Free Speech and the Socialist Movement

Socialism 2017

August 15, 2017

Socialists historically have always considered free speech and other democratic rights important. But right wingers—who happily support laws suppressing democratic freedoms—are today trying to present protests against them as denying their free speech--views that are backed, funded, and broadcast at the highest levels. Every state reserves the “right” to restrict speech that it considers detrimental to its own interests. As the U.S. socialist Eugene Debs commented in his famous 1920 antiwar speech, “It is extremely dangerous to exercise the constitutional right of free speech in a country fighting to make democracy free for the world.” Socialists fight for the fullest extension of democratic rights, including free speech, understanding that a society where such freedoms are completely fulfilled can only be established by transcending capitalist social relations. This talk will explore these issues.

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