The disconnect between platforming fascists and stopping them recruiting more


Regarding the free speech vs crypto-facsists debate that is separating friends and blocking so many on social media.

Some claim shutting down debate with fascists is good because you can’t reason with them. This line of defence misses one crucial point.

Debating the far right isn’t about convincing the protagonists they are wrong, it is about convincing the people they’re trying to recruit that they are wrong, that’s why engagement is so important.

Banning such voices simply amplifies their grievance recruitment appeal, it doesn’t shut them down or  disarm their rhetoric. It is driven underground where it becomes far more toxic.

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In terms of Goff’s call on not allowing a Council venue host this, I am proud he had the ethical backbone to make the call.

Yes, that call is a difficult one to make, the Right are trying to claim people like Jane Kelsey shouldn’t get Council space either, but if you can’t tell the difference between one of the best free trade Legal Professors and a proto-Nazi, you have greater comprehension problems than the freedom of speech debate.

I wouldn’t want ISIS recruitment seminars in Council venues, nor the KKK or the National Front or the Man Love Boy Association meetings, there is a line, and drawing that line is righteous.

Where I would accept the use of Council venues is if it were a debate. If these far right protagonists want to come to NZ to just demand a pulpit to preach from, there’s the door, but if they were prepared to debate their views under debate rules, step on up, let’s have the debate because here’s the real problem for us on the Left and the progressive side of politics, this isn’t going away.

The looming shock waves about to hit the global economy will feed this far right narrative. Do we want to be debating them when those they are attempting to recruit are far more financially desperate  than they are now?

We won this battle, but we certainly haven’t won the war.


  1. Yes the left has to organize itself against coming fascism.
    But it won’t do that by debating fascists. Nor can it do that by appealing to state authorities (including Local Govt) to ban fascists.

    Because the state has always backed fascists against anti-fascists even when the state is occupied by social democrats. Scratch a liberal, find a fascist.

    Fascism is not an optional extra. Its a necessary resort by international capital facing terminal crisis to mobilise the discontent of the middle class and sections of the working class to smash the organized left as responsible for the crisis.

    For example, its not far from chastising Nurses for going for striking for better wages to blaming them for falling profits, and then seeing them as the instigators of a collapsing economy.

    Fascism will happen – debates or no debates – because those who become fascist shock troops are motivated by much stronger forces than the power of rational debate.

    History shows that once fascism is mobilized it can only be stopped by physical confrontation on the streets.

    We need to prepare for that confrontation now, because this time it will be worse than then 1920s and 1930s as the global terminal crisis looms and we can already see many neo-fascists being elected to power, and even the so-called Western democracies as moving in that direction like Trump.

    To be forewarned is to be forearmed. They will be, so must we.

    • ^^ is entirely correct. I don’t give a rat’s arse about what the Auckland City Council does. I do give a rats arse about supposed speakers for the left like the author telling us to debate with fascists. To share their stage and buy into the liberal fantasy of a marketplace of ideas. To legitimize them with our ears and voice.

      My vote is always for loud, interfering protest. Show the would be stormtroopers that not only are they opposed, not only is the opposition bigger than them, but we are more than willing to stop them. Without needing the governments help.

  2. Question; ‘Were the Auckland dock workers Fasists in 1951’?

    My father was on the picket line then, and was banned from working in Auckland by the Government after they sent the police in to break the stike up, so our whole family was effectively banned from living inn Auckland and forced to relocate to Napier to survive and find work to live then, so was the National Government of the day fascists for using the police to break up that ‘demonsrtation of workers ‘solidarity’ and ban workers from employment from that time onwards, or were those who used those draconian meaures to force the loss of workers to have future employment in Auckland for being activists on thart whalf strike picket fascists for punishing those for their actions speaking up for workers rights during that time?

    “You cant have it both ways”.

    Look folks; stop and take a breath; – We need to make sure we sttop the Government making using the poliice to break up any actions of solidarity for anything some believe is worrth fighting for, and in this case it is for free speech over an attempt to suppress free speech.

    We need to protect any group ‘free to send their message to be heard by them’ no matter what is is.

    Shame on those who want to use suppression of some of our people and their rights to speak over others who will be allowed to.

    ‘Equality for all’ over ‘selective equality’ is far more preferable in a ‘freee society’.

    Question is; will we be free to demonstrate that we are a free society or not?

  3. If they had just been allowed to come into the country without the debate I would never have heard of them.

    She probably figures this sort of media attention as Free advertising. I mean this is a woman who got 535 votes when she ran in the 2015 Canadian federal election, and she probably only managed that many through the power of outraged media coverage.

    Sure they don’t get to visit, but I bet traffic from NZ to her youtube chanel has gone from 7 subscribers in Christchurch to who knows, once the drama has died down, maybe as many as 25.

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