No Free Speech for Fascists Exploring ‘No Platform’ in History, Law and Politics
No Free Speech for Fascists explores the choice of anti-fascist protesters to demand that the opportunities for fascists to speak in public places are rescinded, as a question of history, law, and politics. It explains how the demand to no platform fascists emerged in 1970s Britain, as a limited exception to a left-wing tradition of support for free speech.
The book shows how no platform was intended to be applied narrowly, only to a right-wing politics that threatened everyone else. It contrasts the rival idea of opposition to hate speech that also emerged at the same time and is now embodied in European and British anti-discrimination laws. Both no platform and hate speech reject the American First Amendment tradition of free speech, but the ways in which they reject it are different. Behind no platform is not merely a limited range of political targets but a much greater scepticism about the role of the state. The book argues for an idea of no platform which takes on the electronic channels on which so much speech now takes place. It shows where a fascist element can be recognised within the much wider category of far-right speech.
This book will be of interest to activists and to those studying and researching political history, law, free speech, the far right, and anti-fascism. It sets out a philosophy of anti-fascism for a social media age.
Part I: History
2. Free Speech c.1640–c.1972
3. The Exception: Fascism and Anti-Fascism
4. No Platform in the UK 1972–1979
5. A Path Not Taken: The United States 1977–1979
6. The Right Demands a Respectful Audience 1980–2020
Part II: Law
7. The Wrongs of Hate Speech
8. Hate Speech, No Platform and Competing Rights
9. Hate Speech and the State
Part III: Politics
10. The Battle Against Hate Speech Goes Online
11. On Being Silenced, Masculinity and Victimhood
12. The Ideological Capture of Free Speech
13. Who Are the Fascists; Tactics for Those Who Aren’t
"Detailed, well-researched and considered...a fascinating, thought-provoking and important contribution to the study of No Platform." - Paul Jackson, Searchlight.
"This book is about a lot more than the rights and wrongs of the policy of No Platform for fascists. Renton looks at the history of censorship and how it was the right wing that imposed it and the left which always fought it....Renton’s book offers a thoughtful and wide-ranging discussion of the issue of free speech." - Mike Phipps, LabourHub.
"A valuable practical contribution....By describing the history and development of no platform and articulating clear left positions on free speech, No Free Speech for Fascists can be a useful contribution to struggles against a fascist milieu that, much like a century ago, has the potential to grow into a much larger threat. Amidst the noise of the culture wars, it can be challenging to focus on the specific threat of fascism within a resurgent far-right, and such clarity as can be found here is worth having." - Katie Feyh, Tempest.