Anti-Fascist News Groups
Frequently Asked Questions
1) Won't the news groups be ineffective because they'll be flooded by fascist and other hate-based posts?
Many Usenet news groups are flooded with irrelevant posts and flame wars.
However, the anti-fascist groups are "moderated" ones. Moderators are like the Chairs at meetings under Parliamentary Procedure. Posts to unmoderated groups go directly to the computers acting as the servers for the news groups. Posts to moderated groups go first to the moderators.
Like Chairs, the moderators determine whether the post is relevant to the declared purpose of the group. If so, the posts are passed on and appear in the group. But the post does not appear if it is outside the charter of the group.
2) Doesn't this violate the fascist's right to "free speech?"
This issue is probably the one that creates the most objection to the groups, even though it is based on a misunderstanding of "free speech." It is vital that anti-fascist supporters understand this and how to counter the argument.
The Constitution as upheld by numerous Court decisions gives the various fascist forces the right to present their opinions and to organize around their principles. However, we are not the State and do not represent any State attack on the fascists' existing rights. Nor do most supporters of the new groups call on the State to "ban the fascists" or "kick the Nazis off the net."
We are rather exercising a different set of rights: our right to speak and our right to organize. These rights are also protected. Will our exercise of our rights limit the effectiveness of the fascists? I certainly hope so. But the courts only guarantee the fascists the right to organize; there is no guarantee that their organizing be successful and no right to organize unopposed. They are guaranteed the right to speak, not the right to speak unopposed.
Let's make the same point another way.
The courts give the fascists the right to paste up homophobic leaflets in NYC's Village. We can organize a meeting against homophobia; the fascists have no right to paste up their leaflets in our meeting hall. Nor does their right to paste up leaflets limit our right to hold a meeting against homophobia. Equally, the Courts have said that the fascists can hold public outdoor meetings. We can organize an anti-Klan rally in New York's Sheridan Square and agree on a speaker's list. The KKK has no inherent right to be placed on the podium to present their racist views nor do they have a right to borrow our rope. The "Holocaust Revisionists" are granted the right to organize conferences denying that the Nazis killed roughly 6,000,000 Jews. We can organize conferences to teach true history but we need not invite others to give workshops to deny it.
A common civil liberties statement is "the answer to 'bad speech' is 'good speech' and more of it." We need to organize the "good speech'."
We need to be clear that the purpose of our "good speech" is not to ban the bad but to render it ineffective.
3) Aren't your definitions of "fascism" too narrow/broad?
Generally speaking, these are topics that can be discussed in the groups themselves.
4) Aren't you spreading dangerous illusions that fascism can be stopped via Internet organizing and voting?
We don't know of a single supporter who believes this.
Fascism will only be stopped by a wide variety of different actions, some in academic seminars and some in the streets, some action designed to educate and reconcile and some action designed to physically stop fascist atrocities.
Our fight to create the anti-fascist news groups is only one of many anti-fascist actions. The nature, need, and desirability for other actions are all the things that anti-fascists of many different opinions must discuss. One place to do it will be on the newly created anti-fascist news groups.
home page -- anti-fascism.org.
Request For Discussion document
"Net Organizing Without Spam."
Remember you need to write to our votetaker at "email@example.com" and include "Please send Paul's CFV." Voting closes 20 February.