March for Free Expression

The next phase

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Not the end, but the beginning

As we have noted elsewhere, the purpose of this campaign is not to hold a rally, shout for a couple of hours, then go home and get back to grumbling in front of the TV news.

We want to bring about genuine change, so we no longer face the grotesque spectacle of European MPs needing police protection, murdered film makers, novellists living in hiding and artists moving between safe houses while existing law is not applied and new laws are brought in to suppress the ancient freedoms of us all without actually protecting anyone in practice.

And we want to stand beside writers, artists, human and women's rights activists in other continents in their struggles for the sorts of basic freedoms our ancestors won, only for our generation to start whittling them away.

In our statement of principle, we said:
We assert and uphold the right of freedom of expression and call on our elected representatives to do the same. We abhor the fact that people throughout the world live under mortal threat simply for expressing ideas and we call on our elected representatives to protect them from attack and not to give comfort to the forces of intolerance that besiege them.
We meant it then and we mean it now.

By the time of the rally next weekend, there will be a new, permanent website in place for a campaign that will not stop until we have brought about this change. We will be determined, calm and impossible to ignore.

So again, we invite your suggestions. We will need a programme of specific measures that we advocate, in both the domestic and the international arenas. We do, of course, have a very clear idea of what we want and of how we intend to achieve it. But before we say what we have in mind, we would like to give the opportunity to all the people who have supported this campaign so far to contribute to the debate.

Please use the comments function on this post.

18 Comments:

Anonymous bbq said...

Repeal all laws limiting freedom of speech, including reform of excessive UK libel laws.

The cure for bad speech is more speech, not less. Get a UN standard to clarify this, for the new human rights body.

Also: side note: freedom of religion should mean freedom to speak and practice as you feel, not to limit other's religious opinions or practices.

3:42 pm  
Blogger jonz said...

Sunny, the 'liberal lefty' at Pickled Politics, prefers to support the theocratic totalitarian cause. What is wrong with 'liberals'? For one they don't know how to use a dictionary.

5:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're surely not suggesting we allow free speech to criticise Israel? Just the freedom to criticise Muslims, right?

I notice you are sharing a platform with "Civil Liberties", a fascist front organisation headed by the BNP's North East organiser Kevin Scott.

Are you anti-semites too?

6:31 pm  
Blogger jonz said...

Anonymous

So we have Islamists preaching on London streets to "behead those who insult Islam", and your response is to... do nothing?

Do nothing because.... some racsists oppose this behaviour aswell! Fucking hell, how intellectually and morally weak minded you are.

You say Civil Liberties is a fascist organisation. Proof? They may have links with BNP, but that doesn't mean their function is to put Jews into a gas chamber. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

I challenge you to show me Civil Liberties 'fascist' agenda. The only fascists I see are the ones who seek to quosh peaceful demonstrations about freedom of speech.

Annonymous, I take it you went on the 'anti-war' march before? You do you realise this platform was shared with Palestinian terrorist supporters? That people there actively encouraged terrorist attacks against Israel and Iraq?

Anyone being racist on this march is likely to get a smack in the mouth from me. And anyone supporting terrorists, likewise.

7:08 pm  
Blogger FractalNymph said...

Hey, I will definitely be attending next week as a Danish supporting Scotsman! Where are you guys meeting for drinks before? Please check out my pics of the big London Muslim rally (and our counter-protest) at fractalnymph.blogspot.com

CHEERS!

7:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "You're surely not suggesting we allow free speech to criticise Israel? Just the freedom to criticise Muslims, right?"
Israel is being excessively and unjustly criticised just because freedom of speech is gagged. To every criticism of Israel I can provide 100 criticisms against Palestinians. Fancy a competition?

Polish Solidarity with Denmark

10:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An excellent idea, not least because it will demonstrate that this about one issue and not the preserve of swivel-eyed loons and the fash.

I would counsel however that it is independent of some of the eye-raising rightist groups this demo has been critised by default over.

12:48 am  
Anonymous polemicist said...

A long overdue repeal of all existing blasphemy laws so that no other superstitions or cults can claim parity with the existing redundant legislation.

1:02 am  
Anonymous G.Kant said...

The danish cartoons waked me up.

I wish You good luck for Your demo in London.

2:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pass international laws that allow clerics who issue killing contracts " a million and a Toyota if you murder X who has displeased me and my religion " to be pursued and prosecuted like the common criminals that they are.

7:58 am  
Anonymous aeneas said...

A few ideas to put into the mix:

More questioning of political correctness
Repeal of blasphemy laws
Name and shame politicians who attempt to institute or support measures to reduce freedom of expression
Highlight the issue of media self censorship
Oppose attempts to reduce freedom of speech on the Internet.
Outline cases where people have been discriminated against in the workplace for what they say outside work
Call all MPs, MEPs, Councillors, etc. to swear an oath to defend the principles of free speech and free expression before they formally take up their role
Establish links with freedom of expression groups around the world so that such freedom can be spread around the world to countries where it does not yet exist
Name and shame states that oppose freedom of expression
Have an annual free speech award

12:31 pm  
Anonymous James Cole said...

I agree with polemicist. In this time of self-censorship repealing the blasphemy laws would be a great symbolic act.

I'd like to see our leaders openly condemn the threats made against those who exercise their rights to free speech.

1:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aeneas, I can't agree more. Sail to our March, which is only the first chapter of our Odyssey!

Polish Solidarity with Denmark

7:21 pm  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

"Repeal all laws limiting freedom of speech, including reform of excessive UK libel laws."

i concur.
and release Abu Hamza.

he was jailed for what he said , not what he did. if you value free speech, that is just not on.

remember Voltaire's quote, about fighting to the death for the other persons right to speak? we could do well to remember that.

theres an idea - have a "release Abu Hamza" banner. That'll confuse the hell out of the BBC , MCB , Livingstone and their assorted ilk.


to see how far free speech has come under attack get a load of this London Met police page

9:09 pm  
Anonymous Mark said...

Abolish the laws against unlicensed protest within a kilometre of Parliament. That would be a good start that I can't see anyone having a problem with; oh, except those MPs who find free speech "too loud to work peacefully".

11:13 am  
Anonymous Infidel said...

BBQ said above, '... freedom of religion should mean freedom to speak and practice as you feel, not to limit other's religious opinions or practices.'

Hmm. That go for female circumcision, then? Perhaps introduce sharia law into parts of the UK. You presumably agree that animals for food should be killed in an unacceptable manner under a law that is especially for Muslims? And this is before we begin to look at what happens in theocratic Muslim countries.

4:56 pm  
Anonymous BBQ said...

Infidel: I see your point: however,

if a woman of full age and sound mind truly freely wishes to get a clitorectomy, as rare as it may, can you stop her rightfully?

I know that will be rare, and demanding some proof that this is really the case, would surely be legal.

Again, we could argue about details in a specific case, but the principle I think we can agree on.

4:31 pm  
Anonymous BBQ said...

Sharia law: there is nothing stopping *you* personally from living according to Sharia law. Just to stop you from forcing someone else to live according to Sharia law.

We allow Halal and Kosher slaughter.

4:34 pm  

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