Thursday, January 26, 2006


Support Free Speech: Shut Others Up

A 'pro-life' (anti-abortion) protest was held in San Francisco's Bay Area recently. SF Bay Area Indymedia was calling for 'pro-choice' (pro-abortion) supporters to shut it down.

In case you missed it, Indymedia is all about free speech. This usually explains, why racism, sexism, antisemitism, lies and libel are not only permitted, but generally encouraged on the Indymedia newswire.

Unfortunately, it seems this support of free speech often tends to extend only to those who are following the party line. I have previously covered examples of dissenting viewpoints being censored on UK Indymedia. I have reported on Indymedia articles endorsing vandalism of posters they disagreed with. I have reported on the 'World Can't Wait' group planning to prevent George W Bush being heard.

The SF Bay Area protest provides more examples. On the Indymedia post, one may read their response to the protest:
We are calling on the people and workers of San Francisco and the Bay Area to rise up and completely stop them in their tracks and shut down their march.
We are calling for a festive, racous (sic) and confrontational approach to this
right wing invasion. Bring yourselves and your ideas to the Spokescouncil on Sunday, Jan.
15, to finalize plans of resistance. Autonomous direct actions to shut down the march are also encouraged.
Sound friendly enough? We're not talking about Nazi or KKK protesters by the way.

There's absolutely no question abortion is a sensitive issue to those on both sides of the debate. The Indymedia post however seems to confuse issues further:
Ironically enough, the pro-"life" movement as a whole supports the most brutal degradation and destruction of life through war and capitalism.
Presumably that applies to all of them? Apologies to anyone who is pro-peace yet voted Bush, or is anti-war yet pro-life. Your opinion, as a whole, doesn't matter.

So what happened on the day? Indybay has plenty of photos also - this is one thing Indymedia consistently does well. Were the numerous signs which read "fuck your agenda" really necessary or clever?

This photo-essay by Zombie will also allow you to draw your own conclusions. As for who wins? Read it all to compare protest-babes in the only definitive way the author could measure success. You'll probably also enjoy as I did, Code-Pink and World Can't Wait's 'interaction' with police motorcycles.

This begs the question, what does a women's' group against war (with a penchant for photoshoppery) have to do with the issue of abortion? I have previously suggested protesters pick a cause and stick with it.

If you're going to support "freedom of speech", stick with that as well, rather than selectively applying it only to views you approve of.

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