"The misguided attacks on ACLU for defending Neo-Nazis" - The Intercept/Greenwald

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#1
There was some hate towards the ACLU, on GAF and on the rest of the internet. Glenn Greenwald tells you why it's bullshit.

I won't post the whole article because it's long, but Greenwald - as so often - is completely right. The ACLU doesn't defend these nazi's shitheads because they agree with them, but because the ACLU wants to uphold the law, which means that even nazi shitheads get to spout their shit.

Don't like that? Well, change the laws then. Americans are always so proud of the First Amendment, but that also means nazis get to march and spout their hate. I don't like nazis (I despise them, they're scum), but your (I'm not American) laws defend their rights to speak out loud. That's the only thing the ACLU is protecting and upholding: citizen's rights.

And, as Greenwald states, once this right gets infringed upon, it will be used against real minorities to shut them up.

That anyone who defends the legal rights of terrorists or gives them a platform is culpable for the violence they commit has been standard neoconservative and far right cant for decades. One of the most odious examples came from 2009 when a new group started by Bill Kristol and Lynne Cheney – calling itself ”Keep America Safe" – produced ads strongly implying that Obama DOJ lawyers who defended accused Al Qaeda suspects were supporters of jihadist violence against the U.S.:
Demonizing lawyers and civil liberties advocates by depicting them as ”complicit" in the heinous acts of their clients is a long-standing scam that is not confined to the U.S. The Belgian lawyer who represented one of the Muslim attackers in Paris, Sven Mary, said ”he had suffered physical and verbal attacks and his daughters had even needed a police escort to school."
Last week, the ACLU sparked controversy when it announced that it was defending the free speech rights of alt-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority refused to allow ads for his book to be displayed on public transit. Lost in the debate was that other groups the ACLU was defending along with Yiannopoulos were also censored under the same rule: Carafem, which helps women access birth control and medication abortion; the animal rights group PETA; and the ACLU itself.

For representing Yiannopoulos, the civil liberties group was widely accused of defending and enabling fascism. But the ACLU wasn't ”defending Yiannopoulos" as much as it was opposing a rule that allows state censorship of any controversial political messages the state wishes to suppress: a rule that is often applied to groups which are supported by many who attacked the ACLU here.
The ACLU is primarily a legal organization. That means they defend people's rights in court, under principles of law. One of the governing tools of courts is precedent: the application of prior rulings to current cases. If the ACLU allows the state to suppress the free speech rights of white nationalists or neo-Nazi groups – by refusing to defend such groups when the state tries to censor them or by allowing them to have inadequate representation – then the ACLU's ability to defend the free speech rights of groups and people that you like will be severely compromised.
It's easy to be dismissive of this serious aspect of the debate if you're some white American or non-Muslim American whose free speech is very unlikely to be depicted as ”material support for Terrorism" or otherwise criminalized. But if you're someone who cares about the free speech attacks on radical leftists, Muslims, and other marginalized groups, and tries to defend those rights in court, then you're going to be genuinely afraid of allowing anti-free-speech precedents to become entrenched that will then be used against you when it's time to defend free speech rights. The ACLU is not defending white supremacist groups but instead is defending a principle – one that it must defend if it is going to be successful in defending free speech rights for people you support.
The need to fight neo-Nazism and white supremacy wherever it appears is compelling. The least effective tactic is to try to empower the state to suppress the expression of their views. That will backfire in all sorts of ways: strengthening that movement and ensuring that those who advocate state censorship today are its defenseless targets tomorrow. And whatever else is true, the impulse to react to terrorist attacks by demanding the curtailment of core civil liberties is always irrational, dangerous, and self-destructive, no matter how tempting that impulse might be.
There's a lot in this article, I recommend reading it.


Full article here:

https://theintercept.com/2017/08/13...-nazis-free-speech-rights-in-charlottesville/
 
#4
Cross-posting my thoughts from the other ACLU topic once the conversation turned to Charlottesville:

What the ACLU is doing is still the best way to protect the freedom of speech, which is of tantamount important in an age of Trump. Trump would love to curtail free speech, which absolutely cannot be allowed to happen.

In many of the Charlottesville threads there have been calls for the US to adapt European-style laws that limit free speech. I don't doubt the validity of those laws when done in good faith, but I don't trust our government of good faith, not in this administration. Not with congress of full of Republicans of the same ilk as those who took hate crime laws and twisted it into the "Blue Lives Matter" law for Louisiana. Not with Donald Trump giving white supremacists the wink and the nod. Not with Fox News telling the Republican base that BLM is a hate movement equal to the neo-nazi marchers at Charlottesville. And certainly not with Sessions as the AG.

Any law that this administration would pass to restrict free speech and assembly would not be reserved for white nationalist fucks. It would undoubtedly be used against other groups this administration finds bothersome, like BLM. If the right to free speech was curtailed for both neo-nazi assemblies like at Charlottesville and BLM, it would be a net loss for us. The white nationalists assembled around maintaining their precious little Confederate monument, but if forced to disperse, at the end of the day they would still have their privilege, still have sympathizers in the white house, and just go back to using their coded language and recruiting youth on Reddit. Groups like BLM need to be out and loud to get their message out to an apathetic public, in hopes of instigating change that is literally a matter of life or death.
 
#5
The need to fight neo-Nazism and white supremacy wherever it appears is compelling. The least effective tactic is to try to empower the state to suppress the expression of their views. That will backfire in all sorts of ways: strengthening that movement and ensuring that those who advocate state censorship today are its defenseless targets tomorrow.
This is a nonsense argument i read from a lot of americans. Hatespeech laws have been in use for decades in europe without the state turning on freespeech.
 

Mr Cola

Brothas With Attitude / The Wrong Brotha to Fuck Wit / Die Brotha Die / Brothas in Paris
#6
Terrorist organizations shouldn't have rights. They should be banned and eradicated. How many more people do they need to butcher?
Who gets to say what a terrorist is? Dangerous road you go down there. If you put in a restriction or law in place that can be at the users whim, you will find it stretches far beyond what you think it will stop.
 
#7
Terrorist organizations shouldn't have rights. They should be banned and eradicated. How many more people do they need to butcher?
I mean no one around here is saying they should have rights. Most of us are advocating for hate speech laws. But with the way the laws are written in this country, free speech is free speech. I don't like it and I don't personally know anyone who does. People shouldn't be attacking the ACLU for defending free speech. They should be advocating and pushing their legislators for laws against hate speech.
 
#8
Who gets to say what a terrorist is? Dangerous road you go down there. If you put in a restriction or law in place that can be at the users whim, you will find it stretches far beyond what you think it will stop.
Simple. Are they Nazis? Are they sieg heiling and carrying nazi flags? Terrorists.

Done.
 
#9
This is a nonsense argument i read from a lot of americans. Hatespeech laws have been in use for decades in europe without the state turning on freespeech.
Well, change the laws then, and the ACLU will defend those new laws. As it stands now, ACLU is doing what it's supposed to do: defending the laws of the US.

Again, I don't like seeing nazis in the streets at all, but according to the first amendment its their right.
 
#11
Well, change the laws then, and the ACLU will defend those new laws. As it stands now, ACLU is doing what it's supposed to do: defending the laws of the US.

Again, I don't like seeing nazis in the streets at all, but according to the first amendment its their right.
No, they won't defend them. They'll aggressively attack them in court.

The ACLU is a good overall thing to have, but this has been the downside that normally keeps many from jumping fully on board with them.
 
#12
The ACLU needs to change just like our laws to see neo-Nazis as part of a terrorist organization.

Besides that though, even if you disagree there's no doubt that ACLU fucked up yesterday, by posting victim blaming conspiracy theories. At least 1 person in the VA branch needs to be fired.
 
#16
This is a nonsense argument i read from a lot of americans. Hatespeech laws have been in use for decades in europe without the state turning on freespeech.
How many european countries with those hate laws have elected a Trump-like figure with a similar level of power?
 

Mr Cola

Brothas With Attitude / The Wrong Brotha to Fuck Wit / Die Brotha Die / Brothas in Paris
#17
Simple. Are they Nazis? Are they sieg heiling and carrying nazi flags? Terrorists.

Done.
Thats never how it works though, your intention is fine, its natural conclusion is not, its not as simple as having a "No nazi" law.
 
#18
Well, change the laws then, and the ACLU will defend those new laws. As it stands now, ACLU is doing what it's supposed to do: defending the laws of the US.

Again, I don't like seeing nazis in the streets at all, but according to the first amendment its their right.
It won't happen without a radical reform anyway.

American hard on for unrestricted freespeech and the paranoia of hatespeech laws is well documented and we're seeing the effects of it.

How many european countries with those hate laws have elected a Trump-like figure with a similar level of power?
So your argument is kicking down the can because someone like Trump can be elected?
 
#22
Agreed. I thought the attacks on them over the past few days were misguided because lord knows any geounds the ACLU lose like Greenwald said it would be used against BLM, Etc.

They do great work; white supremacy isnt necessiarily built into the laws but the interpetation of them in the US..and on that the ACLU is on the forefront.
 
#23
Yeah, let's turn on the ACLU and change the laws about regarding freedom of speech while under the watch of AG Jeff Sessions, a dumb racist who hates journalists, great idea guys
 
#26
Sheep arguing for the wolf's right to freely talk about how he's going to eat them.

Vladimir Ulyanov was an utter shitbag, but he wasn't wrong when labeling people like these as "useful idiots".
 
#29
This is a nonsense argument i read from a lot of americans. Hatespeech laws have been in use for decades in europe without the state turning on freespeech.
It is an infuriatingly infantile argument pedalled by people who still hold a 200 year old document written by Slaver's as gospel.
 
#32
This is a nonsense argument i read from a lot of americans. Hatespeech laws have been in use for decades in europe without the state turning on freespeech.
Americans find the solutions to these problems to be hard.
Just like gun control and health care.
But they're still the best country in the world, y'all.
 
#33
..zero? Not to the point of being a neo-nazi at least.
Then you've proven my point. Other countries get the reassurance that they're not going to put a megalomaniac with broad amounts of appointments across multiple levels of government to twist free speech laws if they get curtailed because their demographics can withstand not putting a crazy person in the most powerful position in the world.
 
#34
Then you've proven my point. Other countries get the reassurance that they're not going to put a megalomaniac with broad amounts of appointments across multiple levels of government to twist free speech laws if they get curtailed because their demographics can withstand not putting a crazy person in the most powerful position in the world.
....or they don't put that in power because their hate speech laws restrict that from happening

Derp
 
#36
The thing is, I would even love to see the US put a ban on hatespeech, but I think the hate the ACLU is getting is absolutely insane. They are not the people you should put your frustration towards.
 
#40
Who gets to say what a terrorist is? Dangerous road you go down there. If you put in a restriction or law in place that can be at the users whim, you will find it stretches far beyond what you think it will stop.
plenty of countries outlaw this stuff and it's fine. no dangerous road because surprise nothing bad has happened with our rights.

The thing is, I would even love to see the US put a ban on hatespeech, but I think the hate the ACLU is getting is absolutely insane. They are not the people you should put your frustration towards.
people argue with "it's a slippery slope or dangerous road if we start to limit free speech". Guess what? this much free speech is a demonstrably dangerous fucking road. more so than limiting actual hate speech.

but ya know "what ifs" kind of dominate fear culture
 
#42
The ACLU needs to change just like our laws to see neo-Nazis as part of a terrorist organization.

Besides that though, even if you disagree there's no doubt that ACLU fucked up yesterday, by posting victim blaming conspiracy theories. At least 1 person in the VA branch needs to be fired.
Doesn't matter if the ACLU sees them as terrorists. The ACLU will defend admitted terrorists, if their rights are being infringed upon. They don't pick and choose whose rights to defend, and I'm happy about that.
 
#43
The thing is, I would even love to see the US put a ban on hatespeech, but I think the hate the ACLU is getting is absolutely insane. They are not the people you should put your frustration towards.
It's baffling. I don't get how people can just throw away their principles on this, about fucking Milo no less. The ACLU has defended worse people, for decades, but this twerp seems to push people over the edge? I don't get it.

And what's the solution? Are people seriously advocating giving the current administration authority to determine what hate speech is? The fucking president just 'both sides' a literal white nationalist rally. Who do people think is going to be most affected by the Trump administrations restrictions of speech?
 
#44
Thats never how it works though, your intention is fine, its natural conclusion is not, its not as simple as having a "No nazi" law.
Exactly, who decides who is a Nazi? Stop calling everyone a Nazi and state what the individual has said and attack the statement if you disagree.
 
#47
Doesn't matter if the ACLU sees them as terrorists. The ACLU will defend admitted terrorists, if their rights are being infringed upon. They don't pick and choose whose rights to defend, and I'm happy about that.
I mean defend due process and all that sure but also for god's sake anti hate-speech laws are not infringing on people's rights.
 
#48
I'm not understanding this desire to change the status quo on acceptable speech while we have the republicans controlling congress and the presidency. These are the people you want setting the agenda on acceptable speech in this country? I'd imagine any legislation coming out of this group involving free speech would be overly broad and detrimental to many groups that actually need the protection.
 
#49
It's baffling. I don't get how people can just throw away their principles on this, about fucking Milo no less. The ACLU has defended worse people, for decades, but this twerp seems to push people over the edge? I don't get it.

And what's the solution? Are people seriously advocating giving the current administration authority to determine what hate speech is? The fucking president just 'both sides' a literal white nationalist rally. Who do people think is going to be most affected by the Trump administrations restrictions of speech?
Yup. Agreed.
 
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