What's Current: Mary Beard left 'wanting to cry' after Twitter goes after her due to freedom of speech letter

We cannot allow censorship and the silencing of Feminist voices. Signatories of the letter took a stand together in favour of free speech. Internet replied with violent intimidation and death threats.

Mary Beard
Mary Beard

Mary Beard left “wanting to cry” as university freedom of speech row spills onto Twitter

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Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

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Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • The issue of free speech for political radicals is broader than the trans movement or feminism. Mainstream liberals at university don’t want you saying anything that steps even slightly outside their anything-goes-ist, post-modernist status quo. They’ll pretend that they let you believe what you want, but that’s only so long as you agree that your beliefs are merely “your own truths” and have nothing to do with reality. If you make a claim about the real world that they disagree with and you try to convince other people of that claim instead of respecting “their truth”, they get furious. In Liberal Land, you can believe what you want so long as you don’t think your beliefs actually mean something.

    There are many instances of radical leftists and feminists being banned from liberal events. Many of you know probably know that Stop Patriarchy (an organisation associated with a communist party) was evicted from a abortion rights conference for opposing pornography (allegedly for breaking “safe space” rules, but those rules are ridiculous.) Liberals also tried to stop them from attending a protest carrying signs with the word “abortion” on them. Then there was the case of Socialist Alternative being banned from a university for opposing Israel’s attack on Palestine and not being polite enough in their opposition to Liberal Party politicians, their deregulation of university fees and reactionaries in general. I myself got into trouble with liberals for opposing cultural relativism. Did they tell me why I was wrong? No, they called me a hateful bigot and demanded that nothing that I say (even on totally irrelevent topics) be reblogged.

    But what more can I aspect from people whose viewpoints are the dominant ones within academia and thus hardly ever get challenged? And when they are challenged, they can just run back to their little safe spaces where discussions are even more tightly regulated. Meanwhile they defend the “free speech” right of corporation to make films (pornographic and mainstream), television shows and videogames that openly promote the view that women either deserve, or worse desire, to be the victims of the most brutal acts of violence. I don’t care how you feel about the radical leftist groups I mentioned, none of them even came close to advocating the views and actions endorsed by liberal-approved media.

    The right to challenge the dogmas of liberal academia from a left-wing or feminist perspective must be defended. Any radical who stands by while another radical group is banned will likely be next, which is why I stand up for the free speech rights of non-liberal progressives even when I disagree with them. Universities should not be places of “harmony” or, let’s call it what is really is, ideological homogeny.

  • Thanks for the [as always] excellent and thought-provoking round up, Susan.

    Did you see this article on pornography by Chris Hedges in Truthdig?


  • Ellesar

    The story of the woman who has to send her attacker letters from the children and updates is just horrible. I am ashamed to see that it is from Britain. I did not know that we coddled violent fathers to the point of continually traumatising their victims even after the attacker is in prison. I am sick to the stomach to contemplate how that woman feels having to do that.

    • susan

      Yeah, I think there’s a change.org petition for that. I have no words for it.

  • FrustratedRadFem

    Why do they get have spaces for themselves but women (adult human females) are forbidden to do so? Men are allowed to say the most vicious thing about women, especially in porn but somehow it still defended and not seen as sowing disharmony. I’ve plenty of ‘progressives’ allow misogynists, abuser and rapists to keep on talking but if a woman doesn’t buy into their pro sex industry and trans ideology agendas then they are ostracised and no platformed. During the second wave feminists had to self publish because no one wanted to publish them. Yet somehow men are allowed to speak no matter how misinformed they are.

    Shackling pregnant women now that’s just low shacking them while giving birth, here are no words to describe that. Where do you think they are going to go they aren’t going to get far. Bastards.