[Marxism] LENIN'S TOMB: This isn't really about free speech, is it? - Letter to Apostate Windbag

Lenin's Tomb leninstombblog at googlemail.com
Thu Jan 15 08:57:39 MST 2015


David, I think you’re being a bit of a philistine (as is almost everyone who claims to find a text ‘unclear’).

Of course, if you think psychoanalysis is ‘all nonsense’, then of course you’re not going to make much of an effort to follow a piece that is basically, though wittily and elegantly written, a careful symptomatic reading of a text.

But when you claim not to understand how free expression can be racialised, I have to wonder what planet you live on.  How can I put it in a way that you would understand?  Free expression is not something that inheres in the cosmos, but is only convoked in certain socio-political arrangements.  It is conditional.  It is contingent on a bundle of other rights and obligations.  There are always forms of expression that are suppressed.  Only in the most naive libertarian fantasy can free expression be an absolute.  Given this, the question is where is the balance struck between conflicting rights and obligations?  How is it negotiated?  If the balance is struck in such a way as to systematically repress the expression of brown skinned people more than that of white skinned people, that is what I could call racially biased.  (Such a situation obtains in France today)  And if your invocation of free speech in a context like this places most of the emphasis on the rights of white skinned people to be racially abusive to brown skinned people, and on the threat posed to that right by brown skinned people, then your conception of free speech could be said to be racialised.  (That is what is happening in Leigh’s article).

Therefore, when Leigh says his piece of free speech, I say that it is primarily a defence of (and apologia for) racist speech.

 I’m sure you’ll still be none-the-wiser after this.


> On 15 Jan 2015, at 14:31, David P Á via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
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