Outlaw Culture: Censorship from Left and Right

Below are excerpts from bell hooks’ 1994 essay “Censorship from Left and Right”, included in the book ‘Outlaw Culture’.

When repression via censorship becomes the norm in progressive political circles, we not only undermine our collective struggles to end domination, we act in complicity with that brand of contemporary, chic fascism that evokes romantic images of unity and solidarity, a return to traditional values, while working to deny free speech and suppress all forms of rebellious thought and action.

The equation of truth-telling with betrayal is one of the more powerful ways to promote silence. No one wants to be regarded as a traitor.

The political imperative of any movement for freedom in the society has to have the political imperative to protect free speech.

When repression via censorship becomes the norm in progressive political circles, we not only undermine our collective struggles to end domination, we act in complicity with that brand of contemporary, chic fascism that evokes romantic images of unity and solidarity, a return to traditional values, while working to deny free speech and suppress all forms of rebellious thought and action.

[A]ll our progressive political movements to end domination must work to protect free speech. To maintain the space for constructive contestation and confrontation, we must oppose censorship. We remember the pain of silence and work to sustain our power to speak – freely, openly, provocatively.

Full essay here


image is a word cloud made from the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights

image created by Penny Carter, post added by Penny Carter, use of quotes from bell hooks is not intended to usurp her copyright and used here as part of the fair use term of copyright, and in no way intended to imply bell hooks would support the contents of this post or blog

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