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DARKNESS CANNOT DRIVE OUT DARKNESS

A request for considerate dialogue concerning our Constitutionally guaranteed Rights of Assembly and Free Speech.
There is a post on the December 21st IMC calendar concerning an upcoming protest against a gathering of neo nazis scheduled for that date. Apparently, it is the intention of those who posted this calendar item to interfere with this activity and prevent them from "publically organizing."
In a subsequent e-mail exchange with a spokesman for the group, I was told, courteously, that, "preaching Aryan revolution should not be protected by free speech." I don't want to quote extensively from the e-mail, because it was sent to me privately, and publishing it without first contacting the author, in my opinion, would be inconsiderate. But, the author goes on to say that the counter demonstration could get violent because it is their intention to stop the neo nazis, one way or the other.
Please check out the post for yourself on the IMC calendar for 12/21/01, and contact them yourself.
But also, I think it would be beneficial to get a dialogue going on the newswire about this. Their intentions bring up some important questions, at least it seems so to me. In this case, how far should one go in protesting the actions of another? At what point do ones actions begin to merge with the actions they seek to discourage?
Martin Luther King's words seem extremely pertinent here: The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil,it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot
murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot
drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
It seems to me that this attempt to prevent Volksfront from publically organizing would publically blurr the line between Hate groups on the one hand, and those who purport to champion basic human rights and equality on the other. And whether successful or not, this intrusion would be wholly to the advantage of the hate groups.
Abhorance for any philosophy, if taken to the point of interfering with anothers constitutionally guaranteed rights, dilutes and threatens to overthrow that Constitution and errode the rights of us all.
To act violently, or evenmerely to prevent lawful assembly and free speech, of the neo nazis, however odious one might consider their philosophy and activities, renders one, at least to some degree, indistinguishable from them, both in philosophy and action.
I can't see any difference, philosophically, between the Nazis rights to PEACEFUL assemby and free speech, and the same rights of anyone else to do likewise, say, those who rally and march PEACEFULLY in opposition to the war in Afghanistan. Both threaten the position held by the majority. Both outrage positions held by a particular status quo.
This is not to say that those who object to their philosophy aren't duty bound to protest their activites; I am saying that it is the action to prevent the exercize of their right of assembly and free speech runs the risk of blurring the distinctions between these two groups.
Hate triumphs to the degree we respond to any given situation with hate; as tyranny and oppression triumph to the degree one responds to threats with the erradication or abridgement of the liberties of another.
These are my views; I'm sure that their are many other perspectives out there. The IMC newswire is the perfect forum for us to publish some of these viewpoints. There are many good reasons to loathe and detest hate mongering and racism, but do these reasons properly authorize us to violently interfere with their constitutionally guaranteed activities???
Whachallthink?
Check yourself, before you wreck yourself... 04.Dec.2001 13:53

just another jewish guy

You are either in favor of free speech or not. We must defend the rights of all to think and say what they feel, regardless of our feelings about it. Don't be a hypocrite.

Let the dialog begin 04.Dec.2001 19:02

purpleguywith6eyeballs

By being afraid of what someone might say, you grant them more power than they have. You're saying they will turn people into monsters if they talk to them. I say they will expose themselves as someone that is very afraid and doesn't even have a good plan for handling the fear.

If talk is that powerful, the logical, sane, loving person's talk should be very powerful... it loses it's power when people walk in fear instead of believing their own talk. If love and peace are valid alternatives to hate and violence, then it can stand on it's own and people will see which is more powerful. Trick is, a lot of people can't walk the talk and we fall into fear, blah blah blah, finally we have to hit the other guy because he's wrong and we're afraid... then you've got two wrongs, which don't make a right.

Let the dialog begin. I think there is more to be concerned about in a lying, hypocritical, politician, than somebody that tells you exactly where they're coming from.

Ralph the Funky Mexican sez... 04.Dec.2001 19:27

Ralph

I think most people know where to draw the line when it comes to violence. While it is true that violence begets violence, the question is NOT a simple dichotomy of "be violent...don't be violent". At some point in social discourse we naturally turn to violence to prove our point or express our distaste for certain ideas or practices (thus the 'hub bub' about the 2nd admendment), sometimes it is to protect our rights from nutcase Hitler worshiping hicks who are beating up a friend, sometimes it takes another form. The point is, the author of the above article seems to floating a simpleminded dichotomous view of the world (the irony being that simplifying life into simple dichotomies (good vs evil...black vs white...darkness vs light...etc vs etc) has been the root cause of much of humanity's ills and ignorance).

On the other hand, you should always be courteous of other people's rights to free speech and assemblage. And never substitute a fist where an angry middle finger will do.

Love,
Ralph

just some thoughts 06.Dec.2001 19:11

coolhead

After reading the Volksfront website,I can see from the images the present that they are somehow aligned with Nazi organizations.We surely do not want a repeat of the situation Portland faced in the 1980s when the skinhead groups gained so much membership and did a lot of organizing in Oregon.The Volksfront is an example of how these groups recruit persons into membership by offering alienated youth somewhere to find acceptance.If they were serious about helping blue collar workers and other segments of euro-amerikan and european populations,they would be working to help I.W.W.,or advocating for labor rights in some other way,instead of presenting a bunch of disguised nazi imagery.
How should their march be dealt with? It's good to see discussion on this thread exposing the true nature of their activitys.Information and knowlege about their real intents is very powerful and people should dig up as much historical reference material about this group as possible.I am interested in reading as much background as I can about this particular group.I would also suggest:
1.Exposing their true intentions and affiliations in the press as much as possible.
2.People working on these issues need to think in terms of education with youth groups on a long term basis.These groups recruit from within groups of alienated youth who are easy targets for these groups of white power thugs who prey on vunerable youth.Help youth feel wanted.Think locally.
3.Oppose them on the street at their rally,don't fight them physically,but expose their intentions with street theater,speakers,and other sources of well informed thought.
4.Use this event as a catalyst for a long term campaign against neo-nazis,and strengthen current anti-skinhead efforts.

Obviously,any group who has Tom Metzger as a speaker is comprised of scumbags.Lets defuse their efforts to gain power here and everywhere!

Thank You People ! 10.Dec.2001 15:30

Danny

I just have to say thank you for hooking me up with the volksfront, I found out about their event from this site and I very much appreciate that. I had the time of my life at the memorial and i truely found myself on december 8th. Thanks again !

Benny

I agree with Jim 12.Dec.2001 00:14

Lisa M abilisaja@aol.com

We cannot infringe on the right of those bozos to gather peaceably, but we can educate the public, protest outside the event and I think most importantly, reach out to young people who are attracted to this philosophy.

I was in the punk scene in the mid-80s when a lot of neo-nazis came up from California where the Man was breathing down their necks. I saw FIRSTHAND how these guys recruit kids- they recruited my bandmembers!

A lot of teenage boys are lost, have little identity. The neo-nazis would approach these vulnerable kids, put their arm around them and say "You have something to be proud of- your white skin!" They buy these kids beer, become big brothers to them and indoctrinate them. Most of them are clueles; they were indoctrinated the same way. It's a social club to most of them, and a family they may never have had.

I told my friends "You know all this stuff is bullshit, eventually you'll figure that out and get away from these guys." Sure enough, they did and became a popular peace-punk band. We have to aim our efforts at those lost kids who are just starting to be brainwashed, and those who are having second thoughts but don't know how to get out. We have to let them know we DON'T hate them, they can change, and we will help them get out. We have to aim at the youth, because once they're in too deep, they are beyond reach and a danger to society, like Metzger and son.

nail on the head 13.Dec.2001 10:52

coolhead

I think you've got the right attitude Lisa: I also was in the PDX punk scene during the 1980s and I also saw kids going down the drain with the white power shit.They really are opportunists who prey on youth,and it seems you saw the same tactics utilized by them as I saw.They seemed to be well financed back then,and I fear they might be trying to gain the level of power they had back then.The thing people should keep in mind is that white power folks don't hold up well when they are exposed to sunlight,that's why they try to hide their true intentions.I think what you're saying about not hating them is great,I'm sure some of them will discover other forms of cultural expression are alot more fun in the long run-Peace