Free Speech – Preserving the right to express and share opinions

Think Left

We share these concerns expressed, of information of individual members being suspended, for what would seem to be expressing personal opinions, or sharing others, and look upon the Labour Party to preserve the right of free expression.  Please see below the text of a motion from Henley BLP and reasons for their support of the motion.

(Permission to post given from member of Henley CLP:)

TEXT OF FREE SPEECH MOTION

This branch believes that there should be no infringement on the rights of free speech and free criticism within the Labour Party. The thousands of suspensions of Labour members during the 2016 leadership election, based often on one-off comments on social media, unsubstantiated claims or association with left wing organisations, appears to have been politically motivated.

This process was an affront to democracy and this CLP condemns the entire process. Legitimate grievances should be dealt with according to the principles…

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How to Politicise a Murder

How to Politicise a Murder

Media Diversified

According to the press and politicians, “the State” must be kept safe from public opinion

by Cameron De Chi

Simon Jenkins’ declaration in the Guardian that social media urgently needs a “policing regime” should make chilling reading for everyone. Even after Thomas Mair was confirmed to have links to the far right, politicians, journalists and public intellectuals have found a way to dislocate his motives onto the public at large, by implicating wider public anger at the establishment in Jo Cox’s death. We are now being asked to accept, unquestioningly, that all MPs are fundamentally decent people who have the best interests of the nation at heart and deserve our respect. Furthermore, the “toxic” environment of social media reflects our toxic political climate: a nightmare that we’ve created by being too cynical, too harsh on our politicians, too partisan. Making connections between Thomas Mair’s attack and the wider political climate is not political…

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Trump, Truthout and the Hillary sized Elephant in the Room

So, a few weeks ago I began to pen a brief thinkpiece in reaction to the ridiculous level of press attention being leveled at Donald Trump’s campaign, much to the benefit of Hillary Clinton. Tentatively titled ‘Let’s start calling Trump by his real name: Hillary’s Bogeyman’, I decided to sift through the mire that is ‘progressive’ media discourse and scrutinise how it is framing our perspective on the presidential race. It went a little something like this:

So, I’m finally doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t do (well, kind of) … but we’ll get to that in just a moment.

Zoe Williams recent Guardian piece ‘Me! Me! Me! Are we living through a narcissism epidemic?’ raises some increasingly relevant points about our relationship to celebrities on social media in the ‘seflie era’. However, the idea that Donald Trump & Katie Hopkins are somehow narcissist pinups (an ironic but appropriate term of phrase, given the amount of attention we afford them in the press and on social media) is both a flawed and one-dimensional take on their divisive sideshow antics.

But why? You might ask.

Well, I’ll tell you. Put simply, it is based on the idea that we take everything they say at face value, when really they’re just polemicists or actors that are pushed into the spotlight because they further a specific agenda. Now, I know this idea might be hard for both stateside liberals and fascists alike to digest (put it down to being spoon-fed on a diet of extreme insincerity and other noxious substances since infancy), but anyone with half a brain can see that Trump is in fact Hillary’s bogeyman (there, I said it). The infinitely less significant Hopkins on the other hand, exists purely to outrage the moral majority whilst rallying what’s left of the fascist bile at the bottom of the proverbial scum-bucket. At the most basic (or dare I say, base) level, we absolutely love to hate these people. Of course, our reactionary anger is often justified. Yet we need to consider whose cause it’s furthering.

It’s certainly not ours.

In short, read between the lines.

Long story cut short and we fast-forward several weeks later, only to find that my thoughts on the election campaign are substantiated by none other than John Pilger (a surefire indication if you ever needed one that said shit is going down):

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 19.00.41

Glad that I’d postponed posting a premature assessment of the situation, I decided to share my thoughts on the matter at hand.

For those of us astute enough to see through the emerging media driven dichotomy, Pilger’s on-point prognosis should be read with glee. Only, we don’t. Not quite. Instead, we’re wary of just how big a truth-sized shadow such an on-point summation can cast over those of us who are done with inevitable tide of tawdry, disingenuous anti-Trump tirades every time we open up social media. Worst still are the politically correct ripostes penned in the name of ‘feminism’ emanating from virtually every single section of the media. Despite the popular perception of Trump as the primary antagonist and all round beast-to-be-slain, the idea that Hillary is in any way a feminist is infinitely more fallacious than any one of Trump’s outrageous claims (almost as much as those that paint Bernie Sanders as sexist). I mean, she’s made no secret that agrees with Trump on a whole host of issues, not least relations with Mexico and immigration (read: continuing Obama’s legacy of deporting vulnerable migrant and refugee children). It’s therefore even more disconcerting to learn that the preponderance of this pro-Hillary narrative in mainstream media isn’t the only thing that risks undermining the dissemination of home truths.

As Pilger mentions in his article, the “editorial committee” of Truthout – one of the American outlets Pilger syndicated his article in – “clearly wanted me to water down my argument that Clinton represented a proven extreme danger to the world”. Upon examining the content of Pilger’s article, Truthout’s claim that its job is to “hold the feet of elected officials to the fire” seems at odds with its umbrage at Pilger’s searing critique of Hillary’s preordained media-driven role in the presidential race. We could clearly speculate until the cows come home as to the nature of Truthout’s real agenda, but to say that this is a highly suspect moment of media slippage would clearly be an understatement. For now though, the implications that such fleeting commitment to the truth will have on progressive discourse and independent, uncensored political reporting are not yet clear.

At this moment, it seems, we need to remain vigilant. And resistant, always resistant to bullshit. No matter whose cakehole it’s coming from.

But especially Hillary’s.

TBC.

The #OscarsSoWhite and Celebrity Whitesplaining

The so-called debate surrounding what the mainstream media have referred to as the ‘Oscars row’ took an interesting turn yesterday, when various members of the British acting establishment decided to try their hand at the thing they do best (and no, I’m not on about shit mockney accents or sullen expressions that scream self-soiling). I’m referring to whitesplaining, of course. That seldom seen social phenomenon when white people remind non-white people that the white dialectic is intrinsically authoritative and that black & BME voices obviously aren’t, by completely disregarding anything that isn’t a white opinion (read: black is whack, white is right).

I know what you’re thinking. How presumptuous of me to posit such an idea. Actors are well educated types, they’re meant to be PC – only, therein lies the problem. Political correctness in post-noughties Britain teaches us that BME voices – or rather, the ones that successfully make it over the parapet of obscurity to the benevolent palace of prime time consumption – as scarce as they are, exist merely to be tolerated (yet another reductive word I love to loathe and one you’ll be seeing me refer to time and time again in the coming months) as one would an ice bath after a short, spontaneous jog up a country road in the heart of Little Britain. I know, “wo, wo tiger! why all the anti-white vitriol?” you’re probably thinking. I mean, why not give white people the benefit of the doubt? After all, what else are white people supposed to do? Stop bemoaning imaginary PC quotas whenever someone mentions the preponderance of whites in highest echelons of the arts and actually pay attention to the work BME filmmakers and artists? (I know, bloody outrageous idea, right?).

No. I know it’s a sobering thought for neoliberals everywhere, but we shouldn’t expect anything, in fact. “You can’t let some kind of expect affirmative action to take hold of the film industry” they say, when pressed – because whiteness just won’t be told, kids. That’s the hard line here, folks. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Drake’s revolutionary ‘Hotline Bling’ fandom most likely instilled you with the hope that tumblr memes would solve all of society’s race problems, it would appear that reductive thinking still rules the waves in 2016. I know. Like, urghhh. WTF man? People invested their hopes and dreams in your swag and you can’t even fix this race thing for us? What a complete bastard! (Don’t worry. I’m not actually a hipster).

But I digress. We’ve yet to discuss the contenders for Best British Whitesplaining. Well, so far we’ve had the Charlotte Rampling eye roll, the Michael Caine put down (almost tops his horror at learning that John Lennon had eloped with a Jap back in the day) and the Eddie Marsan “she’s a nice awld whoyte laydee” kirkby kiss of faux-sincerity. “Why not open up this category to non-actors?” I hear you interject (rude). Alright, well, alright. Purely in the spirit of diversity, of course. I mean, I’m certain an infinitely intellectual Piers Morgan ‘reverse racism’ reprisal or even a Far Right Question Time panel poopooing the entire concept of racial discrimination could hold their own just as well. Speaking of which. Fuck it. Why not make this thing Transatlantic? I wonder what’ll creep up on the other side of the pond. Perhaps a Ted Nugent fundraiser for those poor cracker actors struggling to get by would make waves? or better still, a Stonewallesque moment in which an Oregon militiaman publicly declares his penchant for white dildos only? As I’m sure you can imagine, the possibilities are clearly endless. Whatever the outcome though, I’m sure both serial and first-time whitesplainers alike won’t fail to disappoint.

N.B. Before you have a duck egg, I haven’t forgotten about the walking-talking ball of guff (whose name rhymes with dump) currently wooing crackers throughout the US, or his whacko russophile, pro fuck-women-everywhere de facto running mate either. I just haven’t decided if I’m going to entertain the idea of them existing on the same scale as the more casual whitesplainers, let alone if I’m ready to pass comment on them. Yet.

TBC . . . . .