No Free Speech for Fascists
Exploring ‘No Platform’ in History, Law and Politics
- Available for pre-order. Item will ship after June 25, 2021
No Free Speech for Fascists explores the choice of anti-fascist protesters to demand that the opportunities for fascists to speak in public places is rescinded, as a question of history, law, and politics.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.
Table of Contents
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
David Renton is a British historian and barrister. His other books include Labour's Antisemitism Crisis: What the Left Got Wrong and How to Learn From It (Routledge 2022) and Never Again: Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League 1976-1982 (Routledge 2019).