Antifa is making the neo-Nazi movement not fun anymore


Some time ago I wrote that the neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, white supremacists and the various assorted fascistic-minded types were using ‘lulz’ i.e., mocking humor and irony, to draw in new recruits, forgoing the old skinhead, tattooed, tough look for the clean cut boy next door image. And it seemed to be working. But then they encountered the antifa movement and Natasha Lennard writes that now some are discovering that there is a tangible cost to spreading messages of hate .

RICHARD SPENCER ISN’T having fun anymore. In a lengthy YouTube video posted on Sunday, the white nationalist announced that he would be suspending upcoming public speaking engagements and halting his controversial “college tour.” He said of his rallies, “When they become violent clashes and pitched battles, they aren’t fun.”

“I really hate to say this, and I definitely hesitate to say this,” said the poster boy of the so-called alt-right. “Antifa is winning to the extent that they’re willing to go further than anyone else, in the sense that they will do things in terms of just violence, intimidating, and general nastiness.” He stated that the willingness of far-left activists to use any means necessary in attempts to shut down his speeches has left the far right “up the creek without a paddle.”

To make the consequences of joining the white nationalist movement appear less appealing — to take the “fun” out of fascism — is precisely the antifa strategy to stymie the movement’s spread. Spencer stating that his rallies are no longer “fun” is music to antifa ears.

The antifa strategy is to make sure that people realize that there is a cost to espousing reactionary views.

INSTEAD OF THIS deteriorating stalemate, the antifa strategy aims to create material, felt consequences for neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups, and those who would organize with them. The approach takes seriously that young, white, often alienated men see promise, belonging, and elevation in these organizations. They don’t join groups like Identity Evropa, an American white supremacist group which has focused heavily on campus propaganda, because of the strength of their arguments — and they won’t leave such communities because of the flawed logic of their ideology, either.

To make the consequences of joining the white nationalist movement appear less appealing — to take the “fun” out of fascism — is precisely the antifa strategy to stymie the movement’s spread. Spencer stating that his rallies are no longer “fun” is music to antifa ears.

While writers for the New York Times opinion section may seek to paint the antifa position as little more than punch-seeking thuggery, the strategy of creating serious consequences for white nationalists who would organize is based on a well-grounded understanding of the desire for fascism and how it spreads.

If “alt-right” speakers do go “underground,” where they will lack police lines and university establishment protections, antifa will be sure to follow them there, too. An antifa tactic that gets less media coverage than Nazi-punching involves intensive online research dedicated exposing who, where, and how groups are connecting and organizing. That’s the whole point of antifa: To do the work, by whatever means necessary, so that the far right has nowhere left to go.

We should not assume that the neo-Nazis will give up. That kind of idology has disturbing staying power. But the antifa tactics may make many would-be recruits pause as they realize that it is not all fun and games.

Comments

  1. Holms says

    Also, isn’t it fascinating that a stance of don’t assault people is dubbed ‘pearl clutching’ by some of the left, now that said violence is being emplyed by the left. It reminds me of those that excuse US violence abroad in the name of subduing violent regimes.

  2. vucodlak says

    @ Tabby Lavalamp, #1

    Looks like the same way as always- ignore the violence inherent in Nazism, and attack the people who don’t. Even when confronted with evidence that the antifa strategy is working, they’re going to cling to their dogmatic insistence that violence will only help the Nazis. To do otherwise would be to admit that they’re wrong… even though we’ve got more than 80 years of history that show that their One True Path leads to Nazis/fascists gaining power.

    @ Holms, #3

    If antifa starts bombing civilians, if they start creating torture-prisons, if they overthrow legitimate governments to install fascist puppet-regimes, that comment will look almost reasonable.

  3. jaxkayaker says

    Speech isn’t violence. Holms is right. Those who physically attack alt-right and neo-Nazis for their speech are just thugs who happen to agree with Tabby Lavalamp on politics. They’re still thugs, though.

  4. Robert J Mathews says

    Bourgeois pretty boy Dicky Spencer and
    Tubby man bear Matty Heimback do not
    Represent leadership in this far right.
    The days of us displaying ourselves to
    This enemies & collaborators and brain
    Dead white sheeple died in the late 80’s!
    No more centralized overt groups or
    Command and control to be infiltrated
    And destroyed from with in by paid
    Agitation collaborator’s!
    We have advanced to cell structuring,

    The Jewish/ left dominated media does not
    Pick our leaders. Our leaders are chosen
    By a cadre of men and women who spent
    Years , if not decades in the cause. And
    Proven to be assets to the struggle.

    Cretins like Spencer,Heimback and water
    Down with a questionable past Jeffy
    Schoep are just media props who the
    Media builds up as boogie man to raise
    Money and in effect narrate social
    Policy. These clowns with exception of
    Schoep are relatively new to the struggle
    And really not educated on racialism.
    Ask any if they know who any well known
    Racialist writers like, Madison Grant,
    Carleton Coon, Carleton Putnam are and
    You would get a blank stare.
    I’ve seen many media claimed far right
    So called leaders come and go in my 50
    Years in WP movement! This gaggle will
    Do the same when they realize theirs
    Costs to being in movement and that’s
    Why we call it the “struggle”….

  5. John Morales says

    Heh. Tabby, here: fuck Nazis.

    But let’s not pretend vucodlak doesn’t advocate pre-emptive violence, and thus repudiate anyone who advocated otherwise, whether on the “left” or otherwise.

    (And let’s not pretend it’s not for pour encourager les autres either)

    Now, if you imagine pointing that out is cuddling Nazis, fine. But it ain’t.

  6. vucodlak says

    @ jaxkayaker, #8

    I’m not antifa, but personally I always preferred the term “heavy.” A little classier, ya know? But maybe it’s a bit passe; my Nazi-punching days were a long time ago, and I’m not really up on the latest lingo.

    @ John Morales, #9

    Oh dear. It’s not a golem, is it? I’m not comfortable with binding spells. Just because it’s made of clay don’t make it any less of a slave. Plus, there’s the whole “goes berserk at the drop of a hat” thing.

    @ Tabby Lavalamp, #10

    Aye, that they are.

  7. Porivil Sorrens says

    Thankfully, the words of nazi-cuddlers are unlikely to stop antifa from doing their work.

  8. Holms says

    #10
    In which repudiation of political violence on all sides, which by necessity includes Nazi violence, is rebranded as acceptance of Nazi violence. Your comment is thus a naked lie.

    You are conflating rejection of antifa’s habit of assaulting people – one strategem amongst many that they employ – for rejection of antifa entire. I might remind you that this blog previously hosted a video in which antifa members themselves described their attacks on others as their least utilised activity, and a last resort at that. Taking them at their word, this means I only reject a minority of what they do.

  9. KG says

    Speech isn’t violence. – jaxkayaker@8

    When Hitler sent the German armed forces into the Rhineland in 1936, that wasn’t violence: it was German territory, no-one was killed, the troops were enthusiastically welcomed by the bulk of the local inhabitants. All the jaxkayakers, Holmses, etc. of the time were adamant that pre-emptive violence should not be used to oppose this treaty violation – because, after all, it wasn’t violence. Yet it appears to be a consensus among historians of the period – and Hitler is reported to have said himself – that if France (backed by Britain) had reacted with “pre-emptive violence”, Hitler would have been obliged to order his forces to retreat. He would thus have suffered a probably fatal blow to his prestige, and quite likely have been removed from power. In which case, some 50 million lives would have been saved.

    Today, the very display of Nazi symbols, as happens when scum such as Richard Spencer speak in public, while it is not violence, is a deliberate and conscious threat to resume the Nazi program of exterminating leftists, liberals, LGBTI+ people, disabled people, Roma, any other despised groups they can think of, and above all, Jews. It is also, of course, a deliberate and conscious attempt to intimidate their opponents into silence. There should absolutely be no concession that Nazi scum have any right to make such threats, to march or hold rallies. Whether their vileness should be met with pre-emptive violence should be a purely tactical decision: what will best curb Nazi activities and discourage recruitment. If we credit what Spencer says, pre-emptive violence, to the extent that it is being employed, appears to be working.

  10. John Morales says

    KG:

    When Hitler sent the German armed forces into the Rhineland in 1936, that wasn’t violence [blah]

    No, it was a show of strength. It was intimidation. It was an action.

    What it wasn’t speech.
    So I really don’t see how you imagine you’re contending against the claim you quoted.

  11. John Morales says

    PS

    Today, the very display of Nazi symbols, as happens when scum such as Richard Spencer speak in public, while it is not violence, is a deliberate and conscious threat to resume the Nazi program of exterminating leftists, liberals, LGBTI+ people, disabled people, Roma, any other despised groups they can think of, and above all, Jews.

    You left out those who didn’t support the program, but yeah.
    Thing is, that display in itself is not thereby violence, it’s not even speech.

    (The map is not the territory, the symbol is not the action)

    To be clear, I too think Nazi ideals are bullshit and pernicious ideals which when (historically) are adopted by States lead to incalculable suffering and waste, and therefore should be not just opposed, but made illegal. And I’m happy antifa exists.

    (But I don’t like flawed or spurious arguments, or mealy-mouthiness)

    Also, Inglourious Basterds.

  12. John Morales says

    [Um, perhaps my last allusion is too obscure, so to clarify:]

    From Wikipedia:
    “Universal Pictures adjusted the film’s German publicity website to the German penal law, as the display of Nazi iconography is restricted in Germany. The title has the swastika removed and the steel helmet has a bullet hole instead of the Nazi symbol.[85] The German site’s download section was revised to exclude wallpaper downloads that openly feature the swastika.[86] Though the advertisement posters and wallpapers may not show Nazi iconography, this does not apply to “works of art” according to German law, so the film itself is not censored in Germany.[87]”

  13. jaxkayaker says

    Fuck the Nazis. As soon as they’re violent, we defend ourselves and others with violence. While they use words that are not threats or immediate exhortations meant to incite violence, we respond with words. To physically attack someone for their non-threatening, non-incitory speech is thuggery, even if you voted for Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein and use a variety of non-standard pronouns.

  14. says

    To physically attack someone for their non-threatening, non-incitory speech is thuggery…

    Correct.

    They’re being punched for their threatening, incitory speech.

  15. Holms says

    #15
    Are you aware that you’re comparing Spencer’s speeches and such with military action ordered at the national level? I just thought you’d like to know your point has an extremely tenuous basis. Also, you appear to be ignorant of the bits where I specifically stated my actual views on antifa; please don’t blindly go by Tabby’s dishonest (or incredibly lazy) interpretation.

  16. kestrel says

    OK but what actually happened to Spencer? I don’t think he got beat up, I think he got disagreed with and THAT is what he is referring to – not actual physical violence, but people not going along with what he says.

    In fact I think a lot of what antifa does is not actual violence, at least not according to them. They say they use violence only as a last resort. I think with Spencer you have something similar to christians being “persecuted”: someone stops them from being a bigot, and they lay down and cry about how everyone is against them and next they will be jailed etc. etc.

    I’m anti-violence but not anti-action. Call me a pearl-clutcher if you like, but I don’t think we’re talking about actual violence here. I think what we’re talking about is speaking up loud and proud against white supremacist ideology and not tolerating it in your space… that seems to be what’s going on in the campuses. Or is there actual violence going on? Did Spencer get beaten up multiple times at these colleges? You’d think he’d say so immediately if he did…

  17. Holms says

    #20
    At least you admit that you are in favour of harming people for mere speech, crossing the same bright line that they crossed long ago.

  18. Holms says

    #22
    Jesus christ, this comment makes clear that you didn’t even bother reading my position re. antifa before smearing me as a nazi collaborator. I refer you to post 14.

  19. Holms says

    #22
    Oops, a correction: I mistook you for KG. He is the one smearing me as a collaborator, you didn’t.

  20. jaxkayaker says

    Tabby: your bar for incitation doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the legal standard (nor any reasonable ethical standard). Your standard seems to be “words about political positions I find offensive”. But if you’ve got any examples of inciting speech, please provide.

  21. says

    Tabby: your bar for incitation doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the legal standard

    Well then, it’s a good thing I’m not a cop, lawyer, or judge.

    But if you’ve got any examples of inciting speech, please provide.

    I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Nazis?

  22. jaxkayaker says

    People other than cops, lawyers and judges have to follow the law, and have to be aware of it. (In fact, members of those groups can often get away with not following the law.) I also said “reasonable ethical standard”, but you seem to have conveniently left that off.

    I’m familiar with Nazis. Not all speech by Nazis is incitement. Since you don’t seem interested in defending your claims with evidence but instead just use non sequiturs and other forms of irrationality, I’m done.

  23. Holms says

    Part jewish here, so sod off with your insinuation. But your amended characterisation of my position is at least correct this time around – my position is that of defending nazi speech, which is a far cry from your earlier claim that I was defending nazism in general.

  24. says

    There was no insinuation. Its certainly easier to defend Nazi speech if it’s not your humanity that’s being debated. In your case, it is being debated so I have more respect for your stance.

  25. H.sapiens says

    I’m a verrry long-time lurker (Mano, I love your blog) who had to respond to this.

    #33 by Tabby Lavalamp

    Just curious… How many people who are here defending Nazi speech aren’t straight white cis men?

    I’m a straight cis brown female. I would be terrified to encounter a Nazi in person. And yet, I vehemently oppose pre-emptive violence. In fact I go further than most of your “pearl-clutchers” and say that I am against all violence except instances of individual self-defence where you are basically running on instinct.
    ———-
    Does this mean I support Nazis or aren’t afraid of them? FUCK NO. It’s precisely because I hate and fear them that I oppose violence. Because by focusing on violence:
    (a) We resign ourselves to a neverending cycle of hate and violence. If some proportion of humans are always bigots and bigots are irredeemable and unstoppable except by violence, then doesn’t that mean we are doomed to violence forever?
    (b) We ignore all the ways we could have prevented the situation. Scapegoating of minorities always rises when people are uncertain about their own lives and futures. But we never seem to want to talk about this, about improving everyone’s lives so that they don’t have the emotional room to bother with hate. We prefer the dramatic self-righteous good-vs-evil fights (violent or otherwise).
    (c) We play into the desires of those that foment violence and scapegoat in order to hide the destructive policies that help them (the capitalist cabal who rule the world) and hurt everyone else. They know exactly what they are doing.
    (d) We absolve the majority group(s) of the responsibility to talk to their friends and relatives to change their minds. When we decide violence is OK, we leave it to those who are willing and able to enact said violence, and everyone else is free to go about their normal lives. It profoundly saddens me when white liberals proudly proclaim blocking or cutting off their bigoted relatives. All that does is save you from having to listen to their bigotry, it doesn’t save us from being the targets of it.
    (e) And finally, if we as a species had successfully trained ourselves to genuinely spurn violence except as a very very very last resort, what amazing things could we have done with our abilities? What if all the money, brainpower, and political will that went into the first nuclear bomb had instead been spent on figuring out ways prevent or stop hitler and the nazis without starting or adding to the bloodshed? It infuriates me that in our supposedly “civilised” culture, death and destruction are practical while pacifism is naive.
    ———-
    I know in many liberal circles the strategy of preventing or mitigating right-wing hate with empathy and conversation gets met with “fuck the so-called white working class, appeasing them is not our responsibility. If they turn on those less fortunate than them then they don’t deserve our sympathy.”

    I don’t deny that punching down is reprehensible. But if we just accept that racists are forever irredeemable racists, THEN WHAT HOPE DO WE HAVE?? What exactly is the endgame here? By promoting violence and rigid us-vs-them mentalities, all we do is repeat an endless cycle. And each run of that cycle claims new victims.
    ———-
    As a minority woman and mother I am even more scared of a world of escalating violence than I am of a subset of the population being susceptible to scapegoating. What I want is for that scapegoating to be prevented and/or nipped in the bud (by social welfare and inclusive policies, by conversation, and with empathy); and defended against if it becomes violent, through as non-violent and redemptive means as possible.
    ———-
    An analogy I just thought of: I see it as no different than rehabilitation vs punishment/revenge in criminal justice. Another thing that this country fails at miserably, of course.
    ———-
    As to the original point of the OP, yes, it appears that some amount of violence may have been effective in mitigating some amount of hate speech. But how effective, for how long, and at what [current or future] cost?
    ———-
    P.S. sorry for the weird dashes, I could not get gaps between paragraphs to appear no matter what I tried.

  26. vucodlak says

    @ jaxkayaker, #22

    While they use words that are not threats

    They don’t. Ever. If a Nazi is speaking as a Nazi, if they marching under Nazi flags (original or modern variants like the “kekistan” flag) or wearing Nazi uniforms, then everything they say and do is a threat. It is intended to harass and intimidate their would-be victims, and to grow their own numbers.

    I do not see why this is so hard to grasp.

    As for this, from your #30:

    your bar for incitation doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the legal standard (nor any reasonable ethical standard)

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I give zero fucks about US law. It’s written so as to protect the wealthy/powerful above all, and keep the rest of us from getting too uppity. It protects fascists by design; it’s not an accident that it allows Nazis to march in the streets, with their promises to exterminate millions, while also permitting federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to stomp on any mildly left-of-center movement as hard as they like.

    As for ethics, I suggest that any ethical standard that would allow Nazis to do their thing is utterly bankrupt, for being more concerned with empty philosophical wankery in which being a Nazi is somehow divorced from the inevitable consequences of their rhetoric than with actually giving a damn about what happens to the people Nazis hate.

    I base my personal ethics on compassion and mercy, above all else. Among other things, that means I must not permit anyone (including Nazis) to be tortured, rounded up and slaughtered, or to suffer needlessly. It also means that I can’t tolerate Nazis behaving in any way that furthers their cause.

    @ Holms

    It would be much easier to follow the discussion if you named the people you are responding to, in addition to the number of the comment. The numbers changed sometime between last night and this afternoon, and I’m not sure who you’re responding to with some of your comments.

  27. file thirteen says

    @H. Sapiens, thanks for your input. You managed to explain well the thoughts that I’d been mulling over but had held off making for fear of stoking a flame war (I’m often pretty tactless).
    In particular your comment “how effective, for how long, and at what cost?” resonates with me. Part of the nazis’ doctrine is one of “fighting back”, spurious but apparently heartfelt.
    I don’t want their recruitment to surge because of the political capital they get from being able to justify a fightback.
    I don’t want violence used against them to become justification for their own, escalated, violence.
    I certainly don’t want the left to lose the moral high ground.
    And Tabby, I have to add, I don’t want sympathetic “straight white cis males” to stop participating on this blog because they feel unwelcome here.
    (By the way, H. Sapiens, you will have discovered that you do get gaps between paragraphs when you post. It’s a fault of the preview that it doesn’t show them)

  28. file thirteen says

    … or maybe you don’t get gaps between paragraphs. I could have sworn I did the last time I posted. vucodlak, how did you do it?

  29. vucodlak says

    @ file thirteen, #38

    I don’t want their recruitment to surge because of the political capital they get from being able to justify a fightback.
    I don’t want violence used against them to become justification for their own, escalated, violence.

    It doesn’t work that way. Even if you never raise a hand to them, even if you ignore them completely, and even if you appease them time and again, Nazis will howl and scream about how they’re the victims of terrible oppression. And people (who fit their narrow definition of acceptable) who feels like they’ve not gotten their just due in life will identify with what the Nazis are preaching. Doesn’t matter if it’s a lie- look at the garbage that comes out of Trump’s mouth day after day.

    Using violence against them isn’t what escalates their violence, either. Numbers and acceptance are. Nazis are not, generally, brave people. They won’t move against their hated groups if there’s a real chance their targets will win the fight. Instead, they’ll recruit and seek to normalize their hatred. When people are so used to hearing Nazi talking points that the majority decides they’re no big deal, or not worth bothering about, the Nazis will begin to take action as a group, targeting those weaker than themselves. They will start with the smaller minorities, and work their way up.

    Why do they do it this way? Because they’re afraid of organized, large-scale violent retribution. They don’t win when people stand up to them and say “We will stop your plans, even if we have to hurt or kill you to do it.” They win when people say “Well, we think you’re terrible, but we hold the moral high ground, and we refuse to get our hands dirty (until it’s far too late, and millions already lie dead).” Obviously, some things are always off the table- torture, rape, the killing of civilians, and so on, but showing Nazis that we’re not all talk, and that we will resist them on EVERY front, is vital to defeating them.

  30. file thirteen says

    Can’t agree vucodlak. The difference is that those who howl and scream that they are victims of oppression look stupid if the evidence overwhelmingly says they aren’t. If they have evidence otherwise, that is a huge justification for their position. You can’t pretend that it won’t be helpful for their recruitment drive because, nazis mmm-kay?

    What concerns me even more is when you say “some things are always off the table”, because the horrible truth is that they aren’t.

  31. vucodlak says

    @ H.sapiens,

    Because by focusing on violence

    We aren’t the ones focusing on violence. We’re saying it’s an unfortunately integral part of anti-Nazi activism, because nothing less works.

    Responding to your points, one at a time:
    (a) Until we, as a society, decide that publicly espousing (thinly-veiled) genocidal white-supremacy is not acceptable, this will remain true. The war will never end until the law recognizes that some types of speech have a nigh-incalculable body-count. I don’t pretend to be smart enough to know what such a law would look like, but Nazis send up some pretty obvious red flags.

    I don’t, however, believe anyone is truly irredeemable. A Nazi can cease to be a violent white-supremacist, at which point they no longer warrant the same response.

    (b) Who, exactly, is we? I want to improve peoples’ lives; my voting and activism are commensurate with this. But that’s not the topic of this thread… although removing Nazis from the equation does, in fact, improve everyone’s lives.

    (c) Yes, they think they know exactly what they’re doing. They think they can control the monsters they create. They can’t. We fight, or we all die.

    (d) People do NOT have a responsibility to change their relatives’ minds, which is not to say that we haven’t tried. I spent months trying to convince everyone around me to vote for Clinton. I laid out all the reasons calmly and rationally. They didn’t give a damn. “She’s a criminal! She’s a monster! She’s a woman!” they screamed back at me.

    (e) Violence is the last resort, but it’s frankly disgusting to suggest that pacifism could have been the response to Hitler. Not just no, but hell no to that. It’s that kind of thinking, along with the various bigotries of the Allies, that let him get as far as he did. If somebody had put him down in the 1930’s, millions of lives could have been saved. The man was not shy about what he intended to do, i.e. exterminate the “untermenschen.”

    Now, back then they could make the argument that they just thought it was merely overheated rhetoric, but we no longer have that luxury. Now, though, it’s a blatant lie, and those who propagate it have blood on their hands.

    An analogy I just thought of: I see it as no different than rehabilitation vs punishment/revenge in criminal justice.

    A better comparison would be between victims who fight back and those who don’t. It’s absolutely wrong to blame victims who don’t fight back for their victimization. It’s ALSO wrong to tell victims that they must never use violence to defend themselves.

    For what seems like the millionth time:
    Everything Nazis do, as Nazis, is a threat. IT IS VIOLENCE. When you tell people not use violence against Nazis, you’re telling them not to defend themselves. That’s not ok. If you don’t want to use violence, then don’t, but do not ask the rest of us to lay down and die for your principles.

    I have always been slow, awkward, and far too trusting. That’s made me a target for bullies all my life. I’ve tried the path of peace, because believe it or not I’d rather be friends with everybody. I’ve tried kindness and understanding. I’ve tried depending on those in authority. None of it did a damn thing. The only thing that ever got me peace was to make it clear that I would hurt those who hurt me.

    Nazis are bullies taken to the worst extremes. I’ve been where they would take us. I didn’t get out by winning a debate with them, or because I appealed to their sense of mercy (for they surely had none), or by staging a sit in. Violence, in the hands of my friends, saved my life. I don’t like violence, but I recognize that it is occasionally necessary.

    Sometimes pacifism is the greater evil.

  32. John Morales says

    vucodlak to file thirteen,

    But that’s not the topic of this thread…

    Indeed. I too feel satisfaction that organised direct action has had some success, so kudos to antifa thereby.

    Everything Nazis do, as Nazis, is a threat. IT IS VIOLENCE. When you tell people not use violence against Nazis, you’re telling them not to defend themselves.

    Disingenuous equivocation between responsive and pre-emptive violence, but I do not deny there are times when the latter is far preferable. Whether the current situation is one of those is what’s disputable, and the precautionary principle is should be borne in mind.

    Just remember your ideological position acknowledges that might can make right.

  33. vucodlak says

    The difference is that those who howl and scream that they are victims of oppression look stupid if the evidence overwhelmingly says they aren’t. If they have evidence otherwise, that is a huge justification for their position.

    Sure. The Jews were really doing a number on the German people, right? I mean, they must have been, or Hitler would have laughed out of Europe. Gee, maybe the Nazis were right all along? If the Nazis were just picking on a scapegoat, surely such rational and reasonable people wouldn’t have been led astray.

    It’s not reason or rationality Nazis use to swell their numbers. It’s prejudice and fantasy. You can’t fight that if you’re invested in pretending humans are principally creatures of reason. We’re not. We’re wildly irrational, emotional beings.

    What concerns me even more is when you say “some things are always off the table”, because the horrible truth is that they aren’t.

    Yes, they are. I will not use the tactics listed (or certain others) no matter what. Other people can follow the same rules. It’s really super-easy to not rape or torture.

  34. John Morales says

    [argh]

    OK, a bit garbled, and the response was to H.sapiens.

    BTW, paragraphs do work in postings but as F13 noted don’t show up in preview. A bug on this platform which has not yet been fixed since its inception.

    Technique, as shown here, is to have a blank line

    (Or, if you could be bothered, you can use non-breaking spaces to include more than one blank line. That’s achieved via the <&nbsp;> HTML entity.

     

     

     

     

    This is four line spacings.

  35. vucodlak says

    Sorry, my comment at #44 was directed @ file thirteen, in reply to their #41

    @ John Morales, #43

    Just remember your ideological position acknowledges that might can make right.

    Well… yeah. I would love to live world where that isn’t the case, but that’s never been this one. Nazis are a devil we know all too well, and I’d rather they didn’t get the reins of power ever again. I’m willing to chance ending up with a devil we don’t know, if that’s the price. If it looks like another Stalin or Mao is on the rise, then I suppose I’ll be advocating punching them, too.

  36. file thirteen says

    vucodlak, we may have to agree to disagree. You think I’m weak or naive (or both) because I abhor violence. I think you’re naive or in denial (or both) because you don’t accept how easily violence can lead to atrocity. But everyone thinks they’re the “that only applies to them, not me” kind of special. All I can do is to leave you with a couple of juxtaposed comments of your own, to consider in conjunction with each other.

    You can’t fight that if you’re invested in pretending humans are creatures of reason. We’re not. We’re wildly irrational, emotional beings.

    I will not use the tactics listed (or certain others) no matter what. Other people can follow the same rules. It’s really super-easy to not rape or torture.

  37. vucodlak says

    @ file thirteen, #47

    While this will no doubt appall you, my opposition to rape and/or torture is emotional first, with rationality coming in a distant second. In fact, my rationale for opposing those tactics is just that- a set of post-hoc rationalizations of my emotional reactions. Because, while I can come up with many good rational reasons to forbid those tactics, I can also come up with rational reasons to use them. They’re repellent reasons, sure, but again- that’s an emotional judgement.

    I can’t stand to see creatures suffering (including people, even ones I hate). I also know from personal experience what it is to be raped, and what it is to be tortured. It’s very easy for me to empathize with those who have suffered either or both, and to reach the decision that it should never be allowed to happen. Thus, when people like Sam Harris come out with carefully-crafted rationalizations for the use of torture, it’s very easy for me to say “No, not even then.”

    And yes, I am capable of doing terrible things. I have done terrible things. Most of them I’m even sorry for… but still, I’ve never raped, and I’ve never tortured. My point being that I hardly believe myself to be a paragon of righteousness; I’m a monster, when it comes right down to it. There are still lines I won’t cross. Even in resisting Nazis, even in the use of violence to do so.

  38. Clovasaurus says

    #10
    “…in my 50
    Years in WP movement!”

    Ugh… am I reading this right? Is Robert saying it’s been a “struggle” to apply white dominance and power over folks who oppose being oppressed? Who’s man is this?

  39. Holms says

    Hmm. I skipped over #10 due to it appearing to be in verse form – I dreaded that someone was making poetry of this post. But not that I look at the content, it is certain that ‘Robert J Mathews’ is a white supremacist.

  40. KG says

    But I don’t like flawed or spurious arguments – John Morales@20

    Why do you use so many, then? I know you have this self-image as the super-rational always-right John Morales, once again on display@20, but it’s no more valid for you than for anyone else. What I was contending against@19 is the idea that only retaliatory violence is ever acceptable.

    Oops, a correction: I mistook you for KG. He is the one smearing me as a collaborator, you didn’t. – Holms@29

    I did no such thing. I consider you a naive fool, just as I consider those who opposed violence against the Nazi militarisation of the Rhineland, but that’s a different thing. “Collaborator” has a fairly precise meaning, and in this context applies to those citizens of occupied countries who worked for the Nazis, betrayed Jews or resistance workers to them, etc. Chamberlain was not a collaborator, but an “appeaser” – a term which did not, at the time, have the purely negative connotation it has had since. I would consider those who say Nazis should be allowed to march unhindered, given platforms to spew their vileness, etc, to be appeasers.

  41. John Morales says

    KG @51, that’s quite the belated retort. And fine, you think there’s a place for pre-emptive violence, and that intimidation is not violence. And your opinion about my self-image, as if that mattered.

    Also, something about a hypothetical outcome back in the day justifies your claim.

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