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Free-speech rally in Boston preempted by counterprotesters

by Mickey McLean
Posted 8/19/17, 04:33 pm

A free-speech rally in Boston was cut short Saturday when thousands of counterprotesters descended upon a bandstand on Boston Common where a series of speeches by conservatives promoting First Amendment protections was scheduled to take place. The Boston Free Speech Coalition, the group that organized the event, said it has nothing to do with white supremacists or racism and has no affiliation with organizers of last weeks’ violent rally in Charlottesville, Va., that left one person dead. “We are strictly about free speech,” the group said on its Facebook page. “We denounce the politics of supremacy and violence.” Counterprotesters, many of whom wore black with bandanas over their faces and chanted anti-Nazi and anti-fascism slogans, said they showed up because they were concerned white supremacists would be at the event, but only a few dozen supporters of the Boston Free Speech Coalition turned out. Police escorted coalition supporters out of the area, as some counterprotesters scuffled with officers trying to maintain order. TV news crews recorded a few ugly incidents, including counterprotesters swearing at and chasing a man with a Donald Trump campaign banner and hat and counterprostesters snatching an American flag from an elderly woman, knocking her to the ground. Rallies and counterprotests in reaction to Charlottesville were planned for other U.S. cities Saturday, including Dallas, Atlanta and New Orleans.

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Mickey McLean

Mickey is executive editor of WORLD Digital.

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  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Sun, 08/20/2017 05:01 pm

    This is the real story, which is now buried by the Charlottesville tragedy:  That radical leftists roam the countryside bringing violence and mayhem to anyone who would dare disagree with them.  They say they champion democracy, but break windows and burn cars when their candidate doesn't win.  They tear down statues like ISIS does when it disagrees with their ideology.  Yet  this story goes underreported.  

  • Fuzzyface
    Posted: Sat, 08/19/2017 06:44 pm

    Sad day in Boston.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Sun, 08/20/2017 11:58 am

    Pres. Trump has now put himself in a position of weakness when things like this happen.  He was so mealy-mouthed about Charlottesville, that if he speaks about something like this, where the bad behavior was clearly on one side, then he will only dig himself, and conservatives, a deeper hole.  He needs to name specific organizations, and state specifically what they did.  Don't say, "There are bad people on both sides."  That doesn't cut it.

  • Hans's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/21/2017 07:30 am

    The conservatives have painted themselves into a corner with free speech. They have increasingly taken to promoting events with provacateurs rather than actual conservatives as a means of "testing freedom of speech." Now, of course, our first amendment rights extends to distasteful people--that's sort of the whole point. But in some sense the test of freedom of speech is always in the most extreme cases--Westboro Baptist Church, for example, has provided a great deal of legal precedent in defense of the first amendment. But there is no virtue in exercising your freedom of speech merely because you are free to do so. The problem with these "free speech" events that conservatives have decided to champion is that they essentially choose speakers with the express intention of provoking a reaction from liberals, and the best way to do that is to pick awful people to speak, which ends up associating conservativism with outright bigotry or at the very least people who act like huge jerks or are complete imbeciles. Does someone like Alex Jones have the right to speak? Absolutely. Does he deserve a platform? Absolutley not. 

    At present, it seems to me that the ACLU is taking on the first amendment defense in a more legitimate way than conservatives have--by taking the public transportation office in DC to court with a lawsuit over the fact that DC Metro won't display ads for Milo's new book. Does Milo deserve a platform? No, not at all. Does he have the right to freedom of speech? Yes, and that should be defended. Indeed, the fact that the ACLU is opposed to virtually everything Milo stands for is part of what allows them to claim the moral high ground for defending him pro bono; they are defending the principle, not the speaker. Conservatives would do well to imitate their approach and decide that they are actually going to champion freedom of speech as a principle, not just use it as an excuse to troll their liberal neighbors by celebrating the least worthy expressions as virtuous merely because they are allowed.

    It's easy to paint what happened in Boston as liberals versus free speech, since that's how the organizers of the free speech rally framed it. But what it really ended up being was a massive solidarity rally against what happened in Charlottesville, which conservatives should have joined (I would have, if I had been in Boston). There were tens of thousands of people exercising their right to freedom of speech, and that was a good thing. If conservatives hadn't gone to bed with dogs posting racist and neo-Nazi Pepe the Frog memes just to enrage liberals, they wouldn't be in the position of waking up with fleas when a real neo-Nazi attempts to commit mass murder.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Mon, 08/21/2017 02:05 pm

    Ann Coulter is not whacked-out like Jones or Yiannopoulos, but in my opinion she is another person who should be given a smaller platform by conservatives, because she makes money by starting rhetorical fires.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Mon, 08/21/2017 05:25 pm

    Xion is seeing clearly what is happening. Trump's statement that there is evil on both sides is correct. 

    I expect we will soon see a "Krystallnacht" take place somewhere in this country, and we'll have the unfortunate "privilege"  of watching a lot of backtracking from some in Washington and the media.

    It does not help our cause to pile on Trump. Agreeing in part with their strident accusations of racism is not going to deflect them. We're going to be called names by the left no matter how we try to appease them. Man up and ignore it. 

  • OldMike
    Posted: Mon, 08/21/2017 05:38 pm

    Get your library to obtain a copy of Robert Counselor's "The Great Terror." You will read how Stalin used the tactics of "denounce, stifle, silence" to create an atmosphere where almost no one dared raise a voice in opposition. That some did is credit to a far greater courage than is currently being shown by most of us on the right, here in America today. 

    They aren't rounding us up to put bullets in the back of our heads. Yet.

    We bring that day closer by backing away from the fight, by appeasing, by attempting to agree with them in order to show we "aren't like those white supremacists."

    Grit your teeth. Remember President Trump has given us Goresuch--and other victories. Don't give the left the satisfaction of seeing you run away from Trump. 

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Wed, 08/23/2017 02:37 pm

    I do not see anyone "running away" from Pres. Trump.  He simply does not provide a safe rallying point.  Racial reconciliation will only occur when each side becomes humble enough to admit its own faults, as with all reconciliation.  Groups like Antifa only have power because they promise to lend a voice to people who feel like they are not being heard.  Although Antifa is associated with street rioting, it has not yet been associated with kidnapping, lynching, and church-bombing, as white supremacists have, with a much longer history.

    Our nation will continue to suffer the after-shocks of racial bigotry until we come fully to terms with it and change it.  We may very well be in the same spot as King David was when Israel suffered for the sins of Saul against the Gibeonites.God only forgave Israel after David let the Gibeonites hang seven of Saul's sons in Gibeah.  We must not allow killing or the persecution of innocents; but maybe we need to consider making those who perpetuate white supremacist beliefs pay some recompense to those who they would persecute, if they could.  God may be telling us that he will forgive us as a nation only when we with a single will express such condemnation of white supremacists, such indignation, such revulsion against them, that they cannot speak freely.