by Zoe Harding
Content warning: violence, neo-Nazism, the Holocaust, and anti-semitism. Article contains strong language.
I’d like to begin by showing you a video. It’s quite possibly a video you’ve already seen.
That man is Richard Spencer, professional neo-Nazi dickhead. The identity of the puncher is not yet known (and will hopefully remain unknown), but they’re believed to be one of the Antifa protesters from the day of the Trump Inauguration.
I like this video. I’m not alone in liking this video. This video went, (to lapse into marketing-speech bullshit) viral. I like the remix where Richard Spencer gets punched in the face on every single beat in Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA, or the one where it’s the Dead Kennedys’ Nazi Punks Fuck Off. It’s the perfect counterpoint to Spencer’s speech to a bunch of white supremacists in a conference room shortly after the US election, where he managed to say the words ‘Heil our people, heil Trump, heil victory!’ without taking a good long look at himself and wondering what the hell he’s doing with his ridiculous life.
‘Punching’ becomes a symbolic thing, one component in a million others, from above and below, that demonstrates that these beliefs are not compatible with society
For those of you lucky enough to be living under a nuclear, biological, chemical and social media-proof rock, the far right have been riding high lately. Norwich’s own neo-Nazi Trump supporters turned out to shout at the massive anti-Trump gathering in front of the town hall. A friend of mine mentioned hearing ‘DIVERSITY IS WHITE GENOCIDE’ being shouted, followed by ‘what sounded like the thump of someone getting smacked in the face.’
Whether or not Trump – and his odious toady Steve Bannon – are actually pulling a Hitleresque takeover of a liberal democratic nation is irrelevant to the small, but vocal, minorities of little fascist shits who’ve come streaming out of the woodwork, believing that the government is finally on their side.
So the Nazis are back, although they’d prefer to be called the ‘Alt-Right’ for the moment. While I wouldn’t say there’s a vast organised community of the bastards out there, there’s certainly a ‘movement’. It’s been growing on the edges of society and the depths of the internet for a long time. It’s radicalising lonely young men (they have other demographics, but lonely young men is the big one) online while drawing mainstream attention by sucking on the ‘Political correctness gone mad’ and ‘Liberals suppressing free speech’ memes. These Nazis received a huge signal boost from Trump, no doubt about it. And with that, the harassment, attacks and general bastardry have been turned up to eleven, all while fascism edges ever closer to the mainstream. This time last year neo-Nazis were practically invisible, still lurking in dark corners of the internet. Indeed, they’ve been underground for so long that a lot of people seem to have forgotten what they are, and what they stand for.
After Spencer was publicly punched, the chattering classes caught up and there was a debate. Not a debate about the merits of white nationalism (The only one I can think of is that my own stupid haircut will be lost in a sea of them that stretches to the horizon). A debate about whether violence is ever justified, even against fascists. The Free Speech argument, favoured cover for shitheads across the internet, was invoked. Sure, he’s saying that ultimately everyone not exactly like him should be exiled or killed, and that our liberal democratic system should be replaced by one where odious people like him are in charge (I’m paraphrasing, of course. Even in Trump’s America, openly calling for eugenics and genocide is still a step too far.) Apparently he should be allowed to say that. The false equivalence of ‘What if he was black and calling for whites to be exterminated’ also turned up.
And yes, violence isn’t always the answer to disagreeable politics. It’s not even the only answer to fascism, although sadly it has been in the past. Especially today, when anyone who can type coherent English and has a Twitter account can condemn every last micro or macro aggression and sound reasonably authoritative (case in point: the half a billion accusations that the ‘left is starting the violence’), lashing out is politically unwise. Particularly if your target is the kind of person who will complain to the high heavens about the ‘injustice’ of facing the consequences of their speech and actions. The argument can be made that any violence against either side gives the media machines an excuse to depict you as beyond reason.
I don’t accept that. That’s the argument that says you should try and avoid provoking an abusive partner, or try and be like the bullies so they’ll leave you alone. It’s not a solution. Leaving aside the way that alt facts are now so developed that the Trump administration is making up its own terrorism for shits and giggles, the loud and hateful will find an excuse anyway. Trying to hide won’t work. We need to hit back.
Freedom of speech as a concept is meaningless when it’s used to abolish itself, to excuse attacks meant to grease the runners of alternative systems that don’t include it.
All this means that the Left, and liberal society as a whole, is going to have to make some unpleasant changes to itself. Freedom of speech as a concept is meaningless when it’s used to abolish itself, to excuse attacks meant to grease the runners of alternative systems that don’t include it. Non-violence and the ability to condemn violence is not necessarily a luxury we have any more, nor is tolerance of the intolerant. Warren Ellis says it best, in an article on this very subject. ‘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 you know what? Spencer getting punched was funny. It was funny as hell. I’d barely heard of him until I saw the video of him getting punched. He looks ridiculous. Mockery of Trump is a cottage industry. Of course it is, he’s ridiculous. But there are plenty of others who need to be dragged out into the light and mocked for what they are. Because they’re the fucking Nazis.
In conclusion, you know what to do. Don’t just hit white supremacists in the face. Do it on national television. Humiliate them. Block, shut down, ban or (yes) censor their hateful views online and wherever possible. ‘Punching’ becomes a symbolic thing, one component in a million others, from above and below, that demonstrates that these beliefs are not compatible with society (and I really, really wish I didn’t have to say that).
Because if we don’t work together as a society to force these bastards back into the past where they belong, there’s only one way it can end – and last time, it took a war that killed nearly 60 million people to end it.
Featured image credit: Nikki Casey
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11 thoughts on “PUNCH NAZIS”
Fair Warning: some Nazis punch back
Hey you fucking Rob! What about crimes in America which killed more than a million after WWII. You are saying that white supremacy is not compatible with society. Ok but why this crimes are compatible when every hour one is murdered, five are raped, 3 are robbed in our powerful America. Now you will say no one can police everyone individually so why are you doing this fucking shit to that neo nazi man even he is not harming anyone just got the freedom to say. Go and try to ban murder, rapes, robbery, etc. Today crime is more hurting our innocent society not this white supremacy which is easily a matter of ignorance. And do you know minorities which is 30% do 70% percent of crime. Oh… For this reason minorities’ life matter in America. Don’t give us lesson what happened in past because past is not limited to nazi europe and world wars.
What about those crimes? Your country’s crime rates are insane, true enough (maybe letting every random lunatic have guns was a bad idea, who knows?), but they aren’t the focus of this article. This article is focused on a different problem. Incidentally, (again with the history, sorry about that, I realise you aren’t a fan of book-learnin’) fascist governments tend to be ineffective at cracking down on violent (or non-violent) crime. Hell, the SS used to recruit the bastards.
Oh, and welcome to the Norwich Radical! If you’re going with the ‘Minorities do all the crime waaah’ line and are genuinely questioning whether people’s lives ‘matter’ I’d suggest that you really aren’t going to like anything else on this site. God bless!
I am everything you hate and you are everything I hate. Why don’t we schedule a fight and see who comes out on top? I’m in London.
Sure! You free Wednesday?
Using violent force to censor all thoughts that oppose your philosophies is totalitarinism, you dumb fuck.
Libterds can only use violence as a last resort because they can’t win the argument with logic. Retards.
Rob Harding is a by *statutory definition* a “domestic terrorist” (one who “uses violence or the threat of violence to intimidate or coerce the public”) and will be a concentration before the next 4 years end. I’m making that bet now. Rob, your life is about to change in ways you can’t possibly imagine. Advocating terrorism in public may have been OK in 2016, but now you’re being investigated by some nasty people. Hope it was worth it.
Thanks for the comment! Have a ‘nice’ day!
-Rob Harding: ‘domestic terrorist’