catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Google and racist blogs

with 21 comments

FightDemBack, a website which likes giving free publicity to neo-Nazis in the misguided notion that it’s making the world a better place in doing so, is pressuring Google to remove racist blogs from blogspot:

    Racist blogs targeting minority groups in Australia are springing up on the web, but Google’s Blogger, the service some are hosted on, refuses to take them offline, says an anti racism lobby group.
    “Blogger is absolutely insensitive to complaints about racist and neo-Nazi content,” said Brian Stokes, co-founder of FightDemBack!, a group that monitors the activities of racists, fascists and other such offenders operating in Australia and New Zealand

Well of course FightDemBack should be free to pressure Google on whatever matters it thinks are important. And Google should be free to decide whatever it wants. And consumers of blog related services should be free to vote with their mouse (mice?). The irony is that I used to be a regular reader of FightDemBack because I am fascinated with the whole sociology and rhetoric of fascist movements and I used FightDemBack as a source for tracking down precisely the sorts of sites that it is now complaining about and which I would not have known about otherwise. Which makes their complaints a little silly.

Here is the real reason for their complaints – the fact that Google undermines Australia’s ludicrous restrictions on free speech:

    Whether or not the blogs invite legal action under Australian law isn’t immediately clear, Simeon Beckett, president of the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights organisation said.
    “The Racial Discrimination Act [federal legislation] and Anti-Discrimination Act [state legislation] both prohibit racial vilification. It doesn’t make that a criminal offence, but it does make it unlawful for a person to do an act which is reasonably likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or group. As long as that act is done because of the person’s race,” he said.
    Mr Beckett hasn’t visited Red Watch NZ or Patriot Alliance Downunder, but, based on our description of the blogs, he said their actions were probably in violation of Australian law.
    Regardless, he said there might be difficulties in enforcing the law because it’s highly likely that Blogger’s servers are located overseas

Incidentally will FightDemBack also start campaigning for blog sites which advocate violent revolution by the proletariat, hate speech against the rich and celebration of jihadists’ murders of our allies’ troops to be removed?

I think not, nor would I hope for this. The best way to defeat stupid ideas is to expose them to the harsh light of the day.

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Written by Admin

October 26, 2006 at 11:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

21 Responses

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  1. Agree Young Jase.

    Do not deny moonbats their right to hold crazy ideas just let people see directly how silly they are.

    Incidentally can racists use colourful language?

    Bring Back EP at LP

    October 26, 2006 at 11:26 am

  2. Maybe FightDemBack wants to go out of business 😉

    Seriously, though, banning whatever lunatic idea is not flavour of the month right now is just pointless. The Australian people understood this when Menzies wanted to ban the Communist party and voted it down. The same principle applies to loopy websites.

    And your point about LWDB websites being passed over in silence is well made, too.

    skepticlawyer

    October 26, 2006 at 1:26 pm

  3. I disagree with ‘silence’ in some cases.

    Especially when one is likely to be tarred with the same brush as the objectionable group.

    e.g. I feel the need to loudly denounce left-wing hate-mongering because I know that ham-fisted right-wingers will use it against me.

    Silence can mean many things, and can allow many things to go unchecked. Banning is stupid though.

    FDB

    October 26, 2006 at 1:55 pm

  4. I found the kiwi site (no, I won’t link to it). It hasn’t been updated since July, either. Patriot Alliance Downunder has disappeared – the message I got was ‘internal server error’ 500. Maybe it has been taken down.

    skepticlawyer

    October 26, 2006 at 2:00 pm

  5. Curioser and curioser. Google has posted this warning.

    Apologies for the link, but I do think it’s worth checking out in light of Jason’s post.

    skepticlawyer

    October 26, 2006 at 2:07 pm

  6. Crikey, start banning rubbish on the interweb and whose blog is going to survive?

    Well, mine, but that’s another issue.

    These people love giving publicity to these nutter groups.

    Ignore them and they would remain in spotty-faced oblivion. Respond to them, if you could be bothered, but ban them, no.

    Darlene

    October 26, 2006 at 2:38 pm

  7. That warning is interesting, though, Darlene. To my mind it gives the site rather more cachet that it would otherwise have.

    skepticlawyer

    October 26, 2006 at 2:43 pm

  8. Absolutely, skepti.

    It all seems naughty and exciting to go have a look now.

    Otherwise, you just wouldn’t bother.

    Darlene

    October 26, 2006 at 3:20 pm

  9. That’s exactly what I meant, Darlene. I know I googled those sites so I could find them, and even mucked around a bit so I could track down the Patriot Alliance people.

    And now they’ve been linked from Catallaxy.

    Not happy Jan.

    skepticlawyer

    October 26, 2006 at 3:23 pm

  10. AAAIIEEEE!!!

    My moniker! It’s an acronym for something else, I swear! I’m a card-carrying member of the Fascist Fair Go Party!

    FDB

    October 26, 2006 at 3:27 pm

  11. I thought that you had something to do with FightDemBack, I have to say, and was waiting for you to comment on this thread.

    Oh well…

    skepticlawyer

    October 26, 2006 at 3:28 pm

  12. Nah, I don’t have the energy to ‘Fight Dem Back’. Nor would I join any club with “cool” spelling in the name.

    I confine myself to the occasional (and largely incoherent) stage show to lampoon rather than lambast.

    I certainly wouldn’t be part of any movement that seeks to ban or censor anything. Ever.

    FDB

    October 26, 2006 at 3:36 pm

  13. your sparring partner GMB seems to know what your FDB stands for 🙂

    Jason Soon

    October 26, 2006 at 3:38 pm

  14. Heh. He and Joe have pulled out a few choice efforts.

    Water off a duck’s back…

    I might just copy and paste that to the cricket thread…

    FDB

    October 26, 2006 at 3:41 pm

  15. I’m kinda sad they went for ‘FightDemBack’ as a moniker. I was hoping when I went to their site for an indigenous Australian reference (my partner has lots of goodies, feel free to contact me FDB people), and then I found out they got it off a pommy singer.

    Bugger.

    skepticlawyer

    October 26, 2006 at 3:42 pm

  16. “your sparring partner GMB”

    There’s a scary thought. Meathook in one hand, cricket bat in ‘tother, blindfold securely in place, litre of whisky in the bloodstream…

    I reckon I’ll pass.

    FDB

    October 26, 2006 at 3:50 pm

  17. I must say I like your Maggie T gravatar though. I was at a loss so the world got my husky cos he’s handsome.

    The booze quotient is a scary thought though…

    skepticlawyer

    October 26, 2006 at 3:54 pm

  18. Sup?

    I actually am from FightDemBack.

    We would be happy to go out of business if it meant there were no longer any violent neo-fascist movements in Australia and New Zealand, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.

    To make it perfectly clear, our problem isn’t that there is racist material on these blogs, but that they supplement that racist material with the private information of members of minority groups and anti-racist activists with the intention of causing those people harm.

    Even people who have simply slagged them off on their own blogs have had their home addresses and calls to violence against them published.

    Somebody above refers to one blog not having been updated since July – I don’t know what you’re looking at, but both of the sites mentioned in the article are currently active.

    Isn’t intimidating people into silence through the threat of violence a far scarier type of censorship?

    Also, it rhymes.

    Doctor Kam

    October 27, 2006 at 4:04 am

  19. Agree that publishing private information is not acceptable, but by the same token two can play that game. Your post telling all and sundry that one of these groups was staying at a particular holiday location, and when they were staying (available here) could easily be interpreted as the same sort of thing.

    The people you are up against are not nicely middle-class; they don’t play by those sorts of genteel rules. If you play hardball with them, they will come back at you, almost certainly in a nastier, more violent fashion.

    I suppose the guts of what I’m saying is ‘be careful’.

    skepticlawyer

    October 27, 2006 at 9:04 am

  20. I consider there to be a few crucial differences there.

    A link to the Holiday Park website was put up to put public pressure on them not to host neo-Nazi groups in the future and it was made quite clear that that was the intention. The racist websites make their intention clear with accompanying comments like “Slit their throats” and “Everybody on this page deserves a bullet”. I should also note that the national media in NZ also made reference to which holiday park they were staying at.

    I would also make a distinction between a public business and a private residence.

    As for the other part: Cheers, but it’s not me I’m worried about. I went into this knowing full well what I went up against. I don’t like it, but I was ready for it. I’m more worried about people who aren’t expecting it.

    Recently a blogger posted on his website about one of the sites in question. He made a number of derogatory but fair comments about the author of the website, but he certainly wasn’t involved in any anti-racist activism. He was just a blogger commenting on something he had read.

    The response from the nazis was to stalk the hell out of him and post up his phone number and street address. This bloke couldn’t have seen that coming. Nobody deserves that, but this bloke certainly didn’t deserve it.

    I also recently spoke with a journo who was doing a story on neo-fascism in Australia. They asked me if they were going to come into any danger by doing the story. I had to give them the honest answer, and that was: Probably, yes.

    They dropped the story.

    I guess my worry is that people will self-censor if they think they will be physically attacked for speaking out against racism. I think that’s far worse than asking Google to enforce it’s own TOS.

    Doctor Kam

    October 27, 2006 at 9:56 am

  21. “Isn’t intimidating people into silence through the threat of violence a far scarier type of censorship?”

    Threatening violence is already against the law, so your point is irrelevant. People who threaten violence should be locked up regardless of their political views – including Marxists who agitate for the confiscation of all property owned by people who are superior to Marxists in every worthwhile facet – morally, physically, financially, etc.

    Steve Edwards

    October 28, 2006 at 5:29 pm


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