Note: [The majority of scholars identify Nazism in practice as a form of far-right politics.Far-right themes in Nazism include the argument that superior people have a right to dominate over other people and purge society of supposed inferior elements.]
In light of Richard Spencer (goon of the Alt right & self-proclaimed messiah of white power) being punched while on camera; a debate has began to form around whether or not it’s permissible to use violence against Far right members? Well, the answer is simple, yes, it is always okay to punch a Nazi.
Fascism and racism embodies violence; it secures itself ideologically & politically through threat of violent acts & violent beliefs. Parasites like Richard Spencer are not here to present discourse, they are calling people to take up arms for their cause. He buys into the reactionary, liberal left, knowing full well that they will give him the platform to shout his poisonous rallying cry. Scum like the “Alt-right” are nothing new. Fascists have been putting on suits & ties for decades in an attempt to normalise their tribalistic bullshit.
The National Front did the same thing throughout Europe in an attempt to legitimise themselves, as did those laughing stocks of Right wing Britain, Paul Golding & Tommy Robinson whose group of slobbering idiots ‘Britain First’ & the ‘EDL’ both attempted to enter the mainstream. Do you know what these groups have in common, despite their sickening ideologies? They were all dismantled by a violent visceral opposition of Antifa activists. These groups were met by huge counter demos that often broke out into conflicts & fights on the streets, resulting in property damage and injuries on both sides. Not only were these fringe groups physically wounded, but their morale was often broken too, by constantly having their demos dwarfed in size by the opposition that turned up to confront them. Not only this, but the state could not handle the pressure of such groups. It was costing local councils thousands and exhausting local police forces who could no longer guarantee people’s safety. It was this escalation of risk caused by violent direct action that suppressed these far-right groups & inevitably pushed them back into the fringe. Although the ideology still exists & once again the far-right is on the increase in Europe; it was violent protests, not liberal debate that destroyed the material threat from our streets & protected targeted communities from the far-right menace.
The liberal stance of trying to ‘understand fascists’ & give them a right to “free speech” is an historically flawed concept if one recalls the ironic slogan of German liberals before the Nazis took over: ‘We are so liberal that we even grant the freedom to destroy liberty’, and it was made very clear what Goebbels intentions were, when he stated: ‘We have come to the Reichstag in order to destroy it. If democracy is stupid enough to reward us for doing this, this is the problem of democracy.’
By offering Fascists platforms, you legitimise their point; by knocking their teeth out, you force their subjects to be taboo from society. If you attempt rational debate, you allow these cretins to swindle & manipulate their rhetoric & policy. We can see contemporary examples of this in the far-right parties of England, Hungary & France who have been able to do this very thing. Parties like UKIP, Jobbik & Le Pen have gained traction over the years, and increased in popularity amongst the right wing, to the point where they have been able to push policy & frame debates within their own political territories. This has resulted in a spike in hate crimes within the UK & has spread an anti-immigrant sentiment across European borders resulting in death and violence against marginalised communities as well as the abandonment of humanitarian help.
This moralist stance that we must rely solely on pacifism to prove our points is juvenile & ahistorical. Such pure notions do not deserve to be recognised as legitimate opposition or tactics to deal with Fascism. Anti-fascism can be both defensive & proactive. If Richard Spencer wore all black & spoke Arabic, the liberal press would not be debating whether or not it is okay to use violence against him, it would be cheering his defeat. You cannot live complacent in violent societies while simultaneously condemning violence against a system (or body) that perpetuates it. These are pundits who have praised Obama despite the mass civilian casualties which are a result of his drone program. These same people who call foul & give liberal sob stories over Spencer being punched, cheered when Saddam Hussein was hung. Unlike the contradictory take on violence liberals give, Anarchist and Anti-fascist militants do not use violence to reinforce themselves as a dominant ideology, but rather as theatre that co-exists with its theory. Anarchists & socialists are fully aware that punching Nazis one by one does not tackle the root issue of far-right ideologies. It fully recognises that it must rely on political organisation and propaganda as well as its physical resistance. The violent political dissidents of the militant left is as much of a performance as it is practical. A reminder to both the status quo, and the encroaching threats to people’s liberty, that people in large groups still hold real power over the systems & contracts that bind us to obedience.
This is not to say that we should enjoy violence; far from it. “militant anti-fascist violence is an unpleasant method to achieve a greater political goal. It is not fetishized the way that fascism fetishizes violence, and it would be much more preferable to rely on passive resistance; but we cannot guarantee that what Trotsky referred to as ‘flabby pacifism’ will effectively inhibit fascist encroachment. Fascism views passivity as weakness, not as a political strategy; it will crush peaceful protests and the will to resist, and their violence must be met head on.” (Militant Anti-Fascism: 100 Years Of Resistance by M.Tesa). Rather we should see it for what it really is a violent movement in a more violent world.