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Which Side are You On, Lars?

Blog posts are the work of individual contributors, reflecting their thoughts, opinions and research.
Which Side are You On, Lars?
 
Corporate capitalism has enriched the 1%, and left the working class desperate and fighting each other. US President Donald Trump perpetuated and exploited racist divisions in America in his rise to power. Now that he is in the White House, white supremacists feel emboldened and are attempting to gain momentum.
 
This past weekend, a large group of white supremacists and their sympathizers attempted to hold a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The anti racist counter demonstration out organized them; however, murder and mayhem ensued with the alt right driving a car into a group of anti racist citizens. Dozens were severely injured and Heather Heyer died in the street.
 
In Vancouver, Canada on August 15th, before Charlottesville has even had a chance to hold a public vigil for Heather Heyer, due to more terrorist threats by white supremacists, Lars Frederiksen of Rancid said something remarkable.
 
In between songs, on his From Boston To Berkeley Tour, Lars took time to passionately lament that “free speech” was currently under attack in the USA.  I believe this is a seriously problematic statement at this juncture of human history.
 
It is common knowledge, (certainly at least within the left leaning punk rock counter culture), that white supremacists are attempting to rebrand their racism as “nationalism”, and their hate speech as “free speech”.
 
As a rich and famous punk rocker, I am not surprised Lars is an advocate of free speech; however, at this moment, after the alt right used the couched language of “free speech” to beat and murder, I find this mid playlist rant ignorant at best, and potentially much more dangerous and insidious.
 
Lars, Mango Mussolini is in power and white supremacists are increasingly belligerent. Is defending “free speech” more important to you than fighting hate speech? Do you stand with the alt right, or do you stand with the communities literally “debating” and fighting for their lives? #unity. #soldarity #cville
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