My alma mater has a fascism problem


The University of Washington doesn’t seem to be dealing with their fascist conservative students very well. Last week, they had a peaceful weekend of protests that were marred by one disgraceful incident: one of those “alt-right”, neo-Nazi, young Republican Milo Yiannopoulos supporters shot someone. By all accounts, the man who was shot was an unarmed anti-racist organizer who was trying to de-escalate the conflicts; the shooter we know little about, except that he was pro-Milo, and he came to a non-violent rally carrying a pistol.

Stop right there. The man came armed to a peaceful protest and shot someone. He was identified — they have video and eyewitness testimony and, apparently, the gun — and picked up by the police…who then let him go. The prosecutors say they need more time to build a case against him. Unbelievable. I’m going to go out on a limb and make another prediction about the shooter: he’s white.

There’s more. The College Republicans at the University of Washington came out with a statement afterwards, deploring the incident. Not the shooting, oh no — that is only mentioned indirectly, with the implication that it’s the fault of the anti-fascists.

As we all reflect on the events of last night, it has become clear to us that hundreds if not thousands within the UW community disagree with yesterday’s tactics utilized by the ‘Seattle Antifa’ movement.

Wha…? It’s your fascist side that shot a man.

The protestors had little regard for the safety of the community they claim to be protecting,

The protesters were unarmed. It was your side that brought a gun.

and people ended up going home covered in paint and much worse for some, their own blood.

Yeah. Because you shot a man.

It was an abhorrent display of what Seattle has come to,

I agree. That the UWPD allowed a man to walk away after shooting someone is abhorrent.

and we at the UWCR are determined now more than ever to continue fighting against this pseudo-terrorism that guises itself as justice.

Right. By promoting real violent terrorism to defend injustice.

It continues in this vein, patting themselves on the back for their popularity and how beloved their fascist organization is in the community, and reversing reality to pretend to be the heroes here.

Antifa, Anarchists, violent political agitators, you have been seen by the public for what you really are.

I can’t get over this. Their side brought a gun and used it, and they get all indignant and accuse the victims of being “violent political agitators”?

We see you occupiying our libraries, inhibiting education, and frightening students who are by and large not even aware of what your motives are.

Uh, you know what frightens me? Cocky right-wing assholes strutting about campus with guns in their pockets. We know what our motives are, and we’re quite clear about them, to the point where even you named it: anti-fascism. No authority without responsibility and accountability. Equality and democracy. All the stuff you oppose.

You have been seen in our cities damaging property that does not belong to you, and inciting violence and disobedience towards the men and women who protect us (yourselves included).

They protect you; you can shoot someone, and the police will let you walk. That doesn’t sound like they’re protecting the people who get shot.

But wait, now comes the fun part. After all this posturing as the victims, they’re going to threaten.

You have been seen on national television clearly being the cause of increased division in our society, and it’s time your flame is put out. If you keep prodding the right you may be unpleasantly surprised what the outcome will be. Youve obviously learned nothing after Trump’s election.

Trump justifies everything! Including shooting people, apparently. Or worse.

This is the executive who just made an executive order outright banning the immigration of refugees from predominantly Muslim countries, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. He also “ordered that Christians and others from minority religions be granted priority over Muslims.”

This is what he wants.

deadchild

That’s what you stand for, UWCR, and you’re proud of it. As an alumnus of the University of Washington, I stand against you, I despise you, and I consider you a corrupting poison in the community.

Meanwhile, over here on the left, we’ve got people wringing their hands over punching Nazis (fortunately, some of us still have the moral clarity to see that Nazis and other genocidal, racist cowards must be opposed).

Just remember this: your side shot an unarmed man, and then blamed him for it.

The UW has a fascism problem. And let’s not hide it: it’s name is the College Republicans.

Comments

  1. says

    Not only was a shooter let go, there are a whole lot of journalists and protesters who were at the march on Washington, who were arrested and charged with felonies. They are all facing 10 years in prison a/o a $25,000 fine. Welcome to the new fascism, same as the old fascism.

  2. numerobis says

    Trump didn’t just stop immigration from those countries, he closed the border entirely. Green card holders who were traveling when the order went down now can’t get home.

    Refugees accepted for resettlement and in transit to their new home have been barred entry.

  3. feministhomemaker says

    Thank you PZ for posting this. I have shared it on my Facebook page. I also shared there the recent essay by a Rebecca Solnit in Harpers on the consequences of cynicism. The resistance needs that bolstering essay.

  4. jacksprocket says

    When I commented on the journalists’ arrests, I was told, no, it’s just a local matter, not Trump’s new policy. Look, this is going to work on the principle of nudge nudge, wink wink. They don’t need orders, they know what to do, and they’ll do it willingly. Then when the death squads start, they can’t be linked to the administration in any way, and like this the cops will drag their feet in the investigation, lose the evidence, or say suicide.

    My advice to start with is, if you’ve any public exposure even locally, learn what the underside of your car looks like, and check it frequently. Vary your times and routes to work or anywhere else you go regularly. Carry a tracker unit reporting to a site that only you and restricted friends can access. develop a communications tree so you know who to call in an emergency. Because the people who will stick a bomb under the footwell, or run your car off the road at a quiet spot, or just disappear you, will have less chance of carrying it off easily. It’s worked like this in parts of South America for decades. It was like that in Northern Ireland a couple of decades ago. It’s like that in Russia now.

  5. nateleca says

    These are abnormal times. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes: Nazis and other genocidal, racist cowards must be opposed.

    But I just want to understand; and I’m hoping I misunderstood: Are you advocating punching Nazis? Have you ever punched anyone? Have you ever been punched? I have.

    Was in the military when I was young, had macho delusions and and was constantly angry; used to get in fights often. Punching can be devastating and even lethal. I do not recommend it as a practical and legal matter — and that doesn’t even address the moral question of when violence can be justified (uh…. if you’re defending yourself from violence and not as vigilantism even against the most horrible?).

    Does this mean I lack moral clarity?

  6. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ah, the old you won’t let us bully you into submission, therefore it has to your fault.
    Rethugs, stop your bullying. You might lose the next election, and big time, the way things are going. Your side is turning people off.
    Carry laws are just another form of bullying.

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I doubt he’s advocating it, just dismissing it as a minor altercation that is getting overblown by the nazi snowflakes as “too rude”. The punch was a simple physical response to all the hate speech the nazi was spewing. No one advocates punching every random nazi they come across. There was context behind the punch, not just a spurious event to condemn.

  8. rietpluim says

    Oh puh-leaze, not the punching-is-a-bad-thing discussion again. Yes, punching is bad, thank you. You know what is even badder? Shooting an unarmed man and getting away with it. If some punching is needed to make that stop, than by all means, punch!

  9. says

    This is all rather predictable. The right has always specialized in coming up with absurd post-hoc justification for their actions by either ignoring facts, revising historical truth, or by simply misrepresenting things and engaging in distorted morality. Of course punching someone is a bad thing. Bit of a strawman, that argument. But, when someone is advocating segregation, bigotry and violence against ethnic and racial minorities, punching them in the head is merely an act of resistance to much, much, higher magnitudes of violence that the punched person was advocating! Universal pacifism does not lead to revolutions!

    But as a trend, this kind of justifications are hardly new for the right. There were plenty of justifications provided, back in the ’60s, for the oppressing of the anti-war activists. And if you want a recent example, look at Pinker’s patriotic revisionist history in his deplorable book of cherry-picked statistics (Better Angels…)! Pinker writes:

    “the three deadliest postwar conflicts were fuelled by Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese communist regimes that had a fanatical dedication to outlasting their opponents.”

    Right! Of course! How dare you resist our imperial aggression! Just role over and die already… if you kill us too, while we are killing you, then the death toll goes up! Please… just let us kill some of you, and then hand over your country to us!

    What a fucking stooge! These Milo-types are the result of decades of bourgeoisie pseudo-liberalism and refusing to take radical stands for social justice. And they are merely using the same rhetoric, minus some of the finesse, that obtuse Ivy League professors like Pinker has used to justify imperial aggressions.

  10. says

    nateleca @5

    Oh, have you been punched? So have I.

    Have you ever stared into the eyes of a neo-nazi who has every intention of murdering you and was only stopped because a bus full of people were poised and ready to punch the violent fascists the second they stepped out of line? Cause I have.

    Why? Cause I wore a skirt.

    So miss me with the poor nazis shit as if these fuckers don’t feel they have carte blanche to murder us all with impunity and have the cops shake their hand and take them to Burger King on the way out. If getting socked in the head once or twice makes these angry racists a little more hesitant to act out their eliminationist fantasies, then by Jove, let’s punch them.

  11. says

    Nateleca:

    Have you ever punched anyone? Have you ever been punched? I have.

    Oh ffs. You think that makes you special? Yes, I’ve been punched. For the record, I’m a woman. I was coldcocked by a fucking skinhead coming out of a gay bar. My friends punched him back. Then I punched the asshole. He would have curb stomped me and my friends if he’d had a chance. Fuck your handwringing. I don’t give a shit how much nazis get punched. What do you want to do, serve them tea? No thanks.

  12. says

    Addendum to 14:

    It’s not like I’m running around with a loaded gun looking to shoot people. That would be the fucking nazis. Just in case you’re confused.

  13. Saad says

    nateleca, #5

    These are abnormal times. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes: Nazis and other genocidal, racist cowards must be opposed.

    But I just want to understand; and I’m hoping I misunderstood: Are you advocating punching Nazis? Have you ever punched anyone? Have you ever been punched? I have.

    Was in the military when I was young, had macho delusions and and was constantly angry; used to get in fights often. Punching can be devastating and even lethal. I do not recommend it as a practical and legal matter — and that doesn’t even address the moral question of when violence can be justified (uh…. if you’re defending yourself from violence and not as vigilantism even against the most horrible?).

    Does this mean I lack moral clarity?

    If a Nazi — who has a position of influence, gathers crowds around him, and preaches ethnic cleansing in a society where racism has a large presence, in a political climate where the government has a clear leaning towards white supremacy and where the president is a shameless racist demagogue and is being advised by another Nazi — gets punched in the face by a person and…

    1) The Nazi feels pain and subsequently feels unsafe talking genocide in public again, and the puncher is unhurt and unarrested, I am happy (to put it mildly) with it.

    2) The Nazi feels pain and subsequently feels unsafe talking genocide in public again and the puncher is injured and/or arrested, I am happy with it and feel bad for the puncher. They should be released from custody and their injured hand looked at.

    3) The Nazi get seriously injured or the punch is fatal, I won’t feel much joy but will also recognize that his injury or death was self-inflicted. It was an act of long-term self-defense.

    Using your influence to gather white supremacist crowds to advocate genocide while also expecting to remain safe should not be allowed in any society. Using “free speech” as a defense while you advocate something that is infinitely worse than being punched for advocating that thing is bullshit.

    Basically, I’m never going to speak against a genocide-proposing Nazi being punched.

    Nazis feeling unsafe in public hasn’t made it to the list of problems in the world for me yet.

  14. Rich Woods says

    @numerobis #2:

    Trump didn’t just stop immigration from those countries, he closed the border entirely.

    He’s also blocking people whose journey even happens to transit through the USA, such as Hamaseh Tayari. Hard to see how she’s a threat.

    Oh well. I suppose Canadian and Mexican airports will benefit from the inevitable air traffic changes. Bye bye, America. Enjoy your new sinkhole status.

  15. Saad says

    nateleca,

    You are saying, in other words, that someone like Richard Spencer should feel safe coming out in public, getting on camera, and advocating ethnic cleansing of various marginalized minorities on all sorts of axes who are already wondering what will be happening to them and their children.

  16. rq says

    Saad
    You’re talking about consequences. That’s like… not allowed or something.

  17. Saad says

    To quote a meme I saw earlier:

    Liberals be like: “I do not agree with ethnic cleansing but I will defend to the death your right to recruit and organize it.”

  18. hotspurphd says

    Has anyone considered this: punching the nazi may result in more violence which the good guys may be on the losing side of? These people are probably more violent and and are more likely to be carrying guns. . I don’t think anyone is saying “poor nazi”. It’s the consequences of the punching. Aren’t they more likely to escalate violence?

  19. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Look, no one is going around advocating punching random Nazis in the face, just randomly on the street. That might make them mad or more mad than usually and that would be bad.
    What I personally advocate is not getting too upset (or at all) because someone punched a Nazi in the face on camera. No pity for him, he can fuck off.

    The really troubling thing about Nazis is that you don’t have to punch them in the face to make them want to kill you. Sometimes, just being alive is enough to encourage them to make sure you’re not alive any more

  20. says

    Beatrice @23 –

    Punched in the face while actively recruiting. Like, he was selling nazism on camera when he got punched and since he got punched he’s had way fewer invitations to politely sell nazism.

    Nazis take advantage of our desires for pacifism, of kindness and a desire to see the best in people. They see this as weakness and they use the language of “fairness” to normalize the brutal oppression of groups they hate. When we ignore them, when we’re the bigger people, we leave a lot of marginalized folks getting brutalized under wraps and behind the scenes.

    hotspurphd @21

    Richard Spencer before he got punched on camera had just led an attempted purge of Jewish-Americans in his home town, trying to organize armed neo-nazis to parade through the streets and his goons literally doxxed every jewish citizen in the town. Home addresses for the neo-nazis to go hog wild with.

    Guys like Milo that everyone’s been so fucking fair with have been using their “free speech” cocoon to dox and harass a new trans kid at every rally of his. Most of his targets have had to drop out of school owing to the death threats caused by this. A number of his previous targets in the hate group that ruined gaming committed suicide because of his harassment or lost tenuous stability in their housing and employment.

    He has not received a single punch or kick for this. And yet he continues to advocate violence.

    And most importantly of all. The shooting up above? It happened first. Richard Spencer getting punched in the face is the response to an antifa street medic getting shot. And yet, of the two, can you guess which one got more hand-wringing?

    We handicap the far right, expect that they can’t at all be held responsible to the standards of a civilized society, but expect marginalized folks fighting for their lives and losing to hold themselves above and nobly suffer and die in shadows lest they “prove themselves just as bad”.

    Make no mistake, the nazis are feeling very powerful right now. They want to kill large swaths of the population and they will no matter what we do.

    But if we can get a few more scared of being open nazis. A few less willing to roam the streets with guns thinking the whole community is behind them?

    That will reduce the body count that is already guaranteed to happen.

  21. pseudotsuga says

    I don’t feel sorry for punching Nazis. I worry that we are fighting on thier terms. They live in a terrible world in thier own mind and have been doing thier best to make all of us live there. A world where you can intimidate people with a punch sounds like a movie or an awful like shock and awe to me. By fighting on thier terms, I.e. direct violence, we walk right into thier arena. As much as I hate them, I’m not going to walk into a nazi meeting and start shooting every one including children. They have already done that in the last year. We wil lose if we try to go punch for punch.

    You think getting punched scares a nazi from speaking out again? Would a nazi punching you in the face make you be quiet and stop speaking out against nazis?

  22. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Cerberus,
    Agreed, I’m just not writing clearly today.

  23. Saad says

    pseudotsuga, #25

    As much as I hate them, I’m not going to walk into a nazi meeting and start shooting every one including children.

    What an unbelievably ridiculous strawman.

    You think getting punched scares a nazi from speaking out again?

    No, but it will certainly make them feel a tad bit unsafe (as Spencer himself whined about after this).

    Giving them the assurance that they won’t get punched is the same as telling them they have safe access to public space to try to make genocide happen.

    Why? None of you are giving an answer to this. Why should someone arguing for ethnic cleansing in public feel safe? I don’t understand. Begin to convince me.

  24. rietpluim says

    @Cerberus #12 – Naive question just be sure I understood you correctly: are you a trans person?

  25. says

    #21: “Has anyone considered this: punching the nazi may result in more violence which the good guys may be on the losing side of? ”

    Yes. Have you considered that not punching nazis may result in more violence which the good guys may be on the losing side of? Because that is actually the lesson of history.

  26. unclefrogy says

    @28
    well it from where I sit having been living here for a good long time I think what has actually happened is the illusion of the great american dream that we americans all aspire to an enlightened democratic republic with peace and justice for all as fallen and shown the dark nasty heart of the whole experiment, from the very beginning of the discovery of the new world by Columbus it has been the struggle for wealth and power, morality be damned.
    uncle frogy

  27. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    Neo-Nazi white supremacist pro-genocide pro-ethnic cleansing loudmouth gets punched? Right wing freaks out, progressives argue about whether or not it was acceptable to meet rhetorical violence with physical violence. Anti-fascist demonstrator who actively tried to reduce tensions and de-escalate gets fucking shot? Right wing and the press blames the victim, police let the shooter go and the alt-right freaks out about how dangerous demonstrators are. And yet the right wing claims they are the ones being oppressed and victimized.

    Unfortunately, this is not new.

  28. vucodlak says

    As I’ve said here in the past, I’ve had personal experience with modern Nazis. I tried to do the “smart thing,” to not fight back, to do what they say on the hopes that they wouldn’t hurt me or my friend any worse than they already had. Do you know what that got me? Tortured.

    That night, I learned an important lesson: trying to negotiate with Nazis gets you a boot in the face. It gets you broken so bad that you’ll never be quite right again. Or maybe it just gets you dead.

    In a certain sense, I owe thanks to the Nazis I met all those years ago for teaching me that lesson. Alas, my mentor already thanked those fine folks. And really, I think we should all thank the Nazis. Thank every single one of them for giving us such a clear-cut issue in a world where things are seldom simple.

    Nazis will not be satisfied until only Nazis are left. Hand-wringing about “but if we get violent with them then they’ll get violent with us” badly misses the point: NAZIS ALREADY WANT TO WIPE NON-NAZIS OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH. We can coddle them, we can play nice with them, we can sit down and have a nice chat with them, and in the end they’ll still do everything in their power to kill all of the people that don’t fit into their nasty little worldview.

    Now, if you’re a white, cis-het, able-bodied man, you really do have options. You can join them and be on the “winning” side, if you choose. Anyone who is able-bodied and not a “deviant,” can try their luck as a collaborator, knowing they’ll never be more than a slave. For the rest of us, it’s all ovens and mass graves.

    Asking people not to harm Nazis is asking them to lay down and die. I am not saying “abandon mercy and compassion,” because to do so is become just like the Nazis. I am saying that violence committed against Nazis is inherently self-defense. The only limits being that some acts are never acceptable, i.e. those that harm bystanders, or torture.

  29. hotspurphd says

    24,27,31
    Maybe you are right. I don’t disagree but I wonder if illegal violence is the way to go. It certainly feels go to watch the video of Spencer getting punched.
    Here is another view. Personally, I like the idea of punching the nazi.
    Is it OK to punch a Nazi? Philosopher Slavoj Žižek talks Richard Spencer, Nazis, and Donald Trump — Quartz
    “If a guy talks like that jerk [Richard Spencer], you should just ignore him. If he hits you, turn around. Don’t even acknowledge him as a person. That’s the type of violence I would call for. Not physical violence. Because, you know, people say symbolic violence can be even worse, but don’t underestimate physical violence. Something happens when you move to physical violence. I’m not saying we should greet everyone, embrace them. Be brutal at a different level. When you encounter a guy like the one who was punched, act in such a way that even hitting him, even slapping him is too much of a recognition. You should treat him or her or whoever as a nonperson, literally.”
    https://qz.com/896463/is-it-ok-to-punch-a-nazi-philosopher-slavoj-zizek-talks-richard-spencer-nazis-and-donald-trump/

    Sent from my iPad

    Sent from my iPad

  30. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    nateleca #5

    Does this mean I lack moral clarity?

    I can’t really tell from your comment becuse you lack coherence.

  31. nateleca says

    @31 “Yes. Have you considered that not punching nazis may result in more violence which the good guys may be on the losing side of? Because that is actually the lesson of history.”

    Where did I hear a similar argument recently? Let me think…. Something about these horrible people who want to kill us all and we’re facing an existential crisis, and we have to scare them, not kill them outright, but cause them a little pain, show them we mean business and that’s the lesson of history. Ah, yes! It was because if we don’t waterboard terrorists it will only embolden them and will result in more violence and we’re the good guys so it’s all good. applehead @ 28 is absolutely right. We’ve all gone batshit fucking crazy.

  32. nateleca says

    @chigau 38: Oh my, you’re a witty fucker, aren’t you? I bet you keep a list of little bon mots you can throw out without bothering to think through an argument.

  33. says

    vucodlak @35

    *Appropriate gesture of support* That’s awful. I’m really sorry you had to go through that.

    hotspursphd @36

    I always love it when transphobic white guys lecture the rest of us about how to respond to violence as if the idea of experiencing violence was a lovely little thought experiment.

    On the flipside, we have communities under attack that are going to lose people, have already lost people thanks to these nazis. Bright, kind, beautiful people whose only “crime” was being marginalized enough to earn the nazis ire and the public’s ignorance. For us, this isn’t a thought experiment.

    This is life. And right now, we’re looking at a situation where there is increasing violence against us and a whole lot of white men rubbing their hands nervously because they identify more with another white man getting hit than a muslim girl watching her mosque get burned down, a trans kid getting bullied into a suicide attempt, or some brown kid walking down the wrong street on the wrong day.

    You talk about sending messages? What kind of message does it send when people of power consistently worry more about the feelings of people whose only identity is wanting to murder everyone not like them than the lives of those they target?

    What message do you send to us on the raggedy edge when you look at our suffering and call that an adequate price?

    Zizek can talk a big game about “ignoring them” for moral clarity, because he’s not the one getting targeted. And so it becomes less a Jesusian call for meekness and more an excuse to turning one’s head and walking away while whistling about how moral that makes you.

    And make no mistake, white men are needed now, more than ever. Cause the rest of us? Are direct targets. We risk our lives when we fight. But white men who can ignore the violence if they wanted to? They’re the ones the bigoted media will listen to. They’re the ones who can get through to the bigoted politicians who are gleefully aiding and abetting this shit. They’re the ones who can punch a nazi and have a chance of getting away.

  34. nateleca says

    @ Saad 27: “No, but it will certainly make them feel a tad bit unsafe…Why should someone arguing for ethnic cleansing in public feel safe? I don’t understand. Begin to convince me.”

    Why only make them a tad bit unsafe? If these are admittedly horrible people and we should feel no sympathy or empathy toward them and the only objective is to make them stop feeling safe in public, why make them feel only a “tad bit unsafe”? Why not a whole lot unsafe? Why not outright terrify them? We can certainly do better than just punching.

    You want me to convince you that the end does not justify the means? If I have to explain why, I already lost the argument.

  35. nateleca says

    @ Caine 14: What does your story have to do with anything I wrote? So, a skinhead hit you and you and your friends hit back. Brava! I approve! So what? Where did I say you shouldn’t defend yourself or that I had any sympathy for Nazis? I said neither. Please don’t make shit up.

    Yes, Nazis and other deplorables must be opposed and made to retreat back into their dark holes and away from civilized society. Trust me, I can appreciate the visceral pleasure of punching a Nazi. I get it. In my head I’ve done worse to them than just punch them. But I can still distinguish between fantasy and reality.

  36. says

    nateleca @38

    And we have the bullshit false equivalence.

    Yes, Nate, that’s right. Torturing other human beings out of bigoted hatred for their country of origin and skin color is exactly the same as disrupting a nazi recruiter in the middle of recruiting for an active campaign of genocide he is attempting to enact by punching him in the face.

    There’s clearly no difference in torturing a person out of bigotry and punching a person because they are espousing the genocide of you and your friends, because they are already hurting and killing your friends.

    This should be transparently obvious why this shit is oppressive. Why the handcuffing of the marginalized to accept their elimination with “dignity” while their oppressors are barely pushed back against because “no one expects them to be civilized”.

    And that’s how it’s happening here now (yes, happening, not going to happen, I mean already in the works). Because people of comfort, people with actual power to fight back identify way more with the violent fucks trying to kill us than the scared and broken masses being targeted for elimination.

  37. rietpluim says

    @Cerberus #33 – Thanks. I understand to them you looked like a guy in girls’ clothes.

    @Ogvorbis #34 – That sums it all up pretty neatly. One big difference between the alt-right and the liberals is that the latter usually are much more courteous. We should stop being so courteous.

    In my teens, Nazi skinheads used to crash every party in the vicinity, get loud and drunk, and beat somebody up before the end of the evening just for the fun of it. Later I learned to know some of them personally. Before that I used to be dead scared of them, but then I learned that they are pathetic little guys. Always an excuse for their behavior. Their leader once said “I don’t like foreigners, because since there are foreigners in the country crime rates have gone up, and I don’t believe in coincidence.” And this guy had a record himself. He didn’t even see the irony.

    Conclusion: Nazis are stupid. I don’t mean to underestimate them, because stupidity can be very dangerous, but they are stupid nonetheless.

  38. says

    And for every nazi defender on this thread, I urge you to notice one key thing. All of you are speaking of nazis in the theoretical. Oh, it’s a moral thought experiment.

    The ones who are supporting punching nazis? Notice how many of us have already been targeted by them? Who’ve survived violence with them?

    We know what we are talking about, you don’t.

    And if you don’t believe me, ask any old punk who had to fight to keep their spaces being overrun by nazis and watched spaces that politely let the nazis recruit become unsafe hellholes where marginalized punks were targeted and beaten. They knew.

    The punches let them know that this hatred of theirs, this thing that is a belief system they cling to out of entitlement, is not going to be accepted here.

    Cause the alternative are nazis who think they are accepted everywhere they go. And nazis who feel supported, who feel like their winning?

    They shoot people. They beat people until they are dead or in critical care. They stab people. We’ve seen it time and time again. We’re seeing it here in the States now.

    If we don’t find a way to push back against this, it will consume us and millions will die.

  39. says

    nateleca @42

    Did you just have the utter gall to tell someone that they can’t separate fantasy from reality when they share a story of actually experiencing nazi violence in reality?

    While simultaneously sharing your story of theoretical fantasies about how it would go if you ever met a nazi?

    Motherfucker, shut the fuck up and sit down. You want to pretend a moral high ground while selling that shit? Fuck you.

  40. says

    rietpluim @44

    Yup. I wasn’t even on hormones back then and I don’t really do makeup or falsies, so yeah, that’s probably exactly what they thought I was.

    Didn’t mean they didn’t want me any less dead for it. And the sad reality is that’s just the narrow escape with death from the nazis. I’ve had at least two more incidents with much less support since then and have been targeted by nazi-led hate groups for existing. I doubt this will be my last encounter of that sort before I die. I can only hope that that won’t literally be my last encounter.

  41. says

    I was born in Greece and go back every year and have seen the rise of Golden Dawn, our neo-nazi party. It was shocking and there’s no point to go through all the causes. But I saw demonstrations and confrontations between GD and democrats and socialists and I can tell you one thing: punching nazis will do nothing to reduce nazism or make them stop spewing hate or prevent the media from treating them as if they are some kind of “controversial” hipsters. They will not retreat because they are not scared of getting punched. They may pretend they’re hurt to gain sympathy. I have no idea why you think that. Instead they’ll try to provoke more confrontations and they’ll come armed and with more of their homicidal followers worked up to fight. I will admit that I don’t know how to do away with them and the fact that 60 million of people voted for an obvious racist nazi sympathizer fills me with despair and anger. But physically attacking will do nothing to accomplish getting rid of these people. You have to change minds and make them unacceptable to society. Please check history.

  42. rietpluim says

    @Cerberus #47 – Thanks again. I don’t know what to say but love and good luck. Let’s pull a little hope from the fact that the counter movement is getting stronger too. Your friends and allies are growing.

  43. nateleca says

    @ Cerberus 43: “And we have the bullshit false equivalence.”

    Indeed, our recent (and perhaps current) torturers tortured people our of bigoted hatred for skin color, and ethic and religious origin. But the justification for torture was that a group of homicidal assholes (terrorists, who were and continue to hurt and kill people), were not a criminal problem but an existential threat and we thus we had to use extraordinary means to defeat the threat. Ergo, waterboarding, which according to its aficionados is not really like cutting heads off and so it’s OK. With punching Nazis, the justification is that a group of homicidal assholes (Nazis, who are certainly advocating hurting and killing people), are not a criminal problem but an existential threat and thus we have to use extraordinary means to defeat this threat. Ergo, punching, which according to its aficionados is not really like shooting people and so it’s OK.

    Can’t you see how the argument is similar? That does not mean the circumstances or effects are equivalent.

    To make it crystal clear: Nobody here, not me and nobody else I’ve read, is defending Nazis or arguing that we shouldn’t do whatever we can to make them crawl back in their holes and stay there. We share the same objective. I get it that we’re all angry. I confess to finding the video of Spenser getting punched satisfying (although the punch was an elbow punch and not very effective). But the argument is simply whether punching someone proactively to prevent him from speaking is a) morally defensible and/or b) effective. I think it’s neither.

  44. hotspurphd says

    #45 Cerberus”
    “And for every nazi defender on this thread,”
    WTF? Who is defending Nazis? Not I nor anyone else that I can see. I see people taking positions on the best tactics to defeat them. I’m simply asking questions. Defending Nazis?, feeling sorry for them?-no one here said that. It is so tiresome the way some people here ascribe thoughts, feelings, and moral positions to others with little or no basis.
    I find both sides persuasive, most recently #48, and #50,but it seems rather hopeless in the short run. then making them feel “a tad unsafe” may be way too little. so what should be done, shoot them? It seems that violence may be the only way to stop them. But any violence may be met with more and we lose. Round and round. It must be nice to have clarity about this. I sure don’t.

  45. nateleca says

    @ Cerberus 46: “Did you just have the utter gall to tell someone that they can’t separate fantasy from reality when they share a story of actually experiencing nazi violence in reality?…Motherfucker, shut the fuck up and sit down.”

    When someone starts with the “fuck you” and “sit down” I usually stop bothering with them. It’s obvious they’re more invested in demonstrating how righteously furious they are instead of actually making a wee bit of an effort to understand what someone is saying before hitting the F key.

    I’ll make an exemption out of curiosity and see if you can understand what I was referring to when I contrasted reality with fantasy: My first comment was about how I know the damage punching can do. It can be devastating. People who have been involved in physical altercations know this. I know this. The reality is that going around punching will a) break you knuckles b) will eventually hurt of kill someone c) will likely send you to jail. The fantasy is that it’s like in the movies, where people punch back and forth and nothing much happens. I suspect that most people who advocate punching Nazis don’t realize the difference since the only punching they’ve experienced is fantasy punching. I thought it was an obvious distinction.

  46. vucodlak says

    @ Kan Enas, #48

    Does it really escape you that the people who are for “Nazi punching” aren’t really talking about going about and giving every Nazi a little bop on the nose? We’re talking about fighting Nazis, about stopping them from carrying out their agendas, and using violence if necessary.

    You want to talk about checking history, I suggest you check out the 1940s. The Nazis weren’t stopped then by people simply turning their noses up and proclaiming that they won’t sink to the Nazis’ level. And if you think the Nazis today are any less vile than the Nazis then, you’re dead wrong. If they get the power, and they don’t quite have it yet, they will do the same and worse.

    We’ve reached the point where we can no longer win a propaganda war. Too many people are willing to fall in line with the Nazis. We KNOW where this road leads. As terrible as it is, I can see no way out of this situation that doesn’t involve further bloodshed. I will not let them take my friends and neighbors without a fight. I will not sit idle by while history repeats itself. I will not quietly lie down and die.

    As I’ve said, there are some things which are always unacceptable, no matter how vile your enemy is. It’s always unacceptable to torture, and it’s always unacceptable to kill bystanders. “Punching,” however, is a euphemism for “whatever it takes, within those acceptable limits.” At least, that’s what it means for me.

  47. says

    vucodlak, it’s funny to me that I explained our actual recent history with neo-nazis in Greece and yet you advice me to read history. Really? You don’t like my history I guess because it doesn’t confirm with your bias. I’m sorry about that.

    Also, you say that “Punching,” however, is a euphemism for “whatever it takes, within those acceptable limits.” At least, that’s what it means for me.” I don’t get this. Everybody is talking about punching Spenser in the face and how that’s what we should be doing. This is not a euphemism. Nobody said anything about punching euphemistically. May be you think that, but everybody else seems to talk literally. I think I get this.

  48. pseudotsuga says

    Saad # 27

    I don’t want them to feel safe at all. I want nazis to feel all of the fear, pain and shame they want to inflict on anyone that doesn’t look like them. My mistake if I gave the impression I care at all for them, thier feelings or thier safety. I just don’t think that they are going to feel unsafe by getting punched when they spout thier ideology. I think it makes them feel validated.

  49. hotspurphd says

    #53 And if you think the Nazis today are any less vile than the Nazis then, you’re dead wrong. If they get the power, and they don’t quite have it yet, they will do the same and worse

    Why do you think this? Does anyone here. Agree with that?

  50. says

    vucodlak @53

    Yeah, this.

    I’ve had to make peace with the fact that I’m likely dying in the next couple of years and if I’m not, I’m going to watch a shit-ton of friends die. Almost all of them belong to at least one identity hated by nazis, many of them have already been targeted by nazis. My fiancee wants me to flee the country before the year is out, because things are at the level where their coworkers are cracking “jokes” about how they look forward to taking all their stuff when they are sent to the camps.

    It’s a hard line to never torture, to never rape. There’s no justification for those. But whatever we can do to slow down the nazis, remind the mushy middle that the nazis aren’t actually winners, are actually the terrible genocidal fucks they are and get people used to a world where a lot of people… or rather a lot more people are going to get targeted in hate crimes, eliminationism, and state-sponsored violence.

    And I’m not tickled pink by the idea of lying down gently and passively accepting my genocide. Or having others care more about the “optics” or “ethics” of one sucker punch on a man who is already doing violence on marginalized communities and recruiting more to aid him.

    nateleca @50

    I’m not angry though. I’m terrified.

    I mean, I’m angry as well, but right now, I don’t sleep so great. I don’t eat so great. I cry a lot of evenings and I’m more scared now than I’ve been in a long long time. And not in an existential racist bullshit way, but in a “feel it in my bones” remembering the times I was hit and threatened and called a stain that needed to be eliminated and encouraged to commit suicide.

    There are literal nazis, back and recruiting, and that terrifies me. And that’s why my responses are inelegant. I hope that makes sense and I’m going to try and remain calm in my responses here.

    Punching isn’t shooting isn’t torture. These are different things with different goals. And different levels of justification. Erasing these differences is what nazis want us to do. They want us to be slaves to our principles, because in their mind a peaceful marginalized person is an easier target. And they feel so powerful and unconstrained by legal threat or violent reproach that they openly recruit with a smile on their faces in front of multiple media outlets.

    And here’s the dark underpinning of the whole affair. Nazis and other hate groups love winning. Love standing behind the powerful, the winners, feeling like they are unstoppable. It’s a toxic masculinity issue and it means humiliation has effects. Because if something looks weak, looks unpopular, looks like a means of getting punched, it means a lot less on the fence folks jumping on board.

    And we see that in effects. The effects of the punch were:

    A) Richard Spencer doing less press interviews and public appearances and playing crybaby, which is making him a laughing stock and a living meme. This makes him and his movement which were riding high look weak and like the entitled white men who’ve never experienced an ounce of real resistance that they are.

    B) News media finally questioning the free press they’ve been giving Spencer. More outlets were willing to call him out as a nazi after the punch than before it and were less likely to openly use his frame for events or to let him set the frame of the events.

    C) Marginalized folks feeling hope. Like, for marginalized folks, this whole time has been a slow-moving trainwreck of epic proportions. One that may kill us all. And a lot of nothing in response to it. A lot of moderates just nodding along while giving prominent access to press to violent nazis, normalizing them in fluff pieces about their “style”. Seeing Richard Spencer get punched? It gives me hope that there’s a chance at resistance, of not dying. I know so many people who those videos are what keeps them going. Who were close to giving up on life that are re-energized by finally seeing someone push back in a real way, no matter how small.

    And that last part is the most important of all. The marginalized need hope that even if all the power structures are against them, their knowing complicity with nazis, that we can still fight back and that if we’re lucky, we might even survive it.

  51. vucodlak says

    @ Kan Enas, #54

    You’re right, of course. No one here has brought their own personal history with Nazis into this thread. This is entirely about a video of a masked person punching Richard Spencer, and this discussion has gone no further than that.

    YOU asked us to “Please check history.” I did. It turns out, Nazis once had total control of one of the most powerful nations in the world, and that didn’t work out so well for a lot of people. But a lot of other people, who were standing on the outside of the whole affair, took the time to shake their fingers at the people the Nazis were killing, telling them that if only they weren’t so terribly violent, then the fascists would just leave them be. Or something. Whatever, really, so long as THOSE people were quiet and orderly.

    Or is that not actual history? Was my grandfather, who was at the Nuremburg trials, who saw the death camps, just telling tales? Or does that simply not count, because it was so long ago, and things are very different now? I mean, it’s not like there are actual Nazis marching in the streets, saying the same things those Nazis back then said. Oh, wait.

    Fascism isn’t just on the rise in Greece, or in the United States. Nazis have been around a long time. I’ll say it again: we know what happens if we just leave Nazis alone. We know what happens if we just wag our fingers and cluck our tongues. We know what happens if we don’t fight them with every weapon at our disposal.

    The purpose of punching Richard Spencer wasn’t to “scare” the Nazis away. The purpose is to say that they won’t get away with this. We will fight back. Punching them doesn’t validate them, no matter what Nazis might feel about being punched. Nazis are going to feel validated no matter what we do, unless we fight with all we have.

  52. says

    hotspurphd @56

    Because we’ve been following Bannon, Spencer, Milo, et al for a while now. We’ve listened to their speeches, we’ve watched who they’ve targeted for elimination. We know what their stated goals are. Like, lest we forget, literal nazis have been recruiting for awhile, sucking up the channers, sucking up the MRAs, sucking up the hate group in gaming. We’ve seen them repeatedly message Jewish folks with gas chamber memes, we’ve seen them actively keeping score of how many trans kids they kill, we’ve seen them gloat over the police murder of black kids.

    We’ve seen them, we’ve heard them, and we believe what they have stated their desire to us is. Like Spencer didn’t just form ex nihilo in that interview. He’s been doing shit. And most tellingly is the fact that they are nazis. Like, we had a quite impactful lesson on what nazis wanted and did so anyone who crafts their entire identity around worshipping and recruiting for that is not likely doing so out of their love of Hugo Boss.

    So yes, I believe, to the core of myself, that if I stay in this country, I will end up in a camp because of what the nazis want to do. And I believe that when that happens, the majority will find a way to justify turning a blind eye to it.

    pseudotsuga @55

    Unfortunately for us, we’ve also seen that politely ceding the public sphere to them also makes them feel entitled and validated. So it’s worth valuing the one that makes marginalized people feel less alone and like someone is willing to fight for them in a way that puts them at actual risk and which gets the nazis to adopt a pose of poor little victims than the all-powerful villains they imagine themselves to be. Because for a group that relies on toxic masculinity to survive, that look may be great for propaganda to liberals, but it looks weak to their intended marks. Hence why a lot of their heroes are guys who come from backgrounds of mostly harassing people with a pose of faux rationality.

    nateleca @52

    I will endeaver to respond civilly, but I would hope you would recognize that you are not speaking to individuals whose experience with violence are theoretical. I’ve been beaten half to death before. I’ve had multiple incidents were someone has threatened to kill me to my face and not in an angry bar fight way, but in a cold, calculated, I want you dead because of what you are way.

    And I get that any act of resistance by the powerless gets heavily punished by the state. Not a single one of my attackers served a single night in jail for their assaults on me. But I watch my trans sisters spend years in male prisons for fighting back and trying to survive. I understand that the deck is stacked for the nazis and that the police is in service to them and to a weak ideal of “order” than justice.

    That’s why I’m cheering this. Because he punched him and got away. Because for once all the stacked decks didn’t work and you see it on Richard Spencer’s face, the shock and fear that this implied threat of state violence and the violence of his fans didn’t stop someone from walloping him and stopping him from recruiting.

    It’s not much, but it’s all we’ve got.

    And that’s who are cheering this. Yeah, there’s some anarchists on paper who are cheering this out of some college classroom idea of what anarchy is like and a fantasy about violence, but we see in this thread the other half of the cheerers. People who’ve been beaten, physically, a lot, by nazis. Who survived it. And have direct experience.

    And that’s reflected in almost every single concentration camp survivor being fully on board for nazi punching. It’s not because violence is theoretical, but because they’ve lived through the violence and understand that peace, that playing by the rules and trusting the system don’t help. And it’s going to help less and less now that we’ve got an open fascist running our country.

  53. says

    vucodlak @59

    I wonder if part of the problem is the default lens.

    That is to say we’re so used to in our society making the needs and wants and life experiences of dominant group members (usually white, upper class, cis, straight, men, conservative) above all others. And so, the natural inclination of a society is to frame issues like this entirely in terms of the nazis.

    And so, it becomes, well, will punching them make them any less conspiracy-theory spinning genocidal pieces of shit? No. Welp, fuck that then.

    Except it’s not fully about them. It’s also about all the people targeted by them. People who need to know that the powerful are not just peacefully watching these nazis recruit and selling platitudes that we all realized as bullied kids were worthless. That they and their suffering matter.

    And that we on the raggedy edge can fight back and survive this, together. Maybe. Or at least that we have a shred more hope than we did a second ago when we were being shot in the streets and the shooter gets a friendly pat on the back and a wave by the cops.

    That convincing the nazis isn’t the purpose. They’re not going to stop Nazi-ing because you were nice and showed moral superiority in not retaliating. They see that as weakness. What stops these hate movements is becoming a weak joke. Being routed when they recruited, being non-platformed from speaking, being thrown out of their jobs for their choice to belong to hate movements, being scared that their victims are going to fight back in places where they don’t have the immediate safety of nazi-sympathizing cops watching out for their own.

    Making them think twice about coming into our neighborhoods to recruit and terrorize us.

  54. says

    vucodlak, I’m not an expert on nazi history but I lived Greek history and it was obvious that the Golden Dawn derived its strategy from 1930s Germany. I read descriptions of Hitler as a brawler who thrived on inciting violence to create comradeship and bonding among his followers and the Greek GD did exactly the same thing. They attracted all the football hooligans and all the youths who regard violence as entertainment.

    The nazi movement is an inherently violent movement that attracts people predisposed to fear and violence. We know that. Going around and physically attacking them plays into their hands and their predispositions. That’s what they want in my experience. It didn’t work in Greece.

    I’ve read above (Cerberus) how punching Spenser was effective. I don’t know. Maybe he was shaken. But I think that, based on my experience, if there’s more punching initiated from the anti-nazi side, the nazis will respond in kind, say they’re defending themselves and will attract more idiots to their cause.

    I wish I could tell you what we need to do. We need to change minds. I’m still in denial that so many millions voted for a racist crazy person. And you’re right. It’s everywhere now. France, Poland, Netherlands, the extremists are ascendant.

  55. hotspurphd says

    60# neteleca
    Perhaps you should know that when Chigau says “Bless your heart” it is what s/he considers a polite way of saying “Fuck off”. “ever-elliptical” indeed.

  56. hotspurphd says

    # Cerberus
    I agree that if the nazis get power then the worst may happen, but I don’t believe that it will in the foreseeable future. Even if Trump wanted that, there are still too many sane Republicans to allow it. Death camps? Really? While we must remain ever -vigilante I don’t think we are anywhere near such a thing. Perhaps you feel it in your bones because of your terrible experiences, and yes I suppose it’s easy for me to say since I’m a straight white male, but I wonder if your experiences color your perceptions and expectations too much. Yes, that is a polite way of saying perhaps you are paranoid and I apologize for that, but it sounds to me as if your fear has led you to unrealistic ideas.
    Does anyone else here think that a nazi regime is imminent? People here disagree about how to combat them but does anyone else think it could get so bad in the near future? How much can Trump do without the consent of Congress? Yes, he is commander in chief but we’ve seen already how the white house took back it’s gag order on the EPA because of widespread outrage. His polls are at about 40%. The majority of the country would not stand for a whole lot in the fascist direction it seems. If they won’t stick to gag orders on govt. agencies for more than 24 hours does it seem reasonable they would do even more outrageous things? Camps for than gender people? I don’t think so. The nazis are fringe groups, scary but outnumbered.

  57. Teh kiloGraeme says

    @65

    Because an unpopular leader has never read a wave of apathy and finger-wagging to do truly horrible things…. It’ll never happen here!

  58. Feline says

    Do remember that neo-nazis spend International Womens’ Day hunting feminists to knife. Wring your hands all you like, as a socialist feminist I motherfucking know the measure of their threat. I’ll punch a nazi. I’ll grab the nazi’s knife and deliver it back to them.
    I have boots made of leather, galvanized rubber, steel and rage. They are made for stomping fascists, and I’ll put them to their intended use. But I’m the baddie here, sure, that makes fucking sense, they’re not in any way looking to murder me and mine.
    You’re welcome to grow a god-damned spine and fight back any time you like. These are motherfucking nazis.
    Fuck’s sake.

  59. hotspurphd says

    Fight back of course, but don’t over-estimate the threat. You say they are Nazis, therefore we ate in grave danger as a country. That is illogical. No time soon I wager, for fuck sake.

  60. John Morales says

    Feline:

    You’re welcome to grow a god-damned spine and fight back any time you like.

    Stochastic terrorism.

    These are motherfucking nazis.

    … and you’re an inglorious basterd. Right.

    Why relinquish the moral high ground?

  61. Feline says

    John Morales:

    Stochastic terrorism.

    Has in fact been directed at me and mine for 25 years, where home is for me. Yes, you would prefer that I accept that I might be firebombed by nazis in silence, but I’d rather not, you know.

    … and you’re an inglorious basterd. Right.

    No, sugarpuff, I’m an actual bastard, in any sense of the word you care for. Glory, though, I need none of it, I’m just aiming to not find myself in a shallow grave. Or shot to death on a lonely island.

    Why relinquish the moral high ground?

    Because that would be where my grave was dug.

  62. snuffcurry says

    I’m going to go out on a limb and make another prediction about the shooter: he’s white.

    The shooter was described by onlookers and when identified as a person of interest as “Asian,” possibly in his 50s, and told police that he believed the man he shot was a white supremacist who had assaulted him*. It’s pretty obvious the shooter was either mistaken about who assaulted him or about what the victim was actually doing. As we know, the victim has a long, documented history as an anti-racist activist and was on site to mediate disagreement between protestors and Milo fanboys.

    *there is also video hosted at Reddit that I will not be linking to, which appears to show the shooter and the shooting

  63. John Morales says

    Feline:

    Because that [keeping to the moral high ground] would be where my grave was dug.

    Yeah, I get your vibe.

    Combat pragmatist vs existential threat. Yo!

    Thing is, you weaken soft power with your feeble hard power.

    (Also, you target mooks)

    But hey, let a thousand flowers bloom!

  64. Feline says

    John Morales:

    Yeah, I get your vibe.
    Combat pragmatist vs existential threat. Yo!
    Thing is, you weaken soft power with your feeble hard power.
    (Also, you target mooks)

    You didn’t read my link, did you?

    But hey, let a thousand flowers bloom!

    Doesn’t even make sense, but hey, I did say I was a socialist, so shoving a desperate barb in there calling me a Maoist is perfectly fine.
    But sure, keep telling the Swedes how a soft approach to nazis is perfectly ok. We’ve never felt any shame about that concept.
    You don’t even get what an arse you are. Lucky you.

  65. John Morales says

    Feline:

    You didn’t read my link, did you?

    About the stabbiness? Yeah, I did.

    Doesn’t even make sense […]

    It was allusive.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Flowers_Campaign

    […] but hey, I did say I was a socialist, so shoving a desperate barb in there calling me a Maoist is perfectly fine.

    :)

    Actually, Maoism never even crossed my mind.

    But sure, keep telling the Swedes how a soft approach to nazis is perfectly ok. We’ve never felt any shame about that concept.

    Heh. “Soft power” ain’t a soft approach…

    You don’t even get what an arse you are. Lucky you.

    Thank you.

  66. vucodlak says

    @ Kan Enas

    It’s true that the Nazis have long recruited those with violent tendencies, but that doesn’t mean that violence is an invalid means of fighting back. Violence is never a good solution to any problem, but it is sometimes the best of a lot of bad options. I don’t particularly want to, but I’m going to go back to my experiences with neo-Nazis to serve as an example of what I mean.

    When the Nazis took my friend R and I, I doubt they intended to let us live. I figure they meant to kill us when they were done having their fun. But my mentor found out they’d taken us. She figured out where. She brought our friends with her with she came to take us back, and take us back they did.

    My mentor understood that the Nazis would not let us leave alive, if given a choice. Calling the police would have just gotten us killed. Maybe the Nazis would have killed us when they heard the sirens, then had a shootout with the police. Maybe they’d have held us hostage, and only killed us once it became clear they weren’t going to get what they wanted. Maybe they’d even get a call from a friend or relative on the local force, warning them to ditch the evidence before the police showed up.

    I don’t know exactly how it went down. I wasn’t in the most coherent frame of mind. One minute I’m in hell, the next, my best friend is there, trying to get me to stop thrashing so much so she can untie. My mentor is there, too, and several friends, all of them armed. From what I could gather, they came in fast and disarmed the Nazis before they even knew what was happening. It’s not like Nazis were soldiers or anything; just a bunch of meth-heads and thugs with swastika tattoos.

    My friend R was hurt very badly. My mentor and some of my friends took him to the hospital. A couple of our friends took me someplace safe (I refused medical treatment, beyond allowing a friend of a friend who was a vet tech look at me). The Nazis weren’t badly hurt; that hadn’t been the point of my friends’ violent action.

    The moral of the story is that sometimes violence is necessary to counter violence. The only alternative is to allow worse things to happen.

    As Cerberus has said, punching Spencer showed the Nazis that some people, at least, will oppose them. It showed their potential victims that not everyone will just stand by and let this happen.

    We did not start this war, no matter what the Nazis say, but if we hope to survive we’d better be the ones to finish it.

    @ Cerberus

    I hear you, on being terrified. I sometimes joke that I’ve named my ulcer after Trump, but it’s no coincidence that it came into my life after Trump won the election. I don’t know that I can say anything that will help. For what little it’s worth, I am a white man who has no intention of falling in line or being quiet.

    @ hotspurphd

    “if the Nazis get power” “Don’t over-estimate the threat”

    Do they actually have to be wearing swastika armbands and goose-stepping around the National Mall before you get the picture? If Trump had gotten the missile and tank parade he wanted, would that have changed your mind, or would you just be chiding us for not calling them Stalinists instead?

    If you had told me back then that people like the scum who tortured R and I were going to have control of the most powerful military this world has ever seen in less than two decades, with the consent of tens of millions of U.S. citizens, I’d have laughed. Everybody knows Nazis are pathetic evil losers! They’re cartoonish villains! Who’d vote for someone like that? The answer, obviously, is roughly 27% of eligible voters.

    Yeah, they are outnumbered. So were the original Nazis, technically. Did they ever win a majority of votes in Germany? Didn’t stop them. All they need is for most of the nation to sit back and say “nah, they’re not Nazis because they said ‘Hail Trump’ instead of ‘Heil Trump.’”

    Don’t give me “His polls are at about 40%” as though it means something. The congressional Democrats have already demonstrated that they’ll roll over for just about anything. And the vast majority of congressional Republicans (and their loyal voters) will enthusiastically support just about any horrible thing, so long as their paymasters will benefit.

    “No time soon I’d wager” – You’ve already lost that bet. We all did.

    @ John Morales
    Given that Feline didn’t encourage anyone else to commit violence, you can’t very well accuse them of stochastic terrorism. Fighting back doesn’t have to refer to violence, even if that’s one of the methods that Feline is willing to use.

    As for relinquishing the moral high ground, the only way to do so when we’re talking Nazis (and we most definitely are) is to become every bit as bad as they are. Saying “I’ll kill them if they come to haul me or anyone else off” doesn’t even come close.

  67. digitalcanary says

    As a cis-gendered heterosexual white middle aged out of shape educated professional male, and fully recognizing that I have virtually ALL the important privileges (and many more that I surely don’t even recognize – along with various less impactful unprivileges of my own ) …

    I admire Feline’s and others’ ferocity, and share what I perceive to be their willingness to throw the LAST punch. But I find myself unwilling to be the one to throw the first (legally or morally), and truly believe that our respective freedoms end at the tip of anyone else’s nose.

    Maybe the ultimate privilege I have is that I know that they’ll come for me and mine later … so I have the privilege of more time to wrestle my morals before doing what’s necessary for those closest to me. For me, I have the privilege of maintaining what I can only hope is not a naive belief that the democratic rule of evidence-based law and order in the service of public justice remains achievable, and a responsibility to advocate publicly for those principles – and possibly take a first punch. But still not having reached the point where throwing the first punch is ok for me, and hoping I can stay on this side, and hoping that the fiercer on this side are there every time the first punch is inevitably thrown at our side. Video tech can easily vouch for our side in so many such situations now, demonstrating our willingness to defend ourselves (mercilessly, if necessary) when first punched (or far worse, or far less within the “tip of the nose” doctrine) while never accepting that the first punch is justifiable.

    And I believe that we should all have the privileges attending those same beliefs, by which I define the core of “this side”.

    I fear these times will be very bad for so many, of you and others, and maybe even me and those closest to me. I hope that each of you and yours and all of us become or remain safe, and thank you all for enlightening reading over the years, and for the hope that you inspire in me and many others in these darkening times.

  68. says

    hotspurphd @65

    Yeah, cause the Republicans are doing a bang up job of pushing back and resisting his muslim ban, his open threatening of media outlets, his abusive gag orders to governmental departments that were unwilling to lie to him, his open profiteering off his hotels, his renewed support for Black Site torture sites…

    Death camps are a realistic possibility because the nazi fanbase that has Trump’s ear right now have been openly calling for them for the last two years to our faces, sharing their glee that all us little “freaks” will soon be “solved” thanks to their Big Daddy Trump. And because we’re willing to ignore the level of horror that has already happened and how little our elected officials are inclined to stop it.

    I mean, we’ve got American families with green cards, some with citizenship, not being allowed to return home and being harassed about whether or not they support Trump or are a Christian and Trump has threatened to send military troops into Chicago unless they “solve” a racist daydream of his. One woman has already attempted suicide in the airport over this.

    You want to believe I’m being paranoid about this. But I’m not fully confident in betting my life on that given how much has already happened and how much is straight out of the Nazi playbook.

  69. toska says

    Hey, current UW grad student here. I was absolutely SHOCKED that the UW police released the shooter because they deemed the shooting self defense. I thought that the university’s designation as a gun free zone meant that even bringing a gun (loaded, no less) to campus would be against the law. I guess I was wrong.

    The OP isn’t completely accurate though. The shooter was reported to be a middle aged Asian man. There were mixed reports about which side of the protest he was on. Either way, it’s horrible that this happened, and I hate that the mainstream media basically let Breitbart define the “facts” of the story by not covering the events themselves. Here’s an SPLC report. It seems to have the most complete information I’ve found from any reliable source (they say the shooter was a Trump supporter. I’m certainly inclined to believe them, since Trump supporters are more likely to be gun toters than anti-facists):
    https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/01/23/alt-right-event-seattle-devolves-chaos-and-violence-outside-truth-twisting-inside

  70. says

    Feline @71

    This.

    The “moral high ground” is a luxury white cis men can get away with these days. The rest of us? We’re looking at a real grim short-term ahead of us that might be real short-term if those already attacking us while white men looked away get their way.

    hotspurphd @69

    No. We don’t say they are nazis. They are nazis. Richard Spencer led a nazi salute for Trump while ranting about the “lügenpresse”. Milo’s fanbase, including the shooter, have nazi swastikas as banner images and frequently tweet gas chamber memes and anti-semitic cartoons about a global Jewish conspiracy.

    We’re not going, gosh these people sure are bad and angry, they must be nazis. They are openly identifying with nazis and nazi imagery, tweeting “cute” references to 14 and 88 and openly stating they want to enact literal genocide of those they don’t like.

    And these people now have actual real state power thanks to Trump and Bannon.

    We are in grave danger in this country. What is happening now isn’t normal and it shouldn’t ever be normalized if we’re going to survive this.

    digitalcanary @78

    What’s got me worried is the war on facts aspect to Trump’s dictatorship.

    Like, he’s got his followers believing that objective reality isn’t real. That the world in front of their eyes is fake and what he says is real, no matter what he says. And he’s given them a convenient salve for their consciences.

    Any time violence occurs it’s a “false flag”, it’s “fake news”. Doesn’t matter if there’s video, doesn’t matter if there’s protests, doesn’t matter if people are dying. Those people aren’t real, just actors by evil “globalists” (read Jews) trying to take down the Messiah.

    And if there was violence, even with video proving that none of it came from the marginalized person, it’s still interpreted as the victim being violent or otherwise deserving it. We’ve seen it with Black Lives Matter. Hundreds of videos of black men unarmed and of no real threat being put down by white cops while a million racists pour over it for evidence that they did something wrong to deserve it.

    Fuck, they did it to Philandro Castle and he literally did every fucking thing white assholes tell black people to do when stopped by the cops and was a beloved school custodian.

    And there’s also the problem of who do you take the video to? The shooter in this case was picked up and then let go by cops with no charges or even detainment. Even though he shot a man with tons of witnesses around in a non-stand-your-ground state. Even though it was known by said cops that he shot him. This is at the same time when journalists are literally being detained and charged for 10 years in jail for covering the J20 protests.

    And that corrupted system is only going to get worse the longer Trump is in power and the more powerful the nazis and their allies are feeling.

    It’s shit like that that makes it real hard to listen to the part of me that wants to go, no, this shit is survivable, just try and make a little oasis for trans kids and ride it out.

  71. A. Noyd says

    digitalcanary (#78)

    But I find myself unwilling to be the one to throw the first (legally or morally), and truly believe that our respective freedoms end at the tip of anyone else’s nose.

    Read. The. Fucking. Thread.

    The “first punch” was thrown a long time ago by the nazis. And they’ve been throwing more and more punches ever since. Maybe you haven’t noticed till now because the punches aren’t aimed at you, but people here have been telling you about some of the punches they’ve weathered, so you have no fucking excuse anymore for pretending the “first punch” is yet to come.

    For me, I have the privilege of maintaining what I can only hope is not a naive belief that the democratic rule of evidence-based law and order in the service of public justice remains achievable […]

    If you’re all for basing things on evidence, then start paying attention to it. We have plenty that points to how our current system of “law and order” is doing more and more harm to public justice. A reversal of that is definitely not achievable while privileged fucks like you waste time polishing a superior sheen onto dainty “principles,” blithely waiting your turn to be carried into a coal mine you don’t even believe is contaminated yet.

  72. Feline says

    John Morales:

    It was allusive.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Flowers_Campaign

    Yeah, did you read your own link, ’cause

    Actually, Maoism never even crossed my mind.

    sounds really fucking weird if you were even familiar with its history. Like, “this specific bit of Maoist China is for you, but I have no idea how I thought about it, yeah…”
    Look, I get that you think you’re inordinately clever, but when you try your hands at stunts like this you’re transparent as fuck. You can’t even get close to claiming “Oh, I didn’t know how it would seem” because the seeming is contained it the delivery. Your claim of ignorance isn’t a shield, it’s a claim of “I’m so damnably daft that the thing I’m doing is fed to me by a person more clever than me,” which is a thing that I doubt your ego would stand for.

    Heh. “Soft power” ain’t a soft approach…

    And my words are quoted, but nevertheless twisted.

    Thank you.

    But you are not as clever as you think you are. I’d ask you accept that, but you wont.

  73. brucegee1962 says

    I couldn’t believe that the people advocating punching Nazis weren’t kidding, for a while. But apparently this is now a thing.

    Why shouldn’t we punch Nazis? Because the Nazis will say “Well then, why shouldn’t I punch liberals?” And I won’t have a good answer. And I’m willing to bet that they punch a heck of a lot harder.

    This isn’t a comic book. When civil debate breaks down and turns into street brawls, our side always loses. See: Spanish civil war.

    Right now, though, the real battle isn’t being fought in the streets – yet – nor in whatever cobwebby recesses the Nazis call “hearts” which may or may not be feeling fear. The battle is in the hearts of minds of the sleepy, disinterested American voters who have been badly duped already and need to be unduped before the country is destroyed. I suspect that what the Nazis feel when they get punched is delight, because their pitch has always been “restoring order,” and the easier job they have depicting us as a lawless mob, the closer they get to all the power.

    Sure, I know they make speeches about the joys of mass murder, but speech isn’t action, and it’s legal to hold revolting opinions in this country. Let them condemn themselves with their own words, but don’t let us condemn ourselves by our actions and make their path to power easier thereby.

  74. Rowan vet-tech says

    The nazis are going to punch us anyways. They’re going to ‘punch’ my fiance and his family, they’re going to punch my step-family. They advocate genocide. Damn straight I’m going to punch them as they already seek to do violence.

    And fuck off with the idea of letting them condemn themselves with their own words. You’ll note they aren’t condemning themselves. They are just becoming mainstream! They’re finding active support in the current presidency.

    So I’m going to punch nazis to keep my family safe. And if you don’t like that, go bury your head in the fucking sand because you are worse than useless. You want to let them actually commit murder without trying to stop them beforehand by any means.

  75. brucegee1962 says

    I am saying that punching nazis just makes them stronger. So does shooting them; so does blowing up their headquarters. It lets them win the propaganda war, and that’s the one that counts.

    Do you honestly think that the people that Martin Luther King Jr. was up against were any less deserving of punching than Spencer was? Or Gandhi’s foes? Those leaders didn’t advocate non-violence because their enemies were really just chill dudes, or because they didn’t know that they and everyone they loved were threatened with death, or because they were hoping their enemies would throw the first punch so they’d be vindicated by punching back. They were non-violent because it’s a strategy that works.

    As long as we’re still a democracy, the only way to defeat these nazis is at the ballot box. That’s what all our actions need to keep in mind. If someone planted a bomb and blew up every goosestepping rednecked fascist among them, and we lost the elections in 2018 and 2020 because of that, we’re still just as doomed. Once their fuehrer is out of the White House (hopefully well before 2020, if we’re lucky), these cockroaches will go slinking back under their rocks.

  76. vucodlak says

    @ brucegee1962

    Are you under the impression that Nazis are waiting for permission to kill liberals? It doesn’t matter whether or not we punch Nazis; they’ll butcher us either way, and tell us it’s all our fault while they do it.

    The Nazis won’t suddenly become “justified” if people fight back. They’ll make up whatever lies about us they need to sell mass murder to their supporters, and their supporters will lap them up without question. We’ve already seen it many times on less obviously bloody matters with the current administration.

    When it comes down to it, the “sleepy, disinterested American voters” will stay asleep, no matter what crimes against humanity are committed by the people in charge. Unless it directly affects them, they will accept the lies of the administration and go on about their day. They didn’t care when the last administration blew up a hospital, or when the previous administration committed worse war crimes, or when cops murdered unarmed black people in the streets. They aren’t suddenly going to start caring if more people start to disappear.

    You don’t engage people like Richard Spencer, or Steve Bannon, or any other Nazi in “civil debate.” If you try it, and they don’t yet have the power, they’ll just tell you they want you and everyone like exterminated. If they do have the power, they’ll actually set about exterminating you. They are very close to having that power.

    This isn’t just overheated rhetoric. You best believe that when a Nazi says he wants to kill everyone like us, he means it. Give him the power, and he will do it. Make him look like a weak, loathsome fool in front of millions, and you take a piece of that power away from him.

  77. Silentbob says

    @ 84 brucegee1962

    I couldn’t believe that the people advocating punching Nazis weren’t kidding, for a while. But apparently this is now a thing.

    Same here. At first I thought PZ was trolling Mick Nugent to get him to write another 10,000 word essay about PZ’s wrongdoing.

    As it is, I look forward to the next FtB GoFundMe to raise money for knuckledusters and baseball bats so we can go out and “protest” by cracking a few skulls.

  78. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    brucegee1962

    Sure, I know they make speeches about the joys of mass murder, but speech isn’t action, and it’s legal to hold revolting opinions in this country.

    No matter how many times I reread this, it still makes me feel a bit sick.
    Sure, they make speeches about the joys of mass murder, but what can you do right? (hehe)
    Sure, they make speeches about joys of mass murder and people respond to them by going out and killing people, but…
    Sure, they make speeches about joys of mass murder and their views are “this” close to becoming mainstream , but…

    Hate speech and calls for mass murder should not be legal. And while they are still legal, they should not be tolerated. If that means some dude gets a punch in the face on tv, good. I don’t feel even a little bit sorry for him.

    I do feel sorry for the peaceful activist who was murdered, for his family and friends and for all the people who feel less safe now. Remember that guy? The post we’re all responding to started with him.

  79. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Silentbob,

    Yes, that’s plausible. Please, when you find links to articles about gangs of Nazi-beaters roaming the streets and GoFundMe campaigns related to Nazi-punching link them.
    I’ll wait.

  80. hotspurphd says

    #81
    “No. We don’t say they are nazis. They are nazis.”
    Yes, they are Nazis. But are there enough of them? I was saying that you say they are Nazis and therefore it is self evident that they will do these things?

    I don’t want to believe you are paranoid I think you may be. I was assaulted once,nose broken and Months later I became quite afraid in a bookstore -was convinced someone was going to attack me when I left the store so called police to be escorted to my car. Years later, after a Ph.D . In clinical psychology I realized there was probably no objective basis for my fear. I was paranoid because of the interaction of that traumatic event and my own psychopathology. If I had been assaulted like you I would probably have been a basket case.
    Anyway I don’t think the nazis have the numbers or the influence to make major inroads any time soon. Hope I’m right.

    #66It’ll never happen here!
    Not what I said. I said unlikely in the foreseeable future. How many nazis are there?

  81. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    One Nazi got punched in the face on camera. Some people said they don’t feel bad about it. (I agree)
    Others chimed in, mostly with cases of punching Nazis in self-defense.

    And suddenly we’re on the verge of a slippery slope where the next step is a comicbook-style punch-out, where a bunch of leftists will start roaming the streets with baseball bats or giving roundhouse kicks to random Nazis they pass on the street.
    It’s ridiculous.

  82. unclefrogy says

    this is very close to the truth

    The battle is in the hearts of minds of the sleepy, disinterested American voters who have been badly duped already and need to be unduped before the country is destroyed.

    of how things actually stand right now. Many of the voters for DJT do not really think very clearly about what is told to them they have a way of ignoring most of clearly.
    They believe what they want to, they hear what they want to hear.
    I am not going to comment about punching or not punching except to say that punching will not by itself “win”.
    I have a great ability to believe that most people could stomach being forced to really confront the hate and worship of death and violence that lies at the center of the nazi heart. In part the holocaust existed because it was made easy to over look by the population as a whole the reality was hidden in patriotic language and the people were distracted by a huge war.
    It was all words not real barbarous killing.
    They have to be made to reveal themselves in an unvarnished way without all the fucking euphemisms and code words and fucking dog whistles and they have to be shown for the liars that they are, their cruelty needs to be in the open for all the world to see without making it easy to look aside.
    that ain’t what has been happening much of late.
    We all know how dark they are, what they do and what they think most people do not really pay attention most people are as they are half asleep most of the time. The reactionaries like it that way.
    punching ain’t enough they like it anyway and as was said it plays into their hand because they are the loud ones so the sleeping majority only hear them.
    uncle frogy

  83. unclefrogy says

    I dropped a word or syllable
    that should read I have a great inability to believe most people could stomach being forced to really confront the hate and worship of death and violence that lies at the center of the nazi heart.
    sorry about that

  84. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    unclefrogy,

    In my country, it’s not unusual for teenagers to gather in the evening in city parks, where there’s drinking and pot smoking. Nazis would sometimes “visit” to catch unlucky punks or alternatives and beat them up.
    You know what the public would get upset about when a case like that was bad enough (some poor kid getting his face torn apart with a beer bottle or enough of a skirmish for reporters to take notice)? Kids drinking in parks, teenagers behaving irresponsibly.
    Nazis were a natural part of life, or they weren’t taken seriously because they were also teenagers … it was the “kids these days” argument that was the main thing. Not the hatefulness. Not what all of us teenagers knew- that the Nazis would specifically plan to go beat up people, they would find out where their favorite targets gathered and organize to have some fun with them.

    I’m not sure what this anecdote’s message is, but it makes me feel discouraged because of people’s willful ignorance when it comes to extremist groups. Does it shock them so much they try to rationalize it?

  85. unclefrogy says

    people don’t want to know.
    they want to think some safer story they can tell themselves and they will instinctively block out everything that clashes with it.
    it is what they conman needs for his con to work and the mark wants it to work also.
    they do not want to know
    they do not want to know that they are alive here in a most mysterious place and being alive is mysterious and above all very short and dangerous
    so they will willingly believe a simple lie before a complicated truth
    if lie is safe enough and does not frighten them too much
    the truth that those kids are very violent and dangerous scares the crap out of them they want to believe if they do not notice them or bother them they will leave them alone and “eat ” the others if they must.
    uncle frogy

  86. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Even if Trump wanted that, there are still too many sane Republicans to allow it.

    Where?

    Death camps? Really? While we must remain ever -vigilante I don’t think we are anywhere near such a thing. Perhaps you feel it in your bones because of your terrible experiences, and yes I suppose it’s easy for me to say since I’m a straight white male, but I wonder if your experiences color your perceptions and expectations too much. Yes, that is a polite way of saying perhaps you are paranoid and I apologize for that, but it sounds to me as if your fear has led you to unrealistic ideas.

    Your incredulity is not evidence. Your ignorance is not objectivity.

  87. blf says

    One example of a facist vs anti-facist “riot” which is often argued to have ultimately helped push facists back into the jar was the battle of Cable Street. This was much larger scale than anything I’ve noticed argued about here, c.20000 anti-facists vs c.3000 facists and c.6000 policegoons. After the incident more facists were recruited, but the incident also showed both the vehemence of the opposition / anti-facists, and they vastly out-numbered the facists, and resulted in some changes in the law. Broadly put, when the racists and bullies were presented with a determined united opposition, they scattered like cockroaches…

  88. hotspurphd says

    #97 Your incredulity is not evidence. Your ignorance is not objectivity.

    Quite right, my inability to believe is not evidence, it is not believing. I don’t offer it as evidence. It is my current assessment based on the arguments and information I’m aware of. I don’t see how that is helpful. Be

  89. hotspurphd says

    Believing is not evidence either. So what.
    My ignorance is not objectivity. Why say this. Of course it’s not.

  90. hotspurphd says

    Credulity is not evidence
    Knowledge is not objectivity.
    This is fun
    Philosophy is objectivity
    Paranormal activity is not statistics
    Anoimie is not…

  91. rietpluim says

    John Morales

    The reason that Feline and many of us are on the moral high ground is that the Nazis are on the low one.
    High and low are relative concepts, you know.

  92. Snoof says

    hotspurphd @ 65

    Even if Trump wanted that, there are still too many sane Republicans to allow it.

    Name three.

  93. says

    hotspruphd

    Has anyone considered this: punching the nazi may result in more violence which the good guys may be on the losing side of? These people are probably more violent and and are more likely to be carrying guns.

    Has anybody ever considered this: Being nice to Nazis has never stopped them from killing people. That’s some fucking victim blaming right there. It’s like suggesting the Jew of Warsaw wouldn’t have been killed had they stayed quiet.

    vucodlak @35
    It’S a sad truth that you speak, it’s a horrible one. But it’s an important truth.

    nateleca @38
    Gods you’re an idiot. Somebody claiming something with no actual evidence, aka “alternative facts” and somebody claiming something with tons of evidence, like historical fascism, Franco, Pinochet, Richard fucking Spencer’s own words is NOT the same.

    Cerberus @45

    The ones who are supporting punching nazis? Notice how many of us have already been targeted by them? Who’ve survived violence with them?

    Word.
    I grew up in a family that was missing people because the Nazis killed them. And many people who barely escaped. When I was 14 a group of Neonazis came to my school “looking for me”. I’d have liked somebody to punch them in the face until they never felt safe enough to go stalking teenage girls.

    Kan Enas

    But I saw demonstrations and confrontations between GD and democrats and socialists and I can tell you one thing: punching nazis will do nothing to reduce nazism

    So you’ve run the simulation in an alternative universe and therefore know that Greece would look exactly the same or better if the democrats and socialists had just allowed the Nazis to run the streets and kill even more of them?

    hotspurphd @53

    Why do you think this?

    Probably because the Nazis themselves are talking about it all the time. Sure, they don’t openly say “we’ll build gas chambers” yet, but Spencer talks openly about a “white ethnic state”. He even uses the term “ethnic cleansing”, though he puts a “peaceful” in front of it, as if that were a thing. So if you think they don’t mean massive scale violence then I have a bridge to sell you.
    @65

    I agree that if the nazis get power then the worst may happen, but I don’t believe that it will in the foreseeable future.

    What rock have you been living under? There’s a Nazi advising the president who isn’t only planning to publish “weekly reports of crimes perpetrated by illegal immigrants” but who also just singled out people on the basis of their religion.

    Fight back of course, but don’t over-estimate the threat.

    Yeah, give Trump and Bannon a chance. Maybe they’ll plant flowers in the internment camps and use scented bullets at the wall…

    vucodlak@59

    But a lot of other people, who were standing on the outside of the whole affair, took the time to shake their fingers at the people the Nazis were killing, telling them that if only they weren’t so terribly violent, then the fascists would just leave them be.

    Do we really need to mention Spain? How the free world agreed to “not interfere” and let Hitler and Mussolini have the run of the show, supporting Franco? And how it meant some decades more of fascist terrorism for the Spanish people?

    feline @71
    Hear hear!

    digitalcanary

    I admire Feline’s and others’ ferocity, and share what I perceive to be their willingness to throw the LAST punch. But I find myself unwilling to be the one to throw the first (legally or morally), and truly believe that our respective freedoms end at the tip of anyone else’s nose.

    It’s always so nice to know that there are some white cis het dudes who’ll have our backs, who’ll be our allies. Oh, wait, you aren’t. You’re one of those shaking their heads at us. You’D see any piece of resistance and use it to justify the violence inflicted on us before we ever fought back.

    Maybe the ultimate privilege I have is that I know that they’ll come for me and mine later … so I have the privilege of more time to wrestle my morals before doing what’s necessary for those closest to me.

    May I introduce you to Mr. Niemöller?

    brucegee

    Why shouldn’t we punch Nazis? Because the Nazis will say “Well then, why shouldn’t I punch liberals?” And I won’t have a good answer. And I’m willing to bet that they punch a heck of a lot harder.

    Oh FFS. Nazis punch us anyway. And shoot and kick and rape and kill. None of us having experience with actual Nazi violence initiated that fuck. You’re blaming the victims.

    I am saying that punching nazis just makes them stronger. So does shooting them; so does blowing up their headquarters. It lets them win the propaganda war, and that’s the one that counts.

    Are you seriously writing a “Victim of fascist violence blaming 101”?
    Funny thing how them punching, kicking, raping, shooting and killing us somehow means they also win the propaganda war, as demonstrated in the OP.
    You sound exactly like those who watch the police kill an innocent black person and then go on to explain in detail what the black person did wrong.

    As long as we’re still a democracy

    Lolsob. You live in a country where the person who won less votes is the president.

    but speech isn’t action,

    Really? What is speech then?

    vucodlak

    The Nazis won’t suddenly become “justified” if people fight back.

    Apart from the fact that obviously “this person exists” is often taken as legitimate reason for police and other assorted thugs to kill the respective person, see “gay or trans panic”

    beatrice

    Sure, they make speeches about joys of mass murder and people respond to them by going out and killing people, but…

    If Hitler never killed a single person with his own hands, how can we blame him, right?

  94. jefrir says

    Brucegee

    Why shouldn’t we punch Nazis? Because the Nazis will say “Well then, why shouldn’t I punch liberals?” And I won’t have a good answer. And I’m willing to bet that they punch a heck of a lot harder.

    Richard Spencer has already said that he thinks all African-Americans should be killed; I can’t see that him saying that liberals should be thumped will make things much worse.

    Do you honestly think that the people that Martin Luther King Jr. was up against were any less deserving of punching than Spencer was? Or Gandhi’s foes?

    Martin Luther King was able to achieve as much as he did in part because he was able to play off against the Black Panthers. Oh, and that non-violence? Still got him and his supporters condemned as violent and extremist. Still got him shot. Stop believing in the whitewashed, softened, white people’s MLK, and go read some real history

  95. says

    Brucegee:

    As long as we’re still a democracy, the only way to defeat these nazis is at the ballot box.

    Steve Bannon, Nazi in Chief, has been given the NSA to play with. But hey, I’m sure voting will solve the problem, after all, everyone who voted in November, well, that election went great, didn’t it? No one got screwed over, there was no suppression, and of course, the person with most votes lost.

    I have no idea why you think we should just sit and twiddle our thumbs with our brains turned off until it’s time to vote again, if that time ever comes around. You need to ponder the term “too fucking late.”

    We are not a democracy anymore. That’s gone. Full tilt fascism, and refusing to see that isn’t going to help all of us who make good oven fodder, dude.

  96. says

    @brucegee1962 #84:

    Why shouldn’t we punch Nazis? Because the Nazis will say “Well then, why shouldn’t I punch liberals?” And I won’t have a good answer.

    I do: “Because, unlike you Nazi, Liberals don’t have “Kill all the [group]” as a core tenet of their ideology; nor are they trying to kill [group]; nor they have the institutional power to make that harm a systemic issue. Also, you Nazi already punch – and hurt, and maim, and KILL – liberals, Jews, non-white people etc. whenever you feel like you can do so unpunished, for no reason other than they exist. So shut the fuck up”.

    And I’m willing to bet that they punch a heck of a lot harder.

    Do you know what also makes Nazi punch harder? When their violence goes unopposed because people like you wring their hands about “being civil”, while somehow never go tell the Nazis to stop trying to silence people (both in terms of “infringing their right to free speech”, and in terms of “killing them“).

    Fuck off forever.

  97. Saad says

    Now we know who the passive ethnic cleansing enablers of this generation are. Oh shit, sorry. It’s unfair for me to leave out that they definitely are against genocide.

    Still waiting for a reason why a public figure advocating genocide in public in a country led by white supremacists obsessed with pushing discriminatory laws in the very first week of its administration should feel safe.

    State fucking reasons. Show where you stand. Stop making up strawman horseshit arguments about gangs with baseball bats hunting Nazis in their private holes and meetings.

    Show your true colors.

  98. Saad says

    Caine, #106

    I have no idea why you think we should just sit and twiddle our thumbs with our brains turned off until it’s time to vote again, if that time ever comes around. You need to ponder the term “too fucking late.”

    I think what the enlightened liberals are telling us is wait until the bill to construct concentration camps shows up in Congress. Then let ’em have it! Get those creative witty signs out and stand in front of those buildings.

  99. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    As I wrote elsewhere, and the only thing I can conclude after 109 comments:
    For all the arguments about uselessness of Nazi-punching, I can’t help thinking how incredibly useless I find all the hand-wringing following a single Nazi-punching incident.

  100. says

    beatrice

    I can’t help thinking how incredibly useless I find all the hand-wringing following a single Nazi-punching incident.

    I beg to disagree. It’S incredibly useful in wearing the people doing the actual resistance down, binding their energy and resources. The person wringing their hands of course is convinced that they are doing the really important work, far more important that, say, heading to the nearest airport where people are being unconstitutionally detained or maybe finding out where the local mosque is and paying them a visit with some dates and soft drinks.

  101. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Giliell,
    Point.
    ..Unfortunately.

  102. hotspurphd says

    #77 vucodlak
    Very upsetting. You, Feline, Cerberus,Gilliel,and others are persuading me that things are far more dangerous than I thought.
    So When spencer says he believes the US will become all white because non-whites will somehow be persuaded to leave he is not just delusional he is lying? He has said all blacks should be killed? Is that correct?
    I appreciate the evidence and reasoned argument. Too often some resort to name calling and yelling.
    But wait- the gag orders for EPA AND? were rescinded. They have already walked back a part of the immigration ban. A judge has stayed part of it. Sec. Of defense says no torture. The congress seems to renounce torture. Trump has issued orders but to what extent can hr succeed? Some of this stuff has to be approved by Congress? Will the Republicans really go along? Are these not important things?
    Three sane Republicans- McCain,Lindsay, oops,I can’t, I forgot.

  103. rq says

    I got stuck somewhere at “don’t over-estimate the threat”.
    Holy fuck, seriously?

  104. DanDare says

    So I guy shot a non violent protestor. The police let him go. A statement is made about how the violent protesters are a problem.

    Anyone actually want to discuss that little insignificant part of the OP?

  105. ck, the Irate Lump says

    From the Propriety of Nazi punching FAQ:

    But doesn’t this just give the other side ammunition?

    The other side in this argument are lying fucks who can twist any piece of information into a swastika-shaped balloon animal if you engage them in good faith; lacking a piece of information, they’ll just make shit up. Might as well punch a Nazi.

    But isn’t this sinking to their level?

    That depends. After you punch the Nazi, do you espouse the tenets of National Socialism?

    I have to agree 100% with that. Can we seriously stop pretending that punching a guy is somehow equivalent to trying to start a genocide? It’s not sinking to their level. It’s not a slippery slope. It’s not giving them more ammunition. It’s not equivalent to the Iraq war (if you can’t see the difference between those openly trying to organize genocide from preemptively trying to destroy a country because of some vague threat, I don’t know what to say to you).

  106. A. Noyd says

    I hope the next hand-wringer who comes out with a “hypothetical” for something that’s already happened/happening goes and chokes on it.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    jefrir (#105)

    Martin Luther King was able to achieve as much as he did in part because he was able to play off against the Black Panthers.

    And MLK was able to speak out against violence while still remaining clear on the difference between beating down and fighting back.

  107. Meg Thornton says

    Oh, it just needed someone to bring up King and Gandhi. News for you, chum: neither of those guys got what they wanted without the threat of violence. It’s just they weren’t the particular ones making the threats.

    Gandhi got Indian independence because the UK could barely afford to administer itself at the end of World War 2, much less far-flung colonies (this is why so many of their other colonies were offered “independence” at the end of WW2 as well; nothing to do with faithful war service, everything to do with the basic economics of empire) – and that independence came against a backdrop of widespread riots and sectarian violence (this is why India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are three countries, rather than one). Gandhi got the credit, because it was a nice little smokescreen for the British to use to cover up the main reason they pulled out of India was because the place was going to hell in a hand-basket, and they couldn’t afford to fix it. Have a look at the history of India and Pakistan post-independence, and think about how a colonial power would have handled all of that…

    US Civil Rights? Thank the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam and the other more vigorous and violent movements for those. It was cheaper to hand over civil rights and force the South to comply than it would have been to have Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and New York go up in flames, which was the other realistic option facing the USA at that point. Again, they gave the credit to King’s movement, because that’s the one which was the most photogenic. But the turning point came when black people picked up guns and picked up the law, and started putting the two of them together – the Black Panther Party showed the USA the threat of a literal race war, fought on the terms the US government had set, with the constitutional rights the US government had granted to all Americans. Faced with the alternative option of literally trying to declare a quarter of the US population to not be US citizens in order to deny them those rights and protections, the US government blinked.

    King and Gandhi were wonderful smokescreens, and they make beautiful ones even now. But the truth of the matter is: what changed minds was the threat of violence – extensive, expensive violence. It’s what won women the vote (what, you thought the suffragettes just sat down and sang songs until people gave them the vote?); it’s what won unionists the eight hour working day (not just the economic violence of strikes, but also the actual violence of riots). If you look at ANY progressive change, from Magna Carta right the way down the line, you will find it was won by violence, or by the threat of violence, first and foremost.

    Violence works. The Nazis know this. They just think they’re the only ones who do…

  108. Silentbob says

    @ 108 Saad

    Still waiting for a reason why a public figure advocating genocide in public in a country led by white supremacists obsessed with pushing discriminatory laws in the very first week of its administration should feel safe.

    State fucking reasons. Show where you stand. Stop making up strawman horseshit arguments about gangs with baseball bats hunting Nazis in their private holes and meetings.

    Show your true colors.

    Here’s where I stand, Fuckwit:

    Article 2.
    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
    Article 3.
    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
    Article 5.
    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
    Article 6.
    Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
    Article 7.
    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
    Article 10.
    Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
    Article 19.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Every single one of these articles opposes vigilantes sucker-punching unsuspecting white supremacists in the head without due process.

    Where the fuck do you stand, Slugger? Are you opposed to the fucking Declaration of Human Rights, and at the same time claiming to be an enemy of fascism?! Because you do realise that, “we need to beat the shit out of them because they’re so evil”, has been the justification of every totalitarian regime ever?

    And don’t you fucking dare suggest I’m defending white supremacists by defending human rights. That’s as idiotic as the right wing argument that if you oppose torture, you support terrorists.

  109. rq says

    Article 19.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Spencer has shared his opinions about the benefits of (peaceful) ethnic cleansing, fine.
    My opinion (and Saad’s, I presume) is that it is okay to punch nazis. Doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and do it, but if it happens, fine.
    What’s your point?

  110. applehead says

    121, Silentbob,

    Oh, for Pity’s sake, stop your moralizing grandstanding! Did Nazis ever give a flying fuck about human rights? Dude, the rejection of human rights is the entire fucking point of fascism! If your enemy actively works to abolish the rule of law which enables non-violent persecution of crime in the first place, if they actually succeed in dismantling the nation of law there is literally no other option left besides violent action!

    Everybody, do yourselves a favor and give Adam Cadre’s assessment a quick read:

    http://adamcadre.ac/calendar/15/15699.html

    http://adamcadre.ac/calendar/11/11646.html

    The conservatives want to impose the ancient pecking order, where white people can humiliate and brutalize non-white people to their heart’s desire, where good ol’ boys can pull the homofaggots behind trucks and beat them to a pulp. In other words, they want to forcibly revert America back to the de facto barbarianism of the 1800s, where the rule of law was but an abstract notion and politics were fought by pistol duels rather than arguments. A time where 10,000 men-strong lynch mobs stampeded through the streets.

    As Cadre’s history lesson showed, you had to make your hands dirty and fight the mobs to uphold human rights. And guess what, the just citizens did win against the so-called “Committees of Vigilance!”

    The American conservative is a fucking typical bully; a coward who dares attack only in overwhelming numbers or who sucker-punches woman and then runs away. If you present a united front and fight back, they crawl back into the underbrush.

    Lastly, did you already forget that the Trumpists started with the violence? Remember how they beat up unarmed, peaceful protestors at their rallies? Or how they shot the one man in front of a Californian polling spot?! Punching Nazis isn’t hypocrisy, it’s SELF-DEFENSE.

  111. says

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    1. Of course there are limits to that
    2. Maybe the limits aren’t fucking good enough.

    Many European countries, having learned a painful lesson from Fascism, recognise that you mustn’t allow people who want to do away with human rights and civil liberties to use the same to do so. Using free speech in order to curtail the right to life isn’t going to ensure more free speech in the future.

  112. vucodlak says

    Being a Nazi means being categorically opposed to “all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

    Rights and freedoms are for cis-het white dudes ONLY. That’s the Nazi position. It’s their primary defining characteristic.

    No one but Nazis have “the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

    Everyone but Nazis in good standing “shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

    Only Nazi men have “the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”

    “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.” “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.” “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

    “AHAHAHAHAHAHA, yeah… no. You’re all gonna die.” Sincerely, the Nazis.

    See, I’m perfectly willing to grant even the Nazis these rights, but here’s the thing: Being a Nazi isn’t like being a horror movie fan, or a Muslim, or a dental hygienist. The entire core of Nazi ideology is based on the notion that everyone who isn’t exactly like the Nazis must either be exterminated or enslaved (and later exterminated).

    In other words, BEING A NAZI IS AN INHERENTLY VIOLENT ACT. So long as a person is espousing Nazi ideology, they are actively threatening genocide. Don’t give me “it’s just speech!” either, because we’ve ample historical evidence that they will make good on their threats if given half a chance.

    If Nazis don’t want to get punched, they can stop being Nazis. It’s just that simple.

  113. John Morales says

    vucodlak:

    See, I’m perfectly willing to grant even the Nazis these rights, but here’s the thing: […]

    So — you’re willing, but not able. Because of the thing.

  114. vucodlak says

    @ John Morales, #128

    Fine, let me put it this way:

    I’ll agree that every human being should be enjoy the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    However, if a human being decides to make it their mission to kill me, to commit acts of genocide, torture, etc., then I will defend myself and others to the best of my abilities.

    If they stop trying to commit these atrocities, and stop trying to persuade others to commit these atrocities, then I will have no further problem with them.

    In other words, I will stop punching Nazis when they cease to be Nazis.

  115. blf says

    There is a thoughtful article at the Grauniad on The ‘punch a Nazi’ meme: what are the ethics of punching Nazis? (“An assault on ‘alt-right’ figure Richard Spencer sparked the ‘punch a Nazi’ meme. Violence is bad, but so is racism — so where do we stand ethically?”). It explores the issues (plural) from several different perspectives (plural).

    I will not excerpt the article for two inter-related reasons: It is long, exploring multiple concepts, making excerpts prone to be misleading; and, in the past, people have only read the excerpts and consider them a full summation of the excerpted article.

    Having said that, there is a quote in the article I quite like. Dr King, commenting on people who call for civility in the face of injustice: These people “[prefer] a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”

  116. Silentbob says

    @ ^

    Anyone who quotes MLK in defense of punching nazis is a simpleton beyond ridicule.

    If every Negro in the United States turns to violence, I will choose to be that one lone voice preaching that this is the wrong way. [… ] I’m tired of violence, I’ve seen too much of it. I’ve seen such hate on the faces of too many sheriffs in the South. And I’m not going to let my oppressor dictate to me what method I must use. Our oppressors have used violence. Our oppressors have used hatred. Our oppressors have used rifles and guns. I’m not going to stoop down to their level. I want to rise to a higher level. [… ] One of the greatest paradoxes of the Black Power movement was that it talked unceasingly about not imitating the values of white society, but in advocating violence it was imitating the worst, the most brutal, and the most uncivilized value of American life.

    (source)

  117. blf says

    silentbob@132, Context, context, context! I said I won’t excerpt because people are known to construe any excerpts as a full summation of the excerpted article, and @132 is a classic example of doing just that. The article @130 did not quote Dr King in the context presupposed; and @131 is transparently just a “thank you”.

    That is, for the “simpleton[s] beyond ridicule” and other presupposers, none of the comments here to-date have used the @130 Dr King as a “defense of punching nazis”.

  118. John Morales says

    vucodlak @129, if I follow you, your claim is that Nazis have by their very nature abrogated their human rights. If so, an implication of that claim is that those human rights are not actually universal nor inviolable.

    Which is not a hypocritical justification if those are the human rights (i.e. contingent ones) which you espouse.

  119. Feline says

    Article 2.
    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

    An ok set of principles.

    Article 3.
    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Which is one point where the Nazis fail.

    Article 5.
    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    2

    Article 6.
    Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

    3

    Article 7.
    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

    4

    Article 10.
    Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

    5

    Article 19.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    6

    So, sure, defend Nazis to the best of your abilities, if that’s what gets your goat. We who the Nazis are presently trying to exterminate aren’t all that bothered by your lack of moral compass, though. Fuckwit.

  120. Rowan vet-tech says

    “You have stated that you want to kill my fiance and step family. Here, let me just stand aside then, shall I?”

    No. If someone threatens my family, I’m going to defend them. Physically. And Nazis want to kill my family. Nazis HAVE killed my family. My fiance is only here because his grandparents saw the early signs and were able to flee. But there are people dead, lots of them, in both family trees. Therefore, I will do violence in defense of my family when faced with those who want to kill them.

    And all the handwringing just tells me that you are NOT a person to entrust the safety of my family too. I will NOT wait for more people to die.

  121. John Morales says

    Feline @135:

    So, sure, defend Nazis to the best of your abilities, if that’s what gets your goat.

    What makes you imagine I’m defending Nazis?

    I wrote nothing to that effect; I merely pointed out the ineluctable implication of that justification.

    I refer you to my #73.

  122. John Morales says

    Feline:

    We who the Nazis are presently trying to exterminate aren’t all that bothered by your lack of moral compass, though. Fuckwit.

    It’s not my putative possession of a moral compass which should bother you, but the putative validity of my claim about a philosophical (and, yes, moral) entailment of your position.

    (And a very self-righteous position it is, too!)

    PS “Fuckwit”? Heh.

  123. vucodlak says

    @ John Morales
    You talk about “soft power,” but that isn’t worth much when you’re facing an ideology that is built on rejecting everything you value. Compassion, tolerance, respect for other cultures and points of view; all that is weakness to Nazis. Nazis desire total dominance, and they aren’t satisfied to simply have their little fascist hellhole and let other people do their own thing. If you’re different, you’re a threat. If you’re a threat, you must be exterminated.

    Nazis do recognize soft power. It’s a threat. It’s “feminization* of society” or “decadent” or whatever snarl term is popular with the Nazi propagandists, so stomp stomp stomp go the jackboots.

    But maybe you still have some romantic notion that, if no one ever raises a hand to them, the Nazis will be so moved by our pacifism that they won’t be able to bring themselves to pull the trigger. Why, perhaps they’ll lay down their arms and join with our clearly superior ideology!

    You might want to take a good hard look at your “moral high ground,” because those aren’t hypothetical corpses you’re standing on.

    *And that’s bad because women are bad. Women are bad because they are weak and subservient. Women are weak and subservient, which we know this because we enslave them. So goes the Nazi ideology.

    @ Silentbob
    Nazis say they want to enslave, torture, and murder various categories of humans, some of which I fall into, some of which my friends fall into, all of which many innocent strangers fall into. History tells us that they will do exactly what they say they will do, if they get the power. Personal experience tells me they will exactly do exactly what they say they will do, if they have the power. Part of these Nazis acquiring that power is them actively recruiting others to their cause, as Richard Spencer was doing when he got punched.

    People have certain rights. Even Nazis. That’s why there are some lines I will not cross, even in my opposition to Nazis. No harming bystanders, no torture. However, I do not recognize the “rights” of Nazis to carry out their plans. Recruiting is an integral part of those plans. Punching Nazi recruiters when they trot out their spiel is acceptable because it is an act of self-defense. If they’re afraid to recruit, they’ll have a harder time carrying out their plans.

    If you want to form a human shield around the Nazis when they’ve come to rape and murder, you go right ahead. You’ll find out what the gratitude of Nazis is worth when they’ve no more use for you. But hey, at least there’ll be no one left to say “I told you so.”

  124. says

    Yeah, the fact that Dr. King was completely opposed to violence neither stopped white people from branding him as a dangerous criminal nor from killing him. You know, maybe Dr. King was wrong there. That’s the nice thing about being a freethinker: I don’t have to look at what MLK said, come to the conclusion that he was a great and intelligent person and then uncritically endorse everything he ever said.

    vucodlak @129, if I follow you, your claim is that Nazis have by their very nature abrogated their human rights. If so, an implication of that claim is that those human rights are not actually universal nor inviolable.

    Oh FFS, human rights are only “inviolable and universal” in concept. They cannot even be by their very nature as some human rights fundamentally oppose each other in certain forms. Many countries recognise that no matter what someone’s religion says, they are not allowed to beat their children, or marry them off without their consent. At that point the religious freedom of one individual to practise their religion is fundamentally opposed to the right to life and bodily integrity. The other way around they still allow parents to have their children’s penises circumcised under the label of freedom of religion.
    The rights “freedom of speech” for people who advocate for genocide and “right to life” of the people they want to kill are fundamentally opposed to each other. You can only choose one. You fucking idiot choose “freedom of speech for Nazis”. And don’t give me the “it’s just speech” bullshit when six people were brutally murdered by somebody who listed to a lot of Nazi speech and concluded that shooting up a mosque was the way to go.

  125. hotspurphd says

    Meg@#120 I’ve never hard that before but it all sounds exactly right. Is that a majority view among historians? Got a reference?

  126. hotspurphd says

    Article 1.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

    http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
    Article 2.
    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

    Perhaps not everyone is entitled to ” All the rights and freedoms…” but only those who “are endowed with reason and conscience and [who] act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” So this would exclude nazis and psychopaths, the latter defined as being without conscience and empathy, and comprising about 1% of the population.

  127. says

    hotspurphd @142: I’m afraid I don’t have a single reference for what I wrote – it’s built up out of a lot of private assimilation of various historical facts about the past seventy years or thereabouts over the course of forty-three years of reading, and quite often I can’t pinpoint where the facts themselves came from any more because it’s been that long since I first read them. The overall synthesis is my own. If I were interested in doing the unpaid, uncredited research and digging up primary sources on my own (non-existent) budget and so on, I could probably provide you with a list of references available, but instead I’m afraid I’ll have to point you toward general reading (wide-spread and far flung) about the following topics:

    * Britain after the end of World War 2 (particularly the post-war austerity years).
    * The history of the British Empire
    * The economic logistics of said empire
    * The economic and sociological background of the partition of India
    * The cultural, social and economic outcomes of the First World War and Second World War in the USA, Europe and the UK (in particular, such things as “the servant problem”)
    * The cultural and social background of US racial discrimination
    * The cultural and social context of the US civil rights movement (where did American blacks get the idea of “equal rights” from, exactly? Here’s a clue: two world wars).
    * The history of feminism in a variety of countries (particularly the USA and the UK, but also Australia and various European nations), in particular, the sorts of things the early suffragettes were after, and who the early suffragettes were.
    * The history and demands of any number of socially egalitarian movements (and which demands were met, and whose goals were listened to by the people in power – it’s always interesting to look at that one).
    * Basic psychology, economics, sociology, Marxist theory, gender theory, intersectional theory, political theory (in the sense of “the theory of how people deal with power”).
    * The history of the cold war and the red scares
    * The history of US internal and external intelligence agencies (particularly the FBI and CIA, but also policing in the USA, and the history of US formal and informal social control mechanisms including such things as the KKK and lynch mobs).
    * Anything else which comes up as a sort of spin-off from any of those topics

    Essentially, anything I’ve read which is even vaguely related to any of those topics is grist to the mill. The important question I always found myself asking was along the lines of “why then?” – in the sense of “why did this happen at this time, rather than an earlier or later one?”

    One of the interesting historical quirks which crops up again and again: governments will tend to grant new rights and privileges to the public when they’re too busy to avoid doing otherwise – when it’s essentially a way of getting a problem off your plate. This is why the UK essentially went from restricted suffrage (the vote was restricted to white men who owned property) to universal suffrage (the vote went to everyone, male and female, who was over the age of eighteen) at the end of World War 1. What were they trying to avoid? They were trying to avoid their very own Marxist revolution, as well as a general strike by all the suffragettes, on top of the expense of paying for the war, and the beginnings of the collapse of their Empire due to the logistical strain imposed by trying to run it.

    So when you’re looking into matters of grants of rights, have a look at what else was on the king, governor, or government’s conceptual “plate” at the time – how many wars were they already fighting, for example, and for how long, and how stretched were their resources? We learn about historical events (eg: the “first wave” of Feminism; the “Marxist”/Leninist revolution in Russia; the First World War) each in isolation from one another, but the important thing to remember is they were all happening at the same time, and each event influenced the others. Future generations learning about now will learn about Brexit and the election of Trump and the Putin ascendancy and the Syrian Civil War and Global Climate Change as though they were all events which happened completely discretely, rather than acknowledging that each of these events feeds into all of the others.