Portsmouth Students Union has just passed a No Platform policy.This has been achieved as the culmination of two years of campaigning by activists at the students union.
I don't think it appropriate to go into the arguments in depth here,for those interested there is an article on No Platform by john Molyneux on this blog which i would advise people to read.
What I think is pertinent to raise is the fact that No Platform having been under attack a few years ago is now accepted as common sense not just by the left but amongst a broad cross section of students.The people who argued against it were in a tiny minority.They also found themselves against Labour students Greens, SWSS and Conservatives.
Nick Griffins comments about the function of democratic debate within the BNPs overall strategy has informed most people of the Nazis approach to debate.
"The electors of Millwall did not back a post modernist rightist party, but what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan "Defend Rights for Whites" with well-directed boots and fists."
What makes Nazis different is their reliance upon steet violence as the primary method of gaining political power.Providing them with a platform merely gives them a veneer of respectability, which they desperately crave.
The Nazis have no more right to unfettered freedom of speech than I have the right to shout fire in a crowded theatre.
I don't for a minute believe that there are forces at UPSU who have any intention of inviting Fascists into the Union, but it will make people feel more confident the next time the EDL saunter into the Students Union as they have done in the past.
It is important to have passed this as it has put a marker down.It has made an important statement that will help to empower anti fascists.It also makes it clear that the union takes equal opportunities seriously.
Godfrey Atauhene the Education and democracy sabbatical Officer who proposed the motion should be warmly applauded for the leading role he has played in achieving this.As should all the students who turned up to achieve this.