So there I was, flicking through twitter, brain fuzzed by a mild hangover caused by Tesco smartprice vodka and lemonade, hoping to see some pictures of pugs or weird twitter making jokes about Pokémon.
Unfortunately I saw none of that, instead I mainly saw left-wing twitter discussing the Labour party conference and noted with interest the declining numbers of people who had any faith in the party to deliver anything even remotely resembling socialism. But amongst the big speeches from your Milibands and your Balls – very much the Cantona and Keane of pretending capitalism and socialism are compatible – there were fringe events, and it was at one of these fringe events where one of the ghosts of Labour past spoke, something I only became aware of due to horrified people discussing it.
David Blunkett, speaking at a Demos fringe event, publically came out in support of government enforced anti-porn web filters. Anyone who follows me on twitter or has ever had the misfortune of seeing what comes up when you try to type “analyse” into Google on my laptop’s Firefox, knows I am opposed to the idea of the state censoring what an adult can and can’t look at. There is obviously a debate ranging on the feminist front about this issue and I am content to largely sit that one out and let some excellent feminist women make the pro-sex case, as they are doing.
Blunkett is not the first Labour figure to come out in support of regulating the internet; Helen Goodman, who I can categorically state you – the reader – have never heard of, is Labour’s shadow minister for media reform, which is surely the most depressing job title going. Goodman believes that the internet is like a 13th Century forest and as such can no longer be allowed to continue in that mould. For what it’s worth I agree with the analogy but not the solution, for it was in the 13th century that much forestry was common land in which people could use as they wished, to collect timber or hunt game for their dinner table. It was only the enclosure acts which had already started at this point and would continue up until the 19th century that deprived people of this right. Then as now, it seems governments are reacting to a common area where people can share ideas by seeking to regulate it and portion it out to the wealthy.
Goodman goes on to attack Robin Hood as an outlaw and claim that, “that was not a sustainable position in the 13th Century and it’s not a sustainable position now.” Always nice to hear a member of a nominally socialist party attacking someone who stole from the rich to give to the poor, no place in new Labour that is “intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich” for socialists like Robin Hood or Aneurin Bevan. In fact I doubt Chukka Ummuna could even tell which of those two figures is fictional.
But Blunkett’s opposition to porn is, however, different. In fact his justification for wanting to curb an adult’s ability to look at pictures of willies and boobs is perhaps the single most bizarre shit I have ever heard used to advance this argument.
Blunkett thinks porn might lead to the Fourth Reich.
The ex-Home Office minister is of the opinion that the rise of Nazism was actually due to the lax morals of the Weimar Republic. His views are in full.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Berlin came as near as dammit to Sodom and Gomorrah. There was a disintegration of what you might call any kind of social order.
People fed on that – they fed people’s fears of it. They encouraged their paranoia. They developed hate about people who had differences, who were minorities.
There always has had to be some balance, in terms of the freedom of what we want to do, for ourselves and the mutual respect and the duty we owe to each other in a collective society. I think getting it right is the strength of a democracy.
Blunkett doesn’t talk about what exactly it is that people were getting up to in Berlin in this era but the fact that the city had one of the most active gay scenes on the planet at the time and his allusions to Sodom and Gomorrah give some suggestion of what exactly it is Blunkett is alluding to here.
So am I, pulling myself off to Stoya on xvideos, directly contributing to the rise of the far right? As someone who is solidly antifa, someone who believes you need to smash the fash with a hammer and a sickle, I hope not. Perhaps we can condemn women who seek to get themselves off with the old slogan “if you use rabbits, then there will be fascists”. Is someone with RedTube bookmarked desecrating the memory of the International Brigades? It seems unlikely, despite his private anti-clerical views Mussolini never bashed a bishop publically, in fact he openly courted the Catholic vote. I don’t think that one too many Sasha Grey videos will see Di Canio get his job back, though if he does you might see the boys in blue locking-up any centre-halves who are due to play his team, considering they are mass arresting anyone who seeks to defend their area from fascist attacks at the moment.
It’s easy to make jokes about this – which is why I’m doing it – but there is a serious point to be made in response to Blunkett’s claims. What he is engaging in is victim blaming, telling the LGBT* community that they were responsible for their oppression and slaughter at the hands of the Nazis is sickening. It is the same argument that says, “well she was flirting and wearing a short skirt” or “these Muslims don’t make it easy for themselves” and it contains about as much compassion as you would expect from someone who has in the past expressed a desire to machine gun prisoners.
Fascism is on the rise, the EDL march through our streets, the party of which Ander Breivik was once a member saw its number of seats rise in Norway, Golden Dawn are attacking immigrants at will, we need to figure out how to fight it. But Blunkett seems to not want to fight fascism, but rather to accept its central narrative. I celebrate the Berlin of Isherwood that saw artists, singers, sex workers, jazz musicians and homosexuals flood there to enjoy its more liberal cultural and sexual attitudes. Blunkett condemns it and in doing so accepts the far-right narrative that rose at the time.
Don’t listen to him, if you want to oppose fascism you don’t agree with it, you fight it. You support the very freedoms that are inherently anti-fascist, including your right to watch consenting adults do whatever they want with their bodies.