Shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater unless it’s burning is not free speech.
Screaming “Kill the Jews.” and/or “Kill the Muslims.” and/or “Kill the Christians.” and/or “Kill the N*s.” Is not free speech.
Some people, including the ACLU, are criticizing the mayor of Portland, Oregon for asking the U.S. Government to pull the permits for “free speech” rallies on federal property in the city’s downtown. One is scheduled less than ten days after someone who claims shouting about killing people is free speech actually murdered two men and tried to kill a third.
It’s important to remember that fascists are really good at using code words such as “alt-right” instead of white supremacist; “preventing voter fraud” to mean disenfranchising people of color; “inner-city culture” to demonize minorities. The most tragically comical is the claim that Muslims want to impose Shariah Law while trying to get their version of the bible codified in our legal system.
The so-called “free speech” rallies are code for spewing hate against POC, LGTBQ, non-christians, etc. and for inciting violence. At these rallies, white supremacists physically intimidate people until they feel forced to defend themselves and then are viciously attacked by fascists who claim they beat someone to a pulp in self defense. (These actions have been documented at other “free speech” events and one of the guests scheduled for June 4 has been convicted for beating a counter-protestor.) These same people are organizing a rally that is specifically anti-Muslim, although they’re moving that one to Seattle.
The white supremacists aren’t interested in “free speech”. They shout down others trying to exercise their own right to free speech. They ignore that freedom of religion comes before freedom of speech in the first amendment and that the right of the people to assemble specifies “peaceably”.
They’re coming to Portland from California and Washington to confront people who try to be inclusive, who want to welcome immigrants of all faiths and colors, who don’t believe in hating those who are different. There are even reports that some of the interlopers have and will disguise themselves as anti-fa or anarchists to get the violence started.
They come to Portland because of its racist history and its hugely white majority trying to galvanize more racism among Internet trolls (such as the May 26th terrorist murderer) and vulnerable young people.
Tolerance does not mean tolerating intolerance and free speech does not include hate speech. Nor are we required to allow people to gather when they’ve proven that their only reason for doing so is to incite violence and spew hatred.
At the last “free speech” rally he attended, the terrorist who murdered two brave men in Portland May 26 and tried to murder another screamed obscenities and gave the Nazi salute while wrapping himself in the American flag. He slaughtered those two men only because they tried to stop him from harassing two teenage girls. He has the gall to call that a “patriotic” act.
Don’t let white supremacists and neo-nazis get away with using code words. Those code words are the first step towards the totalitarian regime our current hater in chief and Congressional feudalists want to take us.
Sunday, June 4, do not go to downtown Portland. The media should stay away. Counter protestors should stay away. Set up an opposing rally somewhere else and make sure that gets media coverage. Let people know you stand against hate, but do not give the haters a platform. If no one, except the cops, show up to their “rally”, if the media do not cover it, if there are no peaceful counter protestors for them to attack, they can go back home and spew their hate on YouTube. Portland doesn’t have to listen.