(en) The Internet Anti-Fascist: #36, Sunday, 9 November 1997

Paul Kneisel (tallpaul@nyct.net)
Mon, 10 Nov 1997 09:54:31 -0500

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The Internet Anti-Fascist: #36, Sunday, 9 November 1997 [was "This computer kills fascists"] ______________________________________________________________________


Andy Eckardt, "Is the German army forever doomed? Latest scandals dredge up Hitler's ghost yet again," NBC/MSNBC, 9 Nov 97, via <http://www.msnbc.com/news/121627.asp>

"Israeli lawmakers would bar Croatia's president," no author, Reuters, 2 Nov 97, via: <http://cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9711/02/RB000368.reut.html>

"Muslim Group Expresses Outrage At Anti-Muslim Remarks By Christian Coalition Leader" and "Pat Robertson Unresponsive to Muslim Concerns," Press Releases, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), 31 Oct 97 and 3 Nov 97, via: <http://www.cair-net.org/presses/press103197.htm> and <http://www.cair-net.org/presses/press110397b.htm>



Holocaust Revisionist Ernst Zundel is in the news a lot these days. Angela Marquardt is not.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is investigating Zundel's web site to see if it violates various Canadian laws concerning hate speech. It isn't the first time Zundel's site has been attacked. During earlier attacks, sections of the Internet community rallied to support Zundel's "right of free speech" and widely mirrored his site.

"Mirroring" is the process whereby one web site is copied and widely republished on other computer systems.[1] This can make it impossible for courts and governments to block the contents. Mirroring isn't limited to Zundel's web. Some people created mirrors for the pro- Basque Euskal Herria Journal after forces supporting the Spanish government waged a covert cyberwar against the EHJ's web server.[2] There are other similar techniques used to defeat attempted censorship. People published instructions to access the news groups that CompuServe killed in its German feed. Others create links or URLs to foreign web sites when governments and service providers try to block connections. That's how Angela Marquardt originally got into trouble.

The German government blocked access to the Radikal web site in the Netherlands. Marquardt, a member of German's Party of Democratic Socialism, published a link to Radikal. She was arrested but eventually acquitted.[3] So she did what most successful defendants in criminal trials do -- she talked to her friends about the trial and even showed them a copy of the original indictment.

You might think this is reasonable human nature; German prosecutors do not and Marquardt was rearrested.[4]

Most of the people who first created mirrors for Zundel stressed they disagreed with his Revisionist theories. They stressed they did it as a protest against censorship mandated by their "free speech absolutism." Absolutism is just that. It must involve principle, not spectacle; compulsion, not convenience. Anything less is not absolutist. Nor, save for its ability to conceal frauds, is it free speech.

The forces who mirrored Zundel despite his right-wing politics should have similarly assisted the left-wing Radikal site, the Basque nationalist web page, and should be defending Marquardt, even though they disagree with these forces as they disagreed with Zundel. Not all have done so. This raises the notion that their "absolutism" is quite relative to the politics of the censored groups.

The issue of rationalized support for right-wing forces is historically significant. In his essays, the English socialist George Orwell described how certain pacifistic sentiments were put forward by Nazi ideologues, but only for the English. The same can be seen on the Internet today when fascists proclaim that *they* are the true supporters of "free speech." The Nazi propaganda machine, exemplified by J. Goebbels, could easily present such contradictory material. For the Nazis -- increased militarism; for the English -- pacifistic sentiments. For the fascists -- absolute free speech; for the anti- fascists -- pyres to burn anti-fascist books and ovens to burn anti- fascist bodies.

"But," stress some of the forces who mirrored Zundel, "we are not like that. We are genuine -- and therefore neutral -- free-speech absolutists."

Where then is their mirror of the Basque site or their links and workarounds for Radikal? Where is their defense of Angela Marquardt?

They define themselves as absolutists; let them be absolutely judged on the absolute principles to which they claim allegiance.


[1] Andy Oram, "Blab It On the Internet," _American Reporter_, 5 Aug 97, via: <http://www.oreilly.com/people/staff/andyo/ar/blab.html>

[2] For details of the EHJ/IGC mailbombing issue, see my ftp site, via: <ftp://ftp.nyct.net/pub/users/tallpaul/new_news/igc_ehj/>

[3] Ruth Walker, "Berlin Case Posts A Win For A Freer Net," _Christian Science Monitor_, 18 Jul 97, via: <http://www.cs.uit.no/~paalde/NazismExposed/Scripts/News/1807.txt>

[4] no author (Reuters), "New trial in Germany over radical Internet website." via: <<http://www.techserver.com/infotech/10.30.97/tech08.html>



Please note the name change from "This Computer Kills Fascists" (TCKF) to "The Internet Anti-Fascist" (TINAF). The change reflects input from a number of readers and potential subscribers. It is also an expression of the recently increased subscriber base.

When I started TCKF in January 1996, the people and groups who received it all knew about the pun on Woody Guthrie's sticker "This guitar kills fascists." The majority of today's recipients did not. Additionally, several potential subscribers who were not familiar with TCKF's contents, wrote announcing their opposition to any journal with the word "kill" in it.

The most important point is not literary eloquence or unnecessary historic references but political effectiveness in furthering the fight against fascism. Thus TCKF is now TINAF.


In TCKF #35 I published material by "trihenry" about the Detroit News Online's survey about gay marriages. Several readers wrote informing me that workers at the paper are on strike and have called for a boycott of the publication.

This was an error on my part. I've found that posts from "trihenry" are accurate, the URLs are correct, and they do not refer to matters of potential libel. Because of this I have routinely passed on his action- oriented material.

In short, I had out my editor's blue pencil quickly skimming the post for rotten apples when I should have been looking for rotten oranges. I am sympathetic to the type of net-oriented action against bigotry represented by "trihenry's" past posts. But in this case the particular call involving Detroit News Online should not have appeared in this publication.


-- tallpaul Fascism: We have no ethical right to forgive, no historical right to forget.

back issues archived via: <ftp://ftp.nyct.net/pub/users/tallpaul/publish/tckf/> (No permission required for noncommercial reproduction.)

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