Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mind's Eye Re: Is free speech free?

This is good but gets dicey because anyone using harassment to create hostile or offensive environments will always blame other people for doing so, and I think they believe their actions and words harass in any way. In other words, how does one hold someone accountable if they are unwilling or unable to understand how their speech effects the environment.

On Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 10:49:43 AM UTC-4, archytas wrote:
I was subject to the following code of conduct last year, oddly not far from where Gabby says she lives.
Internationalism and solidarity are fine and long-standing principles of the labour movement. They are based on the understanding that all people are equal and deserve mutual respect at all levels. Any behaviour that creates conflict is considered unacceptable to the Global Labour University (GLU). As trade unionists and social activists we should treat one another with mutual respect, cooperation and understanding. The GLU neither condones nor tolerates behaviour that undermines the dignity or self-esteem of any individual or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. Discriminatory speech or conduct based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, class, or religion will not be tolerated among participants of the GLU. Neither will harassment (using real or perceived power to abuse, devalue or humiliate) be tolerated. Discrimination and harassment focus on characteristics that make us different; and they reduce our capacity to work together on shared concerns. 

Of course, almost any idiot can copy policy.  I went with a blind friend and a colleague who uses a wheelchair.  They were not treated well.  You have it about right here Molly  And as you really say, as soon as one steps into practice, things get murky!


On Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 1:57:02 PM UTC, Molly wrote:
Here is part of what Wikipedia (usually my last choice for citation) has to say about the protection of free speech under the US constitution:

Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy are almost always permitted. There are exceptions to these general protections, including the Miller test for obscenity, child pornography laws, speech that incites imminent lawless action, and regulation of commercial speech such as advertising. Within these limited areas, other limitations on free speech balance rights to free speech and other rights, such as rights for authors over their works (copyright), protection from imminent or potential violence against particular persons (restrictions on fighting words), or the use of untruths to harm others (slander). Distinctions are often made between speech and other acts which may have symbolic significance.

Now, debate on where things said fall into the loose structure is certainly an option. Can someone tell me I should be ashamed of myself. I guess so, although it is certainly uncomfortable for me to see that in writing, all caps, and know it is repeated in RSS blogs across the internet. Is it slanderous? Calling someone a paranoid schizophrenic in public may be slanderous but worse is  done every day all across the globe, unfortunately. Law is in place to be argued in court, and who wants to do that except lawyers and those that have lost much because their rights were violated. 

But I think in groups there is a social contract that shapes the perimeters of civility, one that all members contribute and define by the coming and going of the group. Internet groups are complicated because of the anonymity of identity and lack of accountability possible. What members are left with is the choice to leave the group, as demonstrated here with our dwindling numbers.

I don't have an answer but believe in free speech and the group. And I must say I am enjoying the fact that every thread does not disintegrate into the same old flame war.

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1 comments:

RP Singh said...

Free speech is a fundamental right of all people and is a divine right as well, but at all times decorum must be maintained and while destroying the very attitudes and beliefs of a person concern should be exercised that in no case the holder of the view be made to feel that his self esteem is being attacked, his very beliefs being shredded. A soft approach should be used and the language be polite in order to extract a cooperative feeling among the members and bonhomie be established. There are different views arising from different experiences and that should on all account be accepted and a person must be entitled to keep his viewpoint intact until it be changed by the member himself.

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