Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Anti-Free Speech Fascists
The Sydney Forum is a genuine free speech forum. It is the only speakers forum where the statement “Neither Left nor Right” and the concept of freedom of speech for everyone is truly adhered to. We invite speakers who hold varying political and world views (including completely opposing views), and who speak on topics that are deliberately stifled by the mainstream media. Anybody, regardless of their political opinions or affiliations is welcome to attend the Sydney Forum. The organisers ensure that the speakers and audience members are respected, and that their views are allowed to be heard. The Sydney Forum is now in its ninth year and we have shown time and time again that we mean what we say, this is what occurs at each Forum, these are not just empty words.
However there are some people who don't share this vision. Who believe they have the right to force on people what to think, and dictate what they can and can't say. Who make completely misleading and false statements about the Sydney Forum, and personal attacks on the organisers. Who, for reasons that we quite frankly can't understand, try to stop the Forum from happening. When they fail in this, they try to disrupt the Forum on the day, and failing that, make life hell for any innocent parties who dared to be involved with the Forum in any way.
In the lead up to the 2009 Sydney Forum, some telephone calls were made to Forum organisers from Anti-Free Speech Fascists claiming to be from the British National Party (BNP). They said that they wanted to do a "video hookup" with the Forum, so "could we please tell them where the forum was being held". It was such a pathetic attempt to try to find out the Forum venue, that we actually felt sorry for them.
“8.1 is patently offensive or promotes or otherwise incites racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual;”
They received the following sensible, fair and right response from Myspace:
“We reviewed the profile in question and did not find it in violation of our Terms of Service. We appreciate your report.”
Brave words and threats to completely disrupt and/or stop the Sydney Forum were posted on a variety of blogs and internet forums. However when the day finally came, none of this actually eventuated. It was all just "hot air" from an army of keyboard warriors.
However the keyboard army did unleash a small brigade of what we can only describe as sadly ignorant and uninformed people, opposing the right of individuals to their freedom of speech.
During the Forum
A text message with the details of the Forum venue was sent to attendees on the morning of the Forum. A person by the name of Sally McKay (0407921000), whose Forum ticket was sent to a Melbourne PO Box, was one of the last to be sent the venue details as the organisers had already identified her as a person of suspicion. She turned up at the Forum at roughly the same time as the protestors, entered the venue, looked around, went outside and stayed with the protestors and did not re-join the Forum again. Her mobile number has since been mysteriously disconnected so unfortunately we were not able to offer her a refund on her ticket and can only assume that she intended to give the money to the Sydney Forum as a donation, for which we are indeed very grateful.
In a society where the average person couldn't care less about what is happening in the world around them so long as their fun isn't effected, the fact that these people were prepared to protest against something that they perceived to be wrong is not only completely within their rights, but is to be commended. However it is extremely disappointing and sad that their protests were so misguided and completely off the mark.
The small group held up a variety of "home made" banners stating - "Anti-Fascist Action", "Sydney Neo-Nazi Scum Forum here today" and "Hate Speech is Not Free Speech". And while we respect their right to protest, we have no respect for their tactics - shouting obscenities at anyone entering or leaving the venue and calling elderly regulars of the venue "Nazi's".
So lets look at the "terrible speech" they were objecting to and trying to stop. Here is a summary of the speakers and topics for the 2009 Sydney Forum:
"Bay Area National Anarchists" - The Bay Area National Anarchists are the most active anarchist group in California and the only group in the Bay Area promoting nationalism. Andrew spoke about community organising and the ideas and activism of the National-Anarchists. He illustrated the need for nationalists to earn legitimacy to be the champions of their folk and the only way to do this was through community organising and frequent activism.
"Why 911 Truth" - presented evidence that it was an inside job and why it is important we expose it to the people.
Professor Andrew Fraser
and Dr Jim Saleam
Debate on "Australian Identity" - the speakers debated their differing views on the origins of Australian nationality and heritage and what's important in modern Australia and issues around the defence of these principles.
Citizens Initiative and Referenda (C.I.R.) - David spoke about the C.I.R. and the founding of CIR Australia to help all likeminded people and groups to push for direct democracy from the ground up.
Harry Fritz-Gerald Beahrends
"Is today's economic system serving the People of a Nation" - this address explored with the audience what economic benefit we as people still have in the current economic order and what good political economics are needed to have a Good Society. Harry asks the question, for what did people fight for the twentieth century's wars? Did they fight for the present degrading economic system to become slaves of money?
"Weather Patterns And Military Activity" - Steve discussed the military origins of weather change. Some research has suggested that weather patterns have been affected by military weaponry and other devices. This speaker offered a frightening scenario and stated that action is possible and urgent.
The organisers of the Sydney Forum cannot fathom why the people protesting against the Forum objected to the above topics being discussed and falsely labeled them as "hate speech". In fact, since the protestors obviously take an active interest in what is happening in the world around them and are presumably aware of the many injustices therein, we would have thought that the topics discussed may have been of interest to them. They should have come to the Sydney Forum as attendees, not protestors! And in the spirit of the Sydney Forum they would have been very welcome to attend, listen and ask questions (provided they respected the rights of others to do the same).
The Sydney Forum is a free speech forum, which allows views that are nowadays stifled and opposed to be heard. Certainly voices and views from the so called "far-right" are expressed at the Forum, we have never hidden this fact and we make no apologies for it. But views from the so called "far left" and everything else in between are also expressed, and we make no apologies for that either. To not allow views from all sides to be heard and debated would be considered "Fascist", and which was exactly what the protestors (and other external elements) were trying to do. How they cannot see the hypocritical irony of their actions is a complete mystery to us.
However their protest was not all in vain. It has given the Sydney Forum organisers "food for thought", and we are holding a debate on the topic: Hate Speech – Cunning censorship or real concern? at the 2010 Sydney Forum. Further details on this can be found here.
The Forum ran very smoothly after their departure and was enjoyed by all who attended. Day two was held at a different venue, and was more casual than the first day. Anti-Free Speech Fascists published the address of the day two venue online (it was held at a private residence) and threats were made to disrupt the event, but none of them showed up. It seems they had used up their entire cheerleading squad the day before, or maybe they didn't have enough bus money to show up on both days, we really can't say.
It must be recognised however that the small group of misguided young people who came to protest at the Sydney Forum are only the front line disposable canon fodder for the real oppressors of Free Speech, and the sooner these people realise this the better. After the foot solders failed to stop the Forum from successfully going ahead, the heavyweights started their attack.
After the Forum
Since the Anti-Free Speech Fascists were unable to prevent the Sydney Forum from successfully going ahead, they started their attacks on the venue after the event , as an intimidation message to warn other venues against hosting the Forum. The manager of the venue was subjected to harassing and attacking phone calls and the excellent venue was belittled on the internet. The Sydney Forum is a completely legitimate and LEGAL event, the venue and manager did absolutely nothing wrong in hiring out the venue for the Sydney Forum, and these bullying tactics really demonstrate the agenda and true colours of these people.
A couple of weeks after the Forum the the Australia Jewish News (October 9), published a report that said, among other things:
B’nai B’rith Anti Defamation Commission executive director Deborah Stone, said all vendors have the right to decide on applicants seeking to rent space on their sites. But she also issued a warning.
“We and many other Australians have very strong concerns of the danger the far-right represents”, she said. “We would encourage people who are considering renting premises or providing services to them to consider seriously whether they really want to be supporting that kind of challenge to the cohesion of Australian society”.
A warning ... or else they will do what??? It is interesting to imagine exactly how they would encourage people to reconsider renting premises or providing services to groups they don't approve of. We could anticipate lists of suspect (sic) names / groups issued to clubs etc. with a call to ban them from holding meetings. There could be phone calls and threats of unfavourable publicity if certain meetings/functions went ahead. We can perceive threats to businesses (whether direct or through ‘demonstrators’ who can be conjured up) that they will lose money because their association with these "unapproved groups" would be ‘revealed’ in the media, or through open trade boycotts they may commercially suffer.
If you really think you are living in a free and democratic society, try stating an opinion that is outside of what the Anti-Free Speech Fascists allow, and then see how free to express your own views you actually are.
However despite these efforts, the organisers of the Sydney Forum are as committed to the long term success of the Forum as ever, and look forward to hosting an even better and more thought provoking Sydney Forum in 2010.
We look forward to seeing you there.
The Sydney Forum Organising Committee