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Racists and Jihadis both have the right of free speech

By Marko Beljac - posted Monday, 20 July 2015

One is in favour of speech for views one despises for otherwise one is not in favour of free speech.

Although Australian politics has been convulsed, quite literally, by issues revolving around free speech it is sad, indeed shocking, to see how many on both sides of the ideological spectrum do not defend the principle of free speech come what may.

Two recent events have brought this to relief, the first concerns the Left's response to the recent staging of racist and neo-fascist protests and the second to the Right's stoking of the Zaky Mallah affair.


Let us start with the Left.

The streets of Melbourne have borne witness to a series of childish obscenities whereby racists and neo-fascist demonstrators have been confronted by a coalition of left wing groups, largely Trotskyite and anarchist in composition, which have led to pitched battles between the two of them and the police.

A racist grouping, consisting of a neo-fascist presence, known as "Reclaim Australia," have organised to stage rallies across Australia claiming that Australia is undergoing a creeping Islamisation, among a number of other comically pathetic claims.

The real purpose behind these protests is the restoration of a racist, thoroughly socially conservative, white Australia that history has long passed by.

As noted a Left wing coalition was formed to organise counter rallies whenever the racist and neo-fascists gathered.

I attended one of the first planning meetings of the counter movement, and as it became clear to me that the purpose of the counter movement was to use force to break up the racist and neo-fascist protestors I withdrew my participation.



Because it is contrary to the principle of free speech to use force to set the bounds of permissible discourse in society.

Even racists, indeed neo-fascists, have the right to rally so long as they are only peacefully spewing their putrid bile.

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About the Author

Mark Beljac teaches at Swinburne University of Technology, is a board member of the New International Bookshop, and is involved with the Industrial Workers of the World, National Tertiary Education Union, National Union of Workers (community) and Friends of the Earth.

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