No platform is no solution…
A Very Public Sociologist reports on the mini-blogstorm over Iain Dale’s proposal that Total Politics carry an interview with Nick Griffin and the calls from the likes Though Cowards Flinch to boycott TP’s blog awards as a protest. Phil wont be joining the boycott (neither will Jim Jepps) because TP falls outside the labour movement and no platform is therefore a ‘tactical question’. However, inside the labour movement is a different question:
Trade unions and student organisations are absolutely right to deny fascists openings for their politics within their structures, up to and including the outright expulsion of far right activists. The BNP is the modern day antithesis to everything our movement values and, in the unlikely event of a fascist government here in Britain, it will be us who gets carted off to the camps first.
Of course, none of this is untrue per se however, it doesn’t really add-up to a justification for the kind of censure that Phil wants to see. Under the right conditions it’s not improbable that governments of say, a Conservative stripe, could start using the state power against trade unionists; just ask the miners. However, nowhere do I see proposals to no-platform them in the labour movement. You might argue that Griffin and co are in a different league and you would be right but still there is a fundamental inconsistency here and its one that should be troubling.
While TCF rightly takes Dale to task for the hypocrisy of the ‘right-wing notion of free speech’ what is mind-bending is the idea we replace it with one of our own. Worse still the evidence shows that no-platforming tends be counter-productive and bolsters the ‘anti-politics’credentials of the BNP; they do no crave ‘normalisation’ at all. Confronting the BNP on their politics necessarily at some stage bringing them out into the open; this is another reason no-platforming is no solution.