On the tactics on punching Nazis

I am a bit late to the party, but I thought that I’d comment a bit on Richard Spencer getting punched in front of TV cameras

A lot of debate has been going since then, about whether it was acceptable to do so, and if, whether it was good tactics to do so in front of cameras.

Well, legally, it is clearly not acceptable, since it is assault. Morally, on the other hand, I personally don’t have a problem with someone literately advocating genocide and/or promoting an ideology which is based upon genocide getting punched. Some people tries to make the slippery slope argument, asking when it is OK and when it is not, implying that next step will be to punch granny because she voted for Trump. Well, no – the line is clear – if you directly promotes either genocide or an ideology based upon genocide, then it is acceptable. It might be acceptable to punch other groups, based on other clear criteria, but it doesn’t mean that anyone remotely related to the first group get punched.

And it is not like people hasn’t tried to debate Richard Spencer before.

On the tactics parts.

Some people think it might be a bad idea to punch Spencer in front of the TV cameras, as it allows him to play martyr, and others to claim that the left is just as bad as the right. I will concede that there is some truth to that concern, but I still think it is a good idea. Nazis and other white supremacists won’t go away if you play nice with them – maybe they will on an individual level, but not as a group/movement.

Every time someone has gotten rid of Nazis, it has required people to stand up to them physically.

Why should we believe that this is any different? Especially when they’ve got direct influence on the White House, and backing by senior members of the Trump staff?

No, the only way to get them to stop promoting their hate, is to show them that they are not accepted – this can be done through demonstrations, but it can also be done by the means of punching them, when a TV channel gives them a platform.

Or as I stated on Twitter, just after it happened:

So, in other words, I find the tactics of punching Nazis in front of camera effective in the sense that it will make the Nazis crawl back into the shadows, and stop them spreading their ideology. Given this, it could be argued that it is actually more effective tactics to punch Spencer in front on rolling cameras than away from the camera.



  1. sonofrojblake says

    the tactics of punching Nazis in front of camera effective in the sense that it will make the Nazis crawl back into the shadows

    Really? I look forward to seeing American Nazis crawling back into the shadows, rather than, e.g. openly carrying firearms, shooting people who assault them or might, and being allowed to walk away even after turning themselves in.

  2. Kreator says

    openly carrying firearms, shooting people who assault them or might, and being allowed to walk away even after turning themselves in

    They’ll do it anyway as soon as they have the chance, and with Trump, they will. Might as well punch a nazi.

  3. Kreator says

    Addendum: In fact, they’re already doing it, except for the “turning themselves in” part. And it’s not difficult to imagine that for every Trayvon Martin, there are many cases that nobody ever finds out about.

  4. says

    Why would an armed man crawl back into the shadows in fear of a punch? Especially in the current situation where every branch of the US government favors said armed man? I’ve seen a lot of people talk about “making the nazis be afraid of openly sharing their beliefs” and while that would be fine and dandy, I don’t believe the current situation allows for that.

    I don’t think the path of violence is the appropriate way to go. Having said that, if that’s the path you want to take, know that you can’t half-ass it. If you’re willing to punch a nazi, you should be willing to shoot a nazi. They won’t stay down with just a punch, at least not for the next 4-8 years.
    When you say

    Every time someone has gotten rid of Nazis, it has required people to stand up to them physically.

    you have to acknowledge that “standing up to them physically” entailed a world war.
    The path of violence is a path of escalation. They have been violent (violence is a fundamental part of their ideology) so you punch them, for your punches they will shoot you (as Kreator said, they already do), if you are not willing to escalate right back at them then you are surrendering and the path of violence is clearly leading you to a dead end. In this context, if there is any line they are willing to cross that you’re not, that’s where you lose.

    I’m also under the impression that the overlap of Neo-nazis, Trump supporters, gun owners and generally violent people is quite big. If you decide to use violence, you’re playing a game they’re quite adept at (again, violence is fundamental to them). You might outnumber them, but that would require a majority of moderates and left-wingers to be willing to go down this path, and that doesn’t seem to be the case. At the moment, violence is a strategy that plays to all of your weaknesses and none of your strengths.

    I’m of the opinion that being principled is the way to move forward. Thinking back on how we all got here:
    -If Obama had been principled about expanding presidential powers, the Trump administration would not be nearly as dangerous as it is right now.
    -If Hillary Clinton had been principled during her career and campaign, she might have edged out a victory in the blue states that went to Trump.
    -If the DNC and the Democratic Party at large had been principled all along, their base would have stood behind them in the elections and mid-terms, instead of mistrusting them, begrudging the primary results, staying home, voting third party or voting Trump. Or at the very least, they would have put forth a candidate who could actually beat Trump.

    I think that being more principled in the positions we take would have led us away from this situation in the first place. And I believe that being principled will get us out of this mess better than violence. It plays to our strengths because the principles behind science, humanism, liberalism and tolerance are simply better, demonstrably.

    And, at least to me, part of those principles is non-violence. Punching someone, even a disgusting piece of shit like Richard Spencer, is not to be celebrated or encouraged. Take a stand against violence, not because you personally like the victim, but because you are a pacifist on principle. Defend assholes’ right to say stupid shit, not because you agree, but because you defend free speech on principle. It’s just maddening how the politicians (and people in general) who supposedly adhere the right side of the debate:
    -Use and defend the use of racial dog whistles.
    -Support wars and escalation with countries you really shouldn’t be going to war with.
    -Allow and forgive the complete upending of privacy rights.
    -Allow and forgive the death of innocents as collateral damage.
    -Refuse policies that would help millions because, basically, getting them done would be too hard.

    I could go on, but those are the two main choices I see, and neither will work unless it’s taken all the way. Either go all the way with violence or go all the way with liberal principles, flip-flopping between being a progressive and being for violence will not get you anywhere.

  5. says


    Ok, that was flattering (and a little creepy). In both the “What about those poor white men”, I’m not even talking about them being downtrodden or anything, just that antagonizing them outright is stupid when you are a political party or candidate in need of votes.

    “Anti-PC goon?”, please elaborate. In the comment you linked to, I say “There are several situations where identity politics stop being appropriate.” Which logically, necessarily, implies that in most situations they are appropriate, if not outright vital.

    Since you are somehow able to search and link to my comments without actually reading them, I’ll spell this out for you. Just on the context of my “Trump is better than Hillary” comment: If I had been american, I would have voted for Hillary, and regretted it afterwards.

    No idea where you got “racist” from. I suppose you just reflexively bring up that charge whenever you want to discredit someone. That’s cute.

    I don’t appreciate you misrepresenting my views, not sure if it’s an honest mistake when you read them, or if you are being malicious in your intentions. But anyway.

    Let’s say I was actually “racist, anti-PC goon, potential Trump voter yadda-yadda”. At best you got yourself an Ad Hominem attack. What I say is no less true just because you don’t like me, and it would be no more true if I was MLK. Or maybe I’m wrong, in which case I could be freaking Ghandi, and still be wrong. Discussing how much of an asshole I am (or not) will get us no closer to figuring out whether the statements I made are correct or not.

    I mean, Jesus Christ, if actually racist, anti-PC, misogynistic, racist, generally a total piece of shit Donald Trump came out tomorrow and said “actually Global Warming is real” would you instantly jump to the conclusion that it’s actually fake, just because he said it?