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No2Nato and the attack on free speech

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”
– John Milton

The last few weeks have brought forth a series of sharp shocks for those of us who cherish our ever-diminishing liberties, particularly freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

As with the original venue our second venue for No2Nato, Conway Hall, shamefully capitulated to mounting pressure from online Nato trolls. Conway gave the organiser fifty minutes notice that they would cancel the event due to being “…subjected to an onslaught of increasingly intimidating emails and social media posts regarding hosting your event next month. The backlash we have received is unprecedented in our recent history.”

No2Nato has in short order exposed the increasingly precious limitations upon freedom of speech and freedom to assembly afforded by our war hungry ruling class. With war propaganda being geared into higher and higher pitch the working class is consequently afforded fewer and fewer rights. 

Fortunately for us No2Nato has not gone unnoticed, in fact the attempts to silence anti-war voices have only fanned the flames. Peter Hitchens of the Mail on Sunday – who it has only just been exposed was spied upon these last few years by the MoD’s 77th Brigade for daring to question the government’s Covid response, asked on Twitter: “@ConwayHall is it correct that you have declined a booking for a meeting which opposes the Ukraine War? I have fond memories of two debates in your hall (one with my late brother, the other more recently on Ukraine). Why would you do this (if you have)?”.

Lindsey German, the leader of Stop the War Coalition wrote on Twitter: “The cancellation of a No2Nato event is only the latest attempt to silence anti war voices. Conway Hall, supposedly centre of liberal values, has refused it platform.”

Liberal values indeed, Lindsey. The precious values of liberalism espoused and fought for in the 18th century onwards by John Locke, Thomas Paine, Voltaire and others heralded now pass through our fingers like sand. The rights of the individual, liberty, consent of the governed and equality before the law were established by the revolutions and overthrow of absolute monarchy. Today we are on the precipice of losing two of the most precious tenets of liberalism: freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. 

Who in late November could have conceived that an anti-war meeting could highlight these issues so starkly? No2Nato has exposed the precious nature of these freedoms, their limitations and worse, their undermining and shackling by a British ruling class intent upon war. 

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” – Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine’s splendid notion strikes the central issue here. Freedom is not a static or universal law above mankind, but something to be upheld, maintained and defended. In this regard, we can easily establish the warmongering ruling class are suffocating criticism. The foundations of the democratic revolutions against absolute monarchy are being nothing less than trampled into the dirt.

The desire and necessity of our ruling class to curtail the anti-war narrative is so much so that it has led to intimidation, threats of violence and even bomb threats directed at the venue of the MOATS Roadshow hosted by our leader, George Galloway, that was set to occur on the 7th of February in Sunderland.  Sunderland may be cancelled considering the circumstances, but do not be deflated by this or other set backs, No2Nato will continue on the 25th of February in Central London.

Men who are sincere in defending their freedom, will always feel concern at every circumstance which seems to make against them; it is the natural and honest consequence of all affectionate attachments, and the want of it is a vice. But the dejection lasts only for a moment; they soon rise out of it with additional vigor; the glow of hope, courage and fortitude, will, in a little time, supply the place of every inferior passion, and kindle the whole heart into heroism.” – Thomas Paine

Our ruling class, we can firmly state, seeks to not only rule but to totally dominate society and we must steel ourselves for this. We socialists must advance the cause of liberty, democracy and free speech. We must take up the banner of the democratic revolution.

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