The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent our advertisers

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tensions grow inside ACLU over defending free-speech rights for the far right

It was 1934 and fascism was on the march not only in Europe but in America. People who admired Adolf Hitler, who had taken power in Germany, formed Nazi organizations in the United States.

The American Civil Liberties Union, represented by lawyers who were Jewish, faced an existential question: Should the freedoms it stood for since its founding in 1920 apply even to racist groups that would like nothing more than to strip them away?

Ultimately, after much internal dissent, the ACLU decided: Yes, the principles were what mattered most. The ACLU would stand up for the free-speech rights of Nazis.

“We do not choose our clients,” the ACLU’s board of directors wrote in an October 1934 pamphlet called “Shall We Defend Free Speech for Nazis In America?” “Lawless authorities denying their rights choose them for us. To those who support suppressing propaganda they hate, we ask — where do you draw the line?”

Once again, the ACLU is wrestling with how to respond to a far-right movement in the U.S. whose rising visibility is prompting concerns from elected officials and activists.

In response to the deadly violence at a rally in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, the ACLU’s three California affiliates released a statement Wednesday declaring that “white supremacist violence is not free speech.”

More here


Anonymous said...

Anti Christian liberal union. Hate group.

Anonymous said...

the rising visibility to fringe right and left groups is driven by the media. social and main sream. the far right groups represent a much smaller percentage of the population, and be it not for the media and the far left groups providing an opportunity to create havoc. would be insignificant on the national front. still, the media wishes to give them larger standing, giving the impression they represent the opinion of all conservatives. I couldn't give a damn about the kkk, nazi, blm, or any other group that wants to use hate or force to push forward their agenda. until we get more politicians who get away from their worry about cushy salaries, back door deals, and back stabbing to move up, we will not change.

Anonymous said...

But they had no problem supporting the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) so they could continue to advocate to abolish age of consent laws in order to prey on little boys.

lmclain said...

I wish they gave this kind of coverage to Farrakhan.
He spews racial hatred, "scientific" myths about the evil origin of the white people, espouses violence against white people. I've NEVER seen a single article about that racist whack or any coverage on CNN, MSNBC, or ABC.
The really crazy thing the media REFUSES to cover???
He's widely popular with MILLIONS of black people. Radio and TV and mosque.
You want to find some WIDESPREAD, regular, visible and easily found racist hatred?
Refer to my first sentence.
Keep cheering.