MFE debate rumbles on

defenders of free expressionMilena Buyum of the National Assembly Against Racism had a letter in the 5 May issue of Tribune condemning the presence of the British National Party and its front organisation Civil Liberty at the “March for Free Expression” in Trafalgar Square in March. She pointed out: “There is a clear danger that actions such as the Freedom of Speech rally give the extreme Right a cloak of legitimacy.”

In reply, one Mazin Zeki has a letter in the current issue of Tribune (19 May) actually defending the participation of fascists in the demonstration: “Everyone was welcome to the rally regardless of their political or other allegiance. That is exactly how it should be. Free speech is the democratic space which allows the clear and open clash of differences to be resolved…. Free speech cannot be abandoned on the basis of demagogic ‘anti-racist’ demands from self-appointed groups …”.

Zeki continues: “I am submitting a motion in favour of free speech to the annual general meeting of Liberty on May 30 and welcome support from all true democrats including Tribune readers.” Hopefully Liberty’s members will treat Zeki’s arguments with the contempt they deserve.

For a detailed analysis of the forces involved in the “March for Free Expression”, see “The Right, the Left and ‘Free Expression'”, in What Next? No.31