Wanted to add that I’m happy to read your mumblings, thanks for the discussion.
“War”? You arent normally one to engage in doctorowisms like that.
If I may request clarification, is this to say that being white and male was protection for communists or racists?
Since hate speech laws are more a European thing an example of fig-leaf would be the situation was the 2011 rather high profile incident with John Galliano:
What punishment did this public figure get? Not even a slap on the wrist. Dieudonné routinely gets fined thousands of Euros by the courts, more than a slap on the wrist, but has anything changed? Those are just two things off the top of my head and both really predate the (recent) rise of right-wing populism and nationalism.
You should know me by now, I’m not the conspiracy minded type.
Not sure that counts as what I was asking for since that is going to be directed towards StormFrtont’s English readership as a way of puffing themselves and their readership up by “showing” that the attitudes the advance are not some small local thing like has been said to minimize the problem.
These laws work, but they aren’t perfect. A prosecution is an example of partial failure, but the law’s success should be measured by the reduction of need for prosecution, not the severity of the sentences.
The symbolic statement that the speech was socially unacceptable is often the most important part of the sentence.
If so then it would seem the Gayssot Act and the like in France are abject failures.
What you call a symbolic statement, I call a fig leaf simply because the problem isn’t actually reduced.
EDIT: The Netherlands has hate speech laws which get used against public figures like Geert Wilders but OTOH, it remains to be seen if this is a problem or not:
Anti-vilification laws have some effect, but they aren’t the only factor affecting the level of bigotry within a society. A rapid surge of fascism can overwhelm them if they aren’t adequately supported by other societal structures.
I pretty firmly believe the effect is that “good people” can sleep better at night knowing they “did something about the problem”. Maybe when outlets for broad public expression were fewer, there was really something to the reduction but no matter how many words you can’t say on television, people still say those words IRL.
Doesn’t help that certain words or gestures can be performed in some circumstances by some people but can not be spoken by other people under any circumstances. Theres a backlash effect with those words just like the quenelle signature had its backlash in France.
It’s a legitimate argument; even within minority communities, there is usually substantial and heated disagreement as to the value of anti-vilification laws.
But the majority view in almost all of those communities is in favour of these laws, and I’m generally in agreement with that.
What would you call it? Police and the Pinkertons regularly employed violence to break up union strikes, among other things (even in the cases where it included families in the mix - though the unions often gave as good as they got, which of course provided a pretext for further violence). But there indeed was a crack down on the left that the right wing did not experience. The hard right never came under as much pressure, scrutiny, and even direct violence as the left did. People can argue it was justified (due to the violence of the anarchists or the real/perceived threat of the soviet union), but people were jailed, exiled, beaten, their speech curbed, not to mention people who were seen as the primary proponents of socialism, communism, and anarchism (Eastern and Southern Europeans) were targeted for stronger exclusion in the 26 immigration law - especially if one was Jewish or to a lesser extent, Catholic.
More for racist, who were less likely to be tried and charged with crimes for their speech and even their actions (lynchings were often not prosecuted). But I also meant that one’s race and gender (and religion and ethnicity) could provide a measure of protection for communists, too, I think, but not that much. Debs ran his last presidential campaign from a jail cell in Atlanta (and he still managed to get 3-4% of the vote, even then). But Debs wasn’t exiled like Goldman and Berkman were for their anti-war activities. He was natural born, though, unlike Goldman and Berkman.
I think we know the difference between Galliano and Dieudonne, though [ETA] and that goes back to and ties into the rise of the current wave of right wing nationalism in France, I’d say. People with sympathies on the right likely saw how Galliano got little more than a slap on the wrist and felt they could get a bit bolder, because if you’re rich, 6000 euros isn’t much to pay for saying something you really believe is true.
I think it’s also useful to see that despite the US free speech stance and the more restrictions on speech in continental Europe, BOTH have seen the rise of some harder right elements, including strong ethno-nationalist, racist, and antisemitic elements. So, clearly, the rise of the right isn’t just about speech and how free or restricted it is. There are other things happening that are driving this new resurgence.
It also occurs to me the failure and success of laws can also be in part down to how those laws are employed and enforced. Rarely are any laws applied evenly across a society, but usually are down to the biases of the individuals involved on the law enforcement side. We see this all the time in the US with regard to drug laws for example. Hell, Grand Master Flash sang about this in the 80s and not much has changed on that front, yeah?
I’ve mentioned this before but thats in my family history. My Grandfather was in the Detroit labor riots. I know this history since childhood.
The only difference is the second one had to pay the fines, the first didnt but both could afford the fines it seems.
That’s interesting. If you don’t mind me asking about some details, I’d like to… How did he characterize these events and this era, then? Was he a rank and file member, or did he put himself in a position of leadership? Specifically, I was thinking about the Homestead strikes, which pit the unions directly against the pinkertons AND eventually the state militia. This is probably earlier than when your grandfather was involved and obviously in a different place entirely, of course, but it’s an interconnected history. It really wasn’t until the New Deal that unions were really legalized and recognized by the federal government.
I don’t think you’ll agree, but I’d say race and class are most certainly involved here in these outcomes. Galliano is certainly a part of the elite class, given his profession (fashion is clearly a powerful industry in france). Dieudonne has an African father (and a french mother).
Sorry but no, not here.
Its irrelevant. Take a minute to read the wiki article on Dieudonné. If you read French theres lots more to learn as well.
To return to my original point, though France has strong laws regarding hate speech, the end result changes nothing. If these laws did anything, probably there would be no need for the French military to deploy 3 person armed fire teams at the entrances to synagogues.
“People are still murdering, darn it. Guess we just have to throw out these laws against it, they obviously don’t work.”
Fair enough and understood.
Indeed. I just noted that there is something else going on, because strong free speech laws and strong hate speech laws has seen similar results.
Then we agree that those hate speech laws really do nothing?
I’m not sure that I do, actually. Because enforcement and public perceptions play a role in how effective a law can be. I think they can be effective with even handed enforcement. As we noted with Dieundonne and Galliano, that’s not the case in recent years in france, yeah? And we’re seeing the same rise of the hard right here in the US as well, which does not have strong hate speech laws like in France or Germany - our legal system errs on the side of strong protections for deeply racist, sexist, antisemitic, etc. speech. Hate groups evolved in both places with strong hate speech laws and in places without.
So, honestly, I’m back to the idea that there are other factors involved, outside whatever kind of restrictions our states put on speech. It’s clear that letting them have a place in our public discourse gives them legitimacy, but so does curtailing hate speech.
A lack of nazi-punching, maybe?