There is nothing more American than punching Nazis.

The "alt right" are Nazis:

However, for too long now, when we consider questions of race, especially questions concerning the Black race, we have been framing things in completely the wrong way. Instead of asking how we can make reparations for slavery, colonialism, and Apartheid or how we can equalize academic scores and incomes, 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?" With starting points like this, wisdom is sure to flourish, enlightenment to dawn.

On The Propriety Of Punching Nazis:

What happened to letting the other guy throw the first punch?

Nazis don't throw the first punch. Nazis burn the first Reichstag.

What about dialogue?

Dialogue is for reasonable people acting in good faith. Dialogue is between two acceptable positions. "Taxes need to be raised" vs. "taxes need to be lowered" is grounds for dialogue. "Taxes need to be raised" vs. "Jews should be thrown in ovens" is grounds for a beating.

But isn't this sinking to their level?

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

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.


So no, I don't feel bad that a white supremacist got punched in the face. I don't think dialogue is the solution. And I think those things because I and people I know dealt with actual Nazis for years. If you want to clutch your pearls, fine. If you want to understand the flip side, talk to some folks from the ARA or a SHARP. Because old punks are some of the only folks in America to have dealt with actual Nazis on a regular basis.

Of Kirby's first major superhero creation, Captain America, Evanier observes that not everyone loved the flag-draped hero, and that Simon & Kirby received threatening phone calls and anti-Semitic hate mail:

Another time, Jack took a call. A voice on the other end said, "There are three of us down here in the lobby. We want to see the guy who does this disgusting comic book and show him what real Nazis would do to his Captain America." To the horror of others in the office, Kirby rolled up his sleeves and headed downstairs. The callers, however, were gone by the time he arrived.


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.

bile and syntax:

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.

"Local College Professor in Altercation with Alt-Right Serviceman"

Christopher Sebela:

My favorite Dead Kennedys song is definitely "Nazi Punks Let's Calmly Discuss How Your Views Are Wrong"

Warren Ellis:

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.
Robbing fascism of its virility and hyper masculine pretence is to rob it of its primary capacity to grow and survive.

In this particular instance, we must utilize fear to our advantage. The continuation of protests and the show of strength must not only intimidate fascists, but also send a clear message to the three most important institutions that fascists require for total power: big business, media and state institutions. They must constantly fear any form of collaboration with Trump's administration. They must fear how the nation's history books will view them but to accomplish that we must compel them to think that future historians will not be fascists. The fascist future must be cancelled, today.

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28 Responses:

  1. PaulJBis says:

    I, for one, have a problem not so much with a nazi receiving violence, but with who committed it. Don't get me wrong: If Richard Spencer had been hit by a bus and his blood and entrails had been splattered on the street, I'd have applauded and demanded it to be filmed and shown every Christmas.


    My impression (haven't followed up, might be wrong on this) is that the people who punched him were Black Bloc anarchists, i.e., the same people that smashed Starbucks windows and burned the limo of a muslim inmigrant that is now facing bankrupcy. Now, I think that most decent nazi-loathing people would also agree that their tactics are counterproductive to say the least, and will, at worst, give an excuse to the Cheeto Fuhrer to step up repressive measures... and yet, at the same time that we disapprove of them, we applaud them for beating up a nazi.

    Now, I don't know any Black Bloc anarchists, but I could imagine one of them telling me: "what, so you bourgeouis middle-of-the-road liberals want to dictate to us how should we employ violence? Sorry, buddy: our knuckles, our rules". And it would be hard to argue against that. Basically, I'm not comfortable with the fact that us peaceful people are aplauding this display of violence from a group that we'd be scolding in other circumstances for ruining a peaceful protest. Feels hypocritical.

    Again, this has to do only with the perpetrators of violence, not the receiver. As I said above, if one day Richard Spencer gets hit in the head by a falling brick and becomes a bed-bound vegetable, by all means film him drooling in his bed and post it on YouTube for us to enjoy. In the meantime, I suppose that the best solution to the conundrum would be for "normal" people to start beating nazis up, instead of leaving all the dirty work to the anarchists.

    So in summary: yes, beat up nazis, but do it yourself.

    • TimeDoctor says:

      More useful summary: "Well, actually..." as to the tune of one-thousand sea lions audibly slamming their tails against keyboards.

    • MattyJ says:

      The puncher, Black Bloc or not, is a 'self'. Sometimes people need to be punched, doesn't matter by who.

      I fail to see how waiting for a random falling brick to hit Richard Spencer in the head sends a clear message that society isn't okay with Nazis.

      • Wil E. Coyote says:

        Well, the thing is, I don't consider Black Bloc anarchists as representative of mainstream society, so I would have felt a lot better if it had been a random passerby who had recognized Richard Spencer and decided to punch him.

        In other words, the fact that the only people willing to confront nazis are fringe anarchists isn't as comforting as one might think.

        • MattyJ says:

          I dunno. If I witnessed a sewer rat kill another sewer rat, I don't think I'd be concerned about the provenance of the living rat. Net result is one less rat.

    • The black bloc are idiots, but if they have any purpose at all, this is it.

  2. Greatevil says:

    1) I ordered that shirt for my wife. She will fucking love it. Thank you for the link. 2) I feel that this vid contributes to this dialog (sorry can't find a non FB link)

    • jwz says:

      That's definitely my favorite of the musical edits that I've seen so far. I would have posted that one but it doesn't seem to be on YouTube and Twitter goes out of their way to make embedding their videos hard.

  3. rozzin says:

    On this subject of Nazis and the decision about whether to do violence to them, it's perhaps worth recalling Gandhi's oft-forgotten answer when asked what he thought the jews should have done about the Nazis: he advised that the jews should have simply all died--"should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife", "should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs".

    His position was basically that the Nazi's wouldn't have had the guts to actually follow through and kill unarmed people--and that even if their consciences didn't immediately stop them, they'd have to succumb to the ostracism they'd experience when people saw them even attempting to do something like that.

    Because, well, the British were pretty bad and they relented rather than be seen just outright killing people--and how much worse could the Nazis possibly be than that? And because the only obvious solution to `not wanting to be seen doing something bad' is `not doing something bad'--that of course the Nazis would not find that the problematic part of `being seen doing something bad' was just the `being seen' part.

    "Your argument", he said, "presupposes that the dictators like Mussolini or Hitler are beyond redemption."

  4. MattyJ says:

    One hopes that this continues to grow:

  5. anon3494 says:

    So I'm all good to punch any and all communists too, right?

    • pavel_lishin says:

      Do communists, as a core tenet of their belief system, call for the systematic extermination of people of other races and religious beliefs?

      • Chris says:

        Races no, religions yes, other political beliefs yes.

        In b4 USSR, China, etc., etc., are not real communists!

        • Joker_vD says:

          Well, can liberals, as a core tenet of their belief system, call for systemic extermination of nazists and radical right-wing activists? Not on grounds of actual activities and deeds, but on grounds of mere ideological disposition?

  6. Mister says:

    Concerning the slippery slope objection:
    No, USamericans wouldn't continue Genocide like the nazis but they engulfed in a slow overtake with a lot of oncoming wars and many more million dead people, not in a racist kind of manner but nonetheless with imperial ambitions.
    See to where it brought you-us, not regarding which party or color the US president was of (and I presume, also not a change in sex would have compromised this).

    On the fighting grounds:
    YES, Neo-Nationalsocialism has to be fought to the death, the same alike rascism, sexism or nationalism, but, sweet jesus, do not try to fight human beings, they are beasty things, that have millenia of experience in surviving the cruelest environments, and the more you pressure them, the messier the backlash will be.

    Try to wrap your head around something peculiar for an off-time instead - - and imagine the combined potential of peace loving human beings fighting over a vast global communication grid, piercing to the core of it and shutting a few poor and lonely craptarts off while encouraging fellow humans on the way, not to be afraid but to stand up for their life.

  7. M says:

    Another one to tag with "grim meathook future":

  8. Nato Phonic says:

    Personally, still I think it's better to get the Nazi to throw the first punch, even if you have goad him into it. Otherwise, if nothing else, the Nazis can farm lawsuits like the Westboro Baptists do... and Steve Bannon knows good lawyers.

  9. Karellen says:

    Yup, when a super soldier who is the literal creation of the military-industrial complex, and a university humanities professor (Jones) both agree on something - punching nazis - it's a pretty good bet that it's the right thing to do.

  10. busboy says:

    It's not battery if you yell "Nazi!" first. Got it.

    • Turi says:

      You did not pay attention:
      If the victim yells "I'm a Nazi and support the killing of millions of people" than the battery, while still being battery which should be prosecuted by the government*, is morally justified.

      I know, not as sharp and witty. But with the upside of being correct.

      *Because the government should NEVER EVER decide what is punch worthy. In fact that's what this fight is about.

      • busboy says:

        > blah blah blah

        Get it through your skull: You are going to get people killed. There are large numbers of unhinged morons out there who now feel empowered to hit people they disagree with. Some boring group bible study schlub at the portland airport got a severe concussion the other day.

        People are going to die in the weeks ahead and you and JWZ will be morally culpable.

        Also, any of these justifications of extreme measures against far right ideas apply about fivefold for communist ideology. Yet I don't see anyone trying to justify stabbing people in Che shirts.

        • Elusis says:


          There are large numbers of unhinged morons out there who now feel empowered to hit people they disagree with. Some boring group bible study schlub at the portland airport got a severe concussion the other day.

          Citation very much needed, please. Someplace that isn't the Daily Caller and that doesn't seem to be suggesting that the assholes taunting the people doing their civic anti-fascist duty threw the first punch. Oh, and that makes it clear that the punch-er thought they were punching an actual Nazi, and was inspired by the Internet.

        • narf says:

          People are going to die in the weeks ahead and you and JWZ will be morally culpable.

          That is almost my next e-mail sig. "People are going to die. JWZ and I are morally culpable."

          I might just shorten to "JWZ and I are morally culpable." That's a good thing, right?

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