The Golden Dawn organisation is a far-right Political Party in Greece. On par with the BNP they have been accused of being fascist, racist and xenophobic; amongst other accusations.
This week four of their members of parliament, including the leader of the party Nikolaos Michaloliakos, were arrested for belonging to a criminal group. Other counts include murder, assault and money-laundering.
The Greek government have clamped down on the political party after a Golden Dawn supporter has been accused of murdering anti-racist musician Pavlos Fyssas on the 18th September.
The Greek government have begun referring to Golden Dawn as a criminal group to avoid being accused of preventing democracy take its course. But is it ok to stop fascist sentiments spreading, or is this a prevention of free speech?
John Stuart Mill a philosopher alive during the enlightenment is quoted saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”. But this was inspired by 17th century writer Volitaire who lived and was inspired by the French Revolution. After frustration with King Luis XVI a revolution led to the constitution being re-written so that France became a republic. The newly founded constitution included the phrase “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else”.
So is giving fascists a platform to speak and air their views, which often call to remove freedom of speech, the right thing to do? Ask yourself, would you give Hitler and the Nazi party of Germany’s past a platform? They were banned in Germany after the Munich Putsch that led to Hitler being jailed and their numbers then dwindled.
However, when Hitler was allowed to speak again, the Nazis eventually succeeded in growing to become the largest party in the German Government. After three elections the President felt he had no choice but to appoint Hitler Chancellor, despite his opposition and two previous denials. Hitler and the Nazis then proceeded to shut down Democracy.
Democracy is about having the right to vote, having universal human rights. Allowing people who want to strip that right away, to air that view, is an attack on democracy.
It seems like a juxtaposition to defend free speech, with the exception of speech that essentially spreads hate. But you can at least agree, its ok to be who you are, who ever that is.
An important justification is: it is not right to have or spread the opinion, that other people don’t have the right to be Gay, Straight, Black, White, Disabled, Well, Women, Man. Neither, All, None, etc.
The only opinion that is Wrong, is the one that thinks certain groups shouldn’t have rights because of who they are, not the opinion they hold. Black people will always be black, but fascists can change their mind. They don’t always have to be fascists.