1980s >> 1981 >> no-928-december-1981
Debating the Fascists
The debate between the Socialist Party of Great Britain and Martin Webster of the National Front, which was to have taken place at the Cambridge Union on 12 October (see October Socialist Standard) was cancelled on the advice of the Cambridge police as a result of threats from the Socialist Workers’ Party and the British Movement. A letter from the Cambridge Community Relations Council warned us that if we participated in the debate we would “discredit the Socialist Party of Great Britain and will only do damage to both your cause and the cause of positive race relations’’.
In the course of the same letter, Judith Kibblewhite stated that “we believe that fascist arguments and propaganda must be countered at every opportunity”. If this is so, why does she urge the SPGB not to counter such arguments in open, democratic debate? Is exposing the stupidity of racist arguments damaging to “positive race relations”? If the Cambridge CRC is worried about damage being done to the socialist cause why were they in the forefront of a campaign to deny the SPGB the opportunity to state our ease in public?
The truth of the matter is that there are certain organisations, including the Cambridge CRC, the SWP and the British Movement, which believe in winning arguments by force or censorship. The National Front, thanks to the undemocratic actions of their opponents, is now able to pose as a defender of democracy. The ultimate result is that the NF has been saved from public exposure by socialist speakers and the SPGB has been denied a useful propaganda activity. Needless to say, we are waiting for the next opportunity to accept an invitation to debate with the defenders of capitalism.
The Party was well represented at the CND demonstration in Hyde Park on Saturday, 24 October. Two thousand leaflets were distributed, putting the case against the reformist opposition to war. Copies of the leaflet are available from Head Office. Several dozen copies of the October Socialist Standard were sold.
Boxing Day Propaganda
Readers likely to be bored out of their minds with the Christmas ritual may wish to attend the public meeting which is being organised in Hyde Park on Boxing Day from 11 am until 4 pm. What we have to say will be better than the Queen’s Speech and rather less dull than Gone With The Wind.