The 'No Platform to Fascists and Racists' Motion
Scoot over to the student union website. Click on voting.
Now, scroll down to the case against the second motion. Click on it.
Well, what do you see? A robust defense? A weak defense? Anything like that?
What you see is:
"NO REFERENDUM ARGUMENT HAS YET BEEN SUBMITTED BY THE AGAINST CAMPAIGN."
You can hardly blame them. No one wants to be seen defending fascists and racists. But surely, there is an argument against the No-Platform motion? Surely there is some sort of debate available. I was half interested myself, but it seems, it is already too late:
THE DEADLINE FOR THE FORMATION OF REFERENDUM GROUPS IS 12 NOON MONDAY 22ND NOVEMBER 2004
But while the Elections Group spend the £60 opposition campaign budget on beer and drugs, let us just pause for a moment to reflect. And try to formulate
An argument against
NOTE: I am not a racist. I am not a fascist. Ok? In fact, if the BNP does ever win, then I, as an immigrant myself, would very likely be on the hit-list.
The motion is:
"To extend existing policies to prevent individuals or groups who advocate or express racist or fascist views from having any involvement in the Union, or its events."
But look at what it says. It says that these views are not permitted. Whatever happened to free speech? Existing law in this land targets incitement to racial hatred. Certainly, that is different. But to target the mere expression of this view – surely it is unjustifiable. You may detest what is spoken, but when it harms no-one, you must defend their right to say so. The motion proposed is FAR too broad. It's swatting a fly with a broadsword.
The fact is, the idea that this would attack the spread of fascist ideas is utterly absurd. If anything, the recent rise of the far right is spurred on by a perception of a 'liberal' authority that is 'oppressing' them. Such a motion would simply reinforce this belief. It would in no way suppress the beliefs of those already within these organisations, and it will generate sympathy from those just outside them. This motion will simply help to expand their numbers. This motion is precisely what they want to sell their story of ethnic tensions.
And worse, it would drive the believers into the fortress mentality. Past history has shown that the only way to defeat radical believers is to engage with them in mature conversation. By silencing them, we are not expressing any sort of strong opposition. Rather, it is a sign of weakness, that we are afraid of talking to them. If they are as wrong as we know them to be, then they should be allowed to defeat themselves with their own words, and we must be active in countering them word for word. Pretending they do not exist will fail as a policy.
So, VOTE AGAINST MOTION 2.