There Is No Such Thing as "Free" Speech (was RE: [Fwd: THE TEARS OF THE MIGHTY])

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Thu Mar 16 11:09:26 PST 2000

Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:

>Then, anti-imperialist opponents of NATO have to
>waste time defending our political rectitude measured by conventional
>wisdom: "And I say this as no fan of Serbia or Milosevic." By our
>*defensiveness*, we *reaffirm* the correctness of *ideology* that says the
>fundamental *cause* of the Yugoslav woes is Serbia or Milosevic, thus
>ending up displacing & marginalizing the analysis of history, political
>economy, geopolitical reason of imperialism, mass media's institutional
>bias for defending the State, and so on. This is how we censor ourselves,
>while thinking we are "free."

That's not the way I see it. A lot of leftists have said some extraordinary things in defense of Serbia & Milosevic - that the regime was socialist for example. During the Gulf War I remember a considerable number of lefties saying good things about the Iraqi regime too. Both the Serb and Iraqi regimes seem to me pretty abominable, and I don't want my critique of U.S. imperialism taken as a defense of them.

Ideology also works by forcing people into either/or positions - either you're pro-NATO or pro-Serb. Nathan pulls that rhetorical trick all the time. People who think they're free sometimes fall into those binaries.


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