THE BLOG

White Nationalists Such As Those In Charlottesville Have No Platform For Free Speech

13/08/2017 23:56 BST | Updated 13/08/2017 23:58 BST
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

The utter fact that we have to have a discussion about Nazism in 2017 is despicable, but here we are. In Charlottesville on Saturday, a group of white nationalists, who sported KKK uniforms and Nazi symbols, took to the streets in some form of protest over plans to remove a Confederate statue. As tensions remain high, three deaths have been confirmed, one of which was Heather Heyer, deliberately mowed down by a terrorist whilst protesting against white supremacy.

Quite oddly, but not surprisingly, many are still trying to shift the blame for the resulting violence on those opposed to this backwards Nazi ideology. In the immediate aftermath of the terror attack on Heather Heyer, political commentators on the "alt-right" claimed it was actually an 'antifa' member who mistook the crowd for Nazis. Violent clashes that have continued all weekend have been blamed on the counter-protestors for attacking the "free speech" of the protestors. Using their platform, these political commentators want to convince Americans that the counter-protestors are anti-American, unpatriotic and want to destroy the foundations of the constitution which protects free speech. Imagine being a World War II veteran, who put their life on the line to defeat Nazism, and seeing self-proclaimed patriots toting swastikas in the name of the constitution.

Simple fact of the matter is, freedom of speech does not, and should not, include Nazis. They believe that their race and ethnicity is superior to others, and they will never hold back on taking any means necessary to spread their ideology into society. White nationalists in America have a history of killing, beating and torturing minorities simply because of their race and nothing more. Why should people who have these beliefs be allowed to gather en masse, and purposefully cause racial tension and fear among citizens?

This is where the counter-protestors, who don't want to see Nazism freely allowed to patrol their streets, have been criticised. Videos on social media have emerged of frequent scuffles between the two groups, with blood shed many a time. Those counter-protestors are standing up for races, religions, genders, sexualities and disabilities. Minorities are the direct target of Nazi behaviour, and fighting against Nazism means fighting against their discrimination. Unfortunately, the counter-protestors aren't seen in this way, but are seen as violent thugs who are anti-free speech.

However, the only way to defeat the white nationalists we saw this weekend is through confrontation. Talking and appeasing never has, and never will, work against Nazis. To simply let fascism walk through our streets and say, "well they have freedom of speech, so even though I disagree, I will let them tote swastikas and perform Nazi salutes" is an insult not just to your own, but to veterans across the world who constantly fought Nazism throughout the 20th Century.

We must confront them. We must not let them spread their hateful ideology further. There is no place in a modern-day society for such backwards beliefs, and this is why we all must stand up to them and show them that Nazism will be defeated again and will never be prevalent. Nazis must be confronted, as shown this weekend, letting them know what the majority really think of their vile ideology.