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Jean-Marie le Pen


John Simkin
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Jean-Marie le Pen has agreed to speak at a dinner for Nick Griffin – fascist leader of the BNP to help raise funds for the European elections in June. There is a campaign by the left in the UK to prevent Le Pen from speaking. They point out that in the Le Pen called the Holocaust “a mere detail of history” and has argued that he believed in the “inequality of races”.

What do people think? Should Jean-Marie le Pen be allowed to speak at the meeting?

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What do people think? Should Jean-Marie le Pen be allowed to speak at the meeting?

That's such an issue in France. Does Le Pen shoul be allowed to speak... B)

The man is racist obviously. He said some years ago that the gaz chambers were 'details' of History. He behave like a bulldog....You can add everything you want...

But, his party is recognized. As far as the freedom of speach is concerned, some are saying that banning him, or trying to stop him speaking is not an option in our democracies. Some are considering that it is not enough and if justice can't do anything, they have to prevent our country against this threat...

Ras Le Front, an anti-Le Pen association, is thinking so. They try to stop him in every occasion. Doing so, they are considered by many as using the same methods which could be used by Le Pen...

The debate is quite hard to solve....I think that politicians have to say the truth and do the best they can to avoid such parties to be as strong as they are (I know I can be naive sometimes :D )

Jean Philippe

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The BNP (I understand it stands for Bullies, Nazis and Pimps) target their opponents and use fascist tactics of intimidation against them. To treat them as a "normal" political party is naive.

Chapter and verse is available http://www.labournet.net/ukunion/0311/antifas1.html

As Adolf Hitler used to say "either we will trample the corpses of our enemies or they will trample ours." This is not the attitude which leads to a gentlemanly debate.

Have a nice day

Derek McMillan

socialist

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The BNP (I understand it stands for Bullies, Nazis and Pimps) target their opponents and use fascist tactics of intimidation against them. To treat them as a "normal" political party is naive.

Chapter and verse is available http://www.labournet.net/ukunion/0311/antifas1.html

As Adolf Hitler used to say "either we will trample the corpses of our enemies or they will trample ours." This is not the attitude which leads to a gentlemanly debate.

I am a libertarian socialist (obviously different from Derek’s socialism). I don’t believe freedom of expression should only be limited to those we agree with. As much as I dislike Jean-Marie le Pen’s political views I think he should be allowed to express them in the UK. If his comments break any of our laws than he should be dealt with accordingly. However, it is wrong to prejudge his comments by trying to ban him from the country.

In the past the political left have been the main sufferers from censorship. On some occasions, such as the communist (state capitalist) governments in the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, etc., so-called left wing governments have imposed strict censorship on those who wanted to express alternative political views (including those to the left as well as the right of the government). Derek probably believes these governments were right to do this. However, I don’t. In fact, I think it is the main reason why they degenerated into military dictatorships. Like Jean Philippe I support the idea of open rational debate. I am so confident of my political views that I believe they will win (or be adapted) in any open debate. It always surprises me that those who argue so passionately about politics lack so much confidence about their opinions that they want to censor those who disagree with them.

Anyway, does anyone believe a French fascist like Jean-Marie le Pen will persuade any voters in our country to support the BNP?

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I wholeheartedly agree with John on this one. Fascist ideas do not stand up to rational analysis which is precisely why we should engage in debate with bigots like Le Pen and those who support him.

As an interesting aside, we have had a number of far right postings on this forum in the few months we have been going. On every occassion the posters in question found it utterly disorientating to be challenged in open debate and ultimately resorted to insult and offence.

The call to censor and stifle debate be it from "Left" or "Right" ultimately amounts to the same basic desire to control thought. I will always be in favour of free expression over "correct" expression.

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I happen to agree with you, John (and Andy). Le Pen is a despicable and abhorrent racist, but should still be allowed to visit this country. Why should we be worried about providing him with a platform to exhibit his prejudices? As John makes clear, we should feel confident about our own views and face him down. I agree with David Blunkett who said on the BBC: "If he behaves himself, then he's free to come and go as any other citizen in Europe. If he incites or causes public disorder, then the police will act immediately, and I will give them any support they need."

Le Pen is much more highly regarded in some sections of his own country than he is in the rest of Europe. His party is a major force in French politics and I obviously hope that the BNP fails to make any significant electoral breakthroughs in the UK. There is some concern that Nick Griffen (the BNP leader) will win a seat in the European Parliament in the June election. Given the use of the list system this is a distinct possibility, particularly with a low turnout. As for his party's prospects at Westminster, that thankfully looks a forlorn prospect.

What I find most worrying is that the far right in Europe now seems to be beginning to co-ordinate their activities throughout the continent. Compared to the Front National, the BNP only enjoy a marginal political influence in the UK. However, that was also the case with Le Pen and his party until the early 1980s. We must therefore be careful not to be too complacent in the UK.

Edited by cd mckie
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Derek probably believes these governments were right to do this.

Trotsky was the first to expose the use of repression by Stalin, to be accused of supporting it is merely bizarre. Any historian knows that the repression was aimed primarily against working class activists who were accused of being "Trotsky-fascists" so it is scarcely likely that they would support their own jailers.

Incidentally I wonder if the BNP will explain to their members on the terraces that they welcome Frenchmen rather than spitting on them.

I will repeat the point I have made elsewhere if I may. Education is the answer to fascism. Books for reading not burning. I am pleased that people took the opportunity of Le Pen's visit to the UK to oppose his sick gospel of hate. The banning of Le Pen by the state would not have served the same purpose.

It was a bit ironic to hear Blunkett warning Le Pen not to stir up racial tensions. What precisely did Blunkett's ravings about asylum seekers "swamping" our social services do?

Have a nice day

Derek McMillan

http://socialistteachers.tripod.com

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Derek probably believes these governments were right to do this.

Trotsky was the first to expose the use of repression by Stalin, to be accused of supporting it is merely bizarre.

When did you become Trotsky??

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I just happenend to be in great Britain when le Pen was there and I felt that the newspapers were agitating against him. But the people did not seem to care much. Did i make a just observation or am I mistaken?

You are correct Marco. Members of this forum are not a typical cross-section of the UK population. At the moment people in the UK are currently more concerned about the speeches being made by Islamic fundamentalists.

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Derek probably believes these governments were right to do this.

Trotsky was the first to expose the use of repression by Stalin, to be accused of supporting it is merely bizarre. Any historian knows that the repression was aimed primarily against working class activists who were accused of being "Trotsky-fascists" so it is scarcely likely that they would support their own jailers.

You are right to point out that Trotsky was a strong believer in the right of the individual to openly express political opinions. Unfortunately, he only believed in this during two periods of his life: (1) before he had power; (2) after he had gained power. This was not true of all Bolsheviks. Some retained their belief in free expression and were eventually forced from power while others refused to become involved with such a dictatorial government. See for example the biographies of Victor Serge, Alexander Shlyapnikov, Alexandra Kollantai, Julius Martov, Maxim Gorky, etc.

In January, 1918, Gorky led the attack on Lenin's decision to close down the Constituent Assembly. Gorky wrote in the New Life newspaper that the Bolsheviks had betrayed the ideals of generations of reformers: "For a hundred years the best people of Russia lived with the hope of a Constituent Assembly. In this struggle for this idea thousands of the intelligentsia perished along with tens of thousands of workers and peasants."

Lenin did not take too kindly to these comments. The Bolshevik government controlled the distribution of newsprint and in July, 1918, it cut off supplies to New Life and Gorky was forced to close his newspaper. The government also took action making it impossible for Gorky to get his work published in Russia. After this the Bolshevik government (including Trotsky) did everything it could to prevent people expressing views that differed from those of the government.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSserge.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSshlyapnikov.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSkollontai.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSmartov.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSgorky.htm

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When did you become Trotsky??

LOL. However since I do not think either of us was alive to comment at the time of the Moscow trials it seemed relevant to mention someone who was.

I think Trotsky provided an explanation and analysis of the bureaucracy in the USSR which was useful both for those who wanted to oppose it and from those who now want to learn from it.

John correctly pointed out that he was not the only one to make criticisms.

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I think Trotsky provided an explanation and analysis of the bureaucracy in the USSR which was useful both for those who wanted to oppose it and from those who now want to learn from it.

:D

Surely the roots of that bureaucracy lie in the elitism that is central to both Leninist and Trotskyite ideology. Stalinism after all was not much of a departure from War Communism.

The point that is relevant to the thread is perhaps that any ideology which emphasises the need for authoritarian leadership, be it an ideology of the left or right, will ultimately feel threatened by the democratic preference and will want to curb the free speech of opponents.

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And I repeat I have a vivid realisation that I am not Trotsky. I have never even had a beard. However the following is one of the opening paragraphs of "Their Morals and Ours"

"

A moralizing Philistine's favorite method is the lumping of reaction's conduct with that of revolution. He achieves success in this device through recourse to formal analogies. To him czarism and Bolshevism are twins. Twins are likewise discovered in fascism and communism. An inventory is compiled of the common features in Catholicism -- or more specifically, Jesuitism -- and Bolshevism. Hitler and Mussolini, utilizing from their side exactly the same method, disclose that liberalism, democracy, and Bolshevism represent merely different manifestations of one and the same evil. The conception that Stalinism and Trotskyism are "essentially" one and the same now enjoys the joint approval of liberals, democrats, devout Catholics, idealists, pragmatists, and anarchists. If the Stalinists are unable to adhere to this "People's Front", then it is only because they are accidentally occupied with the extermination of Trotskyists.

When Trotsky and his supporters were having their throats cut by Stalinists (metaphorically and in some cases literally!) the main occupation of some was not to criticise the Stalinists but to lecture Trotsky's supporters that it was all their own fault!

And of course Trotsky's writing did not "emphasise the need for authoritarian leadership." It provided an analysis of Stalinism which precisely demonstrated that its authoritarianism would be its downfall and that it would betray the socialist movement in the process.

However that is not the point. I said that books are for reading not for burning....anyone who wants to know the truth does not need to rely on Andy or on me. Read what Trotsky actually wrote and make up your own mind.

Blunkett believes in imprisonment without trial and condemns as "bonkers" the legal and psychiatric experts who have deprived him of one of his prisoners.....he is not in a good position to talk about anybody being authoritarian is he?

I do not think Le Pen was likely to influence anyone - least of all the francophobic BNP members! I do think that his visit was a good opportunity for those who wanted to oppose his sick doctrines to do so. I certainly would not rely on Blunkett to preserve our liberties in any way shape or form.

Have a nice day.

Derek McMillan

http://socialistteachers.tripod.com

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However that is not the point. I said that books are for reading not for burning....anyone who wants to know the truth does not need to rely on Andy or on me. Read what Trotsky actually wrote and make up your own mind.

Blunkett believes in imprisonment without trial and condemns as "bonkers" the legal and psychiatric experts who have deprived him of one of his prisoners.....he is not in a good position to talk about anybody being authoritarian is he?

http://socialistteachers.tripod.com

Blunkett and Trotsky should both be judged on what they do rather than what they have said in the past. Most politicians write about the need for freedom when they are in opposition. The problem is that they seem keen on the idea when they are in power.

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