“Free Speech”

People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid. — Kierkegaard

As noted in my previous post, DreamHost has a discussion forum in which a number of people have expressed their views on the company’s decision to act as a host for a site intended to facilitate violent assaults by neo-Nazis and other fascists on those whose identities, beliefs and actions they disapprove of: Jews, gays, lesbians, anarchists, leftists, non-Whites et. al..

Like (too) many other discussions on this and related topics, the commentators (chiefly, it seems, DreamHost employees) who defend DreamHost’s ‘right’ to make money from the provision of this service to those who would cheerfully incinerate Europe’s Jewish population are confused as to what ‘free speech’ is, and what responsibilities DreamHost (arguably) possesses on the basis of the rights that the company has been granted by the US state to conduct business.

(And, as I suspected, the reply I received to my first enquiry regarding DreamHost’s hosting of redwatch was a standard one.)

On the forum itself, two commentators request DreamHost stop aiding and abetting Polish fascists in their attempts to murder persons (who have rights) deemed to be Untermensch. The first essentially recapitulates my own views.

Anonymous comrade (‘webeditor423’) :

Friends –

Free speech is wonderful. However, redwatch.info is not about expressing a nazi political philosophy. Its function is to display the names, photos, and personal data of those who disagree with nazis for the explicit purpose of terrorizing these individuals…

This isn’t a question of legality — I don’t doubt that DreamHost is perfectly within US laws while hosting redwatch.info. Instead, since this matter was brought to DreamHost’s attention, this is a question of whether DreamHost is willing to continue to provide nazis with the tools to terrorize, injure, and kill those that they disagree with. Personally, I trust DreamHost to take steps to stop users from using DreamHost’s tools towards a goal of violent attacks on innocent folks who happen to disagree with nazis.

Another anonymous comrade (’cal4226′) argues that DreamHost may be acting in violation of a Californian law on ‘hate speech’:

DreamHost could be prosecuted as an associated party to a crime under Sections 422.6 and 422.55 of the California penal code against hate crimes.

[Quote:]

The U.S. Congress defined in 1992 a hate crime as a crime in which “the defendant’s conduct was motivated by hatred, bias, or prejudice, based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity of another individual or group of individuals” (HR 4797).

422.55. For purposes of this title, and for purposes of all other state law unless an explicit provision of law or the context clearly requires a different meaning, the following shall apply:
(a) “Hate crime” means a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim:
(1) Disability.
(2) Gender.
(3) Nationality.
(4) Race or ethnicity.
(5) Religion.
(6) Sexual orientation.
(7) Association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.
(b) “Hate crime” includes, but is not limited to, a violation of Section 422.6.

The role of hate speech in the hate crimes is defined here:

422.6. (a) No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States in whole or in part because of one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics of the victim listed in subdivision (a) of Section 422.55.

(emphasis added)

In section (c) it’s clear that hate speech is a relevant factor in convicting someone of a hate crime in California, even hate speech alone without an action is a crime – under the very special circumstances defined in that law, such as threatening violence against a specific person, which is clearly the case for the redwatch.info site:

However, no person may be convicted of violating subdivision (a) based upon speech alone, except upon a showing that the speech itself threatened violence against a specific person or group of persons and that the defendant had the apparent ability to carry out the threat.

So DreamHost’s clients (of the redwatch.info site) are committing a crime under Section 422.6 of the Californian Penal Code since they are making “speech which itself threatens violence against specific persons”. They risk 12 months prison or a $5000 fine.

DreamHost has a clause about not allowing content which is illegal.

If DreamHost management acts in “good faith” to prevent the continued crime, then they would presumably be able to defend themselves from being convicted as a supporting partner in crime and avoiding having to manage the DreamHost service from inside a prison cell.

And again, the same person — I think? — argues here that redwatch may be in violation of DreamHost’s own ‘laws’ :

TOS: netiquette and lawfulness

DreamHost has two ways of legally terminating redwatch.info’s client contract:

INTERNET ETIQUETTE

“1. Electronic forums such as mail distribution lists and Usenet news groups all have expectations regarding subject area and appropriate etiquette for posting. Users of these forums should be considerate of the expectations and sensitivities of others on the network when posting material for electronic distribution. The network resources of DreamHost Webhosting may not be used to impersonate another person or misrepresent authorization to act on behalf of others or DreamHost Webhosting. All messages transmitted via DreamHost Webhosting should correctly identify the sender; users may not alter the attribution of origin in electronic mail messages or posting.”

Since when has threatening to kill people and publishing their personal biodata been consistent with netiquette?

DreamHost also has a terms of service clause which shows that it is not going to defend free speech at all costs: it refuses child pornography and copyright violations and other legal restrictions on free speech:

LAWFUL PURPOSE

“1. Customer may only use DreamHost Webhosting’s Server for lawful purpose. Transmission of any material in violation of any Country, Federal, State or Local regulation is prohibited. To this effect, child pornography is strictly prohibited as well as housing any copyrighted information (to which the customer does not hold the copyright) on DreamHost Webhosting’s Server.”

This also says that DreamHost respects laws of other Countries (regarding transmission of any material). It can cut off redwatch.info’s access according to the Terms Of Service since redwatch.info certainly violates Polish law on protection of personal data and against murder and against attempted murder (the authors of redwatch.info are prime suspects).

DreamHost employee ‘norm1037’ replies :

I am sure that most DreamHost customers would abhor the type of sites you refer to, myself included.

But I always have two phrases keep [sic] popping into my mind, “know thine enemy” and “knowledge is power”. I am sure it is better to know where these sites are, who is posting to them and who is reading them.

No doubt DreamHost could delete these sites in a micro-second, but I wouldn’t want them popping up again from some strange anonymously routed site or untouchable island in the middle of an Ocean. Perhaps where they are now is most convenient.

Let us perhaps be a little cunning [“we’re hunting wabbits!”] and wait and watch!

Just my two-pennyworth.

Two-penny? Hmmm. While it’s to be hoped that most DreamHost customers — with at least one obvious exception — would abhor redwatch, it’s not especially relevant. After all, whatever DreamHost customers might “abhor”, none are in a position to deny redwatch its access to DreamHost webhosting facilities. That responsibility lies with DreamHost.

Norm writes: “I am sure it is better to know where these sites are, who is posting to them and who is reading them.”

Why?

Better than what? Not knowing where these sites are, who is posting to them, and who is reading them?

Well, the first question is easily answered: DreamHost is where Polish fascism’s at. As to who’s posting to them and who’s reading them, until such time as DreamHost or someone else states otherwise, only DreamHost and (presumably) the site’s owner knows.

What’s the alternative?

They could be hosted elsewhere.

That’s the point.

“Know thine enemy”? Um, yeah. neo-Nazis for a start…

“Knowledge is power”? Um, OK…

Your first question, for 10 points, is:

Which German dictator once remarked in his autobiography:

The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out.

Your second question, for 20 points, is:

The text below (from the opening address for the prosecution) is extracted from a famous trial, named after a German city, and held at the end of WWII. Robert Jackson was the prosecutor. Which country was he representing?

The Nazi conspiracy, as we shall show, always contemplated not merely overcoming current opposition but exterminating elements which could not be reconciled with its philosophy of the state. It not only sought to establish the Nazi “new order” but to secure its sway, as Hitler predicted, “for a thousand years.” Nazis were never in doubt or disagreement as to what these dissident elements were. They were concisely described by one of them, Col. General von Fritsch, on December 11, 1938, in these words:

“Shortly after the first war I came to the conclusion that we should have to be victorious in three battles if Germany were to become powerful again: 1. The battle against the working class[.] Hitler has won this. 2. Against the Catholic Church, perhaps better expressed against Ultramontanism. 3. Against the Jews.” (1947-PS).

[Page 129]

The warfare against these elements was continuous. The battle in Germany was but a practice skirmish for the worldwide drive against them. We have in point of geography and of time two groups of crimes against humanity — one within Germany before and during the war, the other in occupied territory during the war. But the two are not separated in Nazi planning. They are a continuous unfolding of the Nazi plan to exterminate peoples and institutions which might serve as a focus or instrument for overturning their “new world order” at any time. We consider these Crimes against Humanity in this address as manifestations of the one Nazi plan and discuss them according to General von Fritch’s classification.

1. The Battle Against the Working Class

When Hitler came to power, there were in Germany three groups of trade unions. The General German Trade Union Confederation (ADGB) with twenty-eight affiliated unions, and the General Independent Employees Confederation (AFA) with thirteen federated unions together numbered more than 4,500,000 members. The Christian Trade Union had over 1,250,000 members.

The working people of Germany, like the working people of other nations, had little to gain personally by war. While labor is usually brought around to the support of the nation at war, labor by and large is a pacific, though by no means a pacifist force in the world. The working people of Germany had not forgotten in 1933 how heavy the yoke of the war lord can be. It was the workingmen who had joined the sailors and soldiers in the revolt of 1918 to end the First World War. The Nazis had neither forgiven nor forgotten. The Nazi program required that this part of the German population not only be stripped of power to resist diversion of its scanty comforts to armament, but also be wheedled or whipped into new and unheard of sacrifices as part of the Nazi war preparation. Labor must be cowed, and that meant its organizations and means of cohesion and defense must be destroyed.

The purpose to regiment labor for the Nazi Party was avowed by Ley in a speech to workers on 2 May 1933, as follows:

“You may say what else do you want, you have the absolute power. True we have the power, but we do not have the whole people, we do not have you workers 100%, and it is

[Page 130]

you whom we want; we will not let you be until you stand with us in complete, genuine acknowledgment.” (614-PS).

The first Nazi attack was upon the two larger unions. On April 21, 1933 an order not even in the name of the Government, but of the Nazi Party was issued by the conspirator Robert Ley as “Chief of Staff of the political organization of the NSDAP,” applicable to the Trade Union Confederation and the Independent Employees Confederation. It directed seizure of their properties and arrest of their principal leaders. The party order directed party organs which we here denounce as criminal associations, the SA and SS “to be employed for the occupation of the trade union properties, and for the taking into custody of personalities who come into question.” And it directed the taking into “protective custody” of all chairmen and district secretaries of such unions and branch directors of the labor bank (392-PS).

These orders were carried out on May 2, 1933. All funds of the labor unions, including pension and benefit funds, were seized. Union leaders were sent to concentration camps. A few days later, on May 10, 1933, Hitler appointed Ley leader of the German Labor Front (DEUTSCHE ARBEITSFRONT), which succeeded to the confiscated union funds. The German Labor Front, a Nazi controlled labor bureau, was set up under Ley to teach the Nazi philosophy to German workers and to weed out from industrial employment all who were backward in their lessons (1940-PS). “Factory Troops” were organized as an “ideological shock squad within the factory” (1817-PS). The Party order provided that “outside of the German Labor Front, no other organization (whether of workers or of employees) is to exist.” On June 24, 1933 the remaining Christian Trade Unions were seized pursuant to an order of the Nazi Party signed by Ley.

On May 19, 1933, this time by government decree, it was provided that “trustees” of labor, appointed by Hitler, should regulate the conditions of all labor contracts, replacing the former process of collective bargaining (405- PS). On January 20, 1934 a decree “regulating national labor” introduced the fuehrer-principle into industrial relations. It provided that the owners of enterprises should be the “fuehrers” and the workers should be the followers. The enterpriser-fuehrers should “make decisions for employees and laborers in all matters concerning the enterprise” (1861- PS). It was by such bait that the great German industrialists were induced to support the Nazi cause, to their own ultimate ruin.

[Page 131]

Not only did the Nazis dominate and regiment German labor, but they forced the youth into the ranks of the laboring people they had thus led into chains. Under a compulsory labor service decree on June 26, 1935, young men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 were conscripted for labor (see 1654-PS). Thus was the purpose to subjugate German labor accomplished. In the words of Ley, this accomplishment consisted “in eliminating the association character of the trade union and employees’ associations, and in its place we have substituted the conception ‘soldiers of work’.” The productive manpower of the German nation was in Nazi control. By these steps the defendants won the battle to liquidate labor unions as potential opposition and were enabled to impose upon the working class the burdens of preparing for aggressive warfare.

Robert Ley, the field marshal of the battle against labor, answered our indictment with suicide. Apparently he knew no better answer.

…And so, your final question, for 40 points, is:

Coventry City last won the FA Cup in what year?

On February 3rd 1931, Italian police arrested Michael Schirru in a hotel room in Rome. He was Italian by birth but had become a US citizen. He had returned to Italy with one purpose, to kill Mussolini. Schirru was just one of many anarchists in the pre-war years who put their lives on the line in the fight against fascism.

Schirru’s ‘trial’ took place on May 28th. The judge was Cristini, a young fascist cut-throat raised to the highest ranks in the hierarchy. No jury. A contemporary account of the trial in a US anarchist paper described how “Schirru conducted himself with great dignity during his trial – which, under the circumstances could hardly be called a trial. He repeated his former declaration of intention to kill Mussolini and gave his reasons”. The Tribunal sentenced Schirru to be shot in the back.

“At 2:30 o’clock, the next morning, he was awakened from his sleep and told that his execution would take place at sunrise. He asked permission to write his last words to his dear ones; declined the assistance of the priest and then was taken to the Braschi fortress, on the outskirts of Rome, where he was executed – only eight and a half hours after sentence had been passed – by a firing squad of twenty-four fascist militiamen”.

Individual acts like these were just the tip of anarchist organisation against fascism. In this period every western government saw fascism as a useful bulwark against ‘communism’. From the early 1920’s Italian anarchists had physically fought the fascists and even after World War II anarchists were being jailed for fighting the fascist Italian state in that period.

German resistance

In Germany the anarchist-syndicalist FAUD (Free Union of German Workers) had decided in 1932 to go underground once Hitler came to power and to work towards a general strike. This proved impossible, the FAUD was far too small to do so on its own and of course once Hitler came to power its numbers were further decimated as many members were either arrested or forced to flee into exile. However with the help of Dutch anarchists they did succeed in setting up a FAUD secretariat in exile in Amsterdam.

Inside Germany FAUD members like labourer Franz Bunget and unemployed steelworker Julius Nolden attempted to continue operating underground. Both were to be arrested by the Gestapo. However with others they succeeded in getting an underground network going that smuggled people out of Germany and smuggled anti-Nazi pamphlets in, often with strange titles to mislead the fascist authorities.

Court records show that one pamphlet went under the title of ‘Eat German fruit and stay healthy’ and became “so popular among miners that they used to greet each other with: ‘Have you eaten German fruit as well?'” The outbreak of the Spanish Revolution in 1936 saw an underground network that raised money for the Spanish anarchists and their fight against fascism and recruited technicians to go to Spain and provide needed expertise.

In December of 1936 however the Gestapo managed to discover the first of these groups and in raids then and in 1937 arrested 89 male and female members of this anarchist underground. In early 1938 these comrades were charged with “preparing acts of high treason”. All but six were convicted.

Julius Nolden was ‘lucky’ and spent the next 8 years in Luttringhausen prison until the arrival of the ‘allies’ in April of 1945. Others were not so ‘lucky’ and were murdered in prison. Lathe operator, Emil Mahnert was thrown out of a window, bricklayer, Wilhelm Schmitz, died in “unexplained circumstances”, Ernst Holtznagel was sent to a military punishment battalion where he died, Michael Delissen was beaten to death by the Gestapo in December 1936 and Anton Rosinke was murdered in February 1937.

The history of the anarchist resistance to fascism is something we are never told about in mainstream or even left histories. The victors over fascism wrote the ‘history’ of anti-fascism after WWII. They gave prominent place to the aristocratic German officers who failed to kill Hitler late in the war but ignored the ordinary workers who struggled in the 1920’s and 1930’s when the western governments saw Hitler as an ally. The account here is but a snippet, based on the valuable work done by the ‘Kate Sharpley Library’ in recovering, translating and publishing this history.

After the war in August 1946, Ernst Binder wrote:

“Since mass resistance was not feasible in 1933, the finest members of the movement had to squander their energy in a hopeless guerrilla campaign. But if workers will draw from that painful experiment the lesson that only a united defence at the proper time is effective in the struggle against fascism, their sacrifices will not have been in vain.”

Andrew Flood

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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2 Responses to “Free Speech”

  1. gfy says:

    Oye Vey!

    You are one sick puppy.
    Tis a good thing that you don’t run the world.

  2. Russ says:

    I haven’t wasted time at the site, but it appears redwatch.info serves the purpose of being agent provacateurs. National Socialism is merely an economic system, which has nothing to do with killing people in Poland. We drive on socialist roads and shower with socialist water. The only USA state with a healthy economy has a socialist bank, North Dakota.

    Socialist national leaders were eliminated by both sides during the Cold War.

    Looks to me like Socialist nationalism might work well, if the provacateurs are removed.

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