Twitter: @SteveAhlquist

Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

His photos and video are usable under the Creative Commons license. Free to share with credit.

"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

4 responses to “Dusk cancels heavy metal band over accusations of white supremacy”

  1. nogchompa

    Huh, I didn’t think you guys went for censoring art. Plus, I thought these guys disavowed white supremacy. There are plenty of bands that actively identified as such, I didn’t think this was one of them. I thought it was more nebulous and in that weird metal grey area, like Lemmy from Motorhead being a Nazi memorabilia collector.

    Not that I support white supremacy or giving them a platform, but this seems a bit over the top for me to be comfortable. The tactics here seem to take a page out of the fascists playbook. “Are you or have you ever been a white supremacist? Can you provide me a list of names?”

    Is there an album burning bonfire scheduled? Let me know, I’ll bring the marshmallows.

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  2. Randall Rose

    Naomi Chomsky isn’t related to Noam Chomsky: he supports free speech, she doesn’t. And it’s misleading when Naomi Chomsky gave the impression that anti-racists and socialists oppose free speech. That’s wrong, since Noam Chomsky, who is anti-racist and socialist, has always been a strong supporter of free speech. Of course Naomi Chomsky has a right to choose a name for herself that’s based on other people’s names — maybe she meant to honor Noam Chomsky, or maybe it means she’s doing more of a parody. Still, her quote in this article is worth questioning and placing in context. I know in the past she’s defended the right of her fellow socialists to speak. But when she says that her allies have a right to speak, while insisting that people with opposing views must not have a platform, that’s simply abandoning the principle of free speech. It’s saying that people will be allowed to speak only when it suits your goals. The right to express yourself and develop your thoughts further through discussion with others is an essential part of human dignity — it’s how people slowly learn for themselves to become more authentic, more creative, and more able to improve the world whether the powers that be like it or not. When systems of power try to suppress discussion, even when they claim it’s to protect something good, it becomes an easy excuse for more oppression. And when people who want to make themselves into a system of power act that way, it’s a sign that they’re on the road to becoming oppressive, whether they realize it or not. No system of power has ever been able to try to silence a lot of outrageous and bad views without also repressing a lot of good people that it finds threatening. There isn’t enough free speech now, especially not for people of color, but trying to diminish the amount of free speech we have is just a gift to the power structure and to anyone else who wants to repress the vulnerable. A society with less free speech would be more ignorant, more corruptly run, more manipulated, less creative and more silently miserable. To clarify, I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing to ask a single concert venue to cancel a show, but when people go as far as saying they want “no platform” for their opponents, they’re moving into McCarthyist-style repression. I like Naomi Chomsky personally but on this issue, I’m more with what Noam Chomsky says.

    Some good stuff by Noam Chomsky on free speech:

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  3. nogchompa

    Well put, Randall, but it’s worth noting that this isn’t really about giving people a platform. The band publicly disavowed white separatism and say that is not what they or their art stands for. The accusations are that it looks like a guy in the band said some horrible things anonymously on an internet forum, and possibly in private. I’m not sure if that’s enough to harass a local business over. There’s enough shithead racists out there who publicly admit to it and work to further their awful agenda, let’s focus on them first. Naomi and her supporters like this site took it upon themselves to decide who’s on what side of the fence, and not allowing the accused to have a voice. That’s a very dangerous thing to do, and I think they owe some people (especially Dusk) an apology. Don’t do this again please.

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  4. Josh Kilby

    Hi. Naomi Chomsky is a drag persona that is based on Noam Chomsky, but that’s where the similarities end. I often admire Noam Chomsky’s analysis, but disagree wildly with some of his conclusions, and this is one such instance.

    I think defense of free speech is often confused with expressing disgust at hate speech or art that promotes fascism. Technically, racists have every right to say whatever they want, but i think it’s a mistake to allow that to be out in public without public opposition. The folx who expressed opposition to this band coming to dusk (and I was definitely not alone) were using our free speech to prevent a Nazi band who had been disinvited to another pvd venue for the same reason. And honestly, I think Dusk did the right thing by not allowing a racist band to take their stage; this isn’t censorship.

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