If you’re a leftist who believes in free speech you aren’t homeless
Free speech is a fundamental value of the left.
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Under postmodernism many ideas that were seen as objectively true came to be seen as mere constructions of language. Foucault refers to them as ‘discourses’ that construct knowledge. Consequently, since discourses are believed to create and maintain oppression, they have to be carefully monitored and deconstructed. This is not some obscure academic issue, it is the outlook that is behind calls for laws to outlaw speech which may cause offense.
The Stepford Wives was a movie that came out in 1972 and might not be very well remembered today but which nonetheless contributed a useful metaphor for describing certain aspects of our society. Briefly, the Stepford Wives were the possessed and submissive versions of their original human selves, surreptitiously transformed one by one and reappearing as empty husks of what they had once been.
A decade ago for a brief moment following the 2008 global economic crash, there was a world-wide wave of angry emotion when the unbridled greed of the dominant capitalist elite was suddenly laid bare. Here in the US this engendered a movement called Occupy, which started in Zuccotti Park in the New York City financial district and spread quickly throughout the country.
Occupy, with all its imperfections, was widely viewed as a genuine populist movement. The movement focused on issues of economic inequality and coined the phrase ‘we are the 99%.’ Chris Hedges said at the time in an article on Truthdig that “Occupy articulated the concerns of the majority of citizens.”
Occupy set off a powerful emotional surge that swept across the country and genuinely frightened the elite. The State moved quickly to ensure that Occupy was effectively quashed. Under Obama, the federal government and local police forces joined to dismantle, often brutally, Occupy encampments across the country. No effort was spared in terms of mass arrests, surveillance, and other forms of State powered repression to ensure that Occupy couldn't metastasize into anything lasting or inspire any actual challenges to power.
Harriet Fraad, a Mental Health Counselor and Hypnotherapist, joins us to discuss feminism and class. Dr. Fraad writes articles and has a podcast on the intersection of politics, economics, and personal life. Her podcast, Capitalism Hits Home, is produced by Democracy at Work.
In this episode of Crossroads Dr. Fraad speaks about the history of the feminist movement, capitalism, and how identity politics have hurt attempts at a unified social justice movement. We also discuss current events such as the prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein, and the historic Bernie Sanders campaign.
It's Women’s History Month. But flags flying the definition of the word woman (“noun / adult human female”) for International Women’s Day were removed with an apology from town council buildings in Sefton, England after accusations that the flags represent hatred against transgender people. In December, when a woman named Maya Forstater was fired for tweeting that sex is based on biology and not internal identity, an employment tribunal judge said that her speech is not “worthy of respect in a democratic society.”
Strangers In Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild is a must-read for anyone interested in going beyond conventional political analysis and exploring the “deep story” worldviews that shape thinking on both the left and right of the political spectrum. Hochschild describes “deep stories” as emotional images that shapes the essence of a person’s worldview, and this book was her attempt to understand the deep story that forms the ideology of the right wing. Hochschild is a UC Berkeley sociologist who spent five years in Louisiana in an attempt to break through the “empathy walls” that divide the political spectrum in the US. She worked to overcome her own biases as a member of the left-leaning political spectrum by forming human connections with conservatives in Louisiana, many of whom were Tea Party activists.
Vincent Mignerot is an independent researcher located in Lyon, France. He is founder of the organization Adrastia, dedicated to studying and spreading awareness about the collapse of the environment and human civilization. He is a frequent speaker in front of university audiences in France where his views on capitalism and human nature get him into hot water with some on the left. Whether you agree or disagree with some of Mignerot's arguments you will see that he is a careful, logical thinker who builds his arguments brick by brick. He compares what humans have done to the earth to a burned cake in the oven, which can never be reconstituted into its original ingredients. The damage is irreparable but there are ways we can prepare and adapt ourselves to what is coming.
Free Speech is a core value of the Left
Genuine support for free speech means it must apply to speech you don’t like
Pro Free Speech Doesn't Mean Absolutist support for all speech
Blasphemy–a notion that crystallizes so many of the issues around free speech
marginalized groups benefit the most from free speech protections
If leftist values have actual moral standing they can and should stand up to scrutiny and questioning
Speech is not physical violence, it’s an alternative to violence
Successful challenges to power build on a foundation of free speech
Free thought depends on free speech: censorship leads to a culture of fear where people learn to hide their real opinions
Free Speech protection for all is inherently anti-authoritarian
Let’s hear the Arguments against free speech