File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 478


Date: 	Fri, 24 Oct 1997 07:41:55 -1000
Subject: Re: M-I: Free speech


James,

If Malecki sent in a manuscript to a journal you edited, you would,
naturally, reject it.  Now, if Malecki then screamed "Stalinist repression
of Free Speach, Ahmd Proelatriat to mie Defens Now!!", you would think to
yourself, "hmmm, very interesting.."  But because he is on a moderated
list, suddenly it's anything goes...and should the moderators decide not
everyting goes, well then it's a violation of "free speech."  

free speech, free schmeech...every list the guy suscribes to that I also
subscribe to he has been kicked off of...gee, I wonder why...must be that
we are all afraid of the relevant insights that he brings to the lists...

Steve



On Thu, 23 Oct 1997, James Heartfield wrote:

> The discussion over the suspensions from the MI list demonstrates that
> no principle informs the suspensions, and no clarification arises from
> them. Since the suspensions all those that supported the action have
> been locked into vituperative exchanges without any political content
> whatsoever with the suspended - either shadow-boxing here, or sniping on
> other lists like Marxism-thaxis.
> 
> In particular the self-appointed psychiatric faculty are keen to make a
> diagnosis Bob Malecki. You ought to re-read some of your own posts some
> time. What are we to make of anyone who is preoccupied with what Bob
> Malecki has to say? That they are on the same level as he is, and are in
> no position to patronise him. Again the question that cries out to be
> answered is what has been clarified? So far, nothing.
> 
> It is not even as if one could say that a distraction has been removed.
> There has been as much written denouncing Levy and Maleki since the
> suspensions as was written before. Nor have the rudeness, vilifications,
> or personalised back-biting been reduced: its just that one side have
> been silenced, but the other side are more than willing to redouble
> their efforts to befoul my in-tray with their obscene rantings.
> 
> Most grotesque of all is the attempt to infuse this personal row with
> the semblance of a political difference. They are 'Trots' say the
> champions of censorship. So what are you? Stalinists? Are you really
> saying that it was wrong to point out that the Soviet Union reduced its
> own citizens to the level of famine and cannibalism? Was it wrong to
> point out that the Communist International under Stalin sold Poland to
> the Nazis, and the Greek partisans to the Generals (only after disarming
> them)? You don't want to hear about the past? Why? Guilty consciences?
> 
> I am not that interested in the past either, as it happens. But I don't
> object at all the crapulously laudatory postings about third-rate party
> hacks that serve no other purpose than nostalgia. I mean, there is a
> serious discussion about what happened in 1492 in progress, you can
> hardly object if someone has some left over business from 1956 or 1968.
> The embargo on the past seems only to apply to those uncomfortable
> reminders that all to many on the left kow-towed to the most barbaric
> dictatorship of the twentieth century. Well, I don't care about your bad
> consciences. But I do object when to save your delicate sensibilities,
> we on this list are denied the right to decide for ourselves what we can
> and cannot read.
> 
> I said earlier that no political light had been shed by the suspensions.
> So let's learn a real lesson. Free speech is not a procedural question,
> or a bourgeois trick. Free speech rests on the idea that all of us have
> a right to decide for ourselves, because we value our own ability to
> make such judgements. Free speech is not a privilege for those that
> speak - a privilege to be given or taken away - but a right for everyone
> concerned. The defence of free speech only matters when it is the speech
> of someone who is not approved of, or who does not fit the consensus.
> You don't have to defend popular speech.
> 
> I have been amazed by those who say that they want some people excluded
> from the list because they don't like what they say. What kind of world
> do you want to live in? One where people only say what you want to hear?
> That is the egotism of an infant, not the outlook of a grown adult.
> 
> Lift *all* the suspensions.
> -- 
> James Heartfield
> 
> 
>      --- from list marxism-international-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu ---
> 



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