That's just how you negotiate with a Nazi. Ask your grandfather.
January 22, 2017 7:57 AM   Subscribe

On Friday a white man wearing black punched American white nationalist Richard Spencer in the face on camera. While discussions of ethics and history have been springing up, the Internet has also decided that this needed to be set to music. Tim & Eric have also composed a piano ballad about the events.

In an interesting meme-style ethics discussion, many twitter users are responding to the events by posting not just historical photos but also comic book panels and stills from movies showing famous characters including Wonder Woman, Captain America, Indiana Jones, and even the Joker.

Spencer has stated that he wanted an alt-right vigilante defense force.

For further discussion, more remixes, and many links to panels of old comics #PunchANazi and #PunchingNazis are now trending on twitter.
posted by bile and syntax (676 comments total) 102 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought that the version set to Slayer's "Angel of Death" was apropos.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:07 AM on January 22 [17 favorites]


In the Garden of the Beasts might be a good book to read right now to learn how not to negotiate with fascists.
posted by lagomorphius at 8:09 AM on January 22 [17 favorites]


this set of tweets on punching nazi punks popped up on my feed last night
posted by dismas at 8:10 AM on January 22 [37 favorites]


I like that he was punched at the INSTANT he was showing off his Pepe the Frog pin.
posted by JohnFromGR at 8:12 AM on January 22 [93 favorites]


The sheer comic timing of the punch landing just as Richard starts to talk about Pepe the Frog of all things is surely a sign that God approves.
posted by eykal at 8:12 AM on January 22 [41 favorites]


I've given this a lot of thought lately. I said elsewhere, Richard Spencer deserves the absolute worst. A sucker punch is not the worst. He needs to see his ideology driven into the ground, and to be personally and professionally ostracized unless and until he publicly repents like George Wallace managed to do. An unprovoked attack on his person makes all that much harder to accomplish.

This has been your boring po-faced grownup comment for the day. Remember, it's easier to argue for the civilized way of doing things if you can show that the bad guys will suffer more that way.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:13 AM on January 22 [35 favorites]


Punch is such an ugly word. I prefer to think of it as an alt-rebuttal.
posted by Behemoth at 8:14 AM on January 22 [391 favorites]


An unprovoked attack on his person makes all that much harder to accomplish.

Okay, I'll bite: how?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:14 AM on January 22 [24 favorites]




I prefer to think of it as an alt-rebuttal.

Perhaps an alt-high five?
posted by bile and syntax at 8:17 AM on January 22 [41 favorites]


He gets to talk about how an [ethnic slur] came out of nowhere while he was minding his own business and his ears are still ringing and he might have a concussion and is this the tolerant left you hear about and who are the actual fascists and - You know, that bullshit.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:18 AM on January 22 [17 favorites]


An unprovoked attack on his person makes all that much harder to accomplish.

Seconding the Pope here. After all, Wallace's change of heart followed an assassination attempt that left him paraplegic. So the thesis that an act of aggressive, politically motivated violence makes a change of heart less likely would seem to be challenged by the specific example cited.

(not that I'm advocating this, mind. just trying to get clarity.)
posted by mwhybark at 8:18 AM on January 22 [18 favorites]


I see you have clarified. So it's not the violence per se, it's the media time afforded Spencer after.
posted by mwhybark at 8:20 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


I support this repulsive man's right to stand on the street and speak. Stirring up people who are armed and worship violence is maybe not the greatest plan.
posted by Bee'sWing at 8:21 AM on January 22 [12 favorites]


Spencer and his ilk scream about the war on white christian america and how the left are the actual fascists whether we punch them or not.

Might as well punch them.

I agree with Puckett's tweets about the punk and hardcore scenes, since I came of age in the punk scene. We had to deal with nazis. The only way that was effective was to punch them, and nothing has changed there.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:21 AM on January 22 [149 favorites]


it's not the violence per se, it's the media time afforded Spencer after.

Is it actually possible to get out of the mess we're in without fixing the media?
posted by Slothrup at 8:21 AM on January 22 [8 favorites]


Ah, you do have a point there, mwhybark. I had forgotten that Wallace had to spend a lot of time in a wheelchair thinking about himself.

At no point will I argue that punching Nazis is not awesome, but awesome is not the same thing as legal or strategically effective.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:22 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


He gets to talk about how an [ethnic slur] came out of nowhere while he was minding his own business and his ears are still ringing and he might have a concussion and is this the tolerant left you hear about and who are the actual fascists and - You know, that bullshit.

It doesn't matter. They will do this regardless. The absolute most that could happen will be that liberals will wring their hands and slip closer to Nazi sympathy, in which case they were never allies to begin with.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:24 AM on January 22 [79 favorites]


No, I don't think punching Nazis normalizes violence. I think it helps prevent the normalization of Nazis.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:24 AM on January 22 [287 favorites]


I have decided that while one could write a great deal about the right liberal response to this act, that unless it becomes an ongoing problem l'm going to file this under "eh, fuck that guy."
posted by emjaybee at 8:25 AM on January 22 [37 favorites]


Much as I dislike Spencer and everything he stands for, I think we need some way of engaging with Nazis and others with a delusional worldview who use free speech laws to sidestep society's restrictions on spreading nonsense. My suggestion is more education, but that's not going to appeal to people who want action now.

Meanwhile, this Popehat article is worth reading.
posted by sneebler at 8:27 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


In 1977, when the American Nazis were planning to march on Skokie, my family was really worried. Not about the march (well, sure about the march, too) but mostly because my grandmother - who had survived Auschwitz with damages from beatings that never healed, who had received those beatings trying to save her 8 and 3 year old sons from the lines when she realized what was going on, who had lost almost her entire family - was gleefully talking about how she was going to buy herself a gun and shoot herself a Nazi. There was no hand-wringing, or irony, no way to get her to acknowledge that the people marching weren't the same Nazis - she didn't care. This was her opportunity and no one was sure how they would actually stop her from shooting someone if she somehow managed to get a gun. Fortunately the march fizzled and it never came up again.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, while I understand the 'violence never solves anything and can make things appreciably worse for those of us fighting' argument, and while I am not sure I would ever have it in me to punch a Nazi myself -- I'm not only 100% okay with this punching, I would be glad to say that this one's for my Bubbe.
posted by Mchelly at 8:27 AM on January 22 [283 favorites]


"If you don't punch Nazis, Holocausts happen. That's what we learned from letting Nazis speak in public the last time. You have to punch them."

Tweet from holly wood🌹 (@girlziplocked)

I would say, yes, it's punchin' time. Let's be on the safe side.
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:27 AM on January 22 [137 favorites]


The way oppressive regimes, and their supportive ideologies work is by enforcing asymmetrical (ethical) rules. They can be brutal, they can cause you physical or mental harm, they can take away your rights, your dignity, your family, your healthcare, your life - and they can do it entirely under the cover of legality or authority. Better yet, they don't do it to you, they do it to your neighbour, and they know that, as a good person, you'll sigh and handwring and do nothing because they have created a system of legality that prevents or diminishes your actions. And when your neighbour punches a policeman in the face you'll tweet about how disappointed you are, and if only we could have a lovely conversation about this it would surely all be fine.

If you play by two sets of rules make damn sure you are playing the set that will win.
posted by AFII at 8:28 AM on January 22 [222 favorites]


Racism is violence, whether or not you pick up physical arms in support of it or not. The advocacy of a point of view that would restrain the progress of a group of people based solely on membership of that group is violent. By advocating his viewpoint, Spencer was advocating violence. It should come as a surprise to no one that his public support of violence was met with violence.
posted by dudemanlives at 8:29 AM on January 22 [60 favorites]


Many of us, myself included, are socialized to be more outraged at breaches of etiquette than breaches of justice. Etiquette is largely about maintaining an unjust social order, where it's worse for you to tell your racist relatives to shut the fuck up at Thanksgiving than it is for them to spew their nonsense where your little cousins can hear. I've had it up to the eyes with respectability politics - we have never gained anything by smiling and being polite and waiting for others to recognize our humanity, and we won't gain any ground by trying to reason with people who want us dead, or enslaved, or sent to conversion therapy, or marked permanently as second-class citizens in some other way.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:33 AM on January 22 [476 favorites]


Many of us, myself included, are socialized to be more outraged at breaches of etiquette than breaches of justice.

Thank you so much for this phrasing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:34 AM on January 22 [95 favorites]


I said this on a friend's fb last night: The upside of punching a Nazi on camera is it sends the message that it is not okay to say that shit out loud like it's normal discourse. It's not a "side" in a political debate like advocating for a change in tax policy or disagreeing about who should pay for a sports stadium.
posted by rtha at 8:40 AM on January 22 [112 favorites]


If we don't punch them now they'll be ethnically cleansing us later. I'm only sorry that young man wasn't wearing brass knuckles.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:42 AM on January 22 [41 favorites]


If only my grandpa knew to engage the Hitlerjugend marching through his town in parliamentary debate. They commit so many logical fallacies; it would have been a blowout!
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 8:43 AM on January 22 [70 favorites]


As satisfying as this may seem to some, it opens a door for them to do the same thing back. And then some.
posted by tommasz at 8:44 AM on January 22 [7 favorites]


As satisfying as this may seem to some, it opens a door for them to do the same thing back. And then some.

Oh, dear, sweet summerchild, nazis don't need excuses.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:46 AM on January 22 [246 favorites]


The idea of non-violence is a defense of the idea of universal human decency, of mutual respect for humanity, of not doing to other people, any other people, the things we think should not be done to people. I am a non-violent person in practice and in inclination, and I see a lot of value in discouraging violence even in cases where it is a righteous temptation.

But, you know what, no. Fuck the Nazis. Fuck them.

Because we are not talking about an exchange of ideas. We are not talking about meeting words with unprompted violence. We are talking about an ideology that rejects, explicitly, the idea that black people and Jewish people and all sorts of Others are entitled to that universal human decency. An ideology that denies huge swaths of humanity admission to that idea of universal human decency. Denies them humanity outright.

When Richard Spencer rallies Nazi ideology, encourages white supremacism and virulent racism, harkens back to the good 'ol days of turn-it-to-11 anti-Jewish hatred? When he publishes writing that says shit like this?
we should instead be asking questions like, ‘Does human civilization actually need the Black race?’ ‘Is Black genocide right?’ and, if it is, ‘What would be the best and easiest way to dispose of them?’
That's not an exchange of ideas, that's an invitation to violence and genocide. That's a punch that has already been thrown to horrifying results, being pulled back to be thrown again. That's a haymaker that killed millions in camps in Europe while decent people fretted.

So, nah. Fuck that. Fuck the Nazis.
posted by cortex at 8:47 AM on January 22 [322 favorites]


As satisfying as this may seem to some, it opens a door for them to do the same thing back. And then some.

No, it doesn't. Fascists regard violence as their right, as a cleansing force by which they accomplish their goals. They are not waiting for an excuse. They are not willing to engage in good faith. Spencer and those like him already plan to murder everybody they disapprove of and everybody who disagrees with them. Violence is already on the table for them, both systemic racist, homophobic, and patriarchal violence and individual hate crimes. The idea that to assault a fascist is to bring violence into the situation is mistaken; violence is the point of fascism.

Don't think of fascist organizing and communication as protected speech; they are at best conspiracy to commit genocide, and should be treated as same.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:49 AM on January 22 [126 favorites]


Naif liberalism of course condemns political violence, because it thinks of politics as a game, with rules and can be separate from the rest of their lives in the same way any sport can be. And of course, for the people most likely to regurgitate the idea that violence is never the answer, this is largely the case. Mass media opinion makers, Democratic politicians and the like are isolated from a lot of the violence that nazis and their fellow travelers can and do inflict on others.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:50 AM on January 22 [31 favorites]


> The absolute most that could happen will be that liberals will wring their hands and slip closer to Nazi sympathy, in which case they were never allies to begin with.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but are you saying that if I don't support this act of violence I'm a Nazi sympathizer?

I get how tempting and feel good it is. But I think instigating physical violence is wrong and should not be encouraged.
posted by justkevin at 8:53 AM on January 22 [10 favorites]


I find myself conflicted, this puts some of my guiding principles against one another, and it's giving Richard Spencer even more space in my head that he doesn't deserve, the asshole. I'm not sure how I feel and I'll be reading all of your thoughts on the matter with interest.

I will say this with conviction; if the conditions of my life ever change to find me attempting to reclaim the term "Ethnic Cleansing," I invite you to strike me in the head as often as needed to bring me to my senses.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 8:56 AM on January 22 [8 favorites]


is this the tolerant left you hear about and who are the actual fascists

Aren’t the Left supposed to be the tolerant ones?

Supposed to be the smart ones, too, but they keep falling for that “I thought you were supposed to be the tolerant ones” horseshit.

posted by Splunge at 8:56 AM on January 22 [48 favorites]


And I'm not saying "violence is good". I'm not saying "punching people is good". I don't believe either of these things and I have really complicated feelings about Spencer getting taken upside the head like that, because I think violence is bad for us and can beget violence.

But I think some things are worse. Fucking Naziism being a good example. In my imperfect pacifism I can say that a punch is a bad idea and that genociding non-Aryans is a way worse one and that if the trolley problem I'm presented with is saving a Nazi from a punch or full-throatedly condemning an inchoate but ascendant neo-Nazi/fascist movement in the United States I'm gonna swallow my complicated feelings and pull that switch for the tracks labeled "punch away".

Ideals that never encounter a test are much easier to maintain. Ten years ago I probably wouldn't have made this comment. But fuck, y'all. This is not the punch to hang all your worries on.
posted by cortex at 8:56 AM on January 22 [118 favorites]


Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but are you saying that if I don't support this act of violence I'm a Nazi sympathizer?

If seeing would-be genocides assaulted engenders sympathy in you for people who are working toward the mass murder of millions, your politics are of no use to anybody save for would-be genocides.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:57 AM on January 22 [59 favorites]


I get how tempting and feel good it is. But I think instigating physical violence is wrong and should not be encouraged.

Under different circumstances (most of my pre - Trump life) I would agree. Things have changed dramatically.
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:57 AM on January 22 [10 favorites]


From the Woody Allen film, Manhattan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCb2Le3wtIk


Isaac: Has anybody read that Nazis are gonna march in New Jersey? Ya know? I read it in the newspaper. We should go down there, get some guys together, ya know, get some bricks and baseball bats, and really explain things to 'em.

Party Guest 1: There was this devastating satirical piece on that on the op-ed page of the Times, just devastating.

Isaac: Whoa, whoa. A satirical piece in the Times is one thing, but bricks and baseball bats really gets right to the point of it.

Party Guest 2: Oh, but really biting satire is always better than physical force.

Isaac: No, physical force is always better with Nazis.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 9:05 AM on January 22 [81 favorites]


If seeing would-be genocides assaulted engenders sympathy in you for people who are working toward the mass murder of millions, your politics are of no use to anybody save for would-be genocides.

I'm not sympathetic towards Spencer, in fact I specifically said I understand how good it would feel to punch him.

I'm saying I'm opposed to instigating physical violence against those whose views I find abhorrent. I don't think it's helpful and strongly disagree that this belief in any way makes me a supporter of genocide.
posted by justkevin at 9:06 AM on January 22 [16 favorites]


Would it be okay to have killed him? Because if we're really talking about fighting Nazis, you don't punch them. That doesn't do shit. If you think you're in real danger of getting stung to death by wasps, you burn the nest, you soak it with lethal poison, you don't whack it with a stick like "that'll teach 'em!" If we are abandoning civil discourse, and you better fucking hope we're not, then punching people is not how you do it.

To be crystal-clear, I am ABSOLUTELY NOT advocating violence. I'm just saying, if you're talking about meaningfully defending yourself against fascism or purges or ethnic cleansing, this is not what that looks like.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:07 AM on January 22 [14 favorites]


The obvious premise behind 'non-violent resistance' was that the side adopting this strategy was massively disadvantaged in violent capability compared with its opposition. The Civil Rights movement or Ghandi weren't going to win a battle against tanks and guns with sticks and rocks. So they strategically relocated the war to the battlefield of hearts and minds where they had powerful advantages.

I see the obvious pro-violence consensus here, and I am shaking my goddamn head at the sight of liberals LARPing as fucking action heroes on the Internet. This. Will. Not. End. Well.

You are fucking delusional if you think provoking the far right on their battlefield of choice in this political climate is your path to any sort of victory. Wise the fuck up. This is not a comic book. You will not win with violence. We are all going to lose when this shit metastasizes, which it obviously is going to, going by the shortsightedness and ignorance of keyboard kommandos.

Pro-tip: the battlefield of hearts and minds is 100% where you need to be fighting. Any movements to any other battlefields are detrimental to your causes and beliefs. Do not bring this violence to my doorstep.
posted by dgaicun at 9:09 AM on January 22 [54 favorites]


Make Racists Afraid Again.

We shall defend our communities, whatever the cost may be. We shall beat the nazis in the fields, we shall beat them in the plazas, we shall beat them in the streets and in their own homes; we shall never surrender.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 9:10 AM on January 22 [17 favorites]


It's too bad there's not a history of confronting Nazi activists in the US, using a variety of tactics depending on the situation. It's also too bad that there's no one on metafilter who has ever participated in or witnessed anti-nazi organizing. If only there were those people and precedents - we might be able to evolve a theory based on experience.
posted by Frowner at 9:11 AM on January 22 [66 favorites]


In most respects I'd argue that Woody Allen is pretty horrible at ethics and morality, but I'm pretty sure he already talked his way around this issue 37 years ago.
posted by jackbishop at 9:13 AM on January 22


In a bar fight between Nazis and (what? liberals???) with even numbers the Nazis will win everytime because they are all about death and violence, they are better at it. Just look at the real Nazis and what it took to defeat them.
posted by Pembquist at 9:14 AM on January 22


Politics is a game of symbols and punching a neo-nazi in the face while he's lying his ass off trying to look reasonable for a bunch of cameras is a beautifully symbolic act. Plus he got his ass punched.
posted by rdr at 9:14 AM on January 22 [64 favorites]




I am shaking my goddamn head at the sight of liberals LARPing as fucking action heroes on the Internet.

In turn I have been frustrated by the degree to which a lot of people's reaction to the genocide-vs-punch dynamic has been to treat the punch like a nuclear launch and the genocidal rhetoric like a tut tut but that's America at it's best tho sort of deal. I don't think one needs to imagine action heroics to believe that in the balance of things a Nazi getting his white supremacist startup pitch disrupted from 3 o'clock may be an acceptable part of the current shit-stew of a political dialectic we're living through.
posted by cortex at 9:21 AM on January 22 [92 favorites]


We are all going to lose when this shit metastasizes, which it obviously is going to

We're already losing so much. Leftists cheering a Nazi getting punched is like the first clump of hair falling out of a chemo patient's hat. It's painful, it's ugly, and it's almost as bad as the disease. But it fucking works.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:22 AM on January 22 [17 favorites]


Has anyone looped the Der Führer's Face one yet?
posted by progosk at 9:22 AM on January 22 [15 favorites]


Well of course he'd want the return of the SA and SS. These types always seem themselves as being central to a movement.
posted by vuron at 9:23 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


You are fucking delusional if you think provoking the far right on their battlefield of choice in this political climate is your path to any sort of victory.

It worked against Mosley.

Nazis aren't supermen, can be defeated, especially somebody like Spencer, who has now basically been taught that the hate he spouts for the lulz and profit on the internet can and does have real world actions. Speech is no longer a free action for him and now he has to take into account that any time he appears in public to oh so reasonably and politely state the case for black genocide, he can and will be punched in the mouth again.

We've gotten into a situation in which a supposedly leftwing or progressive magazine can hype up a hatemonger like Spencer as "the dapper face of the alt-right", then get shirty about how horrible it is this shitbag got punched.

So many people with vested interests in defending nazis are tut-tutting the violence, that I suspect anybody who does so has nazi sympathies themselves or has an interest in keeping nazis safe from the consequences of their rhetoric.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:26 AM on January 22 [63 favorites]




PUNCH NAZIS, FUCK UP NAZIS, MAKE NAZIS CRY

ALL FUCKING DAY
posted by beerperson at 9:28 AM on January 22 [33 favorites]


You know, last I heard, the Right liked to spout off a lot about how the left was very very bad for wanting to take away everyone's guns because, you know, if Jews had had guns in Nazi Germany, the Holocaust wouldn't have happened (see e.g. Ben Carson). But now, when someone elbows an actual Nazi in the throat, they're outraged at the senseless violence? I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
posted by holborne at 9:30 AM on January 22 [82 favorites]


The way this question has been framed baffles me a bit. There a few questions here that seem to have all been wrapped up into one.

1. Did this specific guy, Richard Spencer, deserve one good punch to the head? I think the answer is an unequivocal yes.

2. Should we physically assault those we disagree with? I think in general the answer to this is no, but there are exceptions (see 1.)

3. Does punching this specific guy in the face advance or hurt the cause of anti-fascism and anti-nazism? I have no idea. Sure was satisfying though.

4. Is there a slippery slope here where people will start labeling anyone they disagree with "nazi" so they can physically harm them without consequence? I really don't think so, but it's something to watch out for. Doesn't help that we as a culture have really watered down the nazi label through overuse.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:30 AM on January 22 [31 favorites]


My only issue with the Dick Spencer video is the lack of a Sicarii element.

I'm not going to piously cling to a misinterpretation of the idea of free speech while the other side, in power, degrades actual free speech. I'm not going to be polite while they are vulgar, and I'm not going to hold to pacifism while can and do attack my friends freely, daily. Not playing that game, the rules fucking changed.

Polite discussion only works when the other side wants it to. Whether or not the bulk of the right is interested in continuing the idea of fair governance, we know damned well that the Nazis are not. They worship violence and power, and thus only listen to the language of violence and power. They don't actually care about any of their pearl-clutching about violence, they giggle about how hard liberals fall for it, I know this, I've been in those rooms, this response is what they want. They don't do this sort of squabbling when one of theirs beats a trans person to death and hangs them off a highway overpass. They are also winning. What is the lesson here.

None of this is superheroic. None of this is even intended to be special. This is fucking basic humanity, standing up for your neighbors when someone is literally calling for their deaths or expulsion. It's depressing that so many people are willing to overlook what is the beginning of a quiet holocaust and focus their anger on the ways in which their allies protest that they do not agree with.
posted by neonrev at 9:31 AM on January 22 [32 favorites]


Do not bring this violence to my doorstep.

While I agree with your conclusion, it comes from a faulty premise. The violence is already on your doorstep, the first punches already thrown, the battlefield determined. You can argue for non-violence up until the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and then you do have to fight.

Non-violence is a great way to gain something - Indian independence, civil rights - but it does a very poor job of defending something from being lost. The British weren't trying to take anything away from India - they already had what they wanted. White America wasn't trying to take anything away from African Americans - they already had them living in segregation.

This new nationalism is looking to take away rights we have won, and they are on the offensive against us. Doing nothing, peaceful assembly, non-violent resistance... that just allows them to do what they want. They are already on the march. They've remilitarized the Rhineland already and now they've got Austria. Where is your line in the sand? Sudetenland? Prague? The Polish corridor? Belgium? Or do you have to wait until they literally choose you as their target?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:32 AM on January 22 [96 favorites]


I'm neutral on punching Spencer. But if we're going to make historical analogies to the Nazis, I need to point out that there was basically open warfare in the streets -- not the "punching" kind but the "killing" kind -- between the Nazis and the Communists in Weimar Germany. And in the end, the average middle-class person found it easier to support the Nazi ideology than the Communist ideology.
posted by Slothrup at 9:33 AM on January 22 [15 favorites]


A propos of nothing, Why US liberals are now buying guns too
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:33 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


The thing is, these nazis, American new-model nazis, are not the freikorps or the Klan circa 1980. They are internet nazis obsessed with performing what they think of as manhood. If you poke around on the internet, you'll find nazi symps deriding Spencer as a "cuck", etc, because he got punched and cried. Making him look like a pillock all over the internet weakens his support because his support is obsessed with looking strong.

Fascism is about winning - that's why it picks on vulnerable people, so it can have victory after victory over the disabled, the homeless, refugees, etc. It's about victory after victory and endless chest-beating. Losing breaks that cycle, especially losing in a ridiculous way.

Mosley is a good comparison, but new-model nazis are even more so.
posted by Frowner at 9:34 AM on January 22 [148 favorites]


If liberals cheer a liberal punching a Nazi, I'm afraid Nazis may start cheering when a liberal gets punched. Do we really want to let that happen? Do we?
posted by klarck at 9:35 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


Is there a slippery slope here where people will start labeling anyone they disagree with "nazi" so they can physically harm them without consequence? I really don't think so, but it's something to watch out for.

From the "On the propriety of punching Nazis" FAQ:
Isn’t this a slippery slope?

After we defeated the Nazis in World War II, did we keep shooting people or did the troops come home and start having babies?

The second thing.

There you go. The slippery slope argument is nine times out of ten bullshit. Human beings are good with slippery slopes: we build stairs.
posted by Lexica at 9:36 AM on January 22 [61 favorites]


The real question is if it is better or worse than Martin Shkreli getting poop thrown in his face. Also, this incident led me to the realization that I think faithless electors making someone else president would actually have done more to undermine US democracy than a Trump assassination.
posted by snofoam at 9:39 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


If liberals cheer a liberal punching a Nazi, I'm afraid Nazis may start cheering when a liberal gets punched. Do we really want to let that happen? Do we?

They already do, there are whole websites about it, there are videos of republicans 'owning' liberals in near violent confrontations that stream around my conservative people on fb pretty often. They amount to a dude usually screaming and getting ready to punch someone, usually either not white or a woman, because they were protesting something liberal.

Part of the issue with not wanting to listen to hateful speech is that you forget how bad it really is. They don't talk like us in here. They are pretty good at minimizing problems they have with the actions of their allies. They think this winging is hilarious. Believe me.
posted by neonrev at 9:40 AM on January 22 [52 favorites]


Here's an opinion about this issue form a somehwat... surprising source:

"And so, I established in 1919 a programme and tendency that was a conscious slap in the face of the democratic-pacifist world (…) [We knew] it might take five or ten or twenty years, yet gradually an authoritarian state arose within the democratic state, and a nucleus of fanatical devotion and ruthless determination formed in a wretched world that lacked basic convictions.

Only one danger could have jeopardised this development – if our adversaries had understood its principle, established a clear understanding of our ideas, and not offered any resistance. Or, alternatively, if they had from the first day annihilated with the utmost brutality the nucleus of our new movement.

Neither was done."

-Adolf Hitler
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:40 AM on January 22 [63 favorites]


Please let the puncher be Joe Biden.
posted by zippy at 9:43 AM on January 22 [25 favorites]


I'm neutral on punching Spencer. But if we're going to make historical analogies to the Nazis, I need to point out that there was basically open warfare in the streets -- not the "punching" kind but the "killing" kind -- between the Nazis and the Communists in Weimar Germany. And in the end, the average middle-class person found it easier to support the Nazi ideology than the Communist ideology.

This is an excellent point. I'd guess for the near future there will be Nazi demonstrations in rural areas, as opposed to such large scale movements in 1930s Germany. I see all of this violence talk as being prepared for the worst.

It's a good day to watch Tarantino's 'Inglorious Bastards'.
posted by uraniumwilly at 9:44 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Punching a Nazi is always fun, and fuck that leftists are supposed to be tolerant horseshit. I refuse to tolerate fascist evil.
However, the reason you don't punch a Nazi out of the blue is that they are then painted with the brush of righteousness and people start to feel sorry for the assholes.
Not because it's wrong, and bad, and we should wring our hands, sing kumbaya, and offer them a cookie.

IT'S SIMPLY BECAUSE IT MAKES US LOOK BAD AND THEM GOOD.
And the waffling assholes who don't get that Nazi's are always bad will not vote with us.

Fucking Nazis. They should never be made to look better than us.
posted by evilDoug at 9:47 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


It worked against Mosley.

Oswald Mosley and the BUF were active and popular up to the outbreak of war with Germany. Only the extra-judicial arrest of fascist leaders brought it to an end in 1940.

Remember, a week after Cable Street the BUF was giving speeches and marching in the East End of London. The Metropolitan Police thought that the clash had gained the BUF 2,000 new members.
posted by Emma May Smith at 9:49 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


If liberals cheer a liberal punching a Nazi, I'm afraid Nazis may start cheering when a liberal gets punched. Do we really want to let that happen? Do we?

You're joking. Right?
posted by Splunge at 9:49 AM on January 22 [41 favorites]


He gets to talk about how an [ethnic slur] came out of nowhere while he was minding his own business

Huh? His assailant looked like as white as lily-white honky-ass me when he was leaving.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:49 AM on January 22


You're joking. Right?
Yes, joking. Sorry, missing hamburger /s etc.
posted by klarck at 9:50 AM on January 22 [7 favorites]


He looked like a black man to me, but I could easily be wrong about that. In fact I would much rather be.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:52 AM on January 22


The puncher was a white man. At least a few slowed it down and discussed that he was a white man, the video from the man who chased after him showed he was a white man, and my interpretation after watching every single link I posted above as well as several others was that he was either white or very, very light-skinned.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he was white, and that punching nazis is a great use of white privilege.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:55 AM on January 22 [141 favorites]



Huh? His assailant looked like as white as lily-white honky-ass me when he was leaving.
Oh, like that's gonna matter. Even if his identity is spread far and wide, they will find some way in which he is either not really 'white' or has been compromised by the [ethnic slurs]. That'll be the 'truth' for anyone on that side that cares. There's a bunch of different sorts of true now I guess.
posted by neonrev at 9:56 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


As a Jew from the Soviet Union whose grandfather took a Nazi's bullet in the leg on the front when he was 19, I personally allow everyone to feel good about this and punch all the Nazis they want without an iota of guilt. All over the world, you used to get medals and a lifetime of public commendation for doing a lot worse to them.

If you think this is just going to make them more likely to attack others, then I say bring back the medals and public commendations rather than ease up on fighting back. And from my perspective, any violence visited upon a Nazi, especially in the public eye, is fighting back, slippery slopes be damned.
posted by griphus at 9:57 AM on January 22 [71 favorites]


Huh? His assailant looked like as white as lily-white honky-ass me when he was leaving.

Oh, like that's gonna matter.


Yes, it does matter. Nazis are always going to scream about how they're victimized and blah blah blah. The rest of us see a white able bodied man punching a nazi and we know that this is not just a fight for people of color, for women, for people with disabilities, for people facing other oppressions*, but also a fight for people who have relative privilege, for the American everyman.

*I have no way to tell if this guy is an immigrant or a member of the LGBT community by looking at him, even my gaydar isn't that good.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:05 AM on January 22 [12 favorites]


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he was white,

It is also possible he was a fellow Nazi. They know all these media tricks and giving punches to the head is what they do to each other for fun in mosh pits.
posted by Brian B. at 10:06 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


You are fucking delusional if you think provoking the far right on their battlefield of choice in this political climate is your path to any sort of victory. Wise the fuck up.

Wise the fuck up on your own if you think it is sensible to normalize their speech as anything but deserving of violence. If violence against Nazis, especially those who publicly endorse genocide, as Spencer has, is viewed as incapable of winning hearts and minds -- something it is very, very clearly doing -- then we've already lost and disgraced the legacy of millions upon millions of dead as both the victims of that ideology and those who fought against it.

It is not the Nazi-punchers who will bring violence to your doorstep. It wasn't then, and it won't be now.
posted by griphus at 10:10 AM on January 22 [58 favorites]


emjaybee: "I have decided that while one could write a great deal about the right liberal response to this act, that unless it becomes an ongoing problem l'm going to file this under "eh, fuck that guy.""

Punching nazis in the face continually wouldn't even be an "ongoing problem" so...

Eh, fuck that guy.
posted by symbioid at 10:10 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


As an officer of the Court, I cannot condone assault. However, there's nothing to say that I can't savour it.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:11 AM on January 22 [40 favorites]


Remember Cable Street.


¡No pasarán!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:11 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]




In a bar fight between Nazis and (what? liberals???) with even numbers the Nazis will win everytime because they are all about death and violence, they are better at it. Just look at the real Nazis and what it took to defeat them.


Have you ever been in a bar fight with Nazis? You'd be amazed- many of them are actually pretty shit at fighting.

It's a bully mentality that relishes the low blow and the three-on-one. They like to fight when they have the overwhelming advantage. Don't give it to them.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:19 AM on January 22 [52 favorites]


We all have our opinions about whether punching this Nazi furthers or sets back the cause of justice, however, if you're going to go out of your way to publicly criticize this act, I assume it's because you're actively involved in organizing a principled and non violent movement yourself, you're putting your own body on the line to stop racist assaults and racist policies in a totally non violent way, and you are actively and meaningfully engaged in protecting immigrants, Jews, people of color, trans people, people with disabilities, Muslims and other targeted communities. If you are actively doing this work yourself and that's why you don't want people to go around punching Nazis, well then please mefi mail me, I'd like to join your movement!
posted by latkes at 10:23 AM on January 22 [37 favorites]


A relevant quote from Karl Popper's book "The Open Society and Its Enemies":

"Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.
posted by HarshCoffee at 10:24 AM on January 22 [144 favorites]


Have you ever been in a bar fight with Nazis?

I saw some Nazis try to fight the Dropkick Murphys one time.

Turns out fascism wasn't their only bad idea.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 10:25 AM on January 22 [85 favorites]


My dad taught me not to fight in school. He said he'd punish the shit out of me if I ever did.

Then he taught me what he had developed while in his early years of growing up in the country, trained in his nearly a decade in the Marine Corps in the 50s, and utilized numerous times after that while riding with various biker gangs across the south: how to throw a punch and what to expect when you took one.

... because if you must fight, and some things are worth getting in a fight about, you win.

I got a family to think about these days but I like to think that if I get a chance and a clean shot, put your money on RoE throwing a punch or three. My kids are whiter than many but other people have kids too.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:25 AM on January 22 [14 favorites]


My (Jewish) grandfather didn't serve in World War II so that these Nazi fucks could slick back their hair, dress up nice, and talk about their cartoon frog on national TV. Punch this Nazi, punch other Nazis, and keep punching Nazis until they fucking stop being Nazis.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:28 AM on January 22 [104 favorites]


So many people with vested interests in defending nazis are tut-tutting the violence, that I suspect anybody who does so has nazi sympathies themselves or has an interest in keeping nazis safe from the consequences of their rhetoric.
MartinWisse

It's astonishing to see this comment not only posted but favorited multiple times. Whether or not you think specifically hitting Spencer was okay, or that violence in general is a legitimate tool when facing his ilk, the idea that the only way anyone could have a different opinion is if they themselves are Nazis, or sympathize with them, is simply repulsive, dishonest, and beyond insulting.

I thought MetaFilter was better than this.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:29 AM on January 22 [41 favorites]


The idea of non-violence is a defense of the idea of universal human decency...
But, you know what, no. Fuck the Nazis. Fuck them.


Sure, but why is it so hard to think beyond the individual Nazi/movement? And yes, violence sets a great example for both sides. But this has been going on forever. Has violence stopped these movements? No, and they've learned to thrive in spite of it, turning it to their own ends. "Look at those tolerant Liberals attacking an innocent guy on the street!" is just the beginning.

Like lots of identity groups, Nazis are people who live in their own filter bubbles with other who share their beliefs. Attacks from the outside are more likely to convince people of the rightness of their cause, and promote solidarity, than to... what? What's the purpose of fucking the Nazis? To show them how to communicate with the outside world? To make them change? Wouldn't efforts to break the social and educational isolation that allows poisonous ideologies to grow, painful and tedious as they are, be more effective in the long run?

This story about Derek Black, and how he broke with the white supremacist world he grew up in, is worth reading.

Here's the Popehat article again:

In embracing a norm that sucker-punching Nazis is acceptable, remember that you live in a nation of imbeciles that loves calling people Nazis.
posted by sneebler at 10:30 AM on January 22 [7 favorites]


I thought MetaFilter was better than this.

an attitude that advocates nonviolence toward Nazis is sympathetic toward Nazis
posted by griphus at 10:31 AM on January 22 [64 favorites]


Here is a really great story about how Spencer's hometown responded to plans for an armed neo-Nazi march. tl;dr, no punching involved.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:31 AM on January 22 [6 favorites]


Your heart of heart isn't real. It doesn't matter. Only what you say and do matters. Who cares what you feel deep down?
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:31 AM on January 22 [6 favorites]


(My favorite video so for is this one)
posted by Itaxpica at 10:33 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Would it be okay to have killed him? Because if we're really talking about fighting Nazis, you don't punch them. That doesn't do shit. If you think you're in real danger of getting stung to death by wasps, you burn the nest, you soak it with lethal poison, you don't whack it with a stick like "that'll teach 'em!" If we are abandoning civil discourse, and you better fucking hope we're not, then punching people is not how you do it.

In all cases, you use the amount of force necessary to achieve your goals, and no more. Military ethicists have discussed this for over fifty years. With wasps you burn the nest because that's the only thing that will work. But with a misbehaving dog, for example, we typically try to train them before we go to the last resort of killing them. And with people, there are lots of ways to neutralize someone.

(Despite the name, "military ethics" are not special rules for the military - they're the same general ethical principles we all know and love applied to the specific situations found in war.)

Violence is a tool. It is usually the worst tool for the job, and should be the last resort.

What you're calling "civil discourse" is the use of social and political power, and it's another tool, which has been used for the past several decades to keep these guys suppressed so we don't have to use violence to deal with them.

Both these tools are likewise used by neo-nazis to achieve their goals.

When people say "this lets the nazis punch us back," they're talking about the idea of a proportional response, which is another principle of military ethics. But: In civil society, threatening someone is considered assault, and you're allowed to respond to that proportionally. You're even allowed to use force in response to a threat - you don't have to wait for them to throw a punch if you can convince the police/prosecutor/jury that you really believed the punch was coming.

Between countries, saber-rattling, peacocking, threatening war, are all traditionally considered a part of war and deserving of a response in proportion to how serious and big the threat is.

Someone pointed out in the inauguration thread that this discussion about the appropriate use of force is an important discussion, beyond and above this specific incident; it will be crucial in forming and informing the strategies of resistance. So far the discussions have been incredibly shallow.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:33 AM on January 22 [71 favorites]


I'm neutral on punching Spencer.

Well, have you tried punching him and then not punching him to see which makes you feel better?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:33 AM on January 22 [121 favorites]


It's wrong, and it's counterproductive, but I'm not such a good person that I didn't enjoy it a bit.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:35 AM on January 22 [7 favorites]


you use the amount of force necessary to achieve your goals, and no more.

Yeah, because that's the way it's usually worked out in the past, and there are never any unintended consequences.
posted by sneebler at 10:36 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


an attitude that advocates nonviolence toward Nazis is sympathetic toward Nazis

An assertion ridiculous on its face and a gross misunderstanding of the point of criticisms of the use of violence. People can and do despise what someone stands for and also advocate against violence against them.

The idea that if you don't support violence against someone or something you must therefore sympathize with or support it is poisonous.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:36 AM on January 22 [12 favorites]


Whatever bubble y'all are living in that makes you think nazis aren't *already* punching liberals & laughing about it (also: torching synagogues, leaving pigs' heads at mosques, screaming threats of sexual violence at women's groups, etc) please let me know where it is. It's obviously much nicer than where I am. They don't need us to give them 'permission' for violence, it's already built in to their system.
posted by AFII at 10:36 AM on January 22 [97 favorites]


Interesting anecdote: every Jew and PoC I know has come out in favor of punching this (and all) Nazis; this sentiment of well maybe have you considered that punching Nazis is just as bad as being a Nazi has (in my experience so far) come exclusively from white goyim. Funny that.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:37 AM on January 22 [89 favorites]


First they came for the Nazis,
And I did nothing
Because, you know,
Nazis.
posted by chavenet at 10:37 AM on January 22 [58 favorites]


I think it's very telling that at this moment a thread celebrating the marches yesterday has only 44 comments while this hand-wringing thread has 106.
posted by Ber at 10:39 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Sure, but why is it so hard to think beyond the individual Nazi/movement?

It's not. I have complicated feelings because my view of senseless non-resistance to brazen Naziism conflicts with my long-view aspirations for humanity as a whole. If it was hard to think beyond the individual Nazi/movement my feelings would be a hell of a lot less complicated, because, seriously, fuck the Nazis.

You want to think beyond the Nazis, think about systemic violence that is already happening and has been to actual vulnerable minorities in this country for decades, centuries. The energy going into worrying about people taking some satisfaction about this vile fucker getting knocked upside the head that could be turned instead to police violence, domestic violence, xenophobia.

And I'm not saying that as a gotcha, as an implication that nobody with misgivings about this punch does those other things. I hope and assume most folks do try and put energy toward those. I'm saying, maybe take this spare energy and use it over there too, while you're at it. Because the slippery slope we're talking about is steep and extant and there's a great big pile of injured and killed people, oppressed victims of the deep issues this country has even without bonus fascism on the faddish rise, at the bottom of that slope already, and more every day.

Use your energy for better things than Nazis. They would very much like to increase the angle and polish of that slope, and can fucking well look after themselves.
posted by cortex at 10:40 AM on January 22 [23 favorites]


The idea that if you don't support violence against someone or something you must therefore sympathize with or support it is poisonous.

As is the idea that Nazi ideology can be summarized as a general "someone or something" rather than a dangerous idea with a very well-documented, enormous bodycount.

I guess we'll all get to see which one poisons us first.
posted by griphus at 10:40 AM on January 22 [24 favorites]


The Twitter thread dismas linked up here is a good read for those who don't (or do) remember Nazi punks showing up at shows back in the day.

I'm not going to pretend I was a big Nazi-puncher at the time, as I didn't really have the upper body strength for that sort of thing, but I will say this is why I wore my Docs to the march yesterday, even though they're not my most comfortable walking shoes.

Yes, ask your grandfather. Ask your mom too, because they do pop up periodically, and need to be pushed back down. And you don't do that by being polite. Racists thrive on politeness.

Civility is nice and all, but it's for the civilized. There's no point in arguing with Nazis. They don't think much, and they don't feel shame. They do feel fear, though. It's their main thing, really. If you want to stop them spreading their bullshit, make them afraid to do it. Make them feel unsafe and unsure who might punch them the next time they start talking Nazi shit, and they'll eventually stop talking Nazi shit in public entirely.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:41 AM on January 22 [47 favorites]


(All I'm saying is, if you're a person who would have a place in this dude's America then maybe, just maybe, I don't give a fuck what you think here)
posted by Itaxpica at 10:41 AM on January 22 [18 favorites]


I think it's very telling that at this moment a thread celebrating the marches yesterday has only 44 comments while this hand-wringing thread has 106.

There's a pretty good MetaTalk thread, a bunch of IRL posts, and a lot of chatter in the main politics thread as well, for folks looking for the actual scope of march-related discussion on the site.
posted by cortex at 10:42 AM on January 22 [11 favorites]


Interesting anecdote: every Jew and PoC I know has come out in favor of punching this (and all) Nazis; this sentiment of well maybe have you considered that punching Nazis is just as bad as being a Nazi has (in my experience so far) come exclusively from white goyim. Funny that.

Please don't do this. I'm a Jew. Entire branches of my family were snuffed out in Treblinka.

It really is disturbing to me how people in this thread are declaring that even the possibility of a different opinion can only come from supporting Nazis or ignorant non-threatened groups.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:42 AM on January 22 [28 favorites]


I can't feel any sympathy for the guy. At the very same school where he got one of his degrees, people have told me about their personal, and horrid experiences, with Nazis before and during WWII. Richard Spencer has had every opportunity to not be the person he's chosen to be.
posted by lagomorphius at 10:43 AM on January 22 [14 favorites]


By the way, you know why there's a genuine dearth of Nazi skinneads in NYC?

The fact that all the other skinheads here tend to be PoC and violence is their primary means of resolving conflicts.

Skinheads of any type tend to be violent, frequently-drunk assholes who I've spent time with and befriended but don't really want to spend any more of my time with. But I will not for a second forget they are one of the reasons I, personally, don't really need to be afraid of one particular, very dangerous thing.
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on January 22 [10 favorites]


I'm curious about the person with the backpack, who tries to take off the puncher's scarf. I might not punch a Nazi (I hope I would but I'm not the punching kind), but I definitely wouldn't try to help identify a Nazi-puncher.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:49 AM on January 22 [8 favorites]


I recognize that it is probably best for the dude's own good that he go unidentified but man would I like to buy him a beer.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:50 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


My moral compass on punching this particular Nazi routes around it by noting that the puncher of the Nazi appeared to be a member of the Black Bloc. "We" didn't punch him, the anarchists did. Anarchists gonna anarchist. Agree or not, that wasn't "us".
posted by saysthis at 10:51 AM on January 22 [8 favorites]


I just keep seeing people make this argument that boils down to "If you're happy about punching Nazis, then it's hypocritical to be upset if Nazis punch you" and I just don't think that argument is the slam dunk people think it is. Yesterday, three million people marched across America in protest of... fascist ideology, basically. We celebrated that. If three million people marched across America to demand white supremacism? We'd be condemning it. I don't think that makes us hypocrites. We get to determine for ourselves which values are a good and worthy fight and which ones aren't.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 10:52 AM on January 22 [29 favorites]


I am furious that this POS Spencer moved into my neighborhood - Old Town Alexandria. There are efforts to mobilize our generally inclusive, increasingly diverse, heavily left-leaning community and businesses to take a vocal stance against tolerating any of the hate he as spoken in support of, and stands for. It's not just a matter of this one guy living here - but as Aziz Ansari nailed in his SNL monologue last night, giving permission for the pretending lower-case kkks to come out of hiding and group. And he is their leader. And he lives a few blocks away from me, and minutes from DC.
posted by raztaj at 10:54 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Interesting anecdote: every Jew and PoC I know has come out in favor of punching this (and all) Nazis; this sentiment of well maybe have you considered that punching Nazis is just as bad as being a Nazi has (in my experience so far) come exclusively from white goyim. Funny that.

As long as we're tallying: Jew here, and totally in favor of punching Nazis, neo-Nazis, the alt-right, or whatever label they're slapping on themselves.
posted by holborne at 10:54 AM on January 22 [10 favorites]


Or I guess to further clarify, that wasn't really so much liberals punching a Nazi as it was just protest weather. Anarchists do violence to powerful establishment presences...and I don't even think we get to claim credit if we want it. I wouldn't have punched him, but that's because I don't really punch people.
posted by saysthis at 10:55 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


My position is that punching anyone for their speech is pretty Nazi-like in and of itself. Now metafilter is ok with political violence? I guess Trump brings out the worst in everyone, doesn't he.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:55 AM on January 22 [6 favorites]


Your position is bad
posted by griphus at 10:57 AM on January 22 [70 favorites]


Yeah- to anyone who thinks that this will be taken as an act of provocation that will be used to justify further Nazi violence:

If it wasn't this, they'd just find something else. That's what Nazis do.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:57 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


Your position is bad

I'm pretty comfortable not punching people for what they say. Now if they decide to be violent against other people then all bets are off, but for speech naw. Have fun advocating for political violence though.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:59 AM on January 22 [7 favorites]


And to curb another sort of false equivalency- yes, I would punch a Stalinist, too.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:59 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


I see it wasn't just the black bloc setting fire to dumpsters on Friday.
posted by mushhushshu at 11:01 AM on January 22


Pro-tip: the battlefield of hearts and minds is 100% where you need to be fighting

We tried this, summer and fall of 2016. It didn't work.

Now the Nazis have the tools of the state with which to inflict their violence.

These are cowardly, immature people with a profound need for dominance born of their own insecurity. They will kill for it, slowly or quickly, using guns or Congress.

If your personal choice when faced with violence is to turn the other cheek, fine. But don't tell anyone else they're in the wrong for defending themselves.

And this is part of what defending yourself against a political movement looks like. Publicly shaming them. Revealing them to be losers. Showing their weakness.

Punch Nazis whenever they Nazi. We should never have let it get this far.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:01 AM on January 22 [57 favorites]


Well, have you tried punching him and then not punching him to see which makes you feel better?

A/B testing nazi-punching: it's anti-fascism for the digital age
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 11:02 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


I see it wasn't just the black bloc setting fire to dumpsters on Friday.

The dumpster got punched, it was garbage cans that were set on fire.
posted by griphus at 11:02 AM on January 22 [10 favorites]


Punch one Nazi and you're betraying the highest ideals of the movement.

Punch every Nazi you can find and you're the Greatest Generation.
posted by Etrigan at 11:03 AM on January 22 [125 favorites]


Oh! I made a Rhythm Tengoku version
posted by Greg Nog at 11:05 AM on January 22 [7 favorites]


Now if they decide to be violent against other people then

I'm not sure which Nazis you're talking about; maybe the nice ones who sit around at tea and discuss the non-violence inherent in their not-actually-about-genocide ideas.

I think we're mostly discussing here an ascendent faction of the ones who systematically murdered millions of people on the basis of their asserted subhumanity. They decided to be violent against other people a long time ago, and had a lot of success with it, and they've been limbering up on camera in the US lately.

I'm basically with you, see above, on the prevailing idea that violence is bad. But at a certain point the question of whether "bad" is the same thing as "literally the worst thing" has to be answered, and while I can applaud a position of absolute personal self-sacrifice in the face of violence as a choice someone can make for their own person, I have a very hard time expecting that absolutist reaction to be universal and am not for all my misgivings about violence in general convinced that it's even tactically sensible under the circumstances.
posted by cortex at 11:07 AM on January 22 [42 favorites]


Now metafilter is ok with political violence?

Punching a nazi isn't an expression of politics. It's an expression of humanity.
posted by rocket88 at 11:08 AM on January 22 [55 favorites]


My grandfather, who was not Jewish, was nonetheless a Buchenwald survivor. He was an Allied bomber crew, RCAF, shot down over France during a raid. Through some skullduggery and eventual betrayal by a Vichy Frenchman, he wound up in Buchenwald - one of a few dozen Allied airmen who ended up there for one reason or another.

His stories* give my family a special hatred for Holocaust deniers and Nazis of any kind. From a young age, we learned to never, ever, forget.

So, fuck 'em. Nazis are going to be violent, hate-filled gas bags making our lives miserable whether we pretend to ignore them or punch them. May as well punch 'em.

* Or rather, lack of stories. He rarely, if ever, talked about his time at Buchenwald. He was a very kind and gentle man, a good small-town Canadian boy, really. It's really only trough piecing things together with the information he was wiling to share that made us realise what kind of experience he'd had.

He lived to 92 years old and really only ever saw the inside of a hospital at the end of his life. He credited that with the fact that the Nazi's had injected him with god-knows-what as part of the Buchenwald medical "experiments" and he figured he was immune to basically everything.

posted by generichuman at 11:12 AM on January 22 [49 favorites]


Ha ha ha holy shit, I assumed this was just gonna be a thread of our favorite remixes of the punch video, so I posted mine and then went up to read all the comments. A lot of them are against punching Nazis? Saying it's somehow NOT extremely funny to see a Nazi whanged like one a them mallet-bell towers at the carnival?

Wild stuff! It's like an FPP about apples getting into a bunch of handwringing about whether apples are bad because you might choke on them. Which, to be fair, is actually a thing I could see mefi doing too
posted by Greg Nog at 11:13 AM on January 22 [83 favorites]


Warren Ellis on punching Nazis in the face:

"I understand there’s been some confusion online as to whether it’s ever right to punch a Nazi in the face. There is a compelling argument that all speech is equal and we should trust to the discourse to reveal these ideas for what they are and confidently expect them to be denounced and crushed out by the mechanisms of democracy and freedom.

"All I can tell you is, from my perspective as an old English socialist and cultural liberal who is probably way to the woolly left from most of you and actually has a medal for services to free speech — yes, it is always correct to punch Nazis. They lost the right to not be punched in the face when they started spouting genocidal ideologies that in living memory killed millions upon millions of people. And anyone who stands up and respectfully applauds their perfect right to say these things should probably also be punched, because they are clearly surplus to human requirements. Nazis do not need a hug. Nazis do not need to be indulged. Their world doesn’t get better until you’ve been removed from it. Your false equivalences mean nothing. Their agenda is always, always, extermination. Nazis need a punch in the face."
posted by holborne at 11:14 AM on January 22 [141 favorites]


Speech that involves physically threatening others lives and planning to do them violence is a threat. There are many instances where threatening someone is considered a crime and trying to organize a group of people discussing how to annihilate a race of people would be considered plotting a crime.

The question is whether the race people plotted against is white or brown determines whether this is persecuted as terrorism and conspiracy to commit crime- or free speech as usual.
posted by xarnop at 11:15 AM on January 22 [19 favorites]


> An unprovoked attack on his person makes all that much harder to accomplish

The guy's a white supremacist. It's hard to say this is "unprovoked."
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:19 AM on January 22 [51 favorites]


this lets the nazis punch us back

From a certain point of view, all those earnest warnings sound almost like threats. Better not resist or the nazis will get worse.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:20 AM on January 22 [49 favorites]


I figure the question over whether this is right or wrong can be found in my circle of FB friends who are quick to pass along the "Liberals are hypocrites! Check out all that litter!" sorts of memes. Literally none of them has shared this or commented on it. Even they know there's a line that Spencer is so far over that he is eminently punchable.
posted by Etrigan at 11:22 AM on January 22 [8 favorites]


The Nazis were always going to punch you, regardless of whether or not you punch them. Anti-Nazi violence is not aggression. It is self-defense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:22 AM on January 22 [18 favorites]


Never Again*

*unless it is unprovoked, then we have to wait for them to provoke us, it's the only grown-up civilized thing to do
posted by griphus at 11:22 AM on January 22 [30 favorites]


I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he was white, and that punching nazis is a great use of white privilege.

I'm going to steal that line. As a cis, white, hetero, male who does not look entirely un-intimidating the ability to get away with punching a Nazi sounds like a fantastic use of our privilege.
posted by generichuman at 11:24 AM on January 22 [25 favorites]


i'm fine with nazis getting punched, but please you all dont try this yourself. the chances of getting punched back, stabbed, shot, or thrown in prison are high.
posted by release the hardwoods! at 11:26 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


If we all try it ourselves simultaneously, the chances of getting punched back, stabbed, shot, or thrown in prison are extremely low, since we'll overwhelm any potential opposition. It's only if we take it one at a time, in polite turns, like mooks in a bad action movie, where we'd have to worry about consequences.
posted by crotchety old git at 11:32 AM on January 22 [24 favorites]


It's what you do with bullies; you punch them.
posted by banshee at 11:36 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Something else that's worth considering: There are different kinds of white supremacist fascists. Some of them are pretty physically dangerous and I would not suggest punching them. (KKK in some places, neo-nazis in big-small towns who run around with bikers, etc). Some of them are bullying physical cowards who rely on looking tough and macho and successful but who can't win a fight. Some are just weedy and dumb. The point is, punch the ones where you can win, take other actions against the ones where punching won't work.

Another thing: it's quite possible that we are headed into a period of consistent right wing violence at demonstrations and in other public settings. If that's the case, several things occur to me:

1. People need to be ready and be strategic, and not provoke routine mass confrontations; people needs to be ready to protect vulnerable people; and we need some strategies about being visible and public as a reproach to violence.


2. If violence starts happening on a large scale at protests, we need not to have the "but if you hadn't stood up to the fash, they wouldn't have been violent" conversations. Systemic violence, is their choice and they use it when they think they can win that way. If bad stuff happens, we have to come back stronger, not cower down and be polite.

3. The point is to win - all across the left of the political spectrum, we can find a few commonalities, whether we are liberals or marxists or anarchists or whatever, and one of them is that we want to shut down white supremacists. Historically, we can see that a wide variety of tactics can be effective here. How can people with different tactics use them wisely and stand together?
posted by Frowner at 11:37 AM on January 22 [58 favorites]


I am pro this guy (and other Nazis) getting a punch, zero issue with that per se, the issue for me is that they stockpile weapons and sometimes use them, while most liberals are pretty uncomfortable with (and probably therefore bad at) violence.

That said, it's true that anything can set them off, like being bumped into.

If that punch remains a backlash-less symbol, and if it's true that all it's done is meant Spencer's lost face with Nazis who do (or might) organize, well, good. (I think a future wherein there are turf wars between Nazis and vigilante gangs everywhere isn't ideal, though.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:42 AM on January 22


(I think a future wherein there are turf wars between Nazis and vigilante gangs everywhere isn't ideal, though.)

I think any future with nazis isn't ideal.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:48 AM on January 22 [18 favorites]


I think we're mostly discussing here an ascendent faction of the ones who systematically murdered millions of people on the basis of their asserted subhumanity.

Personally, I am more worried about the ascendant faction in our system of government (the military) systematically murdering millions of people because of their religion and/or unfortunate geographic location. Last year 52 people were killed by hate groups in the U.S. Horrible? Yes. Number one on my list of shit I am worried about? No. Since 911 how many people have died as a direct result of our destabilization of the Middle East? 1-2 million? Will we ever know? Probably not. Either way I am not really worried about Nazis getting in front of a camera saying things the vast majority of people in this country are obviously against. I am more worried about normalized systems of violence that are for the most part accepted by the majority of people in this country.

I have a very hard time expecting that absolutist reaction to be universal

Totally agree. I am not really upset that this guys got punched. I am just giving my opinion which is not popular here. I understand if people feel threatened and lash out. It's human nature.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:49 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.

This is pretty much my feelings, 100%. Being so tolerant that you're willing to let others advocate for an intolerant society cannot end in any way other than in an intolerant society. Acting like a Nazi fuck getting punched is something we need to be oh so concerned about instead of the things that the Nazi fuck is trying to accomplish is complete bullshit. Their ideals are not political ones; they are genocidal ones.

In a perfect world we wouldn't need to resort to violence, but in a perfect world, we wouldn't have Nazis to begin with. As ever, we're going to have to work with the imperfect world we actually live in, versus the theoretical one we'd like to.
posted by tocts at 11:49 AM on January 22 [31 favorites]


Would it be okay to have killed him?

Absolutely and unequivocally yes.
posted by Jimbob at 11:51 AM on January 22 [17 favorites]


As I said in the election thread, the Nazis are already attacking us. British MP Jo Cox was straight-up murdered by an attacker shouting "Britain First" (which is the name of a neo-Nazis group). I forget the name, but there's a small football club in England whose supporters are left-wing, pro-refugee, activists. Nazis turned up at their ground and attacked them. Neither Cox nor the football fans were doing anything violent, or provoking anyone. So it seems ridiculous to me to say that punching Spencer gives the Nazis license to punch back. They're going to punch first, whatever.
posted by Pink Frost at 11:51 AM on January 22 [48 favorites]


>It's just that there are other options.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:51 AM on January 22


I guffawed happy laughter at this value added link, which I don't think is listed above (forgive me if it is), I hope some of you can do the same.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:52 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


You don't negotiate with nazi's, you hang them.
posted by freakazoid at 11:55 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


We are all going to lose when this shit metastasizes, which it obviously is going to

We're already losing so much. Leftists cheering a Nazi getting punched is like the first clump of hair falling out of a chemo patient's hat. It's painful, it's ugly, and it's almost as bad as the disease. But it fucking works.


Yes. This. Time for Chemo. I, for one, am losing my health insurance, and for many millions of Americans fighting terminal illness, this is very much a death sentence.(Fun fact about terminal illness: miss one treatment, and you can die. Crazy, right?) And this attempted genocide was signed into action on day one of the new administration in their war against the sick/poor/black/gay/trans/Muslims/Mexicans/Canadians/anyone-foreign-except-Russians-for-some-reason/Jews/civil rights/the environment/women/education/science/art/human decency/common sense/etc/ad (very) naseum. So sure, cry your crocodile tears for one Nazi getting a boo-boo, but do it in my presence and he won't be the only one getting punched.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:56 AM on January 22 [55 favorites]


Absolutely and unequivocally yes.

We must murder our political enemies in the streets to show them we don't approve of their calls for violence.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:57 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Oh, for Pete's sake. Nobody here is seriously saying we should murder people in the streets (or elsewhere). One poorly landed punch isn't murder.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:59 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


We must murder our political enemies in the streets to show them we don't approve of their calls for violence.

You know what we should do is say "EXCUSE me sir you FORGET YOURSELF" as they're pushing us into mass graves
posted by Greg Nog at 12:00 PM on January 22 [82 favorites]


The Nazis are not "political enemies" any more than Naziism is a valid political viewpoint that should be considered alongside political viewpoints that do not inherently endorse genocide.
posted by griphus at 12:00 PM on January 22 [47 favorites]


Nobody here is seriously saying we should murder people in the streets (or elsewhere).

See above:

Would it be okay to have killed him?

Absolutely and unequivocally yes.

Jimbob
posted by Sangermaine at 12:01 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


> You know what we should do is say "EXCUSE me sir you FORGET YOURSELF" as they're pushing us into mass graves

In another tab I'm being chastised for calling sexists "losers," so, yeah.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:02 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]



Either way I am not really worried about Nazis getting in front of a camera saying things the vast majority of people in this country are obviously against.


When it's done with a pure sense of "both sides have a point" and somehow that most people are 'against' it didn't stop it from gaining power, I start to worry a lot.

I am more worried about normalized systems of violence that are for the most part accepted by the majority of people in this country.


Blowing up people with a missile from miles away is easier to normalize than watching a guy get punched, easier than making accepting a horrible political system easier to buy into than resisting it. This is a thing that obviously happens throughout history. When words aren't enough, physical actions might have to fill in the missing space. Humans are animals, after all, and afraid of pain. Perhaps a little more pain is what is missing to defeat them.
posted by neonrev at 12:02 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


We must murder our political enemies in the streets to show them we don't approve of their calls for violence.

This is not politics anymore. This is not a fucking game. This is not lobbyists arguing for a tax cut for business.

This is about fucking fascism. Genocide.

I'm shocked and stunned that this some folks on MetaFilter still thinks this is politics.
posted by Jimbob at 12:02 PM on January 22 [43 favorites]


> See above:

OK, fine, we need to keep an eye on JimBob. But the rest of us aren't.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:02 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


World War 2, at its heart, was a disagreement over equally valid forms of Politics.
posted by griphus at 12:03 PM on January 22 [23 favorites]


why are we punching this internet dweeb and not paul ryan
posted by edeezy at 12:06 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


The Nazis are not "political enemies"

The thing is, in this very thread we're already seeing the two conflated:

Yes. This. Time for Chemo. I, for one, am losing my health insurance, and for many millions of Americans fighting terminal illness, this is very much a death sentence.
sexyrobot

So are we talking about actual Nazis like Spencer, or are we now talking about anyone who opposes programs like the ACA? Is violence okay against the latter?
posted by Sangermaine at 12:07 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


So are we talking about actual Nazis like Spencer, or are we now talking about anyone who opposes programs like the ACA? Is violence okay against the latter?

Let's first start by recognising that Paul Ryan and co itching to destroy ACA are also involved in political violence, that we're not fooled by it being done politely and in Congress.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:09 PM on January 22 [37 favorites]


I'm frustrated with liberals who problematize this face-punching. I feel like they're not defending the free speech of democracy, but instead are obtuse (deliberately or not) on the question of what someone's actual views or speech have to do with those rights, with their maintenance. It seems more like a dodging of the difficult questions than a principled defense of sacred values. And, although it's been said (mutatis mutandis) many times already, the right to punch would-be oppressors is the central civil right upon which justice depends.
posted by clockzero at 12:10 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


You know what we should do is say "EXCUSE me sir you FORGET YOURSELF" as they're pushing us into mass graves

as seen on twitter:

FASCIST: your going to get genocided
LIBERAL: [chuckling] *you're
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:10 PM on January 22 [127 favorites]


why are we punching this internet dweeb and not paul ryan

Paul Ryan is happily promoting policies that will kill and enfeeble millions through gratuitous structural violence. He wants to take people's access to health care away as a matter of principle, and to give tax breaks to millionaires. As far as I'm concerned, pummeling him to death would not be uncivil.
posted by clockzero at 12:12 PM on January 22 [14 favorites]


Non-violence is a strategy. Placing the maintenance of non-violence above literally all other concerns including a suddenly resurgent fascist base with explicit aims is a very, very stupid strategy. They will not be returning you the favour.
posted by Jimbob at 12:12 PM on January 22 [60 favorites]


Let's first start by recognising that Paul Ryan and co itching to destroy ACA are also involved in political violence, that we're not fooled by it being done politely and in Congress.

So how far are we from normalizing punching some Nazi buffoon on the street to attacking members of congress?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:14 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


As far as I'm concerned, pummeling him to death would not be uncivil.

Well that was quick.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:15 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


and yeah, these guys literally want most of my friends to die. I'm mostly amused that some people find the fact that some of us want to resist that offensive to their sense of decency.

Literally every member of my family save literally two once died to this sort of ideology. I know what this shit is, this is making everyone okay with genocide, because, as bile and syntax said so well

Many of us, myself included, are socialized to be more outraged at breaches of etiquette than breaches of justice.

This is our problem. This is the attitude that allowed my family to die. Acting back being worse than them doing evil. I've been beaten for my political views, and I have friends who were beaten for who they are. That was under an administration that wasn't openly racist and homophobic, and they only feel more emboldened now.


So how far are we from normalizing punching some Nazi buffoon on the street to attacking members of congress?

We are so incredibly close to that and literally none of it is due to liberal violence so far. Look at how fast Gabby Giffords' attack has been normalized by them. They've put crosshairs over her in political advertisements, I'm quite sure.
posted by neonrev at 12:18 PM on January 22 [42 favorites]


okay Henry Ford is on a train headed toward a cliff and there's a switch which if you change will kill Henry Ford but let Hitler live and also the chicken cannot be in the boat with Goebbels

what time does the train reach Berlin?
posted by griphus at 12:18 PM on January 22 [25 favorites]


For those talking shit about "liberals", a little reminder: that actual Hitler in history, who defeated him? A liberal president confined to a wheelchair.
posted by zompist at 12:19 PM on January 22 [14 favorites]


He wants to take people's access to health care away as a matter of principle, and to give tax breaks to millionaires. As far as I'm concerned, pummeling him to death would not be uncivil.

It's refreshing to see the facade fall away so quickly, I guess. So much for the the talk above about Nazis being okay targets because they're outside of politics.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:20 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


attacking members of congress?

not gonna lie seeing Paul Ryan get clocked and frantically wave his long arms like those car-dealership-tube-balloon-men would also be funny as hell
posted by Greg Nog at 12:21 PM on January 22 [49 favorites]


A liberal president confined to a wheelchair.

And a whole load of people with guns. And tanks that shoot shells. And planes that drop devastating bombs. And also a communist. And a whole load of his people with guns. Etc.
posted by Jimbob at 12:21 PM on January 22 [21 favorites]


The advantage of non-violence is that it's a bright line.

The balance of how justified act X is, or publicly celebrating act X, is a finer one.

That makes it a great opportunity to say specifically how deplorable the Nazi is (and how many bright lines they've crossed). It might not be as auspicious to talk about "brass knuckles" and "baseball bats" without enlarging on the first part. Also labelling current group X purely by reference to 1945 Germany. The Right loves to do this. The PEEOTUS had a whack at it last week.

Using the post text as an example - it could have highlighted the context more. (Also if you read a thread with "discussions of ethics" above the fold, and expected Metafilter not to bat it like a stuffed mouse, I'm not sure what site you've been reading).
posted by sourcejedi at 12:21 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


I don't necessarily advocate punching Nazis or think we should all get up and go out and find Nazis to punch.

But this one person having been in the serendipitous position of seeing Richard Spencer spouting his revolting bullshit on camera without a crowd of fellow bullies around him and making a spontaneous choice to wallop and slightly injure him? If you do the cost/benefit analysis -- amount of moral compromise and actual violence that entailed vs amount of moral benefit to society of making Spencer the fucking laughingstock he deserves to be and providing enjoyment and hope and, yes, catharsis to many, many people these goons would love to oppress and harm -- I can live with that math.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:24 PM on January 22 [57 favorites]


that actual Hitler in history, who defeated him? A liberal president confined to a wheelchair.

I am pretty sure the Soviet Union had something to do with it.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:25 PM on January 22 [28 favorites]


And a Tory who didn't get out of bed until it was lunchtime but still drink half a bottle of whisky before getting up.
posted by ambrosen at 12:29 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


FASCIST: your going to get genocided
LIBERAL: [chuckling] *you're


Exactly. Grammarians don't usually have amazing reaction times. (when it comes to fisticuffs)
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:31 PM on January 22


On Periscope, Mr. Spencer also expressed concern about the spread of the footage of the attack online.
“I’m afraid this is going to become the meme to end all memes,” he said. “That I’m going to hate watching this.”


This is why this punch won the day. Not because it was physically violent; Spencer didn't even lose any teeth over it, much less his life. But it made him look ridiculous and that is how you defeat this kind of evil. It will be the same with herr Trumpenfuhrer; the one thing he absolutely can't stand is to be made to look like a fool in front of other people. Trump's base will evaporate like the morning dew when they realize that he is not strong, that he is a petulant manchild who pretends all kinds of skill and strength he obviously doesn't have when he is called on to show them.
posted by Bringer Tom at 12:32 PM on January 22 [72 favorites]


Personally, I am more worried about the ascendant faction in our system of government (the military) systematically murdering millions of people

OK, I can't say that isn't worse than an online fascist windbag, but isn't there anger for both? I mean, I guess the Masked Puncher could have used that couple of minutes to protest US Foreign Policy instead, but I'm not sure that would have had the same impact on the specific problem.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:35 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


Musically speaking, the Karate Kid version, is actually Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Ah the classics!
posted by Oyéah at 12:36 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Also, it must infuriate Richard Spencer and his pals that the gays have completely co-opted that haircut.


Not to mention the stoners and 4/20.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:37 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


There's a Twitter account that is currently doing nothing but retweeting people's spencerpunch.gif remixes.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:37 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


Every time you punch a nazi in the face, an angel gets its wings.
posted by cazoo at 12:39 PM on January 22 [16 favorites]


I'm very anti escalating violence with Nazis, because from a pragmatic point of view, they'll always have more to gain and less to lose from it.

But humiliating them in this manner: in front of a TV camera, and then no one defending him. That sends a message. Because I can't think of anyone else where if they were punched during an interview, people would let the assailant just escape. I mean, they might not succeed in getting the assailant, but they'd definitely make a proper effort.

And the message that sends: it's very powerful in 2 ways. Firstly that everyone, beneath their veneer of politeness, actually despises him, and secondly the TV crews aren't going to want to interview people like them any more, because it might actually kick off around them.

You won't be seeing interviews on the streets with Nazis any more, and that's great.
posted by ambrosen at 12:40 PM on January 22 [20 favorites]


I've been an engaged pacifist for my entire adult life. But I'm not about to waste any more energy than this post on Spencer in the news cycle when an anti-fascist man is in critical care, when dozens of Jewish and Muslim community centers are getting bomb threats, when we had three trans murders (that we know about) in the first week of January, when an Indiana legislator just floated a bill for shooting protesters who block traffic ...
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:40 PM on January 22 [39 favorites]


It's refreshing to see the facade fall away so quickly, I guess. So much for the the talk above about Nazis being okay targets because they're outside of politics.

It's almost like fascism has been slowly normalized within the Republican Party over the past few decades.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:45 PM on January 22 [31 favorites]


> So how far are we from normalizing punching some Nazi buffoon on the street to attacking members of congress?

Way past that point. Ask Sarah Palin and Gabby Giffords.
posted by rtha at 12:48 PM on January 22 [28 favorites]


Do not bring this violence to my doorstep.

The Nazis brought it to my doorstep, and the doorstep of an awful lot of other people. I get that it's uncomfortable to if you're not used to it - after all, first they came for the Jews and I said nothing, for I was not...
posted by Dysk at 12:48 PM on January 22 [17 favorites]


I met some guys from Skinheads Against Racism at my local Occupy camp who later went to prison for attacking a meeting of Nazis in Illinois with bats and pipes. I am just as proud of them as I am of people who go to prison for non-violent protest.

Seriously, Illinois Nazis!
posted by irisclara at 12:49 PM on January 22 [27 favorites]


For those talking shit about "liberals", a little reminder: that actual Hitler in history, who defeated him? A liberal president confined to a wheelchair.

And Stalin.
posted by dilettante at 1:00 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


I mean, you don't want to punch a Nazi, don't punch a Nazi. I edit a Jewish newspaper and must daily go through a growing number of stories of anti Semitic acts and violence to choose which of these are newsworthy enough so that the whole paper isn't just stories about harassment and threats against Jews, and the fact that tomorrow, for the first time since I started this job, I will have one story about a serial harasser who tried to organize terrorist violence against the a tiny Jewish community in Montana, but instead got a little whomp in the face ...

Well, I'm delighted.

And if you feel the need to spill pixels discussing the horrors of a Nazi getting a little live tap to the face, I'm going to ask for your receipts to show you've put time in addressing all that antisemitisn I mentioned. Otherwise, you're not an ally nor a political theorist. You are, in practice if not intention, a concern troll.
posted by maxsparber at 1:00 PM on January 22 [203 favorites]


maxsparber: Thank you. Case closed.
posted by latkes at 1:06 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


like of all fucking things on this unpredictable and bizarre goddamn earth the one thing i can truly forever say that i just did not fucking see coming was that one day metafilter would make me feel a greater and more sincere understanding of zionism

jesus literally fucking wept
posted by poffin boffin at 1:07 PM on January 22 [35 favorites]


if punching nazis makes us like the nazis then i am going to punch a goddam millionaire next
posted by beerperson at 1:08 PM on January 22 [73 favorites]


But humiliating them in this manner: in front of a TV camera, and then no one defending him. That sends a message. Because I can't think of anyone else where if they were punched during an interview, people would let the assailant just escape. I mean, they might not succeed in getting the assailant, but they'd definitely make a proper effort.

My favourite thing about the clip - much more than the punch itself - was how the camera operator didn't opt to follow the puncher, but the Nazi looking humiliated and scared as he fled. Little instincts like that give me more hope than fisticuffs.
posted by Mike Smith at 1:09 PM on January 22 [32 favorites]


if punching nazis makes us like the nazis then i am going to punch a goddam millionaire next

I'm gonna punch Martian Manhunter and gain his power of flight
posted by Greg Nog at 1:15 PM on January 22 [12 favorites]


Growing up, my family enforced some hard and fast rules about language. One of them was that we didn't say we "hated" something or someone. Chores? Overly salted ham? Girl who ripped a picture off the classroom wall and blamed it on me? We "disliked" them or "didn't particularly care for" them. The only exceptions to the hate rule were the Devil and Nazis. This wasn't just because of some equivalence between Satan and Hitler. It was because the older people in my family knew, having worked and fought in Britain and abroad to defeat them, that Nazis were beyond the bounds of polite discourse. When you're fighting for social and political change, it's usually best to use tools other than violence, but there are also times when the moral compass points firmly to punching. If you find yourself in the latter situation, it's best not to mince words.
posted by atropos at 1:21 PM on January 22 [16 favorites]


we owe each and every one of them at like, the barest fucking minimum, 6 million enthusiastic punches

we should build a giant space-based robofist to punch them en masse

there should be a national holiday where schoolchildren are given the day off to hunt nazis in the street like easter eggs except instead of putting them in a festive basket they get punched in the head again and again
posted by poffin boffin at 1:25 PM on January 22 [49 favorites]


I'm not, by rule, a violent person. Punching people is almost always a bad decision. If I was suddenly presented with Richard Spencer, I don't think I would go to fists as action #1. But he is loathsome, and a little punching and humiliation might be what the doctor ordered; effects follow causes, and, perhaps Spencer will reflect on the possibility that being a malevolent blowhard is maybe a bad plan. I dunno.

I'm certainly not going to condemn the Masked Puncher; he's not going to give the Nazis and neofascists an "opening;" they are already doing their Nazi thing, and we actually know where that leads. It's not like the MP is "lowering the discourse," after all; it's already scraping bottom. Nonviolence is good, but it seems to do best when the specter of other options is also felt.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:35 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


there should be a national holiday where schoolchildren are given the day off to hunt nazis in the street like easter eggs except instead of putting them in a festive basket they get punched in the head again and again

People with video editing skills: Could you please make a mash-up of the last few minutes of Steel Magnolias + the Spencer video? because I for one need to see this. TIA.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:36 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


And if you feel the need to spill pixels discussing the horrors

With all due respect, has anyone described this in such stark terms? I don't think so. In fact I don't really see anyone really that horrified by it. What I do see is people saying that maybe we shouldn't normalize violence of any kind. Opining that the normalization of violence is potentially dangerous for civil society in general is not concern trolling, it is stating an opinion. Trying to tie this to some some kind of test of our activist credentials is, again with all due respect, ridiculous.

If not, everyone here (me included) enjoying the benefits of our genocide against the Native Americans ought to punch themselves in the face then I guess.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:38 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


There is a middle-ground: Hitting them in the face on live TV w/shaving cream pies.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:38 PM on January 22 [18 favorites]


RE: Barfight, I am not talking about a bunch of skinhead kids fighting in a bar, I meant it metaphorically. The Nazi's who you have to consider actually fighting with violence would be people like Eric Prince and Triple Canopy or what ever Blackwater is now called. Your fools if you think they won't win if the only tools you have are the willingness to kill and weapons.
posted by Pembquist at 1:39 PM on January 22


Hitting them in the face on live TV w/shaving cream pies.

I think we can all get behind this.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:40 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


Look, if you don't like this act of retaliation, fine - whatever. But know that it was indeed an act of retaliation, not some unprovoked violence. It was retaliation against somebody that is literally looking to gleefully popularize the idea of eradicating entire groups of people from our country.

I understand that some people are so used to wearing the behavioral/political high ground hat that it might be hard to take off at this point, but try it - there are folks out there that want to do genocides again and they are appearing on tv and in news articles and being described as dapper and having words spent on their haircut. Now's not the time to be well-behaved.
posted by destructive cactus at 1:43 PM on January 22 [36 favorites]


reductio ad absurdum ends in absurdum, who could have seen it coming?
posted by carsonb at 1:45 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


Ow.
posted by carsonb at 1:46 PM on January 22


RE: Barfight, I am not talking about a bunch of skinhead kids fighting in a bar, I meant it metaphorically. The Nazi's who you have to consider actually fighting with violence would be people like Eric Prince and Triple Canopy or what ever Blackwater is now called. Your fools if you think they won't win if the only tools you have are the willingness to kill and weapons.


So you stop them now, before it gets to this.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:49 PM on January 22 [7 favorites]


If not, everyone here (me included) enjoying the benefits of our genocide against the Native Americans ought to punch themselves in the face then I guess.

Native American here. I will give anyone that punches a Nazi a bazillion Schrute bucks redeemable for goodwill among native peoples. But seriously, can we not muddy the waters with silly evocations of native peoples here because that Hitler guy already went there and made it weird.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:52 PM on January 22 [39 favorites]


What I do see is people saying that maybe we shouldn't normalize violence of any kind

My point is the same: I won't entertain hypothetical discussions of tactics for people for whom this is hypothetical. I don't care about the opinion of people who don't have skin in the game.
posted by maxsparber at 1:55 PM on January 22 [12 favorites]


Liberalism is not, as some people here seem to want to assert, pacifism. It's not unlimited tolerance. Liberalism has at its core the belief that everyone deserves a fair chance. Everyone has an equal opportunity to live their life without fear, without prejudice. What you choose to do with that chance is up to you, and cannot be dictated to you by anyone else. Your chance is your choice in how you want to live.

Once you make the choice to be a Nazi, though, then you've chosen to live outside those rules, and it's perfectly in line with Liberal beliefs to punch you in the face. It's not a difference of opinion, it's not a disagreement as to the direction of the nation, it's not a dissenting voice. It's fascism and dictatorship, and it needs to be stopped in whatever way we can. These people aren't proposing a different health care system or making tax cuts or choosing which departments to fund; they're actively advocating the death of millions.

Sure, it's a problem if you call someone you disagree with a Nazi. Republicans aren't Nazis. Conservatives aren't Nazis. Religious extremists aren't Nazis. You know who is a Nazi? Nazis. Calling someone a Nazi doesn't give you the right to then punch them in the face. Someone actually being a Nazi gives you the right to punch them in the face, though, even if you're a Liberal. Because they are Nazis.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:56 PM on January 22 [64 favorites]


I had an uncle who used to call everything "gestapo tactics." If he got poor service at a restaurant, he'd figure out how to call them gestapo.

But he wouldn't hit you unless you were an actual Nazi.
posted by maxsparber at 2:00 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


It's not normalizing violence to punch a nazi - it's normalizing violence to let a nazi talk.
posted by destructive cactus at 2:04 PM on January 22 [70 favorites]


so like, if the nazis werent gonna genocide us before we punched them, does that mean that we can punch as many nazis as we want now that someone has gone ahead and punched one, since theyre gonna genocide us all anyway

or do they like, double the amount of genocide for each additional punch

if its the latter, can we introduce some kind of overflow error in their genocide meters

how many nazis would we have to punch for that to happen
posted by Conspire at 2:04 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


It's not normalizing violence to punch a nazi - it's normalizing violence to let a nazi talk.

Thank you for this.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:05 PM on January 22 [11 favorites]


Reminder to nihilistic, swaggering, punk roq, 150 lb Internet action heroes:

I. The military, the police, and other armed instruments of state are disproportionately staffed with and commanded by the political Right.

II. The Left just suffered a massive political defeat, and has little governmental power at the State and Federal levels.

III. Similar defeats are occurring across the developed world, and the parties taking power are further Right than we've seen in generations.

III. Leftwing civilians have proportionately very little experience with or knowledge of how to be violent compared with Rightwing civilians. This disadvantage increases with the severity of the violence: Rightwingers are not only physically stronger and more adept at interpersonal combat, they are ARMED. Significantly more so. They could much more effectively organize their violent potential.

I appreciate that you are panicking and grabbing for some source of control in your moment of weakness, but I assure you that if you whip yourself into this toxic macho clusterfuck, instead of re-grouping, and focusing on your actual moral and political strengths, the Left is going to suffer some much, much uglier defeats, and everyone will suffer from it. Everyone.

Now is the time to doubledown on high principles, not to throw them out when we, as a society, need them most. Political violence needs to be taboo. Condemned. Discouraged. Full stop. Not because Richar Spencer needs to be protected, but because you need to be protected. You are the vulnerable one, goddamit.
posted by dgaicun at 2:06 PM on January 22 [22 favorites]


Could people opposed to punching get behind an open-hand slap?
posted by edeezy at 2:07 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Reminder to nihilistic, swaggering, punk roq, 150 lb Internet action heroes:

It sounds like you've never punched a Nazi. What are you waiting for?
posted by beerperson at 2:08 PM on January 22 [19 favorites]


Political violence needs to be taboo.

Genocide is not a political opinion.
posted by beerperson at 2:09 PM on January 22 [44 favorites]


Now is the time to doubledown on high principles, not to throw them out when we, as a society, need them most. Political violence needs to be taboo. Condemned. Discouraged. Full stop. Not because Richar Spencer needs to be protected, but because you need to be protected. You are the vulnerable one, goddamit.

This is exactly the line that gets trotted out when women or POC or GLBTQ people organize - we're too vulnerable to be militant, they will crush us, etc etc. And the bar for militancy gets lowered and lowered until maybe a little march on the sidewalk is okay, or polite phonecalls to our reps, but anything else - well, we're just going to get crushed. Should ACT-UP hold die-ins? Hell no, that just alienates the straights and justifies their neglect. If the hippies had been more polite, the Vietnam war would have ended sooner. Etc etc.
posted by Frowner at 2:10 PM on January 22 [73 favorites]


i did not actually want to have a mental list entitled "mefites who would stand idly by and maybe contact their representatives later with a stern email of disapproval when me and my family were put on the death camp trains because violence is wrong and they would've failed anyway" but here we are in 2017 where apparently anything can happen
posted by poffin boffin at 2:11 PM on January 22 [79 favorites]


Yeah, Ghandi and MLK were such idiots. Why didn't they think of that.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:12 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


I mean, everyone talks as though once you punch one nazi for the media, the inexorable laws of physics mean that the next step is an armed face-off with fifty Klansmen. It's not as though one could use different tactics based on different situations.
posted by Frowner at 2:12 PM on January 22 [28 favorites]


A stern email? Don't normalize sternness
posted by beerperson at 2:13 PM on January 22 [15 favorites]


Yeah, Ghandi and MLK were such idiots.

The sanitized images of Gandhi and MLK that you have in your mind are lies constructed for the purpose of deceiving you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:13 PM on January 22 [62 favorites]


Also Gandhi straight up said that the Jews should've walked willingly into the ovens so maybe he's not a good authority on how to deal with Nazis.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:14 PM on January 22 [35 favorites]


don't punch nazis guys, they're very big and mean and you'll probably get hurt
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:17 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


So yes, Dr. King had many other goals ... But his main accomplishment was ending 200 years of racial terrorism, by getting black people to confront their fears. ...

That is what Dr. King did—not march, not give good speeches. He crisscrossed the south organizing people, helping them not be afraid, and encouraging them, like Gandhi did in India, to take the beating that they had been trying to avoid all their lives.

Once the beating was over, we were free.

It wasn't the Civil Rights Act, or the Voting Rights Act or the Fair Housing Act that freed us. It was taking the beating and thereafter not being afraid.
Emphasis in the original.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 2:17 PM on January 22 [19 favorites]


mlk thought that maybe white liberals were more of an impediment to poc civil rights than the kkk was so, you know
posted by poffin boffin at 2:17 PM on January 22 [29 favorites]


Also, [ETA :I think that] poffin boffin is kind of saying that maybe it's better to say "if things get bad enough, if they're really hauling away Jewish people, for example, maybe it's better for the rest of us to die as one of the righteous among nations than to live in the assurance that at least we didn't bring the violence". We're not at the WWII point yet, but who do we admire when we look back? The partisans, the people who fought back at the risk of their lives.

I stress that we are not at this point and if possible we should use many tactics to avoid getting to this point, and most of those tactics though not all will be de-escalation tactics, but "violence in politics is the worst thing that can possibly happen and we must never ever even contemplate it" just isn't true.
posted by Frowner at 2:17 PM on January 22 [25 favorites]


I assure you that if you whip yourself into this toxic macho clusterfuck, instead of re-grouping, and focusing on your actual moral and political strengths

I assure you I can do both to the detriment of neither.
posted by griphus at 2:26 PM on January 22 [28 favorites]


It's like an FPP about apples getting into a bunch of handwringing about whether apples are bad because you might choke on them. Which, to be fair, is actually a thing I could see mefi doing too

True story, but I have pretty bad teeth and I found out many years ago that part of it is due to eating too many apples. Apples are, therefore, bad. Resist their sweet, crunchy lures, MeFites. They will only sour your soul as they carve out cavities.















Oh, I don't really care if you punch Nazis, though.
posted by byanyothername at 2:26 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


I have doubts about the effectiveness of ridicule. The most popular comedian in the world made a very popular film mocking Hitler. The Great Dictator did, at most, nothing to slow the rush to fascism and war.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:29 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


I have doubts about the effectiveness of ridicule. The most popular comedian in the world made a very popular film mocking Hitler. The Great Dictator did, at most, nothing to slow the rush to fascism and war.

The Great Dictator was released in 1940, somewhat after Germany had invaded Poland.
posted by Emma May Smith at 2:32 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


The Great Dictator was released in 1940, somewhat after Germany had invaded Poland.

After Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland
posted by IndigoJones at 2:35 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Also, The Great Dictator couldn't actually be seen in Germany.
posted by Slothrup at 2:36 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure it was too late anyway, but thanks, guys.
posted by Emma May Smith at 2:38 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


That said, I am a little uneasy with certain types of antifascists who are all about escalating violence. There are a few reasons why.

1) it isn't always a practical thing - if you are an oppressed minority who successfully uses a gun (or even just your carkeys or something) in legitimate self-defence in the US for instance, you are going to prison. Doesn't matter if you're in a "stand your ground" state. Doesn't matter if there is video of your attacker screaming slurs and threatening to kill you. The system is too stacked against you. You are almost certainly going to prison, if you survive your confrontation with police at all. Up to you to decide which is worse, but for many that's a fate worse than death.

2) it unnerves me to see antifascists and anarchists ostensibly opposed to authoritarianism chanting dumb slogans real loud and beating their chests about what violent tough guys they are, because really? You're going to act just like authoritarians? I view these sorts as those who could easily turn Nazi themselves if the fancy took them. Luckily, these people are generally a minority and/or new to activism and overenthusiastic and will chill if told to.

If punching a fascist in the face deescalates violence (and that is what happened here; advocating for genocide, white supremacy or any other bigotry du jour is violence), then fine. That doesn't clash with my personal pacifism at all. Allowing these people to speak unopposed normalizes their bigotry and presents it as just another no-stakes opinion we can all accept or reject on an individual basis, which gets those of us the hate is directed at killed. There are so many instances of innocent people of color, innocent LGB and trans people and other members of oppressed minorities who are brutally murdered in insane numbers with little to no consequences, and nobody cares. Surely this one loudmouth racist leader getting slugged in the face is more palatable than that.

I mean, it's not that shocking to me that brutal unjust murders (often including torture and/or sexual assault to boot) are just background radiation but hitting a racist is too far. To re-quote bile and syntax again:
Many of us, myself included, are socialized to be more outraged at breaches of etiquette than breaches of justice.
is just a cornerstone for many progressives. Advocate for change as long as it's superficial and polite and keeps everything the way it is.
posted by byanyothername at 2:41 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


The puncher was from the anarchist Black Bloc; it seems to me that punching an actual Nazi who advocates ethnic cleansing is a much more useful thing to do than smashing up the local Starbucks.
posted by doop at 2:44 PM on January 22 [43 favorites]


The question my friends and I are pondering: if Nazis start to demonstrate in major metropolitan areas, should we bring baseball bats - now that Trump is in office? My knee jerk reaction is, yes.
posted by uraniumwilly at 2:46 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


So right before Mr. Spencer gets his ass kicked, he was going on about how the Neo-Nazis and the Klan actually hate him. What's that all about?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 2:46 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


I've been really good about staying out of political discussions, but there's a story I need to share.

I punched a neo-Nazi once. I was in a bar in SoCal, playing pool with my girlfriend and some friends. My girlfriend at the time was half Filipino. And when some local neo-Nazis saw my lily white ass hooked up with a "half-breed," well, that was unacceptable. That made me a "race traitor." And I would be "ethnically cleansed" with the rest of the "n*gger lovers." So I punched a Nazi in his face. And it felt good.

You know what happened after the Nazi was punched in the face? The bouncer picked him up and threw him and his friends out of the bar. And me and my friends went back to playing pool. Because everyone hates Nazis.

So when I see someone punch Richard Spencer in the face, a man who proposes to ethnically cleanse me and my family, a man who considers me a race traitor, a man who would like to see a large percentage of my friends and family die. Well. Punch away. Keep punching him in the face until he shuts up with his ignorant, hateful and dangerous ideology. Because Nazis are not playing a political game. They want to kill my family and other people that I love.

That was 20 years ago. But I like to think if I were in that same situation again, I would punch a Nazi.

Because fuck Nazis.
posted by ryoshu at 2:47 PM on January 22 [124 favorites]


it unnerves me to see antifascists and anarchists ostensibly opposed to authoritarianism chanting dumb slogans real loud and beating their chests about what violent tough guys they are, because really? You're going to act just like authoritarians?

I mean not unless you forgot the part about advocating and working toward genocide, not really
posted by beerperson at 2:49 PM on January 22 [19 favorites]


it unnerves me to see antifascists and anarchists ostensibly opposed to authoritarianism chanting dumb slogans real loud and beating their chests about what violent tough guys they are, because really? You're going to act just like authoritarians?

Perhaps aesthetics is not properly our main concern.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:56 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


So, what if five or six Black Blocers had knocked him to the ground and kicked him to death? Would we still be into it?
Serious question.
posted by crazylegs at 2:59 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Counterfactual hypotheticals are rarely useful.
posted by Lexica at 3:01 PM on January 22 [19 favorites]


hello 911 i've slipped down this slope and i can't get up
posted by poffin boffin at 3:01 PM on January 22 [59 favorites]


(Not to abuse the edit window) there have been a lot more people who have been kicked to death by Nazis than Nazis kicked to death by non-Nazis.
posted by Lexica at 3:02 PM on January 22 [21 favorites]


So, what if five or six Black Blocers had knocked him to the ground and kicked him to death? Would we still be into it?
Serious question.


I certainly wouldn't be. Thankfully that's not what happened, though, and I feel weird that "yeah but what if the thing people are reacting to was instead this other less defensible thing" keeps being a go-to argument to reach for rather than e.g. "what if the conflict between a will toward non-violence and genocidal rhetoric can't be cleanly resolved" which is a more interesting if more difficult discussion.
posted by cortex at 3:02 PM on January 22 [30 favorites]


What if a bunch of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust had kicked him to death?
What if a bunch of Wiccans had put him in a wicker man and burned him alive?
What if a black man who was into falconry unleashed a hawk on him and it clawed Spencer's eyes out?
Serious questions.
posted by um at 3:05 PM on January 22 [59 favorites]


I'd like to see how everyone does at the next MeFi Anti-Fa Boot Camp, cleaning rifles or wiping tear gas from their eyes after their 200th pushup. (Or wait, is that not happening this week)
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:06 PM on January 22


So, what if five or six Black Blocers had knocked him to the ground and kicked him to death? Would we still be into it? Serious question.

Well, I doubt that it would have generated dozens of musical remixes, so I wouldn't have made a post about it.
posted by bile and syntax at 3:07 PM on January 22 [28 favorites]


Just to clarify, it doesn't bother me at all to see racist assholes punched in the face.

I do, however, have a bias against black bloc dipshits, at least some of whom are unquestionably police provocateurs, and many of whom would be the worst kind of authoritarians if their brave attacks against windows and trash cans ever led to power.

The above points about theoreticals and slippery slopes are valid though, so I'll shut up.
posted by crazylegs at 3:07 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


I'm a pacifist and a [lousy] lay member of a Buddhist sect; so for me this is kind of like a no brainer. No, hitting people you don't like isn't very skillful, regardless of the garbage coming out of their mouth.

I mean, we're lucky [using the royal assumptive We = First World US-ian mefites] to live in a society that has all this figured out in most places via an exhaustive civil law system to the nth-degree.

We have people in this thread cheering someone being assaulted for expressing a political opinion via media. It's an unpopular opinion, yes, and one I find vile, personally, yes, but I would never argue 'assault' is the immediate best proximate response to that.

It's sort of gross to see the 'let's deck some Nazis!' shit on the blue, frankly.
posted by mrdaneri at 3:08 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Again, genocide isn't a political opinion, and it does not deserve to be treated as such.
posted by tocts at 3:10 PM on January 22 [68 favorites]


"Political violence needs to be taboo. Condemned. Discouraged. Full stop. Not because Richar Spencer needs to be protected, but because you need to be protected. You are the vulnerable one, goddamit."

This can only make sense if you see things like police beatdowns of BLM protestors (or indeed police shootings of black people) as not political violence. Political violence is ubiquitous and to a large extent state-sponsored or state-tolerated. It's just that when the right people do it, it gets called other things.

The important thing is not to have taboo on political violence but to use it correctly, in as limited a way as possible, against the most deserving, and ensure that the right discourse develops around it. The actual case in point strikes me as excellent deployment.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:14 PM on January 22 [34 favorites]


Incitement to genocide will send your ass to jail in some places. Germany, for instance. They have pretty strong free speech laws but advocating Naziism is illegal. We don't call arresting a nazi violence as long as it's done by the state, with an imprimatur of Law and Justice. You can have a working civil society and ban Nazis at the same time. There's no slippery slope there. The slope stops, it stops at nazis.

Since we're not about to make naziism illegal, punching seems like a pretty low-key alternative. Sucks a lot less than being dragged through a trial and sent to prison for a couple months.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:18 PM on January 22 [16 favorites]


Here's a story for you.

A while ago, after the Mefi post featuring concern from medievalists about white power supporters getting Celtic knotwork tattoos as an undercover white power shoutout, I made a snarky remark on my obviously Jewish twitter account. Shortly after I got creepy blog comments along the lines of "we are watching you" and "your people" etc, which I deleted but tweeted about. It then became obvious that the commenter really wanted to talk to me, so I did. It seemed worthwhile to engage peaceably.

On the other hand, I have threatened violence to people racisting in public when needed and felt really good about it. Context matters. But as my 5'4", RAF veteran Jewish great-uncle once said to me, sometimes you need to hit someone.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:18 PM on January 22 [21 favorites]


Free speech is free speech is free speech... But is there any way to make people actually responsible for their speech? If someone stands on a street corner advocating violence towards some group of people and then suffers violence against themselves, should they be surprised?
posted by njohnson23 at 3:23 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see how everyone does at the next MeFi Anti-Fa Boot Camp, cleaning rifles or wiping tear gas from their eyes after their 200th pushup.

this belongs in IRL, sorry
posted by poffin boffin at 3:23 PM on January 22 [26 favorites]


The best thing about discussing whether or not it's okay to punch Nazis is that no one is disputing that Richard Spencer is actually a Nazi.
posted by Slothrup at 3:24 PM on January 22 [44 favorites]


The important thing is not to have taboo on political violence but to use it correctly, in as limited a way as possible, against the most deserving, and ensure that the right discourse develops around it.

Who decides?
posted by Emma May Smith at 3:24 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Here's a little story from someone who dealt with Mr. Spencer in college. (via Twitter) It involves him crashing a party and setting off a can of mace for lulz.

So, this isn't some impressionable wayward youth you've hardened into a hater. He's an irredeemable asshole who says things like "Are black people useful at all?" just to be edgy.

Punch his stupid Nazi face.
posted by dry white toast at 3:25 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


Who decides?

cool yes but maybe let's just agree on nazis
posted by mintcake! at 3:25 PM on January 22 [25 favorites]


Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, Emma May Smith
posted by mrdaneri at 3:26 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Who decides?

Me, who do you think.

Seriously, violence is already in play, for political ends, I didn't start it, but I'm damn well answering and I want to win. Non-violent resistance is a really good strategy which I mostly believe in but I will not refrain from hitting people who are ideologically committed to my murder, if I can humiliate and repel them.

(edited to fix syntactic ambiguity)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:27 PM on January 22 [12 favorites]


I mean not unless you forgot the part about advocating and working toward genocide, not really

That was a comment on specific antifa/anarchists I have seen getting loud recently (more specifically, those prone to authoritarian-esque chanting and boasts of violence, silencing women and minorities to talk about how manly and badass they are etc.), not a blanket comment on antifa/anarchism generally (because guess what, hi), but sure, please feel free to be a smug asshole about it and ignore everything else I wrote. That's helping.
posted by byanyothername at 3:29 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


"Land Of Confusion"

I must've dreamed a thousand dreams
Been haunted by a million screams
But I can hear the marching feet
They're moving into the street.

Now did you read the news today
They say the danger's gone away
But I can see the fire's still alight
There burning into the night.

There's too many men
Too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can't you see
This is a land of confusion.

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth living in.

Ooh Superman where are you now
When everything's gone wrong somehow
The men of steel, the men of power
Are losing control by the hour.

This is the time
This is the place
So we look for the future
But there's not much love to go round
Tell me why, this is a land of confusion.

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth living in.

I remember long ago -
Ooh when the sun was shining
Yes and the stars were bright
All through the night
And the sound of your laughter
As I held you tight
So long ago -

I won't be coming home tonight
My generation will put it right
We're not just making promises
That we know, we'll never keep.

Too many men
There's too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can't you see
This is a land of confusion.

Now this is the world we live in
And these are the hands we're given
Use them and let's start trying
To make it a place worth fighting for.

This is the world we live in
And these are the names we're given
Stand up and let's start showing
Just where our lives are going to.
posted by Splunge at 3:36 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


Punch one Nazi and you're betraying the highest ideals of the movement.

Punch every Nazi you can find and you're the Greatest Generation.



Punch all the Nazis by yourself and you're Captain America.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:37 PM on January 22 [20 favorites]


but sure, please feel free to be a smug asshole about it and ignore everything else I wrote. That's helping.


So is concern trolling. Totally helping.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:38 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


this belongs in IRL, sorry

Where you'd see 98 apologies because it conflicts with a conference, or because it's apricot preserving time, or someone has the sniffles or is experiencing moderate malaise
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:38 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


"Nourished for hundreds of years on a literature in which Right invariably triumphs in the last chapter, we believe half-instinctively that evil always defeats itself in the long run. Pacifism, for instance, is founded largely on this belief. Don't resist evil, and it will somehow destroy itself. But why should it? What evidence is there that it does?" - George Orwell
posted by destructive cactus at 3:38 PM on January 22 [52 favorites]


"Land Of Confusion"


Hey, now- let's not bring Phil Collins into this.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:39 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


Who decides?

You do. If a Nazi is telling you that they want to kill you and your loved ones, it's up to you to decide what you want to do. I choose to believe them.
posted by ryoshu at 3:39 PM on January 22 [15 favorites]



So, what if five or six Black Blocers had knocked him to the ground and kicked him to death? Would we still be into it?
Serious question.
posted by crazylegs at 6:59 AM on January 23 [+] [!]

A +1 here for "not into that". At that point, I don't know that I'd blame him or his ilk for being existentially terrified and reacting in kind. We want to change minds and deplatform them, not do the Genghis Khan thing.

What if Anonymous had doxxed him?

or, maybe a better analogy:

What if an off-duty PLA soldier punched James Gatdet Dak?

How would we feel then? I mean...it can get blurry.

Also, love 'em or hate 'em, that's exactly what the Black Bloc does. It is literally their core mission to punch people like Spencer on camera. And we can't even be sure it was the Black Bloc or someone affiliated, I'm just armchair-guessing it was based on the clothes, but I mean, likely suspects. Part of the whole point is that we'll never know, and we're arguing about it.

I also think this is precisely the problem with purity tests. Let's all decide where we stand on violence, but let's also realize that the good guys won this round. Resoundingly.

I can't think of anyone I'd rather have punched that man. Well played, whoever you are.
posted by saysthis at 3:40 PM on January 22


an attitude that advocates nonviolence toward Nazis is sympathetic toward Nazis

Oh my God, no! I liked the video, I think we should totally punch Nazis if we get the chace, but no way can I accept a statement like this.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:40 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Emma May Smith, I'm sorry if that came off as overly pissy right at you; IRL I'm kind of the person who will sigh and take the 'ok, who decides what art is' line in re defending a bunch of the more titchy experimental music stuff I'm into so I really do feel you but in this case nazis. Best to you.
posted by mintcake! at 3:44 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Hey, now- let's not bring Phil Collins into this.

The words, dude. Not the person. Be chill, Winston.
posted by Splunge at 3:46 PM on January 22


I'd like to see how everyone does at the next MeFi Anti-Fa Boot Camp, cleaning rifles or wiping tear gas from their eyes after their 200th pushup. (Or wait, is that not happening this week)


You seem to be under the impression that nobody here has actually fought Nazis in the past.

Or that there isn't anyone here who has served in the military, and would probably do just fine in some sort of boot-camp situation.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:51 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


> Reminder to nihilistic, swaggering, punk roq, 150 lb Internet action heroes

145
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:52 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


> The puncher was from the anarchist Black Bloc

Wait, has the Nazi-puncher been identified? Or are you saying that because they have a black scarf on?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:54 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


So is concern trolling. Totally helping.

And totally not what I have done anywhere in this thread.
posted by byanyothername at 3:54 PM on January 22


Mostly, yes, that's my impression, TheWhiteSkull. Off the top of my head, I'm aware of ~10 military types. No idea who even lifts. If anyone who fought actual Nazis could get through a bootcamp, they need to be leading a war of some kind, no doubt about that.
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:56 PM on January 22


Seriously, if your "antifascism" is telling at risk people to be quiet so you can be a big man and swagger around, just fuck right off with that toxic machismo bullshit. I already planted my feet in the pro-Nazi-punching camp. I am not going to lick your fucking boots just because we're both cool with Richard Spencer getting hit.
posted by byanyothername at 3:57 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


> So right before Mr. Spencer gets his ass kicked, he was going on about how the Neo-Nazis and the Klan actually hate him. What's that all about?

Guessing: is he trying to seem like a young conservative who colleges should book for a speaking tour?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:59 PM on January 22 [11 favorites]


When they ask me if I still beat my nazi I'm just gonna say yes and the hell with all that loaded question crap.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:59 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


guys, nazi-punching was supposed to bring us together as a community
posted by um at 4:00 PM on January 22 [36 favorites]


If anyone who fought actual Nazis could get through a bootcamp, they need to be leading a war of some kind, no doubt about that.


Do you think this ended in '45?

If you were involved in the punk or hardcore scenes in the '80s, you may have fought some Nazis.

If you were involved in anti-racist politics in England or France in the '80s and '90s, you likely fought some Nazis.

If you were involved in anti-racist politics in Toronto in the '90s, you probably fought some Nazis.

I and I suspect more than a few people lift here, bro.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:01 PM on January 22 [37 favorites]


>Wait, has the Nazi-puncher been identified? Or are you saying that because they have a black scarf on?

Hasn't been identified, as far as I know. My guess that he is from BB or affiliated is based purely on the clothes. Unfounded extrapolation, could be totally wrong. I would love to know if confirmation comes out, probably never will though.
posted by saysthis at 4:01 PM on January 22


Also, we are mostly middle-aged (is my understanding).
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:02 PM on January 22


Yeah I lift too. Because it helps with my arthritis, bro.
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:04 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Re: Captain Punch's identity, internet Nazis at /pol/ are trying to dox him, but have not been successful thus far. There is a video (that I won't link) in which another racist chases him down to give him a verbal lashing and tries to pull down his mask, but that's about it AFAIK.
posted by byanyothername at 4:04 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I bet Buzz Aldrin would approve...
posted by cosmac at 4:06 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


I already planted my feet in the pro-Nazi-punching camp. I am not going to lick your fucking boots just because we're both cool with Richard Spencer getting hit.


Yeah, that may have come off a bit harsh. My bad.

I agree, you can get some young (mostly) dudes involved in these movements who tend to be a bit too into the violence, for sure.

At the same time, there are also plenty of people who have fought neo-Nazis alongside or as members of vulnerable communities.

I guess I'm trying to say #notallnazipunchers.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:09 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


> Wait, has the Nazi-puncher been identified? Or are you saying that because they have a black scarf on?

Well, yeah, good point, I'm going on the basis of the black scarf and general MO. It could indeed have been a passing authoritarian capitalist who nonetheless had issues with Nazis being on TV and wisely chose to obscure their face with a black scarf they just happened to have on their person before embarking upon their little escapade. It's not like you need to carry your Official Black Bloc Membership Card* with you at all times.

*10% discount at participating coffee stores
posted by doop at 4:10 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


II. The Left just suffered a massive political defeat, and has little governmental power at the State and Federal levels.

III. Similar defeats are occurring across the developed world, and the parties taking power are further Right than we've seen in generations.


But this is precisely why the video is receiving the reaction it is receiving. The marketplace of ideas, the public forum, the media, the institutions and norms....we are seeing every single one of those things *fail* to stop this turn towards the Right. Hell, the Left's "massive political defeat" involved them *winning the popular vote*, which *still* didn't stop it.

We have a lot of very recent proof, to pile up alongside all the historical proof, that the kind of rhetoric spouted by racist authoritarians *does not get stopped* by the ideal of the liberal public forum where all ideas are heard and where an idealized rationality and tolerance holds sway.
posted by kewb at 4:10 PM on January 22 [30 favorites]


I'd like to see how everyone does at the next MeFi Anti-Fa Boot Camp, cleaning rifles or wiping tear gas from their eyes after their 200th pushup. (Or wait, is that not happening this week)

So we can't sucker-punch one puffed up windbag nazi without a well-ordered militia? This is ridiculous.


Now is the time to doubledown on high principles, not to throw them out when we, as a society, need them most. Political violence needs to be taboo. Condemned. Discouraged. Full stop. Not because Richar Spencer needs to be protected, but because you need to be protected. You are the vulnerable one, goddamit.

This "protection"? It doesn't work. Black people, queer people, trans people, etc, we get killed by nazis and their ilk. We are vulnerable precisely because we bear the brunt of your peace with the fascists.
posted by Dysk at 4:11 PM on January 22 [63 favorites]


Yeah I lift too. Because it helps with my arthritis, bro.


Mine too. Also, I haven't been 150lbs since I was like 14.

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:14 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


We have a lot of very recent proof, to pile up alongside all the historical proof, that the kind of rhetoric spouted by racist authoritarians *does not get stopped* by the ideal of the liberal public forum where all ideas are heard and where an idealized rationality and tolerance holds sway.

Correct. So assume the narrative in the media artifacts highlighted in this discussion are being curated in service of that narrative.

The chorus of 'I WAS SO PUNK ROK! TORONTO 95!' is merely arming the opposition with the rubber bullets for the next round of free speech rollbacks. It will be painted as a necessary move, of course. Consider the recent outbursts in all the media.

You can even read about it on metafilter.
posted by mrdaneri at 4:15 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Any violence against Nazis is always self defense.

Nazis produce Holocausts. Their existence is an act of violence against everyone else. Therefore, any violence against Nazis is self defense.

My only objection is that hitting Nazis in the face with your fist can hurt your fist. Get a bottle, or a brick, or a baseball bat or something so you don't hurt yourself.

But any violence against Nazis is always self defense.
posted by sotonohito at 4:18 PM on January 22 [32 favorites]


I've got extensive scarring from rubber bullets. I've put my money where my mouth is and all of the "but you'll give them more reasons to be terrible!!!" handwringing doesn't scare me. Those assholes want my entire community dead. It doesn't get more fucked up than that.
posted by bile and syntax at 4:19 PM on January 22 [40 favorites]


mrdaneri, they don't need any excuse.

Also, if the general public were to be aroused in sympathy for what happened to Spencer (which I think is the implication, yes, that people will see that Spencer was hit and be offended, justifying crackdowns) then we are SO fucked already. Too late to play nice if things have gone that far, I think.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:19 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


Go back and read my comments. The ones where I say multiple times I am okay with punching fascists. Read the one where I say I have more complex thoughts than "punching Nazis is cool bro!", particularly the part where vulnerable minorities using violence (or even just vaguely associated with violence; you legally own a gun, therefore you're a violent criminal who needs to be killed/imprisoned for the good of society) are likely to pay disproportionately high prices.

General rule of thumb: if you aren't sure about something I wrote, ask me. I'm a crappy writer, but usually happy to clarify. I hate the tendency on this site for people to pull tiny snippets out of posts for the sole purpose of being an catty, passive-aggressive asshole. Sorry to get steamed, but conversations about violence are already a bit triggery and difficult for me to engage in; when someone twists my words to mean the opposite of what I wrote after speaking out against the normalization of violence against minorities, that pushes some buttons.

Besides, I am a physically small, not-strong person and I hate the "manarchist" macho swagger bullshit. I will kick the hell out of someone who tries to hurt me, but take your "do you even lift" politics and shove them.
posted by byanyothername at 4:20 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]




Hey, everyone, in the time we've spent debating punching Nazis, a guy on my FB posted a picture of his shotgun in his truck, and a comment about how he's now driving around with it all the time in case he needs to 'protect America'. He's pretty sure the election of Trump might make him able to just shoot someone who looks Muslim and shady in any way.

I know him pretty well. This isn't a new thing for him, the right has been telling guys like him that they have enemies that need to die or be hurt for years, and they actually listened. He was talking like this 9 years ago on the range, before Obama was elected.

Guys, the other side already decided how it feels about violence directed at us. Pretty okay with it, basically at any degree of seriousness, up to and including torture and murder. We're not dealing with people who have the same social baselines as us. Notice that none of us have called for the extinction of all conservatives? That don't always happen in conservative spaces while discussing us.
posted by neonrev at 4:20 PM on January 22 [63 favorites]


I was trying to crystallize a concept of how I feel. Dysk did it for me. I'm an old man with a bad back and knees. Not to mention blood sugar issues and anxiety/depression.

Back in the 70s I protested. I'm not in any way shape or form gonna be in a boot camp. But I'm not dead yet. I am actually doing whatever I can now.

Come the time that I have to do something physical to stop evil, Nazi or otherwise... I think I can dredge up some energy. My friends. My people. They deserve more than words. If it's my blood, so be it.
posted by Splunge at 4:21 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


If you don't want to punch a Nazi, that's cool. Maybe nobody in your family has been put in the hospital by Nazi skinheads. But don't you dare say we are the ones starting the violence.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:24 PM on January 22 [23 favorites]


y'all, again, black bloc is a tactic, not an identity
posted by eustatic at 4:27 PM on January 22 [19 favorites]


Bummer about the rubber bullet scars. Hope those got sewed up right. I spent ten years working in an ER. I swept up enough blood and broken teeth for a lifetime, so yeah, 'I know of what I speak.'

My own take is that it's probably too late to be thoughtful, anyways. Folks in my old gig are ordering the QUAT-STAT in bulk at this point, and wondering if they should get the 600 pack of Blue Nitriles, or 1200.
posted by mrdaneri at 4:29 PM on January 22


My position is that punching anyone for their speech is pretty Nazi-like in and of itself.

This is incoherent, you don't seem to understand how liberal democracies actually work. They already constrain the space of valid speech through many mechanisms, with varying applications of state violence and in spite of whatever the legal standing of speech is, because they fundamentally depend for their stability on near-uniform public consensus that their order should be upheld. That's not the best cheerleading slogan, so instead in a country like the USA you get the widespread and mistaken belief that free speech is de facto absolute. That leads to idiocy like this, where free-speech naifs see people ruling out speech that harms them, and never manage to see the state apparatus ruling out speech that harms it. Then they also fail to see that that same implicit public consensus also furnishes us with the tools to evaluate what speech is harmful and what isn't. I personally think that implicit consensus as it stands here is essentially defective and admits plenty of horrific injustice, but it at least gives us the grounding to rule out the sort of shit that Richard Spencer is saying, so the "what if a Nazi punched you for your speech" objection just doesn't apply, because Nazi speech is different from non-Nazi speech, and we have the tools to make that claim for ourselves as a society with basically 100% confidence, whatever the abstract nature of ethical mores in this universe is.

tl;dr lol...no though, and also keep punchin' that nazi
posted by invitapriore at 4:36 PM on January 22 [27 favorites]


Look, I am usually the first person to be like "we should not engage in violence against people we politically differ with", because that ends historically with everyone picking up rifles and different color uniforms and a lot of blood.

But here's the thing. I grew up the child of immigrants in a NYC where some of my friend's grandparents - immigrants also - had numbers on their arms. They are, largely, dead now, but when I was younger they shared their stories.

We are talking about a goddamned Nazi who sincerely advocates genocide, like the genocide these people described with horror and fear and anger in their voices sixty years later because the horror could never erase. Who saw those tears and said "I want that."

He's goddamned lucky he got off with a punch.
posted by corb at 4:45 PM on January 22 [44 favorites]


I also expect a rather crisp and sharply defined definition of Media-Frowny-Faced-Taboo-Nazism to emerge rather shortly a la the brilliant modern German solution.

E.g. 'Nazism = Support for the historical regime of Germany, 1933-1945' and only that precisely'

That will of course, open the Overton Window just a hair in the near future, and give us all some much needed relief from threads like this. And the Nazi punching will stop, almost instantly. Because none of those people spewing that stuff will be Nazis. No-way, no how.

Take your rather rigid and legalistic doctrines of 'Speech and Violence' back to the 20th C., please.
posted by mrdaneri at 4:47 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


In The Face of the Third Reich Joachim Fest (a complicated figure himself, which is why I linked to his wikipedia article and not the book) discusses at length the Nazi/Communist street fighting in Berlin prior to Hitler's ascension and how those particularly inclined to violence tended to change sides, sometimes daily, depending on where the good action was. I not going to lose any sleep because poor Richardson got punched, but maybe the guy who punched him just liked punching people.
posted by lagomorphius at 4:49 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


y'all, again, black bloc is a tactic, not an identity

Yes, this. Even people who are wearing all black at protests are not necessarily black bloc, and there is no organization that is called "Black Bloc". I know an entirely respectable academic with a teaching career - or actually, I know several - who were part of black blocs in the immediate post-Seattle/WTO era.

If you are around protests enough, you will notice that different black blocs have different purposes and characters depending on the day and who is involved. Which is why you might find yourself thinking "actually that black bloc action was pretty good" one day and "that is the dumbest fucking thing I've ever seen in my life" the next. They were probably totally different people with totally different political understandings, just masked up to be indistinguishable.
posted by Frowner at 4:59 PM on January 22 [28 favorites]


Then isn't it great he found a way to use his talents to contribute to society.
posted by irisclara at 5:00 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


If you are around protests enough, you will notice that different black blocs have different purposes and characters depending on the day and who is involved. Which is why you might find yourself thinking "actually that black bloc action was pretty good" one day and "that is the dumbest fucking thing I've ever seen in my life" the next. They were probably totally different people with totally different political understandings, just masked up to be indistinguishable.

I always think of Anonymous when I think of them. Similar structure, and often goals.
posted by neonrev at 5:03 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


There's no way of knowing anyone's affiliation by looking at them. The troublemakers you're looking at might be police.
posted by Lexica at 5:09 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


My guess that he is from BB or affiliated is based purely on the clothes

I saw claim on twitter that he was wearing a Leftover Crack patch, so there's an additional data point.
posted by russm at 5:09 PM on January 22


Here's a good thread about why Nazism specifically needs an unreasonable response. Salient quotes:
Fascism wriggles into democracies by insisting on right to be heard, achieves critical mass, then dissolves the organs that installed it.

Liberalism literally cannot see this - its insistence on rule of law, not genocideal lust, is what turned the German people into good Nazis.

A society that begins to entertain why some members of its polis might not belong invites catastrophic decay. Those voices must be excluded.


As others have said above there are many ways to exclude hate speech. You can make laws against it. You can have polite society shame the public use of it. You can drown it out with chanting or music or screaming NOOOO in their eye as they try to speak. As a fairly weak Christian I pledge to try all those. But if you as an individual resort to violence to suppress that mind-worm, that ancient threat, well, good luck to ya, and let me know if you need bail money.

And come on, if you don't think the remixes are funny you are a police cop.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:10 PM on January 22 [28 favorites]


The chorus of 'I WAS SO PUNK ROK! TORONTO 95!' is merely arming the opposition with the rubber bullets for the next round of free speech rollbacks.

The opposition don't give a shit. The opposition don't need excuses. This much is obvious even from the other side of the large ocean from where I sit. Innocent children can be killed in cold blood by an instrument of state violence and this leads to a significant proportion of the media calling said kids thugs, and politicians, both those who are now in power, and those who didn't manage to gain power, promising explicitly and loudly to do nothing about this. A few hours ago I watched the now president of the US using his personal Twitter account to cry and moan like a spoilt toddler about TV ratings for his own inauguration. An entire movement has appeared that explicitly lists subjugation of women and the literal erasure of non-whites as its policy objectives. Leaders of this movement are now employed by the administration. Politicians in my own country, and many others, are fawning over this movement and the new US president and promising to replicate this movement globally.

The fact someone punched a fascist (and, mind you, didn't even manage to knock some teeth out) can have little to no negative effect in this twisted and weird discourse landscape. "Oh no the moderates will think we're mean, we can't have that!!" - too late. At this point, promoting the image that people are fighting back with whatever means are at their disposal appears one of the few routes to claw back some ground. Punching nazis is also an excellent way to utilise white privilege so oppressed minorities don't have to risk their lives and freedom in yet another way.
posted by Jimbob at 5:11 PM on January 22 [29 favorites]


I went to a Quaker school and knew a lot of "I would let the Nazis kill me" type old school hardcore Quaker types. They would definitely condemn all violence but would no doubt wonder why they didn't seen all these concerned voices at all of their protests of Obamas murder of Osama Bin Laden.

And I promise they would laugh at the born in the USA remix, at least a little.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:15 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Noted Christian theologian and pacifist Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis for conspiring to assassinate Hitler; after years of careful thought (and service as a double agent helping Jews escape the Reich), Bonhoeffer came to the conclusion that a Christian had to resist the Nazis even unto the point of violence, even unto the point of assassination, even unto the point of martyrdom.

Nazi-punching has a strong and respectable intellectual pedigree, is what I'm saying.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:20 PM on January 22 [79 favorites]


not all police cops
posted by mintcake! at 5:23 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


This is incoherent, you don't seem to understand how liberal democracies actually work.

I understand all too well how authoritarian governments work and that is specifically why I am worried about normalizing violence in reaction to speech or ideas no matter how lecherous. As far as it being incoherent I guess you haven't read too much about how the Nazis operated when they were just a bunch of street thugs. Exactly by beating up and in many cases murdering those that spoke out against them in civil society and the media. So no, not incoherent, but actually a literal tactic used by Nazis.

Furthermore, there are many fascist structures in our current system of government that are actually murdering innocents and oppressing entire populations right now as we speak. But fucking metafilter can't be bothered to pick on anyone with any actual power the cowards we are. No we have to pick on some schmuck who has no power and no way of harming anyone in any near foreseeable future. And we do it with such righteous anger. What a fucking joke. Go punch a cop. Go punch a drone pilot. Go punch a delta force death trooper. Go punch a corporate CEO. Go punch someone who is actually oppressing us. Or don't cause that's acting like a nasty brute.

Fascism wriggles into democracies by insisting on right to be heard, achieves critical mass, then dissolves the organs that installed it.


Which is probably why most Americans seem to be ok with murdering poor people overseas without a trial or any pretense of due process, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that violence is the answer.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:26 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


My protest sign at the Women's March Honolulu yesterday was "Punching Nazis is always okay", with the opposite side reading "No one is free when others are oppressed". Someone asked me if I thought the two statements were contradictory; in fact, I thought they went together quite nicely.

No we have to pick on some schmuck who has no power and no way of harming anyone in any near foreseeable future.

Maybe it's worth delving into the subject of "Probabilistic Terrorism" right about now. This guy has power. A punch serves him well.
posted by Paper rabies at 5:29 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


I'm all for the punching of Nazis. This incident couldn't have been better optimised, but I salute its opportunism as well. That said, it's the millions marching peacefully pussy-hatted the next day who make it a proper one-two for me. Nazis need punching high and low, but like people have observed upthread there's no reason to assume we can't do both.
posted by comealongpole at 5:29 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Also, let's not overlook the fact that it's a comedy punch. All in the delivery!
posted by comealongpole at 5:33 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


This guy has power.

So which branch of government does he currently control? Do you foresee the Nazi party gaining tons of seats in 2018 or 2020. The only power he has right now, if any, is specifically a result of all the attention the moronic mainstream media has been giving him and his ilk. If they weren't talking about it no one would know or care. All this focus on him is probably a boon for his membership numbers though.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:35 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Go punch a cop. Go punch a drone pilot. Go punch a delta force death trooper. Go punch a corporate CEO. Go punch someone who is actually oppressing us. Or don't cause that's acting like a nasty brute.

Notice that this man was not shot right after he punched a guy. All those guys either can on their own or have people to shoot you pretty close by.

Is your main thing that he didn't punch high enough, or is your main thing being unable to see the difference between violence committed in self defense and violence committed out of hate? Because literally everyone but a couple in my family was murdered by fucks like this once, and I don't really have anywhere else to run to, and neither do my friends, and it really feels like you'd prefer if we were shuffled off to our principled ends, like the myths of christian martyrs of old. I don't feel like being a symbol of the ideological purity of the group that sorta objects to mass murder but draws the line at getting mad and punching a guy pitching the idea.

Nah, I'd personally punch a Nazi, probably worse honestly. I'm not first on the chopping block, but hey, neither were all my dead family, and my friends and chosen family are, so forgive my response. If you're not personally affected by this, great, I'm honestly quite glad, this fear is nothing I would wish on anyone, but kindly shut the fuck up about how we want to deal with it? It's really easy to not punch a nazi, so, you know. Just don't do it?
posted by neonrev at 5:39 PM on January 22 [18 favorites]


No we have to pick on some schmuck who has no power and no way of harming anyone in any near foreseeable future.

Richard Spencer is the guy who coined the term alt-right. He is actively trying to normalize Nazi ideology in the conservative movement. He's not some powerless wall flower. He runs the National Policy Institute which is attempting to normalize white nationalism. He's a big part of the movement that gave us President Trump. He's a Nazi. Believe him.
posted by ryoshu at 5:39 PM on January 22 [62 favorites]


If they weren't talking about it no one would know or care.

That "if" is such a stellar opening to a fictional alternate universe that Jerry O'Connell and John Rhys-Davies just jumped through it
posted by Greg Nog at 5:39 PM on January 22 [15 favorites]


So which branch of government does he currently control?

Good lord, Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, who wrote the goddamn inaugural address, promoted Richard Spencer's ideas on Breitbart News. Is that close enough to the government for you or?
posted by dysh at 5:42 PM on January 22 [56 favorites]


> All this focus on him is probably a boon for his membership numbers though.

He's not a fucking troll you can just ignore and oh he'll go away. Remaining silent in the face of Nazism and fascism and pretending like it's just something we can pretend isn't happening while it is actually happening is madness.
posted by rtha at 5:45 PM on January 22 [29 favorites]


There are a handful of people here who would have hand-wrung themselves into being collaborators during WWII.
posted by danny the boy at 5:46 PM on January 22 [35 favorites]


Just an fyi to the astonishing number of people here who seem to not realize that hate crimes have gone up signifantly since Trump rhetoric emboldened these fucking assholes.

So, to be clear: HATE CRIME HAS BEEN GOING UP. PUNCH THE FASCISTS THAT PROMOTE HATE CRIME, GENOCIDE AND, YOU KNOW, THE FUCKING NAZIS.
posted by uraniumwilly at 5:46 PM on January 22 [29 favorites]


Just an fyi to the astonishing number of people here who seem to not realize that hate crimes have gone up signifantly since Trump rhetoric emboldened these fucking assholes.

QFT!!!!!!!!!
posted by saysthis at 5:48 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


No we have to pick on some schmuck who has no power and no way of harming anyone in any near foreseeable future.

The Jewish residents in and about Whitefish, Montana that Spencer's thug followers have been menacing would probably beg to differ.

These fuckers' whole raison d'etre is to incite and perpetrate violence. Well hey, it worked: they incited violence that incidentally landed, quite lightly, on Spencer's face. It's called reaping the whirlwind.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:49 PM on January 22 [22 favorites]


No Bombs Found At Local Jewish Community Centers After Nationwide Threats

Centers in Newton, Massachusetts; De Witt, New York; Palm Beach, Florida; Creve Coeur, Missouri; Cincinnati, Ohio, and West Bloomfield, Michigan were among those targeted in Wednesday’s incidents.

But my goodness, we don't want to normalize violence.
posted by rtha at 5:51 PM on January 22 [14 favorites]


Here's a tumblr of comic book characters punching Nazis. NSFW if you work at the Nazi Party HQ.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:51 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


No we have to pick on some schmuck who has no power and no way of harming anyone in any near foreseeable future.

What? What the FUCK? You need to do some research right now.
posted by destructive cactus at 5:56 PM on January 22 [25 favorites]


I came into this thread feeling fairly agnostic towards Nazi-punching. After reading the thread and realizing which comments had me nodding my head vigorously, I have just learned about myself that I am extremely pro-Nazi-punch. Which actually surprises me, because I'm peaceful to the point of pacifism, and I avoid conflict, and I generally am an advocate for the high road. So, huh, it turns out I'm also a Nazi-punch advocate.

But you know what, that isn't actually indicative of who I am, and it's not a story about me. It's a story about how fucked up things are right now, and how scary they are. There are, among us, a) various degrees of having realized things are fucked up and scary, and b) various degrees of at-riskness as a result of how fucked up and scary things are. So let me say that, as someone who as at risk because of how fucked up and scary things are, and as someone who is realizing every day how much more fucked up and scary things are than I realized the day before -- Nazi punching? I'm all for it. The fight has to start somewhere, because there is the actual risk of people dying off if it doesn't, and for me Nazi-punching is an okay step 1. I'm not personally likely to punch a Nazi tomorrow, because I'm small and likely unable to throw a punch that's any good, but I'm perfectly okay with people who are better at it than I am letting one rip.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:59 PM on January 22 [38 favorites]


Folks who like the remixes, please enjoy Alt Right Getting @punchedtomusic on twitter.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:59 PM on January 22 [7 favorites]


It's really, really fucking gratifying to see how few people here really believe the bullshit that it's never okay to punch Nazis. I'm seriously overjoyed at the general tenor of the response on this one.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:00 PM on January 22 [13 favorites]


There's also been a t-shirt made, with proceeds going to the ACLU.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:04 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


That's a bit perplexing given the ACLUs history of free speech absolutism
posted by wotsac at 6:09 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


I am 100% down with punching Nazis. That's what one does with Nazis. Our bodies don't sit down and have a listen at what the virus is selling because Both Sides and No Harm, they buckle down and destroy the fuck outta viruses.
posted by XtinaS at 6:09 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


The last time people resorted to hand-wringing over nazis instead of punching them, we ended up with millions of dead and a continent in ruins.
posted by fimbulvetr at 6:10 PM on January 22 [12 favorites]



Just an fyi to the astonishing number of people here who seem to not realize that hate crimes have gone up significantly since Trump rhetoric emboldened these fucking assholes.



In case anyone is just skimming, I want to bump this.

People I knew who feared violence before this election are now even more afraid of being literally murdered with no state response.

They already lived knowing being who they are is a pretty likely way to die, and those odds just got worse for them.

But, you know, maybe it's bad to punch a nazi.
posted by neonrev at 6:10 PM on January 22 [7 favorites]


That's a bit perplexing given the ACLUs history of free speech absolutism

Yeah I'm guessing the ACLU had nothing to do with this. If I were making the shirt I'd send the money to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:12 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


It's interesting, the community of Whitefish, Montana reacted promptly, vocally, and visibly to the threat - with an aggressive campaign called "Love Lives Here". Sorry for double-posting, not sure who caught it above, I didn't sell it that well.

There are a handful of people here who would have hand-wrung themselves into being collaborators during WWII.

Oh is this to do with me at all? Considering my great-uncle died in a camp and my father actually lived through Italian occupation in WWII (age 6), I'm going to go ahead and say probably not.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:15 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


By the way in case you think this is all just so hypothetical: someone shot an anti racism protestor who was peacefully protesting a Milo speech on Friday.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:16 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


On the other hand, it's pretty infuriating to see that not even Metafilter is free of Nazi sympathizers - people who would literally wish no harm to come to a Nazi who published an article saying 'we should be asking questions like "Does human civilization actually need the Black race?" "Is Black genocide right?" and "What would be the best and easiest way to dispose of them?"'

Richard Spencer is a Nazi who is already proposing unfathomable violence on millions of people. He was having an interview on his beliefs on ABC when he got punched, which is a ridiculous level of normalization for Nazis that none of our nonviolent inaction had been able to prevent up to now. He deserved to get punched in the face and then some, and I suggest some serious introspection if your response to this is to side with the Nazi and not to side with the people he wants to actually, literally eradicate from the planet.
posted by flatluigi at 6:17 PM on January 22 [36 favorites]


I'm pretty solidly in the non-violence camp personally but I also don't think that incitement to racial violence should necessarily be protected speech either. I think this event is an important reminder that neo-nazi rhetoric has consequences. Sometimes it will be innocents targeted by cowardly neo-nazi shitheads and sometimes it's when people decide they've had enough of the neo-nazi's shit and they decide to fight back. Spencer and his ilk would happily put a substantial number of Americans in the gas chambers and be happy terrorizing the others to achieve political power.

They are a cancer and unfortunately it seems like they are a cancer that Conservatives are unwilling to cut out of their own ranks.
posted by vuron at 6:18 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


With all the rhetoric on metafilter about punching up vs punching down I'm surprised to see people poo-pooing an act of literal punching up
posted by beerperson at 6:19 PM on January 22 [16 favorites]


They are a cancer and unfortunately it seems like they are a cancer that Conservatives are unwilling to cut out of their own ranks.

I grew up with conservatives insisting that AIDS was their god's punishment for gay men and drug addicts, so I don't really see a big difference between nazis arguing for my community to be wiped out and the mainstream conservative view of us.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:23 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


That's a bit perplexing given the ACLUs history of free speech absolutism

I can't speak for the ACLU, and it looks like this isn't an official shirt from them, but I'll take a stab at their probable stance: The ACLU would be steadfast against Spencer's hate speech receiving any punishment from the government. If individuals want to punch fucking nazis on their own initiative, I don't think the ACLU would have any problems at all.
posted by honestcoyote at 6:31 PM on January 22 [11 favorites]


You can drown it out with chanting or music or screaming NOOOO in their eye as they try to speak

I think you're referring to this! I'm not sure if it's been linked already, but it can be linked again because that guy is awesome.
posted by naju at 6:32 PM on January 22 [14 favorites]


I am feeling extra proud of myself today for getting my picture in DCist, wearing my Cap shield, and quoted saying "If there's one thing Captain America likes, it's punching fascists."
posted by nonasuch at 6:34 PM on January 22 [14 favorites]


From Tumblr:
we – and by this i mean ‘people targeted by nazis’, but mostly jews, because i am a jew and that’s where my experience lies – we did not want to end up in a scenario where the highlight of our day could be some guy getting punched. in fact, that’s kind of ghoulish.

like, ok. i am pretty much the worst kind of bleeding-heart, dyed-in-the-wool pacifist you will ever meet, when circumstances allow me to be. i don’t, personally, want to kill nazis; i just want nazis to stop being nazis. ideally, the world would work like it did in my 10-year-old fantasies, where i could walk up to a nazi and be like “jews are people,” and he would be like “holy shit!!! mind blown” and stop being a nazi and we’d sit down and have a deep philosophical discussion.
...
i wish they would stop being nazis but they wish i would die.
...
we did not want to end up with our livelihood as a people so threatened that violent self-defense makes us cheer. can you think about that for a second? can you think about the kind of corner we’re backed into, here? it’s not a natural state of being. it’s a place where most people, as far as we can tell, truly do not give a shit if we live or die, because they’re talking about “tolerating” people whose ideology involves straight-up killing us. and so if we see somebody punch a nazi, it’s evidence: that person in the black mask, they’re on my side.

so no, we weren’t born bloodthirsty, just salivating at the chance to kick a nazi in the balls. we got driven here reluctantly, by history, to a place where violence in our defense can make us weep with gratitude. you drove us here.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 6:35 PM on January 22 [54 favorites]


but please you all dont try this yourself. the chances of getting punched back, stabbed, shot, or thrown in prison are high.

I can roll my eyes at people who think it's wrong, really wrong, to punch Dick Spencer in the side of his haircut, because their principles are silly but they do have them. fine, that's fine. but what is this it might be right, but still don't do it, because there might be consequences? this is worse than dangerous, it is small. and I can tolerate anybody who is afraid but not afraid to say so, but I cannot tolerate actively trying to spread that attitude like it needs to be more socially acceptable than it already is.

sometimes you got to take a risk to make a liberty omelette.

I am perhaps 75 percent big talk and 10 percent hot air but that still leaves a solid titanium core of 15 percent real nerve. big talk serves an incredibly valuable purpose, which is you talk big in front of an audience for long enough and then if you are real real lucky, when your moment comes and it's your fist and your own private Nazi either at home or in front of a crowd, you don't dare back down because you said this shit and everybody heard you. and if anything can override native human cowardice it is pride. pre-defeating people's pride is an awful thing to do. they're going to need it later.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:35 PM on January 22 [31 favorites]


Stunned at the amount of people in this thread condoning the punch. It was assault. Imagine if a right wing person had hit an extreme left wing person, would the reaction have been the same.

Regardless of what you believe, people have the right to opinions. Hitting them is not going to change it, and it only makes your side look worse (less rational, more emotional, more violent).
posted by greenhornet at 6:39 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Genocide is not a valid political opinion.
posted by flatluigi at 6:40 PM on January 22 [57 favorites]


really wrong, to punch Dick Spencer

People, I don't want to try to add levity here, this is a serious discussion, but I do want everyone to join us in calling him Dick Spencer. We did nicknames during the election threads, and I want this one to stick.



Again, I guess this doesn't stick well. (in a different way)

Genocide is not a valid political opinion.
posted by neonrev at 6:41 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Imagine if a right wing person had hit an extreme left wing person, would the reaction have been the same.

just as soon as I ascend into the next plane of human existence where right-wing people do the bulk of their hitting because of their targets' opinions instead of because of our perceived gender, race, or ethnicity, I'll let you know. in fact if I could count on that, I cannot speak for others but I do believe I would not mind.

man just imagine only having to get hit because somebody didn't like your opinion. your OPINION! ha. thank you for that beautiful vision, that great shimmering mirage you laid out before us. Next time I'm casually assaulted on the same streets Spencer walked with such pleasure and ease before the interruption, I'll be sure and ask the perpetrator which of my opinions he found so offensive. the reply promises to be educational. I'll report back here what he says if the thread's still open and odds are not too bad that it will be.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:47 PM on January 22 [49 favorites]


Imagine if a right wing person had hit an extreme left wing person, would the reaction have been the same.

That's not even close to even being a false equivalency. This isn't right wing versus left wing. This isn't republicans versus democrats. 'Extreme left wing' people do not want to genocide human beings by arguing that some of them aren't even as human as white people of certain backgrounds, and have a PROVEN HISTORY OF DOING THE GENOCIDE.
posted by destructive cactus at 6:48 PM on January 22 [25 favorites]


suddenly I realize that "Would you go back in time and kill baby Hitler" question in the primaries was oddly prescient
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 6:51 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


What if the extreme left wing person was going to hassle a Starbucks?
posted by Artw at 6:52 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Oh is this to do with me at all? Considering my great-uncle died in a camp and my father actually lived through Italian occupation in WWII (age 6), I'm going to go ahead and say probably not.

Not specifically, no.

But... are you under the impression that nazi collaborators didn't betray their family and friends...? I'm glad you wouldn't, but no one's family history gives them automatic immunity--just probable motivations. Besides, what really matters is our actions right now, in the real world, not in a thought experiment.

And for me, the person throwing punches is following a useful path while the person who is tut-tutting at him is... not.
posted by danny the boy at 6:56 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


What if the person was so left-wing that genocide advocated for HIM

Makes you think
posted by beerperson at 6:58 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


Extreme left wing persons do commit genocide on occasion. See the Cambodia of Pol Pot, say. Or the Stalinist Holodomor in the Ukraine. Not to mention the state terror of the stalinist purges, or the horrors of Maoist class warfare in China. The word 'extreme' in this context does mean a willingness to go beyond what's acceptable in a civil democracy in pursuit of their political vision. I.e., political murder is an okay means for an extremist. So, there's more equivalence than one might think between the extreme right and extreme left.
posted by bertran at 6:58 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


My position is that punching anyone for their speech is pretty Nazi-like in and of itself.

Ironically, this is just the sort of "things I don't like are Nazism" scope creep that people keep warning us about. You know what's super Nazi-like? Being an actual literal Nazi who publicly advocates genocide.
posted by verb at 7:04 PM on January 22 [34 favorites]


I am definitely willing to punch Pol Pot although I think he may be dead? let me know.

actually you know what, that makes him just perfect for punchin' for someone like me who, as a woman and a leftist, is WEAK AND VULNERABLE AND A VICTIM as someone reminded us all upthread. but even one such as I can muster up some violence to prove there are no liberal double standards at play here.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:04 PM on January 22 [20 favorites]


Like others have said, we are reacting at length about a breech of decorum. That person x broke with proper etiquette and failed to turn the other cheek and instead decided violence against those who preach violence was appropriate. Our social training as good liberals means that we are supposed to be tolerant of intolerance and I think most of us still fall into that trap at various points in time. Unfortunately the opposition have no such scruples and are more than happy to preach hatred and violence while also taking advantage of our aversion to violence (other than state sponsored violence). This is an important reminder to the alt-right fascists that not everyone is willing to have their hands tied by the rules of etiquette and perhaps the spectre that someone is going to take offense at their words and actions with the end result of a Nazi getting punched might convince fewer of the alt-right trolls to take up the crusade of Spencer and his ilk. And of course the slippery slope arguments are completely stupid because the reality is that people like Spencer aren't going to somehow become more extreme in their rhetoric because someone sucker punched them. These guys have already turned the hate speech up to 11. The risk of escalation is pretty minimal and frankly the chance of rapprochement between the sides is zero. There really isn't a possibility to for rational discourse when one side denies your fundamental right to existence.
posted by vuron at 7:07 PM on January 22 [21 favorites]


Go on with this middle-aged vigilante army, then, I'm sure pride will take it far. If people are going to use violence strategically, it ought to be strategic. Just like non-violent approaches should be. I'm no expert but there are people who are.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:09 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Extreme left wing persons do commit genocide on occasion. ...Or the Stalinist Holodomor in the Ukraine.

Child of Holodomor survivors, the others were killed in WW2. To our knowledge we are the only remaining members of our family.

So, first of all, the people who murdered my family were not liberals in any sense of the word, they do not resemble US liberals in any fashion, they in fact more resemble the rhetoric and planning of the actions of Trump and co. This is fucking obvious to anyone but a troll or idiot.

Also, it's not "the Ukraine", it's just 'Ukraine'. Not a part of Russia anymore, or the Soviet Union, calling it 'the Ukraine' is indicative of the exact attitude that literally murdered my family. It's a different country, not a region of Russia.

I ordinarily get enraged over this, but when someone does it while equivocating the murder of my family in the past to the murder of my other family in the present?

Incandescent rage. My eyes could light candles. People like me did not fill the mass graves that my family fills. I'm hoping to prevent the same. Do not compare us. Do not.
posted by neonrev at 7:10 PM on January 22 [60 favorites]


The word 'extreme' in this context does mean a willingness to go beyond what's acceptable in a civil democracy in pursuit of their political vision. I.e., political murder is an okay means for an extremist.

As long as those murdered are foreigners, it's an okay means for a moderate too.
posted by Greener Backyards at 7:10 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


cotton dress sock: I don't know why you think it's helpful to continually tell people that they're too weak to resist and therefore shouldn't, but I think you've repeated yourself enough on that point that you probably don't need to do it again.
posted by flatluigi at 7:13 PM on January 22 [19 favorites]


If people are going to use violence strategically, it ought to be strategic.

One punch turned Richard Spencer from an alt-right leader to that guy in the memes. Pretty fuckin' strategic, if you ask me.
posted by Etrigan at 7:13 PM on January 22 [88 favorites]


Imagine if a right wing person had hit an extreme left wing person, would the reaction have been the same.

If the extreme left wing person was advocating genocide? Yes.
posted by ryoshu at 7:14 PM on January 22 [32 favorites]


Very sorry about 'the Ukraine.' Force of habit. I support a European Ukraine.

The Soviets were not liberals. Yes, that is the point. They were extremists. And really, in their Stalinist incarnation, almost as despicable as the fascists.
posted by bertran at 7:15 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Two months ago, a few days following the election, I was at a gas station waiting for my fill up to finish. A truck with trump stickers emblazoned on the bumper parked in front of me, and a young man exited and came towards me and asked me what I was doing.

When I replied I was filling up my car, he started on a rant about how my kind was ruining America with my "cheap chinese crap" and that I should go back to China. (Rest assured I am 100% American). The gentleman got in my face, screaming about how Trump and "real americans" were going to get rid of my kind to stop me from ruining it.

Despite my heart pounding, I did not respond. I averted my eyes, finished filling up, then got into my vehicle and pulled away as he knocked on the driver's side window, giving me the middle finger.

It's been two months and I still think about that experience every day, never having experienced something like that with that sort of intensity in the four decades I have lived as an American. I'm not sure why I didn't instead punch his face in and leave. I think I would've preferred that.

The words this man spoke were the same as those of Richard Spencer. The thought that I would be tut-tuted for punching someone who got in my face like that, advocating what amounted to violence against me, my family, and those who looked like me is making me ill.
posted by Karaage at 7:17 PM on January 22 [99 favorites]


Regardless of what you believe, people have the right to opinions.

Not if they're nazis, they don't! You might be confusing Nazis (genocide guys, armbands, white supremacists, generally gross) with Koalas (small furry bear things who absolutely have the right to opinions)
posted by Greg Nog at 7:20 PM on January 22 [24 favorites]


It's hard to get off the Nazi train once it's left the station. But I bet it's possible. Earlier this evening I spent an hour on an emergency call to action with folks from MoveOn.org, Indivisible, and Working Families. About 47,000 other people were also on the call. Guess what? Resist Trump Tuesdays are a thing, and I'll be joining a group in San Francisco that plans to pressure Senator Dianne Feinstein to resist Trump's swamp cabinet. If that's too downbeat for you, other folks will be gathering earlier on Tuesday at new Senator Kamala Harris' to thank her for fighting the Trump cabinet nominations. (Stick, meet carrot.)

If you have the time and want to use proven tactics to fight the GOP's plans to send us into retirement (and by that I mean doom, suffering and an early death), create or join a local group at MoveOn.org or Indivisibleguide.com.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:20 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]


One punch turned Richard Spencer from an alt-right leader to that guy in the memes. Pretty fuckin' strategic, if you ask me.

Indeed. This one punch has completely disrupted his branding. He wanted to be -- and was to many, before Friday -- that well-dressed alt-right rapscallion. An intriguing provocateur.

Now he's that Nazi who got punched.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:21 PM on January 22 [49 favorites]


Whoops, I thought this was the election thread. Have a lot of windows open. Did I post in the wrong thread? If so, apologies and will repost in the appropriate place, and a mod can delete my post.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:21 PM on January 22


Obligatory Dead Kennedys.
posted by TedW at 7:21 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


When a Nazi says that it would be a good idea to kill all of a group of people, or that some people don't need to exist, that is violence just like a punch in the face, only it is directed at civilization

It is still violence
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:23 PM on January 22 [11 favorites]


I recognize that it is probably best for the dude's own good that he go unidentified but man would I like to buy him a beer.

About that
posted by rhizome at 7:24 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


The Soviets were not liberals. Yes, that is the point. They were extremists. And really, in their Stalinist incarnation, almost as despicable as the fascists.

Sorry, but Leftists didn't kill my family either. Calling one of the largest and most powerful nations in world history "extremist" stretches the bounds of what that word means.
Neither did anything resembling left-wing reasoning. It was pure racism and nationalism, couched in the language of pragmatism.

Authoritarians did. People who thought they could decide who did and did not serve a purpose to the nation, who did and did not deserve to considered a 'real' member of the community. This is hauntingly familiar.

The fascism of the Nazis and the authoritarianism of the USSR are not binarily opposed things. The Nazis finished off my family for not really being German (despite, you know, literally being German and speaking that language and all) after Stalin got the ball rolling for us not really being Russian (what with the whole being Germans in Ukraine thing).

I don't see a distinction. Ethnic hate is ethnic hate. Who cares what we call it, oppose it at all times.
posted by neonrev at 7:27 PM on January 22 [19 favorites]


Maybe part of the problem here is that at some point we conceded that valuing someone's life, health, and security of person based on their race, gender, or sexual identity is something you're even allowed to have an opinion about.

Maybe the first time someone said "being gay conflicts with my beliefs, and I'm against it" we should have just told them to shut up because nobody cares and that's not how we decide whose life has value.

But instead we let people pass laws about whose life has value and cloaked the question of a woman's right to decide what happens to her body, or a black teenager's right not to be fucking shot by the police, or a queer person's right to commit to the person they love in terms of a political "debate" that had a valid counter-argument besides "I'm a bigot" or "a very particular section of this book says I'm allowed to be a bigot".

And instead of telling them the truth, that they were putrid piles of bigoted white male privilege, we accepted the premise that we should engage them, that their bigotry was a valid subject of debate.

So now here we are, having handed every single lever of power to people who believe that their lives matter more than others, and that any attempt to treat other lives like they matter is an attack, a violation of their freedoms.

Yes, punching people is bad. But if it hasn't dawned on you yet, it's too late to do the other thing. We lost the "debate" when we engaged in it in the first place. There is no debating someone who doesn't see the value of people who aren't like them, but that's what we did, and we fucked ourselves. Now we have to fight them.
posted by dry white toast at 7:28 PM on January 22 [123 favorites]


Maybe part of the problem here is that at some point we conceded that valuing someone's life, health, and security of person based on their race, gender, or sexual identity is something you're even allowed to have an opinion about.

Flagged as fantastic.
posted by mordax at 7:29 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


Stunned at the amount of people in this thread condoning the punch. It was assault.

I'm someone who condones this particular punch, and guess what? I totally agree with this. It was assault, and it was against the law, and if / when they find the guy responsible he will face charges and I won't say he should be let off. We have laws in this country against hauling off and hitting people, and I like those laws, and I wish that everyone would abide by them - more than that, I wish people would be naturally so pacifistic that it wouldn't occur to anyone to need those laws.

If this turns into a copycat trend of people hitting Nazis, I'd be a little appalled, because I'd be worried it would devolve into people who are considered Nazis, which is pretty much everyone on a bad day. And I'd not only say those assailants should be charged and tried and punished, and that if the Nazis feel that because of the new Nazi-punching trend they need police protection, they should get it. That's how far I'll go in agreement.

But I still believe that that punch, in and of itself, was a good thing. And if there are copycat trends of other people punching Richard Spencer such that he suddenly needs police protection and actually knows fear, and is forced to realize that his words aren't just ideas, man, they're threats, and the legacy of the Holocaust is that people he considers weak enough to threaten will not sit back and tolerate those threats against them like sheep - well, I am okay with that too.

Because my loving the fact that this happened, and especially loving that it happened on camera, and unabashedly loving that it is now being set to music as comedy, does not mean that I think there shouldn't be laws against assault, or that we should always respond to ideas we find repugnant with violence. But this guy? NOT MY COUNTRY, YOU BITCH.
posted by Mchelly at 7:30 PM on January 22 [25 favorites]


The simplistic left-right dichotomy that we typically use in the US and to a lesser extent in other liberal democracies tends to ignore that most of the "left-wing" states responsible for atrocities in the past were/are incredibly authoritarian to the extent that they often more closely resemble right-wing fascist states than liberal democracies.

Once you base your belief system on group X no longer having the right to live then you forgo all legitimacy as a political/social/religious/whatever movement.

The alt-right is not legitimate and the fact that journalists continue to normalize figures espousing such marginal philosophies is incredibly concerning. There is no let's meet somewhere in the middle between person A advocating that all people should enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and person B advocating that person A should be gassed.

I'd personally prefer that the violence never have taken place but at the same time I understand it. I however fail to see how continuing to give the alt-right legitimacy and airtime with endless interviews is somehow advancing the mission of the fourth estate.
posted by vuron at 7:31 PM on January 22 [10 favorites]


as a brave internet iconoclast I have always believed and still do believe that everybody has the right to any opinion, not just a correct or a moral one. this is nice of me but doesn't matter because nobody ever knows what anybody else's opinions actually are.

the fighting words doctrine is a thing but since it was famously enforced against a guy calling someone a fascist, I think it is unwise to rely on it or seek to expand it and look to the police to stop Dick Spencers from parading around town in terrible vests, even though the very sight of him is an incitement to all manner of crimes. rather, I am happy with a state of things where free speech is defended as comprehensively as possible, but those who break the law by punching actual Nazis are applauded and given aid and comfort and hidden from the police by all good citizens. Every good rule has an exception or two and this is a crystal clear one.

finally, as a free speech defender, if corporate spending is speech, as the law says it is, punching a Nazi is speech. good, good speech.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:33 PM on January 22 [16 favorites]


Couple of random points:
1. Ever been to Dachau? I have. I went specifically to see it with my own eyes. No one can tell me it didn't happen. I'm not sure if Dick Spencer is a Holocaust denier, but many in his group are. They choose to believe lies.

2. I can debate with my conservative friends over things like "Tax cuts stimulate the economy" - they do in some instances but might not be the best way to run a country - that's one thing. Happy to have a heated debate over that. Am I going to punch them? Probably not. Is there some gray area where neither of us really knows what's what? Probably. Is life going to go on if we don't come to a 100% agreed upon solution? Yes.

3. Neo-Nazis/US Nazis/whatever they're called - these folks are talking about killing folks like me and my friends. I don't believe they are kidding - if they got the chance they would. Am I going to talk them out of it? No. I would love to live in a world where I could sit them down and try to persuade them out of killing people who were born like me, but I don't live in that world.

There is a difference between a conservative hitting a liberal because of the liberal's beliefs and someone hitting a Nazi because the Nazi is advocating genocide. Last I checked the liberals/progressives weren't advocating genocide.
posted by Farce_First at 7:34 PM on January 22 [19 favorites]


Waiting for the #AllNazisMatter movement.
posted by ryoshu at 7:37 PM on January 22 [7 favorites]


neonrev: I wanted just to highlight that extremism of any political valence is a threat; whether the extremist defines the enemy on the basis of ethnic identity or economic class membership, they are capable of enormous violence. I defer to your analysis of the Holodomor as being ethnically motivated in classic right-wing style.
posted by bertran at 7:38 PM on January 22


I'm someone who condones this particular punch, and guess what? I totally agree with this. It was assault, and it was against the law, and if / when they find the guy responsible he will face charges and I won't say he should be let off. We have laws in this country against hauling off and hitting people, and I like those laws, and I wish that everyone would abide by them - more than that, I wish people would be naturally so pacifistic that it wouldn't occur to anyone to need those laws.

That's why they don't call it civil obedience. It is about knowing there is a line and proudly stepping over it while the world watches even though you know what's coming for you as a result. Which is not quite what the Nazi-puncher did, but fuck I'm in a conciliatory mood at the moment so whatever.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:41 PM on January 22 [11 favorites]


So, extreme political pacifism (i.e., literally take all the guns and throw them in a big bonfire) is a threat? If I found a political party that's extremely committed to universal health care, is that a threat?

Of course not. Obviously not. What a political movement is extreme about matters. It matters a whole fucking lot.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:42 PM on January 22 [12 favorites]


PS does anybody seriously think Trump knows what the word "conciliatory" even means?
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:43 PM on January 22


Political movements don't just float around lazily in the luminiferous aether to be abstractly debated or put under glass and classified like beetles. They're about something, all of them are. They're made of words and deeds. We know what the words and deeds of Nazis are.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:46 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


A conciliator is like an officer in the mafia, right?
posted by um at 7:46 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


It's hard to get off the Nazi train once it's left the station. But I bet it's possible.

Actually
posted by beerperson at 7:46 PM on January 22 [17 favorites]


Hey, now- let's not bring Phil Collins into this.

Sorry, but this is 15 seconds of pure art.
posted by Mavri at 7:48 PM on January 22 [16 favorites]


That's why they don't call it civil obedience. It is about knowing there is a line and proudly stepping over it while the world watches even though you know what's coming for you as a result. Which is not quite what the Nazi-puncher did, but fuck I'm in a conciliatory mood at the moment so whatever.

Hey, who's to say that the guy didn't fully expect to get tackled and get the shit kicked out of him by security? Maybe he lucked out, maybe he's sitting somewhere amazed he isn't getting his shit kicked it by asshole cops, knowing full well what he risked smacking that asshole.

No reason to take the hit when the idiots can't even catch you. I'm proud he managed to get away (it seems?). They think of us as weak. I want that perception to change. This helped. That is all I needed.
posted by neonrev at 7:49 PM on January 22 [13 favorites]


I wrote this last night while I couldn't sleep (been sick with the flu) so I was a bit feverish. It heartens my to see so many prior comments that appear to share my thinking on this subject:


There is one thing that defines a "Nazi" where it becomes very important to distiguish a difference. That is where they espouse the idea that a catergory of humans are not actually human, or that they are sub-human. This is not a political stance. This is not some cheap rhetoric. This is a verbalized threat. To call someone sub-human is to say that they are not protected by law, and not protected by basic human rights. This is saying "I view this person as not a person but a thing".

At that point, you are not going to be able to debate with them. There is nothing to debate. They have ceded the field. They are telling you that they will treat another human as sub-human. At that point, it is self-defense.

This is a warning. Take at face value what people say, even if you think they are joking.

This is also a warning to "edge-lords" or people who are "in it for the lulz". Be careful what you pretend to be. We become what we pretend we to be.
posted by daq at 7:50 PM on January 22 [31 favorites]


The fascism of the Nazis and the authoritarianism of the USSR are not binarily opposed things.

I had a grandfather who fought the Nazis in World War II as a Scottish soldier. I also had a grandfather who fought Stalin in the Winter War.

When I was a kid, my Finnish grandfather showed me newspapers he would regularly receive from a Finnish veterans' society of some kind. They were in Finnish and I didn't understand the writing (and quite frankly, as an adult I wish I could see these papers again and get them translated), but the photos in them confused me at times - in some copies there were photos of Finnish planes that bore the swastika on the side. I recall saying that it seemed bad. "Were you Nazis?" "No," he explained to me, saying that they weren't interested in siding with the Nazis. It was just that Germany was sending them materiel and they would gladly take what they could get, because the Red Army was literally rolling over their borders, and the Allies weren't terribly interested in helping them out. That was a hell of a thing for my ten-year-old brain to wrap around, but as an adult who has traced back the history of the Winter War and what preceded and followed, I now understand.

My Scottish grandfather would have had a belly laugh over the Nazi punch.

My Finnish grandfather would scanning the news for Putin's next move, taking time out to wax his skis just in case.

I guess this is a long way of saying that it's possible to fight against both forms of tyranny.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:51 PM on January 22 [11 favorites]


Actually

ಠ_ಠ
posted by um at 7:52 PM on January 22


The author of the "is black genocide right?" article is Colin Liddell (an alt-right "Tokyo-based journalist"), not Richard Spencer, but it was published on a website that Spencer founded. Arguably that makes no difference compared to Spencer writing it himself, but it it makes no difference, may as well be accurate.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:52 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Hey, who's to say that the guy didn't fully expect to get tackled

This is what I tend to think too. He walked through a bunch of bystanders and press people and punched the guy they were interviewing in the face. Getting away after that is not a sure thing. He made it look easy but it was actually well executed. It was very obviously not a random thing; it was carefully targeted at his Pepe the Frog moment.
posted by Bringer Tom at 7:53 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Suggestion for a new slogan: "When they go low, we go uppercut"
posted by naju at 7:54 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


It was very obviously not a random thing; it was carefully targeted at his Pepe the Frog moment.

Right on the button, so to speak.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:58 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I'm a pacifist, but I laughed. I'm OK with this!
posted by jbenben at 8:09 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


So, extreme political pacifism (i.e., literally take all the guns and throw them in a big bonfire) is a threat? If I found a political party that's extremely committed to universal health care, is that a threat?

If you found a political party whose commitment to universal health care is such that you sought to violently overthrow the state and establish a dictatorship in order to achieve it, that would be worrisome. And that's more or less how the Communists from the last century thought about means and ends.

But, as others point out, the actual threat of the moment is not from an extreme left -- as threatening as the left can be when it embraces mass violence -- but from the extreme right, here and in Europe.
posted by bertran at 8:13 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


That wasn't a punch, it was an alternative hug.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:35 PM on January 22 [20 favorites]


I just wish I had the talent to mashup "Bella Ciao" to this, and on every "ciao" there could be another punch and it could play on infinite loop forever.
posted by corb at 8:36 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Just one point of anecdata, but if you punch a Nazi you've won my heart and mind.
posted by whuppy at 8:37 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


HI I'M ON METAFILTER AND I COULD OVERTHINK A PUNCH OF A NAZI.
posted by gatorae at 8:53 PM on January 22 [15 favorites]


I am outraged about one thing, though: the article that said the Hamilton remix used "Guns and Ships" when it actually used "Right-Hand Man." I had to go watch "Der Fuhrer's Face" five more times to cheer myself up.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:54 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


nazi-punching was supposed to bring us together as a community

But then we need criteria about what makes somebody a nazi and the heads start rolling down the hills and left meets unexpected right and right meets unexpected left and bilious clouds fly off from either side and the circle remains the great secret.

We should have been way out of here by now but modern spacethought reeks of colonialism and coaling stations. Totally fuck with nazis but look beyond that.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:01 PM on January 22


Is the woman next to him at the end his wife with ties to Putin?
posted by ridogi at 9:22 PM on January 22


Two things:

WTF was I thinking with the Nazi train comment? Oh right. I wasn't thinking. Super tasteless unintentional attempt at metaphor when sleepy and forgetting that trains were used. Ouch. So, so sorry!

Also:
And instead of telling them the truth, that they were putrid piles of bigoted white male privilege

Old white cis female here unhappy to report that there are also putrid piles of bigoted white female privilege. That is all.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:28 PM on January 22


The brilliance of this punch is not solely that a Nazi was punched, but that one punch managed to completely destroy Spencer's image and cred. He's on national TV, describing a fucking frog meme as if it were just some Millenial jape, and in an instant gets turned into a meme himself. The timing of the punch could not have been more perfect for the millions of Twitter users who immediately turned him into a laughingstock. The look on his face at the end of the clip, shaken and near tears, reduced him to the the wannabe internet tough guy that all these alt-righters fear themselves to be. And suddenly, in the debate about whether or not it's right to punch people for their political views, everyone suddenly found themselves discussing the fact that this asshole advocates for the wholesale extermination of peoples based on their ethnicity, like a fucking Nazi. Why the fuck are the news media giving this shitbag airtime?

Whether or not it's right to punch Nazis (personally, I'm on the side of Nazi-punching), this punch could not have been bettered timed or more powerful, despite the fact that it didn't look like an especially solid contact.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:35 PM on January 22 [56 favorites]


I have the bookmarklet that lets me sort comments by number of favorites and holy shit is it incredibly heartwarming to read all these comments in that order (spoiler alert: they are all pro-punching).

score plus another million for MetaFilter being an island of decency on the internet.
posted by deadbilly at 9:40 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


anyway if everyone could continue linking to their favourite musical punching remixes that would be great because there cannot possibly be enough of them, i want a new one every day for the rest of my life. i want it to be my daily alarm clock, a brand new musical nazi punch every day, how majestic and life-affirming.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:56 PM on January 22 [9 favorites]




My favorite so far is the "Born in the USA" one, where each snare hit is a punch.

(Note: I may possibly still be bitter about that fuckstick Reagan appropriating the song for his own nefarious purposes.)
posted by soundguy99 at 10:38 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


I made a few remixes with some of my favorite songs but then realized that nobody's gonna care because they are not popular/their favorite songs, but in doing so I made mp4 rip of the source video in case any of y'all want to make one of your own. Here you go:

http://letsneverdie.net/agoodthinghappening.mp4

And here's my current favorite, done by somebody with much better video editing skills than myself.
posted by destructive cactus at 10:39 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


actually my ideal video would combine a repeated nazi punch with the finland 2017 new year's eve countdown set to sandstorm
posted by poffin boffin at 10:41 PM on January 22 [6 favorites]


"this punch could not have been bettered timed or more powerful"
posted by Existential Dread at 9:35 PM on January 22

This.
Watching from the other side of the globe, we see that USA really needed this right now.
Cathartic, meaningful, glorious and satisfying release of all that pent up bullying that the majority has been the victim to for the long and tortuous Trump campaign that like a nightmare culminated in victory.

The victory immediately rang out as a complete endorsement of all the racism and sexism that mounted, week upon week- good heavens even the leader of the Ku Klux Klan publicly endorsed your new president.

So many good Americans realised, after the seemingly impossible became possible, that they should have stood up to the bully earlier, but for whatever reasons didn't.

And now they know that they can.

Can I just congratulate Mefites for seeing this- the wholehearted embrace of strength as necessary for meaningful resistance- that whilst turning the other cheek is important, so is standing up for yourself and not letting your way of life be destroyed by the most foul elements.

I applaud your stance, I endorse your stance. Stand up to the fascists and the bullies- because if you don't do it yourselves, I don't know who else is going to do it for you.
posted by Plutocratte at 10:49 PM on January 22 [11 favorites]


all these fools who said it was ok to drone-kill a US citizen b/c of his jihadi propaganda now think punching a nazi propagandist is wrong
via Saladin Ahmed's Twitter
posted by BinGregory at 10:51 PM on January 22 [5 favorites]


There is a pretty clear answer to the question of whether Dr. King approved of Nazi punching.

During a meeting of King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a man rose up from the audience, leapt onto the stage and smashed King in the face. Punched him hard. And then punched him again.

After the first punch, Branch recounts, King just dropped his hands and stood there, allowed the assailant (who turned out to be a member of the American Nazi Party) to punch him again. And when King’s associates tried to step in King stopped them:

“Don’t touch him!” King shouted. “Don’t touch him. We have to pray for him.”

I have seen people claim that King's non-violence was purely pragmatic, a strategic decision that it was the right move to sway public opinion to the cause. While there is no doubt that King certainly did believe that shining a light on the violence of the segregationists would turn the American public against them, these positive effects were, for him, confirmation of the wisdom of the path of nonviolence he had already committed himself to. King was a theologian in the 50s before he rose to prominence as a civil rights leader in the 60s. It's clear in his papers that nonviolence was a philosophical/theological commitment, his understand of the ethics of Jesus filtered through the philosophy of Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, Walter Rauschenbush's social gospel, Bayard Rustin's Quaker-influence pacifism, and, of course, the example of Gandhi, although King set aside his passive non-violence model for a more active non-violence. But underneath all of this was a deep commitment to the path of Jesus as exemplified in the Sermon on the Mount.

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?


King's "My Pilgrimage to Nonviolence" [PDF] is readily available and lays out his intellectual journey. I don't think there's an honest reader who can grabble with it and not realize that for King this is very much a theological issue. It may be most clear when he set out famous theological Reinhold Niebuhr's critique of pacifism, and then explains why he ultimately disagreed with Niebuhr and where he thought Niebuhr misunderstood the nature of true pacifism.

True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power, as Niebuhr contends. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflicter of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart.

In sharp contrast to all who claim King seized upon nonviolence for pragmatic reasons as he formulated a response to oppression, he is very, very clear that his intellectual engagement with nonviolence came first, and then he applied it to the real world circumstance he found himself in.

When I went to Montgomery as a pastor, I had not the slightest idea that I would later become involved in a crisis in which nonviolent resistance would be applicable. I neither started the protest nor suggested it. I simply responded to the call of the people for a spokesman. When the protest began, my mind, con- sciously or unconsciously,was driven back to the Sermon on the Mount, with its sublime teachings on love, and the Gandhian .method of nonviolent resistance. As the days unfolded, I came to see the power of nonviolence more and more. Living through the actual experience of the protest, nonviolence became more than a method to which I gave intellectual assent; it became a commitment to a way of life. Many of the things that I had not cleared up intellectually concerning nonviolence were now solved in the sphere of practical action.

Getting this straight is important to me because, like King, I was drawn to nonviolent pacifism as the best expression of the ethics of Jesus during my seminary days. I also grappled with Rauschenbush and Niebuhr, and then with King's own writings and examples. A pacifist professor of mine, a profound intellectual (Harvard PhD in Ancient Near Eastern studies), was a valued conversation partner in those days and helped me think through the dilemmas a pacifist approach entails. Much like King, I couldn't quite say I was a pure pacifist, but, in King's words, "I came to see the pacifist position not as sinless but as the lesser evil in the circumstances."

Because King and I share similar theological commitments and our ethics are grounded in dedication to the example of Jesus, I don't expect that people who don't share those commitments will agree with us or necessarily fully understand where we are coming from. But there's no getting around King's deep commitment to nonviolence not as strategy, but as necessary implication of Jesus' ethic of radical love for one's enemies. Because of his theology, King believed that no person was fully evil, no one was beyond redemption, and that selfless love directed toward our enemies could turn them around.

From his sermon, "Loving Your Enemies":

Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system....

The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.

And this is what Jesus means, I think, in this very passage when he says, "Love your enemy." And it’s significant that he does not say, "Like your enemy." Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people. I don’t like their attitudes. I don’t like some of the things they’re doing. I don’t like them. But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, "Love your enemy." This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it....

There is a power in love that our world has not discovered yet. Jesus discovered it centuries ago. Mahatma Gandhi of India discovered it a few years ago, but most men and most women never discover it. For they believe in hitting for hitting; they believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; they believe in hating for hating; but Jesus comes to us and says, "This isn’t the way...."

So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, "I love you. I would rather die than hate you." And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed. And then we will be in God’s kingdom. We will be able to matriculate into the university of eternal life because we had the power to love our enemies, to bless those persons that cursed us, to even decide to be good to those persons who hated us, and we even prayed for those persons who despitefully used us.


Applaud Nazi-punching if you want to, but I'm on King's side in this, now and forever. Don't tell me that I don't understand him or I've been manipulated by someone else's false image of him. I tied myself to King's philosophy a long time back. If you're going to set out on a course of physical violence, be my guest, but don't pretend that the man who kept his hands at his side when Nazis punched him would look on approvingly. There's no room for misunderstanding here.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:54 PM on January 22 [61 favorites]


There is a bounty being offered for the identity of the puncher. I know nothing about the website offering the bounty but I presume it's fueled by Nazi supporters. What's especially creepy to me is that apparently anybody can put up a bounty for whatever. Hope I'm wrong about that.
posted by Bella Donna at 11:35 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Bella Donna, that website is indeed a project from creepy fascist nutter Charles C Johnson.
posted by Jimbob at 11:39 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


[Hey, sorry, but I deleted the link to the pro-Nazi bounty site. We try to avoid linking to hate sites, and they appreciate the link juice.]
posted by taz at 11:44 PM on January 22 [8 favorites]


After reading HarshCoffee's Karl Popper quote, I have this beautiful image of a cadre of twelve everyday heroes, who'd travel roads and byways of our nation, catching Nazis in the act and soundly punching them. They would wear black and white, and they would call themselves Dr. Popper's Penguins.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:05 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


I wish I had the chops to make video+music mashups. I'd set the punching to "Sail" by AWOLNATION, similar to this cat.
posted by XtinaS at 12:15 AM on January 23


> The sanitized images of Gandhi and MLK that you have in your mind are lies constructed for the purpose of deceiving you. [40 favorites +]

> There is a pretty clear answer to the question of whether Dr. King approved of Nazi punching ... [11 favorites +]


Internet Action Heroes BTFO.
posted by dgaicun at 12:23 AM on January 23


It all depends on context. I think we all loved the story recently of Derek Black being turned around by patience and loving kindness. He was young, he knew no better, he was willing to talk. And where it might work, I advocate exactly this, for those who have the stomach for it. Spencer is beyond hope IMO and a public humiliation is the best outcome. Here, it's the humiliation which I think we all applaud, a pie in the face might have done the trick too. But I fully believe a solid blow is sometimes called for too.

I also am much more inclined to hear about non violence from people who take it on themselves as matter of religious or ethical conviction, much less so from slippery sloping free speech absolutists and those who demand pacifism from others.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:04 AM on January 23 [11 favorites]


There is a pretty clear answer to the question of whether Dr. King approved of Nazi punching.

Applaud Nazi-punching if you want to, but I'm on King's side in this, now and forever.


You've clearly articulated the theological underpinnings of his nonviolent resistance. No arguments there. But I wonder if you might be underplaying his role and value as a savvy tactician, and also ignoring the specific context of the struggle he was in, versus the context of what's happening in 2017.

This Wednesday marks the 51st anniversary of the day Annie Lee Cooper punched the fascist, cattle-prodding Sherriff Jim Clark in the jaw, sending him reeling. A pivotal moment in the Selma movement that King led. Yes, it was in response to Clark prodding her in the neck with a billy club, so this wasn't unprovoked. But it was a punch to the face, after all. Officers seized her and threw her to the ground. She yelled, "I wish you would hit me, you scum." Clark then brought his billy club down on her head with "a whack that was heard throughout the crowd gathered in the street." The resulting photo of deputies holding her down while Clark bent over her with a nightstick went "viral", in today's terms, and was a huge media victory for the movement which brought sympathy. Cooper has been hailed as a civil rights hero ever since.

Now, King may have opted to not fight back when he was punched. But I haven't seen any indication that he chastised or disagreed with Annie Lee Cooper for punching that sheriff. And the Selma movement benefited greatly from the media fallout of what she did. I don't think he had a problem with it, primarily because it really emphasized in the public eye the brutality of the police (definitely a big strategy), without Cooper or the black protestors being demonized (it also certainly helped that she was a black woman in her 50s just wanting to vote and not a young black man who would be inevitably characterized as a violent thug who provoked the beating.)

Now the Nazi-punching thing is different. But it's gone "viral" in a way that has similarly proven extraordinarily beneficial at a crucial time when a perspective war is being waged. It's still too early to see clearly how this is shaking out, but it has apparently shifted the narratives in the media and public discourse, from the weirdly fawning or at best bemused coverage of people like Spencer as fashionable contrarians with valid edgy opinions, to an acknowledgement that these are people who will get punched because they are Nazi-admiring extremist racists. The entire rhetorical strategy of the alt-right (which you can even hear in the clip prior to the punching) is that they insist on differentiating themselves from the hadcore neo-Nazis, and emphasize that they are "tribalists" and "identitarians", self-styled witty and ironic intellectuals. This is weasel-y and deeply disingenuous to anyone willing to dig an inch below the surface optics, but the press is prone to falling for it and indulging the hipster meme-loving makeover of Nazism, because it makes for good copy and novelty. That punch was like a wake-up call that instantly reconfigures this sleepy amusement. Instead of the election campaign approach of countering by explaining what Pepe is and explaining the alt-right and [you've already lost most people], Spencer is in mid-playing to an enthralled media and then WHAM he gets decked. It was the swiftest rebuttal to the spin you could possibly have, and no words needed.

And in the same way Cooper was provoked by that billy club on her neck, we've really been provoked since election day by countless reports of violent hate crimes, empowered racists, and shocking dismantling of every progressive effort of the past several decades. Our own friends and friends-of-friends have been harrassed in ways they never have been in their decades of living in this country. And these guys like Spencer have been delighted, playing themselves up to the media, with every day bringing new cabinet appointments that further cement that the alt-right is in power. The punch was entirely provoked in every sense, physically and otherwise.

It was also mercifully done by what appears to be a white guy, thus not giving fuel to the strategy of painting black people as violent thugs. One of the ways the context is different in 2017 is that in the 60s, one of the reasons King saw nonviolence like not defending himself against a punch as so important was because he was keenly aware that he had no real white allies who'd fight - and he was keenly aware that black people fighting back would get demonized, jailed, beaten, killed. The best optics and media tactics in his arsenal in Selma were to get in harm's way and highlight the resulting brutality without giving any fuel to the image of black people violently resisting and being painted in a negative light. But in 2017 we have the opportunity for white allies - potentially many of them - to do what blacks could not afford to in the 60s. If Annie Lee Cooper could send a sheriff reeling with a punch, then why can't all the respectable middle-class white people who police treated in such a friendly "kid gloves" manner during the Women's March start to get a bit more forceful in their approach and treat neo-Nazi sophistry and media respectability positioning with the utter lack of respect it deserves? Don't even give it the right to be entertained with a patient argument. A quick, well-timed punch says everything a verbose liberal registration of disagreement has failed to do so far. And I assure you, you'll be acting on behalf of minorities who can't afford to do it, because the chances of them facing arrest, deportation, media demonization campaigns, and possibly death is exponentially more significant. Do you think a Muslim punching Spencer would be perceived in the same way? Of course not.

I say - if you're willing to do so and feel strong enough and aware that your privilege will let you get away with it, then do your civic duty. You don't necessarily need to get punchy if you don't want to. But get up in their faces. Call them out and shout them down. Don't give them a chance to spew this stuff. This is a crucial time when people are figuring out what the alt-right is and whether they should be allowed to be given airtime and column inches. Don't play into their word games and trollish tendencies. Punch early, punch often.
posted by naju at 1:57 AM on January 23 [64 favorites]


Nonviolence can certainly help a movement, but the bigger question is if it can do anything alone. With only nonviolent protest, the US has gotten to a point where an openly fascist misogynist bigot was just elected president and Nazis are getting written about in the media as dapper people to look up to and getting interviewed by a major national broadcasting network as if their opinions were as normal as someone preferring wheat bread to white.

Simultaneously, nonviolent protest is getting response as if it were violent -- BLM gets nothing but scorn when it's not getting outright fabrications built up against them and we're rapidly losing what little progress we've made on police reform because of their protests. Someone can't even take a knee during the national anthem in solidarity without widespread outrage.

We're in a time where it looks more and more like those in power will walk all over us if we stay passive, and many of us can't afford to wait and see if things'll change before people start getting put onto registries.
posted by flatluigi at 2:28 AM on January 23 [17 favorites]


Twitter user spnbmb has been hanging around the darkest corners of chan culture and this thread provides some interesting resources about what's driving the alt-right, and what Spencer meant when he claimed they don't like him much. Basically that he's too open and blatant and getting his name out there, rather than keeping to their internal coded discourse.
posted by Jimbob at 2:33 AM on January 23 [11 favorites]


It's a bit disconcerting to me how many people here applaud the "punching of the Nazi", since this site has never endorsed or even seriously discussed political violence, its methods, and the consequences.

To be clear, I don't care for Spencer one bit. I think it's hilarious he got smacked. I also don't condemn violence in general, in the sense that I think it's generally regrettable but not always avoidable. It can be plain fun, and energizing in it's own right for some (soccer hooligans, bar brawls). But the propensity towards violence has generally been the purview of the right. The leftist tradition of violence (eg. Antifa) is much, much smaller.

One of the reasons for this, I think, is that violence requires a mindset that is not really compatible with liberalism and certainly not with the notions of social or global justice. When you punch people or goad people into punching others, you can't complain when they punch you back. You need to accept that you may be punched and that innocent people will get caught up in the punching.

This is not a hypothetical. On Friday Spencer got punched. On Saturday a person, at only one degree remove from the Mefi community, got shot at a Milo event. Apparently someone mistook them for a neo-Nazi. They survived, but as I understand they are in hospital and may need days or weeks or months to recover.

I believe that there are plenty of good reasons to celebrate the punching of Spencer. But I also firmly believe that if you think punching Spencer is right and proper, then you should shoulder the consequences without lament. I'm not convinced that Metafilter, of plate-and-bean-broken-hearts-kitten-puppy fame, is the place.
posted by dmh at 3:05 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]


King's position on violence was clear, but his follow-up logic is rather nuanced and deserves unpacking. He wrote the following, in the "Letter from Birmingham Jail:"
have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. [....] The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history.
Later, in 1966, he wrote the following, with regard to the "Black Power" movement:
1. The slogan ["Black Power"] was an unwise choice at the outset. With the violent connotations that now attach tot the words it has become dangerous and injurious. [....] Black supremacy or aggressive black violence is as invested with evil as white supremacy or white violence.

[....]

2. [...] Yet it is not enough to condemn a new concept nor to be complacent because its appeal is narrow. The new mood has risen from real, not imaginary causes. The mood expresses an angry frustration which is not limited to the few who use it to justify violence.

[....] Some established Negro leaders are bitterly denouncing the black power advocates and urge that they be treated as untouchables. I think this will tend to increase extremist behavior as it convinces extremists that the more privileged Negro is joining the white oppressor to perpetuate poverty and discrimination. Some of the Negroes advocating violence argue that whenever one of their number i murdered or brutalized, the white power structure appoints another middle class Negro to a highly paid position. Thy then move to an equally fallacious position urging that the poor Negro turn against the "middle class" figure. This mutual fostering of disunity is the road to disaster for all. [bolding mine]

[....]

SCLC has, however, offered a constructive lesson in its recent actions. We, with others, were daring enough to march through Mississippi to give disciplined expression to burning indignation. Int he face of cries of black power we helped to summon 60,000 Negroes in the sweltering slums of Chicago to assemble nonviolently for protest - and they responded magnificently. The burden now shifts to the municipal, state and Federal authorities and all men in seats of power. If they continue to use our nonviolence as a cushion for complacency, the wrath of those suffering a long train of abuses will rise. Th consequence can well be unmanageable and persisting social disorder and moral disaster.

[....]

Negroes can still march down the path of nonviolence and racial amity if white America will meet them with honest determination to rid society of its inequality and inhumanity. Negroes have to acquire a share of power so that they can act in their own interests as an independent social force - so that they can develop inr esponsibility by learning the proper uses of power.
Since this is rather long and deserves a hearing of its own, I'll leave it to stand on its own and put my own remarks in a separate post.
posted by kewb at 3:22 AM on January 23 [8 favorites]


So, King unequivocally condemns violence as evil. He would not support Nazi-punching. But he also makes it very clear where the ultimate responsibility for expressions of violence lies; he condemns the tactic and its advocates as fallacious and counterproductive, but his real criticism is almost always for the intransigence of the power structure that, as he points out, will eventually make violence inevitable if it does not respond to nonviolent protest.

This is in part why many read King's take on nonviolence as a tactics; he spends a lot of time noting that violent "Black Power" and so forth represent a minority of Civil Rights activism, and he always turns from criticizing violence among black activists to criticizing the white majority for creating the conditions for that turn to violence. he even acknowledges that, to hius great dismay, that situation might be inevitable if the civil rights movement and nonviolent protest make no real headway because of the intransigence of that power structure.

He invariably spends much more time emphasizing his own philosophies, the need for real organization, and the need for the power structure to change than he does condemning the violence. And, interestingly, he never directly addresses those who advocate violence; he spends his time arguing to what he sees as the peaceful majority of activists that they should not give in to such temptations, providing specific alternatives while pointing to recent, concrete results, and then chiding the white power structure for those times when peaceful protest doe snot produce results.

In short, he condemns as evil the tactic of violence, but makes clear that he empathizes with those who feel driven to it. And then he always turns the rhetoric against the power structure that drives them to it.

It is those last two moves that seem to be missing in many of the responses here. For King they are necessary; his condemnations of black activist violence are generally briefer than his descriptions of the larger situation from which black activist violence emerges and of his own tactics of nonviolence and their concrete results.
posted by kewb at 3:32 AM on January 23 [22 favorites]


When you punch people or goad people into punching others, you can't complain when they punch you back.

So you're saying this Nazi got what he deserved, and shouldn't complain about it. Sounds fair.

Because that's what the non-violence advocates here are missing. Nazi punching is retaliatory - it's hitting someone who has already thrown the first punch, who has already started the fight. I'd never advocate starting a fight, but if you're in one against a group that wants you and millions of others dead I fully support ending the fight with one good swift punch.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:40 AM on January 23 [22 favorites]


don't pretend that the man who kept his hands at his side when Nazis punched him would look on approvingly.

I think it's worth noting also that even though MLK had a policy of nonviolence for many, many reasons, he also believed there were times when defensive violence was necessary. In 1956, he applied for a concealed weapons permit (and was denied because racism), and armed supporters took turns guarding his home. There were also firearms in the house after King's home was bombed.

I don't think we can know what King would think of these times, precisely: he was a complicated man who contained multitudes.
posted by corb at 4:30 AM on January 23 [20 favorites]


In short, he condemns as evil the tactic of violence, but makes clear that he empathizes with those who feel driven to it. And then he always turns the rhetoric against the power structure that drives them to it.

I pretty much agree with this. I'm not going to argue an ethic of nonviolence that is deeply personal and religious for Spenser's sake. Doing so is a distraction away from the systemic violence we're witnessing at this time.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:39 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]


I also think what is making this case exceptional for me, in addition to who Spencer is, is that he wasn't really hurt other than his ego. When the camera follows him as he walks away, he is already fixing his idiotic hair. I don't think we'd be seeing the same thread, or the music memes, or the glee, if he'd been knocked out or his nose broken, and certainly not if he had been violently beaten. I don't think anyone's basic pacifistic principles are being shaken all too hard by this.
posted by Mchelly at 5:22 AM on January 23 [11 favorites]


"Trump's base will evaporate like the morning dew when they realize that he is not strong, that he is a petulant manchild who pretends all kinds of skill and strength he obviously doesn't have when he is called on to show them."

The Danzig-ification of Trump.
posted by sutt at 5:30 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Another great thread from the Atlantics Van Newkirk on the connection between liberals decrying breaches of etiquette over the injustice that inspired them.

"That hole is that much of it (liberalism) clearly favors law, order, and a suspension of disruption first, and then progress second."

posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:00 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]


One of the reasons for this, I think, is that violence requires a mindset that is not really compatible with liberalism and certainly not with the notions of social or global justice. When you punch people or goad people into punching others, you can't complain when they punch you back. You need to accept that you may be punched and that innocent people will get caught up in the punching.

All political structures are built on violence and perpetuated through violence. The idea that liberalism, responsible for rather a lot of the violence of the past century, is incompatible with violence is facially ridiculous and the sort of thing one can only conceive when one is structurally shielded from violence, allowed not to see it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:03 AM on January 23 [23 favorites]


Suggestion for a new slogan: "When they go low, we go uppercut"
posted by tobascodagama at 6:15 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


And to curb another sort of false equivalency- yes, I would punch a Stalinist, too.

I challenge the false equivalency, but okay - you can start with this guy. Where (I understand) the tiresome Spencer calls for separation of races (cf un-punched Louis Farrakhan), the Marxist prof openly dreams of a genocide of one race in particular. On the birthday of the Prince of Peace. For LULZ. For this, Drexel censured, but did not fire, him. Despite controversial. Because tenure. And free expression

On other campuses, un-tenured peripatetic guest lecturer and free speech absolutist Milo Yiannopoulos is banned.

Because controversial.

This past weekend he was allowed to speak at the U of Washington, much to the disgust of some locals. One of the disgusted brought a gun to the shouting match. A would-be attendee is now in critical condition in hospital. The shooter eventually turned himself in, pleading self defense. It is now up to the legal system to sort the matter out.

Which is fine with me. We are a nation of laws. And under law, violence is, save in exceptional circumstances, in the sole purview of government.

Times like this, I miss Nat Hentoff
posted by IndigoJones at 6:24 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


> On Friday Spencer got punched. On Saturday a person, at only one degree remove from the Mefi community, got shot at a Milo event.

I am in favor of one, single, in front of cameras, punch to the jaw of a media-darling Nazi. I am opposed to the shooting of a campus protestor.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:26 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


The issue I have with a proposed strategy of nonviolence and peaceful resistance against Nazis in 2017 is that it's very different to take on a strategy of peaceful resistance when the Nazis are punching you versus taking on a strategy of peaceful resistance when the Nazis are punching others.

Yes, it's an incredibly powerful image -- and a way to win hearts and minds -- to stand there, peaceful and unresisting, as Nazis or cops or anyone else is raining blows down upon your head. It's a much less powerful image to stand there peaceful and unresisting as oppressors rain down blows upon the head of someone else.

We are in this complicated space -- the concept of hyperreality has been discussed a lot already -- where many of the things that are happening are happening virtually, and the oppression is being waged through internet memes and harassment campaigns and proposed laws from the U.S. government, but that doesn't mean it isn't real.

Most of the people I see arguing that "violence is never okay" are not actually the targets of that oppression. So the impression they give is not that they are standing there peacefully as the blows rain down on them -- but that they are standing there peacefully as the blows rain down on someone else.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 6:35 AM on January 23 [22 favorites]


Pater Aletheias, I appreciate very much your comment about King's philosophy but I still wish very much that someone had come across his murderer and punched them in the head enough times that we would know what he what he thought about the current climate instead of having to speculate.

I'd also note that his response to a racist punching him was made in a room full of his supporters, where he had the chance for a great PR moment, rather than alone, on the street. Context matters, mediagenics matter.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:36 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]


the Marxist prof openly dreams of a genocide of one race in particular. On the birthday of the Prince of Peace. For LULZ. For this, Drexel censured, but did not fire, him. Despite controversial. Because tenure. And free expression

FFS, you didn't even read the damn article you linked to - Ciccariello-Maher very clearly points out that his tweet was satirical, and it only got any traction because the racists at Breitbart found it and went hysterical, thereby proving his point that "white genocide" is a fiction invented by racists.

False equivalence fail.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:41 AM on January 23 [21 favorites]


If only we could build a time machine so we could go back to the 1930s and tut-tut anyone who punched a Nazi back then. Oh, wait, actually I wish we could do that but instead punch every fucking Nazi as much as possible.
posted by gatorae at 6:54 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]


I think there's a dangerous degree of complacency among many of us re: Nazis, that goes something like this:

1) Nobody is an actual Nazi. They existed at a particular time and place in history, and things have moved on and they're all dead now. Calling anything else a Nazi based on political views is just ridiculous - people might be further to the extremes than we would like, but saying they actually believe Nazi things, that's just minimising what the Nazis did.

2) Well okay those people over there are saying they believe Nazi ideas and want to do Nazi actions and are quite happily painting swastikas all over everything. But they're just fucking around, it's just the Internet, they don't mean it. They're just trolls living in their parents' basements. They don't realise how serious this stuff is. They're just doing it to shock us. I'm sure if we all ignore them, they'll go away, because they don't actually mean it.

3) Well okay some people appear to actually mean it, but there are hardly any of them! Hardly any at all! They're just random lunatics, nobody takes them seriously. We laughed at them in the 80s and we should laugh at them now. That's the best way to deal with them - refuse to take them seriously. They're all talk and no action, they'd never actually do anything.

4) Well okay a few of them appear to have actually done things. But wait, wait, calm down - there's hardly any of them, they don't have any friends anyway, maybe they were mentally ill? Yeah, probably they were mentally ill, that'll be it. That'll be why Anyway it's all very sad but it's nothing to worry about and we certainly shouldn't link it in to any kind of wider movement, because ha - nobody's an actual Nazi these days, that's just ridiculous. (GOTO 1, repeat, repeat, repeat.)

I say 'us' because I have noticed it in myself, too, this temptation to think nobody could possibly really mean this stuff. But: they do mean this stuff, they are doing this stuff, they are edging a lot closer to getting into power to enact this stuff on an even greater scale, they aren't going to have a sudden moment of enlightenment that gosh! this is not what reasonable people believe! we should be nicer!... because, you know, they're Nazis.

So I'm very glad that at least somebody's prepared to just punch the fuckers.
posted by Catseye at 7:12 AM on January 23 [53 favorites]


So, very late to the thread but the one point that was maybe not emphatically enough made is that being a 'Nazi' means you want to round up a group of people who are not 'you' and kill them.
So punch them? Yes. And especially on tv because remember, the Nazis want to round up your friends and loved ones and kill them.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:14 AM on January 23 [7 favorites]


Times like this, I miss Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff, who spent his last years aggressively speaking out against women's freedom of reproductive choice?

Liked his writing on jazz. Feel like his politics came from a place of blinkered privilege.
posted by maxsparber at 7:16 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Holy shit, did someone seriously just come in here and talk up the bullshit white genocide contriversy? Did they do it because they have no idea what the fuck they are talking about (the bullshit notion that interracial relationships are "white genocide" getting mocked) or are they a for real Nazi?
posted by Artw at 7:18 AM on January 23 [11 favorites]


I support his face punching, and here's why.

This vile man felt emboldened by the change of politics enough to publicly speak about his racist beliefs on camera. This wasn't a closed door meeting. He was filmed at a closed door meeting and nothing happened to him. So he thought, fuck it, people support me. Side of the road. Live tv. He thought the social power was on his side enough to just speak his hate. And on live tv some hero stood up and proved that wasn't true and effectively shut him down.

But not only did that hero shut down Spencer he visually took that man's power away from him in front of his audience. It was a teaching moment that said, this rhetoric will not be tolerated and will be dealt with in the fastest and most painful way possible. And it was a message not just for the alt-right white power bros, it was a message that any average Joe can walk up to someone spouting Nazi garbage and shut that shit down.

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” ― G.K. Chesterton
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 7:20 AM on January 23 [49 favorites]


Make 2017 the year you punch a Nazi
posted by Kitteh at 7:37 AM on January 23 [12 favorites]


There's also been a t-shirt made, with proceeds going to the ACLU.

I have an objection to this which is that they don't have onesies for six to nine month old babies available, to whom should I direct my complaints?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:39 AM on January 23 [16 favorites]


So I think one take-away from this is that bad times are coming and clinging to our old political understandings about how society works would be a disaster. You're free to propose whatever tactics seem morally right and/or workable to you - punch Nazis, don't punch Nazis, selectively punch Nazis when you can get away with it, etc. But we all need to remember that we're not operating under the old rules of sorta-kinda civil society anymore; the right has smashed them. Acting like the rules are still in place will make your protests ineffective and probably dangerous.

And another thing: there's nothing we can do to rebottle things. Protest is going to get more dangerous now, whether you are a peaceful protester or a Nazi-puncher. There are things that can be done in specific situations to reduce danger, but IMO "reducing danger" can't be our primary goal or determine tactics. There's going to be danger. Bad and scary things are going to happen in general, and people who have been experiencing select bad and scary things under "civil society" will be exposed to even more, and even worse. That's what it is and we have to come to terms with that.

This is really scary. A lot of my mental energy right now is in trying to get my head right about this, and to really accept that my life will not follow the pattern I'd hoped for. It's a real shift from recognizing this as a possibility to recognizing this as real. Bad things will actually happen to me and people I care about - it's not just that they could happen, or might happen if I'm careless or take the wrong risk. It's not just big talk. Trying to push through that fear and relinquish my previous hopes so that I'm not paralyzed by loss and despair is hard, but that's what we've all got to do.

We're all into pithy LOTR quotes, right? Well, how about: "None may live now as they have lived, and few will keep what they call their own"?
posted by Frowner at 7:53 AM on January 23 [21 favorites]


I mean, one thing that seems sort of likely to me: an international fascist alliance (an "axis of evil" if you will) between the US, Russia and the resurgent right in Europe. What happens when it's WWII all over again and we're the Nazis?
posted by Frowner at 7:54 AM on January 23 [12 favorites]


What I have never understood about the whole Nazi punching thing is this: why was this person being interviewed in the first place? Whose idea was it to give the Nazis more legitimacy by letting Spencer spout his opinions on the air?
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 7:56 AM on January 23 [16 favorites]


Has it been discussed - who the hell was the person behind the camera, giving him that platform in the first place? I'm pretty ok with some reasonable camera-smashing as well, except that that would have denied us all the memes.
posted by R a c h e l at 7:57 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


ABC. And whoever first printed that "dapper" bullshit.
posted by Artw at 7:57 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


What happens when it's WWII all over again and we're the Nazis?

We resist. We fight. We sabotage shit. We punch nazis.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:58 AM on January 23 [12 favorites]


What happens when it's WWII all over again and we're the Nazis?

If history is anything to go by, I die and so does my entire family.
posted by maxsparber at 8:00 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


I haven't enjoyed a post so much in a long, long time.
posted by james33 at 8:08 AM on January 23


I mean, one thing that seems sort of likely to me: an international fascist alliance (an "axis of evil" if you will) between the US, Russia and the resurgent right in Europe. What happens when it's WWII all over again and we're the Nazis?

This is what terrifies me, too. It would be easier to decide what to do if this comes to pass if I didn't have a partner (who is no longer in condition to participate in the kinds of physical resistance that she used to) to take care of. I can willingly give up my safety, but I have to think beyond myself now.

If punching a Nazi dipshit on camera helps, in any small way, prevent that future from coming to pass, then punch away.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:11 AM on January 23 [3 favorites]


"Richard Spencer did Nazi that coming!" -- My favorite.
posted by funkiwan at 8:15 AM on January 23 [12 favorites]


The left in America has, for generations, been the side willing to stand up and take a punch in the face for what's right. When fists, hoses, dogs, sonic pain beams, clubs and tear gas get turned on people for standing up for their beliefs, those people are almost always progressives of some flavor.

With these assholes coming out of the woodwork, I don't think they should get the privilege of hiding behind a leftist tendency toward nonviolence.

I've got kids to take care of, so I can't really afford an assault charge, but when the "punch a nazi legal defense fund" shows up on kickstarter, I'll throw in a few hundred bucks.
posted by woof at 8:16 AM on January 23 [11 favorites]


I've got kids to take care of, so I can't really afford an assault charge, but when the "punch a nazi legal defense fund" shows up on kickstarter, I'll throw in a few hundred bucks.

Same here.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:32 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


This is a pathological, predatory group with a long, terrifically well-documented history of vicious violence against minorities, and they are doing the thing that all pathological, predatory creatures do -- they are taking advantage of social norms to get away with violence.

Make no mistake, Spencer has explicitly called for genocide, and, again, he's the one who tried to bring a parade of armed racists to Whitefish, Montana, Jewish population about 700. Don't think the point of that parade was a civil expression of democracy. It's explicit purpose was to terrorize Jews -- the Daily Stormer literally published a list of names and addresses of local Jews.

Let's take a moment to look at this history of Neo-Naziism in America. There was George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Part. I can think of at least three murders members of this party did, just random killings of people of color, before they murdered the Rockwell himself. There was the New Order, whose members killed radio host Allan Berg among others, and ended with a Brinks robbery that culminated in a shootout with law enforcement. Who else? Oh, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, responsible for 13 murder just in 1984-85. The Hammerskins, whose member Wade Michael Page killed six people in a Sikh Temple. The National Alliance? They're an American group, and yet someone connected with them was Thomas Mair, who you might remember murdered British Labour Party politician Jo Cox.

I could go on. Endlessly. The number of violent crimes associated with neo-naziism is staggering.

And of course it is. This is not some idle philosophy, it is one of violent insurrection, performative public racism, and a near-eschatological desire to bring about a race war. It is activist, it explicitly endorses violence, and it is terrorist. And it 100 percent relies on people not confronting it to grow.
posted by maxsparber at 8:42 AM on January 23 [57 favorites]


It's worth remembering that the original Nazi movement was an organised hierarchical group that grew by physical dominance and public displays of strength. Its modern fanboys are a diffuse group associated by memes and electronic messaging. They're undisciplined and (as a group) physically ineffective. Their "Heil Trump" meeting was notable because it was a meeting; the people there got out from behind their screens for once. And look what happened - they got all excited and did stupid stuff in front of a camera.

This certainly doesn't mean that the modern movement isn't alarming, but a tactic that would have been ineffective against an original Nazi (i.e., a punch in the face) might very well dismay an effete keyboard warrior.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:59 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


100+ comments later, I'm still laughing about the punch set to Born in the USA. Like, I just think about it and start giggling spontaneously.

If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and just watch it already.

(I will admit that there is something EXTRA DELIGHTFUL to me about the Nazi being punched to "Born in the USA," because the most common microaggression that I get as a Chinese-American is for people to assume that I was not, in fact, born in the USA. Watching a smug rebranded neo-Nazi get punched to this particular Springsteen song while being interviewed by a news outlet?

It's like 2017 version of a Build-A-Bear made JUST FOR ME.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:07 AM on January 23 [21 favorites]


What happens when it's WWII all over again and we're the Nazis?

We become guerilla resistance.
posted by corb at 9:13 AM on January 23 [8 favorites]


The "Born in the USA" vid is just as good as promised except it doesn't loop
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:21 AM on January 23


We become guerilla resistance.

Aye. It's the only moral option at that point. (With the proviso that guerrilla resistance need not necessarily take the form of physical, person-to-person violence. Schindler and the men like him were guerrilla resistors as well.)

I'd really prefer things didn't come to that, though, which is why I'm so delighted to see this particular Nazi getting punched at this particular moment.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:23 AM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Potomac Avenue: "Here's a tumblr of comic book characters punching Nazis. NSFW if you work at the Nazi Party HQ."

This one is great, how Hitler's the living Swastika
posted by chavenet at 9:57 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Since I brought it up earlier if anyone could post any on the ground reporting about the shooting at UW, particularly beyond the police reports which are very confusing, I'd appreciate it. So far almost none of the facts are well established and it seems pretty important to me to get it right.

If it is the case actually that it was a leftist protestor shot by mistake by another leftist, that's pretty horrifying. Whatever the facts are please tell people not to bring guns to demonstrations. Bats, sure. No guns.

However just a point of clarification, the shooting happened on Friday as well so there's no connection, except thematically, between the incidents.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:57 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Today's Diesel Sweeties is relevant.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:01 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


"Dad, is it always OK to punch Nazis?"
"No Sweetie, not always. Sometimes they're lying down so you kick them"
posted by fullerine at 10:06 AM on January 23 [47 favorites]


Vann r. Newkirk (Atlantic) posted a thread about punching Nazis. He already has "journalists" from the Daily Caller asking him the hard-hitting questions .

So basically prepare for a ripple of "would it be okay if a radical Imam got punched"
posted by windbox at 10:19 AM on January 23


I have an objection to this which is that they don't have onesies for six to nine month old babies available, to whom should I direct my complaints? -- Mrs. Pterodactyl

As a possible alternative, may I direct your attention to this onesie, which the littlest Naberius proudly wore on inauguration day.

in contrast to my wife's visions of Disney princesses and faerie dust, I consider it my mission to turn our daughter into a fierce, Star Wars geeking riot baby
posted by Naberius at 10:44 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]


If this had been a guy talking about how great ISIS is and how people should go and join the glorious caliphate I'd have been disappointed that he walked without a limp afterwards.
posted by NiteMayr at 10:45 AM on January 23


Has anyone looped the Der Führer's Face one yet?

My rofls have rofls. I could watch that one all day.
" ... With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost." — William Lloyd Garrison, William Lloyd Garrison, 1805-1879: The Story of His Life Told by His Children.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:56 AM on January 23 [10 favorites]


Radical Imans tend to get blown up a lot.
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on January 23


As a Jew and as a Jew whose grandfather, according to family lore, punched Nazis (in Hamburg in 1938), I am 100% fine with Nazi punching. Go on Nazi-puncher!
posted by Sophie1 at 11:06 AM on January 23 [8 favorites]


After all, without Nazi punching, I wouldn't be here, so how could I say no to the punching of Nazis?
posted by Sophie1 at 11:08 AM on January 23 [8 favorites]


Watching a smug rebranded neo-Nazi get punched to this particular Springsteen song while being interviewed by a news outlet?

in a perfect world the looped punch moment would play on enormous flag emblazoned "freedom screens" at the next springsteen concert
posted by poffin boffin at 11:10 AM on January 23 [12 favorites]


I just posted in an AskMe about resistance reading, with an anecdote about my French grandfather-in-heart who was a symphony clarinettist and German-speaking (thanks to his Alsatian, violinist wife) infiltrator of Nazis as part of what's now called the French Resistance. A lot of it was ad hoc; his group was. I mentioned how, even decades later, it tore him apart that he'd killed men in the Nazi army. Some he, and their group, all knew were Nazi leaders. But then there were soldiers; boys he saw as boys like he was.

All that to say. He never regretted doing what he could to weaken Nazis. He struggled with killing. That was who he was.

Y'all who don't personally feel like punching or killing Nazis, that's on a spectrum of normal humanity. Y'all who feel like punching and removing Nazis from both the gene pool and committing violence against others, that too is on a spectrum of normal humanity.

As far as where I stand, I've told stories about one of my asshole uncles who would beat my gay cousin and lock him in closets for hours on end. You know what stopped him? Not crying, not talking, not discussing when he was calm, not calling the police (goddamn it). What worked was me growing tall and strong until at age 12, one night after, again, calling the police, I screamed at him to let my cousin out of the closet he'd been in for several hours by then. He got in my face, as was his ex-linebacker wont, and I gut punched him with all my strength. He crumpled to the ground.

He let my cousin out of the closet and never laid a finger on him again when I was around. 12-year-old girl punching an ex-linebacker in the stomach. You feel like punching Nazis? I'm on board with that.
posted by fraula at 11:22 AM on January 23 [108 favorites]


Fraula, you're a hero for doing that.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:27 AM on January 23 [17 favorites]


Def read the 22 November 2016 Washington Post interview with Spencer, "‘Let’s party like it’s 1933’: Inside the alt-right world of Richard Spencer." Particularly the parts where he envisions his future America:
"Last week, he said that he would not date a nonwhite woman again and that he still wants interracial relationships barred.

That belief is core to the alt-right’s most radical goal: an all-white country.

“We need an ethno-state,” he said in a 2013 speech, “so that our people can ‘come home again,’ can live amongst family and feel safe and secure.”

He ended his address by invoking the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: “I have a dream.”

Last week, Spencer was reluctant to discuss how that dream would be achieved.

How, he was asked, in a nation with more than 100 million blacks, Asians and Latinos, could a whites-only territory be created without overwhelming violence?

Over chocolate croissants and an Americano coffee at a Corner Bakery Cafe, he avoided the question, discussing Nietzsche, communism’s origins, history’s unpredictability.

Then, at last, he offered an answer.

“Look, maybe it will be horribly bloody and terrible,” he said. “That’s a possibility with everything.”
And apropos "meme magic," the following is worth savoring, also
He pulled his phone from his pocket. Giddy, he played a video taken at Michigan, where more than 100 students were filmed chanting “No alt-right! No KKK! No racist USA!”

He played it again.

“We’re getting under their skin,” he said. “I take a sadistic pleasure in that.”
He takes a sadistic pleasure in that.

Punch two, three, many nazis.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:41 AM on January 23 [46 favorites]


The version that sets the delicious punch to the tune of “Smooth” by Carlos Santana feat. Rob Thomas gave me some much-needed chuckles yesterday. I’m waiting for someone to make one with “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies.
posted by cathycartoon at 11:53 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Contemplating committing genocide over coffee and chocolate croissants? That's a paddlin'!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:53 AM on January 23 [8 favorites]


This one is great, how Hitler's the living Swastika

I'm not sure what's going on with the guy on the ground in the green overalls, but I can't escape the horrible feeling that it is weirdly sexual.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:29 PM on January 23


ABC. And whoever first printed that "dapper" bullshit.

That would be Mother Jones (Twitter).

Anyhow, whether via punching or other methods, it's gratifying to see people committing to a Niemoller reboot. And really, I think it's our duty as patriotic citizens (of wherever) to laugh our asses off as loudly and long as possible at Spencer getting musically cold-cocked.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:37 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


in a perfect world the looped punch moment would play on enormous flag emblazoned "freedom screens" at the next springsteen concert.

Yeah, that loop singlehandedly (get it?) makes up for Reagan and every other dick who has misused that song for decades. Bruce must be pleased.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:41 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


Things I learned from that Mother Jones photo in contrast with the video of Dick Spencer getting punched: dude dyes his hair.
posted by bile and syntax at 12:52 PM on January 23


He is undoubtedly a great man and don't misread this as besmirching him in any way but why is Dr. King's approach the only way for liberals? Every time any injustice happens nowadays, everyone always quotes him. Why is he the end all and be all? Where are the (e.g.) Malcolm X quotes? Wouldn't he approve of Nazi-punching, especially since it was done by a white guy?
"I don't mean go out and get violent; but at the same time you should never be nonviolent unless you run into some nonviolence. I'm nonviolent with those who are nonviolent with me. But when you drop that violence on me, then you've made me go insane, and I'm not responsible for what I do."
posted by AFABulous at 1:04 PM on January 23 [23 favorites]


Anyhow, whether via punching or other methods, it's gratifying to see people committing to a Niemoller reboot.

Heh, yes. After all the strained abuse that Niemöller's poem has been subject to in service of tedious/petty stuff on the internet over years, I'm really glad to see people turning around and applying it to an appropriately concrete existential threat.

I have been having an oddly busy couple of days on twitter on that front, after my grumpy inauguration-day sass ended up as a third party in a retweet argument between Elizabeth Banks and Sarah Silverman.
posted by cortex at 1:06 PM on January 23 [18 favorites]


elizabeth banks, secret mefite
posted by radicalawyer at 1:35 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


I want to find the moral here. I guess there isn't any.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:52 PM on January 23


Punch a Nazi for your tomorrow
Punch a Nazi live on the air
Punch a Nazi for America
Punch a Nazi on social media to share
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:57 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


What was that upthread about US Nazis and white supremacists not having power or ability to harm people?

Former Executive Director of Anti-Immigrant Hate Group FAIR Joins Trump Administration
Since its founding in 1979, FAIR has push an agenda centered on a complete moratorium on all immigration to the United States and defined by vicious attacks on non-white immigrants. Its founder was white nationalist John Tanton, an avowed eugenicist who created the modern anti-immigrant movement in the United States.

"I've come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that,” Tanton wrote in 1993.

Dan Stein, FAIR’s longtime president, has complained that today’s immigrants are engaged in “competitive breeding” to diminish the America’s white majority.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:00 PM on January 23 [15 favorites]


It makes me uncomfortable to see him be punched despite me being a prime demographic his peers would annihilate if they got control. The reason although I articulate it poorly is that I see the same justifications in this thread with regards to violence towards people who aren't Spencer. Such as when a girl had her hair set on fire. Or when a disabled boy was kidnapped, tortured and brutalised. Or when a man had his head bashed in with a flag pole. It's easy to imagine the victim in each case being a personal 'Spencer' to the people who brutalised them. An acceptable target to violate and have rage poured on them. It scares me to see the sheer pleasure people take in doing so.
posted by CyborgHag at 3:59 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


"Okay but what if you did that to somebody in a different context for different reasons, that would be awful" isn't a good argument, and it's basically a restating of the "difference of opinions" strawman.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:05 PM on January 23 [25 favorites]


Don't you know? When you endorse one genocidal racist being punched in a specific situation, you also implicitly endorse all violence, torture and brutality everywhere throughout history.
posted by naju at 4:13 PM on January 23 [30 favorites]


I was thinking about Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade last night and how the knight living in the cave should've explained to Indy that the real grail was the Nazis he got to punch along the way.
posted by um at 4:19 PM on January 23 [12 favorites]


I'm not against what happened, as I mentioned up thread, but it's feeling like a pile on in here at this point. I don't want a world where Nazis feel comfortable sharing their views in public. But I do want a world where mefites can express their belief in non violence without an endless shout down.
posted by latkes at 4:23 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Such as when a girl had her hair set on fire. Or when a disabled boy was kidnapped, tortured and brutalised. Or when a man had his head bashed in with a flag pole.

How is this the same as a sucker punch for Spencer?
posted by zutalors! at 4:34 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


when it comes down to the actual lives of minorities vs the hurt feelings of internet people who don't like punching i'm just gonna go ahead and support the former
posted by poffin boffin at 4:34 PM on January 23 [26 favorites]


But I do want a world where mefites can express their belief in non violence without an endless shout down.

Expressing belief in non-violence is perfectly fine. But suggesting that people who feel otherwise are intellectually justifying this disgusting incident is something that deserves a response.
posted by naju at 4:34 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


INDIANA JONES: Marion, don't look at it! Shut your eyes, Marion! Don't look at it, no matter what happens! Also, you Nazis, don't look at it either. I find your political views reprehensible, but it would be wrong to let the spirits of the Ark melt your faces

NAZI OFFICER: Hey, thanks.

TOHT: This guy. We've had our differences, but he really sticks to his principles.

[The Nazis close their eyes. Once the spirits go back into the Ark, the Nazis shoot INDIANA and MARION and take the Ark back to Germany. FADE OUT]
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:37 PM on January 23 [31 favorites]


>Expressing belief in non-violence is perfectly fine. But suggesting that people who feel otherwise are intellectually justifying this disgusting incident is something that deserves a response.

What response is that, exactly (other than accusing people of being morally bankrupt or a fucking Nazi collaborator, for example, because that's been covered). I'm curious to know how a culture of heightened violence and aggression is going to contribute to minimizing the odds of events like that from occurring. Or like people potentially shooting people on the same damn side (if that didn't already happen).
posted by cotton dress sock at 4:56 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Moral absolutism is extremely naive and assumes an incredibly black and white world where any situation is identical no matter the context.

Proposing that all violence is absolutely wrong means saying that anyone who hurts another in self-defense, to protect themselves from harm is just as bad as the person who was aiming to hurt them in the first place. If someone has a knife to your throat, an absolutist says you must die because taking any other action means you're 'perpetuating violence' instead of protecting yourself, something that hopefully should sound absurd and insensible to anyone reading this.

The problem is that we've been normalized and pressed into a frame of mind where systemic violence is seen as lesser than physical violence, even though the former is insidious and everpresent in ways the latter can never be & the latter is the only thing available to the people who are subjected to the violence (as they're completely shut out of the system and cannot impart any change because of said violence). Because it's abstract (and, likely, because it doesn't affect many of the people who are able to hold public mainstream discussion about it), it just ends up not feeling as violent as it is -- but just ask anyone who's getting their healthcare taken away and are being sentenced to die sick and in poverty if they're feeling hurt.

Furthermore, physical violence is seen as the be-all and end-all -- the final step that cannot be taken -- as if somehow proposing that an entire race should be wiped from the planet is just not as bad as punching someone in the face. It's as if people seriously believe that a person who holds space for discussion about what the best way to genocide is, who yells Heil Trump at rallies and gets salutes in response, and who was given space on national television to spread his ideas isn't actually hurting anyone.
posted by flatluigi at 5:08 PM on January 23 [24 favorites]


but why is Dr. King's approach the only way for liberals?

It's like the inverse Godwin, where instead of reaching for the unimpeachable evil, the chances of a white person quoting MLK to back up their position reaches 100% because he's an unimpeachable good.

I think this one punch to this one guy is an unequivocal good. I also think that if you expand it even a little, there's a lot of room for discussion about appropriate responses, commitment to pacificism, etc. Sure, some people might be concern trolling, others too eager to support violence, and it's possible to be on either side of that argument without immediately being called pro-Nazi or pro-murder. The site's a place for discussion; in theory this would be one of them.

To me, why this applies so well isn't so much that he's a Nazi - because then you can get into whether one punch is enough, how to deal with hate speech and advocates of violence who haven't gone beyond words, and so on. To me, the punch, on-camera, providing him with humiliation and embarrassment in front of the very people he seeks to antagonise and upset, is a fine response because he's so clearly a troll, someone who makes the world worse for other people because it amuses (and also benefits) him.

There's a lot of different avenues for dealing with Nazis. But trolls? That's a punching.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:13 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


cotton dress sock: Before he was punched, Richard Spencer was being interviewed on national television about being a Nazi and was having articles written about how dapper and fashionable he and his white nationalism was. After he was punched, he became the laughingstock of the internet and he literally went into hiding because he didn't feel safe espousing his views anymore

I think it's pretty clear that his getting punched has definitely lowered the odds of Nazism being taken seriously, and the lack of action that had been taken up to that point had done absolutely nothing to stop the spread of his views + in fact had instead allowed it to become normalized and widespread. It's not theoretical at this point and cannot be treated as such.
posted by flatluigi at 5:15 PM on January 23 [20 favorites]


What response is that, exactly

Well, this, this, this, and this were the sorts of responses I was talking about. Just in-thread responses. You thought "deserves a response" = a threat?

I'm curious to know how a culture of heightened violence and aggression is going to contribute to minimizing the odds of events like that from occurring.

It's rich to suggest that people like me and others in this thread would be creating a culture of heightened violence and aggression, rather than responding to an already extant one. Maybe this SPLC report on harrassment and intimidation incidents in the aftermath of the election will give you a clue on who to blame for a "culture of heightened violence and aggression." Hint: it's not the people using a satisfying meme (and a punch that even Spencer acknowledged wasn't that bad) to make violent racist perpetrators look ridiculous.
posted by naju at 5:20 PM on January 23 [13 favorites]


>What was that upthread about US Nazis and white supremacists not having power or ability to harm people?

Former Executive Director of Anti-Immigrant Hate Group FAIR Joins Trump Administration

...[Not quoting Nazi stuff]


Well if these fine folks are truly interested in ensuring that the white race is not out competed in birth rates, a have a few simple policy proposals for them that will go a long way.

First off, there is an unfortunate disparity in birth control access between white and non-white segments of the US population, leading to a higher birth rate among the non-white segment. Fortunately, there is a group dedicated to remedying this and equalizing birth control access to all! I suggest a large donation to Planned Parenthood in order to remedy this unfortunate problem.

Second, while it is true that immigrants have a higher birth rate than the native population, it is lower than it would be in their home countries. Thus the United States of America, with its experience in assimilating immigrant cultures, must do its part in reducing the birth rates of the non-white portion of the world by accepting as many non-white immigrants as feasibly possible!

Third, and most importantly, it is a fact that peaceful, socialist countries have the lowest birth rates, often below replacement! Thus the ultimate goal, in order to to ensure birth rate parity between white and non-white populations, must be to encourage the spread of peace and socialism throughout the world. Especially to countries with large non-white populations. Even if this comes at the cost of great monetary assistance, the proven outcomes are most worth it!

I hope these prudent and racially aware suggestions do not fall on deaf ears!
posted by Zalzidrax at 5:25 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


It's like the inverse Godwin, where instead of reaching for the unimpeachable evil, the chances of a white person quoting MLK to back up their position reaches 100% because he's an unimpeachable good.

I have also noticed lately that Dr. King is almost always evoked in the negative. Dr. King says we mustn't do this or mustn't do that. It's never about what Dr. King says we must do. Really hard not to take that as just an excuse for inaction.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:26 PM on January 23 [20 favorites]


flatluigi, I've said in multiple places that I'm fine with the punch absent a backlash; there appears to be none (that we know of so far), good, pleased with that. (Noting that there is a report above of a hit being placed on the puncher, unsure if that's been confirmed or not or an actual threat or not.)

Personally - despite what appear to be claims to the contrary - I'm not opposed to strategic violence once other means have been exhausted. I think jumping the gun (so to speak), for those upholding broadly liberal values, it does mean losing ground, beyond which, it exposes vulnerable people to risk of revanchist backlash. Because, even if the identified perpetrator of any initial action is culturally immune, I'm betting the original targets are going to end up absorbing the blame. I don't trust people who stockpile weapons, I'm not sure people on the side of the right are all that equipped to take on the nightmare I'm imagining, I think that nightmare (not this punch) should be avoided until there aren't other options.

We should be firm, clear, vocal, and unyielding on our opposition to nazism, in every way possible. I don't know what that will mean, long-term. The support seen the other day is encouraging, the actions of the town of Whitefish are encouraging.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:30 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


It's rich to suggest that people like me and others in this thread would be creating a culture of heightened violence and aggression, rather than responding to an already extant one

Absolutely, it would be rich if anyone actually said or suggested that.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:31 PM on January 23


There's very little more ground to lose in this country before people start getting put on registries and shipped to camps, since white supremacy is alive and well in the White House. Steve Bannon even wrote the inauguration speech.

You keep acting like any response to the rise of Nazism in this country needs to be carefully measured so that it doesn't end up reflecting back upon the targets of the Nazis, which has two major failed assumptions: one, that there's a step above literal genocide for the Nazis to escalate to, and two, that the people talking about and needing to respond aren't the targets -- your repeated insistence on talking theoreticals and calling everyone weak middle-aged academics who can't and shouldn't resist is pretty clearly framing it as such.

Many of my friends are probably going to die over the next several years unless things change drastically. I might end up dying. I don't think we're worth sacrificing.
posted by flatluigi at 5:42 PM on January 23 [19 favorites]



I hope these prudent and racially aware suggestions do not fall on deaf ears!


I flagged this comment, but since it's staying, just want to point out that I find it really icky.
posted by zutalors! at 5:45 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Did you try actually reading it?
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:47 PM on January 23




Did you try actually reading it?


yep! I read it several times.
posted by zutalors! at 5:48 PM on January 23


Late to thread. Feel like I should say something because I'm a mefite, a white lady mefite who spent a whole summer a while back in conflict with Nazis (white supremecy) . At least one a week, got to stand face to face with Nazi's and by face I mean literally, standing less the ten feet as we looked at each other. Probably the only reason there wasn't punching was the cops keeping us separated. And during the rest of the week it was spending time in their online world in order to try to keep tabs on what they were up too.

Now they weren't there 'protesting' me, but the hundreds FN's I was standing with. Which brings me to my main point because I have to feel that anyone that is totally anti-punching Nazis is either not POC or a white person who has never experienced conflict with people that have this mentality. It cured me of any notion that there is any way to reason with these people as group. Individuals possibly if you get them away from their group but as a group, no. As a white person as soon as you side with anyone that is not them you are someone they now hate. You have committed the ultimate of sin and are a race traitor.

I really want to make this clear for anyone who think this is just a form of politics and difference of opinion. In a world where these folks get power there is no grey. NONE. As a white person you have to choose. It's either them or everyone else. This not politics. This is not opinion. As a white person if these folks gets there way you will have to decide whether you're a Nazi or not a Nazi and if you're not a Nazi you will suffer the same fate that everyone their ideologies hate and want to get rid of.

I know this because they told me this over and over to my face. I know this because they tried to convince me to change sides. I know this because when I refused they let me know what was going to happen to me and my family. Oh and if you're a woman you get to be raped and whatnot before you go down.

Another point is there power absolutely depends on being in a group and feeling like they have the support of power structures behind them On their own and in smaller groups they aren't so brave and brazen about it.

Another point, one of their major strategies is to try to get POC to fight them. The idea that it's just proves there points yadda, yadda and makes the POC look bad. They do not like it if white people step in and put themselves into the the possible fighting positions. They hate that because they don't want to fight white people they want to convince white people. I know this from experience. If it had been a black person hitting Spencer there would be a different reaction to it from their camps. There would be more celebrating. If there is Nazi punching happening white people need to take the lead.

Humiliation is a useful tactic as it diminishes power. There thinking is entirely based on power and the gain of power. I know this because they don't like it when a little white girl that they're screaming 'RACE TRAITOR' at, starts singing stupid random rhymes about penis size and compensation. There are other ways to punch as well, be creative.

If it's not clear I'm okay with punching Nazis. I wouldn't have punched but boy did I want to launch a few kicks in the nuts during that time.

Just be safe and be smart when you punch Nazis. Really that's all.
posted by Jalliah at 5:50 PM on January 23 [52 favorites]




yep! I read it several times.

Then surely you noted it was a work of satire.

Unless the ideas of large Planned Parenthood donations, widespread acceptance of non-white immigrants and the spread of peace around the world are what you find really icky.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:52 PM on January 23


Absolutely, it would be rich if anyone actually said or suggested that.

Feel free to explain what I'm supposed to be answering for in this prompt, then:
I'm curious to know how a culture of heightened violence and aggression is going to contribute to minimizing the odds of events like that from occurring.
Go ahead, unpack it. So 1) Nazis and racists have committed over 1,000 hate crimes since Nov. 8, thus creating this current state of heightened violence and aggression. Not to mention over 50 bomb threats to Jewish cultural centers in the past couple weeks. 2) someone punches one of the main guys fomenting this modern hate movement, 3) I'm supposed to explain how celebrating that punch did not stop violence incidents from occurring, or something.

News flash: the racists are going to keep up their terrorism campaign and get way worse, and were planning on it regardless! Being left unchecked in any meaningful way, they're feeling more and more emboldened every single day, and even feel like they have the media eating out of their hands. They're actually making a plausible go at having their genocidal Nazi worship and hate crimes entering a sphere of respectability and "well, it's a viable opinion." The more emboldened they get and the more they feel like no one is challenging them, the more they will viciously beat up or kill people like me in the streets. They call interracial relationships "white genocide". They for sure want me to feel scared that I will be dragged into an alley and stabbed at any moment if I'm holding the hand of someone lighter skinned than me. FUCK this complacent polite left that is standing by watching this happen. I don't endorse anything more injurious than punches, but you're goddamn right I endorse punches.
posted by naju at 5:57 PM on January 23 [32 favorites]


yep! I read it several times.

Then surely you noted it was a work of satire.


No, it's "ironic racism", at a time when this is indistinguishable from the real thing in the real world.

I know you want to "gotcha" me because you like the comment and that tactic, but my parents are nonwhite immigrants, and I am really not feeling comments that are helpfully suggesting how to diminish nonwhite populations worldwide, jokey or no.
posted by zutalors! at 5:58 PM on January 23 [16 favorites]


You're right, flatluigi, I certainly don't know how fast changes would happen. It's certainly possible that my comments have been naive and unfounded. I hope there is room for hope, and am beyond regret if there isn't.

your repeated insistence on talking theoreticals and calling everyone weak middle-aged academics who can't and shouldn't resist is pretty clearly framing it as such.

I suppose I was mostly thinking of our specific membership (middle-aged, middle-class, risk-averse [if with kids, property, careers, etc], cat-loving and peace-inclined...). It's usually antsy young men aged 18-25 with nothing to lose who end up throwing themselves into the fray and generally being better at it. I wouldn't begrudge self-defense.

I'm sorry that my comments have been hurtful, I think I'll bow out here.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:58 PM on January 23


Ah one more before I go

>naju, sorry - I didn't mean that punch, I was thinking of the stuff on the other end of the violence spectrum that seems to have come up quite a lot. I wasn't sure what you were referring to in your first comment. Apologies there, too.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:02 PM on January 23


I know you want to "gotcha" me because you like the comment and that tactic

No, it's not ironic racism. It instead points out how the stated goals and actual behaviours of the right are not in sync in a less than direct fashion. Any 'gotcha' factor lies in the thinking of anything resembling satire as being worthy of deletion, which sits especially oddly in this thread.
posted by gadge emeritus at 6:06 PM on January 23


which sits especially oddly in this thread

and why's that?
posted by zutalors! at 6:11 PM on January 23


It instead points out how the stated goals and actual behaviours of the right are not in sync in a less than direct fashion.
No it doesn't, because the some elements of "alt right", and Richard Spencer in particular support abortion as "eugenic" and warn against the "pro-life temptation". So it's just "ironically" supporting Spencer's exact position.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:12 PM on January 23 [10 favorites]


Ironic bigotry is just bigotry with a prepared excuse when called upon.
posted by flatluigi at 6:17 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. The problem with the comment has been explained in a pretty clear way; fine if folks don't see it that way, but digging in on whether it's ok to object on those grounds is a needless derail. Maybe let's get back to the Nazi punching.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:44 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


How about yelling at Nazis? (With all thanks to Shia LaBeouf.)
posted by XtinaS at 6:48 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


Maybe let's get back to the Nazi punching.

Sounds good.

Punching Nazis is awesome - http://www.altrebuttal.com/
posted by ryoshu at 6:58 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


a girl had her hair set on fire. Or when a disabled boy was kidnapped, tortured and brutalised. Or when a man had his head bashed in with a flag pole.

one time I saw a guy eat a marshmallow but it is super disturbing to think about what if that had been a LIVE HUMAN BABY he had been crushing between his molars
posted by Greg Nog at 7:00 PM on January 23 [27 favorites]


A.B.P. Always be punching.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:01 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


I just wish I had the talent to mashup "Bella Ciao" to this, and on every "ciao" there could be another punch and it could play on infinite loop forever.

Consider this a thank you for all the Never Trump work you did last year.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:16 PM on January 23 [18 favorites]


The violence has already started. The Nazis have been engaging in violence and threats of violence for years, and they've gotten away with it, largely because of our refusal to respond in kind. The question now is not violence or nonviolence, but who's violence you will support.
posted by happyroach at 7:18 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


It's like the inverse Godwin, where instead of reaching for the unimpeachable evil, the chances of a white person quoting MLK to back up their position reaches 100% because he's an unimpeachable good.

I think Dr. King was a great man and a hero but no tactic, including nonviolence, is appropriate for every situation. How exactly does nonviolence triumph over Heydrich? Because Operation Anthropoid did pretty well against him.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:18 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


For anyone still interested in punch gifs, this CVS Bangers one is exquisite.
posted by Copronymus at 7:28 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


I made the thread because I love the musical remixes so much, so thanks to everyone who's posted those.

I'm also enjoying the discussion, but really I could just watch music videos of people punching nazis all day.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:35 PM on January 23 [17 favorites]


The 90s music in the remixes make me nostalgic for that time. At least teens now won't have the same illusions, that the world is slowly getting better?
posted by zutalors! at 7:54 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Fight evil or be it.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:25 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


what if that had been a LIVE HUMAN BABY he had been crushing between his molars

babies don't crunch they are fatty and tender
posted by poffin boffin at 10:22 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


oh, crushing, nvm
posted by poffin boffin at 10:22 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


No, it's "ironic racism", at a time when this is indistinguishable from the real thing in the real world.

I'll apologize then. It's a comment that is in pretty poor taste for metafilter and there really aren't a lot of alt-righters to troll which it was, at best, suited for.

If there was a seed of non-irony in my opinion, it's that it doesn't matter how selfish or parochial or even downright racist you are, the best chance for you and yours is to look out for everyone on this planet. There really isn't any other option. You can't hide from the diversity of the world, no matter how hateful and violent you are. Even horrifyingly "successful" ethnic nationalism just escalates conflict from the streets to full scale industrialized war. And humans have nukes now. Either we all get along or we all burn.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:33 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Just an update on the UW shooting at the Milo event. Here's the latest. Previous reports were saying that the shooter was a 50-year-old Asian man who appeared to be an anti-Milo protestor who thought he was shooting a white supremacist. Contradicting most of this, the latest Seattle Times piece reports that the shooter was a 29-year-old former UW student (no mention of race) who had posted on Milo's Facebook page an hour earlier asking for an autographed MAGA hat, and who liked/followed the Milo, Trump, and NRA Facebook pages. Here's a report from one eyewitness close to the action:
Samie Frites, a nursing assistant who said he had gone to the protest “to make sure nobody got hurt,” said he saw a man pull “something out of his coat and started firing these little projectiles into the crowd.”

The law-enforcement source said it was pepper spray.

“I yelled at him to stop,” Frites said. “That’s when this other guy came out of the crowd and went after him.”

Frites said he grabbed him to try to prevent a confrontation. That’s when Frites said he heard a “muffled noise,” which he is now sure was the gunshot.

“The guy I was holding looked back at me over his shoulder. He looked bad. He was really scared,” said Frites, who said he lowered the wounded man to the ground.
So, that is what it is for now, and maybe we'll find out the concrete official details soon. In the meantime, I think it was irresponsible for multiple people in this thread to prematurely use the incident, and initial speculative details we now know aren't true or are at least disputed, as an example of the left's propensity for violence run amok. IndigoJones for example, who in that single comment also mentioned a professor's censure incident with outright false talking points out of Breitbart. It was also wrong to incorrectly say (as dmh did) that the punching took place Friday and the shooting took place Saturday, implying a connection between the two, when both took place on Friday and the shooting appears completely unrelated.
posted by naju at 4:31 AM on January 24 [21 favorites]


We punch a nazi, no end of finger wagging and blame. A nazi shoots one of us, no end of finger wagging and blame... for its again. Because food forbid nazis actually be held responsible for their actions. "Violence begets violence" is only a warning to us, not an explanation for the punch, justifies violence against us, but not against nazis.

There's a lot of what the fuck going round in this thread.
posted by Dysk at 5:31 AM on January 24 [16 favorites]


OPINION: Thinkpieces, Not Punching Nazis, Won World War II
— Approved News 6 (@ApprovedNews6) January 24, 2017
posted by XtinaS at 5:55 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


As far as the left's propensity for violence goes, I've been watching a number of my friends post online over the last few months about carrying mace or similar because they are afraid to walk down the street.

The right's propensity for violence is because they feel entitled to hurt us, to wipe us out, to enforce at any opportunity their sense of superiority.

The left's propensity for violence, if you can call it that, is because we are afraid people will kill us for existing.

These are not the same and should not be equated.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:59 AM on January 24 [24 favorites]


The left's propensity for violence, if you can call it that, is because we are afraid people will kill us for existing.

That's only contingently true. "The left" is a big umbrella; parts of it can be pretty damn violent, and other parts of it are happy to associate with groups that are committed to the use of violence. For instance, Jewish events are regularly threatened by anti-Zionist groups (e.g.) and a lot of left-wing icons have been happy to appear with representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah, and even endorse them.

I'm glad that recent events have reminded many people on the left that antisemitism still exists, but I suspect that for many it's a case of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". In most cases antisemitism is ignored, or seen as a distraction, and at best appears in a list of "racism, sexism, Islamophobia, ...." I commend this recent log post by David Schraub, who I often find too willing to excuse left-wing antisemitism: Solidarity is for Goyim. And for anyone here who thinks they're better than that - when have you seen people here other than Jews mention antisemitic attacks and threats?
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:40 AM on January 24 [9 favorites]


"The left" is a big umbrella; parts of it can be pretty damn violent, and other parts of it are happy to associate with groups that are committed to the use of violence.

I mean, sure, but you can say that about nearly any group of people you wanted to choose from. Pick a "big umbrella" and some fraction of it is probably violent or threatens violence. Beyond that, your point isn't clear, besides "some people I don't like do things I don't like," a proposition I'm sure I don't disagree with.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:54 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Beyond that, your point isn't clear, besides "some people I don't like do things I don't like," a proposition I'm sure I don't disagree with.

Maybe read the link? There's an entire essay in there about Jews needing solidarity and not getting it that your comment accidentally reinforced.
posted by maxsparber at 7:15 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


And for anyone here who thinks they're better than that - when have you seen people here other than Jews mention antisemitic attacks and threats?

A lot?? Kind of a whole lot? Do leftists not get worried about antisemitism in australia or something? By "here" do you mean metafilter? There's goyim in this very thread mentioning antisemitism.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:16 AM on January 24 [7 favorites]


Greg, I like you, but please. The linked article mentions non-Jews being hair-trigger about this thing. Don't be that non-Jew.

There was no FPP about 30 JCCS receiving bomb threats. The last FPP specifically about antisemtism was from August and was about Lovecraft. The previous was from April and was about England.

There does seem to be a genuine, profound lack of support for the Jewish community, in general and on MetaFilter specifically. When a Jew brings it up, please don't immediately shout him down.
posted by maxsparber at 7:21 AM on January 24 [8 favorites]


And don't use goyim, please. It's not your word, most non-Jews don't understand the context of it, and every time I see it online nowadays it is from antisemities throwing the word in my face.
posted by maxsparber at 7:23 AM on January 24 [7 favorites]


I'm having a hard time seeing how this is "shouting him down"; I'm saying that non-jews are specifically mentioning antisemitism right here in this thread, in direct response to "when have you seen people here other than Jews mention antisemitic attacks and threats?"
posted by Greg Nog at 7:24 AM on January 24


This is one of those moments when talking less and listening more might help. If you have questions, ask, but that didn't feel like a question, it felt like a contradiction.

Honestly, please, please, please afford Jews the same respect in describing their own experience we ask of everyone else.
posted by maxsparber at 7:25 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


I.. .wasn't asking a question? I was answering a question
posted by Greg Nog at 7:27 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


All right, Greg. I'm done here. Thanks.
posted by maxsparber at 7:28 AM on January 24


when have you seen people here other than Jews mention antisemitic attacks and threats?

naju mentioned the 50+ bomb threats to Jewish Cultural Centers in this very thread right here
posted by beerperson at 7:41 AM on January 24 [10 favorites]


There was no FPP about 30 JCCS receiving bomb threats.

I see three separate mentions of these threats in this thread, one by me, and I'm not Jewish FWIW.

In any case I ended up flagging Joe's comment because I feel like I/P soapboxing doesn't have much place in this thread, and it contributed to a derail.
posted by naju at 7:42 AM on January 24 [10 favorites]


My Jewish friends, who are all quite left wing in a material, on-the-ground way, are really worried and one of them said that as a Jew she felt that one of the lessons of Jewish history was that no one would stand up for her if she was threatened for her Jewishness.

I think maybe we can talk about some of this stuff without needing to resolve the I/P question - it's not like the uptick in American anti-semitism is because the neo-Nazis are so supportive of Palestine. It would be horrible if non-Jews minimized on-the-ground violent anti-semitism that is actually here right now because we got caught up in talking about Hamas.
posted by Frowner at 7:46 AM on January 24 [24 favorites]


There was no FPP about 30 JCCS receiving bomb threats.

I would have thought it would have been discussed under the post election threads, which is... depressing.
posted by Artw at 7:49 AM on January 24


when have you seen people here other than Jews mention antisemitic attacks and threats?

Still catching up on about eighty things right now, but actually I told four people who hadn't known about them about those attacks just this week. And one of those was to a woman I spoke with at the Holocaust Museum, as we stood with grief together. We went out and bought about a hundred dollar's worth of Holocaust Museum buttons, pins, postcards, bumper stickers, anything we could think of to wear to show solidarity, too.

I stand with my Jewish friends, and I've explicitly told them so. I will keep telling them so. And more importantly, I am explaining that they need protecting, same as the rest of us, to everyone I know who hasn't heard yet. We got you, dammit. We got you.
posted by sciatrix at 7:50 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Maybe read the link?

Having read it, I see nothing in it that I'd dispute. That people—even many—on "the left," broadly speaking, are complicit in antisemitism by acts of commission and omission isn't news to me nor a proposition I would dispute. If the point was to call attention to this, then, well done and noted. As I said, it wasn't clear to me what the point was.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:13 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I'd push back against the notion that anti-semitism is going unmentioned completely, or that there's no solidarity - I posted about some fantastic solidarity outreach I witnessed earlier this year. But it does go unmentioned more often than not. I linked to this fantastic speech just the other day, and anti-semitism isn't mentioned at all, even at an interfaith service with at least one rabbi sharing the stage with her.

The issues surrounding I/P shouldn't have anything to do with this conversation, except that when you see anti-semitism coming from the Left, it always seems to be a flashpoint. The Movement for Black Lives is still calling Israel genocidal in their platform. Israelis are regularly compared to Nazis by people on the Left. Anti-semitic caricatures are part and parcel of some pro-Palestinian discourse. (#notall). Swastika drawing is not the sole provenance of the Right. Pointing that out shouldn't be unmentionable. Especially when it's coming from liberals who share the same commitment to progressive causes, including in I/P.

I'd like to think that the outright anti-semitism of the Trump administration and hangers-on is shocking a lot of people into seeing anti-semitism as a real thing instead of pretending it doesn't exist anymore, so that's - good? Jews are a tiny minority. People treat it like it's a third of the country alongside Christians and Muslims, when the truth is that even in America we're not even 2% of the population - worldwide it's less than one percent. We need non-Jewish allies now more than ever. The "good" thing is, this time around we seem to be lower down on the undesirables list, so Jews can stick our necks out further to support Muslims and immigrants and LGBTQ people and people with disabilities and people of color (and and and) without as much fear of legal reprisals as we've seen in the past. We can punch Nazis for everyone. Unfortunately there's plenty to go around.
posted by Mchelly at 8:30 AM on January 24 [10 favorites]






New Republic piece alleges that Matthew Heimbach of the WN Traditionalist Worker Party met with "a room full of GOP operatives and state legislators" at the Capitol Hill Club during the Inauguration. "Alleges" is a key word here because there doesn't seem to be much corroboration for that claim besides Heimbach's account. Still, read it for the portrait of white nationalists as young douchebags.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:09 AM on January 24


But I do want a world where mefites can express their belief in non violence without an endless shout down.

Amen. The bar for holding this opinion should not be absolute moral purity. Like many I feel I must qualify my position in this thread with background to justify this position: I am no beacon though appreciate those who hold a shining light. I certainly wish the world was in their hands.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:28 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]




But I do want a world where mefites can express their belief in non violence without an endless shout down.

I see nonviolence as parallel to religion. The starting points for discussion require in-depth knowledge of other people's worldviews, it usually touches on issues that are deeply personal, and people get weirdly aggressive over disagreement. As a result, there's no point in discussing it generally online. Metafilter can't do interfaith because it lacks a commitment to the basic ground rules for interfaith discussion.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:42 PM on January 24


I do think it's worth drawing a line between "discomfort with the use of violence" and "belief in nonviolence". I people too often cite the latter to cover up the former.

Belief in nonviolence is something that should dictate and direct your actions. It's not a cudgel to bludgeon others with.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:57 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


Belief in nonviolence is something that should dictate and direct your actions. It's not a cudgel to bludgeon others with.

There is that, a thread about endorsing a meme isn't an ideal space for this kind of discussion.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:09 PM on January 24


Think of Nazi ideology like a cancer. When you get rid of cancer, you do yearly follow-up checks. If you see signs of recurrence, you kill it. You don't wait until it metastasizes. You don't look at new cancer cells and go "oh well they're not actually hurting any vital organs, might as well let them be."

Stomp that shit out.
posted by grumpybear69 at 3:04 PM on January 24 [16 favorites]


It's not a cudgel to bludgeon others with.

i will hit you with this stick until you agree to be nonviolent!
posted by poffin boffin at 4:16 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


Think of Nazi ideology like a cancer.

This is what I keep coming back to on the punching question. You can't tell someone not to have cancer.
posted by rhizome at 8:58 PM on January 24


That's where the analogy falls down.

You maybe can't tell someone to not be a racist genocidal shithead (well, you can, but it might not do any good), but you can tell them to not express that shit out loud.
posted by rtha at 11:14 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


I'm Jewish so I guess I have to chime in.

There is no question I have faced antisemitism in my life, both from right-wing traditional antisemites and from left-wingers who want to hold all Jews responsible for Israel. Family members have been attacked. One of my relatives was actually killed about a decade ago in the US, by a Palestinian-American. I'm pretty sure I've not gotten jobs because I have a very Jewish name, and one time my boss's husband appeared in a newspaper picture of a neo-Nazi rally.

It does seem perverse because I've never joined a temple, or gone to Israel, or really had any opportunity to actually participate in Judaism. I live in the midwest and I'm literally the only Jewish person I know.

On the other hand what I've faced is absolutely nothing compared to my black and brown friends. I don't have a problem being included in a list of "sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and racism." As long as I'm included.
posted by miyabo at 6:45 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


The shooting incident where a Milo Yiannopolous/Trump supporter shot an antifa protestor at a Milo event at U. Washington was addressed by the College Republicans at the University of Washington (who, I believe, were the ones who invited Milo to UW to begin with) on their Facebook page. A key excerpt from near the end of their response post:
You [the Seattle Antifa movement] have been seen on national television very 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 [sic] obviously learned nothing after Trump's election..
In further comments on that post, they (the college republicans) claim that they're certainly not advocating for violence or anything like that and they're shocked that you would infer that that's what they're implying.

So, yeah. That's what's up.
posted by mhum at 12:15 PM on January 25 [14 favorites]


"You're gonna make me hit you," classic abuser logic.
posted by rhizome at 1:04 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]




What happens if you refuse to punch Nazis while they can still be punched.

Wow. Just amazing.
posted by Etrigan at 1:19 PM on January 25


German police arrest far-right extremists suspected of planning attacks - Officers confiscate explosives and arrest two people on suspicion of plotting attacks on refugees, Jews and police
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


I don't have a problem being included in a list of "sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and racism." As long as I'm included.

That inclusion can't be taken for granted, as Mchelly points out above. But you know, each marginalised group has a different position and experience, and just mentioning antisemitism as part of a list is not always adequate. It's like the people responding to BLM protests by saying that all lives matter. Of course they do! But the Black experience is not generic, and people saying "all lives matter" are erasing the particularity of Black oppression and the significance of the particular events that led to the protests.

When antisemitism is not recognised as a distinct category of oppression (as sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and racism must be recognised both separately and jointly) then it is incoherent. Take Trump's pre-election advertisement, which was criticised for its antisemitic message. It makes no sense to say that the ad had generic oppressive qualities; there isn't such a thing as generic oppression. It was meant as a shout-out to antisemites, and to arouse the sort of anger and ill-feeling that can be exploited by antisemites. Similarly, if we remove the particularity from the bomb threats against Jewish institutions they become mere breaches of good order. It's only when they are correctly categorised as antisemitic outrages that their significance can be recognised.

So, yes, I'm glad when antisemitism is at least on a list of bad things, but that's not sufficient. None of us have enough lived experiences to recognise all forms of oppression; we need to be open to guidance from people with different experiences or else we're going to be on the wrong side. And that openness can only come from recognising the distinctiveness of these experiences, and by not treating them generically.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:14 PM on January 25 [8 favorites]




To be punched once may be regarded as a misfortune; to be punched twice looks like carelessness.
posted by Mchelly at 8:58 PM on January 25 [14 favorites]


As pointed out in the other thread, he's wearing the exact same outfit.

Though maybe that means he only has the one set of dapper clothes.
posted by Artw at 9:04 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


It's also weird that the "BLACK LIVES MATTER TOO MUCH" sign is still there and in the same relative position.

Are we sure it's not just a different angle of the same punch?
posted by tobascodagama at 5:46 AM on January 26


First one was entirely from Spencer's right, this one seems to have hit him on the left side of his stupid face.
posted by Etrigan at 5:55 AM on January 26


Pretty sure this is just photo evidence of him getting punched for the second time in one day, which we knew about but hadn't seen until now.
posted by dysh at 6:56 AM on January 26 [6 favorites]


An opportunity for people who like this kind of thing.

The Trump administration has announced plans to publish weekly lists of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities. This policy amounts to government weaponization of alt-right harassment techniques - a weekly list whose sole function is to give white supremacist mobs targets.
What this is going to mean, in practice, is that there are going to be families in your community who are going to become the targets of mob violence. They are literally going to need people to set up lawn chairs on their sidewalks at 3am and scare off Nazi lynch mobs.

posted by Artw at 9:24 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


there are going to be families in your community who are going to become the targets of mob violence. They are literally going to need people to set up lawn chairs on their sidewalks at 3am and scare off Nazi lynch mobs.

I'm going to be doing my absolute best in the 2A community to talk loudly and strongly about this being the time for that. You believe in defensive violence? Great, so do I. Put your money where your fucking mouth is and defend this home.
posted by corb at 10:50 AM on January 26 [8 favorites]


You mean the NRA? That seems unlikely.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]


No, the NRA fucking rolled over for Trump and I don't think actually has any interest in gun owners defending themselves so much as they want us to think they are. I've already taken myself off their list. I'm thinking more the smaller groups who may actually have morals.
posted by corb at 11:18 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


I don't care if it's unlikely or not--we will need all the allies we can find. If corb can rustle some up, more power to her; I will do the same.

Personally, I am a young, round-faced, blue-eyed white lady. I live in a neighborhood without many ladies like me--it's heavily black and Latinx. So I intend to, if I see a call in my neighborhood for something like this, march my unarmed ass down to my neighbor's doorstep and park it there and bodily stand in front of any mob who tries to enter. If someone hits me, awesome; I'm going to ask ahead for folks to keep cell phones on them if they need help, and keep the video rolling to the nearest ACLU Justice app. If no one else does, my partner or roomie should. I'm going to be as cheerfully nonthreatening as I can--no weapons; no hitting first, if I can be a Lady with my buzzed hair I will be and I'll be letting my drawl hang out--be while being iron-spined committed to protecting my neighbors and country. And if they cross me by god I will rip verbal strips out of their goddamn hides.

Let's see if this Nice White Lady privilege is as good as it's fucking cracked up to be, either for keeping folks from hitting me or--worst case--turning public opinion against those jackbooted thugs who would hurt a sweet little white lady who just wants to protect her neighbor.
posted by sciatrix at 11:19 AM on January 26 [8 favorites]


That sounds like a great way to meet the local militia/neo-Nazi types.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


the NRA fucking rolled over for Trump

Let's not pretend like they somehow surrendered. They've been an overt white supremacist group pretty much since Obama was elected. They invited him in, just like all the other major white supremacist groups that masquerade as citizen advocates and/or major political parties.

and I don't think actually has any interest in gun owners defending themselves so much as they want us to think they are

Don't say you weren't warned. People have been trying to tell you this for years.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:37 AM on January 26 [9 favorites]


That sounds like a great way to meet the local militia/neo-Nazi types.

If you meant sciatrix's comment, the alternative is to stand by and do nothing while one's non-white neighbors get to meet the local militia/neo-Nazi types.
posted by Lexica at 11:38 AM on January 26 [5 favorites]


Listen, I get it but am weirded out by the idea of "sweet little white ladies" protecting minorities. Like, if it's your way of contributing, I think that's cool, but the idea that it's protection to be depended on isn't quite right to me.
posted by zutalors! at 11:40 AM on January 26


Don't say you weren't warned. People have been trying to tell you this for years.

I tell you what. In four years, if we're all alive, I will cheerfully have a big old pie-fight with you and we can loudly argue about Who Warned Who About What Might Have Been A Bad Idea. Right now, I'm trying to stop us all from dying in a fire; I don't have time for it.
posted by corb at 11:41 AM on January 26 [7 favorites]


It's sarcasm on my part, the idea of being sweet. But I hear you, and if my rhetoric is bugging you I'll tweak it. How do you think would be better to get across the idea of solidarity and using the very real white privilege available to me, in terms of how these people think about hurting people, to stand with my community? I mean, things like the Women's March getting no arrests, or the way police brutality ramps up real fast to black people and not so much to me. There's some power I have there, and I have a lot more power than my neighbors who are not white in that respect. How do I talk about using that power to protect people?
posted by sciatrix at 11:43 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Guns may or may not help, but I'm pretty sure the local racist gun owners society isn't going to suddenly start protecting ethnic minorities. Did they in Whitefish?
posted by Artw at 11:43 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


The NRA represents the gun industry, gun owners are just a nice cover.
posted by rhizome at 11:45 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


(I've been typing furiously here, but this is me going on a one-hour pause, listen, and chill myself out time-out. If you have better suggestions, I'm genuinely all for them.)
posted by sciatrix at 11:46 AM on January 26


Guns may or may not help, but I'm pretty sure the local racist gun owners society isn't going to suddenly start protecting ethnic minorities. Did they in Whitefish?

So this is something that is really where the times we are living in are going to expose cracks in the gun community just like it reveals cracks in other communities. There have been some small gun groups that have been very in favor of welcoming more diverse membership - there have been some small groups that have been racist as fuck and we all just secretly hoped they would go away and lose their eyesight, because we thought they were already marginalized and we didn't have to worry about them.

That was an error. That was a big error, and I apologize for my part in it. I've definitely encountered some racists at gun ranges muttering stuff about Obama and I've just kind of eye rolled and ignored them and focused on my target and figured they had no political power. It's clear that I was assuming their numbers were lower than they seem actually to be, and I wish I'd said more at the time.

But there also, at the same time, were people - mostly young people - organizing their own stuff that had nothing to do with that. The Armed Citizens Project, for example, tried to arm and train citizens in minority neighborhoods who might not be able to afford firearms or gun training on their own. There's the Huey P Newton Gun Club. There's Jews for the Protection of Firearm Ownership. There's the Pink Pistols.

So I think there is some hope. I don't know how much. I guess that's one of the many, many things we'll see, right?
posted by corb at 11:56 AM on January 26 [6 favorites]


Please, no one work with the Jews for the Protection of Firearm Ownership. They're a wingnut group that thinks the ADL are traitors to the Jewish people and propagates the lie that the Holocaust is the fault of gun control. They have close ties to a bunch of other gun groups who are even more bigoted and violent than the NRA, and should not be trusted to have anyone's back.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:03 PM on January 26 [5 favorites]


How the town of Whitefish defeated its neo-Nazi trolls — and became a national model of resistance

Visible community support seems to be winning out over the threat of guns there, for now.
posted by Artw at 12:06 PM on January 26 [6 favorites]


Yeah, to be clear - I'm really afraid of Neo-Nazi violence, but at this very moment it seems like that level of defense isn't needed and that things like Artw are talking about seem to be working - I'm just worried about what things are going to be like in the future. I couldn't have anticipated this level of Neo-Nazi boldness even eight months ago, and I'm really deeply worried about what we're going to be looking at in another eight months.
posted by corb at 12:09 PM on January 26 [6 favorites]


I'm buying some bear spray. I live in Texas so a gun would be easy enough to get, but no.

My sister OTOH is thinking of getting an LTC.

Probably both are equally foolhardy. If it comes to actual shooting or bear spraying level violence, things will be bad enough that stealing a gun is probably better and safer than buying one. Or using some other implement that comes to hand.

And if push comes to shove I'd rather use a sword or stick anyway, I'm actually trained in sword fighting (I used to have a D ranking from the USFA in foil and E ranking in saber), while guns would be a whole new skillset to acquire. I'm still good enough to shove a stick or a chunk of rebar through someone's trachea or into their eye if need be.

But if it comes to that we're talking about near total social breakdown and no amount of fighting back by amaeurs will really amount to much. Ask the people of the Warsaw Ghetto, they were armed fairly well and they managed to bag only a few dozen Nazis before they were wiped out.

If it really and truly comes to violence our only hope is for the military to be loyal to America instead of Trump. Civilian guns, or bear spray, won't mean jack shit.
posted by sotonohito at 12:41 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]


I think showing up armed at the home of somebody who may or may not speak English is probably, uh, bad optics, even if you're ostensibly there to help.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:52 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Really, just in general, it's the kind of action that really needs to be deliberately coordinated on a large scale with members of the vulnerable community participating at a high level.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:54 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]


Fencing skills hehe
posted by Joseph Gurl at 2:16 PM on January 26


Probably just enough to make me feel self confident so I get killed.

So like I said, I'm looking for a political solution.
posted by sotonohito at 2:24 PM on January 26 [1 favorite]




meanwhile it's been like what, 5 whole days? and i still have not seen a punch set to turn down for what

will also accept the actual video with spencer's face added in to all the items being smashed by both bat and groin
posted by poffin boffin at 9:08 PM on January 26 [6 favorites]




Yo pb
posted by Pink Frost at 11:38 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


So that guy was robbed of his swastika:
Michael Dewitz, 34, was “jumped” shortly after 2 p.m. by two men who got out of a red pickup truck on Northwest 13th Street at Eighth Avenue, struck him, and stole his jacket and swastika armband, said Ben Tobias, a Gainesville Police Department spokesman.
posted by XMLicious at 12:52 AM on January 27 [11 favorites]


Strategically, it was great that he was able to leave unmolested. In this case, Nazi-punching would have been bad, because he very likely wanted it to happen, and it would not have been a vehicle for absurdist humour but the sad spectacle of a lone man attacked by a mob.

This is what I meant about context, above.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:56 AM on January 27 [4 favorites]


Aaaaactually, it turns out that the guy with the swastika was just conducting a social experiment. Boy, have we been punked!

Seriously, though, I would not be against punching that guy in the head, although not all at once. Maybe if people wanted to form an orderly line to punch him, giving him 15-30 seconds or so to get the fuck out in between. I would argue that that particular type of speech could be classified as assault, and that it's appropriate to respond to it as such.

I do like the approach they took, though, and the guys who disarmed the attacker are heroes.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:53 AM on January 27 [3 favorites]


What about pop up history lessons? If someone had a decent internet connection and one of those little portable projectors, if they came across a Nazi, they could put up some kind of makeshift screen out of posterboard or a sheet or something next to them and show Holocaust footage. So nobody in person or in media coverage would get to see a Nazi without seeing what they're supporting.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:15 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


I think they did the exact right thing: just yell at him or whatever when he's twirling his dick around to everyone in a group, and knock him senseless and take his regalia when he's alone and would have to go and actually report it happening to someone.

This also conveniently avoids the whole "anyone you hate is now a Nazi and fair game" thing. No one is probably going to want to hit some random dude walking around without a Nazi armband, so really they probably saved him from a much worse fate if someone had it in their mind to really hand his ass to him for doing this.
posted by griphus at 11:17 AM on January 27 [6 favorites]


Aaaaactually, it turns out that the guy with the swastika was just conducting a social experiment. Boy, have we been punked!

Partially a social experiment. The other part is,
Nazi's are an extremely organized, focused, distinguished organization that saved the world,
And who can really know whether the Holocaust actually happened, he tells the interviewer.
posted by XMLicious at 11:21 AM on January 27 [7 favorites]


The results of the social experiment are that ironic nazis are pretty much just actual nazis.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on January 27 [21 favorites]


"i was just being a hateful dickbag to see what would happen!" lol okay buddy sure you were
posted by poffin boffin at 11:55 AM on January 27 [9 favorites]






"i was just being a hateful dickbag to see what would happen!"

Now he knows. A crowd gathers to beat his ass and someone steals his swastika. Success!
posted by octobersurprise at 2:56 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]








Der Fueher's Face
posted by Splunge at 6:44 PM on January 27




Guys, I'm really worried that Spencer is going to be punched every time he steps out in public. I am concerned about his safety. Is there any way I can set something up so that people who see Spencer out and about can tag their location in order to let the entire world know the exact time and place they observed Richard Spencer not being harmed in any manner whatsoever?

I am very concerned about Richard Spencer's well-being.
posted by logicpunk at 11:27 AM on January 30 [7 favorites]


I want a google extension that will change every instance of "Richard Spencer" to "Dick Spanker", but alas I lack the code proficiency that would allow me to write this.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:25 AM on January 31




An Establishment article by Katherine Cross, Why Punching Nazis Is Not Only Ethical, But Imperative. This is a good piece on the ways that nazis twist ideas of free speech and democracy to their own ends, and why this is the particular case where violence is effective as a response.
posted by bile and syntax at 2:57 PM on January 31 [5 favorites]


Much of what keeps white supremacists from spreading is the threat or use of violence, sanctioned by state actors we entrust to use violence on our behalf; the investigation, imprisonment, and -- if need be -- killing of white supremacist terrorists keeps them from growing. This is usually not objected to by most people, even the strongest "Don't Punch A Nazi" people: they don't seem to have a problem with cops arresting a white supremacist who's planning to, say, burn down a church.

This threat of state violence is about to be reduced:

The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.
The program, "Countering Violent Extremism," or CVE, would be changed to "Countering Islamic Extremism" or "Countering Radical Islamic Extremism," the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.


This may be worth keeping in mind when we discuss whether it's okay for a private citizen to visit violence upon Nazis/Klansmen/etc. The feds are no longer interested in doing it.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:00 PM on February 1 [19 favorites]


The feds are no longer interested in doing it.

of course, trump doesn't wanna alienate his base!
posted by burgerrr at 9:00 AM on February 2




The Long History of "Nazi Punching" by Wes Enzinna in Mother Jones. The links cited in the article are also worth checking out, particularly Is It Okay To Punch A Nazi and the City Pages piece on the Baldies and the formation of Anti-Racist Action.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:22 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


i don't show up very often anymore, but i am always gonna pop in to show favor for punching human-toilets like richards spencer.

again and again fascist organizers have admitted that the only way to stop them is a fierce beating in the street.

More of this. More punching nazis. It is like a sacrament.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:44 PM on February 5 [7 favorites]




A couple of days ago, 6 or 7 emboldened "211 Crew" Neo-Nazis beat up two graduate students on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As of right now, no spokesmen for 211 Crew have stepped forward to denounce this violence or urge a more peaceful approach to settling our disagreements.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:17 AM on February 13 [12 favorites]




If someone wanted to commit murder - not necessarily murder anyone in particular, just commit murder - they'd find it hard to do better than this guy: give yourself a plausible reason for being in a crowd; post a message saying that you've been beaten up; kill a stranger (in a jurisdiction where self-defense is a complete defense); then wipe your phone and turn yourself in. It's all so very neat and hard to disprove.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:04 PM on February 15


It's the remove evidence and suck-up-to-the-police defense pioneered by Zimmerman. If they don't like the victim you're in the clear.

Presumably we'll hear from this dick again at periodic interludes, just like Zimmerman.
posted by Artw at 7:06 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


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