lefty organizations, and that is because the constitution allows them to be that way. The BNP has a cleaner image only because it needs to survive.

    “I’m curious, do you think Churchill was a Nazi?”

    You know, you can use the term “nazi” to denote a racist during any period in history, except probably during World War II. That makes you look incredibly stupid.

  31. Jai — on 23rd August, 2007 at 10:50 am  

    JT,

    Leftists glorify multiculturalism all the time.

    Irrelevant. I’m neither a “leftist” nor a blind advocate of “multiculturalism”.

    What’s wrong with glorifying culture?

    Nothing, as long as a) you’re not exaggerating and distorting the reality of what the “culture” entails, b) your glorification of said culture does not distort your judgement and/or cause you to have an intrinsically negative attitude towards people from the same background who deviate from what you perceive as the “pure” aspects of this culture, and c) you do not regard members of said culture to be intrinsically superior towards people from other backgrounds.

    Oh wait, it’s the ‘white’ bit you don’t like.

    Define “white culture”. Also confirm exactly where I have indicated any prejudice or animosity towards white people per se or the aforementioned “white culture”.

    Actually it IS under attack

    From whom ?

    – how is traditional Cockney London these days?

    Define “traditional Cockney London” and the associated “culture”.

  32. Sofia — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:02 am  

    JT- fortunately for me, I am perfectly capable of thinking for myself and not having to rely on propaganda to make an opinion..ooh aren’t i clever…therefore I don’t regurgitate leftie drivel, whatever that is supposed to be…you’re pathetic…

  33. Rumbold — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:12 am  

    JT:

    “What’s wrong with glorifying culture? Leftists glorify multiculturalism all the time. Oh wait, it’s the ‘white’ bit you don’t like. Actually it IS under attack – how is traditional Cockney London these days?”

    ‘White’ culture, if one can use such a euphemism, is not under attack. Culture is always changing, and the influx of different peoples reflect that. ‘White’ culture changed with the coming of the Saxons, the Normans, the Huguenots and so on. Keep the best bits from the old and absorb the best bits from the new- it is the English way.

    “Typical leftie stupidity.”

    You called for people to stop insulting the BNP, then you insult them. Make up your mind. And Griffin did not destroy Paxman.

    Devil’s Kitchen:

    “Once again, Sunny, you have posted something that almost refines and defines the concept of stupidity…You are an idiot. Go away and please, please, stop inflicting your stupidity on the rest of the ‘net.”

    See, this is your problem Devil’s Kitchen. You make a very good point about trying to understand why people vote for the BNP (I doubt that they are all dyed in the wool racists), then spoil it by hurling pointless abuse at another poster. If you want to do that sort of thing on your own blog, fine, but here it is not acceptable. The end result is that it makes you look incapable of constructing a reasoned argument, when I know that is not true, as I often find myself agreeing partially with you.

    Why not give the BNP a platform? They are a joke, whose arguments can be easily refuted. Let them make their case to the public, and let us demolish it. The BNP should be given a chance to speak not just because of the principle of free speech, but because if we just ignore them and yell racist at them people will carrying on voting for them- we need to take their arguments apart line by line, very publicly. Just look at what happens when they actually got into office:

    “The BNP’s position deteriorated even further when another of its councillors, Luke Smith, smashed a bottle into the face of a fellow BNP supporter.”

    “The BNP did have one councillor in Blackburn, Robin Evans, but last September he walked out of the party. He then wrote a letter to his former BNP colleagues denouncing Blackburn BNP as a party of drug dealers and football hooligans.

    He has remained a councillor, describing himself now as a “national socialist”, but plays little part on the council.

    Last year Searchlight reported that Evans could not follow council business. “This is all mumbo jumbo,” he told fellow councillors. “I don’t understand a word of it.” The mumbo-jumbo he was referring to was the council budget!”

    http://www.stopthebnp.org.uk/index.php?location=election&link=BNP40.htm

  34. Dave S — on 23rd August, 2007 at 11:47 am  

    The point about why the BNP’s hate speech does not qualify as “freedom of speech” is because it’s sole purpose is to deny other people’s right to free speech. You can’t cry “freedom of speech” and then use it to deny other people’s!

    The BNP also like to try and legitimise themselves by comparison with other “nationalist” parties like Plaid Cymru or the SNP, but the crucial difference is that both of those are parties solely interested in geographical areas, and that neither bars membership to people of different ethnic backgrounds.

    The BNP may have taken off their boots, but they are still nothing more than fascists in suits.

    Something else that dawned on me recently is that no anarchist I know would ever deny being an anarchist, despite whatever (misplaced) negative reactions that might incur. We’re always happy to call ourselves anarchists, and explain what that means in reality if someone takes issue with it. But fascists (with perhaps the exception of the real hardcore Hitler-worshipping types) nearly always deny being fascists, and the BNP are no different.

    The root of the fascism problem is the fact that people are let down by politicians – privatisation, crap wages, decreasing benefits, high house prices, dwindling pensions, little prospect of a bright future and zero actual say in the running of society. When the BNP come along with simple “answers” and an easy racist scapegoat, it’s no wonder some people support them.

    Another part of the way the BNP are getting support at the moment is by being seen to be the rebellious-outside-of-the-system party.

    But the odd thing about this is that actually, fascism, as a “philosophy” (if you could call it that), both in theory and practise, is really, really boring.

    It’s not rebellious in the slightest – it’s ultra-conformist (to the point of skin colour) and uniformist. Where’s the appeal, the excitement in that? It’s boring as shit!

    I think this is something anyone opposed to fascism should emphasise more – that diversity is interesting, healthy and fun, and that far from being “different” or “rebellious”, fascism is the ideological epitome of boringness. In effect, enforced “boringness” (and far worse) society-wide.

    Let’s not beat around the bush: fascism and racism are extremely boring, unoriginal and conformist ideas, and those who support them make even John Major seem like the sort of chap you could have an interesting chat over a pint with.

    I yawn in the BNP’s general direction.

  35. jason kennedy — on 27th August, 2007 at 11:09 pm  

    “Something else that dawned on me recently is that no anarchist I know would ever deny being an anarchist, despite whatever (misplaced) negative reactions that might incur. We’re always happy to call ourselves anarchists, and explain what that means in reality if someone takes issue with it. But fascists (with perhaps the exception of the real hardcore Hitler-worshipping types) nearly always deny being fascists, and the BNP are no different.’

    You self-identify as an anarchist, so you defend this label you give yourself. Maybe the fact is that BNP members do not self-identify themselves as fascists.

    Besides, fascism, divorced from a historical context, ie: the fascism of the Nazis, the fascism of Franco, and so on, as a word, doesn’t really mean anything.

    This use of vague terms that denote nothing has all been dealt with in linguistics. I would say likewise that ‘anarchism’ denotes practically nothing until you take up the topic with specific examples, and then, perhaps I would agree/take issue with you. That’s how it works.

    As for the thrust of the blog post itself, I was aware of the BNP facebook page before this broke as they were sending out friend invites, seemingly at random (as the friend who received one is a massive Crass fanatic and would never engage with any organised political party) and regarded it as something of a joke, but still valid. As facebook says on the front, “Everyone can use Facebook”

    The actual controversy concerned advertisers ads being run on the BNP page, as they did not want to be associated with the BNP, which is fair enough.

    I believe that the BNP’s specific claims should be dealt with under the law. When they have a case to answer, prosecute them and let justice take its course. Beyond that, they are just as entitled as anybody else to broadcast freely and so on. To be drawn into ‘freedom of speech’ debates with the BNP really is to allow the BNP to frame the argument, as it is clear that one of their favourite tactics is to employ the notion that they (and by extension what they call ‘white culture’) are under constant attack from those who would destroy Britain. So, while I may not disagree with the intent of the poster, I think tactically it can be something of an own goal trying to extract oneself from advocating the squashing of free speech, when it’s sounder to just advocate enforcement of the laws that cover hate speech as they stand.

    JT was right on one point and that was the cringe-making riposte that the law determines what is a lie, although they then devalued the worth of their point with a totally inflammatory example. There are a few laws where the veracity of a claim may be the entire basis of a case (holocaust denial laws, slander, libel) etc, but, in a libel case for example, the court is finally, not ruling on the truth/falsehood of a claim but on the evidence for the claim being truthful/false, and, as such, is not establishing objective truths with its decisions (common sense tells us this, that is why a case can be reopened after a verdict due to new evidence, sometimes thousands of cases are reopened not because of specific new evidence in a particular case but simply because a new scientific technique now allows a new analysis of evidence).

  36. Dave S — on 28th August, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

    jason kennedy:

    “You self-identify as an anarchist, so you defend this label you give yourself. Maybe the fact is that BNP members do not self-identify themselves as fascists.”

    Good point Jason – it was only a random thought of mine, which are often not completely thought through before I chuck them out there to see what others think! :-)

  37. jason kennedy — on 28th August, 2007 at 6:22 pm  

    On the other hand, when BNP members deny they are racists, that is tough to swallow.

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