What I wanted to say before the mob stopped women speaking

by Daphna Whitmore

I thought the #LetWomenSpeak meeting would be a good time to talk about free speech and why it is important for the left. Then the mob stampeded the open-air gathering and no one got to speak. Here’s what I was had prepared.

Today I want to talk about free speech and free assembly being a traditional left wing value and how important it is for women’s rights.

Many of us here are from the left and are horrified at the state of the so-called left today.  Too many who identify as left wing today, show by their actions that they oppose basic rights, that they get in a state of panic about a group of women speaking about the right to have some female-only spaces. The self-identified left today are hugely illiberal. 

I want to reclaim free speech as a core left wing value. The traditional left at its best understood the importance of free speech. The traditional left at its best was focused on freedom for the working class and for women’s liberation.

The genuine left used to say that Women Hold Up Half the Sky, they didn’t say Cervix Havers Hold Up Half the Sky.

The genuine left defended free speech because it was essential to marginalised groups.

There are many in the left today who use standover tactics, they use bullying threats, lies and distortions to shut down women speaking. They try to get people sacked, something that was once unthinkable on the left. The way they keep running to the state to shut down speech is astounding. The woke left claim that speech restrictions will protect the marginalised.  By turning to the state to demand women shut up they show their true colours.

The notion that censorship and speech restrictions can be used to achieve social justice goals is badly mistaken.  Once the authority to censor is established it will always be wielded by power to protect itself. 

Free Speech campaigner Jacob Mchangama, who visited New Zealand last year, spoke of a free speech recession. He is right, despite amazing technology in the digital age free speech is in decline.

Despite all this, there are positive developments.

In June this year an international left wing Free Speech conference is happening online. It is organised mostly from the US by a free speech group called Plebity. Redline in New Zealand is also involved, as well as the organisation India & the Global Left and in Germany acTVism Munich. The keynote speaker is Nadine Strossen who was the president of the American Civil Liberties Union for two decades. She has described this left wing free speech conference as historic. There are some big names and very serious thinkers who are taking part.

I hope a genuine left will reemerge because class exploitation still exists, and women’s liberation is still an unfinished project. Every liberation and human rights movement has needed free speech that’s why I’m here today taking part in this Speakers Corner tradition.


  1. Rights under bourgeois states are nothing more than idealist make-believe. What people SHOULD be grasping at this point is that we do not, nor has anyone ever had “rights” since they are fictional. The only way to be free is through communism. Full Stop.

    As for any “free speech” groups from the US, see my first sentence. And the ACLU is a special interest group who operates like any other bourgeois philanthropic organization by carrying out the will of its masters. Furthermore, they removed a FOUNDER of this supposed “free speech” champion organization, a WOMAN no less, for her communism. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Communists were beaten, deported, murdered, and imprisoned en masse for many decades in the US, so this tranny nonsense is NOTHING compared to that. The only organization for truly evolving as a species to something resembling freedom is a Marxist-Leninist party. The so-called “left” has been shown throughout history to sell out their truly Marxist counterparts—look at Nazi Germany and before to see this. Social democrats are always capitalist capitulators and “reformers”. Appealing to the likes of the bourgeois “left” will result in backward travel, not advancement.

    The discussion of “free speech” should be held in much larger context within all our other so-called “rights”. When this is critically examined you will see there’s no such thing as “rights” and never has been. The conclusion is that there NEVER will be freedom of ANY kind within the bourgeois capitalist states. Your so-called “rights” will NEVER trump the interest of the capitalist. This power works only in ONE direction. Until people accept this harsh reality they will be unmotivated to revolution and instead wallow in their “safetyism”. You can see the latter is the path of the spoiled labor aristocracy in first world countries who have it a far bit better than their colonial superexploited counterparts. I suppose the shit really needs to hit the fan before people wake up and consciously admit reality. While Posie Parker and her platform are correct about biological fact they are a hinderance to moving forward with solving the problem because they deny its underpinnings.

    • Communism didn’t work so well for the free speech of the murdered relatives of my friends from the Baltic states. But nice attempt at derailing a brilliant post.

      • Was that supposed to be a “counter argument” to my points? It wasn’t, it was the straw man fallacy and then some. And I don’t believe your lying about your friends’ murdered relatives either. This is actually supposed to be a Marxist forum, and clearly you are the typical left liberal who “identifies” as a Marxist while spreading Trotskyist lies. And furthermore, with your ridiculous comment, millions of people have been murdered in imperialist wars that free speech and all were AGAINST capitalist bourgeois rule. This is also the case for people murdered, deported, imprisoned, etc.. for their supposed “free speech” if they were in organized labor, anti-capitalist, anarchist, socialist and communist, (even the Jehovah’s witnesses, just like the NAZIS did) here in the US and Europe, Canada, AU and beyond. AND eugenics was created and implemented IN Great Britain—Frances Galton and in the US where the Nazis celebrated the American genocide of natives AND forced sterilization as their founding principle to copy before invasion of Eastern Europe to murder the “untermenschen and establish their 1000 year Reich.)

        You are not only not a Marxist as your lying commentary demonstrates but apparently completely ignorant of classical liberal political economies and their imperialism—along with their murder of people whose speech they didn’t like. Try again. And this time you will critique as a Marxist would what I actually wrote rather than some liberal drivel not addressing a single point but just stating in your own imagination that I am wrong with ZERO line by line demonstration using facts that I am.


  2. I was inside the rotunda at the end, there were still 2 or 3 women wishing to speak trapped between the stairs and the screen mesh that had the let women speak banner on it, about 7 of us all up, we had to surround the remaining speakers to push through the violent crowd. We only had to force through about 10 ranks of people but once we were out the throng continued to erupt. 10 mins later I went back looking for an older friend unable to get out quickly. It was all lord of the flies inside the rotunda and a group of protestors about 15 deep had surrounded two people arguing like school boys in a fight, screaming and egging them on. I do know that one woman wanted to speak on mysogony in the media and another about her sisters in Iran. It wasn’t all just KJK
    Thankyou Ani for printing your speach and sharing with us. Maybe next time you can give the speach publicly

  3. The “left” as it currently stands is largely compromised of thinly-veiled liberals, revisionists, cranks, utopians, grandiose reformists, and those who absolutely engorge themselves in identity politics.

    To these types, Marxism, Socialism, and Communism are merely fads and trends to fashionably identify as. Just another label to add to their collection of micro-identities. They don’t understand the spirit of the aforementioned, nor do their politics have any substance other than role-playing online as a “revolutionary” or “anti-facist”.

    These types, the revisionists and reformers who have peddled prostitution as empowering, that believe that, somehow, the anti-materialist, anti-science, capitalist-created “gender ideology” is free of criticism or scrutiny, so on and so forth, are the bourgeoisie’s wet-dream.

    They are drones who serve only to reinforce liberal hegemony, to maintain the status quo under the guise of “progressive politics”. They have worked to sow and create division amongst the masses, by obfuscating the common thread of class via squabbling over microcosms of identity.

    This does not even include the flagrant Neo-McCarthyist tendencies of the gender goblins, who openly seek to cause harm, persecute, shame, snitch, spy (see: Shinigami Eyes), and maim women (and men alike) who dare to question or otherwise critically scrutinize the narrative and junk-science.

    Every time I think of the current “left”, I always come back to the Orwell quote:

    “One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.”

    It is terrifying that this is accurate, maybe even more so, nearly a century later.

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