libcom.org posts anti-Marxist polemic

Anarchist Web site libcom.org (the name of which is short for “libertarian communism”) has posted an article, “Free speech and its limitations in response to dealing with the far right” in a response to an article by one of our writers, “The Question of Freedom of Speech Facing Socialists“. While our Web site (as of now still new, with much more to come in the future) is composed of several different writers, with different backgrounds and perspectives, and I do not agree with the exact formulation of what our article said, the libcom article is essentially a cloaked anti-Marxist polemic, wrongly abusing the name of Marx to support their perspective. They are right to support their politics, but why not openly state themselves as contrary to Marxism and clearly state their perspective?

Our article worked from a perspective in favor of free speech and critical of the anarchist tactics of direct action and individual-terrorism, while theirs took the opposite position. Right off the bat, their article is wrong in claiming that “free speech” is only about not being censored by the government, and “censorship” is only about government censorship. That’s a nonsensical view. Any elementary (even bourgeois) analysis, including a Marxist analysis, recognizes that gangs, ad-hoc (spontaneously formed) or not, being violent against people who say certain things is censorship and a violation of free speech, and free speech requires protection from violence. Or is fascist groups going around and beating socialists not a violation of free speech? Please. One may not agree with free speech, but this is what free speech is. This is merely logical extension of a general conception of rights. Another example, is society truly protecting the right of gender expression of a trans woman if nothing is done against her being physically attacked by transphobic individuals every time she comes out in a dress, but the government doesn’t discriminate against her directly?

The writer would probably claim that this is “censorship” if socialists are being censored, but not agree that it’s censorship if it’s the right-wing being censored. That’s the kind of fallacies and manipulative language which is employed at libcom. If they agree with censoring the right-wing within capitalist peacetime through direct action, they should state that plainly, instead of claiming it’s not censorship. A Marxist says the truth directly. We’re not the bourgeois press. But of course, the writer of this article is no Marxist, despite invoking the name of Marx.

While the libcom article perhaps has a point in that our author was wrong to cite Berkman, it is entirely wrong to suggest that Marx and Luxemburg would have supported the brand of direct-action, individual-terrorist anarchism that the writer of the libcom article seems to be aligned to.

Our perspective, like that of Marx, is that of a social revolution. While this revolution may involve violence if the capitalists violently defend their rule (though violence is not our preference), this violence has nothing to do with direct action, individual-terrorist anarchist nonsense. Direct violent action is not a socialist tactic in the environment of liberal capitalist countries today, and therefore our article would have been right to criticize the shutting down of Milo Yiannopoulos’ event.

Yiannopoulous is not a fascist, but rather merely a right-wing, reactionary provokateur. To claim that Yiannopulous is a fascist is to indulge in the same kind of wrong analysis as the discredited cult of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, which claims that Trump is a fascist, engages in. Extending the logic of the libcom polemicists, violent terrorist direct action should be engaged in against conservative politicians. While their anarchist politics may very well consider this an appropriate tactic, Marxist socialists, and therefore we, have nothing to do with such nonsense. If Marx would’ve agreed with that, he wouldn’t have said that socialists would disapprove of an assassination of Bismarck in a 1879 interview. (among other things, because it is not a socialist tactic and because it would in fact be politically counter-productive)

Violence against organized fascists within capitalist society makes sense. That’s because fascism, in our analysis, does not refer to a certain type of speech, but rather is a movement based on organized paramilitary gangs which wage violence against the working class, such as the SS, SA, etc. The libcom article mentions that it would be “hypocritical” to support the working class in the Battle of Cable Street, but not support the shutting down of Yiannopoulos’ speech. There’s nothing necessarily correct in that assertion. Mosley’s BUF were fascists, Yiannopoulos is not. Mosley’s BUF was in the process of forming an organization to wage violence and terror against the working class, through their Blackshirts paramilitary, and the working class defended against it.

00mosley

Mosley and the BUF.

Of course, to criticize the shutting down of Yiannopoulos’ speech and to state the truth that it was not a socialist tactic doesn’t mean we are “on his side”, like libcom suggests. Nor does it mean we are not socialists. Nor that we misuse the words of Marx and Luxemburg. On the contrary, precisely we criticize libcom’s anarchist tactics because we are Marxist socialists. We detest Yiannopoulos’ politics. That they suggest we are on his side is evidence of how thuggish their perspective is. As a matter of fact, their article is a version of a forum post by one of their members, edited to remove the hostile, belittling, intimidatory-like language bordering on insults that they used to criticize us. This kind of fallacious, fanatical attitude is exactly what’s wrong with part of the left. They seem to think that, for example, someone who truly is against Yiannopoulos needs to write silly insults against him, but we don’t. Judging by their forum, constant usages of the words fuck, asshole, jerk, etc. are language that they need in order to understand a position. But just because we do not use such language, which only serves to lower the debate level of everyone, and which they use primarily against other left-wing individuals and groups,  in order to feel powerful (really showing weakness) in their arguments, in no way means that we agree with Yiannopoulos.

If libcom was debating legitimately, it would merely say that their position differs from ours, and give arguments for it. But, in a tone of humiliation against our writer taking place in their forum posts but not their article, they imply that we are simply totally wrong (and in fact knowledge-less and stupid), and it is not a matter of perspective, unless we agree with Yiannopoulos. That’s exactly the fallacious rushing to make false statements and accusations, uncaring about the truth attitude of part of the left which we heavily criticize.

The libcom writer, in one of their forum posts, went as far as to cite the U.S. Constitution in order to claim that free speech refers only to protection from censorship by the government and not violent gangs. Evidently, our analyses do not take bourgeois documents at the starting point. But even from a bourgeois perspective, the libcom user is wrong. While the First Amendment only serves to ban censorship from the government, obviously the meaning of “free speech” and “censorship” for the bourgeois revolutionaries who drafted the U.S. Constitution does not end here. They intended for the government to protect any individual from violence by any other individual, and placed a great importance on protection of an individual from other violent individuals who may attack him for his or her speech. They considered this a core part of their liberal conception of free speech. Only the most simplistic kind of analysis would lead to other conclusions. By making this kind of argument, he or she is putting themselves on the opposing side of every scholar, every historian, every student of law, every person with a rudimentary understanding of bourgeois society.

In conclusion, libcom arguments through obscuring logic, manipulating language, and emotionalistic bullying, and what truly angers them about us is that we ignore their fallacies and assumptions and just state our opinion, which clashes with several of their positions, which in a frustrated fashion they try to prove to be internally illogical, but fail to do so. Their fanatical attitude shows that they would’ve done so against any individual or group which did so. But what else would you expect from the other RevLeft?

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5 thoughts on “libcom.org posts anti-Marxist polemic

  1. If we can’t stomach the idea of engaging with right-wing and fascist politics directly via the relatively benign methods of direct action and no-platforming, what do we do when it comes to engaging with them in a revolutionary way? “Oh, ah, we would like to deal the final blow to a stubborn threat to communism, but you see we can’t be seen actually trying to win over them and destroying their ability to organize politically and materially, that’d be limiting their freedom of speech you understand”.

    I see no reason why we should adhere to bourgeois principles like the “freedom of speech” anyway. It expresses, in its highest form, the bourgeois-idealist position that ideas and politics exist in an airy and untouchable place far above mere mortal lives, instead of being the very crude and very material application of power–where power must be met with power. As the old man once said, the weapon of criticism cannot replace criticism by weapons–material force must be met with material force.

    Do we sometimes tack onto bourgeois principles, defending against state incursions on our political organizations by using their own words against them? Of course we do, because we can then bring into relief the contradiction that the state can only maintain it’s pretense of freedom of speech because it itself pretends to have the only legitimate claim to all material force. Whenever it has been the case that the working class has attempted to organize itself materially, politically, to challenge this pretense of the state, was it not always the state that decisively denied them this much vaunted “freedom of speech”? So we will use their hypocrisy as our shield, weak as it historically has been.

    And do we restrict our criticism, both the weapon of and by weapons, only to those whose politics are fascist, fascistic, the most reactionary? Of course not. But because are not bound by bourgeois so-called principles, we can do the incredible thing of evaluating things on a case by case basis, as they really are, instead of hamstringing ourselves with the restrictions our enemies would place upon us–which some sections of the communist movement would happily accept, calling it more progressive, more revolutionary, to make ourselves less able to fight. We can see that fascist mobilization is a threat to the working class, and therefore we must ourselves organize against it. Is it empirically the most dangerous or the most present threat? Maybe, maybe not; but these are empirical questions, not ones of principle. It does seem, however, that there can be more effective organization against outright fascists than, say, the capitalist state.

    Does this mean that we should engage in this fight? It doesn’t immediately mean so; we know the pitfalls that broad “antifascist” politics have gotten us into, how it can lead us farther and farther away from the libertarian communist program. But it does not immediately preclude our involvement either. If we do not present the communist program, who will?

    “Hence, nothing prevents us from making criticism of politics, participation in politics, and therefore real struggles, the starting point of our criticism, and from identifying our criticism with them. In that case we do not confront the world in a doctrinaire way with a new principle: Here is the truth, kneel down before it! We develop new principles for the world out of the world’s own principles. We do not say to the world: Cease your struggles, they are foolish; we will give you the true slogan of struggle. We merely show the world what it is really fighting for, and consciousness is something that it has to acquire, even if it does not want to.” Marx, in a letter to Ruge, 1843.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. We are interested in a respectful debate.

      We have no quarrel with the tactic of no platforming, which as far as I’ve seen means simply refusing to debate certain individuals, and doing anything possible in order to not give them a platform to speak on. That doesn’t have anything to do with violently shutting down a speech by a right-wing individual who isn’t part of an organized fascist violence gang, which is what we criticize.

      You work from the standpoint that any action, for example a violent action, will be positive for the left, without considering the character, strategical viewpoints, background, tactical historical background, situation, and other factors of that an action. For example, one interpretation of your simplistic logic could have it that assassinating Trump could supposedly be viewed a win for the left, when actually not only would it be an unacceptable tactic from a Marxist standpoint, not only would it achieve nothing as Trump would just be replaced by some other capitalist politician who would be even more right-wing and motivated by revenge against the assassination, but it would also cause the left-wing to lose credibility and sympathy from millions, as well as create the situation allowing for a massive government crackdown, repression and increasing authoritarianism. An anarchist may agree with such an action, but a Marxist can’t.

      That brings us about to the next point: we are against violent direct action in the current situation in liberal capitalist countries. This is not a refusal to use violence if the situation is appropriate, nor any retreat. It is simply the Marxist position on the issue, which follows historical consistency. Marxists and anarchists have historically disagreed on the question of direct action. Generally, anarchists have taken the position that an acceptable tactical strategy is to support any violent and/or terrorist action against any of the representatives or symbols of capitalism, at any point. While Marxists have taken the position that there should be no direct action, no terrorism in a liberal capitalist situation. Rather, the revolution must be organized. If possible, power should be taken peacefully (a position reiterated over and over again by Marx and Engels, though of course both them and us, by extension, are skeptical of how possible and applicable this is): if the capitalist army and police try to violently suppress it, then of course, the working class has to organize militarily against them.

      But that doesn’t mean we’re against suppressing fascists violently, within a capitalist society. We agree that fascists have to be suppressed violently, as we understand fascism to be a movement based on violent organized gangs which pose a violent and terroristic threat to the working class and its movements. But for example, if a right-wing politician or individual has right-wing views, like “women belong in the kitchen”, “black people are thugs”, etc. that individual is not a fascist, but merely a right-wing, sexist, racist conservative. While we despise the politics of this kind of individual, we would not agree with terrorist violence against them. It is politically counter-productive, and such actions are not revolutionary under our analysis. Furthermore, we hold indiscriminate murder and violence to be morally wrong, and since under the Marxist view, and by extension our view, such a violent action wouldn’t advance the cause of the revolution, then it is unambiguously morally wrong.

      Freedom of speech is not a bourgeois principle, but rather a general principle that is curtailed within capitalist society and would flourish even further within socialist society. Precisely what we must criticize is how limited such rights are in current bourgeois society. Marx, who can broadly be considered to have been vastly influenced by a variant of radical humanist thought, held freedom of speech to be one of the most important rights.

      Yet the question of suppressing fascism is no question of speech, but merely a question of self-defense from violence. For example, if some irrelevant individual, within theoretically ahistorical circumstances, who is not part of any organized movement, randomly says “Hitler wasn’t all that bad”, we wouldn’t consider this to be “fascism”, but merely the expression of reactionary views. Of course fascism has to be suppressed, but that has nothing to do with the topic of free speech in general.

      But don’t assume that this position means that we’d go beg the police to “protect” free speech of Nazi apologists, for example.

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  2. >We have no quarrel with the tactic of no platforming…

    First, you and your grouping have no idea what no-platforming is, then. Second, why do you oppose, seemingly on principle, the no-platforming of the non-fascist right? Is it your understanding that they are supposedly less the enemies of communism than the fascists are, simply because they are immediately less violent? Despite the case that they would be just as happy to use physical violence against the working class, just perhaps in the more genteel form of a cop’s gun and baton rather than a fascist’s?

    >You work from the standpoint that any action, for example a violent action, will be positive for the left, without considering the character, strategical viewpoints, background, tactical historical background, situation, and other factors of that an action.

    Ah, but here you elude the point regarding principle to say it’s all about the tactics, despite both the original article from your group claiming your stance on freedom of speech was an “ethical one” and your article not saying a word about tactics, but much about a supposed “right” to “free speech”.

    And not only that, you do so by putting words in my mouth and into the mouths of others. You accuse “libcom” of arguing via “obscuring logic, manipulating language, and emotionalistic bullying”, but isn’t it you who in this very article used the words “[t]he writer [of the blog post on libcom] would probably claim” some position that Fleur never did, and then went on a long spiel against this totally made up opponent. And you’re saying that I somehow claim that “any action” would be “positive for the left”, despite my own assertion that such decisions are empricical questions rather than based on some “principled” stance; or, to put it another way, they are tactical questions. In other words, you’re making up the strawmen arguments you’re trying to knock down. Or, to put it yet another way: I obviously don’t think that “any action” would be positive for “the left”; for example, I certainly don’t think this group’s posturing over free speech is at all positive for anybody but the enemies of the communist movement.

    And this deception, putting it plainly, continues further with your claims that you are only arguing the “Marxist” position against the “anarchist” one, as if both were monoliths. You forget, say, anarchists texts like “You Can’t Blow Up a Social Relationship” (https://libcom.org/library/you-cant-blow-up-social-relationship)–which, to be clear, I use only as an example, and not as a statement of my position. You also forget “Marxist” groupings like the German Red Army Faction, which, I submit, could probably be described as having engaged in “individual-terrorism” and “direct violent action”. Ah, but perhaps because they were a “faction”, and therefore satisfy your fetish for “organization” as the way to purify violence, you are totally okay with them? I only kid, of course; I wouldn’t want to put you in the position of having to defend positions you never before stated as having.

    And, yet, there does seem to be something there. How is it that the mass gathering of political actors, many of whom were probably socialists or communists, to no-platform Yiannassholish or some Trumpsters somehow counts as “individual-terrorism” and not an expression of the resistance of the working class? Is it because they didn’t march under a single banner or party or something? Does some kind of formal “organization” absolve the sin of violence? So much for talking about tactics; indeed, we seem to be going into the territory of liturgy, what with talk of immorality and Christ-like “Marx” and “Engels” setting down all that is good and decent. I suppose that instead of repenting for being a sinner, I should repent for being an “individual-terror anarchist”.

    But, alas, lest I be accused of defending every violent act, let me preempt that by saying that if course I don’t. But, as I said before, by not hamstringing myself to bourgeois so-called principles, I can evaluate an act on a case by case basis. I defend only the idea that violence is not immediately some kind of socialist sin that should lead the whole movement into a bout of navel gazing, certain not for things as minor as a few fascists getting punched and bloodied.

    And you say that Marx and Engels were some kind of pacifists, the same Marx that keenly studied every violent revolution and saw in the active defense of the Paris Commune the model of the future movement, the same Engels that personally fought at the barricades. There was the simple recognition by them that no new state of affairs is ever inaugurated without great violence. So much for you and your group flows from being “Marxists”, and yet seems to have very little to do with Marx. I suppose that statement of Marx, “ce qu’il y a de certain c’est que moi, je ne suis pas marxiste”, continues to be ever prescient!

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    1. > Why do you oppose, seemingly on principle, the no-platforming of the non-fascist right? Is it your understanding that they are supposedly less the enemies of communism than the fascists are, simply because they are immediately less violent? Despite the case that they would be just as happy to use physical violence against the working class, just perhaps in the more genteel form of a cop’s gun and baton rather than a fascist’s?

      Like I stated, it is highly probable that the capitalist army and police will be used to suppress the revolution and therefore the working class needs to organize militarily against them. This doesn’t mean we support terrorism / violent direct action against right-wing politicians and parties, for all the already stated reasons. Of course, they are enemies of communism, but the revolution doesn’t come through arbitrarily violently attacking them.

      Here’s the problem: If we are to accept the notion that certain things should be censored, then who should act as the censor? Arbitrary, organized and/or spontaneously formed violent gangs? How can we make sure that they’ll always take the right decisions? Would it turn into a violent fight between several gangs with opposing ideas in what to censor? If we form a social institution for censorship, how do we know that it won’t be corrupted to not only censor the right-wing, for example by claiming certain left-wing criticism is “counter-revolutionary”?

      Moreover, under a revolutionary perspective, we can’t see how censorship of anything is positive for anyone or helps the revolution. In fact, we consider it to be counter-productive. The workers should be free to hear all kinds of backwards ideas. Otherwise, they become alluring because they are forbidden.

      > Ah, but here you elude the point regarding principle to say it’s all about the tactics, despite both the original article from your group claiming your stance on freedom of speech was an “ethical one” and your article not saying a word about tactics, but much about a supposed “right” to “free speech”.

      I didn’t write the article overtly focusing on the “ethical” stance, though (note that we have no strict line). As I stated, I wouldn’t have wrote something like that. In my article, I made it clear that my main point was that while I don’t agree with the exact formulation of our article, libcom’s article wrongly paints the idea that Marx would have approved of anarchist tactics, and that our article would have been right to oppose violently shutting down Yiannopoulous’ meeting.

      However, given that violently attacking people is wrong in general, and that under a Marxist analysis I can’t see how randomly attacking right-wing politicians is revolutionary, I would be inclined to also see it as wrong. But an ethical perspective wasn’t the main focus in my article.

      > And not only that, you do so by putting words in my mouth and into the mouths of others. You accuse “libcom” of arguing via “obscuring logic, manipulating language, and emotionalistic bullying”,

      And you have no arguments against this point. The problem I have with libcom, is that like RevLeft, it is a breeding ground for a repressive culture that is based on a fight for the honor and reputation of users and where people are scared to state certain thoughts, and where more often than not the norm is hostile and insultive language against those who hold certain views, forgoing actual arguments. In RevLeft, particularly, there is a culture of role-playing revolutionism, and when someone criticizes some view, the first thing anyone does is question the “revolutionary credentials” of the user. It’s a hypocritical mess which serves only for empty talking unlinked to any real actions – and for a talking-only space, it is terrible, for censorship (scroll through an old thread, count how many users are banned) and intimidation is the norm rather than the respectful exchange of ideas. I think the spectacle is sad.

      > but isn’t it you who in this very article used the words “[t]he writer [of the blog post on libcom] would probably claim” some position that Fleur never did

      It makes sense to claim that Fleur would “probably” claim that censorship of socialists is censorship while censorship against the right-wing isn’t, given that in the forum thread Fleur alternated between admitting that violence against the right-wing is violence, and claiming it’s just protection and self defense. Either way, my argument doesn’t rely on the “probably”, and claiming that he or she would “probably” do it instead of accusing him or her of doing so just shows honesty and ethics in writing — the exact opposite of what Fleur and many libcom users in that thread have shown.

      > and then went on a long spiel against this totally made up opponent.

      No, the tiny detail of the “probably” hardly changes anything, the logic remains the same and there are many different examples which would have substituted that one.

      > And you’re saying that I somehow claim that “any action” would be “positive for the left”, despite my own assertion that such decisions are empricical questions rather than based on some “principled” stance; or, to put it another way, they are tactical questions. In other words, you’re making up the strawmen arguments you’re trying to knock down. Or, to put it yet another way: I obviously don’t think that “any action” would be positive for “the left”; for example, I certainly don’t think this group’s posturing over free speech is at all positive for anybody but the enemies of the communist movement.

      You thinking these actions are not wrong (as in, not necessarily ethically, but violating a general tactical strategy and the political thinking which leads to it) on principle, however, is exactly what is criticized.

      > And this deception, putting it plainly, continues further with your claims that you are only arguing the “Marxist” position against the “anarchist” one, as if both were monoliths.

      Generalizing, these are the Marxist and anarchist positions. It’s impossible to criticize something when you can’t draw a stable picture of it. But I was careful to label it as a “brand” of anarchism in my article, clearly meaning that some other anarchists might have different positions.

      > You also forget “Marxist” groupings like the German Red Army Faction, which, I submit, could probably be described as having engaged in “individual-terrorism” and “direct violent action”.

      Precisely this is why there was nothing Marxist about them, just like there is nothing democratic about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

      > I wouldn’t want to put you in the position of having to defend positions you never before stated as having.

      Yet this is exactly what libcom users did. In your grand hypocrisy or ignorance, you totally ignore libcom users in the forum thread, including Fleur, of basically accusing us of supporting Yiannopoulous, amongst hostile language and many character assassinations.

      > And, yet, there does seem to be something there. How is it that the mass gathering of political actors, many of whom were probably socialists or communists, to no-platform Yiannassholish or some Trumpsters somehow counts as “individual-terrorism” and not an expression of the resistance of the working class?

      Terrorism (mind you, not in the bourgeois meaning of the word) is the proper term to describe these tactics. Sections and members of the working class have adopted terrorism, at times wrongly, several times through history.

      > Is it because they didn’t march under a single banner or party or something? Does some kind of formal “organization” absolve the sin of violence?

      No. The same tactics would be wrong whether they would be organized by a party or not.

      > So much for talking about tactics; indeed, we seem to be going into the territory of liturgy, what with talk of immorality and Christ-like “Marx” and “Engels” setting down all that is good and decent. I suppose that instead of repenting for being a sinner, I should repent for being an “individual-terror anarchist”.

      It is a matter of tactical strategy and political analysis. The idea that it’s immoral to cause harm to someone, unless it’s a legitimate target and done in accordance to revolutionary theory, is just a side detail.

      > But, alas, lest I be accused of defending every violent act, let me preempt that by saying that if course I don’t. But, as I said before, by not hamstringing myself to bourgeois so-called principles, I can evaluate an act on a case by case basis.

      We agree on that some violence is wrong and other is right, therefore also on not defending every violent act. But this is not what the issue comes down to, and we don’t string ourselves to any bourgeois principle.

      > I defend only the idea that violence is not immediately some kind of socialist sin that should lead the whole movement into a bout of navel gazing, certain not for things as minor as a few fascists getting punched and bloodied.

      There is no arbitrary condemnation of violence as sin. We’ve made our position clear several times now that we support actual Marxist revolutionary tactics, both violent and otherwise, and yet you keep accusing us of being plainly against violence. Isn’t that a bit hypocritical, putting words in our mouths? Even if you think we’re just cloaked pacifists, you should admit our claims, then present your belief that our claims are wrong and the arguments why.

      > And you say that Marx and Engels were some kind of pacifists, the same Marx that keenly studied every violent revolution and saw in the active defense of the Paris Commune the model of the future movement, the same Engels that personally fought at the barricades.

      No, we don’t think Marx and Engels were pacifists. I unambiguously support the violence that was required to establish the Paris Commune.

      > There was the simple recognition by them that no new state of affairs is ever inaugurated without great violence.

      Sure, that’s probably true, save for “great”. The revolution would most likely involve violence, even though Engels clearly remarked that in the unlikely event that it was possible to have a peaceful revolution, this would be the preference of the communists.

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      1. Herbert Marcuse addressed this issue from a Marxist perspective in his essay “Repressive Tolerance”: “THIS essay examines the idea of tolerance in our advanced industrial society. The conclusion reached is that the realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period–a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression.” (Full essay available here:
        http://www.marcuse.org/herbert/pubs/60spubs/65repressivetolerance.htm)

        Jodi Dean (The Communist Horizon) a contemporary Marxist commented on the shut down of the racial theorist Charles Murray at Middlebury College: (Excerpt): The Left needs to defend whatever spaces we can. We have to make the cost of far right speech too high for them to continue it. The Right makes cultural gains by manipulating liberal ideas of tolerance and neutrality — whether this is in the form of the white supremacism of Charles Murray and Milo Yiannopoulus or the climate denialist industry funded by the Koch brothers… Not only do most of these condemnations confuse protests against white supremacist speakers with state action (suggesting that there are liberals who can only think from a police perspective), but they proceed as if we were not in a civil war, a class war. They proceed as if society were a seminar or courtroom, not a war zone where people are daily under attack and where their attackers seek the cover of liberal institutions to justify these attacks.”

        So there exists dissident Marxist position on the free speech issue.

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